Episode 21: Trash Ships and Fandom IRL

Episode 21’s cover: a dumpster on fire.

Flourish and Elizabeth split the episode between two different topics. First they talk to Fansplaining regular Destination Toast about her recent Star Wars shipping statistical analysis (during which Flourish declares herself Captain Of The Garbage Scow). Then they talk to Alexa Donne of Leviosa about the task of running a fan convention, including the importance of accountants, market realities, and how much the Harry Potter community loves to drink.


Show Notes

  • As always, our intro music is “Awel,” by Stefsax.

  • The author who didn’t make it on is Anna Breslaw, and here’s the cover, and you can buy it now!

The book cover for  Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here  by Anna Breslaw.
A graph showing that Kylux fic tends to be rated Explicit or Mature, whereas Stormpilot fic tends to be rated Teen or General.
  • The interstitial music is Rey’s Theme from Star Wars: The Force Awakens!

  • You can find out about Leviosa @leviosacon, at leviosacon on Twitter, and http://www.leviosa.org! Or just register here.

  • Not kidding about hard drinking. Their Tumblr is filled with drink recipes:

A recipe card for Romilda Vane’s Lovetini. Ingredients: 3oz whipped cream vodca, 1oz chocolate liqueur, 1oz Bailey’s Irish Cream, 1/4oz Kahlua, and a splash of cream. Directions: Add ingredients to an ice filled shaker. Shake well for 30 seconds. Strain into a martini glass. Make sure intended object of affection receives drink instead of thieving roommate.
  • The “extra hour in the ball pit” joke comes from DashCon, a famous failed convention. It kinda became a meme.

  • Guys look at that packed programming schedule! :o

  • The interstitial music is “Do The Hippogriff” from the Goblet of Fire movie. And you thought fan-made wrock was silly…

  • The outro music is “Fireworks” from the Order of the Phoenix score.


[Intro music]

Flourish Klink: Hi Elizabeth!

Elizabeth Minkel: Hi, Flourish!

FK: And welcome to Fansplaining, the podcast by, for, and about fandom!

ELM: Episode 21— “Tr—” [splutters]

FK: “Trash Ships…”

ELM: “Trash Ships and Fandom IRL.” This is a kind of a split episode, two somewhat unrelated topics. So last time we said that we were gonna be joined by Anna Breslaw, who is my friend who wrote that book about fanfiction, it’s a YA novel called Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here, now available for purchase. And we’ve both read it, I’ve read the final version…

FK: And we loved it!

ELM: Yeah, so, just FYI, that’s a rec for you.

FK: But she wasn’t able to join us.

ELM: Yeah, hoping to have her on in the next few episodes, no promises, cross your fingers, because it’s a great book and we wanna talk to her about it. And I’m not just saying that cause I’m in the acknowledgments.

FK: No, because I read it and I was really doubtful and skeptical and then I got to the end and I was like, “I identify with this book far more than I identified with the protagonist of Fangirl,” so I’m in.

ELM: Because of course we have to pit the two novels, YA novels about fangirls against each other.

FK: When there’s more than two, then we don’t have to pit them against each other.

ELM: Yeah, we don’t even have to do it now. Do you remember when Broad City came out and there were like, all these articles comparing it to Girls, and everyone was like, “Or maybe they’re both good in different ways!” That being said I don’t like Girls, so.

FK: I think we’ve established that you’re a better person than I am many times.

ELM: [laughs] OK, I’ll take it.

FK: I’m just saying.

ELM: I’ll take it!

FK: Anyway, so instead, we’re gonna be first having Destination Toast on, to talk about some recent stats she’s done, and then we’re gonna be talking to Alexa, one of the con runners for Leviosa, a Harry Potter con that is happening later this month [sic, actually “year”] about the convention experience.

ELM: Actually, this is the one that I mentioned at the end of the last episode and can I say, in a further pluggy way, I’m now apparently gonna be on like five panels? So you should definitely come to see me not know what I’m doing. Apparently I’m gonna lead a roundtable about Remus/Sirius as a ship!

FK: You’re gonna rock that roundtable. You love Remus/Sirius. In fact, guys, she’s wearing a shirt right now that says “Remus and Sirius 5Ever.” Literally as we speak.

ELM: It’s from the Harry Potter Alliance! We love them. Yeah, I wore it because we’re recording on the day of the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts where Remus Lupin, spoiler, was killed—

FK: You’re like one of those people who’s running through the streets the day the book came out with the SNAPE KILLS DUMBLEDORE signs.

ELM: [whispers] Spoiler! Flourish, I think actually I already told this story but it didn’t make it onto the final cut. But I told you what I did when I picked up the seventh book, right?

FK: You read the last page?

ELM: No! I’m not a monster. Is that what you did?

FK: I actually read the seventh book pirated.

ELM: Wow.

FK: Because I already knew it wasn’t gonna be canon in my head.

ELM: So, I had heard all these stories about how people were waiting on line for the sixth book and people would, like, drive past and shout that Snape kills Dumbledore, right? So I was utterly convinced—and in the end, there was really not that much to spoil in that realm!—but I was so convinced that the first person on the line at the Borders in Saratoga Springs, New York was going to open to the very end and, like, shout something out. So I brought my tape player or whatever it was, it was 2007 so it was probably an MP3 player, and I encouraged my friend to do it as well, and we listened to music loudly while we waited on line. That’s how much we didn’t want spoilers.

FK: My God.

ELM: And in the end, it didn’t even matter. What were they going to spoil? Every man who ever looked at any other woman in this book would probably marry her? That’s it. That’s the only thing I got from it.

FK: Yeah, and immediately too. [ELM laughs] So that they can produce babies. Anyway, so all that is to say that we’re gonna be having a fun time talking to Alexa, but first we need to talk to Toast, so why don’t we call Destination Toast?

ELM: We’re gonna talk to Toast specifically about Star Wars statistics, and so if you happen to have caught Toast’s stats about fanfic post-The Force Awakens, you're—

FK: Way ahead of the game.

ELM: …in for a treat? I don’t know.

FK: So why don’t we take a quick break, and then call Toast.

ELM: Perfect, let’s do it.

[Interstitial music]

FK: All right! I think it’s time to welcome Toasty to the podcast! Hey, Toast!

Destination Toast: Hi!

ELM: Hi! Welcome back!

DT: Yay! Thanks.

ELM: OK so! Context for how these numbers came about. A couple weekends ago, I guess at this point, I was talking to a fandom friend and she was giving some observations about the things she sees on her dash, the trends she sees. And she wanted to start a conversation; some of the things she suggested were very wrong, like she was saying that Supernatural was dead, and I was like “Oh! I know that’s not true.” And I added Destination Toast cause I was like, “Oh, I remember from last year Supernatural was still chugging away at a massive rate.” Is that correct?

DT: Yeah, that’s totally true. So mostly these stats were about Star Wars and I didn’t really realize they started with questions mostly about Supernatural, which is hilarious… but…

ELM: That’s how I added you! Don’t you remember that part, I was like “No, we need data!”

DT: Yes.

FK: Captain Data to the rescue!

ELM: Yeah, that’s what I’m gonna do from now on! So we all started talking about our thoughts and feelings about what we thought was going on. And you split and this conversation went on for a thousand hours, Flourish got involved, a million other people, and you came back hours later and you were like “Here! Here, some charts!” [DT laughs uproariously]

FK: “I have committed charts!”

ELM: Yeah! And you had analyzed, it was AO3 activity mostly, right? Since The Force Awakens came out?

DT: Yeah, AO3 and Tumblr were the main ones, but lots about AO3. My experience of this was, I was working on a really tough section of my novel and you pinged me saying “Hey, we should have some data!” And I went, “Oh, I see Star Wars in here! I’ve been wanting to do some stats on Star Wars. Statscrastination!” So I totally went and got a bunch of data about Star Wars.

Along the way, I did in fact answer the question about how dead is Supernatural right now, the answer is not at all. Star Wars is either the second or the third biggest fandom behind Supernatural and Marvel depending on how you count, if you umbrella everything in Marvel together then Marvel’s certainly the biggest.

FK: OK, so the stats in question were about the relative popularity of different ships in Star Wars over time, right?

DT: Yes. I mostly, I started out look at, OK, is Star Wars actually really popular? It is. I only compared it to other fandoms on AO3, but Tumblr’s Fandometrics also says that it’s been incredibly popular on Tumblr. So I feel pretty safe in saying: super popular, but then most of the other questions that people had were about which ships were popular, because everyone’s seeing different ships on their dash depending on who they follow. So some people are like “Oh, it’s all Reylo!” Rey and Kylo Ren. And some people are, “It’s all Stormpilot!” Finn and Poe. And some people said “It’s just all Kylux at this point!” Kylo Ren and Hux. And this was where I thought it was funny that we all had such different experiences and went off to try and figure out what was going on with the ships.

FK: That’s really interesting. So just to repeat back to you some of that to make sure I have it, right now the data we’re looking at is from the Archive of our Own and some confirmation from Tumblr, so we’re not talking about fanfiction.net particularly, or Wattpad, or the rest of the internet, who knows what’s going on there, although we can probably make an educated guess that Star Wars is really popular. [DT laughs]

ELM: I encountered very early on in the newsletters, in early January, my newsletter partner Gav did some Star Wars recs, and I wanna say one, maybe two of the five or six were more like drabbles. They were like short ficlets, on Tumblr itself. I wonder how much of that is not gonna get captured if people—we talked in the past about how Tumblr tagging isn’t consistent and precise and so that can be hard. I wonder how much that impacts stats, especially shorter stuff like that.

DT: Right. Totally. I think fans post different types of things on different platforms; Tumblr definitely gets a bunch of smaller ficlets and the tagging is really different, so. What I started out trying to do was I looked at Archive of our Own because of good tagging and good access to how things have been changing over time, and I looked at how each of these ships—how popular it’s been in every week since the movie came out, and then I went and compared it to Tumblr, where I also can get the data over time, and looked at how the popularity of all these ships has changed on Tumblr since then.

And I did try and sanity check a bit and—or not even sanity check; Fanfiction.net and Wattpad are often wildly different from each other and the other ones. So I tried to actually go look at those two; I do have a little bit of data from those, but mostly they don’t let you try and do the sort of looking at trends over time, so I just had a little bit of a snapshot of what’s popular there right now. So it’s totally mostly Archive of our Own and some of what’s different on Tumblr.

FK: OK, so what was the result?

DT: Data! Yay! We saw a really interesting pattern that I haven’t seen before when looking at shipping development in other fandoms, where in AO3 in particular Stormpilot had this huge surge of popularity right at the beginning and then dropped off pretty substantially and abruptly, like a month later. I caveat this by saying it’s still one of the most popular ships right now, because Star Wars is so huge and it didn’t go away as a ship, but it’s way less popular than it was right at first.

ELM: It was really—I was just thinking today because someone tagged me in other data charts, and I was like “I don’t know how to read this,” but I’m seeing them and, oh, I know how to read that. It was plummeting. It just dropped.

DT: Yeah.

FK: So it used to be like Godzilla but now it’s, like, an African elephant or a killer whale or something. [DT laughs] Still enormous—

ELM: What useless—

FK: Still enormous, but not, like, city-tromping.

ELM: Why did you need that metaphor, Flourish? [DT laughs more]

FK: It’s not useless!

ELM: “It used to be like a breadbox and now it’s like a butter dish!” Well, yeah, OK…

FK: They’re both big animals!

ELM: Oh, big, OK, I got it, big. It’s all relative, I guess. [laughs]

DT: Right, so when it was, like, the really big animal, I forgot what really big animal you said— [all laughing]

ELM: Godzilla! Godzilla.

DT: When it was Godzilla, it plummeted down from producing over 250 works per week to being maybe a third of that or something more recently. So it’s just this really amazing meteoric rise and then drop off that is unusual from what I have seen with ships, that combo.

So Kylo Ren and Hux, that combo, has risen on AO3 much more slowly, but has surpassed—I mean, “slowly,” this is all pretty recent, right? But still—rose a lot more slowly at first but it surpassed Stormpilot to be right now the most active ship on AO3.

FK: Whaaaaat.

DT: I know! The relative popularity of Reylo actually varies more depending on the platform.

ELM: Because AO3 is more likely to be slash-heavy?

DT: AO3 is slash-heavy, yeah. So Kylux is most popular there, and Reylo also kind of had an earlier rise but has leveled out around the same as—Pin Foe? No. Where Finn/Poe is now at. But on Tumblr, Reylo is maybe the most popular, or maybe tied with Kylux. And on Tumblr I was only looking at the most popular tag for each one. I wish Tumblr had tag wranglers but they don’t; I tried to do a sanity check that this didn’t disproportionately hurt Stormpilot because of the different tags for it, and it doesn’t seem like it changes the results a ton. But, it is hard to say, “Oh, Reylo’s definitely the most active right now,” or anything like that.

ELM: Wait, did you look at, for Tumblr did you look at individual characters?

DT: I could, but I have not done that yet.

ELM: I would think that part of this is Kylo Ren seems to be—this is just my dash talking, and I’ve been saying that Kylux is my joke ship, it’s mostly just because I like Domnhall Gleeson. But Kylo Ren, it’s chilling out on my dash right now, but I saw so many posts about just him, and they’d be like, “What a precious!” And I’d be like, “Oh God…” I like all of ‘em, but don’t do this to me. I just can’t… That’s fine. People can like him and find Adam Driver charming, I don’t judge. I do a little. But I don’t 100%. So. But I’d be curious to know—that character does seem to be the, he’s in two of these ships that are big and people seem really drawn to his character.

DT: Right. We definitely see that on AO3, I also looked at the popularity of all of the characters involved with all of these ships, and Kylo Ren definitely had a slightly later surge than, like, Finn and Poe and Rey, but has really really skyrocketed compared to the other characters in terms of their popularity. And so, I think a similar thing could be driving a bunch of this on Tumblr, but I’m curious; I haven’t done that breakdown yet.

ELM: OK, so takeaways?

FK: So the things that we can take away from the data, without trying to come up with reasons for why these things are the case, it seems like Finn/Poe: really hot at first, still really really hot but has cratered from where it once was where it was like Godzilla trampling on the cities of our fanfic.

ELM: You’re just not gonna give this metaphor up, are you.

FK: I’m not gonna give it up. I’m fully married to it. Kylux has risen; Reylo, more popular in places that are not AO3 in comparison to the AO3; still, very popular. Peaked earlier on AO3 than elsewhere but has nevertheless become very popular. So at this point, Finn/Poe and Kylux and Reylo, all about the same popularity? In a macro sense?

DT: At this particular point, about the same popularity, I would say that on AO3 Kylux is way more popular than the other two and on Tumblr Stormpilot is way less popular than the other two relatively speaking. A couple other quick takeaways that jumped out at me, on fanfiction.net there’s lots of het ships that are way more popular than slash ships, like Anakin and Padmé has got a ton of works, next most popular after Reylo. So, it’s different about Fanfiction.net.

Also, Jedistormpilot! My OT3 in this fandom to the extent that I am a member—


DT: Finn, Poe and Rey together are actually doing amazingly well for a poly ship, and just popular, quite popular overall. They’re equalling Han and Leia, which is a canon het ship, in their production, pretty much.

FK: A beloved canon het ship!

DT: Yes, yes! And so—

FK: Like to the extent of—yeah, that’s amazing. That’s so beloved to the extent that my mother in law got me and my husband Han and Leia like, little dolls to suggest…that we’re meant for each other and also nerds?

ELM: Wow.

DT: Wow.

FK: It was really cute, but when it’s achieved that status…that’s wild.

ELM: Flourish, maybe when we finally make our love triangle real—

FK: You’ll be Luke?

ELM: —she’ll get us Jedistormpilot figures.

FK: Aww, that’s so cute!

ELM: Wow, you really embraced that! That was surprising.

FK: Aw, but are you Finn or Poe? Cause I’m definitely Rey.

ELM: I’ll think about that! I would like to be—I think I would like to be Poe? I don’t know.

FK: I think you’d be Poe.

DT: Can I be Finn? He’s my favorite.

ELM: Yes! You can join the love triangle we already have. [all laugh] Just get rid of Nick! That’s fine. Perfect.

DT: See? Problem solved.

ELM: [sighs] OK. What about Rey and Finn, which is I think the het ship that is probably most likely?

FK: And it’s super cute! I’m on board.

ELM: I don’t wanna be dismissive of obvious het ships, and it’s not boring plastic white people basic het ship either. I’d be really really excited—

FK: Are you calling Han and Leia a boring plastic white people basic het ship? Because I’ll end you.

ELM: I was thinking more about the rest of media and, like, what I’m about to see in the MCU in a few days, cause I saw some spoilers earlier today…

FK: Oh no, I haven’t been spoiled for that and now that makes me sad.

ELM: I’m not gonna tell you who it is.

FK: I’m the one who loves spoilers and yet that makes me sad.

ELM: Yeah, I was a little sad to see it too. So. Yeah, or anything—I just think it’s rare enough that you get a protagonist of color, and so, obviously that would be super exciting. Also, I am clearly gunning for the slash ship, but that’s just me, so.

FK: Well, if it doesn’t happen they would have to either go hard on the Reylo, which I think is extremely unlikely, or otherwise, we’re gonna have—

ELM: I’m sorry, why does Rey need to be with any of these men, Flourish?

FK: No, what I’m saying is we’re gonna have some of the protagonists in a relationship with at least one person of color involved, because that’s who the protagonists are!

ELM: Sure, but can’t Rey just be a strong woman and let her march off into the sandy places that everyone seems to live in in these movies? [DT giggles]

FK: Or we could have a happy threesome.

ELM: Alright, either way. So not a lot of that, what seems to be the most canonically supported ship, however you define that—I don’t know.

DT: OK, so I just sort of artificially did a cut-off at the top 5 ships when I was doing my graphs and stuff, but Finn and Rey together are actually pretty close to Jedistormpilot, the two of them plus Poe. So they’re actually reasonably popular, just on AO3, also, and I haven’t pulled the numbers from anywhere else, but I think that would be really interesting to do so. Cause I totally agree, I came out of there being “Oh, that’s so awesome! They’re obviously going to be the canon ship,” if there is a canon ship, to come.

So I’d hope and expect that we’d see a bunch of stuff for them on Tumblr, but I don’t have the numbers.

ELM: All right, so. Here are some takeaways, like, after you look at the numbers, you talk about what you see in them, obviously people are going to have their theories. So I think the thing that needs to be foregrounded in this discussion is the obvious thing, I’m guessing this jumped out for you guys, it definitely jumped out for people who encountered it when you posted the stats: the fact that, as I saw it written, the “space Nazi ship” is more popular than—than a number of ships, but specifically the comparison I’m seeing has been between Finn/Poe and Kylux. The space Nazis are more popular than the ship of color.

FK: Which is pretty, which is also notable because there’s not even any of the same characters involved, so it’s not like—

ELM: It’s not like you picked one or the other.

FK: Right.

ELM: I did see some people saying that about Finn and Rey versus—oh my God, their names are so short, it’s all confusing—Reylo versus Finn and Rey. Anyway, we talked about this in advance because it’s been such a flash point and I think rightly so.

Obviously racism in fandom and in fanfiction fandom is a huge issue and a fraught topic. And so we didn’t really feel comfortable, obviously we can theorize about this till the end of time, but we are—in case you don’t know, we are three white women discussing this. So Flourish and I were talking about this beforehand and we actually think this should be the topic of the next episode. So we would love if anyone has any interest at all, got a couple weeks to put this together, talking with us, even if it’s just for—it doesn’t have to be a long segment, just five or ten minutes, a couple questions about their perspective.

We’d love fans of color in particular to talk about their experiences, whether you’ve been around for a long time or you’re relatively new to fandom. Actually, I would love a diversity of perspectives on that front too, because obviously I’ve seen people referencing RaceFail, which is something that happened in 2009, I wanna say.

FK: And it definitely—when I saw someone reference that and I realized a lot of people were not around for that, I was like, woah.

ELM: Tons of people were not around for that!

FK: Of course! This should be obvious! But it’s not!

ELM: So yeah. Obviously everyone comes with a different perspective. And I don’t want to say any—there’s no monolith here. So if you are at all interested in talking to us, or if you wanna write, write to us, fansplaining at gmail, fansplaining at Tumblr and Twitter, leave us an ask, any of this stuff, we really want to talk about this. It doesn’t have to be about Star Wars.

FK: Yeah, and I think we should add that we’re gonna be reaching out to some people, too, so hopefully we’ll be able to get a real diversity of perspectives on this.

ELM: Yeah, I don’t wanna—I just went off on someone recently for asking people in marginalized groups to educate them. It’s like, “I just wanna learn! Tell me about that!” And it’s like, literally no one owes you anything. So I don’t want anyone to feel like we are, you know, demanding your perspectives and time to educate. But if you wanna share your perspectives.

FK: Right. But on the other hand we also don’t want to be a trio of white women talking about race, we would like to raise up other voices as well.

ELM: Beyond aspects of race, also I saw that old chestnut slash versus het, I also don’t wanna go there…

FK: Put up your dukes! Put ’em up, put ’em up, put ’em up!

ELM: That’s one that we could actually do with just the two of us, as one slash and one het writer…

FK: But we don’t want to have that end in tears.

ELM: It already has, Flourish. And I think we both have valid points and someday we’re gonna have that discussion.

FK: Someday.

ELM: Someday. I have some theories that are about mainstreaming and the media, and if we have time to get to those, I’m sure—I’ll let you all know how I feel about this. And that’s one of the first reactions to this I think that we saw, you and I were both on that thread with one of Flourish’s coworkers, I think.

DT: Yep.

ELM: Where she was like, “Well, it was a sudden drop based on the fact that John Boyega—” it was because Oscar Isaac had said “Oh yeah, maybe it’s gonna happen,” wink wink, in the initial press. And then about a month later John Boyega was like, “Oh, it’s all in Oscar Isaac’s head.” And that was kinda exactly the moment that the plummet happened. So that’s a question too.

DT: Right, and that’s really interesting and—yeah, I want to hear your theories about mainstreaming at some point, because I sort of dismissed that when a couple people brought it up at first, just because so often people don’t regard the creators’ words about whether something will be canon as a major influence about shipping or not. But super interesting timing.

FK: Also on the other hand there’s plenty of other people who are—isn’t this one of the classic arguments between old fans and newer fans, right? Like: there’s a narrative that newer fans are interested in canonicity and old fans don’t care.

ELM: Well, I mean, in my discussions with people I often find it to be…it doesn’t necessarily fall on those lines, but I find those to be true trend-wise.

FK: I’m not saying it’s not true, I’m just saying…

DT: That’s fascinating. I’d love to hear more about that.

FK: I don’t have any data about that, to prove it. Since we’re talking with Toasty.

ELM: Yeah. And if we have time we can get into that; if not you can read my 100,000 articles about the mainstreaming of fanfiction on the internet.

FK: But the other thing that came up with regard to this…

ELM: Yes, this is the one that we wanted to discuss a bit.

FK: Which is the thing that I…I’m gonna introduce it because I rolled into this discussion I was like, “BOOM, guys!”

ELM: Rolled, Flourish? Rolled?

FK: [puzzled] I rolled into the discussion…?

ELM: Cinnamon rolled?

FK: [groans, then in a faux-sexy voice] Oh, I’m the opposite of a cinnamon roll, honey.

ELM: JESUS! You said that in such a, it was like you were doing a bad reading for the Fifty Shades of Grey movie.

FK: That was the—that was—

ELM: Was that what you were going for? [DT laughing in the background]

FK: You noticed the joke.

ELM: I’m really proud. [FK laughs] I’m glad it worked.

FK: So they’re all debating these things and someone brings up the idea of cinnamon roll ships versus trash ships. Which, if I understand it correctly, means that there are some ships that are about family and love and happiness—whether that is a poly family like in Jedistormpilot or whether it’s the One Big Happy Weasley Family thing from the Harry Potter world, which is all about heteronormative people with children—

ELM: Which to clarify, the One Big Happy Weasley Family thing was actually the epilogue-compliant pairings that—

FK: Yes. Yes. J.K. Rowling is an adherent to the One Big Happy Weasley Family idea. And the epilogue—epilogue, what epilogue? So I rolled in and I was like “Hey guys, the garbage scow is here!” Because, uh, for those of you who don’t know, not only am I a het trash ship devotee, I also legitimately was a Snape/Hermione shipper who went on to marry her professor. So perhaps I am the person who your mother warned you about in the world of, you know, when people are doing the concern troll thing with Reylo, and they’re like “If you write this then you’re gonna turn out wrong and bad!” Welp.

So anyway, I am probably the captain of the garbage scow, so I rolled up and I was really excited to talk about how the entire concept of trash ships is kind of a rhetorical stance that we choose so people don’t criticize us for things and, like, I don’t know, I don’t entirely believe in the trash versus cinnamon roll dichotomy, but I also find it useful.

ELM: Revisionist history! No, revisionist history. You rolled up and you were like “I don’t think that exists.” I have receipts, Flourish. This was like five days ago.

FK: Well, I think that people—I mean, it would be silly to say that trash ships don’t exist in the sense that people don’t say there are trash ships, because I think people say that all the time, as is evidenced by everything ever. But, I don’t think that it exists that there are ships that can ever only be trash.

DT: So this is the thing that I find confusing, as someone who’s read a hell of a lot of John and Sherlock, where sometimes they’re cinnamon rolls and sometimes they’re pretty morally not good people, and trashy themselves. So I’m used to every ship that I’ve read, mostly that one [all laugh] encompassing the full spectrum of possibilities. Although I have seen people debate in fandom over, like, whether the ship or the characters are cinnamon rolls or what have you. But to me it surprises me that people would want to assign that label to an entire ship.

ELM: Well, why is that that surprising, if people do it with characters? It’s just times two or three.

DT: No, I mean that surprises me too. I’m like, why are we having this debate about whether Sherlock is a dark fuck prince or a sad gay baby? [all laugh]

ELM: [very serious] OH NO. Don’t start that one again. Oh God.

DT: Sorry!

ELM: I like, that was just a visceral reaction. I was like… [makes horrified noise]

FK: Can’t he be both?

DT: Yes! Exactly! I don’t really understand why… [laughing]

ELM: But why does any character need a label like this, either? I also feel like when I love a ship, and I’m currently lovin’ a ship, and you look at a giant rec—I’m reading oneperson’s Harry/Draco rec list, which is amazing. You know, it’s a giant list with like 18,000 categories and these different reads. Like, this character is one way, and this way is another, and this way is this, this way’s that. And that’s one of the beautiful things about fanfiction to me, you can have all these different reads and it still feels like it’s all part of a big conversation. Even if, as the way I often write my ships, both people are really morally ambivalent. That’s what I prefer.

FK: Yeah, I mean, this was part of my first point which had to do with the Snape/Hermione thing which I jokingly refer to as a trash ship. Because, you know, helpful hint, people on Tumblr really hate Snape and they want him to die in 500 fires.

ELM: He’s kind of an MRA, Flourish.

FK: [scornfully] Yeah, in book six.

ELM: Seven.

FK: Which is not canon in my mind because, why would I accept that into my mind as canon. [DT & ELM laughing] But, so people—what?

ELM: That’s amazing that you’re just like “No, not those two.”

FK: That’s not, that’s not my canon! Forget “epilogue, what epilogue,” I’m “Book Seven, what Book Sevem,” guys.

ELM: Six, though! You’d think you wanna keep Snape Book Six. He has a lot of complexity and it’s interesting.

FK: Eh… [doubtfully]

ELM: Whatever! Seven just gives you more to work with. More to like, you know.

FK: Right, but my point is basically this: so when I say Snape/Hermione is a trash ship, it’s a way of getting out ahead of the people on Tumblr and being like “Look guys, I know that #myfaveisproblematic. Deal with it!” Right? Yea, OK, whatever, I’m a dumpster fire, I’m a garbage scow full of rats and pain and…you know…the shredded remains of your childhood, right? Deal with it!

ELM: [a little awed] You’re, you’re troubled, Flourish. [DT laughs]

FK: But that doesn’t mean, that’s a rhetorical stance people take in order to defend what they’re doing. And it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the content of the fic. I can rec you, in fact I did rec you like five really fluffy and cuddly Snape/Hermione fanfics that are about Snape just wanting to be loved and basically being a giant woobie cinnamon roll underneath all the Death Eater shit.

DT: So yeah, that makes a lot of sense to me as a defensive posturing, basically, or protection against a bunch of criticism, but I think that it’s true that it doesn’t always describe a bunch of stuff that’s written about in the ship. I just looked up—dun dun dun! Stats on the go!—I just looked up the top tags, additional tags for the Kylux ship and fluff is number one, so I think there’s also a bunch of angst and BDSM and alternate universes and things, but they have a lot of fluff written about them, just like other ships. Even if people are saying that a trash ship is maybe partly to go write really dark things.

FK: Right, and clearly if the cinnamon roll of Finn/Poe was as cinnamon roll-y as all that—as if every ship was cinnamon roll-y, then there wouldn’t be some of the discussions of sexual kink and so forth that we see happening because those things wouldn’t be cinnamon roll-y. So.

DT: Right.

FK: If you think of trash ships as being erotic and cinnamon roll ships as being fuzzy friendly cuddly family, clearly that’s not the case either, right?

DT: Yeah, I think that’s not totally the case. I did actually look at which of the ships was the most explicit; Kylux is definitely producing the more explicit shit…

FK: Duh! Defeated by the data!

DT: Than Stormpilot.

ELM: And really tall shiny boots. [all laughing]

FK: Like jackboots?

ELM: They’re like space Nazis. They have jackboots.

FK: Like the—oh, no.

ELM: You’re on your way to being a Kylux shipper, I can tell.

DT: Reylo is also producing more smut than—this is all AO3 only. But, both of them are producing higher percentages of—it goes Kylux and then Reylo and then Stormpilot, and they average overall about like the rest of AO3 for smut production.

FK: I just like that one of our metrics is “smut production.” [all laugh]

DT: It’s an important metric! One of the reasons I looked at this, though, was explicit fic stands out from the other categories in that it gets way more kudos, usually, per fic, on average, than the other ratings do. And so knowing that in the past, I was curious how much explicit fic does each of the ships have, and given that, do you see a corresponding bump of like more kudos for Kylux? Because a bunch of people were predicting, like, all sorts of different things. Like “Oh, Stormpilot would have more kudos, though.” Or Kylux would because it’s all smut, or what have you.

So I looked at kudos production for each of them, and just for fics that were updated in the past month, so all around the same time to gather kudos. Actually, they all have the same average kudos. It’s like 75-80 average kudos, which is like four times as much as AO3 overall. Star Wars and all the ships are very popular right now. But that’s interesting, because that means that even though it’s less smutty on average, the smut production is lower, Stormpilot is still getting really rewarded by its readers. And whether that’s, whether that would be even higher if Stormpilot was smuttier, or whether that’s what they want, is just less smut—it’s not at all clear from that stat. But it’s really interesting.

ELM: So I guess you could say if people are subscribing to the cinnamon/trash dichotomy, if it’s a cinnamon roll ship, that’s satisfying. I don’t know, it’s unclear to me, if people did a big giant survey with thousands of people—I was talking with Flourish about this the other day—what kudos even mean. If I don’t like a fic, I back out of it. If I read to the end, I almost always give it a kudos. Because, great! Done. Good. And it’s funny because sometimes I’m like “LOVE THAT!” And I wish that—that’s when I should just write a keyboard smashing comment. But I’m working my way up to being brave enough to do that.

FK: Whereas by contrast I only kudos a fic if I actually like it, like really like it.

ELM: So we’re useless, we’re canceling each other out.

FK: Yeah.

ELM: In terms of trying to say what does kudos even mean.

DT: Right. Kudos is a complicated sort of social signal as well, and, do you want your name on this fic as sort of endorsing it? And all sorts of complicated things go into kudos. I had looked before into hit rate vs. kudos rate on other things and had found that they were very very strongly correlated, so I only looked at kudos here, but hit rate might actually be a better thing to look at to get rid of the actual social dynamics as much. Because just number of viewers is anonymous and doesn’t have some of the same stuff as kudos.

ELM: Sure. OK. So I think we’re almost out of time, but next time we’ll be talking about race in particular, hopefully having a pretty frank discussion about that.

FK: Right, and hopefully with a lot of contributors who can bring lots of points of view to the table.

ELM: Crossing my fingers. Please talk to us.

FK: Please!

DT: I’m really looking forward to that discussion!

ELM: OK, good! You have one listener. Guaranteed. But beyond that, I don’t know if you have any takeaways, obviously I have a million more thoughts but we don’t have time for that. You’re the analyst, not the statistician, the analyst.

DT: No, I’m bad at takeaway summaries. Sorry.

ELM: OK, no takeaways.

FK: There are no takeaways at all. None. We don’t know what’s happening.

ELM: And you don’t have to! I think that’s part of—I don’t envy the position that you wind up in, I mean you’re obviously choosing to do this for fun, but you put the data out there and you know, get to watch people be excited or mad in your tags. And there’s probably no way around that.

FK: Particularly because you’re working within constraints of what data you can show and trying to find the best thing that maybe, maybe means something? Hey! Here’s some things!

DT: Yeah no, I guess a takeaway is I do a bunch of stats, I get a lot of response—this has generated a bunch more reader response than a lot of my single fandom analyses, and I think people are really passionate about trying to dig into this data and trying to understand what’s going on there, and I’m really glad that you guys are going to spend more time on it next week, because I certainly have gotten a ton of feedback on it but I can’t really summarize it all myself and I’m excited to hear other people also getting into more, longer conversations.

FK: Yay! It was great to talk to you, Toasty.

DT: Thanks! It was great to talk to you guys too.

ELM: You’re gonna come back soon. But in the meantime, where can people see more of your stats? Including single fandom, because we initially talked to you about, you did some analysis of Check Please, the webcomic, so that’s one thing I think we wanted to direct people to.

DT: Absolutely! The weekend before my life was consumed with Star Wars stats, my life was consumed with Check Please stats, which is a very cute hockey comic that just had its main pairing go canon and so I looked at the effects of a canon slash pairing on that fandom. So you can find that and a bunch of my other stuff at destinationtoast.tumblr.com, or if you don’t want Sherlock and cats and randomness, you can just see the stats at toastystats.tumblr.com, and on Twitter (which won’t let me have a long name) I am @destntoast.

ELM: Alright! We will talk to you soon.

FK: Looking forward to it!

DT: Thank you! Bye!

FK: Bye!

ELM: Bye!

[Interstitial music]

FK: It was so fun to get to talk to Toast!

ELM: I would say that we should have her on every week, but then that would be like the—at that point she should have her own fandom stats—

FK: Toastcast.

ELM: Toastcast!

FK: Alright, so…

ELM: You heard it here first! Just to reiterate, I know we said it like 17 times but just like one more time, we’re looking for people to come on next week. So.

FK: We really want your views.

ELM: Please do!

FK: But before that, it’s time to call Alexa and talk about conventions, yeah?

ELM: OK, so utter like 180 degree shift about face, let’s do it.

FK: And I think actually we need to say a couple of things about this, because for context for anybody who doesn’t know, Alexa and I go back, way back, and in fact Alexa and I collaborated on a bunch of conventions including one where I was the con runner, but I’m gonna try really hard to be quiet and let her talk about conventions.

ELM: I don’t believe it. I’ll believe it when I see it. In case it comes up—because I first met both of you at the same time, at San Diego Comic-Con last year—and you all kept talking about HPEF, and I was like I don’t know what the fuck that is, and I’ve since googled it and maybe just forgotten…

FK: So just for context, Alexa and I go way back and the way back that we go is we both worked on HPEF Harry Potter cons. There’s a long and boring reason why the organization HPEF does not have the same name as any of the cons, which include cons like Ascendio, Infinitus, Portus, The Witching Hour, Nimbus, but anyway—

ELM: Why are some of those Harry Potter words and some of those aren’t?

FK: Don’t. Don’t. It boring. [ELM laughs] Let’s not talk about it.

ELM: Portus?!

FK: No, we’re not gonna discuss this. [ELM still laughing]

ELM: OK, but HP—HP stands for Harry Potter—

FK: It stands for Harry Potter Education Fanon. And the HPEF series of cons was a series of Harry Potter cons, the first Harry Potter cons that ever existed in fact; I worked on the very first one, Nimbus-2003. This is how Alexa and I met. I ran the last, I should say “most recent” because I have no idea whether there’s ever gonna be another one, but the most recent HPEF con, Ascendio, I was the Minister for Magic for, that is the con runner. And Alexa also worked on that con. So I’m gonna try really hard to be quiet about this though and let Alexa talk about the con that she’s currently running and also the deets of running cons.

ELM: Flourish, did you take my admonishment about Minister of versus Minister for Magic to heart?

FK: I tried!

ELM: That’s great! You just said Minister for Magic.

FK: It was a really good point!

ELM: I was excited to school you in the intricacies of the wizarding government.

FK: I’m glad that you schooled me. Alright, should we all Alexa?

ELM: Let’s do it.

FK: All right.

[Interstitial music]

FK: OK, I think it’s time to welcome Alexa to the podcast!

Alexa Donne: Hello!

ELM: Hi!

AD: I’m excited to be here. Long time listener, first time caller! [all laugh]

ELM: It’s true! I remember when we launched it, I think you were the first feedback we got. You were very excited. You were up there. Early listener.

AD: I think I probably was. I reblogged.

ELM: Oh, thanks!

AD: I was there when you brainstormed it, too! I was at San Diego Comic-Con with you.

ELM: That’s right, that’s right! So…

AD: Genesis.

ELM: And now it’s almost a year later. I’m getting ready to go to the con you’re running. Flourish is useless and is apparently not coming. [AD laughs] Because she’d rather…Lord knows what.

FK: I want to but I live between three different cities and it’s really difficult. I travel too much.

ELM: You know that’s an excuse, right? Like: I’m having a dinner party next week, and Flourish is going to Sacramento. I’m having a concert the following week—

FK: To visit my elderly relatives, one of whom has Alzheimer’s!

ELM: All right, all right, all right! I’m having a concert the following week—big culmination of singing in concert. Flourish is going to her husband’s art show.

FK: Art opening!

ELM: Art whatever. Whatever! You just don’t want to commit to either of us. We’re your last priority. [FK laughs] Anyway, anyway.

FK: So as the person who’s officially not going to this con, maybe, but who wants to know about it, sell me on it. Tell us a little bit about the con that you’re running, is what I’m trying to say.

AD: Yes! So Leviosa is a Harry Potter and YA literature conference, I would say. It’s essentially four days of nonstop Harry Potter and book nerding. I have over 100 hours of formal programming, which is panels and lectures and workshops, and then in the evenings we’ll do fun, really dorky stuff like karaoke and trivia and a fashion show and a ball, which is Harry Potter nerd prom.

ELM: Oh my God, do I have to get a fancy dress for this?

AD: No, no! You can—some people wear jeans, some people do full cosplay, and the rest of us fall in the middle and just wear a dress. Not a prom dress, just a dress. No pressure.

ELM: OK, now I’m already thinking about it. Great.

AD: The most important thing is at this ball you get to drink Harry Potter cocktails.

FK: Yesss.

ELM: That’s very important.

AD: Cause I’ll say a distinction for us is we are definitely geared towards adults. You can come if you’re 13+, and between 13 and 18 you need a parent or a chaperone. Our programming is definitely geared towards adults, academically oriented attendees. So the content is very—it can get cerebral, I mean, we’re gonna have fun, but. There are lectures on PTSD and Harry Potter. That’s not necessarily something that’s for kids. Or, you know, the YA literature track: well, of course YA literature is for young adults; we’ll have some in-depth, very industry geared conversations. We lean towards writers in that sense, people who are interested in the industry and trends. And then drinking. Drinking. There’s drinking!

FK: I recall I had a conversation with Lev Grossman and he was like “Y’know, the Harry Potter fandom is the hardest-drinking fandom I’ve ever encountered.” 

AD: Yes.

FK: Of course it is. But it’s not like San Diego Comic-Con where you’d have the giant Warner Brothers display.

AD: Exactly. That’s a really important distinction. We are 100% fan-run, 90% of our content comes from attendees, fans, themselves. No corporate sponsorship, we don’t pin identity on mega-guests, it’s more the attendees and how smart and awesome and fannish they are and what they wanna talk about. It’s four days of meeting your internet friends and being really nerdy.

ELM: That sounds awesome. I mean, here’s the funny thing for me: I’ve been to a couple cons like this, I’ve been to a couple cons like San Diego, but I think I said on the podcast before—not really an IRL fan kinda person. I don’t know. Do you think we can draw distinctions like that? Or do you think that…I don’t know, it can seem really intimidating. “I love Harry Potter, but I don’t know anyone who’s gonna be there, I’ve never engaged in this way before…” I don’t know if you have any perspective on that? Or maybe you guys both spent so long just going to stuff it just seems natural to you? I don’t know.

AD: Admittedly I am a person who’s gone to fan cons just because my friends were going. I’ll admit I am the person who wouldn’t necessarily go by myself, or at least when I was younger. I have more recently because I’ve been to so many cons and it’s always a good experience. I went to K-con last summer by myself, so you know. Because no one I know likes K-pop, I’m strange, but it was a large conference-type, closer to San Diego Comic-Con, and I think in those…I had no fears of going by myself, because I knew no one would try to talk to me and I could just go to panels.

But in a good way, for a more conference style like this, people are looking to make friends. All they need to know is that you love the thing that they love. If you’re at a Harry Potter thing it’s Harry Potter, if you’re at one of our YA things it’s YA, so I think if you have social anxiety or you’re just a lurker and it’s a little scary, the good thing is you’ll absolutely make friends who are not intimidating and who are very nice and not scary, because this is definitely the kind of con where people will strike up conversations with you, and want to talk about the thing that you are sharing. You can talk about the panel that you just went to, or complimenting you on your costume if you’re wearing one or vice versa…

FK: So how is it that a con like this comes to be? I guess this is partially “How did you end up doing this,” but also more generally I think that cons seem to sort of just exist and then people go to them, but they have to start somehow.

AD: “It’s magic!” So I have a long and storied history with Harry Potter conventions. I started going to them and then I became friends with the people who ran them, and I ended up working for them. Just kinda got pulled in as a volunteer. So that’s how I saw on the back end how they worked, and they’re less scary when you’ve been on the…no, they’re both less scary and incredibly terrifying once you’ve been on the other side of it. Because you see how much work goes into it. They seem effortless and they should when you’re there as an attendee.

And so having worked on two Potter cons behind the scenes and then I joined the Young Adult literature track staff at Dragon Con, so now I’ve done four Dragon Cons and at the time that we decided to this I had done two Dragon Cons, so I had that under my belt as well. It’s just…you look for a hole in the market. You have a thing that you love, and you want to fangirl about it or hang out with your friends and talk about nerdy things like symbolism in Harry Potter. Mother figures, or what have you. You can’t find people to have those conversations with or you’d rather see a panel of experts talk about the thing you know nothing about.

But speaking more generally about cons, since you asked, I hyper-focused on us but I can speak more generally. It’s just you love a thing, you’re pretty sure other people love a thing, you don’t see a convention doing exactly what you want to do, and that could be content, it could be geography. For us it was there’s almost never West Coast Harry Potter fan cons. They’re always East Coast based. And so the West Coast people don’t necessarily get to go to those, or they go to SDCC instead. But it doesn’t really have Potter content. So you see a hole in the market, and then the key thing is assembling a superhero team of people, because you cannot run a con alone. It takes a multitude of skill sets that almost never exist in one person.

And the most important thing, because we can talk about the cons that maybe don’t do well, is you have to run it like a business and you have to treat it like a business. Loving a thing is not enough. You need an accountant. You need to be able to have business conversations with venues and guests and be professional. There are a lot of hats.

FK: So when we see a con that is a big disappointment to people—um, I think we can all think of a couple—

ELM: Extra hour in the ball pit.

FK: [snickers] Then that’s because you’re missing some ingredient in the team that you need, right?

AD: Absolutely. And I find that the two ingredients that are hardest to find, because fans who love things and I include myself in this, often focus on the big picture. And they’re great at big picture. And they’re great at passion, and they’re great at ideas. They’re not great at nitty-gritty, detail-oriented things like money and logistics. And I—

ELM: Wait wait wait, go back. This might be “humans.” Because I actually think a lot of fans are pretty detail oriented, but I also think if you just said to my coworkers, who have different sets of talents, I don’t think every one of them could organize, like…

AD: Oh, absolutely.

ELM: If we had a little con, Department Con, only ten of us, I think only some of us could really get the hotel and the space and make sure we all got to the right spot.

AD: Well, and I’m detail oriented in a creative way, personally, which is why I’m not doing the logistics at the convention. I’m detail oriented with the schedule. I love programming stuff. But I am not detail oriented when it comes to talking to the hotel and making sure the A/V is set and that there’s money in the bank account. I can read a budget, generally, but I’d prefer to ask an accountant “Can we afford this?” and get a yes or no answer.

So I would say most often it’s challenging to find a really good accountant, especially if you’re running your convention or your festival as a nonprofit, which most try to do. And it’s really hard to find the person who is willing to dig into the hardcore logistics, which always diverge with the money. So the money person and the logistics person either have to be the same person or get along really well. I find that in the more disappointing experience that people may have seen, those, one or both of those things have failed.

Don’t do con-running unless you are prepared to go a little insane. In a good way! There’s always eight million things that you forgot or someone else forgot and you just have to do them at the last minute. It’s great. You have to be a pretty good troubleshooter.

FK: But it sounds like, I mean, despite all the pain it sounds like it’s gonna be a great con, so.

AD: Yeah! Well, and the thing is I really enjoy this stuff, so I think you have to be a bit of a masochist. A Ravenclaw masochist, I guess? You have to really enjoy spreadsheets.

ELM: But I also feel like, I don’t know, I throw a lot of parties, and while I’m preparing I’m like, “This is gonna be a disaster!” and just chopping like crazy—they’re always dinner parties because I live in New York City. And, um—wearing turtlenecks, as Flourish knows. She’s been to some of them before.

FK: And sometimes sneaking away and crying in the bathroom. Like in Adaptation.

ELM: Yes. We have a long-running joke about Adaptation. And then the first people get there and I’m like “this is gonna be a disaster they’re all awkward they can’t talk to each other oh my God” I hope no one who goes to my parties is listening but this is false because some people are… [FK laughs] I don’t know! And then at the end it all seems like it…I don’t know, I think there’s a pressure of trying to put something together and I can’t imagine what it would be if it was like, do the math, what’s six into 800? You know? On that giant scale. But I think the idea of putting people in a place is always a little intimidating, and trying to get them to have fun doing a thing, and you’re organizing it.

AD: It is a little terrifying! But at the same time, if you put together the content, the fun will follow, which sounds so cheesy but it’s true. It’s Field of Dreams. If you build it, they will come. [FK & EM laugh]. Just build it! Build that baseball field! A movie which I have never seen.

FK: So on that note I think we’re almost running out of time, but what is—what do you think people should be most excited about at Leviosa? Or what are you most excited about? What’s the selling point? Give us the sell!

ELM: All the panels I’m on. Me.

AD: All the panels Elizabeth’s on.

ELM: My panels! Yeah!

FK: That’s the answer.

AD: I am legitimately biased. I love formal programming at any convention I go to. And I think we have some incredible formal programming. As I mentioned, we have over 100 hours, over only two-and-a-half days. If you look at the schedule, our goal was to give people some really difficult choices so they would be mad at us [all laugh] and I think we accomplished that. People are gonna have to make some really tough choices. And then, beyond that, I’m really excited about karaoke. Cause I love karaoke!

ELM: Alright, so Alexa, people can still buy tickets, right?

AD: Absolutely! We are selling full registrations and VIP registrations, so that’s the entire convention, Thursday to Sunday, until May 31, and then we’ll have day passes on sale through the end of June and a limited number on site at the con. But we definitely recommend purchasing ahead of time. The best value is a standard registration, because you get the Welcome Feast with that and the other three days. But we have day passes for Friday, Saturday, and a Saturday-Sunday combo. So if you’re just hyperfocusing on the programming days, the day passes are a good choice. But Welcome Feast! Who doesn’t want to go to a Welcome Feast?

ELM: Wait, what’s gonna be at the Welcome Feast?

AD: Some delicious food and then Game Night is Thursday as well. And you can’t go to Game Night if you don’t have a full or VIP registration.

ELM: Alright.

AD: Harry Potter Jeopardy!

FK: Harry Potter Jeopardy is always good.

AD: Yes! We’re gonna play Are You A Death Eater? as well.

ELM: OK, I’m so ready for this. What’s the URL? Where can people find you online?

AD: leviosa.org.

ELM: And…

AD: And we’re “leviosacon” on all social media spaces you can think of. Except for Snapchat, because I’m too old.

ELM: Fair. LinkedIn then, huh? Old enough for that one?

AD: [laughing] I’m too young for LinkedIn!

ELM: [laughing] I can’t send you an InMail?! That’s too bad. Awesome.

FK: Alright, well, it’s been such a pleasure talking with you, Alexa.

AD: You too!

ELM: I’m excited to see you, and Flourish is excited to see you there now she’s agreed to come.

FK: [spluttering] This is—hey, hey!

AD: You made it happen. She said it out loud.

FK: I promised nothing.

ELM: Awesome. Alright. We’ll both see you there.

FK: [through spluttering laughter] Bye Alexa.

AD: Bye!

[Interstitial music]

ELM: Well, I think that the takeaway from that is that you’re probably gonna wind up coming to the con!

FK: I am making no promises of any kind.

ELM: I’m saying there’s room in my room group. I’m really fun.

FK: I have to say that the promise of getting to see Nigel karaoke again—Nigel being Vladimir Snape, the cosplayer—that really leads me to maybe wanna come.

ELM: Look, I thought that one of the first nights we met at the Marriott bar, the poolside Marriott bar in San Diego—

FK: Which is the most, by the way, a poolside Marriott bar being the canonical place that you meet people at conventions. I think that every fandom person that I’ve ever met in real life I met at a poolside Marriott bar at some point.

ELM: It was so confusing to me! It was just like, where am I? What’s going on? [laughing]

FK: Just be glad this was not taking place in the poolside bars at Universal Studios. Because those are truly confusing. You’re like “Why is there a castle? And some mai tais? And a person who just five minutes ago was dressed as an incredibly convincing Lucius Malfoy, but now he’s wearing a Hawaiian shirt, and he’s spraying this Death Eater in the face? Ohh…”

ELM: Wait, he’s spraying him with what?

FK: Water. A water gun.

ELM: Oh, it’s like a pool party in this scenario.

FK: Like a pool party water gun thing. That was the situation I was trying to describe… [ELM laughs]

ELM: Great! I think we sold it. I sold it to you, we sold it to everyone else…we’re all gonna go to Leviosa and we’re gonna have a great time.

FK: Right. But before we go we should just remind everybody that next week we are gonna be talking about a much more serious issue, that is, racism. Fandom. Specifically with regard to Finn/Poe, Kylux, Reylo, and if you have thoughts on this, and thoughts about stats, thoughts about whatever, whatever you wanna air, then you should either drop us something written in email, or our Tumblr ask box or Twitter, or even better yet you could record yourself or even volunteer to come on the podcast and talk with us, like, in real life.

ELM: Totally painless, we do it over Skype, Google Hangouts, we are flexible schedule people, so we’ll make it work! Just let us know. And you know, I’m very—I’m particularly interested in people’s perspectives from fanfiction fandom, I know we’re trying to get away from fanfiction fandom but this actually feels pretty relevant, because it seems like there’s a pretty robust dialogue in non-fanfiction fandom around race, and I often see a lot of people in fanfiction fandom talking about race and feeling pretty frustrated. Cause fanfiction fandom seems to spend a lot of time talking about sexuality and gender and often it’s a lot of queer white women who aren’t as willing to be self-critical and can sometimes let…aren’t very intersectional, I’ll say, is a euphemistic way to put it.

FK: Spoiler alert, it’s me.

ELM: But I think this is probably something that both of us do where I’m like, this is my blind spot, I guess, I’m a white person, so let’s talk about sexuality and gender! And I think all of these conversations are important and I don’t think that we need to privilege one or the other but I often think we don’t listen enough and so we are here to listen.

FK: Right!

ELM: That was a serious note to end on. I’m sorry. Let’s keep talking about you in a poolside bar.

FK: No, I think that’s probably the right note to end on. So just to recap, fansplaining on Twitter, Tumblr; fansplaining at Gmail; get in contact with us and we will talk to you guys I hope next time!

ELM: OK. Bye Flourish!

FK: Bye Elizabeth!

[Outro music]