gwyn: (yuletide lights)
[personal profile] gwyn
From [personal profile] sineala, You've been in fandom a while. Is there something you miss from the olden days of fandom that no one does anymore? Or is there something that fandom does or has now that you wish you'd had way back when?

Man, yeah, there's a lot about fandom of yore I miss, and I think a lot of it was that sense of we were in a small group of people who weren't known much, and so we were all in this together. Now it's this thing that's talked about endlessly in the media, there are people who have academic careers built on it studying us like we're lab monkeys, everything's out there and in public. Which--it's great because you don't have to be mentored into things anymore, you can start doing fandom sort of right out of the box and if you're a person in a hostile space or live somewhere remote, you can still have fannish connections with people, you don't have to have enough money to get to a con in order to make connections or find an ad in a magazine and write away for zines.

But the flipside is that we have these shitty-ass communities that mock and sneer at and attack fic writers and vidders and artists, we have people who steal fannish content and appropriate it, we have anon hate and all that kind of crap. We have corporations making money off of fans and thriving on our energies. I was talking with someone recently about how now that Yuletide is so huge, we have a lot of people who create sock puppets just to get gift fics and don't do anything in return, there are tons of people who participate who really only do it for themselves or to try to become popular in as many places as they can. We have these awful sites like Yuletide Coal, because sure, why not shit on the people who are providing this entertainment for free out of their own time as gifts for other people.

There's no way to put the genie back in the bottle, and I love that people who might not have been able to find fandom can now, but god, I miss that sense of community, I miss the world where the levels of wank and shittery were much lower, and there wasn't so much anonymized hatred out there for the cowards and mean girls. I was actually feeling like, the other day, I almost kind of missed the days of personal web sites for fic and web rings! Simply because it wasn't about this relentless popularity contest, and you didn't see fans getting attacked in their own story comments sections.

Certainly there were assholes back in the day, god knows there were plenty of them, but I honestly can't remember anyone ever saying "you should just kill yourself" because someone's story didn't provide them the proper level of free entertainment and apparently backbuttoning was too difficult for them. Certainly there were people who mocked or laughed at someone's fanfic or their fannish personality, but I can't remember the vitriol I've seen heaped on people or felt myself just because someone doesn't like your fanworks.

There's so much more to choose from, obviously, so much more fic and vids and art, and you don't have to pony up $20 for a zine all the time or go to cons so you can bid on original art. And that is cool, it really is. But I miss the...smallness of it, I guess, the community that felt a little stronger, a little more loving, and less fractured.

And to end on a more positive note, one thing I would have killed for back then, though? Digital media. There are times I hate like hell what's going on with the vidding landscape as programs disappear and codecs stop updating and media conglomerates make it harder to distribute vids, but holy hell is it so much easier to work, once you can get things finessed. I think about a vid like Hallo Spaceboy, with so many different types of source and being able to completely change the look of clips and "age" them and all that stuff...and I boggle. Of course the tech had to evolve, that's how it goes, but back then, oh the things we might have been able to do!
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