Sep. 19th, 2006

sab: (voy >> fandom culture on the skids)
First they came for the hackers.
But I never did anything illegal with my computer, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came for the pornographers.
But I thought there was too much smut on the internet anyway, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came for the anonymous remailers.
But a lot of nasty stuff gets sent from anon.penet.fi, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came for the encryption users.
But I could never figure out how to work PGP anyway, so I didn't speak up.

Finally they came for me.
And by that time there was no one left to speak up.


That's me referencing [livejournal.com profile] alara_r's classic reappropriation of the Pastor Niemoller poem, which has always been a kind of fannish mantra for me. And the circle of reappropriation goes on, and on...

I want to talk about the debate surrounding the mainstream popularization of [livejournal.com profile] killabeez and [livejournal.com profile] tjonesy's K/S vid, because --

[livejournal.com profile] jadelennox said:

It's been bothering me increasingly in recent months, as fanvids get posted on YouTube (not by the creators), that my non-fannish friends link to them as just another cool internet video. Of course, how would non-fannish folks recognise the incredible violation of fannish etiquette involved in posting a vid to YouTube? They're insider creations, not intended for general consumption, and so why would non-insiders know the etiquette involved?

Well, first what it is is we have to start adjusting to the fact that we're not insiders anymore -- the world got really small really fast, and we are right there in the spotlight, or, as Punk put it, they can see us now. We've been on the cutting edge, "hiding" on the internet with our creations, but here in Web 2.0, the user-created web, we can't hide anymore, we are the internet. And so of course people are going to try and find ways to popularize us -- eventually, they will try and find ways to use us to make money.

Take Revver.com, for instance, which is a YouTube clone with one bonus feature -- you upload homemade vids and get PAID per click, so it behooves you to make a vid that lots of people want to see. (Revver, at this point, is only accepting original material, however, so while you can make bucks off that video of you making a Mentos bottle rocket in your backyard, you can't yet make money off of Kirk and Spock and Nine Inch Nails. But, it's only 2006 and copyright law has a long way to go to catch up with the world we're in...)

Point being, the folks who see the Closer vid on YouTube might not be "fannish" per se, as we have come to understand it, but I defy you to tell me the difference between a fannish person watching a slashy video and enjoying it, and a "non-fannish" person watching a slashy video and enjoying it. At that moment, they're just as fannish as we are -- it's not that they've intruded into fandom, it's that fandom extruded to become big enough to hold the whole world in its hands.

In Doctor Who's The Chrismas Invasion, the Doctor says to Prime Minister Harriet Jones, when she asks if there will be many more alien races invading Earth: The human race is drawing attention to itself. Every day you're sending out probes and messages and signals - this planet's so noisy. You're getting noticed... more and more.

Her response was to shoot down the alien spaceship, kill it dead before it can go out there and warn the rest of the galaxy about us. Like that'll work. Like that'll keep us hidden. The intergalactic equivalent of not signing the Kyoto Treaty because doing so would admit that global warming exists.

And I don't want fandom to be another Harriet Jones, shooting down everyone who finds us, rather than trying to find ways to integrate ourselves with the new and changing world we live in -- because it's not going to go back to how it was. Not ever. The days of hiding out in brown paper zines and usenet are behind us, and we have to move forward or die. And then the new generation will come along, with their fanvids and their YouTubes, and they'll act like they invented the thing, like they own the place, and we'll all be stuck at the old fangirls' home, bitching about Chris Carter and the good old days.

We're all the same, the creators and the poachers and RPSers and the YouTubers and the uploaders and the downloaders. And the world right now is trying to figure out how to regulate us, how to clap down on us, how to make money off us. If we want to be part of that process, we have to stop pretending they can't SEE us just so we feel safer.

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