eruthros: llamas! (llamas)
1. The fanfiction survey has been taken down, at least temporarily (fandom: we bite back). The text on the survey site now reads:
We're revamping some of our survey questions based upon the first round of feedback we received! Please check back again soon to take our survey!
There are a number of interesting comments on their post announcing the removal of the survey.

2. I am kind of tickled by the fact that I have been alternating between tagging [community profile] kink_bingo posts today, as we ramp up to the end of the for-points part of the round, and commenting to people about the heterosexist parts of the survey. (Which I will probably remain behind on for a while, sorry.)

3. I am starting to be -- nostalgic is maybe not quite the right word, but I guess it'll do -- about the process of making the yuletide vid last year. Somebody please stop me before any other huge projects seem like a good idea.

4. I had homemade waffles for lunch. \o/
eruthros: Jamie and Adam from Mythbusters, drawn by Tardis80, text: "busted". (Mythbusters!)
Please don't take the fanfiction survey that is going around (the one with the big fancy banner).

Here is the deal: the people who wrote that survey pm'ed me, as one of the mods of [community profile] kink_bingo, while I was out of the country. In their pm, they (unintentionally) made it quite clear that their intent in their project is to talk about human universals -- to use our fannish experience, our erotics and our desires, to reinforce ideas of universal, hard-wired, biological desire.

They are outsiders to fandom. They are outsiders to fanfiction. They are outsiders to slash. And they haven't tried to learn, or to understand, or to think about fannish communities. Instead, they have made assumptions about who we are, about what we read, about what we find hot; they plan to use those to explain what makes women tick, what our brains make us do.

They do not believe that culture mediates our desire at all1; they don't believe that we are shaped by our communities and our experiences; they want to put us into neat, biologically determined boxes. We declined to participate, and figured that was the end of it -- we didn't know that there was going to be a survey, which is why I'm posting publicly. (I'm going to put that pm, and the subsequent conversation [personal profile] thingswithwings and I had with them, under cut-tags at the end of this post if you're interested.)

All of those problems are present in the survey itself. If you read through the comments on their Q&A post, you'll see a number of people challenging the questions, the answers, and the ideas behind the survey. Reasons include heterosexist language, which presumes that anyone not marked as queer must be straight; the language of the questions about participants' sex, gender, and sexual orientation, which presumes that people are either male or female; and the language of their description of slash, which presumes that there is one definition of slash. [personal profile] torachan further explains some of those problems here.

And all of these problems are present in their About This Survey page:
The structure and activity of our subcortical circuits are shaped by neurohormones such as testosterone, estrogen, oxytocin, progesterone, and vasopressin; these circuits function differently in men and women. As cognitive neuroscientists, we draw upon a wide variety of empirical data sources to model these circuits, including brain imaging studies, primate research, cognitive science experiments, machine learning algorithms--and behavioral data. The Internet offers large, unprecedented sources of data on human activity: one of these data sets is fan fiction.

We're deeply interested in broad-based behavioral data that involves romantic or erotic cognition and evinces a clear distinction between men and women. Fan fiction matches this criteria perfectly.
Guys, that is their explanation of their project: that they want to look at how we are hard-wired different.

It's the same old sociobiological bullshit, the same old attempts to universalize and naturalize their ideas of gender roles, the same old approach that makes us nothing but a data set. Please don't take this survey.

If you have already taken this survey, I don't know what to tell you -- I'm sorry that I didn't post this earlier. I don't know what would happen if you demanded to have your answers taken out; I don't know what sort of IRB/human subjects research board preparations they have done.

Their first pm to us )

Our reply )

Their reply, attempting to convince to participate after all )

Read more... )

1Note, for example their answer in their Q&A to someone who brought up these issues: "we are pursuing our own research questions, which are not cultural in nature."

ETA: The survey has been taken down, at least temporarily. The text on the survey site now reads:
We're revamping some of our survey questions based upon the first round of feedback we received! Please check back again soon to take our survey!
There are a number of interesting comments on their post announcing the removal of the survey.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (BtVS cheeseman nonsense)
Things that will make me bail on an SGA story: killing off Jack O'Neill in a tossed-aside line. Or, really, any of the other SG1 folks. The author might only watch SGA, but she's got to know that some readers will have been SG1 fans first. That is Jack. That is Jack. Fucking. O'Neill. He gets more than "... and Jack O'Neill was dead, so we had to work with a new guy." NO. For one, Jack O'Neill isn't dead. He's never dead. Not really. If you want to get him out of the way, say he's stranded somewhere or missing or the building he was in exploded and we don't know what happened to him or having to do other work or off in the Asgard home galaxy. For another, I will resent it a lot of you kill of an SG1 character just to make the danger seem "real" to your SGA characters, and don't indicate that said SGA characters are impacted at all by his death. And yet people do it all the time.

I hate it just as much when authors make Sam Carter or other SG1 folks evil, especially since it's usually a clear sign that they haven't seen the source. But usually there are lots of other marks that a story like that will suck, so.

***

Interesting: apparently a French-Canadian publisher accidentally published Highlander fanfiction. Worse: he accidentally published plagiarized Highlander fanfiction. If you read French, you can read about it all here; if not, I'll summarize below.

1. A French fan, Frederic Jeorge, writes a HL story in 2001.
2. Marie-Pier Cote, a twelve-year-old fan rips it off. As La Presse says: "Same characters. Same sentences. Same commas."
3. A not-so-great editor, Michel Brule, publishes it as "Laura, the Immortal." (French-language book.) There's huge hoopla about a twelve-year-old girl writing fiction. So interesting! So precocious! Etc.
4. La Presse is all: um, isn't this kinda like Highlander? And then Frederic Jeorge says, wait, it's not just like Highlander, it's my story.
5. Michel Brule says: okay, I should have "taken precautions" before publishing a twelve-year-old's book. He says: but her mom told me she wrote it!
6. Frederic Jeorge says: um, shouldn't I be getting the royalties here?
7. Michel Brule says: dear Cotes, please give me all my money back. Also, pay me damages to repair my good name. After all, I shouldn't have to check a book before publishing it! I shouldn't even have to read a whole novel! (He didn't read the whole book.)

Interesting, no? Now, I have to say that I think the editor's more at fault here than he is claiming -- editors get lots of manuscripts, and they should be read by several people before they are published. Ideally, one of those several people would've noticed the whole heads-cut-off thing; after all, Highlander was a movie and you don't have to be fannish to know about it. But even so, there is google! It looks a lot like the editor was all "I will get publicity because the author is so young" and didn't even think about it seriously.
eruthros: X-Files: Mulder in glasses, text "sexier in glasses" (XF - Mulder sexier in glasses)
Look, a real American newspaper review of "Life on Mars!" Tim Goodman gives it a little-man-standing-up-in-his-chair-and-clapping, and says "Ultimately, what works best is the entire thing." A really strong statement for a print media critic. Available here; the review spoils some of the plot premise. If you're wondering why this link is here, it's because I think "Life on Mars" rocks.

The Rock Paper Scissors Collective in Oakland, California appears to run the most fabulous arts and crafts classes EVER, and they're all inexpensive. For example, on July 26th, "learn how to make silkscreen prints using your favorite photo image." For a five to ten dollar materials fee. FIVE to TEN dollars. July 30th and 31st, take a two-day course on hardcover bookbinding... for $10 materials fee and a sliding scale $0-10 donation to the collective. There are free courses on using industrial sewing machines, on bike mechanics, "the ancient art of mixtape making," and so on. Very cool.

And, speaking of crafts, this fabulous picture tutorial showing you how to make book-based bookshelves of your very own so's to avoid paying Jim Rosenau $220 for his book bookshelves. (The photo tutorial link is from a craftster post, here. The original poster said: "No book actually worth reading has been harmed in the making of this project.")

Platial.com, a picture-based googlemaps mashup. Platial lets you map places with tags, pictures, text, blahblah et cetera, but what's even more cool is that you can then organize said tagged places into maps. So you can make a map that you share with your friends of the best ice cream places in Manhattan, or document your road trip, or whatever. (My map-with-one-thing-on-it is here.)
eruthros: Battlestar Galactica 1978 promo picture, captioned "first fandom" (BSG - first fandom Starbuck Apollo)
I swear I could do this entire post in acronyms, but it would make me feel like a giant dork.

In any case, salon.com's lead story today is about Battlestar Galactica 2003. And specifically Starbuck.

Problem: it's written by someone who's not actually into sf (though she does like BSG). Laura Miller, the author, apparently likes to make herself feel superior by saying things like: "These shows have ranged from the passable ("Farscape") to the appalling ("Lexx," a sort of R-rated "H.R. Pufnstuf"), and without a doubt each of them has its own cadre of fire-breathing hardcore fans, just as the hokey original "Battlestar Galactica" does." And "This is a character-based drama, not something you often see on a spaceship."

Still, she obviously loves the show, and it's a pretty prominent article for genre TV, so you may want to check it out.

ETA: Spoilers for the first episode of season two.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
Comment on a bit of a salon.com article about Buffy (not the anti-Spike one, but Bye-bye, Buffy! It's an interesting article in many ways.

No real spoilers )
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
Tim Goodman, TV critic of the SF Chron, on Buffy and the finale. Spoiler-free for the finale; spoiler-heavy for season 6.

Buffy's demise puts a stake in our hearts

This article captures, I think, the fear that the finale will be a letdown and the nostalgia and love for the series. Tim Goodman has often ranted about the lack of recognition (Emmys and otherwise) for Joss Whedon and Buffy, so you know he's a real fan.

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eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
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