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In all fairness ...

I must admit that I owe an apology to the individual writing the RPF, and to her friends who found her work equally amusing.

Lamardeuse quite rightly pointed out that it's beyond the bounds to comment upon another's health and motivations when one doesn't know the person or persons involved, and she got legitimately angry that I'd used the term 'sociopath' rather frivolously in one of my responses to an individual commenting on my views of the fic in question. A sociopath is, essentially, a bully who hasn't the capacity for empathy with others and who is motivated by their own whims and desires to achieve their ends in a world they wish to control. To indiscriminately suggest such a label might apply to someone is entirely inappropriate simply because I, personally, fail to see the humour in presenting nice people in satirically pejorative ways that bear no resemblance to reality. In truth, the biting wit of satire generally does escape me and that is, no doubt, a personal failing.

Lamardeuse also suggested that the rather obscure storyline has gotten to be better known as a result of a few of us who failed to see the humour and, to an extent, she's no doubt correct. However, it was noted by none of us until it was already observed by the reporter who'd written articles about two of the real people showcased in the fictional scenario. So, if this ever does end up in mainstream publications, perhaps as an equally satirical view of how fans see these guys, well, that would have happened whether any of us had found the original work sad or offensive or amusing or whatever. The cat, as it were, was already out of the bag.

Others have commented that RPF has been around for a long time and, as Alyjude quite rightly pointed out, taste is a personal thing. Some of us feel it's wrong to objectify and dehumanize real people in such a way, and others see no harm in treating real people in the same admittedly cavalier way we write about fictional characters. After all, we're all toying with the law, whether it be copyright law or libel law. Some have suggested that there is no difference in portraying fictional characters in adult or x-rated fiction or art behind age-restricted portals or warnings, and writing about the real people who played those characters in x-rated fic or art on open, unlocked journals.

For me, there are differences, even in art where it could be argued 'it's the same faces', in that it's the characters, not the living people, who are so portrayed, and this is, for some of us, a critical difference of ethics, perhaps, or respect. Trying to argue this difference, though, is like trying to describe colour to a blind person, and I don't mean this pejoratively -- I'm equally 'blind', as it were, in understanding the opposing view. However, protecting the material behind age barriers (however flimsy) or journal locks (reasonably secure), provides some measure of protection to those who might be inadvertantly hurt, ie an actor's young relatives or children who might happen upon the site; even if the celebrity involved can laugh off the material, they may not want the young people in their lives to be exposed to it. In the instance under discussion over the past few days, for example, had the entries been locked to friends who appreciate the ongoing satire, neither the reporter nor the rest of us would have tripped over it and none of the discussion would have ensued.

Though I've not seen it, I've been advised that I've been chastised for my views in Fandom Wank. I can understand that, as my views were strongly expressed and I can see where they would occasion a degree of defensiveness. I don't understand, though, why Aly apparently garnered similar attention for her quite balanced posting in which she even praised the writer as being one of the best -- she simply stated her own view that, for her, RPF and RPS are wrong while acknowledging that others hold other views. Nor do I understand why PatK and Suzi were evidently mocked for having expressed their views that they found the material unsettling and were saddened by it, as they know the individuals and didn't see the humour in satirizing them so pointedly. If it's legitimate to write such satire in one's journal, isn't it equally legitimate to write one's own views in a balanced way in one's own journal? If it's freedom of speech being argued, or even the right to exercise one's own taste, surely that runs both ways. However, I'm not a member of Fandom Wank, so perhaps I don't understand the purpose of that group.

All that to say, I freely admit I was wrong to toss about a label like 'sociopath', and I regret that my personal dismay at seeing real people I care about as subjects of what has been defined as satirical writing and commentary, and my personal views about RPF in general, occasioned the use of inappropriate terminology. However, I continue to wish the journal entries in question were f-locked to protect the innocent, however one wishes to define 'innocent': the writer and her friends, who only wish to amuse themselves; the subjects of the satire and their families from it potentially going mainstream, or just by finding it by a simple google name search; or those who trip over it and start reading in the absence of warnings and are already gravely dismayed by the time they realize this style of fic is not to their taste. However, we each personally have to decide what we f-lock and what we leave open to the world's view and reaction; no one else can make that decision for us.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
aerianya
Apr. 7th, 2006 05:37 pm (UTC)
I just love you so much!
You are my hero!
caarianna
Apr. 7th, 2006 09:36 pm (UTC)
Ah, thanks, sweetie! ::hugs::
liz6446
Apr. 7th, 2006 06:45 pm (UTC)
While I certainly admire your integrity, I find the fact that these people are now offended to be the height of hypocrisy. They obviously take great glee in mocking people they don't know, and I'm sure they'd have no qualms about calling someone a sociopath if they thought it would amuse their friends.

You're a better person than I am. My response would be to tell them that if they can't take it, they shouldn't be dishing it out.


Liz

trislindsay
Apr. 7th, 2006 07:41 pm (UTC)
The person doing the writing is taking great glee from getting her name everywhere and picking up new friends. Everyone is telling her how wonderful and talented and perfect she is, and taking great pains to point out the posts (which were both mild and non offensive) of others which talked about the subject without mentioning her name. Then they took great glee in putting down these people, offensively and nastily.

(I only know that because I was following another link for something entirely different and didn't realize it was the same person at first. Now I've marked the name so that doesn't happen again.)

I don't find it funny, or talented or wonderful or even interesting. I just wish she'd lock her posts.
caarianna
Apr. 7th, 2006 09:59 pm (UTC)
Ah, well, I guess we all decide how we'll interact with the world around us, and we already know we don't share the same sense of humour or attitudes about how to treat other people, so I suppose this isn't surprising. It's only natural, as well, for people to support their friends and like-minded people. That's how these confrontations start: people don't always agree and sometimes disagree vehemently, and that's fair enough.

I very much share your wish but ... we don't always get what we wish for.
trislindsay
Apr. 7th, 2006 10:20 pm (UTC)
You are right. If we were all the same, the world would be a very boring place! Thank you for reminding me!
caarianna
Apr. 7th, 2006 09:54 pm (UTC)
Oh, I sincerely doubt I'm a better person. I thought some of the criticism about what I wrote was warranted and wanted to acknowledge that. Whether or not the individuals involved find this post amusing or pitiful or whatever is their call, but I try to be responsible for what I say and do. Personally, I believe very strongly that words have great power: to illuminate, to entertain, to touch and, indeed, to be weapons and to harm, even to destroy, so I try to be careful in how I use them. In critiquing others for using words that could harm, it's even more inappropriate to then do the same thing myself.

trislindsay
Apr. 7th, 2006 07:52 pm (UTC)
On the other hand, someone else, discussing the subject of disliking RPS, said that writing RPS was like committing psychological rape, and that's just as unthinking and rude to all the people who do write it, knowing that it's fantasy, knowing the difference between fantasy and reality, and who are funny (or anything else) without being nasty, degrading or just plain mean. Those who don't include denigration of families, who disclaim, and who lock their posts, so no one who gets hurt. Making a blanket statement can hurt, too. And it did.

I believe I said, in that discussion, that I felt the writer had problems. I still think so (who doesn't have problems? but we don't all behave in that manner, with so little care for the feeling of others), and I still wish she'd just go back and lock her posts (just the relevant ones!), so no kids, wives, sisters, etc get hurt.
caarianna
Apr. 7th, 2006 10:29 pm (UTC)
On the other hand, someone else, discussing the subject of disliking RPS, said that writing RPS was like committing psychological rape, and that's just as unthinking and rude to all the people who do write it, knowing that it's fantasy, knowing the difference between fantasy and reality, and who are funny (or anything else) without being nasty, degrading or just plain mean. Those who don't include denigration of families, who disclaim, and who lock their posts, so no one who gets hurt. Making a blanket statement can hurt, too. And it did.

I'm sure it did. Don't remember seeing that post, but then I'm not well connected on LJ and miss a lot of what goes on. Personally, I have never understood the attraction of RPF or RPS, but then I've always been more interested in the characters, writing and reading about them and imagining them in different scenarios, than I am in the actors who portray them. It makes me uncomfortable, like an invasion of privacy somehow, which is why I typically don't read it and very much appreciate the warnings and locks.

I still wish she'd just go back and lock her posts (just the relevant ones!), so no kids, wives, sisters, etc get hurt.

Yeah, me, too. If only from the perspective that these people say the stuff was written affectionately with no intent to harm and only to amuse, clearly it would seem 'better safe than sorry' to ensure their avowedly lovingly intended satire doesn't inadvertantly hurt kids, wives, girl friends, and sisters who might not find it all quite so amusing. But if one doesn't see the harm or potential danger, then there seems no point to the locking or warnings. Some see the Golden Rule ie 'do unto others as you'd have them do unto you', literally, so if they wouldn't mind being the object of such humour, they can't see why anyone else should mind. I've always thought it meant something more, to want others to treat us in accordance with what is important to us and so, in return, especially when we care about someone, to do unto them in a way that is meaningful to them, would be appreciated by them. Or, in another philosophy, to walk in their shoes, to see the world from their view, and not simply our own.

trislindsay
Apr. 7th, 2006 10:43 pm (UTC)
As you say, some people are not capable of seeing another's point of view, and I would add, especially when they are getting all the sqee they need. As I said previously, I don't read RPS and I don't write it -- like you, I prefer the characters. The chips will fall where they may, and I sincerely hope nothing at all happens to anyone.
jessriley
Apr. 8th, 2006 02:54 am (UTC)
This is quite an interesting article about possible legal consequences of RPS. I have no idea if what the author says is entirely accurate but some of the points raised are quite interesting. Does make you think though, especially in this 'law suit happy world' we live in.

http://www.trickster.org/symposium/symp78.html
caarianna
Apr. 8th, 2006 04:33 am (UTC)
Whoa, this person doesn't pull any punches ... and this is exactly why I remain so concerned about the reporter engaging on that site -- before ANY of us protested about it. Some want to argue that it was a little obscure site that could do no damage nor be a danger to the author and her friends in the chat-like commentary sessions, but the reporter went straight to it and let them know she was there, encouraging them to mock away while she said nice things about the guys she'd interviewed. I'm not saying it's any kind of setup; I have been saying there are serious risks involved in having this sort of 'humour', denigrating and slashing real people, so publicly accessible.

I know many have seen me and others who have protested and cautioned as being ninnies who aren't with the program, who are narrow-minded fuddy-duddies who should get a life. That there are more important things to be concerned about, and that's certainly the truth -- but that does not obviate the risks these individuals continue to take in open, online fora.

Thanks for finding and posting this, Jess. Perhaps some of these kids, or their friends, will see this and bring this expert's cautionary words to their attention. The US is a litigious society, and few people will turn a blind eye to anything that might conceivably impact on their job prospects. Clearly, the primary subject of these 'stories' is GM ... but RB figures importantly in them, and he's currently riding a wave. Everyone in the 'scenario' is a public figure, and a public charitable institution has been mocked. Maybe they'd all find it all funny, but ABC, just as one example, might not, and can RB afford that even if personally he'd let it go. It's playing with fire to brazen it out for the 'fun' of it -- but is the 'fun' really worth the risk?

A number of us have been castigated publicly for holding opposing views and waving cautionary flags, while 'friends' have flocked to the defence and have urged the principals that they've done nothing wrong.

But maybe, just maybe, those of us who have been chanting the 'lock it up' refrain are the better friends, the more astute advisors.

As the woman says in her speech, people have to make their own call about the risks they take. But if they lose, they could lose bigtime.

Jess, this is an important article for people to see, and I'm not sure how many will see it on this thread. You might want to consider also posting in on your LJ to ensure as many people as possible understand the risks of openly publishing RPF and RPS. At least then, maybe they could make informed choices.

Again, thanks for sharing this.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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