gwendolyngrace: (Ivory Pure Sam)
...And I just had to do a complete system restore. Back to factory-new.

Argh.

So much for installing Sonar on this computer!

I might be able to contact Cakewalk (maker of Sonar) and find another product to use with my microphone. Dangit.

But it's better than the computer being stuck without anything that makes it--well, a computer.

Am reinstalling printers and wallpapers and Chrome and....
gwendolyngrace: (Default)
So this has come up over and over, going back basically about 4 years at this point, but it's a point that people seem not to get.

The point is about lines in the sand in fandom. Any fandom. Pick your poison, I don't care. The idea is that everyone comes to a fandom because of an obsessive (some might say unhealthy) love for the thing - movie, TV show, book series, whatever - and that, whether it's an open canon or a closed one, they spend time analysing and nitpicking and poring over the minutiae in ways that, really, just aren't normal.

Now, even a closed canon cannot possibly fill in all the cracks. Heck, even Tolkien left chinks unexplored (though arguably not many, and his notebooks go on for miles), as well as room for interpretation when it comes to matters of character. There are always characters who are little more than names on the page, and who aren't ever meant to be expanded. There are always "cut" scenes, just as there are always details about the characters - main, secondary, and cameo - that the author will never tell us, because they Just Don't Matter to the central story.

But...the fan, the really active, obsessive fan in each of us picks and chooses, just like the author, what is important, by assigning it some measure of personal importance.

It's difficult to take this apart from authorial intent. For the purposes of this discussion, authorial intent doesn't matter. Trust me on this. By authorial intent, I mean a sort of Occam's razor interpretation here, leaving aside so-called "subversive" or "alternative" interpretations of what the author could have meant. With me so far?

Because now what I'm going to talk about are those moments when the fan finds himself out of synch with that authorial intent. We *know* that in the original Star Wars, Han shot first. We *like* it that way. Lucas went back and *changed* the film to reflect his revised decision, so it's clear that he *wants* us to accept the "new" Han as the same Han he has been all along. But countless SW purists drew their lines in the sand and rejected Lucas's interpretation.

That's an imperfect example, because what happened there was a change, and not an "it's always been that way," but it does provide a good analogy to "open" canon, where new installments "change" what fans have believed they knew. Some roll with the punch and pick up the "new" information and run with it, folding it seamlessly into their consciousness and rejecting any of their "old" interpretations where they contradict canon. They simply drop that line of inquiry and go on with what they've now been told.

But some fans don't.

This doesn't have to be a major plot point, or even a minor one. It doesn't have to signal the end of a fan's career in fandom, nor does it even mean that they'll stop participating in and discovering other things about the "new" canon. It simply means they hit a wall on one point, regardless of its significance (or lack thereof), and have drawn a line in the sand.

No. No, I'm sorry. I love *this* fact that you told us, or *this* connection that you allowed us to make. I always knew I was right about *that*. Really? You're kidding. I could have sworn that character was going to turn out to have the Force. Oh, well. Okay - no skin off my nose. But you say that *this other* character is really in love with her? The hell you say. Nope, sorry. Not buying.

One fan's line in the sand may be a name; another's may be an entire theory that they just love and want to keep playing with; someone else may be able to accept everything about a character except what kind of people their parents were; or another fan may not care about anything except what happens to the red shirt on page 278 who will never show up again, most likely. Sometimes we don't even know which lines in the sand are the dealbreakers until after the author (or creators) crosses them. In other words, not until after we're proven to be incorrect. Not until after we're faced with a choice: Which do you like better? Your version, or theirs? What's more important? Your own pet backstory, or the "reality"?

In fandom, people assign these things their own level of importance. It doesn't matter whether, in the scheme of canon, these small and large details are necessary. It doesn't matter whether, in the course of the story, it will turn out to be "important" or whether a plot will hinge on it. It doesn't even matter if it's never mentioned outside a character sketch in the role-playing guide.

It only matters because the fans make it matter.

So while it's tempting to bash fellow fans because one theory seems more crackpot than another, because someone truly believed (read: hoped) something was going to turn out to be true, when it's become clear that either the author never intended it, or decided against the possibility, because anyone dared to care what a character's second cousin's brother-in-law's name was, remember: Next time, it could be your theory being dashed, or your assumption that was wrong, or your nonsensical fascination with a minor character being exposed. Okay, so, this revelation didn't matter to you. Great. So, you had a rival theory that turned out to be more aligned to the author's plan. Congratulations. But you know what?

I'll bet you still have your own line in the sand. Maybe you just haven't encountered it yet.

Come on, 'fess up. What's your line in the sand?

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gwendolyngrace

May 2014

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