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CobraShipper [userpic]

I was really digging the quotes I saw on tumblr all the time...

August 8th, 2013 (03:26 pm)

So I started listening to Welcome to Night Vale.  I, unsurprisingly, became obsessed with it.  It's unique.  In a world of pop culture references and heavy-handed fantasy, Night Vale is absurd with a dark sense of humor that contrasts the levity of the narrator's voice.  I listened to all of it in the course of a week, and I'm hungry for more.

What I don't like is the fandom.  It's not that they're particularly mean or pushy.  It's that they have thoroughly mischaracterized the entire thing to suit their desire for something "unproblematic".

Yes, there is a queer relationship that is treated as normal.  That's great!
Yes, one side of this relationship is very likely a person of color (Carlos is described as having dark skin).

What I'm very tired of hearing, though, is that this relationship is the main story in Welcome to Night Vale.  It just isn't.  It's part of the story, certainly.  It's sweet and romantic and slow-moving in a way that seems natural, but very little airtime is given to the relationship (called "Cecilos" by fans).  Fine, fine.  I mean, I ship characters all the time and make everything about shipping on occasion.  Still, this pairing is being held up by the SJ crowd on tumblr as perfect.  I've only seen one person say there's anything at all problematic about it, and that person was roundly criticized by the fans.  The thing is that the people I see enthusiastically reblogging Cecilos art are the same people who just a few weeks ago were passing around posts shaming people like me for pairing characters because I'm apparently fetishizing gay men.  Sooooooo... it's okay to do it if it's canon now, is it?

Issue #2 is with the internet's characterization of the Apache Tracker.  Tumblr has decided this is the writers "slamming" cultural appropriation (that's actually the word I've seen used).  I've gone back and listened to the first few Apache Tracker "scenes", and I don't think that's what's going on here.  I think the writers are actually poking fun at the way Cecil, like the SJ community on tumblr, sometimes gets caught up in bashing people who may not know better for "cultural appropriation" while ignoring big issues.  Does that mean I think we should all go out and put on Native American ceremonial garb?  No.  What I think is that we need to stop acting like the running joke - Cecil's stopping in the middle of talking about something important to get angry at the Apache Tracker - is actually showing us the right way to call out cultural appropriation.

Lastly, I'm bothered by one particularly pushy thing the fandom is doing; they're creating a fanon version of Cecil that has been so widely-accepted that people actually criticize versions of him that DON'T fit this mold.  I've seen a lot of people actually angry when fans make Cecil white and blond because they can make him look however they want.  Well... maybe the artists decided to make Cecil look like themselves... you know, so they could cosplay him or whatever?  Or maybe that's just what they saw in their heads, and while it's very good for people to create characters of color, there's no reason their personal versions of Cecil have to look any certain way.

*sigh*  Welcome to Night Vale is beautiful and lyrical and oftentimes as meaningful as it is silly, and instead of appreciating that, tumblr has made it about validating its own beliefs.  I wonder if anyone will go and write a criticism of it, pointing out that the writers are, as far as I can tell, white men, and the narrator is also a white man.  Oh, and female characters, while present, play very little role in the story.  Just... saying...

CobraShipper [userpic]


October 19th, 2012 (10:44 am)

Crossposted from tumblr because I'm sort of bursting inside with things I want to tell someone:

Did you ever have a fetish that was so strange and possibly sick that you were afraid to tell anyone, and you find a couple of people online with the same fetish, but they’re kind of creepy guys, and you wonder if maybe you’d be seen as creepy if you told anyone, and you haven’t even explained it fully to your husband because you’re not sure he’d understand, and you aren’t sure where the fetish came from, but you’ve had it since you were a child, and it’s affected forever the way you watch movies and TV and read books, and you’re still a little afraid people can see your reaction and will wonder about you but are too polite to ask, so they’ll just edge away from you, and you really want to tell someone?

CobraShipper [userpic]

Wit's end

July 5th, 2012 (02:06 pm)

I am thisclose to canceling Kawa Kon forever.  I'm having a lot of trouble with hotels this year due to rising costs and problems caused by other cons in St. Louis, BUT I found an excellent hotel downtown.  The ballroom is immense.  There are enough breakouts.  It's all together with a nice little registration area.

It's a great deal, too, the best I can get in this economy.

But my staff is scared of downtown St. Louis.  They are threatening not to attend if I move the con there.  I don't know what to do.  I've looked at EVERY non-downtown hotel in St. Louis, and they either want ridiculous amounts of money or are too small for us.

The con is becoming... not fun.  Honestly, I think it may always have been this way.  I've been trying all these years to make it fun, saying, "Next year will be the year it will be fun," but it never happens.  I might have to stop, even if my husband doesn't like it.  Maybe I'll lose him in the process.  I don't know.

CobraShipper [userpic]

More issues that may just be depression

July 3rd, 2012 (02:22 pm)

The thing that bugs me most about depression is that the list of symptoms encompasses nearly everything - fatigue, back pain, stomach cramps, headaches, dizziness, mood swings, hallucinations, dissociation, confusion, forgetfulness, etc.  I start feeling really shitty in some way or another, and I want to know whether it's something I can live without going to a doctor about, and suddenly depression is there on the list of possible causes.

Now, to add to the list of weird things, I've been drifting further into a weird twilight realm.  Sometimes I think I'm dreaming when I know I'm not, and sometimes my dreams persist through the day so that I think people are alive who are long dead or family members have died who are alive.  These feelings come and go and take days to shake off entirely.  I forget who people are sometimes.  Of course, I've had this at least since I was 19 or 20, but it's becoming more persistent and sometimes prolonged.  I look over at my husband when I'm driving and think he's my sister or even a stranger.  I forget for a few seconds that we got married and am about to ask him a question about a class like we're still in college.  Then it goes away, with a little bit of a daze left in its wake.  The worst times are when I'm driving long distances or late in the evening when I'm about to go to bed, so it's likely tied to fatigue, but it still bothers me that it's more frequent.  What if I forget him for hours or days or forever?

I'm not sure what's happening.  I had this extended episode (for about a half-hour) yesterday when I wasn't sure what was going on, what year it was, who I was with, but I tried to act like it was nothing by keeping quiet and using the cues around me to place myself again.

CobraShipper [userpic]


June 19th, 2012 (03:35 pm)

I seriously don't know what's wrong with me, but it's bad.  It's really bad.  The scariest part of it is that I can't figure out what exactly is making me so depressed, which means I can't change anything to make it feel better.  The only solution I see is more money so I can get health insurance and maybe see a doctor.

I have little-to-no ability to concentrate, periods where all I want to do is cry, constant muscle weakness, almost nightly nightmares, nausea, a feeling like I'm going to die any time, a preoccupation with death that gets worse in the evening, naps after work (when I've never been a napper before), lack of enjoyment doing things I know I love, and this strange shyness where I've always been outgoing.

Nothing cheers me up, so there's no use trying.

CobraShipper [userpic]

I really need to unfriend some people on facebook

February 13th, 2012 (12:09 pm)

I wanted to be nice, so I refused very few friend requests, but I'm getting a bit weirded out by a few people on there I don't know or don't know well.

I did just unfriend a person who annoyed me for a while, and I remembered as I went to check his pictures to see if I actually knew him, that pretty much the only conversation we ever had was him telling me that I needed to stop watching Burn Notice and watch whatever his favorite show was instead.  So... I never liked the guy.  I think I accepted simply because he was mutual friends with several people from one of my cons.

CobraShipper [userpic]

On fandoms

January 11th, 2012 (12:09 pm)

current mood: awake

I love my fandoms.  In general, I love the idea of fandoms.  You like something.  You connect with the other people who like that thing.  The people closest to you sigh in relief because you aren't forcing them to watch/play/read/listen to whatever it is you like (or maybe you do, in which case you could be either a very good or very bad fan).

Fandoms extend and expand my love of certain topics.  They give me new art or stories to look forward to.  They present me with cosplay pictures to make me jealous.  Fandoms turn a simple obsession into a social activity, and I am a rather social person.

When I like something, I look for the fandom.  Sometimes I get involved.  Sometimes I get involved in just an aspect of it - cosplay, for example.  Sometimes I find the local chapter and don't get involved in the worldwide fandom.  Sometimes I just lurk and enjoy.

I've been going to cons since 2002, when I was 15.  My first convention was a little gem in Columbus, Ohio, called Marcon.  It wasn't until 2006 that I started going to anime cons, and that was not so much that I loved anime as that I wanted to go to more cons in a year.  In 2010, I went to 15 conventions and said, "Never again."  I cut it down to 10 in 2011.

For three years, I have steadily become more involved in Metal Gear fandom.  I can't say I'm a "leader" or anything, but my cosplay, fanfic, and mini-convention are known among Metal Gear fans.  And that's neat.  It's been a fun fandom, full of humor and irreverence and ever-so-much slash.  I don't plan to leave it any time soon.

But after three years of mostly Metal Gear with a dash of my long-lived Harry Potter fandom on the side, I wanted to get into something new.  I checked my local library for a series many of my friends have loved since they were teenagers (most of them are quite a bit older than I am) - Doctor Who.  I started with the Ninth Doctor and was hooked immediately.  It wasn't the slow descent into fannish ecstasy I had with Metal Gear.  It was a sudden awakening to a labyrinthine series of shows, audio plays, and books.

So far, I've only been tangentially involved in the fandom.  I'm reserving further involvement for when I finish all of the current Eleventh Doctor episodes.  That may take a while as I've gone back to watch as much of Classic Who as I can find.

Starting on a new fandom journey, especially into one so beloved by so many people around the world, feels like an adventure on par with one of the Doctor's own.

For those who liked me as a Metal Gear fan and are afraid most of my fannish energies will be directed at Doctor Who for a while, you're probably right.  But I'm not one of those who leaves a fandom in a huff for something new.  I'll still be here enjoying Metal Gear art and writing Metal Gear fanfic.  I'll still wear my Boss costumes to cons and probably continue to plan an Escape from Outer Heaven for 2012 if there's enough interest.  We all change.  We all grow.  If you're anything like me, you still giggle with childish glee every time you fall in love with a new fictional character.  Finding new fandoms is part of life in this subculture, and it should never be considered wrong.

CobraShipper [userpic]

Writer's Block: People’s Choice

January 11th, 2012 (11:42 am)

David fucking Tennant, of course.

Who is your favorite celebrity right now?

CobraShipper [userpic]

A Realization

November 30th, 2011 (10:39 am)

Geeks have a better grip on reality than non-geeks.

Hear me out.

I go to conventions.  I am unashamed of my fannish subculture.  In the best possible way, I live by the motto FIAWOL (Fandom Is A Way Of Life) without the insistent terminology and back-biting some geeks seem to wrap up in the term.

When I'm in costume for a con, a photoshoot, or some other event, and it's not Halloween, I get questioned by the uninitiated.  I take it as part of the territory and politely explain my fannish hobbies and love of whatever I am representing with my costume.  After ten years of these questions, I have come to the realization that geeks understand the line between fantasy and reality better than non-geeks (here defined as those who do not attend fandom cons).  We not only understand the line, but we know how the line works.  Who do you think edits TVTropes.org with in-depth analyses of storytelling techniques in our favorite series?  Those of us who costume are likely to study the original pieces both on and off the screen in an effort to duplicate fine details.  Those of us who write fan fiction use our knowledge of the series' worlds to build new, non-canon stories.  Meanwhile, portrayals of geeks in the media condense the richness of our hobbies into a refusal to live in reality, lumping con-going costumers in the same category as all-day gamers (answer me this: how does an all-day gamer find time to make costumes?).

By contrast, my interactions with non-geeks while at fannish events have revealed a more frightening set of misconceptions.  Take Ghostbusters as an example.  Everyone knows Ghostbusters, and it's one of the costumes I wear the most in public.  Yet I cannot wear my Ghostbusters uniform without getting asked if it's my job to catch ghosts - most often by straight-faced women.  If I try to play it in character and say yes, they want to know how the PKE meter and proton pack work, where we keep the ghosts, whether we have a card... so I don't play along anymore unless it's a kid.  Kids should have little fantasies like that, and I daresay they are better than their parents at distinguishing that line where reality has to start.  To take my conversations with seemingly normal people walking past cons, you'd think the general public is terrified of our subculture... and they may be.  Apparently, we learn real magic, fight with real weapons, and belong to militias.  "Is that your real hair?" they ask, awestruck that we achieved such a neon shade of blue.  "So if it's a military-themed video game, why aren't you playing paintball in the hotel?" a genuinely curious woman asked when she ran into a group of us at a con.

Having role-played and cosplayed and simply played at conventions for so long, we understand feasibility and practicality.  When deciding on costumes to wear and events to run, we take into account the limitations of being in a hotel ballroom on the planet Earth.  Of course we don't have flying brooms when we play Quidditch!  They haven't been invented yet!

Certainly, there are a few of us who believe we live on Tatooine and that Obi-Wan could show up any day now, but the vast majority of geeks understand fantasy better than the general public.  Likely, it's because we willingly cross that line when we role-play, when we go to cons, when we make fan films.  Since we delve so often into fantasy, we know the way back so well we don't even need a GPS.  We play with the line.  The best of us create new works that tie the line in knots, drawing even jaded imaginations once again into fantasy.  Most of us work real jobs.  The luckiest of us work jobs that allow us to share our fantasies with others, but to do that, we again have to know that line and how to manipulate it.  The best writers of fantasy and science fiction aren't writing the history of a history of a world in which they believe they live but knowingly creating the world for readers, doing all the work so that the rest of us can cross into fantasy while we read.

Of course, our mothers might have been right back when they told us that "everyone else is just jealous."

CobraShipper [userpic]

What is this?

November 28th, 2011 (04:43 pm)

I am suddenly on two panels at Bishie Con Cabaret - 60s TV Slash (and if they let me add the 70s, there shall be M*A*S*H slash!) and Doctor Who and Torchwood Slash.  The second one is mostly because of Mikhail who was drawing hearts with "Captain Jack Harkness" written in them all over my notes during the last meeting.

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