bagheera_san: (flower on book)
It's the first week of summer term. Among other things I'm teaching two tutorial classes for Intro to English Lit, and the students have to read Nick Hornby's "Juliet, Naked" for the section on novels. At first I questioned this choice and I had to force myself to start reading it today, because the blurb only said that it was about middle aged people and relationship problems and finding love/a purpose in life/questioning your choices, and that's exactly the kind of book I DON'T read.

No one told me that it was a book about online fandom!

Every few pages I go OMG GUYS at something. I'm only 40 pages in so I can't reccommend the book yet, but simply the fact that there is a novel about US amazes me. So far what's happened is that there's this thirty-something ex-Lit student, Annie, who is in a relationship with with college Lit teacher Duncan. Duncan is your typical oldschool male fan (into details, obsessively collecting, belittling Annie as "not an expert" while at the same time expecting her to respect his fannishness as a serious academic pursuit). A few years ago, he discovered the internet and since then, he has become something of a BNF. Annie thinks she has only a casual interest in the object of his fannishness, the musician Tucker Crowe, but then, because she begins to resent Duncan more and more, she writes her own post about the newest album in HIS INTERNET FORUM (which is mostly middle-aged men like him), directly contradicting his review of the album. Duncan is appalled and tells her she doesn't have a professional opinion, while Annie is surprised to discover how much she enjoys writing and being a critical fan.

I don't know how this is going to continue, but the portrayal of fandom, and of gender issues within fandom, is blowing my mind because it was the LAST thing I expected from this novel. Here, have some excerpts:

"And then the internet came along and changed everything [...] Until then, the nearest fellow fan had lived in Manchester, sixty or seventy miles away, and Duncan met up with him once or twice a year; now the nearest fans lived in Duncan's laptop, and there were hundreds of them, from all around the world, and Duncan spoke to them all the time."

Annie talking to a co-worker:

"'Tucker Crowe has his own website?'
'Everyone has their own website.'
'Is that true?'
'I think so. Nobody gets forgotten anymore. Seven fans in Australia team up with three Canadians, nine Brits and a couple dozen Americans, and somebody who hasn't recorded in twenty years gets talked about every day. It's what the internet's for. That and pornography [...]'
'How come you know so much about it? Are you one of the nine brits?'
'No. There are no women who bother. My, you know, Duncan is.'
[...]
'Sounds like I should buy that CD.'
'Don't bother. That's what gets me. I played it, and [Duncan]'s completely wrong. And for some reason I'm bursting to say so.'
'You should write your own review and stick it up next to his.'
'Oh, I'm not an expert. I wouldn't be allowed.'"

Sometimes it feels as if English Lit and fandom are secretly married to each other :) Or, you know, they're Bruce Wayne and Batman.

ETA:
There are fake wikipedia articles in the book, OMG. And Annie keeps checking her emails for comments, and now Tucker Crowe himself has commented on her review.

I wonder what fandom Nick Hornby hangs out in...
bagheera_san: (flower on book)
It's the first week of summer term. Among other things I'm teaching two tutorial classes for Intro to English Lit, and the students have to read Nick Hornby's "Juliet, Naked" for the section on novels. At first I questioned this choice and I had to force myself to start reading it today, because the blurb only said that it was about middle aged people and relationship problems and finding love/a purpose in life/questioning your choices, and that's exactly the kind of book I DON'T read.

No one told me that it was a book about online fandom!

Every few pages I go OMG GUYS at something. I'm only 40 pages in so I can't reccommend the book yet, but simply the fact that there is a novel about US amazes me. So far what's happened is that there's this thirty-something ex-Lit student, Annie, who is in a relationship with with college Lit teacher Duncan. Duncan is your typical oldschool male fan (into details, obsessively collecting, belittling Annie as "not an expert" while at the same time expecting her to respect his fannishness as a serious academic pursuit). A few years ago, he discovered the internet and since then, he has become something of a BNF. Annie thinks she has only a casual interest in the object of his fannishness, the musician Tucker Crowe, but then, because she begins to resent Duncan more and more, she writes her own post about the newest album in HIS INTERNET FORUM (which is mostly middle-aged men like him), directly contradicting his review of the album. Duncan is appalled and tells her she doesn't have a professional opinion, while Annie is surprised to discover how much she enjoys writing and being a critical fan.

I don't know how this is going to continue, but the portrayal of fandom, and of gender issues within fandom, is blowing my mind because it was the LAST thing I expected from this novel. Here, have some excerpts:

"And then the internet came along and changed everything [...] Until then, the nearest fellow fan had lived in Manchester, sixty or seventy miles away, and Duncan met up with him once or twice a year; now the nearest fans lived in Duncan's laptop, and there were hundreds of them, from all around the world, and Duncan spoke to them all the time."

Annie talking to a co-worker:

"'Tucker Crowe has his own website?'
'Everyone has their own website.'
'Is that true?'
'I think so. Nobody gets forgotten anymore. Seven fans in Australia team up with three Canadians, nine Brits and a couple dozen Americans, and somebody who hasn't recorded in twenty years gets talked about every day. It's what the internet's for. That and pornography [...]'
'How come you know so much about it? Are you one of the nine brits?'
'No. There are no women who bother. My, you know, Duncan is.'
[...]
'Sounds like I should buy that CD.'
'Don't bother. That's what gets me. I played it, and [Duncan]'s completely wrong. And for some reason I'm bursting to say so.'
'You should write your own review and stick it up next to his.'
'Oh, I'm not an expert. I wouldn't be allowed.'"

Sometimes it feels as if English Lit and fandom are secretly married to each other :) Or, you know, they're Bruce Wayne and Batman.

ETA:
There are fake wikipedia articles in the book, OMG. And Annie keeps checking her emails for comments, and now Tucker Crowe himself has commented on her review.

I wonder what fandom Nick Hornby hangs out in...
bagheera_san: (OMG)
I have a German linguistics essay/termpaper to write (about something related to writing, written language etc - the technical term is graphemics or graphematics) and stupidly I thought that writing about online fandom from a linguistic perspective would be a cool idea. There are three problems with this:

1) it has to be in German, about German fandom
2) no one has ever written anything about this - the closest I've got are linguistic studies of chat communication, email, blogging etc. - mostly in English
3) linguistics isn't exactly my strong suit and I have no idea what I'm doing

But the biggest problem is definitely German fandom. I haven't so much as dipped a foot into the German part of fandom since I was about 17 because I abandoned it as soon as I started to write exclusively in English. I'm almost tempted to write a story in German just to see if I still can. All German fanfiction sounds terrible to me. Is this because you're more sensitive to bad style in your own language, or because I'm not finding the good stories (since so far I've only discovered the German equivalent of fanfiction.net) or because there's something wrong with non-English fandom in general? Fanfiction is largely anglophone, and English is where its stylistic conventions have developed. I assume (but I don't know if this is true) that German online fandom started as a translation/imitation of anglophone online fandom (and to some extent maybe Japanese fandom), with people trying to do the same thing but in their native language and that might be the reason why some of it sounds awkward.

For example, German fanfic authors LOVE gerunds and participles (the -ing forms of verbs). However, gerunds are typical of English, and sound awkward if you translate them directly into German - usually, where English can use a simple gerund, German needs slightly longer and more complicated phrases.

An example from the summary of a D/M fic:
"Mit dem Master an seiner Seite reist der Doktor immer noch durch das Universum, Welten entdeckend, besch├╝tzend, rettend."

The part in italics could be translated as "discovering, protecting and saving worlds". In English those three gerunds/participles sound perfectly okay and they fulfil the function of verbs (you could also say "they discover, protect and save worlds"). In German, a participle can't really function as a verb, it's commonly used as an adjective or an adverb, so the author should have used a different verb form instead of a participle. Now, I don't think this author took an English fic and translated it badly in German - I think s/he either reads a lot of English fic or is imitating the style of other fanfic writers who read too much English. The result is incredibly awkward writing (I wonder if I sound like that when I write English - or if I'd sound like that if I wrote German prose.)

ETA: I finally understand why having the Doctor (or the Master) use cuss words is WRONG. All it takes is one instance of German cursing to make me see the light.

ETA2: Also, where English has "you" as a form of adress, German has "Sie" (polite, respectful, distanced) and "du" (close, intimate, informal). Neither "Sie" nor "du" sounds right for people adressing the Doctor.

ETA3: Have found German LJ com called [livejournal.com profile] das_fandom. I find this more amusing than I should.
bagheera_san: (OMG)
I have a German linguistics essay/termpaper to write (about something related to writing, written language etc - the technical term is graphemics or graphematics) and stupidly I thought that writing about online fandom from a linguistic perspective would be a cool idea. There are three problems with this:

1) it has to be in German, about German fandom
2) no one has ever written anything about this - the closest I've got are linguistic studies of chat communication, email, blogging etc. - mostly in English
3) linguistics isn't exactly my strong suit and I have no idea what I'm doing

But the biggest problem is definitely German fandom. I haven't so much as dipped a foot into the German part of fandom since I was about 17 because I abandoned it as soon as I started to write exclusively in English. I'm almost tempted to write a story in German just to see if I still can. All German fanfiction sounds terrible to me. Is this because you're more sensitive to bad style in your own language, or because I'm not finding the good stories (since so far I've only discovered the German equivalent of fanfiction.net) or because there's something wrong with non-English fandom in general? Fanfiction is largely anglophone, and English is where its stylistic conventions have developed. I assume (but I don't know if this is true) that German online fandom started as a translation/imitation of anglophone online fandom (and to some extent maybe Japanese fandom), with people trying to do the same thing but in their native language and that might be the reason why some of it sounds awkward.

For example, German fanfic authors LOVE gerunds and participles (the -ing forms of verbs). However, gerunds are typical of English, and sound awkward if you translate them directly into German - usually, where English can use a simple gerund, German needs slightly longer and more complicated phrases.

An example from the summary of a D/M fic:
"Mit dem Master an seiner Seite reist der Doktor immer noch durch das Universum, Welten entdeckend, besch├╝tzend, rettend."

The part in italics could be translated as "discovering, protecting and saving worlds". In English those three gerunds/participles sound perfectly okay and they fulfil the function of verbs (you could also say "they discover, protect and save worlds"). In German, a participle can't really function as a verb, it's commonly used as an adjective or an adverb, so the author should have used a different verb form instead of a participle. Now, I don't think this author took an English fic and translated it badly in German - I think s/he either reads a lot of English fic or is imitating the style of other fanfic writers who read too much English. The result is incredibly awkward writing (I wonder if I sound like that when I write English - or if I'd sound like that if I wrote German prose.)

ETA: I finally understand why having the Doctor (or the Master) use cuss words is WRONG. All it takes is one instance of German cursing to make me see the light.

ETA2: Also, where English has "you" as a form of adress, German has "Sie" (polite, respectful, distanced) and "du" (close, intimate, informal). Neither "Sie" nor "du" sounds right for people adressing the Doctor.

ETA3: Have found German LJ com called [livejournal.com profile] das_fandom. I find this more amusing than I should.

Stuff

Aug. 3rd, 2008 10:58 am
bagheera_san: (candle)
I eventually got over the cold-water shock that is watching Ashes To Ashes directly after Life on Mars and finished watching S1. The Eighties mostly suck. So does their fashion (there isn't a single episode where Alex doesn't dress like a hooker, although that might be a "theme"...), but the music occasionally doesn't suck. Alex isn't Sam (is it just me, or do we all tend to react slightly different to "crazy" women than to "crazy" men? Like, is mental illness more accepted with male characters?) but the Guv is still the Guv and I do love Gene+romance. Also, Ray and Chris really get to shine in this series and I love them. Shaz is okay, but: die, Evan, die. If you consider Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes to be part of the same continuity, then the only viable conclusion is sort of... that there is no reality.

I'm also in the middle of watching Invasion of the Dinosaurs which is one of the most awesome Three serials there is, surely? I love it, and I'm starting to like Sarah-Jane.

On the audio front I'm still working my way through Eight. Lucie is either even worse than Charley, or going to end up having a *very* similar character arc to Donna. The two serials that stuck out, though, were Charley stories: The Chimes of Midnight, which nearly made me cry and was the scariest audio I've ever listened to, and Living Legends which is marvellously funny (and gave me a disturbing desire for Charley as Time Lady domina. I think Eight might have had the same desire.)

Stuff

Aug. 3rd, 2008 10:58 am
bagheera_san: (candle)
I eventually got over the cold-water shock that is watching Ashes To Ashes directly after Life on Mars and finished watching S1. The Eighties mostly suck. So does their fashion (there isn't a single episode where Alex doesn't dress like a hooker, although that might be a "theme"...), but the music occasionally doesn't suck. Alex isn't Sam (is it just me, or do we all tend to react slightly different to "crazy" women than to "crazy" men? Like, is mental illness more accepted with male characters?) but the Guv is still the Guv and I do love Gene+romance. Also, Ray and Chris really get to shine in this series and I love them. Shaz is okay, but: die, Evan, die. If you consider Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes to be part of the same continuity, then the only viable conclusion is sort of... that there is no reality.

I'm also in the middle of watching Invasion of the Dinosaurs which is one of the most awesome Three serials there is, surely? I love it, and I'm starting to like Sarah-Jane.

On the audio front I'm still working my way through Eight. Lucie is either even worse than Charley, or going to end up having a *very* similar character arc to Donna. The two serials that stuck out, though, were Charley stories: The Chimes of Midnight, which nearly made me cry and was the scariest audio I've ever listened to, and Living Legends which is marvellously funny (and gave me a disturbing desire for Charley as Time Lady domina. I think Eight might have had the same desire.)
bagheera_san: (united in porn)
From Lesbian Pulp novel covers provided by [livejournal.com profile] teh_no, I made this beautiful icon. You may consider it a commentary on Strikethrough/Boldthrough.
bagheera_san: (united in porn)
From Lesbian Pulp novel covers provided by [livejournal.com profile] teh_no, I made this beautiful icon. You may consider it a commentary on Strikethrough/Boldthrough.

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