Monday, December 16, 2013

Caitlin Moran and the Sherlock Fandom

As some of you probably already know, there was a bit of a stir-up in the Sherlock fandom yesterday. For those of you who don't, allow me to fill you in with the short version.

Caitlin Moran was chosen to lead the Q&A portion of the BFI Sherlock Series 3 Preview yesterday. For part of the session, she decided to bring printed copies of a portion of a JohnLock slash fic and had Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman read it out-loud. The two played along, most likely because they didn't want to appear to be divas for refusing, but they quickly became very noticeably uncomfortable, as you would expect. As if this wasn't bad enough, she used this fanfiction without permission of the author, who was humiliated and rightfully angry to see her work mocked and used to make the two actors she admires so uncomfortable. You can find the authors exceptionally classy response to the event here.

Initially, I had intended to write a response discussing how potentially detrimental Moran's thoughtless actions could be to the writing community. However, an insightful Tumblr soul has already summed up everything I could say in a post that you can find here.

Instead, I want to discuss everything that is wrong about mocking a show's fandom- the Sherlock fandom in particular, something Moran has done more than once. I direct you to a tweet from a few days ago:

I won't bother going into the fact that our supposed feminist is accepting "lol ur a virgin" as an insult. I will however say that I was offended to see the fans treated this way simply because they were excited and dedicated to something important to them.

Anyone who is an active member of any fandom, anyone who is passionate about a television show, movie franchise, or book series, knows that we get crap from all directions. We're told we're obsessive, weird, over-involved, over-analyzing. We're taught by society that it is wrong to love what we love the way we love it. That is why we created fandoms; that is why we find each other. 

Caitlin Moran was given the privilege to be a part of the fandom experience, a part of the passion and excitement that revolves around this show we love. Instead, she defiled it by coming into a safe place, a place where we should be free to love the show openly and passionately without the judgement of people who don't understand, and mocking us.

Sherlock means a great deal to me, more than any of my other fandoms, more than any of my other favorite characters. Sherlock is a character I have a very real and very deep connection with. He is a constant reminder that despite every person out there who doesn't understand me, despite every Anderson like Caitlin Moran, there are also John Watsons. 

Caitlin, most of my John Watsons are people I met through my fandoms.

Caitlin, you may be a critic. You may think you are awfully important in the world of television. But let me explain something to you: No matter what you think about a show, no matter what you say or write about a show, the fandom will always be more important than you. A show will not get cancelled because you hated it; a show will not continue because you love it. A show's survival depends on us.

Sherlock is lucky to have one of the most enthusiastic, passionate, and loyal fandoms I have ever seen. Most shows would never last after a 2 year hiatus. Most shows would never dare going on a 2 year hiatus for fear of losing their viewership. But it has been 2 years since Reichenbach and the Sherlock fandom is bigger and stronger than ever. We didn't dwindle away while waiting for the show to return; we continued engaging with it. We made fanart and gif sets. We wrote fanfiction, just like the author you had the audacity to mock at BFI. We re-watched and re-examined those 6 episodes over and over again, coming up with new theories and learning more and more about the characters we loved. We continued to love it and we continued introducing it to other people who we knew would love it too.

 #SherlockLives because we kept him alive. Remember that the next time you consider mocking a fandom.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not a Sherlock fan (although I am sure I would love it if I ever saw the show), but I understand where you are coming from. As a lover of Anime and video games - two fandoms that are often criticized and misunderstood - I've experienced plenty of hell from people. IDK why people can't just let fans be fans.

    Fandoms aside, no one has a right to use anyone's work without their consent. How hard would it had been for her to send an email asking permission? Maybe it's the writer in me, but the fact she didn't ask for permission from the fanfiction's author pisses me off more than anything else.

    ... but accepting #virgins as an humorous insult is infuriating too. We're either prudes or sluts. Women just can't win!