itsnotmymind: (Default)
A fallacy that I have on occasion encountered in fandom:

When a person or character doing something bad is used as an argument for them doing an unrelated bad thing.

At its extreme, the fallacy looks like this:

Person A: I think it's OOC for character X to get a speeding ticket.
Person B: I think it's in character. After all, X gets tickets for driving too slowly all the time.

Usually it's not quiiiite so extreme, but the two bad actions can certainly be contradictory.

The assumption seems to be the if someone does bad things, they are morally tarnished and are more likely to engage in other morally tarnishing actions, even if from the character's PoV they are completely unrelated. Engaging in bad actions makes a person bad, which means they engage in (all) bad actions. For this to make sense, the fan's PoV about which actions are wrong, and how wrong those actions are, must be universal: Not just objectively true, but also true from the character's point of view.

I need a name for this fallacy. I keep think "fallacy of equivalent badness" (since all bad actions are equivalent), but I'm not sure that's clear to anyone who isn't me.
itsnotmymind: (buffy & faith)
Sometimes I will see fans talk about how they liked it when a fictional character is a jerk "for no reason". That seems an odd thing to say - everyone has their reasons for their behavior and choices.

I saw someone make that statement about Torchwood's Owen Harper. They didn't like his Fragments backstory, the revelation that he had a fiancée who died, because it gave him a reason for being a jerk.

Now this struck me as odd, because for me, Owen's fiancée's death did not in anyway explain his particular brand of assholishness. In fact, the main reason that I dislike his Fragment backstory is that I struggle to see in S1 Owen the Owen we saw in the flashbacks in Fragments. It doesn't fit, for me. Sure, people can become unpleasant after the death of a loved one. But to go from being a devoted fiancée to the cynical, unloving and unlovable Owen of S1 is not explainable only by the death of a loved one. People who lose loved ones do not react that way from the death of a loved one alone. The equation of human nature is not as simple as: Bad thing happens to person -> person becomes unpleasant.

Which leads me back to the "jerk with no reason" description. Since every has reasons for their behavior, what is actually being said here? It seems the only thing that counts as a "reason" is suffering. Someone who is a jerk with a reason is someone who has suffered in a way that the fan deems sufficient to justify or explain - or possibly sanctify - his assholishness.

And that leaves me with kind of bad taste in my mouth.
itsnotmymind: (karolina dean)
I think I approach fandom differently from many fans. I often hear people say that fandom is escapism for them. that idea is alien to me. Fandom never could be an escape for me, even if I wanted it to be. Fandom has been part of who I am - been who I am - since long before I started hanging out in the internet. Since long before I can remember. I take fandom as seriously as I do the rest of my life. Getting a livejournal and joining fandom wasn't easy for me. It was very stressful. To this day, fandom can cause me as much unhappiness as the real world, and often more. I'm not in fandom to escape from the world. I'm in fandom to process the world. Fantasy worlds have always been a way for me to deal with the real world metaphorically, indirectly. To understand it from a different angle.

I think I do fandom different from a lot of people in that regard. Fandom is not supposed to be fun for me. Fandom is supposed to be fulfilling.
itsnotmymind: (rorschach)
Typical fan: "I like characters with flaws."

Typical fan: "I dislike character X because she/he has flaws A, B, and C."

There's no right or wrong reason for disliking a fiction character (or at least very few). There are certainly character flaws that push all my buttons and make me dislike the character possessing them (and not always the objectively worst character flaws, even). But it's odd how many fans claim to love characters for the flaws, and then just take it for granted that the reason to dislike a character is that they have flaws.

****

Your public livejournal/tumblr/other social media is not your space.

It is your platform. It is not your space.

Certainly you can and should have some sense of how you expect people interacting with you blog to behave. You should be the one to decide those expectations, not anyone else. You should enforce those expectations as you choose.

But if you choose to make statements to the world, the world is going to want to talk back. You can't make public announcements that anyone can read and then block and hide from anyone who makes you uncomfortable, anyone who does not reflect your worldview back upon you. You can't pontificate to anyone with an internet connection and then do everything in your power to hide from responses to your words made by people who like TV shows that offend you, or have negative opinions about fictional characters you love, or who respectfully point out that your arguments don't make sense.

Well, you can. But I, for one, will be unable to have any respect for you.

Public social media is not a place where you should feel comfortable.

Safe, yes. Comfortable, no.

****

Every time I have heard a fan describe a fictional character as an "unsympathetic victim", it has always been a character that the fan has no problem sympathizing with whatsoever.

How convenient for them.

ETA: Okay, clearly I am cranky today. "I[...]will be unable to have respect for you" is a vast overstatement and unfair. It will lower my opinion of you, a little. But there is a lot more to people than how they choose to moderate their social media. My bad.
itsnotmymind: (alice)
I've noticed a tendency in fandom - I've seen this in at least four different fandoms - for fans to equate their beloved male characters (or celebrities) to women. Sometimes this is as simple as pointing out gender-swappy elements in a story. Other times it seems to take the form of a weird and hetronormative desire for a gay couple to have one partner be "the guy" and the other "the girl".

And sometimes this takes on a very politically squicky form that I want to talk about here: where the suffering of a male character is compared to that of a woman's suffering from sexism.


Desmond stays at home and does his pretty face )
itsnotmymind: (tosh)
Thought I should drop a line to let you all know that I’m taking a break from fandom. I’m currently between jobs, and I don’t think that’s a good mental state for me to be interacting with fandom. I hope you all are well.
itsnotmymind: (tara)
When I was lurking in comic book fandom—this was several years ago now—the most bashed character was not female, as often seems to be the case in the fandoms I've been involved with, but was instead Iron Man (this was shortly before his first movie, when Iron Man was unpopular from his role in the Civil War storyline, where he supported the registration of superheroes and had a secret prison in the Negative Zone that was a blatant Guantanamo Bay analogue). But here’s the weird thing, even though Iron Man was one of my favorites, bashing of him didn’t bother me much. Maybe because the worst was passed by the time I became a hard-core fan of the character? Maybe I was sympathetic towards people’s reasons for disliking the character. Maybe I’m sexist; maybe female character bashing bothers me more.

But, you see, Cable bashing bothered me a bit. Cable (son of Cyclops and Jean Grey’s clone, raised by Cyclops and Jean in the future) was another character I liked who wasn’t very popular. He was at that time in the book Cable & Deadpool, co-starring with the far more popular Deadpool (brain damaged mercenary who breaks fourth wall). People who said they only read Cable & Deadpool for Deadpool and wanted Cable gone. So maybe it’s not character bashing that bothers me. Maybe it’s *relationship* bashing. So what bothers me about Torchwood fandom is not that they bash Gwen, but that they bash her relationship with Jack. And Buffy fandom, when fans bashed Buffy *because* they like Spike, they are bashing Buffy and Spike’s relationship. The same with Yoko Ono among Beatles fans, since I am invested in both her relationship with John Lennon and her non-relationship with Paul McCartney. In complaining that Cable & Deadpool has too much Cable, they were bashing Cable and Deadpool’s relationship.
itsnotmymind: (buffy)
Advantages of being obsessed with stories about real people: There’s an objective reality. I really like that. Because then your interpretation of events can be “right” or “wrong”. You don’t have to say, “Well, your interpretation is equally valid”, because it’s not. I can feel that smug feeling of being objectively right.

On the flip side, I also like it when my interpretation turns out to be wrong, because then I know that it is wrong, and I know what areas of my view of the world need fixing. It’s not just the author being arbitrary. It’s reality.

Also, the level of detail. That kind of detail just doesn’t exist in fictional media. Sure, we can pretend that each character in a work of fiction is the hero of their own story, but in real life it isn’t a pretense. It’s true. Every character in the story is as real and complete a person as every other character.

Disadvantages: Moral ambiguity. Just plain sweet in fiction, a hell of a lot more complicated in real life, where real people get hurt. Good stories contain a lot of tragedy, and when this is tragedy that actually happened that I’m getting story-telling pleasure from, it causes feelings for guilt. Also, the concern that you are invading other people’s privacy, or contributing to the invasion of other people’s privacy.
itsnotmymind: (Default)
Fandom is the place where fictional characters are treated like real people, and real people are treated like fictional characters.

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