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What Does It Mean to Say that Slash is (or isn't) Subversive? - Mo's Journal — LiveJournal
January 22nd, 2007
05:12 pm

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What Does It Mean to Say that Slash is (or isn't) Subversive?

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From:mofic
Date:January 23rd, 2007 01:42 am (UTC)
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Also, you suggested in a comment above that a "canon that is accepting of slash can't be subverted."

No, or at least I didn't mean to. What I meant to say was that *if* one views slash as subversive only of authorial intent (which is not how I view it at all) then canon accepting of slash can't be subverted. I was trying to understand/reflect/express a view not my own. Sorry that wasn't clear.

Still, that said, you make good points about the ability to subvert authorial intent by the kinds of characterizations, even if the idea of slash is accepted by the author. I have to think about that one some more.

Oh, and doesn't slash subvert conventional hierarchies about appropriate means of consumption and production only to the extent that all fanfic does? I mean, I do see fanfic as inherently subversive of the system of distribution of pop culture and of a consumer culture (we do it for free!) but I don't see that as particular to slash.

Thanks for dropping by with intriguing thoughts! And thanks to blue_braces for pointing you my way.
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From:unsymbolic
Date:January 23rd, 2007 08:24 am (UTC)
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was trying to understand/reflect/express a view not my own. Sorry that wasn't clear.

*headdesk* On second reading, it was.-- I was just skimming the first time and missed it. Boo on my careless reading.

But I offer a further thought on subverting authorial intent as well, this inspired by Eve Sedgwick's famous query by a hypothetical queer reader encountering a (potentially queer) text: "What if the 'right' audience for this is me exactly?" (In other words, what if the author(s) of the text intended that the subtext resonate with readers who are just enough "in the know" to be clued in, but not enough to let those who don't want to know in on the secret?) Seems to me that insofar as slash (as in a fan text that makes explicit a perceived implicit homoerotic tension in the original text) takes the sly wink or the queer code-word and explodes it into fully realized eroticism, it can be subverting a dominant reading even as it is aligning the original and fan authors as 'partners in crime.' Given the historical importance of codes/coding in the history of queer communities in the West, it seems worth acknowledging that subverting the author('s intent) and subverting along with the author not be seen as mutually exclusive possibilities.

Also, doesn't slash subvert conventional hierarchies about appropriate means of consumption and production only to the extent that all fanfic does? I mean, I do see fanfic as inherently subversive of the system of distribution of pop culture and of a consumer culture (we do it for free!) but I don't see that as particular to slash.

On one level, yes I agree that it's true of fanfic in general. But I also think that there's something specific (or specifically important) to slash in the way that slash texts point to (and potentially complicate/question) the gendered nature of values that capitalism attaches to production and (sexual) reproduction. (i.e. the worker must reproduce hir own labor power each day and also from generation to generation, so we might usefully question the work done by texts that imagine sexually nonreproductive same sex couples as paradigmatic or omnipresent b/c the characters in the text don't (re)produce in socially prescribed ways... mpreg notwithstanding, of course). Just adds another layer to the way fan texts might subvert consumer culture, b/c it's not just a matter of fan's activities as readers and writers, it's the subjects being written and read about. :)
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From:mofic
Date:January 23rd, 2007 02:46 pm (UTC)
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Seems to me that insofar as slash (as in a fan text that makes explicit a perceived implicit homoerotic tension in the original text) takes the sly wink or the queer code-word and explodes it into fully realized eroticism, it can be subverting a dominant reading even as it is aligning the original and fan authors as 'partners in crime.' Given the historical importance of codes/coding in the history of queer communities in the West, it seems worth acknowledging that subverting the author('s intent) and subverting along with the author not be seen as mutually exclusive possibilities.

I think this is a very important point and so well stated. May I quote you?
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From:unsymbolic
Date:January 29th, 2007 07:14 pm (UTC)
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Meep! Sorry! I dropped off the internetz for a few days. If you still want to quote me, you most certainly may. *is flattered*
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