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Living Loz
Evil clown turns my smile upside down... 
4th-Apr-2010 09:20 am
Life on Mars (Sam smirks)
This writer’s blog by Matthew Graham is really fascinating.

I think I understand now why Matt’s not altogether comfortable with the masses of gay porn written about Gene. Don’t get me wrong, he has never expressed anything negative, he just... avoids the topic a fair amount, and after series two aired said Sam/Annie was the love affair of Life on Mars. Where Ashley talks of homoerotic male bonding, central Sam/Gene love-stories and ‘jousting’, Matthew speaks of the metallic taste of chemistry between Gene and any. female. character. ever.

If Gene’s a character you’ve created out of thin air, naturally you’re going to feel a certain amount of ownership. He’s yours. You fed him and encouraged him to get bigger, polished his little loafers of a morning. But death of the author, he’s out in the world now, yada, yada. You can probably grow to accept that some members of your audience are going to view that character slightly differently to how you intended. So, privately, you think it’s a shame all members of that audience do are reduce him to sexual meat, but in public, you play up to it a little, because they’re your audience, you want them to like you.

But if Gene’s a character you’ve created based on a man you called your uncle? A man you obviously adored with childish enthusiasm and no small amount of misplaced God-worship, and you’re a nice but slightly ignorant white middle class boy, who’s left of centre, but not left of centre... I can see that your reaction would be a more vehement ‘No! You’re doing it wrong! Uncle Gene was straight, damn you, so straight. See all those women he leers after? See that chemistry? STRAIGHT! I cannot show you how straight he was. Why won’t you belieeeeeeve me?'

Hoist with one’s own petard, so to (incorrectly) speak. You created a “friendship” for your Uncle Gene 80% of your fans like to view as “extreme-friendship”. And this is unsettling.

4th-Apr-2010 12:35 am (UTC)
One of my guilty fandom secrets is that I far prefer the "Word Of God" to deny the slash over any kind of deliberate fanservice. Slash is for us to find, not to be spoon-fed, if you know what I mean. So this kind of thing makes me very happy. Not that I don't believe to my tin-hatted heart and soul that Gene and Sam are an angsty/smutty couple, BUT I really love it when the creators work very hard to say otherwise, so that we have to work harder to find our story.
4th-Apr-2010 01:10 am (UTC)
I am the exact opposite. I generally only slash if it's REALLY BLATANT, which has to be intentional in 99% of cases, I'd say. For me, slash is not subversive or naughty or going against the grain, it's just another way of exploring characters. I grin wildly at any and all fanservice in my slashtacular fandoms.
4th-Apr-2010 05:53 am (UTC)
I know what you mean; slash should be at least slightly transgressive and if it isn't we have to make it so ... by avoiding the easy buddy couples and going instead for enemy slash, for example. To me, from the beginning, slash has always been about the difficulties of having a relationship and the intensity of feelings involved in having to fight for it against the odds; it's all to do with making a couple suffer so that they can be happy in the end!!!
4th-Apr-2010 06:03 am (UTC)
THIS! Although I'm not so interested in happy endings, since I'm convinced that (for most of my favorite pairings) a truly happy ending is virtually impossible without going OOC or completely violating the conventions of the time and place of the fandom.

This is why I love TPTB trying to insist that the "real" love story is Sam/Annie, because it makes Sam/Gene that much more compelling, and throws more angsty obstacles in their way.

Much as I loved the slashy overtones (and undertones) in the Sherlock Holmes movie, but during the promotional period, I wanted to tell RDJr and Jude Law and Guy Ritchie to STFU about it already. As good as it was, it would have been 100% better if it hadn't already been promoed all over the place.

I loved House/Wilson best when it was an underground thing. The more the writers start throwing in fanservice the more it annoys me and don't even get me started on RSL and Hugh Laurie giving that "Bromance" interview. (Those especially annoy me because the actors are usually trying to have cake and eat it too---OH WE'RE PLAYING GAY, but we (or the characters) aren't really gay.
4th-Apr-2010 06:19 am (UTC)
I loved House/Wilson best when it was an underground thing. The more the writers start throwing in fanservice the more it annoys me and don't even get me started on RSL and Hugh Laurie giving that "Bromance" interview. (Those especially annoy me because the actors are usually trying to have cake and eat it too---OH WE'RE PLAYING GAY, but we (or the characters) aren't really gay.

Absolutely. I despise fanservice in any form anyway and I think we always knew Hugh Laurie was fairly relaxed about that sort of thing (crikey, being around Stephen Fry all his working life could hardly have made him homophobic!) but it was just all too 'nudge-nudge, wink-wink, aren't we clever boys?' and after a while that just gets patronising!

And 'happy endings' of course are relative; in Shakespearean terms, 'everybody's still alive' is all you need for a happy ending!
4th-Apr-2010 06:42 am (UTC)
See, this is how I fail fandom again. I just don't think like that. I don't feel that slash is transgressive. I feel it explores issues that need and deserve to be explored yet often aren't in mainstream media --- but that's as far as the transgression goes, you know? Yes to slash being about the difficulties of relationships and overcoming obstacles (which may be internal or external, depending on the context), but no to slash being something underground and unknown. I want more slash-like media in mainstream culture (though not the mpreg.)

I don't want to work hard to find my story. I want to have a source text that brings up enough varied scenarios that I can imagine any number of tacks and access points to tell interesting stories (or, in my case, write interesting scenes.) I want characters I care about, who care about each other, and it can be up to me to decide how, but I won't say no if the creator's open to multiple interpretations.

I love buddy couples. I tend to ship friends anyway and I don't think there are any true foe-yay couples I go for, although I may make jokes about some nemeses. (This is partly the reason Doctor/Master doesn't work for me, although I would argue in many other ways it ticks all the boxes.) I feel that friendship is greatly undervalued in fiction.

Sam and Gene are sort of the exception that prove the rule, for me. I love their friendship. That is why I ship them. I love the conflict because it keeps it exciting, because it provides those multiple access points into their story, but at the end of the long and arduous day, it's knowing that they trust and rely upon each other, enjoy one another's company, that keeps me going.

Edited at 2010-04-04 06:45 am (UTC)
4th-Apr-2010 06:57 am (UTC)
Well, this is definitely a case of Your Mileage May Vary - and don't forget that I've been around since dinosaurs ruled the Earth; I suspect the 'transgressive' nature of slash is a generation thing. Plus, I love the intellectual challenge aspect of slash - writing against type, as it were. Hell, I just need it to be difficult or it isn't fun!
4th-Apr-2010 08:36 am (UTC)
I don't have the transgressive thing going on at all, either. When I started poking around in fanfic, it was already pretty normal. And being transgressive for the sake of being transgressive never appealed to me. I like it when I find the relationship I see between the two guys appealing, and it's relatively easy to envision them as having mutual attraction and building something either good or bad in a really interesting way. And I'm much bigger on healthy-seeming mutual compatibility than I am on popular ideas of what's romantic (I'm easily put off by neediness and dependency).

I only like foe-yay when it's the weird, complicated, somewhat-contradictory thing that chronic foes like the Doctor and the Master sometimes get, where they seem to be really attached to having each other around. Most foe-yay doesn't grab me. And I definitely don't prefer it being underground or fighting canon. I find any interpretation where it feels like I'm fighting canon frustrating and unsatisfying.
4th-Apr-2010 02:40 am (UTC)
I think any writer or actor has the right to express honest reactions to how a character s/he writes or embodies is portrayed. If somebody took any of my gay characters and 'straightened' them out, I'd be furious.

Yes. Creating a character DOES give the creator rights. That's the whole point of "copyright." It's not worth pursuing fanfic because there's no money in it, but for heaven's sake, if someone doesn't care for his character being slashed, he's got at least as much right to his own opinion--and to EXPRESS it--as fanficcers have.
4th-Apr-2010 02:59 am (UTC)
Matthew doesn't hate his characters being slashed, I don't think. If he did, we wouldn't have had half the awesome buddy cop scenes we did in the show.

Personally, I quite like it when people have alternative takes on what I've written. Whilst I tend to take to heart what authors say about their fiction, I am not angry when someone reinterprets my fiction differently from how I intended.

If I were to create a gay character and someone straightened them out, I'd question their motivations for doing so, but I don't think I would be furious. It hasn't happened yet, so I can't say for sure, but based on how I react to other things... no.
4th-Apr-2010 05:58 am (UTC)
I think it's kind of a question of whether the objection is based on "that's not the character I wrote" or "ugh, icky gay stuff!" and I'm guessing that in this case it's not the 'icky gay stuff' that's the problem. Unfortunately it's a big mistake for an author to get too attached to any character they create, because - these days, more than ever before - once it gets out into the public domain it's no longer theirs. They need to either stop caring, or stop talking about it - because whatever their views, and however sincerely held, they are just not going to be listened to. I have every sympathy for the man's POV, but he's been around in television long enough to realise that that's Just Not How It Works, and I'm afraid he'll just have to get used to it . After all, even Bill Shatner did - eventually!
5th-Apr-2010 02:36 am (UTC)
See, now I feel really guilty. *headdesk*
5th-Apr-2010 02:37 am (UTC)

I don't. Matthew created the friendship in the first place, and Ashley was definitely aiming for homoerotic subtext, so I get why he's a little "look, Gene's straight!" but won't lose sleep at night if I write stories where he's not.
5th-Apr-2010 03:06 am (UTC)
But it's his uncle!

Matthew does the blogging thing because he wants to connect with the fans, right? I kinda feel right now he's connected to us more than is comfortable.

Hence why Twitter really, really scares me. :P
5th-Apr-2010 03:10 am (UTC)
Hee! Why do I feel like he'd say the same thing?

I don't get twitter. Much like I don't get facebook. I haven't yet figured out how to operate them and don't much care to.
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