This post may well be a little longer and image heavy than I anticipated. As always I own none of the media (bar one picture which will be obvious) so please don’t sue.
Today is Red Pants Monday which has gotten me thinking about how certain things in certain fandoms become memes, tropes or ‘Things.’ And by that I mean, certain outfits, certain lines or versions of lines, things that get entirely created in fanfiction that then become Things in the fandom too.
Hence, Red Pants Monday.
So what is RPM? Well, in a nutshell reapersun over on Tumblr took a request to draw some Sherlock art, or butts. They chose butts. Specifically John Watson in some pretty fetching red pants. And it began. You can read more about it all http://thesherlockfandom.tumblr.com/post/29688531391/johns-red-pants-red-pants-monday and do check out reapersun on Tumblr – I would link directly but their page states they don’t like reports / reblogs so I wasn’t sure how they would feel about this.
Red Pants Monday isn’t the only Thing that comes to mind.
Where I live it’s very common for someone who is in trouble (at work, with the police, with the wife) to answer, when asked what they did, that they had kicked Bishop Brenna up the arse. Likewise, questions you don’t have a response to can be answered with the declaration that it would be an ecumenical matter and pretty much everyone in the country will know what you are talking about. We’re kinda sad like that. Sometimes these things get changed a little to suit the circumstances – a couple of weeks ago we were walking our dog at the nature reserve and witnessed two guys being followed by the geese (who are possessed) and overheard one of them say to the other ”It’s like a big tide of jam coming towards you, only jam made out of geese.” (Which is a Father Ted line originally used to describe elderly women approaching.)
Small and Far Away
Most fandoms have something similar that the fans latch onto. It’s cute, it can be hilarious, and it’s an interesting way of seeing how some things become more popular or more widely remembered than others. Tropes if you will.
But one does not simply stop at one trope. (see what I did there, do you like it?)
Sometimes two unrelated tropes or memes will merge into one. For instance:
Repeated lines, dressed in a certain way, certain objects, names (sad to admit I have a cat called Rimmer, because calling a cat White Corridor 159 was a but much) even foods are used by fans as a means of connection to both their fandoms and each others. I know that there are certain things in my fanfdoms that can sometimes make it seem to outsiders like we are speaking a foreign language, but fans get it. I think a part of that stems from a personal need for reassurance that you are not alone. When I was young it wasn’t cool to be a fan beyond having a casual interest. Now that I’m older and fandom has really become very open and mainstream – bear in mind that we didn’t have the internet then, so unless you personally knew other fans, or you ere able to travel to conventions etc then often being a fan could be a very lonely thing.
Now we have ways of finding each other and those little things that we have latched onto are like our Bat Signal.
And the funny thing is, that it’s often something which is only mentioned once in a whole series – like marshmallows in Veronica Mars. Or something which is not part of the series at all but which is a fandom creation – dumb potato basket and Red Pants Monday for example – one based on a fan video and one based on some fan art.
Either way, be it a canon or fan created, there are some things that we fans instinctively are drawn too. But here’s the really interesting question – WHY are so many of us drawn to the same thing?
Sometimes it’s something so absurd or iconic that it strikes a chord with people who adopt it as their own. Sometimes it’s just a perfect moment or reference in canon. Sometimes it’s just something that you can’t help but identify instantly with. Sometimes it’s something that’s just so obscure that only other fans will get it.
It’s like being in a secret club or something. For instance, I have a rather awful beige jumper that I only wear when I reach the very bottom ofthe drawers. It’s a nasty, itchy Aran thing and looks terrible on me. The last time I wore it a friend called it my ‘Ugly John Jumper’ which was a wonderful little phrase that I immediately understood.
And so, in celebration of Red ants Monday, I leave you with this celebration of fandom and all the crazy little weirdos who make my life so much more fun every day.
*And apologies, they were the only red pants I could find this close to laundry day- I don’t usually wear Christmas themed pants on cold Monday’s in September*