Barb (rahirah) wrote,
Barb
rahirah

I got momentarily sucked into one of the "Ew, gross, there's ship in this gen!" conversations via metafandom the other day, and over the last few weeks I've happened across several other disagreements about characterization. There's an unspoken presumption running through all these arguments that the person who interprets canon or character differently than you do is doing so not because they honestly see canon and character in that way, but because they really, really want to annoy you. Secretly they know that you're right, and all that subtext stuff they keep yammering on about? They're making it up.

The ironic thing is, I'm fairly sure that the gen person I was talking to assumed that when I was talking about my own stuff, I must be referring to some UC probably-slash pairing. It's an understandable assumption, because I think that the ways in which Barbverse (and quite a few other long S/B stories or series which began pre-S6) differs from canon are very similar to the ways in which a so-called first or second-wave slash story differs from canon. (Which just goes to show, IMO, that canon/UC is a much more sensible way to divide up ships than slash/het.)

However, no matter how diligently one shows one's work, no author is ever going to convince all readers that theirs is the way, the truth, and the light. The story I see as perfectly canonical and beautifully in character, someone else will dismiss as completely OOC and unconvincing. Sometimes I may be able to see where they're coming from, even if I don't entirely agree with it; other times I have no choice but to shake my head and back slowly away, because obviously we're living on different planets and the gravitational effects are bound to get messy.

The thing that few people on either side of these arguments seems to want to acknowledge is that other people really do see the source differently. And stories don't come in nice discrete categories any more than readers do. Stories are messy and sprawl all over the lines we try to draw around them. Any attempt to classify every single story as A or B, Column 1 or Column 2, is doomed to failure. We can't even agree on what exactly A and B are.

I'm not saying classification isn't useful. It is. But it's not an exact science. We'll all be better off relaxing and accepting that life and literature are both full of square pegs and round holes, and not everything will fit where we want to put it.
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