Maybe I shouldn’t be writing this, and I don’t want to add to the drama, but for people saying things like “where are people being mean?” and confused as to what exactly happened, these are some of my screencaps of what went down my my responses. Tagging only the people I’m replying to because, hey, let’s talk, okay? I do, I want to talk, and I want to understand your side, but I also want you to know that you are not blameless or guiltless in this, either.
oh! i just saw this. i am sorry for responding so belatedly; i am also sorry that i made you feel uncomfortable or unsafe responding to my post. it is really important to me that i not be a bully or take advantage of any platform i might have to silence or shame others, and if i failed in this in any way i do sincerely apologize. i try to be cognizant of my words and actions and i will try better.
that said, i do think there is a crucial difference between whatever platform i (a fan) and rachel kiley, mkw, & ashclem (writers and actresses) have w/r/t the show. i fully admit that fannish opinions— especially those of loud and dismissive fans— can produce an unhealthy and unhappy fandom experience for others. i have personally experienced this! i think it’s important for everyone who participates in fandom (or… the world…) to be aware of the ramifications and contexts of things that they say.
but show creators— people who are personally, directly involved in the production of the show— have a certain undeniable appearance authority over us all. people whom we watch perform the text, and people who write the text— no matter how fervently literally all current literary theory tells us otherwise— always appear to have special, elevated knowledge of said text. which is to say, as my original post (which you quoted and then largely ignored save for a few words (which i will discuss later)) says, that creators of a show have a particular obligation not to attempt to shape or manipulate their fandom’s dynamics or opinions, beyond their involvement in the source material that we discuss.
lbd fandom is a small place, and a lot of the people in it are still quite young. they are still learning about how fandom works, and many of them really look up to everyone involved in the show, which gives the creators who operate on tumblr a certain swagger. they clearly— explicitly— delight in affirming some fannish creations and opinions. this is not inherently a bad thing! but it suggests that they are absolutely aware of the influence they carry. and this is a platform that they have earned merely by being associated with the show. that’s it. they have a crucially unique platform that is bigger than that of all the loudest fans put together because they made the show.
so to talk about specifically my post with which you found such fault, here is the context in which i mentioned “abuse”— “[show creators] have a lot of power, and [they] do not get to use it abusively.” which is to say not that i think the creators are being abusive to me, but that they are abusing— misusing— their power. when i say they’re wearing shit-kicking boots, what i mean is that they stride as gods and neglect the harm or deep-seated change their footprints cause.
i do not care if they are good, kind, delightful people. i literally do not care. it is irrelevant to the things they have said and done. character arguments derail arguments of what has actually happened here. i, too, am a good, kind, delightful person (fact). and i have hurt people! i have abused certain powers! i have done bad things. good people can do bad things. good people can bully.
and here is ultimately what i was saying: is that no matter how good these particular people are, they are guests in fandom. fandom is not for them. fandom is for you and for me, and as such we do, i agree, need to treat each other respectfully and be aware about the ways our voices carry. but fandom is not for a show’s creators. it can be fun to have them visit, if they are professional, and kind, and do not attempt to influence or silence people’s discussions
because here is where i believe you are fundamentally wrong: you say that we ought not publicly bully or criticize or “attack” the show’s creators, that they are people and that we ought treat with them directly and personally (by which you mean in their askboxes, with which i am uncomfortable for a thousand and one reasons that i don’t have time for). but when i talk about this show, when i talk about its creators’ fannish presences, i am not talking about rachel kiley, dog-owner and occasional souffle chef! i am talking about a public professional persona. i am talking about rachel kiley, part of the public face of the lizzie bennet diaries, this show i dig. there is a crucial difference between the professional face of a show and the human people behind it, and that is what makes the fourth wall so important. when you become a professional public figure, you forfeit the right to be “just like any of us.” you have a platform now. you have a persona now.
my post, which you demonized for “attacking” and “bullying” show creators, was about literary theory. and i think it is dangerous— really concretely dangerous!— to associate all criticism or opinionatednessess with attacks. it is really dangerous to make tone arguments in general! we are not obligated to be nice and accepting and affirming to all persons and all opinions just because they are probably good people. my post was about the ways that texts work, and why it is harmful to attempt to police or control your text, and why you, as the creator of the text, have certain powers of which you must be cognizant. i was explaining why the show creators have crossed a certain line, why i believe they have in fact abused their power—
dude, two actresses replied (publicly! do not make the weak argument that IF THEY REALLY WANTED TO BULLY HER, THEY’D HAVE _______ because yes, you can always bully worse, but that does not mitigate what you actually did do) personally to a girl’s joking post saying that it upset them and they disagreed. that girl WAS NOT TALKING ABOUT THEM, she was not talking about their friend even! she was talking about the production of a show she watched to her friends in a space exclusively for discussion of it. she was joking about public figures of whom she knew. this is literally all tumblr does (case in point leonardo dicaprio); if you have a moral argument with it then this should probably not be where you make your home. mkw & ashclem shamed and silenced her; they made her feel uncertain and overwhelmed. that is bullying behavior. that is an abuse of power.—
and my post was explaining to them, firmly but not, i think, unkindly, why they ought not have done that thing, and how fiction and fandom work, and where they are located in it. bernie su made some generalization about NEW MEDIA and THE LIZZIE BENNET EXPERIENCE and how there is no longer any fourth wall, but i think— i hope— that this is untrue. as long as there are creators, and we are conscious of their identities, they will wield a great deal of power and must, because of it, exist to some extent outside of fandom because of the incredible weight all of their words and opinions carry. and sometimes— with the primary example of george wickham, serial abuser of women, whom many fans now adore because of rk and mkw’s jokes— this is incredibly harmful. yes, there are influential fans, and yes, there have been fans who have shaped my readings of texts; but i have never once thought that a fan’s opinion must be solely uniquely correct simply because it was she that said it. this is the power that creators have.
they profess often to love their fans and to love fandom; what they do not seem to realize is that it is not for them.
the longest post anyone ever wrote. EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!. the lizzie bennet diaries. in which i talk a lot.
reblogged from erinwert
originally posted by erinwert
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- ceciliabaldwin said: This is a good post. Like, I don’t know where I stand except that I think it’s a clusterfuck so good for you for trying to sort this out.
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