Love and Unlove in Fanfiction

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Zara
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Love and Unlove in Fanfiction

Post by Zara »

Some thoughts on Dreams, and Love, and Koslow's fairy tale...and fanfiction imitations thereof.

I think you know, my friends, that I am a creature who loves to ask "Why?" So I have been pondering things I notice about myself and others. I've also been pondering tendencies in this fandom to "normalize" not only the Beast but also everything else in the story, the Beast's underworld, the Beauty, the Beauty's upperworld, etc. And, yes, Beauty tends to get downgraded too, for I sense just as much misunderstanding about her materially wealthy way of life as I do about Beast's material poverty. The "normal" being recreated in fanfiction and general fan conversation is the province of America's social mythology: the ideal of the American Dream, the ideal of what respectable "ordinary" people are and aspire to, the advertised and marketed model of the perfect American specimen. I won't offer a critique of these myths here (fear not, ha ha). I only wish to share my conclusion that Koslow's mythology fought a valiant battle to live and breathe in the cracks between the larger mythical structures of my country's culture.

The "Why" I've puzzled over lately is this: Why do I experience such visceral negative reactions to these trends in fandom?

Today, my answer is this: Because the assumptions underlying these fandom trends deny the Dream. They deny the message of Koslow's story. They insist, through myriad posts and stories and arguments, that Love in its deepest and purest forms DOES NOT exist. CANNOT exist. That the characters of the show did not experience such Love. Then they proceed to reiterate the culturally approved boundaries for "love," holding up meager substitutes for what Koslow and his miraculous band of storymakers gave the world. The message of the substitutions: This particular example is all there is of love; this is the only view of the characters that is acceptable; this is the only fragment of the Dream worth dreaming.

I have felt anger because I know this message is false. I reject each denial of the Dream, regret each truncation of these characters, retreat from unlove as I would from poison. I know "corrective" abridgements of the Dream may seem quite a pleasant poison to other people, as with so many drugs and processed food choices and chemical conveniences in our world. But pleasant side effects do not make a poison less toxic. So I feel anger against an injustice of the heart, astonishment at such ready acceptance of a lie.

Today, however, I am thinking that a new emotion I wish to feel and meditate upon...is pity. Not pity in the sense that American English often uses the word, as a synonym for contempt. Rather, pity as a quiet recognition of brokenness or deprivation in someone's life. I know that Love, REAL LOVE, and TRUE BEAUTY, just as they are depicted in Koslow's B&B, can and do exist. Love does not need to be fixed, redirected, or normalized to be satisfying or actual, whether in Koslow's fantasy or in real life. I am discovering pity for elements in fandom who celebrate an ignorance of Love's complete reality. Pity for those who glorify that poverty of imagination which immunizes the soul against full engagement with beautiful Dreams and ideas. Pity for those who rely on stereotypes and prejudices as guides to understanding the world and themselves. People are so hungry for Love, yet they become ensnared in the belief that Love only appears in certain guises, under such-and-such conditions. I keep coming back to Diana Bennett's line: If all you're willing to see is what you've seen before, you're gonna miss half of what's going on. The act of "normalizing" this story is the act of forcing it to assume a shape one has already seen before, rather than allowing it to rejuvenate one's imagination in the direction of fresh possibilities. "Normalizing" recreates the story into a shape it was never meant to hold. It shows us what unlove looks like...but claims it's showing us Love. That is so scary to me. I hate being lied to. Especially by people who don't know they are cultivating and promoting a lie.

The psychology author Peck wrote that when people fail to engage with Love it's because they believe it is too much work. Not worth the effort. And also that people are by general inclination lazy. People's laziness makes them sick in mind, body, and spirit. And the sickness causes suffering in their lives and in the lives of others. Perhaps. Mostly, I think we do what we can, whenever we can, to live as well as we can. Yet even reading people's best attempts to live and love and dream as well as they can, I cannot abide witnessing an amazing model of wellness denounced as a model of faulty Love and "corrected" in subsequent writing. It just hurts me too much.

I'm thinking that is why I have a very few favorites in the vast fanfiction annals, enjoy a few lighter pieces here and there...and deplore the rest of fandom's storytelling. I remain eager for nourishing fanfiction, and open to explorations of the fairy tale that ask and answer questions within regions of the Dream I am less familiar with. The toxic waste, though? I just can't swallow any more.

Candidly,

Zara
Maclurv
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Re: Love and Unlove in Fanfiction

Post by Maclurv »

As a fellow asker of "Why?" I can appreciate your introspection. Normalization is a process of pulling in from outer boundaries, until what was unique or different becomes what is usual and expected. There can be a loss when this occurs; there can also be a new view of the usual and expected. I suspect there is an element of conformity about which you are reacting in this situation.

Visceral reactions I get, even negative ones. Sarah Palin is one for me. The woman gives me the heebie jeebies. So if I have ever stated something that causes such a reaction in you, I apologize. But I need more explanation as to what the assumptions are that fandom makes that have you seeing them as denying the Dream. Actually, if you could cite a few examples of what you have encountered, that would help me. What culturally approved boundaries for "love" do you mean? I do understand the part of substitutions; this is what some in fandom wish to believe and do not want it trifled with in any way. Edited to add: I invite you to consider that this show is a teacher for whom the student is ready: I myself did not see the layers when I first watched the show and loved it for the romance and the general feeling of goodness that it gave me. It wasn't until much later in my life, when I was searching for ways of learning more meaning that the show resurfaced, and laid bare new layers for me to understand and think through aspects I hadn't considered before. It was also when I discovered fandom, and through that, met you who has tremendously expanded what I think about in terms of both life and the show, and Sobi, Je, and others. So for others resistant to its teachings, I adopt the perspective that they are not ready, for whatever reasons. No amount of wishing on my part, nor words I could try, will likely have an impact. But if it happens, I hope to still be around to join in the discussion they will then wish to be a part of so that I can participate in their journey at that time.

regret each truncation of these characters


I find many of the characters richer than some do. It does take time, thought, and attention to learn about a character. Nor does everyone care to do this. Many are happy to hear about others thoughts, it saves them the time if what they hear fits their appreciation of the show. The entertainment arts are subjective, however, and some may never see in this show what you or I see. Rather than anger, I feel it is a loss for them, a sadness at a missed opportunity.

I know "corrective" abridgements of the Dream


By this do you mean, for example, stories where Catherine never dies? If so, I need more explanation as to how you see this as an "Injustice of the heart," and a "ready acceptance of a lie."

Love does not need to be fixed, redirected, or normalized to be satisfying or actual


Conceptually, I can agree with this. However, few people live in a conceptual world. Yes, people do hunger for love. And, too often, are closed off against it, perhaps without realizing it. To get to love requires interaction with people, and that can be a huge hurdle for many of us as interacting is more often poorly done. And there is risk. Risk in acting versus waiting. Hoping versus giving up. Trying and failing versus never trying. Possibilities exist if you have the strength to believe in them and then see them. Many are not that strong. I would gather that most authors write what they know; some may write what they wish was true for themselves. Lack of understanding, lack of knowing to me is not a lie. I do not believe there is intention behind what they write to further the normalization process, to bend the reader to the thoughts that 'this is what love is supposed to be.'

I cannot abide witnessing an amazing model of wellness denounced as a model of faulty Love and "corrected" in subsequent writing. It just hurts me too much.


Again, I'm wondering if you are referring to the SND approach. If so, how is that a model of faulty Love? I am not able to see what you are saying in that sentence in those few words. I understand how it can hurt. Catherine's death does that to me. But, Pat Jackson's book gives me some hope in seeing a way through that.

Bear in mind, I am pooped. I'm dealing with major frustration on my computer program at the moment. So if my words fail to express me well, I am not surprised. But I could really use a few 'for instances' from you, and some further definition.

Hanging in,

Pat
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Zara
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Re: Love and Unlove in Fanfiction

Post by Zara »

It is okay, my dear stressed-out Pat, to wait to read and respond to posts until your circumstances stabilize and you have leisure to pursue pastimes that are unrelated to your livelihood. ***hugs*** I'm sorry technical misfortunes have caused you such grief and frustration. I hope the problem can be resolved as swiftly and painlessly as possible.

Pat wrote:I suspect there is an element of conformity about which you are reacting in this situation.


My friend, where there is love, I don't bother myself about matters of conformity, for love does not demand conformity. Where there is love, I join and cultivate the loving activity with all that I am. Where there is unlove, however, I resist conforming to unloving purposes with all that I am. You describe "normalization" as a natural process of centralized acclimation to elements from "outer boundaries." I am speaking of "normalization" as the forcible masking and restraint of vibrant beauty through the application of negative stereotypes. Our definitions are at odds.

Pat wrote:I invite you to consider that this show is a teacher for whom the student is ready...


I know that. None better.

Pat wrote:...some may never see in this show what you or I see.


I know that too.

Pat wrote:The entertainment arts are subjective, however...


Art is not subjective. Art appreciation is subjective. Art is a specific statement made by the artist(s). Interpretation is a reactive statement made by the recipient of the artwork: a basic statement can be made in response to the artwork at an initial level, and further statements may occur during interaction with the artistic message at deeper levels, and over time.

Pat wrote:By this do you mean, for example, stories where Catherine never dies?


Nope. "She never dies" tales feature a popular plot device in fandom, not the trend of unloving stereotypes and prejudices that I am wrangling here. In pondering "corrective" abridgements of the Dream, SND never crossed my mind.

Pat wrote:Conceptually, I can agree with this. However, few people live in a conceptual world...


Nor do I. Which is why I was not speaking conceptually. I know full well that most writers write from what they know, which is why the unremarked and uncritically accepted prevalence of negative stereotypes and prejudices in fandom storytelling disturbs me so much. Misidentifying unlove as love is a wretched, dangerous falsehood. True, ignorance itself is not a lie. But a person who speaks a lie out of ignorance is participating in that lie all the same. Believing a lie enough to promote it in one's communications does not transform the lie into a truth, nor exonerate even the unwitting, unintentional liar (perhaps even the well-intentioned liar) from the consequences of advocating falsehood. Gather enough voices into a community that proclaim an evil precept, and the pattern or trend that emerges becomes a terrible destructive force. To this unloving gravitational pull, I vehemently object.

If you wish to explore more of the relationship between stereotypes, prejudices, and lies, I can pull in some beautiful material from my favorite American novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.

Pat wrote:Again, I'm wondering if you are referring to the SND approach.


Again, no. I have no personal investment in Catherine Chandler, whether alive or dead. The SND issue is not an especially significant part of my dreaming. I'm glad, though, that Jackson's book supports your hope to pursue your own dreams.

Pat wrote:But I need more explanation as to what the assumptions are that fandom makes that have you seeing them as denying the Dream. Actually, if you could cite a few examples of what you have encountered, that would help me. What culturally approved boundaries for "love" do you mean?


Examples are in the fanfiction threads, and others, we've created in this forum. The narrow allotment for what romantic love is permitted to entail, and the ugly roles sex is frequently forced to play in fanfiction. Assumptions about ability and disability, wealth and poverty, race, gender relations, freaks, personality styles, mainstream citizens and outcasts from the mainstream, the purpose and function of Father's underworld, the very nature of love and Vincent's purported failures to love "correctly." Scary stuff like that.

In addition, this is not about finding a perfect match for my personal vision of the fairy tale in fanfiction. I can quibble about how my own preferences compare and contrast with stories like "Shakespeare" and "In the Fell Clutch of Circumstance", but these tales uphold the Dream that Koslow presented to the world. They build upon the truth, beauty, and nobility of the characters and so build up those same features in readers who partake in ongoing fan-led storytelling.

However, stories like "Keys to the Kingdom" and "A Matter of Place" distort the truth, corrupt the beauty, and dismantle the nobility of Koslow's characters...and so the readers of these fanfictions are negatively influenced as well.

Pat wrote:I do understand the part of substitutions; this is what some in fandom wish to believe and do not want it trifled with in any way.


Cherished beliefs based upon unloving stereotypes and prejudices ought not be considered unassailable simply because they are valued by their believers. So, I work to understand what is happening within a group of people who insist that Love in its deepest and purest forms DOES NOT exist. CANNOT exist. That the characters of the show did not experience such deep and pure Love, so fans who hold such beliefs must reject many essential elements of the show and substitute their own brokenness for deep beauty. I aver that deepest and purest Love DOES exist, and B&B gives us a powerful example of what it can be.

In any case, this is what I'm trying to accomplish: to counter unlove with love in my self, my life, and my art--

Zara wrote:Today, however, I am thinking that a new emotion I wish to feel and meditate upon...is pity. Not pity in the sense that American English often uses the word, as a synonym for contempt. Rather, pity as a quiet recognition of brokenness or deprivation in someone's life. I know that Love, REAL LOVE, and TRUE BEAUTY, just as they are depicted in Koslow's B&B, can and do exist. Love does not need to be fixed, redirected, or normalized to be satisfying or actual, whether in Koslow's fantasy or in real life. I am discovering pity for elements in fandom who celebrate an ignorance of Love's complete reality. Pity for those who glorify that poverty of imagination which immunizes the soul against full engagement with beautiful Dreams and ideas. Pity for those who rely on stereotypes and prejudices as guides to understanding the world and themselves. People are so hungry for Love, yet they become ensnared in the belief that Love only appears in certain guises, under such-and-such conditions. I keep coming back to Diana Bennett's line: If all you're willing to see is what you've seen before, you're gonna miss half of what's going on. The act of "normalizing" this story is the act of forcing it to assume a shape one has already seen before, rather than allowing it to rejuvenate one's imagination in the direction of fresh possibilities. "Normalizing" recreates the story into a shape it was never meant to hold. It shows us what unlove looks like...but claims it's showing us Love. That is so scary to me. I hate being lied to. Especially by people who don't know they are cultivating and promoting a lie.


I am deliberately adding pity to my immediate emotional repertoire of many possible responses to this kind of tragedy in human society. It's my way of connecting anger with compassion in pursuit of beauty and love. Just wanted to share part of that process in here.

~ Zara
Maclurv
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Re: Love and Unlove in Fanfiction

Post by Maclurv »

Who, me, wait? Sorry, I am too selfish about the enjoyment of our little sandbox to deny myself the opportunity to ponder. Right now, it's helping to keep me sane. Blast file corruption!

I don't bother myself about matters of conformity

I did not mean you. What I had intended to say was that I saw conformity as part of the issue of normalization that you raised. Which may also not be accurate, but I did want to clarify.

Your examples helped, thanks.

I should confess that I reacted to more than content in your message, perhaps. I felt a need to defend writers who tell stories from their level of understanding, with no designs other than sharing enjoyment with others in the show as they see it. I do understand your distinction between art and art appreciation, and concur with it. And I can agree also with this:

Gather enough voices into a community that proclaim an evil precept, and the pattern or trend that emerges becomes a terrible destructive force


My reaction from reading came from, I guess, the negative visceral aspect that caused me to question how you would face a writer who committed the acts of which you speak. I know you are small in stature, but mighty with words, and I feared you would lay waste the poor person with pithily pointed statements until they vanished into the ether, so full of holes as to let sunlight shine into all their dark corners. Hence my pleas for mercy on their behalf. :D But I know you to be a very kind, loving, and growing person so I most likely read into your words what wasn't there.

Perhaps I am not understanding myself what you mean by unlove vs love. And I think I need to ask what will surely strike you as a bizarre question, perhaps, but what exactly is the Dream to you? I don't wish to assume incorrectly here, as it is so key in your discussion. I do see how you feel that
truth, beauty, and nobility of the characters

is so integral to your perspective. But this is where I wonder who defines what the truth, beauty, and nobility of the characters actually is? Is there not potential for disagreement in what these mean about characters?

I work to understand what is happening within a group of people who insist that Love in its deepest and purest forms DOES NOT exist. CANNOT exist. That the characters of the show did not experience such deep and pure Love, so fans who hold such beliefs must reject many essential elements of the show and substitute their own brokenness for deep beauty.


I think I must take issue with your conclusion that people are insisting that Love in its deepest and purest forms does not/cannot exist. Perhaps I need to quibble with what pure forms of love might be. I will allow that these people come from what they know, have experienced, and yes, may have brokeness that is untendered, and perhaps even unacknowledged. But I do not think they would deny that Love in purest forms does not exist.

It's my way of connecting anger with compassion in pursuit of beauty and love


See? I knew it couldn't be true! No swordplay from you. Chalk it up to my being tired. And remember my tendencies to want to bring people together. :D

Pat
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Re: Love and Unlove in Fanfiction

Post by Zara »

Pat wrote: I felt a need to defend writers who tell stories from their level of understanding, with no designs other than sharing enjoyment with others in the show as they see it.


Yes, this is a central issue in the emerging literary form that is fanfiction. (And yes, fanfic in general is indeed being examined now as the cutting edge of literature in this new century.) Critical etiquette differs from group to group. In the case of BATB fandom as I see it existing today, a prevailing rule of Niceness makes taboo any critical appraisal of the Nice works of Nice authors. Niceness gives us a sickly sweet and ultimately meaningless deluge of praise for anything anyone shares...or else a ringing silence of a response, which could mean anything at all. Niceness validates motifs into trends into fanon without stopping to question the intrinsic value of the original beliefs within the storytelling.

When I have taught creative writing classes for new writers (adults, teens, and children, at various levels of cognitive functioning), I've found that each class develops its own micro-culture of balance between encouraging one another to produce the best writing possible, and discouraging weak and demeaning storytelling. Part of the process of finding that balance is identifying the presence of healthy archetypes within the group's stories, as well as the presence of unhealthy stereotypes. BATB fandom is currently (I don't know how it's been in the past) unbalanced away from archetype. In this case, because the model Koslow, et al, gave us to work from is so richly infused with archetypes, so deliberate in its efforts to actively dismantle negative stereotypes, fanon is actually rejecting canonical beauty in favor of popular prejudices. Honestly, while I am privately dismayed by this trend, it would not cut so deeply if the fans who do this were not also claiming that their prejudicial fanon comprises a functional equivalent to the canonical model upon which it is based. It does not. Indeed, as we've discussed previously, fanon has now superseded canon in many ways, so that the favored stereotypical thought patterns blot out the genuinely healing and loving elements of the show.

All acts of creativity are precious and all acts of gift-giving from the heart are priceless. Yet good intentions do not neutralize the creation and distribution of poison. Too much BATB fanfiction is poisonous.

Pat wrote:My reaction from reading came from, I guess, the negative visceral aspect that caused me to question how you would face a writer who committed the acts of which you speak.


In person? By asking questions about that writer's work. In a reading group where members are free to discuss a piece of writing at length apart from the presence of the author, I can pursue all manner of personal reactions and interpretations (and I do so passionately, LOL). Any public school reading/literature/composition class does this (or tries to). But when an author is available for interactive dialogue, the purpose of the discussion changes. The focus then is to make the most of an opportunity to explore the author's personal reactions and interpretations to whatever impetus inspired his or her writing. So, in that situation, I ask questions and listen to the author's answers. Of course, in a large group I often simply stay silent and devote my concentration to listening.

Pat wrote:And I think I need to ask what will surely strike you as a bizarre question, perhaps, but what exactly is the Dream to you? I don't wish to assume incorrectly here, as it is so key in your discussion.


In this thread I am using "the Dream" to refer to Ron Koslow's fairy tale canon. I am mourning my perception that fandom is rejecting a model of beauty and love. If you wish to know what what my own dreaming means to me, I have to confess that I don't adhere to only one interpretive Dream for these characters and their worlds. I entertain several simultaneously. But I do adhere to the assumption that these characters and their worlds as Koslow presented them in three seasons of storymaking (plus officially produced auxiliary material) form the seminal and authoritative Dream that trumps all latter-day imitations.

Pat wrote:But this is where I wonder who defines what the truth, beauty, and nobility of the characters actually is?


For these characters, Koslow (and his company of fellow storymakers) defines the characters' truth, beauty, and nobility. Now, my personal definitions of these concepts don't always align with Koslow/Etc.'s. But I take his definitions seriously. Any fanfiction piece I write is a derivative of HIS (as much as I love it, the story is certainly not my) Beauty and the Beast TV series. I work to support Koslow's creation rather than mutate it...or mutilate it. I play with alterations to existing plots and introduce new scenarios...but I do not override Koslow's definitions of his own characters. Yes, every work of fanfiction is a mere reflection of the original model, and thus deviates from it to varying degrees, depending upon the nature of the mirror who creates each reflection. No artist imitates any other artist completely because each person is different from every other person. But no imitator gets to face off against the master artist and truthfully say, "My imitation of your work proclaims a derivative definition of your values that is just as accurate as your original statement of your values." The current climate in fandom makes this very claim, and they are wrong to do so.

How do we go about accurately perceiving an artist's definitions of their own values? By carefully observing what is actually present in their artwork rather than preemptively inserting or assuming elements we might want to be there. Every derivative work lacks authenticity and diminishes its own value unless its creator has exercised humility through a receptive study of the masterwork.

Pat wrote:Is there not potential for disagreement in what these mean about characters?


I don't much care anymore about agreement and disagreement when it comes to interpretations in this fandom. I'm now convinced it's no different than clicking "Like" or "Unlike" on someone's Facebook post (and thank you, Sobi, for bringing that issue to our attention). What is there to talk about when the "meaning" of these characters boils down to: "Well, I like this aspect of Vincent and I don't like (or don't understand) this other aspect. So in my story, I'm going to change what I don't like/understand but I'll still call him 'Vincent.'" If someone else "disagrees" with that revised version of Vincent, what does it matter? Everyone is entitled to their own opinion of what they "like" and "dislike," right? Disagreements end up doing nothing more than advertising personal preferences. Agreements only bolster fanon. If we want to talk about what truth, beauty, and nobility mean for these characters, we first must figure out how to respect the definitions Koslow, et al, gave us in the TV series.

Pat wrote:I think I must take issue with your conclusion that people are insisting that Love in its deepest and purest forms does not/cannot exist...


Then why the collective rejection of the intimate yet chaste romance between the title lovers? Why the degradation of Vincent's inner beauty, the insistence that he is, in effect, emotionally crippled rather than wise and loving? Why the utter misapprehension of Father's love for his people, his way of life, and his sons? Why the resistance to compassion for villainous and even neutral characters, compassion that the heroic characters themselves advocate and enact?

Koslow's model exemplified Love in its deepest and purest forms. We sense that Love at soul-level. That's why the show is so attractive to its fans. Today, however, fandom is doing its utmost to "fix" the story away from the show's trajectories. If one either moves toward love or away from love because there are no other directions, then much of fanon and its products are denying the existence of deep/pure love, even as they misname unlove as "love." We are celebrating ugliness and calling it beautiful.

Do you see why these trends frighten me?

~ Zara
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Re: Love and Unlove in Fanfiction

Post by Maclurv »

I appreciate your patience as I try to understand your perspective. I am mostly there, I think.

I have a proposal. I would like to start a new public thread about:

the model Koslow, et al, gave us to work from is so richly infused with archetypes


It would be helpful for me to know what is discussed about the model from Koslow and the writers that led you to your views. I think it would be helpful for others to see it, rather than just us. Because as I am understanding what you've said, too many fan fiction writers have strayed from the characterizations, from the model, which distorts what the show was supposed to be about, and mostly in a negative way. This in turn promotes this misunderstanding to become the expected norm of the characters, etc, which is, in essence, antithetical to what was intended. So why not start a discussion on what we believe the show was intended to be about, and the how's and why's we see it that way. Can we expose the core of what the artist intended and point out how appreciation of the art can distort or masque what may have been intended by the artist? I think this would be invaluable to many. What think you?

So, for example, let's discuss

Koslow (and his company of fellow storymakers) defines the characters' truth, beauty, and nobility.

Koslow's definitions of his own characters

By carefully observing what is actually present in their artwork



I don't adhere to only one interpretive Dream for these characters and their worlds. I entertain several simultaneously


Head hurting, synapses frying, system shutting downnn..... :D I'm having enough trouble following this discussion, let alone based on simultaneously held different dreams!

Then why the collective rejection of the intimate yet chaste romance between the title lovers? Why the degradation of Vincent's inner beauty, the insistence that he is, in effect, emotionally crippled rather than wise and loving? Why the utter misapprehension of Father's love for his people, his way of life, and his sons?


I have heard you speak of these before. But this one:
Why the resistance to compassion for villainous and even neutral characters, compassion that the heroic characters themselves advocate and enact?


What is this one from?

Speaking for myself, I don't think fans reject the chaste romance as much as wish it to move forward faster. And most of us would have been quite happy just seeing a kiss at the appropriate moment. There is something about an intimate physical touch (more personal than say hand-holding) when such love exists between two characters. And I think part of the reason is because Vincent looked like Vincent did. In my eyes, he resembled more man than animal. (I'm sure this would be a point of discussion in the model! :) ) So while I enjoyed the courting, I needed a tad more because I saw it in their eyes as well. And because on one level the show is a romance, and I put myself in Catherine's place to watch the romance, a kiss is what I wanted (selfish of me, I know!). Does this mean I don't believe in true love? No, but then I don't necessarily equate chaste love with true love either. If I loved someone who was committed to another (and assuming he felt the same about me, but wished to honor his commitment), this would be an example of true love that is chaste. But when two people are in a relationship that is based on true love, then I don't see a problem with showing a little more physical affection, because I saw no real reason to withhold it. And I could live very well with nothing more being shown than kisses (much like childhood cartoons never had anything prior to marriage) and then perhaps a marriage and we see them walk into Vincent's chamber and then fade to black. I would have loved to watch episodes that dealt with those two making a space between their two worlds, dealing with creating a space for themselves together. But alas, it was not to be.

In terms of your second question, that is one reason I am suggesting the new thread, where we can delineate what is said and done, and what it shows about Vincent's character in light of the Koslow's model and his view of Vincent's character (or any other character). As I said before, with my view of Vincent (see above!) I also see more human frailty in him than you. But if we start with a foundation of Koslow's perspective, from as many sources as we can glean, then we/I can go through what is said and done in episodes with those lens, and maybe see things differently.

Again, thanks for being so patient.

Pat
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Re: Love and Unlove in Fanfiction

Post by Zara »

Pat wrote:It would be helpful for me to know what is discussed about the model from Koslow and the writers that led you to your views...But if we start with a foundation of Koslow's perspective, from as many sources as we can glean, then we/I can go through what is said and done in episodes with those lens, and maybe see things differently.


The show led me to my views. The full 3-season story is my model of Love. The model is formed from the actions and dialogue of the characters.

Stuff I read later from Koslow and the other storymakers (actors, producers, writers, stage crew, composers, assorted artists, graphic novelists, etc.) are only icing on the cake. The story defines itself through the episodes. BATBforever is my favorite fan site for this very reason: it presents the episodes via static images and texts for careful examination. My own background in literature, folklore, and religion helped me recognize archetypes in Koslow's masterpiece. That is part of my lens. Another part is letting the episodes speak for themselves.

Pat wrote:I think this would be invaluable to many. What think you?


I think you have understood what I wished to say, and that the in-depth examination you propose is a great idea. However, I cannot join you in a new thread on that topic right now. My plate is full. I cannot take on another task. Any insights you wish you post yourself, however, I would certainly enjoy reading.

Pat wrote:Head hurting, synapses frying, system shutting downnn..... :D I'm having enough trouble following this discussion, let alone based on simultaneously held different dreams!


*chuckles* I'd show you my idea maps, but the papers I used are so big they would not fit on my computer's scanner bed. And if you think that is bad, you should see my work on my own original fantasy worlds. I've been working on those since I was twelve years old. ;)

Pat wrote:I have heard you speak of these before. But this one:

Zara wrote:Why the resistance to compassion for villainous and even neutral characters, compassion that the heroic characters themselves advocate and enact?


What is this one from?


Have you encountered some of the attitudes fans harbor toward characters like Lena, Lisa, and Erika Salven?

Pat wrote:Speaking for myself, I don't think fans reject the chaste romance as much as wish it to move forward faster.


Chaste romance does not "move forward" into unchaste romance at any speed without ceasing to be chaste. The very assumption that relationship "progress" is determined by the introduction of certain types of intimate physical touches over and above other types of intimate physical touches indicates that Koslow's definition of "chaste romance" has been abandoned in favor of a more comfortable/familiar trajectory. The example you mention of hand-holding is a very intimate physical touch within a context that values it so.

Fandom's favored context values only a narrow set of physical contacts in terms of intimacy. Yes, yes, say the fans, that's very sweet, very first-date-courteous. Now get on with it. Get past the chaste, spiritual romance and show us the REAL romance. Show us romantic love the way it's supposed to be. And when "supposed to be" never came, fandom rallied to "fix" that hole in its communal expectations. Koslow did his utmost best to expand the horizons of his audience. He is a very, very brave storyteller. I am not surprised that his dream was too strange to its surrounding culture for most people to appreciate (oy, why do all the really good shows get cancelled, you know?!). But what he and his team DID accomplish was staggering in its beautiful liberation of sexual love from our cultural straitjacket.

Pat wrote:No, but then I don't necessarily equate chaste love with true love either...when two people are in a relationship that is based on true love, then I don't see a problem with showing a little more physical affection, because I saw no real reason to withhold it.


I cannot help you there, except to say that chastity is not about withholding affection, physical or otherwise. It is about choosing to love people in deeply creative ways which are not limited by the distractions inherent to human sexual activity. If we cannot imagine true love apart from those natural priorities and imperatives of sex, we will be unable to accept the reality of an example that shows us a love beyond our imagining. This is about paradigms, worldviews. Koslow's fairy tale paradigm displayed a romance that offers its lovers (and its audience) the gift of a deep and meaningful meditation upon Love. Meditation takes time, patience, attention, dedication, and practice. All things our crazed culture values far less than a thousand other elements of modern life.

Koslow's story says: Vincent and Catherine shared love in its deepest and purest form. Fanon says: No they didn't. They couldn't, because there was not enough kissing+. So differing definitions of true love are in play. Koslow's definition lost. It's very sad.

Pat wrote: I also see more human frailty in him than you.


Maybe. Maybe not. The depth of Vincent's frailty and humanity occupies much of my interest and attention whenever I write about him.

In any case, I so appreciate all your work to ponder and discuss these matters. Many thanks. :)

~ Zara
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Zara
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Re: Love and Unlove in Fanfiction

Post by Zara »

And now I choose to direct my attention toward joy.

I freely rejoice in the fact that this modern fairy story is so lovely and powerful that people have been moved to participate in the storytelling for more than 25 years. I take joy in the websites and other venues that allow fans to share their arts with each other. I take comfort in the knowledge that the persistence of this fandom reveals the active human instinct to love what is beautiful, to do good, and to care about our communities. And I am grateful to know that among the vast annals of fandom's creative efforts, joyful jewels gleam quietly here and there. Some of these I have found and enjoyed, and some I have yet to discover. Yet they are there, and they are a testament to the value of the original work that inspired them.

It is joy which assures me that each good story makes a real difference in the world, in people's lives, in the future we create together. Good stories move us toward love. I am myself humbled by the dedication I've witnessed in those who serve wholeheartedly to infuse this Dream of Love with vibrant life. It's a true honor to participate in this loving tradition. What a joy it's been to explore the communal garden.

Ever meditating upon both the light and the shade,

Zara
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