So that’s a Thing now?

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFTgkibl7DU

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:

From Red Dwarf

untitled From Red Dwarf

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.

Bad Lip Reading

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.

Well, no one said they HAD to be under your clothes

Well, no one said they HAD to be under your clothes

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.

Love, etc

C

*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*

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Sex in fanfiction part 8 – perceptions of sexy

Last night was my birthday party, which meant that I got to pick the movie and the music before we headed out. This led to a long conversation about what we think is sexy and what we are attracted to. My wonderful lady friends have a wide and varied taste, which always means that conversations along this line tend to be riddled with some degree of teasing. But I thought it was a topic that had a lot of relevance to this series.

We each have our own tastes – when asked who my ideal man was I answered ‘Sam Neil’ – which tends to make people laugh given the age difference etc, but in all honesty I think the man is sex on legs.

This week I’ve been reading a lot of Sherlock fic – Mystrade (Mycroft and Lestrade slash) and it’s had me thinking a lot about perceptions of sex. Take those two characters and the actors who portray them – both are older gentlemen, one is greying and the other is red haired and not conventional looking, and yet they are both still incredibly sexy and sensual men. And clearly fic writers think so too, because some of the writing on these…….well, wow!

It’s very clear that not only do the characters think the others are attractive, but that the fic writers think so too. Which is awesome. Chemistry is a big part of attraction, but honestly, so is appearance.

We all say that looks don’t matter, but they do to a point. If you aren’t physically attracted to someone then a relationship is going to stall. That said, attraction is subjective. Personally I have no time for pretty characters. I like someone with a distinctive look, quirks, expressive faces. For instance, I’d rather have Martin Freeman than Brad Pitt – I mean, Brad’s cute and all, but he does nothing for me. Martin Freeman I want to hug and squeeze until his eyes bulge and then I want to carry him around in my pocket forever. I’m not the only one – I had a conversation this morning with my friend who said pretty much exactly the same thing.

Sometimes we just can’t explain our crushes – for instance I think that Mark Gatiss is incredibly sexy. I think the same thing about Norman Reedus – the dirtier his character gets the more I want to jump him. A friend pointed out a moment in a series 2 episode that tends to get referenced and used a lot in fanfiction – the moment in Chupacabra when Daryl – dirty and bloody and barely on his feet – comes staggering out looking so terrible that he is mistaken for a zombie. And that is the moment that you realise how sexy the character is.

And this has as much to do with the character as it does with the actor. For instance, this week I watched the movie ‘Starter for Ten’ and I HATED Benedict Cumberbatch in it. I hated the character. I hated how he looked. His clothes. The things he said. And then I watched August: Ossage County a day later and I loved him so much that I wanted to look after him and make him pie and never let anyone hurt him again. Neither of which are even close to how I feel when I watch him in Sherlock and want to do dirty things to him. Same actor, different characters, different response.

Sexy is all perception.

I’m sure I’ll do more on this topic in due course, but just something to think about on a Sunday evening,

Love, etc,

C

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Fergus sings the blues

I know I’ve stopped doing personal posts, but I’ll make an exception.

Yesterday was my 32 birthday.

My daughter told everyone we came into contact with, which resulted in 2 free taxi rides and a free round of drinks at lunch and one guy asking for a date.

I post this because this has been a really hard year. really hard 2 years if I’m honest about it. Deaths, loss, heartache, illnesses, stress, relocation, panic, upset etc etc etc. It sucks. But life;s like that sometimes. I’m tough. I’ll be fine. I always am.

Tonight my best friend is making a 5 hour journey to see me. Tomorrow Claire Simpson’s court of Ladies will be in attendance (perils of a midweek birthday) in which there will be much dodgy dancing and many, many cocktails.

And perhaps the best present of all time – last night my 7 year old and I had a ‘sofa party’ – pizza, cupcakes, nuts, crisps, virgin cocktails and Jurassic Park Speak-A-long (as we do every year) but this year, as my birthday present, she wrote me a song – to the theme of JP!!!!!!!!!

I know!!!!!!!

So thank you all my lovlies for your kind messages, PMs,emails, FB messages and texts. You guys are amazing and have made a very difficult year just that little bit less shit, I love you all. Keep reading. Keep loving. Keep giving me hugs.

Love etc,

C

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Hmmm

I’ve been mentioned several times on The Guardian website.

And it’s not even for crime or anything!

My mother is proud.

C

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My name and other things I really shouldn’t have to address this late at night

Okay, over on the Guardian thread there were a couple of comments made about my name being used, with some folk getting a little indignant on my behalf.

I have a name.

I have chosen to make that name public, along with my photo and some details of my private life. I am a very public person, and I live my life wide open. If I had an issue with my name, my full name, being used then I would not have set up a blog or personal profile in which it was used anywhere. I would not have used it on social media. I would not have put it on the cover of my books.

So please, don’t feel the need to be shy about these things. I’m not. I’m a big girl and if I was offended then that’s for me to deal with directly. As it was, I’m not offended or sensitive about it. By all means, feel free to use it. It’s my chosen name.

Thank you all for listening.

Don’t be shy,

Love, etc

Claire Simpson

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Sex in fanfiction part 7 – Trends – non-con

I’m a bit leery about referring to this as a ‘trend’ as I think it’s a very serious subject and one that I’m a little apprehensive about commenting on at all.

Non-consensual sex has become a pretty big thing in fanfiction lately, and it’s a trend that worries me personally. In part I think that some of my issue with it comes from the cutesy way it’s usually shortened to ‘non-con’ which somehow diminishing the fact that it is rape.

Sometimes this is written as a bad thing, but I’ve read far too many stories lately where it’s treated as a sort of kink that characters enjoy. Which is, frankly, disturbing.

Likewise, ‘dub-con’ is common (dubious consent).

Both of these tend to come up in Omegaverse fic, which I understand to a point.After all, that’s surely an element of Omergaverse given the very nature of the sub-genre, but I just can’t help but be uncomfortable at the concept of choice being taken away, no matter what the reasons. I find it very difficult to read.

I’ve spent a lot of the last week or so reading up about rape fantasies etc, and I feel that I have a bit more understanding about it now than I did before. I now know that people who have fantasies about non/dub con aren’t actually wanting to be raped, from what I can understand it’s about control and /or lack of. It’s interesting, if hard going at times due to the very nature of the subject matter.

I guess putting those fantasies down on paper is really no different.

At some stage later I may do a longer post about it, but for now I just wanted to acknowledge it as a thing and open the floor for comments.

Love etc,

C

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The Ballad of Stephan J Harper – Part 1

Oh Christ on a stick!

To say that I have been having ‘one of those days’ would be a gross understatement.

Yesterday I wrote a piece about an author behaving badly – one Stephan J Harper and how me had a very public meltdown over a review of his book- you can read my original post here if you want http://clairewriteswords.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/its-not-keats/

Within hours Mr Harper had started sending nasty comment to my blog. The first of which began ‘are you an idiot’ and they didn’t get much better,

I’ve approved the comments, partly for transparency and partly for shits and giggles. You can find most of them in the thread above and also in http://clairewriteswords.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/not-keats-but-just-a-little-unstable/ and http://clairewriteswords.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/douchebags-what-i-meant/

As you will see, Harper has continued in his belief that we all seem to owe him something and should justify and explain everything we say. I have, for the record, and which you can see for yourselves in the comments which I have deliberately left public, told Mr Harper to stop contacting me or I will seek legal action against him. While part of me feels that such action will only further inflate his ego and justify his ’cause’ – the rest of me feels that the instability of some people needs to be shown, and I’ve never been one to hide or shy away from things.

However, I’ve also never been so relentlessly hounded by someone before. It’s a strange experience.

*sigh*

Beware folks

Updates, no doubt, to come.

Love, etc

C

 

Further edited – I have now told Mr Harper 5 times to stop contacting me, *sigh* some people. 

Edit 2 – in 24 hours I have been left 28 comments – all of which I have continued to allow to be visible here and will do for the moment. My reasons for approving the comments is a simple one – transparency. I despise bullies and no amount of threatening messages, name calling, demands or personal attacks is going to intimidate me into silence. Mr Harper went on at great length in his most recent message – after me telling him to stay away – that he was well known and had a reputation that I am apparently destroying because I’m a ‘troll’ – I do not think he understands what that word means. He keeps using it though. I’ve spoken a lot in the past about how to behave online, and how NOT to behave online. This is a sterling example of how NOT to do things, so I hope you have all been paying attention kids. 

Now, I’m going to bring this train wreck to a close.

And for the record the legal definition of harassment:

harassment  n. the act of systematic and/or continued unwanted and annoying actions of one party or a group, including threats and demands.

I think it’s pretty clear that I’m being harassed, which is part of the reason I have left all the posts visible – including, you will see, the many posts where I told him to stop contacting me. Harassment in action people – it’s not a pretty sight.

Take care and stay away from the crazies.

Love etc,

C

EDIT 3 – Well, Mr Harper seems to have moved on from harassing me and has taken his indignation to the Guardian website – http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/sep/05/how-not-to-respond-bad-review-stephan-q-harper

EDIT 4 – Nope, still getting ranted about, but now it’s in the Guardian, which is kinda cool in weird sort of way. Someone mentioned what went down this weekend past, and Mr Harper went off on one about me. Again. Ah well, you can fuck my offensive language and any objection to it. But hey, I have pretty eyes. Which is inappropriate and just a little….weird to mention in that context.

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Not Keats – but just a little unstable

So, the other day I posted about how author Stephan Harper behaved on public boards and how it’s not a good idea to attack readers, reviewers and commentators. Within HOURS Mr Harper took it upon himself to make pretty nasty comments on my blog.

Classy.

Seriously folks, I know all too well the temptation to respond, but you should never do it. It never ends well, and it always makes the writer look arrogant and stupid and more than a little unstable.

And spending all that time Googling yourself? Well, that’s just pretty scary. For instance, I Googled what I figured would be the most common search terms and it took 11 pages before this blog kicked in over this subject. Hardly headline news (I think a post on Google search terms is due soon) which makes me seriously wonder about the amount of time some people spend on themselves.

Either way, you will have noticed that I actually approved his comment – everyone deserves their say, right? And while I, and five universities, three doctors and one psychologist can assure you that I’m NOT an ‘idiot’ we’ll agree to let Mr Harper have his rant.

http://clairewriteswords.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/its-not-keats/

 

Check out the comments. It’s worth a read.

Love, etc

C

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It’s not Keats

I promised myself I wasn’t going to do another post about an author having a meltdown, but this week I came across one that was so spectacular that I just couldn’t avoid it. Seriously, it made Anne Rice look like a sleepy kitten. The incident happened way back in May, but was still going on right up until this week. I couldn’t NOT post about it. So, late to the party, but here you go.

The author in question is one Stephan J Harper who went all kinds of ballistic at a reviewer. Posting over 50 comments which alternated between abuse and self congratulation. It was…..special. The kind of special where you want to close your laptop but you just can’t stop reading. Or laughing.

The whole episode was one of the biggest trainwrecks I have seen for a long time.

Honestly.

It all started when a reviewer posted this review of Harper’s book ‘Venice Under Glass’ – a crime novel in which all the characters are teddy bears. Not the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard of, but it certainly raised a few eyebrows.

The review isn’t spectacularly bad, the reviewer clearly read the book and went to great lengths to say why he didn’t like the things he commented on. In all, it could have been much worse.

Harper’s response, however, was pretty spectacular to witness. And not in a good way.

Harper was the first one to comment on the review And the second. And the third. And so on and so forth. Within the third comment he was comparing his writing to Keats while using a truly awful extract of terrible prose to try and prove his point. *le sigh* In fact, he KEPT posting badly written extracts that quite frankly made my eyes bleed a little, as if to ‘prove’ that he was a good writer and the reviewer was wrong.

And it wasn’t just the reviewer who was in the firing line – other commentators got it too for daring, yes daring, to post on a public thread. *shock* They were called, and I quote:

uneducated – unfamiliar with critical review. Yet, amazingly, you seek out opportunities to ‘contribute’ – what? Nothing of any value or substance. My god, your triviality…do either of you contribute anything to the world of Ideas or Art? And just how would you respond if you had created something of value that someone thoughtlessly tore down?
 

In response reviewers started to discuss the novel and the reaction by means of haiku and Harper demanding to see what the other commentators have written – presumably so he can ‘prove’ that his literary genius far outweighs anything they can come up with (after all, he’s better than Keats – although later on he compares himself to Joyce too – but only after posting a paragraph and trying to trick readers into thinking it was his work, and then being surprised when folks can spot it straight off. Seriously, most of us studied Joyce at school, it would be like trying to crib Shakespeare and thinking no one would notice.) and some nice people trying to talk him down off his ledge before he hurts himself. Harper’s responses grew increasingly irrational and abusive, there was some name calling and demands for critiques and more demands for people to show evidence to prove their opinions. No. You read that correctly.

And apparently Harper was keeping a list of some sort. I didn’t want to think about that too much because I’m from Belfast and when people here say they are keeping a list, they aren’t talking about their shopping.

In response to gentle warnings about social media and how what he was doing might not be the best idea ever, Harper responded with:

Stephan J Harper  2014-09-02 07:59
Who are you to tell me anything? You have no authority or knowledge of best practices in social media. I have a global audience now and will let them read my words here as I put trolls like you in your place.

 

Showing that clearly he has no idea at all about best practices when it comes to social media. And that ‘global audience’ he now has, well, they’re laughing at him and he doesn’t seem to realise. It’s sad really.

What scares me about these sort of authors is not the reaction they have to reviews, it’s the reaction they have to reviewers. The comment thread was apparently closed after Harper started posting personal details about the reviewer – and I bet you all thought that only Melissa Douthit was that special brand of bat shit crazy.

This is just taking things too far. It’s scary to watch and it makes me really wonder about the general mental instability of people sometimes. It’s one thing to rant to your friends or family in private, but it’s entirely another thing to do it on a public board where the whole world can read it. I mean, your family, friends, work colleagues, neighbours, your BOSS can see that. It’s never going to reflect well.

Not only that, but it makes us all look bad. If you can’t think about your own reputation then you should at least try to think about the reputation of the industry you are part of.

I really don’t have much more to say to folks except this:

DON’T EVER PULL THIS SORT OF SHIT – IT NEVER ENDS WELL

I’m gonna go and bang my head against a wall for a bit and bemoan the fact that I’m not as good as Keats, but I shall leave you with a link to the website the author has set up for the protagonist of his book. If nothing else, it’s worth a look http://www.basilbaker.com/ but don’t tell him I sent you. :P

Until next time.

Love, etc

C

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Douchebag’s what I meant.

Just had a rather irritating conversation with someone about the use of language and how we communicate and the words that we use. The whole exchange left me really quite angry. Angry enough to post about it.

What kicked off the anger? Well, the following line which started the whole conversation:

People who swear only do it because they have such a limited vocabulary.

What was my response?

Fuck you.

Not particularly eloquent, but hey. 

I swear a lot. In fact I swear a huge fucking amount – as regular readers will know. I wouldn’t say that I swear because I lack the vocabulary / education/ intelligence / creativity to come up with something better. I swear because sometimes that’s what the conversation calls for. 

If I say ‘fuck’ it’s because ‘fuck’ the word I was looking for. I get very angry when people patronize me by suggesting that I should use a ‘better’ word. Sometimes ‘fuck’ is the most accurate word for that situation or expression, so why would I use another word?

Fuck’s what I said and fuck is what I meant.

Now, some people don’t like swearing and that’s fine. They don’t have to swear. But they shouldn’t police my language either. I’m not stupid, and I’m not inconsiderate – I don’t swear in front of other people’s children, and I do try not to swear in front of people who find it really offensive. But that’s a courtesy, not an obligation.

Likewise, when I write, if a character is going to swear then they are going to swear. I’m not going to hold it back because of reader sensitivity.

Lately I’ve been working a couple of projects that involve a rather large amount of swearing. It’s in character so I’m letting it be. However, when one of my friends read the early draft of my stageplay they were a little scandalised. 

You can’t say cunt on stage, Claire! They won’t let you!

Now, I’m not really sure who ‘they’ are, but I am aware of the strange sort of aversion people have to the word ‘cunt’ which baffles me a little. Perhaps it’s because I’m Irish and ‘cunt’ is thrown around in the same way that people use words like ‘teapot’ and ‘bean.’ It’s often used as a term of endearment – something my English and American friends really can’t seem to wrap their heads around.

But it is true that it’s one word that you never hear on television and rarely in film. It’s censored out of pretty much everything and people seem really reluctant to use it even in print. 

It throws me a little. I mean, we can watch and read and write about violence, sex, horrific and gruesome attacks, death, war, rape and torture. But we can’t say ‘cunt’ in case someone finds it offensive?

Fuck off!

Til next time, cunts!

Love, etc

C

*the title of this post is from The Walking Dead S01E03 when Daryl tells Shane to watch his mouth and Shane replies, ‘Oh no. Douchebag’s what I meant.’

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