Episode 41: Fandom Trumps Hate
Flourish and Elizabeth wondered how to record a podcast while the world was on fire. So in episode 41, “Fandom Trumps Hate,” they speak to @bamfinacuddlyjumper and @porcupine-girl, two of the organizers of the @fandomtrumpshate fanworks auction, which raised more than $32,000 (!) for charities resisting the Trump agenda. They discuss the origins of the auction, how it worked, how it was received, and plans for the future. They also grapple with the role of fandom at large right now, and what individual fans can do.
[00:00:00] As always, our intro music is “Awel,” by Stefsax.
[00:01:00] @fandomtrumpshate is the auction!
[00:03:41] The auction Elizabeth’s referring to is Help Haiti. It raised over $115,000 excluding matching funds and rounding-up!
[00:06:13] Here is Bob Geldof singing at Live Aid in 1985. You’re welcome.
Did you see The Martian with Matt Damon? He’s got a big thing he’s trying to solve, which is that he’s stuck on Mars and he has to get back to Earth. And they spent a lot of time in the movie on the fact that he has to figure out how to grow potatoes on Mars.
The potatoes on Mars do not actually get him back to Earth. He’s not actually solving the problem. But if he doesn’t have potatoes, he’s not going to live long enough to solve the problem and get back to Earth.
So to me, my hope is, the songs that you love, the books that you love, the TV that you love, the conversations that you have about people that are kind of nourishing to you, help you—those are your potatoes… And you have to have that stuff in order to make it long enough to get back to Earth.
[00:15:51] Elizabeth tweeted kind of a lot about cheering at the ACLU.
[00:16:11] Our interstitial music is “Where it goes” from Natural Therapy by Jahzzar.
[00:29:16] The final count was over $32000 guys!!!
[00:55:33] Our interstitial music is “Where it goes” from Natural Therapy by Jahzzar.
[01:00:04] We wrote about our Alpha/Beta Reader poll.
[01:02:30] Support us on Patreon!
[01:04:31] Seriously, give us a buzz! 1-401-526-3267, that’s 401-526-FANS. :D
[01:05:25] Our outro music is “The Valley” from Natural Therapy by Jahzzar.
Flourish Klink: Hi, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth Minkel: Hi, Flourish!
FK: And welcome to Fansplaining, the podcast by, for, and about fandom!
ELM: This is Episode 41, it’s called “Fandom Trumps Hate.” It was hard to say one of those words out loud.
FK: Ugh, and it wasn’t “fandom” and it wasn’t “hate.”
ELM: OK. So, right off the bat so you know who our guest is, if you are in certain corners of fandom on Tumblr and the AO3, you may have seen Fandom Trumps Hate, which was a big multifandom charity auction where people wrote fic, drew art, offered up their services as beta readers and other things like that, made vids, to raise money for charities that are working to protect us from Donald Trump and his administration.
FK: Right, so the way that it would work is you’re a fic writer, and you’re like “I offer to write a 2,000 word fanfic about anything that a person chooses,” maybe.
ELM: But it wasn’t like that, it was like, “Hi, I'm a fanfic writer and these are the fandoms that I would be willing to write in,” and every time I looked at one it was like 17,000 fandoms, it was like “How are you people able to offer so much?” So you’re like “I could write you stories for these pairings or these fandoms…”
FK: Right, that’s true.
ELM: “…and this is the link to my work,” so a lot of people who have followings and readers who love them, or visualizers…I was like, “What’s the equivalent of a reader if you’re looking at art?” Viewers.
FK: Yeah, so then—yeah.
ELM: “So then yeah.” [laughs]
FK: So then yeah! If you’re a reader, or a “visualizer” as Elizabeth so eloquently put it, you go like “Oh man, my favorite fic writer has offered this! I want them to write me a fic about my favorite pairing. I will offer to donate $10 to the ACLU if they write me this fic!”
ELM: And then I’m like, “I love this writer more and I am gonna put in $20,” cause it’s an auction. My entire context for auctions of this nature that aren’t like, people speaking really fast, is on television. I don’t know, sitcoms, I feel like they’re always…and they’re always silent auctions, so they’re secretly pretending to outbid each other or outbidding each other secretly…
ELM: You don’t watch sitcoms! [laughs] But this is a very common trope on sitcoms.
FK: But when I was a kid I once entered a silent auction and didn’t realize that I could win all the things that I bid on, and I got into trouble. It was fine in the end, but I was like…you know, I had enough money to actually pay, but I didn’t want to pay for all of them and it was a sour…
ELM: Did you have a lot of money as a child or was this an auction of like 50 cents?
FK: There were things for kids to bid on at a school silent auction, so kids were involved. It was like little things.
ELM: OK. So. Then, you know, the bids go up and then the person who wins the auction donates the money and I think provides proof of donation to the organizers, and then the fan creator creates! And so it’s a great system. I was first introduced to this kind of setup after the earthquake in Haiti. I remember very specifically—and I wasn’t like, I was just a reader, I wasn’t active in fandom, but I remember very specifically one of my favorite stories ever someone through that auction purchased a one-shot [FK gasps] that was set, like, 10 years in the future from the main story.
ELM: It was just magical, and there was just…so much good has been done here! [laughs] I get a one shot of one of my favorite…! I should have been like “I’ll give you $100 to write one-shots of this universe.” So. It’s, it’s, I think when people talk about monetizing fanfiction, often we talk about the gift economy, and I think this is one of the most clear-cut examples of how that works. When there’s actual money involved, cash money. You disagree?
FK: Yeah. I don’t think that’s what the gift economy is.
ELM: You think the gift economy is when there’s no cash money, I’m saying when we’re talking about monetizing fanfiction, this is the only way that money really gets involved unless you’re moving into—
FK: Right, professionalized spaces, that makes sense, absolutely. OK. Now I understand, I was like, “The gift economy? This is not…”
ELM: The gift economy’s just gifts, what are you talking about! [both laugh]
FK: Actually, your reaction to the Help Haiti auction is something that I think brings up a question that I think probably hovers over anything like this, which is the question of fandom and feeling like, are you doing enough, are you getting more excited about the things in your fandom than about making real world change, right? I know that I’ve felt weird about this, and…
ELM: I didn’t donate in this auction, I donated—I remember I donated, they made it very easy to donate to Haiti, they were like, “Text this number,” right.
FK: Yeah, I recall.
ELM: I mean I wasn’t excited about…I’m not gonna get excited about a natural disaster. [FK laughs] I was glad that, I was excited that there was a great cultural output. You know, in a way that I think that…Haiti or all sorts of other natural disasters in the last whatever, or even going back to Live Aid, this kind of feels like a fandom’s version of these big charity concerts, where they want people to donate, right?
ELM: So that’s been going on for our entire lives. Live Aid was in the mid 80s. So like, you know, but it’s on a smaller scale and a more human scale, it’s as if Bob Geldof comes to your living room and sings a song directly to you for $10. …maybe not something you want!
FK: I was gonna say, can I pay him $10 NOT to do that?
ELM: Can I pay him HUNDREDS of dollars to stay away? [both laugh]
FK: OK but you see, you see what I’m trying to say about the balance of…
ELM: Absolutely. So—before we start talking about the impetus for this episode, we gave you all the background of Fandom Trumps Hate, we reached out to the organizers and two of them are gonna come on. Winter and Porcupine Girl. I believe Winter was the spark behind this.
FK: The instigator.
ELM: The instigator. And I know there were at least half a dozen, probably more people involved so…so I am excited to talk to them about how this all got set up and how it went. I know they’ve raised a lot of money and I know they had a lot of participants and I think it’s been a really…one of the few concrete things that I’ve seen out of fandom in the last few months that I’ve felt happy about. And that’s not an indictment of fandom, it’s just as you know and everyone else who listens to this knows, I’ve had major disconnect from feeling like, it’s hard for me to find the spaces where fandom matters right now.
FK: Mm-hmm. For sure.
ELM: So the reason that I wanted to talk about this this week, this was my suggestion, was because this is the first time we’re talking to you when POETUS—“pee-oh-etus” or however we were saying his name—is now POTUS. This is the first episode of the Trump administration being in power. And since I last talked to you I’ve been to like [laughs] five protests, so…I don’t know, I think that I speak for a lot of people when I say I didn’t think it would get this bad this quickly? I thought it was gonna be bad, I was mad at everyone who’s downplaying it, but I was not aware that they were going to, you know, hit the gas so hard on everything they had intended to do. I assumed that they would try to do it in a more sneaky way, which they’re not competent enough for that apparently. [FK laughs] And it occurs to me, and I think you said this too, this is not going to be a one-off. This is not going to be the only time where we’re gonna need to think “Oh, how do we balance fandom and Trump.”
FK: No. There was this moment where we were like, I was like, “I know people who are stranded outside the United States right now, who are green card holders who can’t get in, who are visa holders, personal stories—” not just stories but literally human beings that I know, what the fuck are we gonna do, how are we just gonna talk about fandom for this podcast like everything is on fire…and then there was this moment of like, “This is not gonna be the only time that everything is on fire.” This is the first time that everything is on fire since, in this incredibly palpable way, but it’s definitely not the last. So how are we gonna handle that?
ELM: Right. And how is this something that is sustained and useful and, I think this is something that a lot of people are struggling with. And I’m not sure that we have any answers. And when I was initially talking to you about this episode, I was like, “I think it’d be really great if we could come up with some kind of action plan. We could say, here are some concrete steps, you, fans, who are listening to this, people in fandom, people who are interested in fandom, here’s what you do. Here’s how you balance this.” And we have no fucking idea. We do not have an action plan.
FK: [laughing] There was this moment where I was like, “So how are you balancing it?” And you were like, “I don’t know!” And I was like “Well I don’t fuckin’ know, so how are we gonna help anybody else know?”
ELM: Right? I’m genuinely proud of myself that I’m continuing to do my job. Though, I mean, it’s not much to be proud of, seeing as if I don’t do my job I will not be able to pay my rent.
ELM: Nor will I be able to pay my insurance payments, which I got on the exchanges on the Affordable Care Act.
FK: Thanks, Obama.
ELM: Thanks, Obama.
FK: OK, OK. But you did send me a really good quote, which I think that we should read, because it really helped me think about…
ELM: Oh yeah! I did something, I found something.
FK: You did! You found something. So we were talking about what to do and there was this moment where we were like “Ahh do we just cancel the podcast because everything’s on fire,” and then we were like “No we won’t do that, so what do we do,” and then you sent me this quote, which I thought was really good. Which is from Linda Holmes, who is a person on NPR, yes?
ELM: Linda Holmes is, yeah. She is a pop culture writer. You may have read her writing on their pop culture blog “Monkey See,” and she’s one of the hosts of “Pop Culture Happy Hour” that’s a very popular podcast they do. Oh, and she was one of the pioneers of “Television Without Pity,” if you were a part of that crew you probably remember her from that, so. That’s where she got her start I believe.
FK: Right, right. OK. So what she said about this is this: “Did you see The Martian with Matt Damon? He’s got a big thing which he’s trying to solve, which is that he’s stuck on Mars and he has to get back to Earth. And they spend a lot of time in the movie on the fact that he has to figure out how to grow potatoes on Mars. The potatoes on Mars do not actually get him back to Earth. He is not actually solving the problem. But if he doesn’t have potatoes, he’s not going to live long enough to solve the problem and get back to Earth. So to me, my hope is, the songs you love, the books you love, the TV that you love, the conversations that you have about people that are kind of nourishing to you, help you. Those are your potatoes, and you have to have that stuff in order to make it long enough to get back to Earth.” And I was like, “Oh, that’s the nicest, that’s the best formulation of the argument of things we need to do for self-care.” Right?
ELM: I hate the term “self-care,” can I just put that out there? Now that we’ve said it out loud.
FK: I don’t love it either, and I thought that this was the thing that made me, like, feel a little better about it. This isn’t just frivolous…
ELM: Just small potatoes.
ELM: Cause self-care has been so…“boy who cried wolf” is not the right term, but self-care has been so overused that it doesn’t mean anything anymore, right? So it'll be like, I mean, I see people being like, “I don’t wanna go to your birthday party, I need some…” it’s like “me time.” You know? [laughs, then sighs] OK. I just wish that, it’s such a broad term that I have trouble dealing with it at this point, but I think that at its heart, what I initially understood it to be was positive and important and valuable. But it’s, I think it often gets invoked when people just…so I’ve seen people write this and I agree, I think people sometimes equate self-care with selfishness, right?
ELM: Self-care can’t be a ticket to, a get-out-of-civic-engagement-free card, you know? Or a get-out-of-paying-attention-to-the-world card. And also, self-care doesn’t equal, if you suffer from mental illness, which I have suffered from multiple…I have had a long struggle with mental illness so I definitely, I obviously speak from a place of understanding. And so when people are saying, like, when I say things like “self-care shouldn’t equal selfishness,” understand that that’s not meant as an attack on anyone who struggles with any mental illness that prevents them from engaging in the way that people say they’re supposed to engage. Does that all make sense?
FK: Yeah, it makes perfect sense. And it also makes…but it makes sense also that it’s more of a, that the call is to each person to honestly think through what’s going on with them and find what they need and find what they can do. Right?
FK: And if you take it from that spirit, I think it’s really important. And we’ve had a lot of people tell us that Fansplaining has been helpful to them, that they’ve enjoyed it, that they like that we’re doing it, that they don’t want us to stop talking about fandom and what fandom is and that they feel like that would be a negative thing. So I guess that kicked out the idea that maybe we should quit this and just start spending all the time on protesting or—
ELM: Was that, was that our plan at any point?
FK: I don’t think it was really our plan at any point, but it pretty much completely destroyed that.
ELM: I sure love protesting though. Flourish! Do you know, our listeners may not know, that I was at the courthouse on Saturday night! I was one of the first people there, so I was like right up against the door where the first judge issued the stay on the executive order, which was supposed to halt all this bullshit. But of course as you know…the homeland security and the customs and—I’ve never seen Customs and…CPB, CBP, be invoked so many times. Customs and Border Patrol. And it was such an uplifting experience on this day when I had been watching people go out to JFK and just hearing about the chaos that was going on out there. And I live near all the courts in Brooklyn so I rushed over when they said they wanted people to come support this. And the ACLU lawyer showed up and we started [laughs] it was literally, I’ve been describing it, it was like we were at a One Direction concert which I’ve also been to. We were like “YEAH!” This guy was like “Ohhh!”
ELM: And we chanted “ACLU, we are here, we stand with you!” And he just looked like, it was like...can you imagine? Just a mild-mannered civil, you know, civil liberties lawyer being put on stage at a boy band concert, being like…
ELM: It was so funny. And when he came out, I’m never gonna forget, we started cheering, we were so excited. And later I read an interview with him and he was like, “I’ve never in my life experienced that.” So it’s like, yeah. Maybe I do want to. If I could follow the ACLU around and just cheer at them.
FK: We’re gonna get you a cheerleading uniform. [both laughs] But I think we should probably call our guests.
ELM: [cheering] A! C! L! U!
FK: We have to call our guests at some point! It just can’t be entirely ACLU cheers!
ELM: A! C! L! U! I! Love! You! No, it doesn’t rhyme. I mean, it rhymes, but it’s bad rhythm. All right it’s fine, let’s call ’em.
FK: OK, OK.
FK: All right, I think that it is time to welcome Winter and Porcupine Girl to the podcast! Welcome.
Winter: Thank you!
Porcupine Girl: Hi.
ELM: Hi guys. OK. so I think that since we have two guests at once, we’ve done this once before but our two guests before had different accents, so I’m slightly concerned about everyone being able to…
PG: I can put on an accent if you want?
ELM: I don’t think that's a good idea! So, I think your voices are different enough that hopefully people will be able to figure it out. But maybe each of you want to introduce yourselves very briefly, say your fannish or professional fan background?
W: OK! I'm Winter, my Tumblr is bamfinacuddlyjumper. I’m an aca-fan, which means I’m an academic that also works in fandom and also is a fan. I have a lot of fandoms. So…PG?
PG: I’m Porcupine Girl or PG. My username is porcupine-girl all over the place. I’m in a bunch of fandoms too, I’m a grad student but not really studying fan stuff right now, so yeah!
FK: And you guys are two of the mod team for Fandom Trumps Hate, right?
FK: There’s a lot more people involved though.
ELM: How many people are involved?
W: Eleven? Ten?
PG: Like eight or nine of us now? Eight, nine, ten, eleven something?
W: It’s a very long email thread, that’s all I know. [all laugh]
FK: How did Fandom Trumps Hate get started? What was the spark of making this happen? Other than Trump existing.
W: Which…that was definitely a proximate cause. You know, after the election, I, like a lot of people, was just, “What is this reality we’re in?” And of course, you turn to fandom, you look at your Tumblr, you read your fic, and I remember that I had seen similar fandom auctions for Haiti, for AO3, as fundraising auctions, and I thought, “Well, there’s never been a better cause than this.” So I had a Tumblr post that was basically like, “Is anyone organizing a fandom charity auction for this?” And got a couple hundred notes and some people saying, “Yeah that’d be great, someone should do that!” And you kinda look at yourself: “Someone should do that, I wanna do that, I guess I’m doing that.” [all laugh]
Which was actually a terrifying thought, but one of my fandoms is Supernatural, and Misha Collins is kind of an inspiration. I just kind of said, “What would Misha do?” And he would try to do something to help, so I contacted some of my friends, PG, tiltedsyllogism, some others, and I said “I wanna do this thing, I don’t know how to do this thing, but I want to do this thing,” and then we reached out to the people that had run the AO3 charity auction and I said “Can you tell me how this works?” And Roan was kind enough to share some of their Google forms that they used to run the bidding and some other stuff with us. So we had a few templates, very few templates. And I was just astonished. I had no idea it was gonna get this big. I had a handful of my friends, no real idea of what we’re doing, I made a little logo for it, I made a Tumblr and I thought maybe we’d get—maybe a hundred people would sign up.
PG: Maybe we’d raise a couple thousand dollars.
W: Yeah! Which was still more than…
PG: It’d be great!
W: Still more than I could donate! But I think what happened was a lot of people were looking for something concrete to do, something they could say “This is an action I’m doing.” The nice thing about a fandom auction is people that can’t donate money could donate their work, their fan labor, their art, their fic, whatever, even if they couldn’t donate money. And then people could, you know, support their artists, get work…I’m excited that going forward in addition to the money that we’re donating which is super super important, there’s gonna be all these fanworks generated that wouldn’t exist except that, you know, going forward on top of everything else we’ll have more fic to read. We’ll have more fanart to look at. You create in fan economies, it’s a gift economy. Everyone gives forward. And we’ve got that to look forward to too, but I think a lot of people just really wanted something they could be a part of a community and do something.
Something that you could…for me it’s been great. It’s been so, I think we all look around and say “Am I doing enough?” And you’re never doing enough, but at least you can say “I did this. This happened, I accomplished something.”
W: And organizing this auction, working on this auction has been great because I feel like I’m doing something, and more importantly watching fan communities respond to this, we’ve had such, we had 700 plus…
PG: 680, I think, was the final count. The number of auctions we actually had.
PG: And we were expecting like 100, so…it’s a totally different scale than we were expecting to work on?
W: Yeah, I thought “Oh, there’s a few of us, we’ll each be in charge of 25 bids.”
W: That was not what happened.
ELM: That’s wonderful.
FK: That’s why there’s like 11 people on the list now.
PG: We’ve picked up a few more people. Originally it was just some of Winter’s friends, we all know each other originally through Sherlock fandom, but then as we went we picked up a couple people who messaged us over Tumblr being like “Can I help with this?” and we were like “YES” and some of them, like, captain-bunnicula is someone who joined us who’s a computer scientist and was able to help us automate some of the form making and stuff like that—because it was generating 700 of these. It was just, it was a very big task.
W: And that was quite a learning curve! There’s stuff we’ll, if we do it again we know better now.
PG: Oh yeah.
W: Things like making sure we get emails from people. Some people said “Just contact me through Tumblr.” Tumblr eats asks! Tumblr eats everything. Hopes, dreams, asks.
PG: Yeah, lots of things are missing because of Tumblr.
W: And then watching, a bunch of people spontaneously said “I want to offer something to my secondary bidder.” “I know I pledged $25 but I’m gonna give way more than that.”
PG: I’m amazed at the number of people who gave more than they bid. Everywhere from $5 more, rounding up from a $15 bid to give $20, to people who bid, you know, $20 to $50 and then gave hundreds of dollars.
ELM: I wonder, I feel like there is—I’m sure people’ve researched this. I think about, do you guys listen to public radio all the time? And they do these matching periods, right, someone says “Up to $100,000 I’ll donate, if you donate I’ll match it.” They were gonna do that anyway. It’s interesting to see what it takes to get people from not doing anything at all to giving money, right? It’s not a question of how much, it’s whether you’re gonna do it at all. I mean obviously for some people it’s a question of how much. But.
W: Turning it into this big group action gets people involved in doing it. It gives them that extra push. We actually had someone who said “Thank you for giving me the push to donate to these groups.”
PG: Some people have charitable giving in their budget, they were probably going to donate this anyhow. But some of these people, a lot of the people who donated $5 to somewhere probably weren’t going to go donate $5 to somewhere, you know. Just for the heck of it. But you get enough of those people together, and that’s a lot of money.
FK: I imagine that there’s something also about, I know that I felt really guilty taking part in fandom or I didn’t even want to, at first, because I was like, “Everything is so horrible, the world’s on fire,” it was a combination of feeling guilt that I would waste time doing this and also a feeling of numbness and not wanting to engage. And it seems like maybe something like Fandom Trumps Hate helps…certainly seeing things like that helped me get back into the connecting-with-fandom feeling. It was like, “OK, this is all right actually.” Not only do we need both the thing that makes you happy and the action, but also, it can be a positive thing, maybe.
W: I mean, fandom is community and if you get a community together to do a common thing, there’s power in that. If you can get people engaged. And it’s so tough too because some people need that separate space and some people are like, “But there’s no separate space for me.” As a friend of mine said yesterday, “My body is controversial.” If you’re someone who’s affected by this directly, you don’t necessarily have the space to be like, I’m just gonna go over here and ignore it. Cause I would have to ignore myself. I think there can be a danger to trying to cut things too much, but we also need to stay sane. It’s not gonna be over next week or next year. We don’t know how long it is.
ELM: Gosh, don’t want to think about it.
W: If you burn yourself out now…people were already asking about a second auction before we’d finished the first one. And we were like…
PG: I literally spent the last two months straight working on this, I haven’t written any fic…I didn't write any fic for a month and a half because all of my fandom time was just doing the auction!
W: I didn’t even offer anything. I thought my God, my offering is managing this. [all laugh]
PG: I have to write the fics that I just auctioned off. Then maybe I can think about the next auction.
ELM: So you are a participant too? In addition to organizing?
PG: Yeah, I auctioned off a couple fics and I think we both bid on stuff.
W: Yeah, I won an auction. I’ve had to get in touch with my offer and be like “I’m not ignoring you. I’m an organizer.” [all laugh] “I love you, I’m super excited but…”
PG: I had to tell the people I’m writing for, “I’m actually helping to organize this, so I promise I’m gonna write you this but give me a couple weeks.” [all laugh]
W: Yeah, and that was true I think of many of the organizers—also bid, also offered stuff. It’s like the fandom club for men. I’m not just the president, I’m also a client. [all laugh riotously]
ELM: Ahh, that’s a reference that takes you back! OK. All right. So I know that, for context, it’s Friday before this episode comes out and I was just trying to calculate, it’s the two week anniversary of the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
W: We’re speaking to you from the past.
ELM: So this is gonna come out in a few days, and I know you haven’t announced it yet, but can you give us a ballpark estimate of how much you raised?
PG: OK, so we expected to raise a couple thousand dollars.
PG: Should we tell them the total amount bid and then the total amount donated?
PG: Cause those are two different numbers.
ELM: I wanna hear those contrasts.
W: All right.
PG: So the total amount bid, the high bids, added up to $24,000.
FK & ELM: WOW!
ELM: That’s amazing!
W: And then there’s the total amount donated, which between people saying “I wanna give my second bidder an option,” “I wanna give my third bidder an option” in some cases, and people just donating above and beyond what they committed to, and again, this is still a little woobly, but over $31,000.
ELM: That’s fantastic!
PG: Every time we hit a milestone, we’d be like, “Holy crap, we have $13,000 in bids!” You know, “Oh my goodness we have this much,” and then it just kept going and going and going.
FK: And people already want Auction Number Two! [all laugh desperately]
FK: Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you think about that so soon after running Number One, but…
W: Well, actually, I’ve noticed, I was looking in the Fandom Trumps Hate Tumblr looking in our activity feed at our at mentions, and there are other people—I haven’t looked into it much but there are other people running smaller events now. I saw a little Teen Wolf rarepair auction, or something like that. So other people are starting to do smaller things, you know, in the same vein, which is really cool.
W: And we’re offering our spreadsheets.
ELM: That’s what I was gonna ask, if to provide the tools to organize…seems like so much of what’s happening right now, particularly with women, I’m seeing there’s a lot of people sharing the means to organize. “Means” isn’t the right word. You know what I mean, though, right? If you wanna do this, here’s what you should know.
PG: Don’t reinvent the wheel. Cause we…unfortunately like she said, we got stuff from Rowan about the AO3 auction, but there wasn’t everything there, and they couldn’t remember how they did some stuff, and…
ELM: What’s that, awhile ago?
PG: We just got the bare bones. It was a few years ago, like 2013 or something.
ELM: And things have changed! Especially if you’re relying on Google tools, they’ve changed a lot.
PG: Yeah. So we kinda had to reinvent the wheel. So we’re writing up a big document so other people won’t have to re-reinvent the wheel. Et cetera. To do this.
FK: It is exciting that there’s gonna be a next time cause I was so out of fandom that I completely missed the auction. I totally missed it cause I was like “I can’t even look at this” and then I was like “Fandom Trumps Hate, that’s so great! …oh wait it’s the last day.”
W: We wanted to time it to make sure these organizations were getting donations this year, because there was a big rush to donate last year—obviously that’s turned out to not be a problem, the ACLU is rolling in it, but at the time we wanted to make sure people weren’t stopping donating before the 31st. The bidding ended the 20th, the inauguration day, cause we wanted like, “OK, we can send out some good news to people.” And I think that, I wanna see a bunch of small auctions, because it can’t be an annually we care sort of thing. But I see that there’s something good about a big, multifandom, multi-everything auction like Fandom Trumps Hate once a year to just kinda bring everyone together for that.
ELM: Or once a month!
FK: Oh my God.
W: We would not be able to offer! We need people to have time to actually write all the shit they said they were gonna write.
PG: Nobody’s finished their first ones yet. Nobody can offer more. But yeah, for next year we’re trying to get better infrastructure. This time we were relying entirely on Google Forms and Google Docs and Tumblr. Those two things don’t talk to each other very well, so it made it hard to…we had to make all the Tumblr posts by hand, because we couldn’t just tell Google Docs to take the stuff from the spreadsheet and spit it into this Tumblr post. Although captain-bunnicula did manage to automate that a little bit, but it’s still a huge thing.
So next year we're hoping to, hoping, hoping to get more of this stuff on our own site, where we can get all the stuff working together so that it can be better automated and we don’t have to do everything one at a time by hand. Cause that was…like we said, it was a lot more auctions than we were expecting. If we were doing a hundred auctions, that wouldn’t have been that big a deal, but doing almost 700 of them that way…it was, we were spending several hours a day each doing this stuff and we were still getting people complaining because we were behind schedule on things.
ELM: People were complaining! C’mon people.
PG: Only a few! We have not had a lot of people complaining.
W: People have been literally absolutely amazing, I don’t want…
PG: No no no, people have mostly been, you know.
ELM: Did you get any pushback of any kind on anything?
PG: So when we first started, we just said “It’s going to be a fanfic and fanart auction,” because that’s everyone in our group pretty much—all of us write fanfic and we appreciate, we’re into fanart, and we just hadn’t thought about a lot of other things.
W: It’s what we do.
PG: Yeah, it’s what we do. And we immediately got a lot of feedback from people saying “I wanna offer vids, I wanna offer this, I wanna offer this.”
ELM: But not in a mean way.
W: We didn't feel comfortable being responsible for, like, three-dimensional things, worrying about, are we gonna figure out who’s paying for shipping on this stuff? Are we gonna worry about things getting delivered?
PG: What happens if it gets lost in the mail?
W: We wanted computer stuff.
PG: We said we can’t do that. We have a page where, if people are selling them themselves, we’ll list it on this page, you know, for publicity, but we were not willing to…anything that can be delivered digitally, basically, we wound up including in the auction.
W: We had a few people that were just sort of like, “Why aren’t you doing this the way I would have done it or I would have wanted it to be done.” A few, very few.
PG: Very few. Complaints have definitely been a tiny amount versus the number of people who have been really sweet and really understanding…
W: Really excited.
PG: Tumblr ate a lot of asks and people have been really great about that [laughs] understanding that Tumblr does that. But yeah, people have been amazing. One thing that really shocked me, I was expecting us to have quite a few people who bid and then backed out. Or just like forgot about it and never donated.
W: Just because stuff happens, you know? It’s unfortunate, but.
PG: Out of the 680 auctions, we had like five.
W: That didn’t do it. Over 99% of people came through with their high bids. Which shocked me almost as much as the $31,000 total.
FK: That’s really, like, fandom is not normally that reliable.
ELM: I know! I was gonna say, everyone is now gonna write the stuff so hopefully everyone…
PG: Right. That’s the next hurdle, is trying to keep the creative…
ELM: Obviously earning money is a challenge. But. I don’t know, I feel like that kind of reflects the…not fuckin’ around right now! Yes, you need to follow through, because everything is terrifying and I don’t know. I just feel like, I have to imagine that in this climate…
PG: Yeah, people are serious.
W: Yeah. And you know, it’s not some random person on eBay or Etsy that you’re dealing with, too. If you bid on an author or a fanartist or a fan labor offer person, because you like them, I would hope there’d be some aspect of, “I don’t want to screw over this person whose work I enjoy”!
PG: “I want this person to write a fic for me! I love this person’s fics, I want them to write what I tell them to write!”
FK: So you’re planning another big multifandom auction for next year. And…maybe. Nothing guaranteed yet.
FK: Don’t wanna oversell this, but maybe, you’re considering the possibility in a serious way that is not announced yet by any means. Um, and there’s other people who are running smaller auctions for individual fandoms, I guess one thing that’s come up a lot has been fandom is a great community to meet other people and organize through the community, but there’s other stuff maybe that we need to do as well. So I guess I wanted to raise the, OK, is Fandom Trumps Hate…is that the thing? Is that the fandom thing? Or what else is necessary for us to organize and actually make a difference beyond giving money and auctioning off fanworks and stuff?
W: It’s a thing.
PG: I think that there’s definitely lots of possibilities as far as, I mean, people organize fandom meetups all the time. All the people in this city who are in this fandom get together, or whatever. And you could turn that into volunteering for things, you could turn that into going to a protest together, you could leverage that a lot of ways.
W: I’m thinking about all the protest signs I saw that referenced pop culture, where they’re…
ELM: I took a lot of pics of those, yeah.
W: Star Wars, Harry Potter, all the stuff, I mean, we already use the stories that we love to understand our lives, to understand ourselves. And there's no reason you can’t keep going with that. But yeah, we could absolutely organize a group and then go to a protest, organize a group and then do something else with that. It’s important to donate money to do this stuff, because I can’t myself sue the government…
ELM: [laughing] Come on, why not?
W: These are organizations doing absolutely valuable stuff, but it can’t stop at “I give them money once a year,” right.
ELM: It’s interesting, because all of those suggestions that you guys both just said, they’re not about—the object of fandom is largely removed. Except a Star Wars protest sign or whatever. But like, it’s about the people that you’ve met in fandom and taking that community and those friendships and going and doing normal social justice things. And the one place that I’m getting tripped up at is, I can’t find that bridge between the actual fandomy things…aside from this auction. This is like the only thing that I can think of. Right? I love Harry Potter, and I love the messages in Harry Potter, I don’t find it that…I don’t know. I’m not really participating in any way in fandom right now. You know. Except these podcasts or my newsletter, right?
W: Oh, just a podcast about fandom and just a newsletter but other than that NOTHING.
PG: That’s all, you know.
ELM: I will say that with the newsletter, I kind of came to this feeling last week cause we keep getting messages—more messages from people, being like, “Thank you for doing this.” Now I’ve decided it’s my one small, it’s like a political act to produce one small nice thing per week that can make people happy for 10 minutes!
PG: Absolutely! I mean, for awhile now I’ve felt like the most productive thing I do is writing fic that I get a couple thousand hits on. I made a couple thousand people happy! Like I said, I’m a grad student, so sometimes I feel like that’s more real than the research that I’m doing that’s like, someday will be published in some academic journal somewhere. You know?
W: Five people will read it, and.
FK: Not to push back too much on this because I think that it’s totally right, I think that everything you’re saying is right, but I think there’s also something that's a little dangerous and worrying to me about that because it can feel…because it is such a long slog, right, and because the actions of going to a protest or whatever, especially, I like crowds, so going to a protest for me is like “Whee, all these people!” but not everybody feels that way, right?
ELM: Do you feel that way at a protest? WHEE!
FK: I do!
FK: Not when the protest becomes, like, scary in some way or something like this, but yeah, generally I like being in a crowd of people, so if nothing bad happens at the protest, it’s like its own reward, whereas…
ELM: It’s a good time!
W: No tear gas! WHEE!
FK: When there’s tear gas or when somebody’s hurt or when the police are menacing that’s a different story, but if it’s just a bunch of people and it’s fine, that’s its own reward for me. But for most people it’s not that. It’s like going to a protest or volunteering or whatever is something that it’s a chore that you have to do, and then it doesn’t feel like you get feedback. Whereas with fanfic one of the great things about it is that you get feedback and people like it, right. That’s the thing I’m trying to balance within myself also, there’s other things I don’t like doing: I don’t wanna call my representatives ever again and I hate myself for hours after doing it but know I need to. [laughs]
PG: Right. Yeah.
W: Well obviously we need Protest Of Our Own, where people can rate your resistance activities [all laugh] and see what you’re up to.
PG: Give you kudos!
ELM: Oh my God!
PG: You post “I called my representative,” you get a kudos for it! Honestly though Tumblr, Tumblr a little bit functions as that now, because everyone is talking about this and everyone, you know, I can go to Tumblr and be like, “I called my senator. It was so scary! I hate calling people.” and I get other people replying like “I hate it too but I do it anyhow!” It makes it more social.
FK: I am on a private Slack channel where we do that with a bunch of other fangirls.
W: But there’s a danger to that as an echo chamber too where you don’t want all your activism to be reblogging Tumblr posts of things that affect you, so that other people that probably already agree with you are also seeing it.
PG: But I’m talking about if I do something in real life, posting about it on Tumblr so I can talk to people about, I did this thing.
ELM: The validation part.
PG: You did this thing too! We all did this thing!
ELM: Right, and I feel like, especially…for an action like protesting, there’s lots of people who don’t, who can’t go to a protest. And so I do think that engaging with protest images on social media…not to give it too much credit, you know, obviously you are just clicking “reblog” or whatever, but it’s still…yesterday, so, it’s Friday for our listeners, and yesterday in New York City all of the Yemeni bodega owners shut their shops. And I live in an area that is…on strike. And I live in an area that has a lot of Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim people. So a lot of them were shut, and they had a big rally like five minutes from my house, and I wrote a post about it, and I was feeling incredibly moved. I had to leave because I was crying because I was so moved by these thousand Yemeni men waving American flags and chanting “USA” and I was like, “All they wanna do is stay here!” And I’m not very patriotic, so.
Anyway, I’m gonna cry just thinking about it. And me posting about it on social media, and all the likes I get, most people didn’t have that, just to be able to go and support these guys in person. And I don’t think that people engaging with my post about it, reblogging it, are doing something empty. So it’s…I definitely agree that slacktivism is a problem, but it’s tricky to find that.
FK: Yeah. I mean there is also a question of, how can you take people who can’t do something and help translate that into getting people who can motivated, right. So something that definitely has made me more protest-focused lately is that my college roommate shared with, basically we were talking about protesting and she was like “Well I can’t go, because I have PTSD and I get freaked out in crowds.” And I was like, “Well, why don’t I carry a sign for you? Whatever sign you want me to carry I’ll carry. At the next protest.”
W: I wasn’t able to go to one of the protests and I knew some people and they said “If you can’t go, we’ll write your name on,” and that was really moving to me to be there in spirit. I think with all of this, there’s never gonna be a one-size-fits-all for how you can do this, and we can’t because there’s so much going on at once that part of it is figuring out, “What am I focusing on? What are the actions I’m focusing on?” It’s kind of like right now when I’m calling my senator, I have to pick what I’m gonna mention, because otherwise it would be “Here’s my laundry list of everything going wrong right now that I have a problem with,” but that’s not useful then cause they’re not gonna tickbox every single thing that I say. They want a couple things so that they can mark that, and I think we as…as much as we have feelings about so much going on, you can’t be doing everything at once.
PG: Right, you can’t do everything, you can’t address every problem.
W: When we were designing the auction it was the problem of, OK, what charities? And I thought, originally I was just like “OK, just for ACLU or something.” Then I’m like, “But there’s so much that needs to be addressed. OK. We’re gonna do a list of charities.” And even picking the list of charities is by no means the best list. It was just the best list we could come up with at the time of like, here’s just 12. Here’s just, a handful.
PG: We tried to hit ACLU, we have some reproductive things, we have some LGBTQ things, we have some environmental things, tried to hit something in different categories of people who are being affected. But I’m sure we didn't address nearly everything.
W: We definitely missed some, and I feel bad about that, but I would’ve felt worse about not doing it in the first place.
ELM: Did you get people saying “Why didn’t you include this kind of charity,” or…?
PG: A couple times, we’ve had a couple people who’ve asked about that. And we’re gonna reevaluate the list for next year and decide, you know, if we wanna add or take out anything or whatever. You know.
ELM: Is it an option to say “or you can pick a different charity”?
W: We wanted to be a little careful about that. Originally the impetus being Trump, we wanted to focus on groups that were specifically affected and relevant right then, so we just…there’s a million causes but maybe something going on in another country directly is not what this particular auction is about. And we were also hoping that by concentrating on a few, except for a couple of them, all of them got at least $500 which meant we could say “Together we donated this large chunk of money that we could never have done as individuals to this group.” We can say “Look, Southern Poverty Law Center has this much from us collectively,” and we thought that that was also a very powerful statement rather than saying…OK, I love animals, but maybe the SPCA doesn’t need that money right now compared to some of this other stuff.
W: Is it imperfect? Absolutely. We all can evaluate it. But you have to do something, you have to pick something. And you can’t be paralyzed by the thought that you’re not doing it…I mean, be aware of criticism, but don’t be stopped by the thought that you’re not doing everything perfectly.
ELM: Right. I mean everyone’s favorite mode of critique on Twitter right now, which is “Why aren’t you caring about X? Why aren’t you talking about Y?” or “Y is a distraction from X.”
W: Cause we’re only allowed to care about one thing at a time.
ELM: Also, all of us care about Beyoncé.
W: We all have to make choices every day about what we’re able to do. What we’re reasonably able to do. And that may be our physical limitations, our social limitations, our family limitations, I’m not, I’m choosing not to sell everything I own, donate it to charity and become a full time protestor, because I don’t think that's the best useful thing I can do. And we’re all providing whatever we can provide and sometimes what we’re providing is not the direct action of protest, but the…creating an environment where protest can take place. We’re all living in the world every day and I’m protesting and I’m showering and I still have to feed myself. There’s, we still have to live. We are still living, we are still making the choices as human beings and we have to find a balance between doing what we can how we can and our own human needs independent of that.
I think the only mistake is to do nothing, but it’s…I think it’s also a mistake to say, “If you’re not doing everything, you’re not doing enough. If you’re not perfect, you’re not doing enough. If you’re caring about X but not Y, that's not enough.” Cause X probably does need someone to care about it. You have to be open to critique and criticism, but I think there’s a danger that some of that stuff can shut people down too much by the sense that if you’re not perfect, if you’re not everything at once, then you're inadequate. And that is as demoralizing, as limiting, as anything else.
I mean, Fandom Trumps Hate isn’t perfect. I would hate for it to be the only thing that’s happening, I’m sure we could’ve done stuff better, but it did raise—$31,000 is going to charity because we did that.
PG: Right, and because we picked 12 or whatever, these are…we sent pretty good chunks of money. I think something like $8,000 for Planned Parenthood.
W: That was a popular.
PG: ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center and the Trevor Project all got multiple thousands of dollars. But you know, those are serious chunks of change.
W: ACLU was a little over $5,000, I’m just looking at the spreadsheet now, $8,000 for Planned Parenthood, over $3,000 for Southern Poverty Law Center, over $2,000 for Standing Rock.
PG: I was really excited about that.
W: At the same time, I think we have to acknowledge that there are people that can’t step out of this space of protest, this space of anxiety, this space of whatever, post-election, because their bodies are sites of protest.
W: If you’re a woman, your body is currently a site of protest. If you’re queer, your body’s a site of protest. If you are a person of color, there’s any number of things right now where your body is a site of protest and fandom and what space it is and isn’t for people, and it’s all sorts of different things to different people, but you have to acknowledge that there are people where—there’s no dividing line about politics and not politics if it’s your life being affected. You can’t say “politics are over there. I'm setting politics aside.” You can’t set politics aside. It’s embodied within you. There are people that want to do things because you are you. So you can’t draw that, like, “Oh, let’s…” there’s just not…that’s not to say that every second of our thoughts needs to be devoted to this, but we have to recognize there are people that can’t, there’s not a stepping out of this.
ELM: We’ve talked about this a bunch, I think on the podcast, talking about the danger of saying fandom is a safe space. When fandom can be such a racist garbage fire for example. And the idea that…
FK: Or that fandom is a progressive space necessarily. The only reason it’s a progressive space is if progressive people are in it.
ELM: But not always acting in a—what does that mean?
FK: Yeah, and are you a progressive person or are you acting in a progressive way or what are you doing?
ELM: It’s hard cause I’m seeing more and more posts on my Tumblr dash right now being just “Hey just FYI” and I appreciate people are writing these, “Me not talking about this stuff here doesn’t mean I don’t care. This is gonna be my space for fannish stuff.” One of my friends who I follow on three different social platforms was like, “I’m keeping my politics to Twitter and Facebook.” I was like “You are, I’ve seen you get mad on Twitter!’ But it’s also hard because I think that for a lot of people you can’t draw those dividing lines. So, you know. If people are being racist in your fandom and then you, what are you gonna turn that off, right? It’s not really an “if,” rather it’s a “when”.
PG: Right now I think a lot of people when they say stuff like that they mean specifically Trump stuff. Stuff that’s happening in the news. Stuff like that they’re keeping out of their Tumblr space.
ELM: I know, but that’s connected, right?
W: There’s a privilege to being able to not engage with politics. There’s a privilege to saying, “I want this space that is non-political for me where I don’t have to deal with this.” Not that we don’t all need those spaces to recover and recuperate, but generally speaking it’s like, this is stuff affecting people and if you’re one of the people affected, there’s nothing like hearing “Why do you have to make this about politics.” Why do you have to make this about my body? Why do you have to make this about my rights? You know. You started it! [ELM laughs]
ELM: Absolutely. All right. So I think that we are running out of time, unfortunately, even though I wanna talk to you guys about this forever.
W: Well, you’ve got our contact information.
FK: Maybe we’ll be talking to you next year for Round Two.
ELM: What are you talking about? Next month, Flourish. It’s gonna be a monthly event. [all laugh]
ELM: So you guys are gonna, you need to keep us posted so we can share with people if you’re gonna be putting out resources people can replicate this. Cause I think that’s, I am joking about every month, but I think that it would be—I bet there’s gotta be enough people in fandom that more people would be able to do this more frequently. It feels like the perfect marriage, it feels like the perfect solution of “how do we still make fanfiction in these trying times?” It’s like…make it for money that goes to charities that are helping actively, right. It just, it’s a two for one. That’s perfect to me. So.
W: How do I use my powers for good.
ELM: Yeah, exactly. So you need to keep us posted but also thank you so much for your work on this. It’s awesome.
W: Yeah and I’d like to thank all of my contributors that aren’t being interviewed here, because everyone who’s worked on this has been amazing.
PG: Everyone has worked so hard.
W: Oh yeah.
PG: Oh my goodness.
W: And it went so well! And it could have gone very badly and it didn’t and that's absolutely a credit to everyone who was involved.
PG: I am amazed at how smoothly it went overall. There’ve been glitches, a few mixups, but they’re all small things. Nothing huge has gone wrong. So. I mean, cross your fingers that all the creators come through and actually write their fics.
ELM: We’re literally all crossing our fingers right now. [all laugh]
PG: So if you’re listening to this right now and you offered an auction, please follow through.
ELM: Turn it off and write your fic right now.
FK: So good to talk to you guys.
ELM: Thank you so much for coming on.
PG: Thank you!
W: Thank you for having us. Take care!
FK: So that was wonderful, I’ve been feeling really like…“fandom is not a activist space, fandom can’t be this for us,” I’ve been feeling really sour about it, and that interview made me feel less sour.
ELM: OK that’s great! I’m glad you feel less sour.
FK: I was like a Sour Patch Kid.
ELM: I feel like, I feel like it was a very clear-eyed discussion which I appreciated. I think that one thing that gives me hope, fandom-wise, is I think that this auction is something that people can replicate. And I think in particular every day I see a lot of arguments about identity politics or about politics of a certain television show, and I would love to…I think this is an extraordinary way to see these arguments and people have great comments and I would love to see some of that be able to translate into concrete action. And unfortunately when it’s a fictional property there’s not a lot of concrete action you can translate things into, right.
FK: Not if it’s just within the world of that fictional property.
ELM: Obviously you can read and write fanfiction or you can support works of fiction about marginalized characters, that celebrate them, but there’s a limit to how…obviously there’s a great effect, but I think that in the face of…in the face of what we’re facing, that was not eloquently put, there’s gonna be a limit to how far that can go, and I think that this is a way to wrap all of that up and kinda put money in the pockets of people like they said who we, fandom can’t sue the government. But we can indirectly sue the government. You know?
FK: Yeah, by helping out the ACLU.
ELM: So, I just think that…this kind of concrete action, I love that it’s happening. And I think that it’s a really great way to kind of take the next step out of the conversations that are already happening in fandom.
FK: For sure, for sure. OK. That's rousing and cheerful and—
ELM: You feel cheered?
FK: I feel cheered and positive and ready to move forward.
ELM: [singing] Do you hear the people sing?
FK: OH MY GOD DON’T DON’T no no no no no oh my God. OK OK. But we do have one more piece of business before we sign off, which is a little while back you may remember that we had somebody ask in Episode 39, in fact, about the term “alpha reader.” And we ran a little poll about it and we’ve actually posted a Tumblr post about it, so you may have already seen that, but we just wanted to read out what we came up with on the podcast. Which is that 11% of our respondents said that they—
ELM: This was on Twitter, right?
FK: It was a Twitter poll but we cross-posted it to Tumblr.
ELM: How many people voted?
FK: 76 people, so it's not a huge poll. So 76 people voted, 11% of them said that they used the term “alpha reader,” 18% said they don't use the term but they’ve heard it, and 71% said “what the fuck is that.”
ELM: To be fair, I wonder how many of those 70% would have chosen “what the fuck is that,” that's such an aggressive way of saying it, I don’t know what that is. [FK laughs] You should have had two more choices, it should have been “I don’t know that term,” and then the last one—
FK: Like, rage comic.
ELM: WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? [both laugh]
FK: Well anyway, that was the summary. I guess the answer to the question we received, which was “what is with this term alpha reader”—
ELM: “And do you know what it is,” is a third of our listeners who responded know. Well, not quite a third. But also, we got a response from someone who understood the terms to be kind of the opposite of what we understood them to be? We had sketched out this idea that an alpha reader could be someone who did, like, was more of an editor, and a beta reader was gonna be more of a copy editor/proofreader.
FK: Yeah! And they thought it was the opposite.
ELM: Yeah. So obviously this isn’t, none of this is set in stone. And as we discussed in that episode, the term “beta reader” is so broad and encompasses so many different roles, some people use “beta readers” to help them plan, which is obviously the literal opposite end of the path from copyediting and proofreading. So. It’s, you know. There’s no, nothing set in stone.
FK: So one of the things that this has got us thinking about, though, has been the way that different groups in fandom define different terms, and what really do terms mean—you know, the one way that people define these fandom terms is largely through, you know, people collaborating on Fanlore or awhile back I wrote an article about shipping and what does shipping mean. Which was really interesting.
ELM: And you did some crowdsourcing to…you ran some terms by people to be like, “What’s your memory of this?” and “What’s your memory of this?”
FK: Yeah, I talked to a bunch of people about it, but it wasn’t a real large scale “Let’s all say what our definitions are and then see what the commonalities are.” And figure that out. So we’re thinking about how we can maybe run some studies about that, see about what it would be like to crowdsource definitions of fandom terms. So in the next few weeks you may see us beginning to do that, and this is the kind of work that when you support us you’re helping. So…
ELM: Was that a slick transition into mentioning our Patreon?
FK: It was!
ELM: A++. Patreon.com/fansplaining, it is the way that we pay for this. Patreon, if you’re unfamiliar, I don’t know why you would be unfamiliar at this point, is like a rolling Kickstarter. You pledge as little as a dollar a month and at different pledge levels you get different rewards including tiny zines and access to special episodes. We'll be doing our third special episode—I would say within the next month?
FK: Probably so.
ELM: And we also if you don’t wanna do this sustained thing, we have a way that you can donate one-off. Just go to fansplaining.com. I think it’s “Support Us” is the…?
FK: “Support,: maybe? Anyway, on fansplaining.com there's a link you can click on.
ELM: And you’ll see the different ways. We have had people who for various reasons would rather donate directly, and not do the sustained thing. But the sustained thing is really awesome cause then we can know how much money we have each month. And the money partly goes to our Medium collection which we’re gonna get back up off the ground. We were actually gonna do it for this episode, but then everything was on fire and I was like “Eeeeeh.” But hopefully, I don’t know why I assume things are gonna calm down slightly, that seems unlikely, but hopefully we’ll be able to find a better balance. I’m working on a piece about Mary Sues. And we’ve got a couple other things lined up about fandom and friendship and things like that. So.
FK: Oh, and last but not least, before we sign off, we have to mention that we now have a new way that you can come and talk to us. In addition to our email which is just fansplaining@gmail, and our Twitter, which is just @fansplaining. Now we have a way that you can give us a literal phone call and we’ll be able to record it, I mean it’ll be recorded, you’ll record it yourself, and then we can play it on our podcast. And we haven’t had anybody take us up on it as of this recording. So we really, we’re really looking forward to the first person who does it.
ELM: The voice mail!
ELM: Is not full! Possibly unlike your elected representative’s voicemails, which might be full.
FK: It’s true, it’s true. So if you try to get through to your elected representatives, and their voice mails are full…
FK: And you’re like “What am I gonna do, I need to talk to somebody and express myself” …then you can call us at 1-401-526-FANS. That’s 1-401-526-3267.
ELM: FANS. That's so good. Call us and, you know, express your worry about Steve Bannon being on the security council, you can talk about various cabinet nominees, you can hope that we’ll be speaking on the Senate floor about them soon.
FK: OK. [laughing] And with that I think we should go. I’ll talk to you later, Elizabeth.
ELM: I’m gonna go call my representatives.
FK: All right, me too. Bye!
[Outro music; thank yous; disclaimers]