Episode 38: The Year In Fandom 2016

Episode 38’s cover: Times Square at midnight on New Year’s.

Elizabeth and Flourish (unsurprisingly) talk about the year in fandom! They start by recapping their 2015 list and seeing how those trends have played out in the past twelve months before diving into new trends from 2016. Topics covered include the high and low points of fan/creator interaction, potentially incorrect uses of the term “fanfiction,” the impact of changing social media dynamics on our fandoms and lives, and Star Wars: Rogue One.


Show Notes

[00:00:00] Intro music is, as always, “Awel” by Stefsax.


An animated gif of King Kong, from the early animated film, beating his chest atop the Empire State Building.

[00:02:34] Go listen to Episode 12, “The Year In Fandom 2015.”

[00:03:56] We’re seriously devastated about Carrie Fisher, it’s so miserable that we recorded this right before. Ugh.


Carrie Fisher tweet: “WhenUsay sum1 is down 2 earth, where R they down 2 earth FROM? &once Uve been spotted downt here, can u go back2 the up zone &who’s up4 it?”


Tom Hiddleston and Carrie Fisher on the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner red carpet, gesturing towards Carrie’s dopey-looking bulldog, Gary.



[00:05:54] Interstitial music here is Jahzzar “X-mas Carol”

[00:11:28] OK, maybe there are endless chase scenes and endless shooting in Star Wars.

[00:12:13] Flourish is talking about LullabyKnell’s Stormtrooper Stories series and “tomorrow (there’ll be more of us)” by dimircharmer.

[00:12:54] To be fair to Bill Kristol, “The Case for the Empire” is actually from 2002, in response to Attack of the Clones, and is by Jonathan Last. Bill Kristol just tweeted it.

[00:14:08] Here is an article about how Dan Quayle picked a fight with Murphy Brown.

[00:17:12] If we’re gonna discuss Yuri on Ice we should have a gif, we guess. This one’s by postpigeon.

A fan art gif of Victor hugging Yuri from behind and knocking him over.

[00:19:10] If you want to follow along while Flourish reads all the Star Trek novels, be our guest!


A tweet from @brittashipsit reading: “UGH this Black List script is terrible and also doesn’t understand how fanfic works. This joke doesn’t even make sense. Like, what even?” The accompanying image is of a script: “DAVE: I was reading some fan fiction online and there are credible rumors saying Peter Dinklage is going to have an affair with one of the dragons this season. JAY: How would that even…? DAVE (dead serious): Credible rumors.”

Also, Flourish slightly misspoke about the nature of the Black List—the Black List is scripts not yet produced, not not yet bought. Manchester By The Sea was on the Black List in 2014; American Sniper in 2013; Arrival in 2012.

[00:29:43] Interstitial music here is Jahzzar “X-mas Carol”

[00:47:20] Episode 22A, “Race & Fandom Part 1.” Episode 22B, “Race & Fandom Part 2.”

[00:54:26] Here, just go read Deadline’s article on the new BAFTA rules.

[01:00:16] Outro music is Jahzzar, “#1 Wish”

[01:01:30] Tiny zines are shaping up to be SO CUTE BY THE WAY

[01:08:17] Yeah that’s Flourish singing, sorry all.


[Intro music: "Awel" by Stefsax]

FK: Hi Elizabeth!

ELM: Hi Flourish!

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

ELM: Final episode of the Year of our Lord 2016, may it burn in Hell forever. [FK laughs] That's not the name of the episode, that's just how I feel about this year. "The Year In Fandom, Colon, 2016."

FK: I'm not sure if there's a colon in there or not.

ELM: There is I looked it up earlier.

FK: Aw, man! You're so together, Elizabeth!

ELM: Now I wanna fact check it hold on. [FK laughs] [wailing] SHIT THERE'S NO COLON!


ELM: Nooooo. "The Year In Fandom 2016." No punctuation.

FK: No punctuation.

ELM: [sighs] Fine. It's cause I'm sick. Apologies to everyone if I sound like I have a cold because I do. It's a Christmas tradition.

FK: Things are a little bit wonkus. We're also recording from unusual places, I am in my childhood bedroom in Sacramento, California.

ELM: Is that why you just used the word "wonkus"?

FK: I like the word "wonkus"!

ELM: Is it 1997 for you now?

FK: Is "wonkus" a 1997 word?

ELM: I don't know, it feels like it's from the 90s.

FK: I mean, it could be. [ELM laughs] Elizabeth is getting a wonderful view of my Laura Ashley bedspread.

ELM: I can't actually see it, can you move?

FK: It's there on the bed. It's very periwinkle. I had a whole periwinkle thing going on.

ELM: Whereas I'm offering you a view of my beautiful Christmas tree.

FK: It's a charming Christmas tree and it has an Elf on the Shelf on it, which...is the Elf on the Shelf supposed to be on the Christmas tree actually now that I think about it?

ELM: What I like about it is that it looks like he's King Kong clutching the top of the Empire State Building.

FK: He needs a screaming little...

ELM: He's gripping it.

FK: He needs a screaming little Mrs Claus or something in his clutches.

ELM: This has gotten really complicated. OK OK. We're here to talk about this year, not about this moment.

FK: That's true. So I think that our plan is we're going to first talk about the trends we saw last year and whether they have fulfilled their true trendiness...I guess...?

ELM: That's an awkward way to say it but OK.

FK: [laughs] The sentence got a little out of hand, but I think that you know what I mean.

ELM: I got ya. Since I already knew what we were gonna do I understood. Hopefully everyone else does. [FK laughs] Last year we named five...we called them trends, but they were like, stories that we'd been watching throughout the year and patterns that we were seeing...yeah, trends, I guess that's the right word. And we discussed them and so we thought it'd be interesting if we started this episode instead of just naming five 2016 trends, instead to see how those things played out if we felt like they continued to have a lot of influence in fandom at large or if they didn't. And then in the second half of this episode, we'll actually talk about 2016 and I think based on our lists that we have, 2016 themes do kind of follow on. But you know, I think both last year's and this year's also kind of...it's not like fandom happens in a vacuum outside of society, both years a lot of our stuff has to do with social media and the way that that affects communication. I think that's probably the most important element of these on the whole, is the way social media shapes our interactions and our fannish experiences.

FK: Yeah absolutely. I think that that is true. And I think that it's been kinda weird looking at all this stuff and seeing how the things that happened this year were sort of the mutated results of what happened last year...

ELM: Just cause 2016, garbage year.

FK: Yeah, it's true, it's true! As we're talking and we're...we just found out about Carrie Fisher having a heart attack, so...

ELM: Yeah, it's Friday evening, the 23rd, just before Christmas that we're recording this, so the last we heard is that she's in stable condition, but yeah, so... and it's not even like, I know Carrie Fisher is very personally important to you, she's not important to me on a personal level, but I really love her and want her to be OK.

FK: She's also a great example of awesome social media mom. So space mom being awesome social media mom and doing all that stuff. So it seems sort of...

ELM: You mean with her Zodiac killer tweets?

FK: With her tweets in general and also with bringing Gary along everywhere? Gary Fisher the best dog in the universe? So.

ELM: Wait wait wait. Who's better at hilarious use of emoji in tweets: Carrie Fisher or Cher?

FK: [gasps] How can you make me choose?

ELM: I know. Sophie's Choice.

FK: I think I'm gonna go for Carrie Fisher cause Carrie Fisher seems more like she knows what she's doing with it whereas Cher seems like she's sort of beaming in...

ELM: I don't think so! I literally think the opposite.

FK: That's so funny!

ELM: Carrie Fisher, it looks like ransom notes when she does it and they're amazing. But Cher, I feel like she's pickin' those out on purpose.

FK: I feel like the thing is though that Carrie Fisher responds to other people on Twitter in a way that makes me feel like she's part of a community, whereas I'm not sure Cher is, I think Cher sort of beams in from the Planet Cher.

ELM: That's, what else could Cher do?

FK: That's true. Well. This is [laughs] this is all, I think, just a way of saying we really hope Carrie Fisher is OK and maybe she's sort of the avatar of...no...she's not.

ELM: The avatar of what?

FK: She's too good and pure to be the avatar of anything that happened this year.

ELM: No, don't pin that on her!

FK: Oh, well, yeah, I think she'd probably disagree with the statement that she was good and pure.

ELM: That dumpster fire... OH! That too. Right right. So our best wishes for Carrie Fisher aside, let's talk about 2015, a pure time, a simple time, a different time, in the past...

FK: A time that is not today. [both laughing] Alright, let's have a break and then let's talk.


[Interstitial music: Jahzzar, "X-mas Carol"]

FK: OK, we're back! And it's time to talk about last year's topics. Last year's trends.

ELM: OK, so, number 5 we had last year was fan-creator interaction, which isn't new by any means, but we had some high profile examples. We talked about Joss Whedon quitting Twitter, as we all know he came back...

FK: Big surprise.

ELM: Well, I think he used his Twitter for good. You could say what you may, you may dislike Joss Whedon, but he did just come back on Twitter to talk about the election in advance of the election.

FK: I have no personal animosity, it's just anytime someone quits social media I'm like "yeah you'll be back." And usually they are!

ELM: And we also talked about Brian Fuller and Lin-Manuel Miranda who I think have just kinda carried on the things they were doing last year and continued to do them hard.

FK: Yeah, pretty much. Brian Fuller, Lin-Manuel Miranda, sort of, yeah, really just keepin' on doing the good things. Yeah. There ya go. It continued. That was a trend that continued [ELM laughs] at least in the ways we talked about it.

ELM: I don't know what we even said about it! I feel like...I guess we should probably save it, I feel like, if we're gonna talk about how this one played out, I can think of a lot of negative examples.

FK: I agree, that's what I was thinking too. I was thinking while the people we were citing as good examples of people doing this in a really positive way where people were really creators in the fore, engaging with their fans, those are great, but we've had a ton of negative ones too and those maybe come later in the episode.

ELM: And negative in both directions. Like, we've had some bad fan interaction, but we've also had some bad creator interaction, so yeah. Let's talk about this in the second half.


ELM: Cheerful! That's great. I can't wait to talk about online harassment in the second half.

FK: Number 2, number 2 though. Number 2.

ELM: NUMBER 4. Haven't you ever—

FK: Number 4. You're right. We're counting down.

ELM: —watched David Letterman? What's wrong with you.

FK: Uhh, I don't know. I can't do a countdown.

ELM: Yeah.

FK: I'm just bad at it. We're learning all about the things I'm bad at.

ELM: Did you not watch...what's it called?

FK: [basically psychic] Total Request Live?

ELM: YES. That's what I was gonna say. TRL.

FK: [laughing] We are dating ourselves so hard right now.

ELM: Were you old enough to watch TRL?

FK: Yeah I was!

ELM: Yeah? That's right.

FK: Yeah, you had to learn all of the steps to all of the dances or else you wouldn't know what to do when you went to the school dance!

ELM: [laughing] Oh my God. Wait. Really?

FK: Didn't you do that? Yeah! Didn't you do that?


FK: Oh my God. I had like every boy band, all of Britney Spears' dances from her videos, you had to learn them. Because then if you knew them you could get with your friends and you could all do the dance.

ELM: This was not a thing at my school dances.

FK: This was a big thing at my school dances.

ELM: Alright, I learned a lot about you. A lot.

FK: OK! Number four, number four, number four. OK. Number four was continuations of franchises, reboots, revivals, and that kinda continued. I mean...

ELM: Well, to be fair, looking at the examples we cite, most of them were coming out this year.

FK: That's true.

ELM: And a lot of them have come out, we talked about this a lot two episodes ago, so maybe we don't need to rehash it a great amount, though as we were talking about I don't know if Gilmore Girls...it had just come out because we were recording it over Thanksgiving.

FK: Yes.

ELM: But Gilmore Girls was on our list from last year and it was interesting to watch. I've never seen Gilmore Girls, obviously I'm not in the fandom, but I know...it feels like every other person I've ever met is.

FK: Yeah.

ELM: Not you. Have you seen it?

FK: No, not me, no. I tried to when I was in high school and it just never hit the right whatever for me. So.

ELM: But I feel like it was an interesting, it was an interesting reaction to see, I'd be curious to know what Gilmore Girls fans who are amongst our listeners think about this. I saw a lot of people saying "Look, look, I know, this show is what it is, I love being back here." You know? This is kind of what we were talking about, the sort of...

FK: Yeah from the outside the reception felt a little bit like the reception of The X-Files where everyone was like "Just let me, just let me wallow in my trash fire." We're just, there it is.

ELM: Right. Which is interesting to think about, what is that? What does that mean for these cultural products and also for fandoms?

FK: Well, it's interesting, especially in comparison to Star Wars, so I don't know, have you seen Rogue One yet?

ELM: No, I was just trying to convince my parents to go.

FK: You should definitely 100% go. You know how at the end of Force Awakens everybody was like "oh, it felt like a rehash, they're just gonna rehash everything," this is something that you've never seen in Star Wars before. It feels totally fresh. It's awesome.

ELM: Let's pause for a second and talk about how I feel about Star Wars. [FK laughs] I did not feel that way after Force Awakens, I felt like, oh, these were charming characters and I liked them.

FK: I felt that way too!

ELM: BUT! But. It was still a Star Wars movie, so I didn't feel any affection towards it, nor did I want to spend any time in that universe. And so telling me that it's a whole bunch of new characters still in Star Wars land is like, literally a bad sell for me.

FK: But that's not what I'm saying, I'm not saying it's new characters I'm saying the feel is completely different.

ELM: But it's still just people shooting each other a lot.

FK: I would not say that it's just that.

ELM: OK, but that's my perception of the four Star Wars movies I've seen. Endless chase scenes, endless shooting. I find it so—no offense to anyone, I know you guys love it but this is just how I feel about these and I've given them multiple shots—I can't, I can't sustain interest in them.

FK: Yeah, I mean... I guess... I would be interested to see how you feel about it. As compared to other Star Wars movies this feels more like a...there's still a lot of shooting but it feels much more like a real war movie, there's actual stakes, it feels real, and also like it's more like...you remember after Force Awakens there was this amazing series of fics, this whole universe that everybody did that was about—we talked about it on the podcast!—that was about stormtroopers finding out what Finn had done and spreading the word of what he had done?

ELM: We talked about this on the podcast?

FK: Well it was cited in our "Race and Fandom" episode I think as one of the really good fics that had come out of this.

ELM: K. I'm gonna have to relisten to those episodes. AS SHOULD WE ALL.

FK: Anyway, it was dealing with the idea that stormtroopers maybe have been brainwashed or compelled from childhood to fight in this...that's the kind of thing that Rogue One gets to. Not specifically stormtroopers, but it gets to this question of the people who worked on the Death Star and who they are, not in a "they're evil," not in a "you should like Empire," in fact the opposite, you know, what is it when you're caught in the gears of this.

ELM: Bill Kristol told me we should like the empire, so.

FK: [laughing] You mean the worst hot take on Rogue One that I could...that was beyond what I could imagine.

ELM: I mean, it was great that it came from him though.

FK: [laughs] I just don't see how you could come out of that movie with that hot take.

ELM: Have you met Bill Kristol?

FK: No. Thank God.

ELM: [laughs] Can you imagine?

FK: OK. So. But I think that the summary of this is "yep, there's still a lot of reboots."

ELM: I love how you just spent five minutes of our precious podcast time trying to convince me to watch a movie that I'm probably going to see even though I don't really have any interest in seeing it. Thank you.

FK: [through laughter] I'm sorry, I couldn't resist!

ELM: Yeah what am I gonna make you watch that you don't wanna see?

FK: I don't know, you've proposed things! I said that I would watch, um, what's it called, the 90s show...

ELM: OK. Murphy Brown is not a sacrifice for you.

FK: I don't know! It does not sound like the kind of thing I would watch.

ELM: WHAT. Flourish are you serious. It is the most important show for strong female protagonists...it's so famous for being a show about a strong female protagonist that the vice president of the United States got in a fight with the character.

FK: I know! I know!

ELM: THE CHARACTER. Not the actress! Not the show! He got in a fight with Murphy Brown.

FK: I know why I'm supposed to watch it! I just haven't...you can convert me! I will watch it! But I, I know why I'm supposed to, I"ve read all about it, I just still have...it hasn't...sorry. OK. Should we continue on with the countdown? No. We need to give you some more time to deal with this.

ELM: No. It's really shocking to me.

FK: I don't know! Don't know what to say.

ELM: I bet you like Friends.

FK: I don't like Friends.

ELM: Oh thank God, oh good. Do you like any sitcoms?

FK: Not really.

ELM: Interesting.

FK: Not that I don't like them, it's just never been a form that has spoken to me, you know?

ELM: Hmmm. Ok. So, I guess we're gonna watch these things that we don't wanna watch to please the other person, it's gonna be great!

FK: OK countdown number three.

ELM: Just so you know I will be seeing the Star Wars movie before we record next so you can quiz me on it.

FK: Cool we'll find out what you think.

ELM: Yeah great OK cool. Number three, mainstreaming of fanfiction. You know, alright we talked about Rainbow Rowell's Carry On and Stephenie Meyer's Life and Death, both of which were intertextual works that were compared to fanfiction, I still believe erroneously, I think that they are transformative works but they're not fanfiction because they're written by the authors of the source material so...so yeah. I think that we have seen a continuation of this bad narrative, IE the Cursed Child, I also saw someone describe Fantastic Beasts as fanfiction.

FK: Well, I think that there's...I think it's really muddled. I was guilty of this in our episode about this.

ELM: You should be ashamed of yourself. You should quit the podcast.

FK: I'm not ashamed of my actual positions, but I'm a little ashamed of the muddled way I expressed some of them. There ya go.

ELM: You think the new Star Wars movie is Star Wars fanfiction?

FK: No, but it was interesting to me that it felt like it was...it was filling in some of the spaces that not just fanfiction but some of the extended universe novels had previously done. The things that weren't considered part of the Star Wars canon because they were too real worldy. You know? So it wasn't fanfiction but I can...I bet somebody has written that, because of the way the feel is different and the way it feels different in ways fanfiction might be interested in.

ELM: It's interesting though, I feel like when we talk about it this way it's such a narrow view on non fanfiction. You know?

FK: Oh, it's true, it's totally true.

ELM: I don't know, have you followed any of the...I feel like I'm talking out of turn right now because I haven't seen the show I've only observed the fandom, but it's been interesting to watch some of the fallout in the Yuri on Ice fandom in the last few days, have you followed any of this?

FK: I mean, who could miss it, it's all over my Twitter and Tumblr.

ELM: The fallout is though? the fights?

FK: Mm hm!


FK: I'm not sure that I follow them entirely, but...

ELM: OK so as far as I can understand—this is ridiculous, I like how I'm trying to explain this even though I'm not in this fandom. As far as I understand it, spoilers, cover your ears, the two characters, Victor and Yuri—

FK: The blond one and the dark one.

ELM: Yeah, Harry and Draco, get together, and so apparently...I can say this spoiler, right? I said spoiler really loudly.

FK: You said spoiler like fifteen times really loudly.

ELM: Spoiler spoiler spoiler, fast forward five minutes. They apparently they propose, one proposes to the other, and from what I can tell from the backlash, there are people who are saying it wasn't explicit enough expression of their love and they didn't say "I love you" so it doesn't count.

FK: They're literally going to get married though.

ELM: Right! And it's very interesting, some interesting commentary from some Japanese people saying "not every culture expresses this stuff the same way!" I don't know. It's been very very interesting...why did I bring this up? I have no idea.

FK: I have no idea it was a nice aside.

ELM: I remember I remember! Talking about different ways stories are told and different expectations from stories. What I've seen in this discourse, and actually honestly I've seen mostly the defense of this, I've seen very little of anyone who's been criticizing it, and actually I was gonna ask on Twitter today until certain people started tweeting about nuclear weapons and then I was like "this feels frivolous and I'm not gonna do it," I'm just curious to know how widespread this criticism is. This idea of, I see it, I'm bracing myself for Sherlock coming back, too, and I'm not sure how I'm gonna engage with it, but it's the same idea of "oh well, it doesn't count." This complicated intersection of what "counts" and doesn't count when there's storytelling. And what stories should be vs. what stories are doing. And that's hard. Go ahead. Speech over.

FK: I'm just talking over you.

ELM: Go wild.

FK: Actually it's funny, I've been thinking about similar things. You may have seen that I am planning on reading all of the Star Trek novels...

ELM: Yeah, good times.

FK: Good times, because I decided that I wanted this to be my escapism, which it turns out it is, so I just read My Enemy, My Ally which is the first in the Rihannsu series by Diane Duane, and they're books about the Romulans before there was anything about the Romulans. They were just some people dressed in gold lamé, in general.

ELM: That's really good.

FK: No, that was the Klingons. Anyway, it was just really bad in the first, original Star Trek. So what's interesting about it is I was reading it and I was like, this reads to me like the kinds of things, not exactly what would appear in fanfiction but again covering some of the things that one might, like the idea of taking the enemy and fleshing them out, having in this case the book very explicitly creates a character that addresses the sexism of the series—not all fanfiction does this but some does. Having characters and their love for each other be not totally central, but definitely throughout this there's this whole Kirk/Spock/Bones thing going on a little bit. So it was interesting, this is not fanfiction, but is it? It is written by a fan and it is fiction. I don't know.

ELM: No, it's not!

FK: It problematized my categories. It's not because it's not canon, but it's approved, but at the same time I was like... ehhh I don't know.

ELM: I just think thinking like that puts such a false divide between fanfiction and everything else.

FK: That's true.

ELM: "This feels like fanfiction because X, Y and Z"...that's also a really weird flattening of fanfiction to suggest that there's only one thing that happens in fanfiction.

FK: Yeah there's many many kinds of things.

ELM: Every kind of story conceivable! You'd be hard-pressed to find any particular mode of storytelling or set of objectives in a text, especially in a big fandom with a lot of works, you know?

FK: But it's also interesting, then, if you say fanfiction is written by fans for fans, this is, definitely. I mean it's written by fans for fans in a commercial setting, too.

ELM: OK, but The Force Awakens was written by a fan for fans.

FK: That's true, that's true.

ELM: And what's a fan? [FK laughs] There's plenty of stuff that's new that doesn't have a fanbase yet, and that's written by someone who loves the characters as much as I love Remus and Sirius...not as much as that. No one loves them as much as me. [FK laughs]

FK: Oh man.

ELM: Anyway, so in terms of the mainstreaming of fanfiction though I don't feel like fanfiction occupied as much of a position in the cultural conversation as it did in the previous couple of years. I think that this year it was just kind of sitting there in the background, but you know, especially around this time last year—I remember and I wrote a response to it in January, all these outlets were talking about "oh, what's the Star Wars fanfiction," right? Stupid articles. And I thought oh no, this is what's gonna happen, and then it didn't, really.

FK: It faded away.

ELM: That's kind of interesting. It felt like that was the direction of things. And in a way I kind of feel a little happy that it didn't trend in that direction, cause shit like that kind of cheapens it for me you know? I want to be accessible, but I don't want it to be clickbait.

FK: Well, who wants to be clickbait, right? On the other hand, though, I've had a lot more people describe things to me as fanfiction-like, even when they are not. So maybe it's that the term...

ELM: Wait wait wait, did you see that tweet that Britta, our friend Britta?

FK: Yes, I saw this.

ELM: Can we read this to everyone? OK. So it's from the Black List. Can you quickly explain to me what the Black List is?

FK: The Black List is a list of the scripts that have been read but not bought but are the best in Hollywood. So basically somebody looks at all the scripts that have been floating around Hollywood that have not been bought yet and makes a list of the best ones. And for all I know, I have not read all the scripts on the Black List so this one may be great in every way except this particular line. I don't know.

ELM: OK. So it goes: DAVE: I was reading some fanfiction online and there are credible rumors saying Peter Dinklage is going to have an affair with one of the dragons this season. JAY: How would that even...? DAVE (dead serious): Credible. Rumors. AAAAND SCENE.

FK: Yeah. I don't know what they think fanfiction is. [ELM squawks] I just don't...I mean there's plenty of things that could fit in there, you could have that exchange, seems like an exchange that could happen, if you just excised the word "fanfiction" and replaced it with something else.

ELM: "I was reading some forums online that say there are credible rumors."

FK: "I was reading a fan forum and apparently there are credible rumors that Peter Dinklage is gonna have an affair with one of the dragons." FINE.

ELM: Take the word "fiction" out of there! The idea that you would, in your mind you would think that...I can't. I can't.

FK: I think it's gotten buzzwordy is the thing. I think that the buzzword has maybe peaked and people are still putting it into things. Learn what it is.

ELM: Anyway, thanks Britta for alerting us to that. OK.

FK: Alright.

ELM: Let's move on.

FK: Uh—it's 2. Number two.

ELM: Just for our friends, Flourish just put up every single finger on her hand, like, various combinations, one at a time.

FK: [laughing] TWO.

ELM: To get to two fingers.

FK: Our number two story last year was Zayn leaving One Direction and then One Direction breaking up. Which...this could open a box about my Dunkirk feels.

ELM: OK, to put...oh my God Flourish. To put this in context, I think we also talked a bit about, it was a very very public display of people being dicks to teenage girls, right? It was a textbook case, and it was on a broad stage. And one thing I would say, in follow-on to that, I think it's been interesting to watch the reaction to Teen Vogue in the last month. Obviously very different circumstances, but I feel like also, there's an element of that in there and in a way it kinda frustrates me. For anyone who doesn't know, Teen Vogue has been unflinching in their coverage of Trump since the election and before that, too. And a lot of the credit, they were unflinching in their coverage of the deaths of unarmed black men and women over the past year too, right? They have been very politically conscious.

FK: And they've been very progressive with regard to their treatment of gender...

ELM: Absolutely. A lot of people give credit to the editor in chief, who's a black woman, that is rare. I believe she's the only woman of color editor at Condé Nast.

FK: Woah.

ELM: Possibly the only person of color editor. I'm not sure. Oh, no, not editor editor, editor means editor in chief in the media.

FK: Yeah yeah yeah.

ELM: Just wanted to make sure you knew that.

FK: I figured that out. I'm not sure I knew it before you said it but then I thought, "it can't be." Yeah.

ELM: David Remnick is the editor of the New Yorker, but there's lots and lots of editors there.

FK: Yes.

ELM: Hookin' you up with the lingo.

FK: Thank you. I'll help you understand the different kinds of producers some other time.

ELM: Thank you thank you!

FK: Cause actually I do need help, I need all of your help, please help me.

ELM: [laughs] So, here's the problem I have with the Teen Vogue discourse: Teen Vogue I think is awesome, but I also think that in a way some people...a lot of people who have been on Team Teen Vogue are people who would be on it no matter what the content. But I think there are some people, especially men of a certain age and older, who are like "wow, Teen Vogue, they're doing great work! Don't make fun of teenage girls," and it's like, but you would not ever have said this when it was teen girls getting upset about One Direction.

FK: Yeah you wouldn't have flinched at making fun of a teen girl for caring about one of the many other things that teen girls also care about in addition to politics. You would totally make fun of that.

ELM: Right, or the concept that it's all of those things at once, right? And I don't expect to pick up a copy of Teen Vogue and find it to be, I'm trying to think of a political magazine that's all politics. I can't think of one. I don't know. The Economist or something.

FK: I can only assume that they are helping today's teenagers make just as bad fashion decisions as I made when I was a teenager and God bless them for that.

ELM: We didn't have Teen Vogue because it's a relatively new publication. But we had YM Magazine.

FK: YM! Pour one out for YM. I subscribed to Teen.

ELM: I didn't get that one.

FK: There was Seventeen, which was different.

ELM: I got Seventeen, briefly. YM was my main one, I think. And I also got the Delia's catalog and the Alloy catalog...


ELM: And I would stare at that shit endlessly.

FK: Can I just say that I would still wear a lot of things in the Delia's and Alloy catalogs? They've come back around!

ELM: I've shopped at Delia's within the last ten years! I don't know if they still have stores but they definitely did like a decade ago and I went and at one point I was there and I was like, "maybe this isn't right?"

FK: Don't you love it when you're like, "I might not be the target audience"?

ELM: I remember when I was like 24 and I went into Forever 21 and I was like, "I think the time has passed." [FK laughs] That's fine. There was a line for older people, targeted at like 30 year olds, and I was like, I guess that's for me now.

FK: OK OK OK OK OK. So. Should we move on to the number one biggest story of last year?

ELM: Let's do it.

FK: OK. We wrote down "Black Hermione/#DiversifyAgentCarter/Every Single Word." That's what we said.

ELM: And literally last year we commented on the fact that we had just written those words. So I think the point was, it was about diversification, particularly racial diversification, of our media, and it's about fan led and consumer led pushes for those things. Where the change comes because the push is coming from the audience, not from the creators. The audience is pushing the creators.

FK: Right, and I think this was the thing that really...I don't know, blossomed, but...mushroomed? It was the thing that came up so much last year and in so many different iterations and versions and...

ELM: You mean in 2016.

FK: Yeah in 20016.

ELM: Totally. I don't know if we need to go too much into this right now because...

FK: ...I think we're gonna talk about it in a second.

ELM: Yes. Definitely. Definitely. OK. So that was 2015. I think that some of these things carried on as they were, and some of them, like we were saying, the fanfiction thing in particular...so it is what it is.

FK: That was 2015, so should we take a break and then should we talk about the new trends we've seen in 2016 and also the ways the old trends have mutated?

ELM: Sure, let's do it!

FK: Alright MUTANTS! [ELM snerks] Back in a sec.

[Interlude: Jahzzar, "X-mas Carol"]

FK: Alright we're back!

ELM: Yes we are.

FK: What happened in 2016?

ELM: Literally the worst things.

FK: OK. So just to illustrate exactly how much the worse things are, when we were brainstorming this episode Elizabeth wrote me an email that said, and I quote, "#1, fandom is racist and talks about it; #2, fandom responds to dead lesbians; #3, fuckboys try to ruin fandom in Gamergate 9.0." That was where we're starting from here, so. [both laugh] When I got that email, Elizabeth, I have to say I had a hard time telling whether you really wanted to do this podcast or whether this was your way of saying to me that you couldn't bear to talk about 2016, so...

ELM: Oh my God, oh my God. Let me clarify. When I said "dead lesbians," what I actually meant was "dead queer women of all orientations." I don't wanna be...

FK: [laughing] That makes it better.

ELM: I don't wanna be biphobic! That makes it so much better. Fine.

FK: OK OK OK. But I think a lot of this stuff actually relates to so many other things that have also been happening, right. So with our #1 thing in 2015, we were talking about consumers demanding more diversity and receiving it in some cases. And in 2016, it felt like, you know, the diversity happened, and then fandom shat the bed a little.

ELM: Or...you mean fandom, like, the fuckboys in Gamergate 9.0.

FK: I mean the most broadly constructed fandom, right. You go from the Poe/Finn vs. Kylux stuff, right? All the way over to yeah, the racist fuckboys and people boycotting Ghostbusters. Not saying that nothing good ever happened in this, I think there's plenty of good things that happened in this space also, but it felt a little bit like it was the year where backlash happened from the positive movement.

ELM: Right. On the other hand, though, there was still a lot of bad stuff coming out of the creators, like off the top of my head I would say Magic in North America was one of the low, lowlights of the year—it's not a light. Nadirs? [she pronounces it like Ralph Nader] Is that the one?

FK: Nadirs? [she pronounces it na-DEERs]

ELM: Na-DEER? The opposite of zenith.

FK: I think there can be only one. THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE.

ELM: OK. One of the low points was Magic in North America, which was JK Rowling's terrible terrible racist backstory in preparation for, American wizarding in preparation for Fantastic Beasts, obviously the Fantastic Beasts lack of diverse casting was already in place but we finally got to see that play out when the movie came out, Dr. Strange whitewashing, Iron Fist whitewashing, the Matt Damon and the Chinese whitewashing which as you say is complicated...

FK: Yeah, that one I would say is a different...

ELM: Ghost in the Shell whitewashing...AND, look, I'm listing bad ones!

FK: Matt Damon is a significant issue but it's a different one but go on.

ELM: And Nazi Captain America, remember that one? Which I feel like has vanished from collective consciousness.

FK: Because we all just wanted to forget it because why.

ELM: Which if you don't remember that incident, they put out a new Captain America and retconned things as they often do in the comics and said that Captain America was secretly a member of Hydra which is actual Nazis.

FK: Yeah. I mean I think a lot of this stuff actually had to do with questions about, you know, so when you look at the whitewashing in Dr. Strange, and the fact that that is a response to...it's I would say an inelegant response to problematic older canon. Same with Iron Fist. You know what I'm saying? I think what it really is is not just as simple as "let's have whitewashing," it's also that no one's figured out how to deal with...I shouldn't say no one's figured it out, but maybe...people haven't successfully dealt with it.

ELM: That's a really hard question. And maybe the question is why bother engaging with the older canon at all? Why not create new characters who are already diverse characters so you're not constantly trying to figure out how to erase the problems of the originals? I don't...whatever. I'm not a comic book creator. I'm not a member of the Marvel...

FK: Well but...

ELM: THE MARVEL. I was looking for a word.

FK: The Marvel.

ELM: I'm not a member of The Marvel.

FK: Or the DC.

ELM: I'm really not a member of the DC.

FK: This gets back to business, the sort of—and I think this ran through everything—I think this gets back to some of the business questions within this, which, as fans wanting, demanding things, and also having other jerks from Gamergate 9.0 demanding other things, and the market forces demanding very different things from an industry that's...that as a result, I think, has trouble answering any of them. Ends up basically trying to chart a middle course, which sometimes doesn't end up answering any of the questions or problems that anybody has brought up, right.

ELM: All of that is not connected in any way to, like, Nazi Captain America.

FK: That's true, that's a choice.

ELM: Right? That's just this whole idea of...I don't know, that feels to me more connected to endemic rape in Game of Thrones or something like that. This idea of "oh, we need to make this story interesting." So these are the laziest possible...

FK: Right.

ELM: And people with very few stakes on a personal level, whether it's men writing Game of Thrones episodes or presumably—I don't know if any of the cartoonists who are making the new Captain America were Jewish...

FK: I have no idea.

ELM: I can't imagine that you would wanna do that! But I mean who knows. Didn't they reverse it in the one after that, like they said they would?

FK: Well, I think that...I don't think it was surprising to anybody who read comics that they reversed it in the very next one.

ELM: That was like the most ineffectual reaction to it too. "Everyone knows that it's gonna be erased." Doesn't matter! Doesn't matter. It already happened. Anyway, that's fine.

FK: I do think there's another thing that happened which we haven't talked about yet, which was the Check Please Kickstarter, which ties into this in a sense—

ELM: THAT WAS ON MY LIST you made my list sound like it was all doom and gloom, but that was my suggestion to put on the list!

FK: That was your suggestion. I didn't mean to suggest that it wasn't you who came up with that idea for a thing to talk about. But I think that it does relate to this in that it's about fandom's monetary power, right?

ELM: Sure. I'm actually curious to know what the count is now. Should we look?

FK: Sure, let's look.

ELM: OK, there was a goal of $32,500...this was in the summer, I wanna say? I can't find this information [laughing] on the Kickstarter. OK. $32000 was the goal. I'm gonna leave it to you to guess how much money there is right now.

FK: Uh, ten times that. No. Yes. Ten times that.

ELM: You're close.

FK: $300,000?

ELM: $398,520.

FK: Woah.

ELM: Five thousand people! That means that, that's pretty significant, right? What's the math on that then?

FK: [laughs] You're saying this to me as though I'm gonna do math.

ELM: 400,000 divided by 5,000. Quick do it.

FK: NO. That's 80.

ELM: Eighty dollars.

FK: That doesn't make sense...yeah, 80.

ELM: Eighty, eight zero.

FK: Yeah I think so, lemme just double check that.

ELM: Yes.

FK: Eighty dollars, that's correct! I was not wrong. I didn't screw up my zeros.

ELM: That's pretty significant when you think about—

FK: That the average pledge was $80!

ELM: Just think about the commitment of going to the movies is a $15 monetary pledge which isn't insignificant, you know? Buying a book, buying the new Harry Potter book, $20, $30. I don't know how much those cost, I always had Borders coupons. So. But you know, $80, an average of $80, I'm not sure if that's actually how it works out, but that's a pretty serious monetary power for fandom I feel like, you know?

FK: Absolutely, and this for something that has no, doesn't have the massive budget of anybody who's advertising it on billboards and all this stuff.

ELM: As far as I know, no advertising at all. It's completely word of mouth and really good social media, really engaged creator who natively understands these platforms, you know? Clearly knows how Tumblr works and clearly, probably a Tumblr user I'm assuming. Or has been before. So...it's a really interesting model. And one that I'm not sure...I feel like maybe this is something that you see in, I mean, obviously I know that Kickstarters are used widely and Patreon for comics creators. But I feel like this is the first time that I've really seen the kind of source material that fanfiction writers engage with really be in this space and really be successful in this way, because I feel like so much of fanfiction has its eye on big stuff. You know?

FK: Yeah. I would also say for all that Yuri on Ice is huge in its area, as compared to a movie or a TV property that's being advertised heavily in the United States or in English speaking countries, it doesn't have that. It's not like there's been a Yuri on Ice advertising blitz or something. Right? So I think that's another space in which people have really gotten into a, a really great source material that on the other hand also hasn't been highly advertised to them, that has been more organically spread.

ELM: So the secret to this organic spread is you need a dark haired man and a light haired man.

FK: [chortles] It's so true!

ELM: Who ice skate.

FK: And ice skating in accurate ways so you can nerd out about ice skating if you want to nerd out about ice skating.

ELM: See this is why I don't feel like I can connect to either of these, I haven't seen Yuri on Ice but I have read Check Please, I don't find the skating elements particularly compelling.

FK: I don't know what to say to you.

ELM: Do you?

FK: Not really? But I haven't tried on either of them really.

ELM: Wait you haven't read Check Please? It takes like an hour!

FK: I know, but I haven't.

ELM: I can tell you everything that happens.

FK: Well, I can tell you everything that happens because I've heard about it from every person that I know [ELM laughs] who's read Check Please, which is why I've never watched it or read it or you know engaged with it in any way, I should say, because why would I need to? Every one of my friends has told me everything that happens in it.

ELM: That's fair. That's kind of how I'm feeling about Yuri on Ice right now.

FK: And Rogue One also, possibly.

ELM: No, I've actually been kinda trying to avoid spoilers cause I know I'm gonna see it.

FK: OK, fair enough.

ELM: You know what I just saw on the plane?

FK: What?

ELM: Zootopia.

FK: Isn't it cute?

ELM: It's so good!

FK: It's really good! I saw it in the theaters and I was really glad, I paid money for the right movie.

ELM: Is there discourse about it? I would love to hear the discourse.

FK: There was a lot of discourse when it came out.

ELM: It's complicated.

FK: It's real complicated. It's interestingly complicated, not boringly complicated.

ELM: Very smart.

FK: Yeah.

ELM: Great, cool, OK. That was an aside.

FK: Hashtag 2016, Zootopia was a thing that happened. When it came out I felt so hopeful about the year.

ELM: Really?

FK: It still felt like it could turn itself around, you know?

ELM: Didn't it come out after Brexit?

FK: I don't remember, it came out after Brexit I think, but I think that I was thinking at the time that we were going to...that the US would look at Brexit and go "we don't wanna be that." It was still in that period, where you felt like oh, maybe you've hit rock bottom. But then there was further to go.

ELM: [sighs] So much further. OK. Let's go back to talking about fuckboys. Other fuckboys. Not our fuckboy in chief. So...I, I don't wanna be really pessimistic here but watching fandom interaction this year has left me feeling less optimistic than I probably felt last year. I don't know what I wanna focus on first because there's definitely, there's a danger in—you brought this up in our planning emails, you were saying well, aren't the fuckboys who are harassing people over Ghostbusters, they're kind of using the same methods as people demanding that their ship become canon or whatever, and I was like "I don't wanna frame it that way because I think there's a false equivalence there," but it's also true, and I always think about this when I write about either of these things. That it is the same methods. And I don't know, I just am feeling very, very frustrated with some of the ways that I see people interacting on both sides, even if ideologically I'm probably on the same side as a lot of people who are being like, "dude, make my ship canon." Yeah. I would love more queer ships to be canon.

FK: Yeah, for sure. But then there is a moment where you're like, wait, but...we're using the same playbook...because we're all on a larger social media platform that sort of encourages you to behave in certain ways...so when I look at the way for instance, people talking on Tumblr, and I look at the way that that can encourage people to sort of silo themselves and think within a certain group, and not to spread out their ways of thinking, then I look at Facebook fake news or whatever, they're not the same thing, but I see them as connected, you know? They're both bubbling.

ELM: Sure, sure.

FK: In ways that makes it easier then, maybe, to harass people outside the bubble. Whether that bubble, I may agree with the contents of the bubble or not...

ELM: [laughs] The contents of the bubble! Right, that's really hard. If you're gonna bring it into Facebook and fake news and politics and stuff, it's like yeah, well, sure, I might be in a bubble, but my bubble is not actively promoting racism or whatever. It may be implicitly promoting racism as most things in American society are, but you know what I mean, right?

FK: Right, but then on the other hand it can also result in real...I'm thinking about people who I've spoken to who are on Tumblr and have a perception of fandom or public opinion or whatever, and you're just like, "but that's...not actually what most people think." You know? I may or may not agree with what you're saying, in fact I probably agree with you because whatever, screaming lefty liberal whatever, but most people don't believe in, I don't know, the Johnlock conspiracy. That's just the first thing that came to mind, I'm not trying to say anything about that. Or most people don't believe in...

ELM: Great, good example.

FK: Or Larries or people who think X or Y...whatever it is, there's a bubbling.

ELM: Did I talk about this on the podcast? When I went to see Sherlock, the Christmas special in the theater, if anyone doesn't remember this, it was the beginning of last year, they did the Sherlock Christmas special The Abominable Bride in theaters. And I went, even though I'd already seen it, and I watched some of the conversations on Tumblr. The audience had such a different reaction to me and, you know, laughed at things that I thought were incredibly sad, and reacted to things that I know the way the fandom was reacting cause the people on my dash, I saw the way people would respond to things...Same thing! Where they'd think that things were sad and part of a broader arc, and people found them as jokes, you know. And that's very interesting to see, this kind of disconnect. There's this certainty within fandom that this is the only way to interpret it, or that any nuance comes from within the conversations that you're having. Which is...interesting....

FK: Yeah, and I don't wanna be too heavy handed about this, I don't think it's the same thing as believing Hillary Clinton murdered somebody.

ELM: On the White House lawn.

FK: On the White House lawn! It's obviously not the same thing, it's a false equivalence, but there is I think something bigger than fandom, bigger than politics, that's shaping the way that we consume ideas and the way that we have conversations with people that I think you can't avoid, we couldn't avoid seeing it in 2016 in any aspect of our lives.

ELM: Yeah, that's true. Great. This is getting even more depressing, thank you.

FK: I don't know what to say, you know?

ELM: Can we transition into, we brought it up in the list but we haven't really talked about it, because that reminds me, people talking about seeing what they see within fandom. I think I mentioned this already, possibly multiple times, but I was very shocked when I was at cons this year, particularly Leviosa, talking to people and finding out that they hadn't heard anything about the discourse around racism in the Star Wars fandom in particular that happened in the spring. That really took me aback, because I was like, how could you miss that? You know? Aside from us deciding to do, obviously we were paying a lot of attention cause we did a pair of episodes on the controversy and the conversations—the controversy, by the way, anyone who managed to miss this, if you're one of those people and you've just started listening to us, was I think part of the flash point was Toast's stats, right?

FK: Mm-hm, talking about Finn/Poe and Kylux as ships in the fandom.

ELM: So that's Finn and Poe, a black man and a Latino man, and Kylux, Kylo Ren and General Hux, who are the whitest white people that have ever existed, and...

FK: And also Nazis.

ELM: Yes. They're literal space Nazis. And Finn/Poe right after The Force Awakens came out last December had a big amount of fanfiction production and that really dropped off and over time, Kylux overtook them to be the most popular ship on Tumblr and AO3. And there's a lot to unpack there, and it launched a much much broader discussion about racism in fandom and anti-blackness in fandom, and I don't know, all the posts on my dash got—thousands of people were engaging with them. I Just assumed that everyone was seeing them, you know? And I was really surprised to encounter people who were like "I am deep in fandom and I have no idea what you're talking about." I don't know. That's interesting, because then it just makes me feel like, well, in the spaces where you're hanging out, do these conversations never happen? If there's a limited reach for these conversations, you know what I mean?

FK: One of the issues I think that comes up with it is there's so many people who are really in one fandom, especially if it's your first fandom. I've gotten more and more multifannish over the years, but when I first got into fandomt here was one thing that got me going. And if you're in that space, then maybe you don't see it until it comes to your fandom, until there is something in that particular fandom that brings that conversation into it, and maybe you learn about what's happened elsewhere or maybe you don't, I don't know. But until it refers to your thing...

ELM: I wonder if, related to that too, there's so many source materials, so many fandoms where every character is white. So people probably, it's a lot easier to never talk about race—even though that's also an act of racism and erasure, right? If there's no people of color.

FK: Right. But if you're in this and everyone's just being fans of this thing and you're in this community to do that, if you're a nonwhite person in that space, you may or may not ever bring up "hey, everyone here is a cracker" because you knew that going in! You know?

ELM: You just said "cracker," Flourish.

FK: I did say "cracker." Look, I am back home in Northern California right now with all the crackers.

ELM: I was gonna say I think it's cause you're in California!

FK: I'm here in the midst of Trump—it is the part of California that is Trump land and I am embracing...

ELM: I am in Trump country too, how are you doing in your Trump country?

FK: I'm doing OK, I managed not to get in any physical fights at Christmas!

ELM: Alright, congrats!

FK: I drank a fair amount and I still didn't fight anyone.

ELM: Aww, good times! Anyway, yeah, right? So I think that's, especially, you gotta hand it to Harry Potter that it's a big fandom with a big amount of source material and lots of space for discourse about all sorts of problematic things within it, you know? And I mean, in the case of Harry Potter, a lot of that is around erasure, if you're talking about people of color or you're talking about queer characters or you're talking about the one strong female character, apparently, makes up for the lack of a gender balance, you know. So. That's not true. Luna's strong too. And McGonagall.

FK: If you read the books all together then I gather that Ginny is, but after many years of her being a nonentity I have a hard time with it.

ELM: Wait really, people who read them all at once find Ginny to be...?

FK: Apparently people feel like it's not so weird that you don't encounter Ginny so much and she shows up sort of fully formed. They're like that's OK, she was doing awesome stuff and they never noticed and that's OK.

ELM: This is mindblowing to me.

FK: I had a conversation wiht somebody about this. I was like "How could you be so into Ginny?" They were like "She was just living her own life and when her story intersected with theirs..." I don't know what to say.

ELM: This is fascinating. Maybe 2017 I actually will reread them again like I was planning to and maybe I'll see Ginny in a better light.

FK: Seems like a good idea.

ELM: GOALS! Well, the world's on fire, I'm gonna just read Harry Potter again. That's fine. Don't worry about it.

FK: Hey, we all have to have our things. I'm gonna read all of Star Trek, all thousand plus novels, and you're gonna reread Harry Potter.

ELM: Great. OK. So let's talk about, before we wrap up, here's what I would like to talk about: 2017. Here's my immediate gut instinct: all of the stuff we saw in 2016, I think there's going to be...I don't know. I feel like the political climate right now is gonna diminish a lot of these conversations.

FK: In what way?

ELM: I already feel like it. I already feel like I'm seeing this. And I mean, maybe things will be...it just feels like every day there's a piece of news that is terrifying and literally feels like people's lives are being threatened by the oncoming storm. And I in the last month I feel like I haven't seen, I'll think about some of the controversies that we've been wrapped up in, and I feel like maybe I haven't seen as much? And then I think...do you think you've seen as much? Have I forgotten something that's happened in the last couple weeks? What am I forgetting?

FK: I don't think that you're forgetting anything, but I think that I've seen people dive back into fandom as an escape, and I've seen...like, Yuri on Ice being people diving so hard into it and then having fights about Yuri on Ice as a way of not having fights about other stuff.

ELM: I'm thinking more about the stuff that's interfandom, I'm thinking about people trying to make the entertainment industry better, I'm thinking about discourse within public spaces about pop cultural texts and fans pushing back. I feel like I don't know, who knows? Maybe just there haven't been any flashpoints in the last six weeks, and on January 5th someone's gonna announce some terrible movie that needs to be yelled about and everyone will push back, you know. Maybe it's just, maybe it's just my own distraction that's making me feel like this is gonna be less—the conversation will be less loud and less focused on cultural products and more focused on politics. Not the politics of our cultural products, but capital P Politics.

FK: I think that that might be right. I wouldn't be surprised to see that there was a lot...I'm not saying that, I think that actually some of the trends in terms of more diverse casting and so forth are going to carry forward, witness for instance the new Star Trek getting its first ever African American female captain—or not captain but protagonist.

ELM: Did you see the BAFTA thing?

FK: Yeah I saw the BAFTA thing!

ELM: They have until 2019, right? That's the...they give people time to implement...

FK: That's the cutoff.

ELM: Do you know what the rules are? If your movie isn't diverse it won't be eligible for BAFTA?

FK: I don't know the specifics of the rules but that was the top line.

ELM: That's what I read. I read the top line.

FK: Well, that was the top line. I did read it, but I don't want to repeat it because I'll say something wrong and feel like an asshat. Lemme find it. Yeah, OK. So from 2019, films that were put forward for BAFTAs have to conform to the BFI's diversity standards, so they have to have demonstratable opportunities for trainees and interns to progress with their careers, diverse key creatives with at least two heads of department from diverse backgrounds—that's a quote, I'm not using that term personally—and then characters positively reflecting diversity, at least 30% of supporting and background characters positively reflecting diversity. And they define diversity in subject matter as identities relating to ethnicity or national origins, and a specific focus on women, people with disabilities, sexual identity, age, and people from a socially disadvantaged background, and where the film attaches value to those aspects and dimensions of self or community identity in relation to religion or belief. Characteristics of crewmembers defined as diverse include ethnicity, disability, sexual identity, gender, or from a socially disadvantaged background. So actually when I read through this, there are some people who complained about how this wouldn't allow you to have a film with two white men, and nothing in these rules says you couldn't have a film with two white men.

ELM: Two wealthy white cisgendered straight men who are not old. Can't have a movie about them, huh? Just think about all the great white man movies that we're gonna be deprived of now!

FK: Yeah, I mean, I'm just saying to me when I look at this it seems like a film could succeed in these metrics basically...it doesn't seem to me like it bans any film from being made, which was a top line thing.

ELM: Also I genuinely don't care if it banned films that were only about white men. That's fine.

FK: I care a little bit in the sense of, like...I don't know. But on the other hand...

ELM: Really? Really?

FK: Not THAT much. [ELM laughs] But a little bit on principle!

ELM: People can try a little harder and think a little harder. I like that age is in there. I want more old people movies.

FK: Yeah, more old people movies! That's a thing, right? You could have an old person movie that addressed all of these.

ELM: They had one of those. It's called The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

FK: [laughs and sputters] That's true I guess. I guess that's true. OK OK OK. But I think that, what I think I was saying before...

ELM: What about Calendar Girls? That's older people. [FK snorts] That's about women's issues though so that's different. The Full Monty?

FK: OH MY GOD ELIZABETH I GET IT. [ELM cackles] What I think I was saying before we started going down this road though was I think you're right in that I wouldn't be surprised if—I don't think the entertainment industry is going to go backwards, some people have said "oh, in the age of Trump we're gonna see less diverse casting" and so forth—I don't think that's gonna be a thing.

ELM: No no no, that's not what I'm saying, no.

FK: Right, I know that's not what you're saying, I'm just trying to clarify. But I do agree with you, I think fans are probably going to—if we're going to be doing fandom we're going to be doing it more for escapism and less for pushing back on the things we're fans of, and focus our energies outside of fandom and cultural products. I think that's right.

ELM: I'm curious, I don't know. Who knows? And I guess I also feel like, I do think when I think about the last couple of months, you have seen more explicit political alignments within these conversations. So, the fuckboys talking about how they're gonna boycott Rogue One because...which is still hilarious to me. You know. That kinda thing, and then being able to invoke their stupid "this is why Trump won!" It's like, alright guys. So maybe that will happen more. Obviously I got really mad over the summer, there were several articles that were suggesting that the harassment of Leslie Jones was done by fans, like, angry fans, and it's like, this had nothing to do with fans! Right?

FK: Right.

ELM: That was a targeted harassment campaign by some alt-right leaders, you know, in particular one in particular, he who shall not be named on this podcast.

FK: Whereas whatever you can say about some of even the most vitriolic fan campaigns that have made, that have really...from the left, I haven't known of any of them that have not been from people who are actually fans of the thing.

ELM: Yeah, right?

FK: It's not like a political football.

ELM: Well, I definitely feel that when a creator is making a racist decision, I don't think you need to be a fan of the thing to speak out against it. Right? So maybe I wouldn't agree with that entirely. And I think that a lot of the people...who knows if those boys actually cared about Ghostbusters? I bet a lot of the just hated the idea of it, you know? Or any of the people who protested The Force Awakens last year. Those people who are mad, mad that it looked like there was going to be an interracial romance, right. The presumption in hetero cultural viewing land would be that Finn and Rey will get together, which they still could, I mean, obviously I'm coming from slash fandom where that is not the presumption, but obviously that would be great too, you know? So. I don't know. I DON'T KNOW, Flourish.

FK: I don't know either but I think that I'm not gonna say that 2017 has to be better because that feels like it is tempting fate, so I'll just say, 2016, don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out.

ELM: Wow, that was very...vanilla.

FK: Vanilla?

ELM: "Don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out"?

FK: [laughing] In the butt! I am in my parents' house. It is, I am gonna get yelled at for saying "ass."

ELM: I'm also at my parents' house, and 2016 can go FUCK ITSELF. [FK laughs] Yeah.

FK: Alright. Well, should we take a break and then do our goodbyes?

ELM: OK, let's do that.

[Interstitial music: Jahzzar, "#1 Wish"]

FK: Alright so we're back. And I just have a couple of housekeeping things to talk about as usual. The big one being tiny zines! They're gonna be going out a couple days after Christmas.

ELM: Yes! So presuming post office works in the normal fashion, they should be at your doors before New Year's! Right?

FK: Yeah! Super exciting.

ELM: I mean, I'm just saying, did I tell you that one of my employers sent me a check and it arrived at my house six weeks later?

FK: What?

ELM: My employer in Union Square. Sent me a check. To Brooklyn.

FK: Six weeks.

ELM: First subway stop in Brooklyn by the way! It wasn't like it was going deep into Brooklyn, you know? Took six weeks. It was enough time for us to cancel the check and reissue it and cash it. Fine. Fine.

FK: Well, hopefully it won't take that long for tiny zines.

ELM: Hopefully they'll get there in time.

FK: We'll send a note out to people when we put 'em in the post, so. In the post. Listen to me. I sound like I'm British. When we put it in the mail.

ELM: Go ahead, Flourish, say some more British things.

FK: I can't say any more British things I don't have them in me. But tiny zines! So just in case anybody missed it that's for people who support us at $10 a month on our Patreon and this is the first time we're doing them, and we're both very excited.

ELM: By the time this episode comes out they'll already be in the mail.

FK: Ah well. We'll have sent them.

ELM: Everyone gets them now. K. Cool.


ELM: So if you are not a Patreon supporter and you're interested, that's the way that right now that we can sustain this. And actually, goal for 2017 is to kinda get back on the...horse?

FK: Cow? Maybe it's a fandom cow. I don't know.


FK: I don't know! Maybe you ride a...if you need to ride something, if you couldn't walk you would ride a cow, wouldn't you? If you had to?

ELM: If anyone has any experience with livestock and would like to let us know that you genuinely cannot ride a cow... please write in.

FK: OK. Well anyway, where were we? What were we saying? I don't even remember.

ELM: You just went off on livestock. Jesus Christ.

FK: We're getting back on the horse. The metaphorical horse.

ELM: Yeah. A wagon or the car... or something that you can ride. In terms of our Patreon. So our Patreon we have awesome bunches of supporters, if you are one of them thank you again, but we wanna use your money—this is an awkward way to say it, it's true though.

FK: It's the truth.

ELM: We want to use the money that you give to us to pay other people. So we had one episode in the fall where we commissioned a fanartist to make the cover, we want to do more of that, and we want to pay people to write for us, we want to get our Medium going again, so...that hopefully sooner rather than later, in January, will be, you know, starting all that up again and thank you for your patience.

FK: The good news is because we've been able to bank some cash in order to do this we'll be able to commission I think some really great stuff, right?

ELM: Yeah, I'm hopeful!

FK: Yeah! And pay reasonable rates. So thank you to everybody who's been supportive and we hope to increase that and to provide better fandom...reporting slash commentary? [Elizabeth mumbles] Well...you say it then. You actually know what to use.

ELM: Commentary!

FK: Commentary.

ELM: Discourse.

FK: Discourse, oh god.

ELM: The final housekeeping item is that way way back before the election, before we lost our grip on reality, we asked people to submit fics that were the exception to the rule for them. So if you say "I'm totally squicked out by—" what. Mpreg is the example I often use where there's this one mpreg story that I really love, and we got a lot of submissions, didn't we?

FK: We did, we got a lot of submissions, so we're gonna be putting together that list and releasing it alongside this episode!

ELM: So it's not too late, if you wanted to still send them in we could pop them on the end of the post, right?

FK: If you wanted to add some more...

ELM: Send it to fansplaining@gmail.com or leave us a Tumblr ask or tweet at us, not a lot of space to describe your rec, or if you're a subscriber to The Rec Center, my newsletter, you could also use the form that we include on most of the newsletters, which is like a proper rec submission form. So you'll find that in past issues, I don't think we included it this week.

FK: This is only further confusing the issue that no, I am not the person who does the Rec Center with you.

ELM: I'm sorry, but I have gotten some submissions for this through the Rec Center.

FK: Wow, alright.

ELM: I sent them along to you! I hope you didn't lose them!

FK: I didn't. You sent them along to me.

ELM: So if you're planning on staying in on New Year's, maybe we'll give you a list to curl up with so you won't be as hungover as we will be!

FK: [laughs] It's so true. It's so true.

ELM: It's your fault, Flourish.

FK: It's my fault. It is my fault.

ELM: Last New Year's... it's just, I think it's fun that everyone wants to bring sparkling wine, prosecco or whatever, to the party, this is a general New Year's critique, I would say. But no one has enough money to bring decent stuff, right?

FK: Yeah.

ELM: So maybe we should just not. Maybe we should just all bring beer.

FK: You can bring beer to my party if you want.

ELM: No, I wanna fit in!

FK: No you should bring beer because people would be pleased about that. However, I will do my traditional thing and get the largest bottle of champagne that my money can buy.

ELM: Largest? See you're not going for quality, you're going for quantity.

FK: I'm going for...they usually don't make very bad champagne in, like, jeroboams.

ELM: You're buying actual champagne?

FK: That's what I did last year!

ELM: I didn't get any of that!

FK: Well you came too late, because there was a massive giant format bottle.

ELM: How much money do you spend on this?

FK: Don't ask.

ELM: Oh my god Flourish why.

FK: Cause it's the one party I throw every year?

ELM: Just get a keg, what's wrong with you?

FK: I don't know, I got attached to the idea of the giant format bottle of champagne and now I'm stuck with it.

ELM: That's fine, if that's how you wanna spend your money.

FK: It becomes cheaper when you're doing it in volume! Like anything else!

ELM: Maybe you should just not buy it at all and just donate it to the ACLU.

FK: OH MY GOD. We're not having this conversation about my New Year's Eve party, Elizabeth. I will talk to you later.

ELM: Maybe you could cancel the whole party and everyone can donate the money they were going to spend to the ACLU.

FK: We can spend the time—I realize that if I were truly a good person we would spend the time praying for our world instead of drinking.

ELM: I don't understand what you think you're doing.

FK: Throwing a party is the answer.

ELM: Alright, well I'll see you there!

FK: OK, I'm glad that you recognize that you and I are the same in this regard.

ELM: I can donate to the ACLU separately. [FK bursts into laughter] I'll make sure those two are in conjunction with each other.

FK: Oh my God I'll talk to you later Elizabeth.

ELM: OK well.

FK: I'll talk to you next year, Elizabeth.

ELM: I'm gonna see you on New Year's Eve!

FK: I'll see you on New Year's Eve, Elizabeth.

ELM: I'll see you one last time in this Godforsaken year. And we can say goodbye to it forever.

FK: Alright. Bye Elizabeth.

ELM: Bye!