Episode 49: Defining Fanfiction: The Results
Elizabeth and Flourish discuss the results of the Fansplaining Definitions Survey, in which more than 3,500 respondents offered a variety of perspectives on what fanfiction is—and isn’t—to them. They explore a variety of themes: is fanfiction derivative? Is it written by and for fans? Must it include shipping and fannish tropes? And they talk about other trends in the survey data, from different ways to use the word “fandom” to fannish perceptions of fiction, nonfiction, and canon.
[00:08:55] he interstitial music is “These Days,” by Jahzzar.
[00:12:25] Elizabeth argues that Carry On is not fanfic in “What is fanfiction, anyway?”
[00:22:30] This music segment is also “These Days,” by Jahzzar.
[00:23:58] The newsletter of which we speak is The Rec Center.
[00:35:31] Flourish did not, in fact, make an imagine of Snape coming to clean your room.
[00:41:04] We are totally not linking to “Methods of Rationality,” you can google it.
[00:44:46] The tropes survey results are here!
[00:45:02] The interstitial music is, once again, Jazzar’s “These Days.”
[00:48:55] Rukmini speaks a lot about who needs canon in Episode 29, “Shipping and Activism.”
[00:56:12] Patreon! Please, go support us.
[00:57:19] Allyson’s boyband YA piece is “(Don’t) Meet Your Idols”
[00:59:35] One more for the road: the outro music is still “These Days,” by Jahzzar.
FK: Hi Elizabeth!
ELM: [laughing] Hi, Flourish!
FK: And welcome to Fansplaining, the podcast by, for, and about fandom!
ELM: This is Episode 49. It is the second of a two-part episode, but the previous part was several episodes prior, it’s called “Defining Fanfiction: The Results.”
ELM: OK. I don’t know how that sound’s gonna come out.
FK: Well, we’ll find out what it does.
ELM: All right. So, how many episodes was this ago?
FK: This was…
ELM: Three episodes ago.
FK: Episode 46.
ELM: Cause we talked to Zan Romanoff and then we talked with Diana Pho and Mark Oshiro in our last episode, so it was a month and a half ago then, six weeks? Where we talked about our fanfiction definitions survey. And we started it with a caveat of if you hadn’t taken it, go take it, cause we were gonna give our feelings and our thoughts about how we would answer it. And then we shut the survey and now we have everyone else’s responses, hopefully untainted by that episode.
FK: [laughs] Although I do think that it’s important for us to say that this is not a traditional survey. In a certain sense.
ELM: Oh, do you want to talk about the priming thing? Cause we actually had a listener bring it up.
FK: Yeah, totally. So normally if you’re doing a survey the idea is “OK, we’re going to get people’s completely unedited thoughts.” Right? We’re going to try and take ourselves out, as much as possible, and just have them say what they think in a way that removes as much influence from language or from arguments…any of this stuff, right, take any of the rhetoric out and just see what someone genuinely thinks with no interaction whatsoever.
ELM: Sure, just try and remove as much bias as possible.
FK: Exactly, and then you would do something where you’re like, “OK, we’re gonna do a statistical model of this and we’re gonna see, OK, well, what gender of person does this and what…” You know what I mean, this is the type of analysis you would do.
This survey, although it’s sort of formatted like a survey like that, is not like that. When I designed it the idea was that people would be primed to think about the question of fanfiction in certain ways, of the definition of fanfiction in certain ways. And the reason why we did this, why I did this, was because it seemed like it was important to get everybody sort of on the same page, right. Because not knowing who’s coming from where, if the purpose of this survey from my perspective is to start a conversation, not to create a result of “this is the definition of fanfiction,” then we should all be speaking the same language.
ELM: That's interesting, but how would you respond to the accusation that you are then the one that sets the language, you are the one that’s…you’re building the box into which people have to climb, in which they construct their definitions?
FK: I think that’s totally true to some degree.
ELM: That was an overwrought analogy that I just came up with.
FK: That’s OK, you can be the cat that sits in the box that I’ve constructed. Yeah, I mean, I think that’s true. I think that one of the things that, the way the survey was done, you first answer some multiple choice questions, which do have a priming effect. They’re questions like “must fanfiction be based on another work of fiction?” “Must it be written by someone other than the original author of the work it’s based on,” which A, assumes that it is based on a work, right? So it’s not coming from nowhere. But then B, also, puts that in your head as a possible thing.
ELM: Sure, but I think it’s pretty likely too, based on the networks through which this was disseminated, that there were very few people who came to the survey without some preconceived notion of what fanfiction is. Whether they’re into fic or not, right. We…I had some friends in the book community share it. They all know about fanfiction, but none of them read it, so I was just curious to know how they would respond. But I don’t know. I guess you could say that about anything, that everyone enters a survey with some preconceived notions, but…
FK: That’s what it’s supposed to measure, is their preconceived notions, right. The bigger question here is what if someone came in thinking of fanfiction in a way that’s totally different from about what it’s based on. Maybe someone came in and their definition of fanfiction in their own head was “fanfiction is stories written in the fan community, the community of people that I know,” and they’re presented now with this first question of “must fanfiction be based on another work,” and they’re like “ah, shit, I guess that is important,” and they change what they’re thinking cause they’ve been confronted with this question.
ELM: I changed my thinking as I was going through those!
FK: Yeah, that was part of the point.
ELM: I really appreciated that and I heard from a lot of people who said the same thing. Not like “Oh, it ruined my idea of what fanfiction was,” it just poked holes in the kind of logical construction that…“it was a many sided thing that I had constructed, and then it was like [popping noise], no wait!” And I was like, “awwww!”
FK: Yeah, and it was kinda constructed to have that rhetorical content, and so people who feel like surveys should never have rhetorical content even if it’s intentional, I don’t know what to say. We made a survey that intentionally has some rhetorical content in it guys, sorry. But I will say this, which is that I do think that there is space within the survey for people to push back on some of those structures. So there’s a lot of long-form answers, and that’s one of the things that I think we’re gonna talk about today, some of the things people brought up in their long-form answers that were not part of the box I had constructed.
ELM: Sure. Those people thought outside the box.
FK: Ah, they totally did!
ELM: I kinda set that up WELL in advance. [over FK’s laughter] I did that for you.
FK: ANYWAY I guess what I’d say is the real way to think about this survey is, what it’s gonna do is not say, “this is the definition of fanfiction.” And it’s also not gonna say even, “this is the definition that everybody in the entire universe shares about fanfiction.” What it's gonna say is, “these are the thoughts that people who took the survey have about some common Western arguments about what fanfiction in the Western context…” Western, I’m using this word that I hate. But you know what I mean, right? As opposed to looking at Japanese doujinshi or whatever…doujinshi, words, I can say them.
ELM: That’s not to say that everyone who took the survey is coming from that background, but it was clearly authored by someone…
ELM: From that background.
FK: Exactly, and it encouraged people to respond within that. And in the results, nobody actually pushed back on those grounds that I’ve found yet, although I have to admit that I have not completed the full…I haven’t done every question to the same nitty-gritty detail yet. So maybe there is somewhere somewhere in there.
ELM: By the time this comes out you’ll have gone through all the results and you’ll be writing a Medium post analyzing the results?
ELM: And I think there’s gonna be a ton of stuff on our Tumblr, especially a lot of people sent in their extra long-form responses, like multiple paragraphs and not just a few sentences, or other thoughts they had. So we’re gonna be publishing those throughout the week. You may have seen some of them already by the time you’re listening to this.
FK: Yeah, totally. And I should add, just to give people context right now, in addition to looking at the first question in depth, the first question being the multiple choice set of what is fanfiction questions, and then we’re gonna be talking about the long form answers to Question Two. And I’ve gone through and coded, this is based on going through and coding what themes…
ELM: Question Two, you think people are gonna remember what that is?
FK: Question Two is when we asked people to have a long-format answer of “define fanfiction.”
ELM: Yeah, I’m sure everyone when they took it just spent about an hour with each question committing what each question was to memory.
FK: Of course they did, that’s how important this was to everyone. So anyway, Question Two we asked people to define fanfiction in long form, and I am about 75 or 85, 85% done with coding all of those answers into the themes that appear. So that’s the results we’re gonna be talking about in this episode.
ELM: OK, so we have a bunch of areas to talk about but I feel like this is a good point to take a first break.
FK: Cool, and then we can talk about the initial results.
ELM: Is that what’s up first?
FK: That’s what's up first!
ELM: OK, I’m ready.
ELM: OK, we are back and I’m ready to know what the initial results are!
FK: OK! So, in the first question, the very first question was sort of multiple choice.
ELM: You don’t need to tell anyone because everyone committed it to memory two months ago.
FK: ARGH. It’s in the format “Must fanfiction be…” and then a statement. And then people could choose to answer “Yes, to be considered fanfiction it must be,” or “Some works of fanfiction are and some aren’t,” or “A story like that is never fanfiction,” or “I don’t know or it’s not relevant.” OK? So there’s four answers.
And what’s interesting is we had a bunch of different…the different questions were “Must fanfiction be based on another work of fiction?” “Must it be based on real events or people?” “Must it be written by someone other than the original author of the work it’s based on?” “Must it be written for a community of fans?” “Must it be written by a member of a community of fans?” “Must it be not endorsed by the original creator?” “Must it be transformative?” “Must it be distributed free of charge?” and “Must it be not for profit.” So for most of these questions, the most people responded in the multiple choice section “Some works of fanfiction are and some aren’t,” right.
ELM: Some of them, if you said all of them were or none of them were, some of those would contradict each other. If you said it never could be based on real people, then the RPF question, you know, right. Obviously RPF and non-RPF exist in simultaneous ways.
FK: Yes. Well, what’s interesting is 1,449 people said that to be considered fanfiction something has to be based on another work of fiction. What’s interesting about that is that then 2,938 people said that some works of fanfiction are based on real events or people and some aren’t. Which means that the people who said fanfiction has to be based on fiction are defining real events and people as fiction, which is cool, right? That’s interesting.
ELM: Do you think that all those respondents were thinking of celebrities as constructed texts? Or do you think they weren’t thinking about the contradiction?
FK: I think they probably weren’t thinking about the contradiction but I’m gonna give them the benefit of the doubt.
ELM: Cool, cool.
FK: Cause celebrities as constructed texts is a cool thing to think that everyone’s like, obviously engaged with.
ELM: This is out of 3,500 respondents?
FK: Exactly. It’s about 3,500. 3,574, specifically. So the only one where people had a strong feeling was, 2,588 people said that fanfiction has to be written by someone other than the original author of the work it’s based on.
ELM: All right, I’m very pleased to hear this.
FK: Right? Your Cursed Child problem, everybody agrees with you, man.
ELM: No, not the Cursed Child problem, that’s not even by the original author.
FK: Oh, you’re right.
ELM: This is the Carry On problem.
FK: You’re quite right.
ELM: That’s by Rainbow Rowell, to remind everyone. Or the, I don’t know, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 as bad Guardians of the Galaxy 1 fanfic. No, it’s just a dumb movie written by the same…no, that’s not true. The first one was co-authored by a woman.
ELM: You know about this. There was a whole debacle and she was pushed out?
FK: I missed it.
ELM: I shouldn’t just talk about this without actually knowing the story, but I vaguely remember this. I think her name’s Nicole Perlman, does that sound familiar?
FK: I don’t know, and if I did know I probably shouldn’t talk about it because I’m sure there’s politics that I don’t understand.
ELM: Aw, that's a diplomatic smile! Better than Rex Tillerson.
FK: Awwwww thank you!! I think!!! [both laugh] OK, so that was the question where we had people answer multiple choice stuff, right? We’ll be publishing the actual numbers so that everyone can look at them. The point of that question was to prepare people for the long-form, right.
ELM: Right! That’s the part where you’re pokin’ holes in your multi-sided definition box.
FK: Right. So out of the long-form answers that were about, write us a definition of fanfiction, there were sort of two broad themes that came up. The first theme was people saying basically “fanfiction is a story based on another story.” So there were a lot of people who had as their definition something along the lines of “fanfiction is fiction that is based on another work of fiction that’s written by someone other than the original author,” or sometimes even ignoring “written by someone other than the original author,” sometimes just saying “fanfiction is stories based on another work of fiction.” So that was one very very common thing people said. And when I say that’s very very common, almost everybody included this. It was a big big thing.
So then the second theme was people who said things like “fanfiction is stories written by fans and for fans.” And about half as many people said this as said “fanfiction is based on another work of fiction.” Now some people said both things. So some people were like, “fanfiction is based on another work of fiction and it’s written by fans and it’s written for fans,” or “it’s written by fans but not for fans” or “it’s written for fans but not by fans,” these are different things.
ELM: Oh Flourish…
FK: But I thought that was really interesting, right? Because a lot of people wrote these really short little definitions and they included one or the other idea.
ELM: It’s hard in this context, if you think about what a definition…if you were like, “what’s a definition?” and I thought of the dictionary, I’d think I have to say it in a sentence, right?
FK: Yeah, totally.
ELM: This is just a hypothetical person, because I actually have to define fanfiction a lot when I write articles. Especially a few years ago, you could not write the article without briefly in one sentence explaining what fanfiction was, right.
FK: [laughs] What’s your go-to sentence?
ELM: Oh, um, usually I’d say something like, not…“flip” isn’t the right word, but something along the lines of “it’s original work with unoriginal source material.”
FK: Hm. So then you’re in the story-based-on-another-story camp.
ELM: Well…if you’re only doing this in a sentence…
ELM: And usually it’s within the context that it’s written by fans. Because as you know I am, I have limited patience for the inter-…inter-? Intra-, within fandom, the belief that fanfiction is the only thing that ever is story based on another story, right? That frustrates me to the very depths of my soul. That people don’t realize that all sorts of literature does this, or all sorts of written works.
FK: Right, for sure. But I think that it is important, in this context…what I’m curious about, and I don’t know the answer to this, but the thing that’s gotten me thinking is what are people defining fanfiction in comparison to, right. When you ask someone to define fanfiction, what is the first thing they think about, “Well, that’s not fanfiction.” And I think that’s what’s really being revealed here are there are some people who are saying, “fanfiction is something that’s largely based on another text,” which suggests that there are texts out there that are not largely based on other texts.
ELM: Does it suggest that?
FK: I think so!
ELM: I just gave you a similar definition and then I gave you a speech about how angry it makes me when people talk about non-fanfiction as if it’s all this magical, highly original literature that springs fully formed out of a man in a cardigan’s mind, you know. [FK chortles] Sitting at the bay window in Cape Cod, let me just keep going with this narrative, he’s a loner, he's isolated, his wife died 15 years ago… He smokes a pipe. [Flourish is dying with laughter] What do you think? I got it, I got it!
FK: You totally got it! But okay, I’m not saying that this means that everybody who has this definition holds to the idea that there are these Romantic writers who, Romantic in the…
ELM: HE’S A WIDOWER AND HE HAS A PIPE.
FK: Not in the sexy romantic sense, but in the Romantic like Lord Byron sense. People who have Inspiration. You know.
ELM: [laughing] I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN BY ROMANTIC.
FK: I didn’t think that YOU thought that I think that some of our listeners might think I want to get it on with the guy with the pipe! I don’t know, if I were a listener, I might be confused. You should see Elizabeth, she’s dying now.
ELM: [through laughter] You’re in a mixed-age marriage, I don’t know what you like!
FK: OH MY GOD. OK. My point being though I don’t think that you saying that means you necessarily adhere to that, but I do think it suggests that you’re saying “Well, there’s stuff that’s not as open or forward or obviously transformative or derivative, and fanfiction is really obviously transformative or derivative.”
FK: That’s what you’re comparing it to, right. Because the other possibility is if you’re defining it first as fanfiction is by fans, it’s writing by fans, for fans, in a fan community, that’s a different thing that you’re defining it against. You’re saying, “I don’t care, Michael Cunningham can write as much as he wants, The Hours, but if it’s not for a fan community and he doesn’t consider himself a fan, then it’s not fanfiction.”
ELM: Sure, that’s the small-tent definition, right.
FK: Right. It’s sort of the big-tent and small-tent definitions playing themselves out in our responses a little bit.
FK: Yeah! I thought that was cool. [laughs]
ELM: Oh my gosh, I like how excited you are right now.
FK: I’m really excited!
ELM: I was excited about my narrative of the taciturn…he has a beard.
FK: Oh my God. [ELM laughs] There’s just a couple of other things I want to mention about this before we move on to some of the other stuff, like not the big themes that came up but the small themes that people brought up, and one of them is: context, if somebody didn’t mention something in their long-format answer, obviously it doesn’t mean that they don’t think that is part of their definition of fanfiction. I might choose to say “fanfiction is by fans for fans,” and I might not mention that it’s usually non-profit, but if you asked me I could be like “Oh yeah, of course it’s usually not for profit, and that’s kinda important but I didn’t include it because it didn’t seem as central.”
So one thing I thought was interesting was something like 10 or 20% of people I’ve looked at so far explicitly included RPF as fanfiction in their definition. So they said things like “It could be real, the text could be real people,” or even some did say “it could be, it’s like the fictional vision of what a real person is.” And some people mentioned history, a couple of people mentioned Hamilton. So I thought that was interesting. So obviously people who didn’t explicitly include RPF probably think that RPF could be fanfiction, at least some of them probably do, they just didn’t mention it, but I thought it was cool that a chunk of people did think it was really important that that was included in their definition.
And some of them by the way did it grudgingly. There were a lot of people who said “I don’t like RPF but it’s definitely fanfiction. Stop writing RPF, you people, but it’s fanfiction.” I was like, all right! Fair enough.
ELM: That’s interesting. I wish there was a way that we could…I would love to get, it’s so hard, maybe this is a stupid thing to even want. I feel like when we talk about RPF we have a, it’s a litmus test, maybe that isn’t the right word. But people can be very myopic in their description of it, so I feel like people are like “Everyone hates that!” or even if people are involved in it they’ll be like “Yeah but everyone hates it,” and it’s like…I don’t know if that’s true at this point! I believe it was true at one point. That it was much more under the covers. Is that, that’s not an expression.
FK: That’s not an expression. You know, we probably could write a survey that just asks people “Do you consider stories about real world celebrities to be fanfiction.”
ELM: That’s what you want the survey to be?
FK: We could do just a survey that was one question.
ELM: [laughs] I think folding that into a broader celebrity fandom survey could be interesting? And talking maybe, crafting it with some people who are not involved in fanfiction at all. So if you look at the way that the big pop culture media critics like Anne Helen Petersen, people who write stuff like that, who critique the way magazines cover certain celebrities, or the way these terrible thirsty men…“thirsty” is supposed to be, like, a positive term, right? Men are just gross in this context, right? Anthony Lane wasn’t thirsty when he was…c’mon, I know you’re down with the kids, you tell me.
FK: “Thirsty” is not as negative, I don’t think it’s as negative as this would be.
ELM: Right? But these men don't deserve that more…
FK: They don’t deserve “thirsty.”
ELM: More fun and gentle way of describing “has the hots for.” I’m your grandmother now. “Interested in necking!”
FK: [over ELM's laughter] Why don’t we take a break right now and then we can talk about some of the things people brought up that are in the box of the survey.
ELM: I’m just gonna keep doing random asides that are about elderly people.
FK: We’re gonna take a break. [all laugh]
FK: OK, we’re back from our break now! Have you gotten enough elderly people fanfic thinking out of your head?
ELM: Um…why are you so ageist?
FK: Obviously not, do we need another break? [ELM laughs] She is peppy today!
ELM: You know why I’m peppy.
FK: Why are you peppy?
ELM: I HAVE A NEW FANDOM. I don’t know, I haven’t actually engaged in any of the fandom yet. But I have something that I’m really into.
FK: On the other hand you have literally been watching Black Sails every waking moment of your life.
ELM: Yeah, I’m obsessed. Also it’s very lovely because Gav, my newsletter partner, to reiterate, Flourish and I make this podcast and Gavia Baker-Whitelaw and I make “The Rec Center” newsletter, I am the Venn diagram, I am the center, I am the overlap, this is an endless source of confusion for everyone on both sides. Anyway, Gav’s watching it too and Gav also, I think, feels as passionate as I do. And we’ve been making the newsletter together for a year and a half and we’ve never, there are some things that we both like but right now we’re both like “AHHHHHHH” and sending emails with lots of exclamation points and stuff.
FK: I’m really pleased with this because maybe you’ll be less mad at me for being all Harry Styles all the time now that you have a new fandom.
ELM: No, look, I’m not…I’m not MAD at you about Harry Styles. [FK laughs helplessly] I’m really not. I am a little dismayed that kind of an alarming percentage of my female friends, including ones that I don’t generally consider to be fandomy, are really into…and a few male friends. But a lot of female friends. And that’s fine! He’s fine. I just don’t find him compelling in any way. And so I don’t think he’s a very interesting topic for conversation. You’ll know that I haven’t tried to engage you in the very interesting topic…OF PIRATES. There’s nothing more interesting than pirates!
FK: [dissolving in laughter] I am really happy for you.
ELM: I already own SO MANY books on pirates. I study the freakin’ British empire! And I already own a book called Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition, which is great because it’s not just about pirates, it’s about GAY pirates.
FK: I’m so happy for you and your new fandom. Should we talk about themes that people brought up about fanfiction now?
ELM: Nope. It’s the only thing I care about.
FK: Only pirates.
FK: Only pirates.
FK: Have I ever told you about how when I was a kid I lived on a river and we had a little island in the middle of the river, we didn’t own it but it was an island that no one went to except locals?
ELM: You were a pirate roleplayer? Please say that.
FK: One year my next door neighbor sunk a mast in the little lagoon and flew a pirate ship [sic] and there was a treasure chest and had a party and it was amazing.
ELM: I am so jealous.
FK: We held up all the rafts with Super Soakers as the rafters came by and made them give us beer.
ELM: How old were you?
FK: I was like a teenager.
ELM: In my head you were like five and then the story ended and I was like “what.”
FK: No no no, I was a teenager at this point.
ELM: That’s delightful. I was really, when the Pirates of the Caribbean movies started I was really into them, but they were cheesy and kind of bad.
FK: I wrote some fanfic, I don’t know what to say.
ELM: Did you? Did you have a ship? I mean, a romantic ship, not a pirate ship.
FK: It wasn’t really a ship. I wrote some stuff about Elizabeth and Norrington and the crossover between that and Regency expectations, although it was pre-Regency, but sort of…
ELM: It was very pre-Regency Flourish.
FK: The idea of ballroom and…it’s hard to pin down, they’re really badly timed! It’s not the Regency but it’s not…
ELM: All of that was like 100 years before the Regency.
FK: It was, but then they wear things and talk in ways that suggest that it is, maybe!
ELM: They’re kinda cheesy bad movies! [FK laughs] So I’m just really glad there’s a really good piece of media about pirates and everyone’s great.
FK: And it actually has a time period that’s a real time period and not the Pirates movies which don’t have a time period.
ELM: Oh, it’s very specific to an exact time period, like a 15-year period.
FK: Which is great.
FK: Good. OK. Should we talk about the new themes people brought up? Cause these distressed you.
ELM: [laughs] Some of them really did! It’s more like, we don’t have a sense of whether people are like “all fanfiction must do X,” right. For example one of them on this list is “fanfiction includes shipping.” So includes is fine. But if there are people out there going around being like “fanfiction is a story that has a ship in it,” then I’ll be like… [sighs]
FK: There were some people who said “fanfiction is about shipping” as part of the definition, and there were some people who said “it often includes it.” There were several people who brought this up. So this is one arena. Some people said things like “fanfiction should partake in fannish tropes.” And some people said “fanfiction is to do with shipping.” One person actually said “fanfiction is often erotic,” like “usually sexy,” and I was like all right, fanfiction is usually sexy, this is a common thing that I hear from people but no one defined it this way except for you in the survey.
ELM: Like…all right. Erotic and sexy are two different things, first of all.
FK: I think they may have used both terms. I need to look it up.
ELM: That’s very interesting, actually.
FK: I don’t know that they were thinking in as precise a way as you’re thinking right now.
ELM: You know what I mean though?
FK: I do know what you mean, but there were also a lot of people who don’t know what the word “prose” means and a lot of people who don’t know what the word “narrative” means, so I stopped thinking people were being precise with their language around about entry 500.
ELM: Can you tell me what…someone for example who didn't understand what “prose” meant, how it was used? I’m just curious.
FK: There were people who said things like…they were using “prose” as though what they meant was “narrative”…
ELM: What do you mean by “narrative”? I’m making a squinty face at you right now. I’m almost the emoji with his hand under his chin.
FK: Ack! All right, this is getting into calling people out space. But there were a bunch of people who said…
ELM: I don’t wanna call people out.
FK: There were a bunch of people who said things like “fanfictions are narratives that do X,” and then they said other things that contradicted that, that they could be texts without a narrative, or they said “narrative” and they used “narrative” and “story” interchangeably, and then they said things and I was like, “But wait, you just said…what?”
ELM: So “narrative” being in a basic definition…it could mean a lot of things, it doesn’t necessarily mean “plot.”
FK: It doesn’t necessarily mean plot, but they were often using it like, “Well, it needs to be a plotted story,” it was clear that that was what they meant by it. And people used the word “story” to mean that also. And then they would say things that suggested it didn’t have to be that? Also? They would say “or if it’s a poem” and I was like “But…it could be a poem that is a narrative poem, with a plot, and all this stuff, but I don’t know that that’s what you mean based on what you’re saying…” It just got really fuzzy. People used a lot of words and I was not convinced that they were all very precise words.
ELM: Now I’m wondering how often people write, like, epic poetry.
FK: And people also used “prose” as the opposite of “poetry” and I was like, “prose poems, guys. BOOM.” Mind explode, you know? [laughs]
ELM: This is interesting. One thing I value about fanfiction, the broad space of it, is that it does leave more room for more types of narrative structures and approaches to text and character. Right? So the fact that, imagine, where else do you post your drabbles? And people give a fuck about them! Obviously…I mean, Stephen King probably posts a drabble and people would be like “Woah, cool short story bro.”
FK: That was interesting too! A lot of people said fanfiction can be any length. They were very specific about that. And then there were a couple of people who said fanfiction is usually short stories, or something like that.
ELM: What, who is this person who doesn’t like longfic.
FK: I don’t know that they didn’t like it, I think they were trying to say what they usually saw.
ELM: It’s true some people don’t like longfic, I know some of them.
FK: So and then there were also people who, this was very divisive or, not divisive because most people didn’t mention it at all. But a bunch of people said very clearly that fanfic was an umbrella term for fanwork in any medium. And some people were like “fanfic includes things like comics,” things that are somewhat textual, somewhat narrative in the sense of having a plot. People sort of orbited around that idea. And then there were some people who were like “fanfiction must specifically be textual and not visual and not…” all of this. So that was curious, because people didn’t agree at all.
ELM: How do you feel about that one?
FK: I tend to use the term “fanfiction” to mean things that are primarily textual.
ELM: Me too.
FK: I don’t like using it to refer to, like, a fan film.
ELM: No, because there are other terms for these things. Fanart, fanvids, fan films, and they’re all transformative works, and they’re all fanworks.
FK: Right. And I like to use the term “fanwork” as the umbrella term.
ELM: People don’t go in the other direction, they’re not like “this story is fanart because it’s a work of art made by a fan.”
FK: Yeah not usually, no.
ELM: I’ve never heard anyone do that. Maybe people do do that.
FK: Yeah, so anyway, that was interesting, and then there were also people who were very clear that fanfiction either did or did not include meta. And I thought that was curious because it says fiction in the name. But some people were like, “no, it includes any written work, including meta.”
ELM: Hm. It’s so blurry because then what about like…I am not a fan of these, but they’re very popular, you know, you see them a lot on Tumblr, and they’ll be basically like a plot summary of what could be a fic?
FK: Right, but it’s an argument!
ELM: Yeah, in the way that all fanfiction is an argument, yes. But it’s like, “imagine,” I don’t know. “Harry Potter did X,” and then it gives bullet points of how it would go down. And in a way it’s a story but I find them so deeply dissatisfying, and I know I’m asking a lot—“why don’t you go make this 60,000 more words please? This isn’t enough”—but I almost exclusively, after reading a ton of them, skip over them, because something about them, I don’t know. Do you enjoy them?
FK: I do enjoy them, but sort of in the same way I enjoy imagines. To me they’re a little bit like an imagine, where…
ELM: Go back Flourish, you enjoy imagines?
FK: Sometimes, sure!
ELM: Holy shit. Tell me an imagine you’ve enjoyed.
FK: I don’t know! I don’t have a list of my favorite imagines.
ELM: They’re one sentence long each, you can remember an imagine you like.
FK: Not really, no. But when they pass I’m not mad at them! I’ll read one and I’ll be like, “Oh yeah, I do think about what it would be like to have Niall show up and clean my room. Sure! That’s a nice thought. It would be cool if Niall Horan showed up and cleaned my room right now, that’d be great. I can imagine that.”
ELM: Flourish! Do I even know you?
FK: Uh…context: Niall Snapchats a lot and he has a very meticulously clean house, and he Snapchats in this way that suggests that he thinks that he’s everybody’s very normcore boyfriend. By comparison Liam is messy and awful and bad at Snapchat and we all want him to get better. So this is why this is an imagine.
ELM: That’s fascinating.
FK: Sorry I just dumped my fandom here. We did talk about pirates so I guess it’s fair.
ELM: No, it’s fair! It’s just like, it’s something about your One Direction fandom, just…it’s like peeling an onion here.
FK: [laughing] We should get back to talking about these themes.
ELM: Any time you tell me anything about something you like in the One Direction fandom I’m like “What? Flourish, I hardly know you!” Did you always like these things, or did it…is it something that comes with this specific kind of fandom that appeals to you?
FK: The Niall thing comes because I only started paying attention to Snapchat like three weeks ago.
ELM: Can you imagine a Harry Potter or an X-files imagine that would capture your attention like that?
FK: Maybe a Harry Potter one but not an X-files one.
ELM: Imagine Snape came to clean your room.
FK: [long silence, then laughter] That one is HILARIOUS. I am going to write this into an imagine and put it on Tumblr right now, Elizabeth.
ELM: “Write it into an imagine”? It’s one sentence long, I just wrote it! [laughing]
FK: I mean make it into one of those little pictures of Snape brooding in the background in transparency.
ELM: He’s unhappy and he’s here to clean your room!
FK: We should talk about these themes and not about imagines.
ELM: OK, that’s fine, tell me more.
FK: So one of the things that weirded you out, right, was a bunch of people said things like that fanfiction was based on entertainment franchises, or widely known works. Right? And I thought that was interesting.
ELM: I think “weirded me out” is not a generous interpretation of the conversation we had before [FK laughs] but I did think that was a little…
FK: You made a face!
ELM: I found it a little disappointing that that was a…again, if you’re saying “often it is,” then that’s fine. But it’s a question of whether people are like, well…especially because there are fandoms that are super small and have a couple hundred fanworks on AO3 at most, it’s everything in Yuletide, and I don’t know, having been in both juggernaut fandoms and also being a fandom of one about something that, you know, my weird Sweet Valley High boardroom, obviously there are millions of people reading those books and feeling invested but… You know what I mean? I hate the idea that it has to be this big commercial juggernaut and this big fandom.
FK: But I don’t think that means anything about the size of…some people said that things had to have a big fandom, but other people said it had to be a commercial property. I think that says more about the idea of fandom as a response to mass media, right?
ELM: Right, but there are, I don’t know, my favorite novel that I read last year? I wanted to, I wished there was fanfiction for it. There've been a number of times where I read a novel and I really love it and there’s no fanfiction for it because people don’t write fanfiction, apparently, about these novels.
FK: I’m not going to write you fanfiction about A Little Life even if it would make you really happy.
ELM: No! I mean, you still haven’t read it, so.
FK: That’s reason one why I won’t.
ELM: Also, when I got to the end I was like, “OK, never mind. I don’t really need any.” But in the middle…it’s OK, I just folded the themes I was feeling into a Harry/Draco story, so.
FK: Oh, that’s good!
ELM: No it’s not, if you read the book you would not think that’s an “aww” moment. [both laugh] It’s fine! It's fine. I just feel like, while I like thinking about fanfiction and fandom’s power to be a response to a big mass-market capitalist structure, I don’t like the idea that people are thinking it might be exclusively that. And I’m obviously, as we said, not saying anyone is saying that.
FK: Yeah, it’s just sort of hard to know when people write such a short definition.
FK: But it’s an interesting concept, right? I think, as I think we said earlier, the question of “what are you defining fanfiction against” is really interesting there. In that case, you could say “Well, maybe you’re defining fanfiction against art that substantially responds to other art,” like in the MoMa or wherever, or extremely literary works of fiction or something, I don’t know. Maybe you’re trying to say, “Well, fanfiction isn’t that, because fanfiction is about these big pop culture-y things.” And I don’t think that’s entirely true, but it’s interesting. I think you could say there is a difference between the two things.
ELM: Hm. Yeah, but it just feels like artificial divisions at this point. I don’t know.
FK: Maybe. I don’t know. I guess it depends what you’re working from or what you’re arguing about, right?
ELM: Sure, definitely.
FK: One thing that was interesting was a lot of people brought up different kinds of things about what the affect of people who write fanfiction is.
ELM: OK. So when you say “affect,” you mean…let’s define that. It’s a word academics use a lot, I know.
FK: Yeah. It’s like, someone’s emotional state, or…
ELM: So we talk about pleasure…
FK: Way of engaging with…right, pleasure.
ELM: Not just pleasure, but I think that’s part of it, right. So if you’re talking about affect, it’s an element of female fannish engagement, right, in fan studies they talk about this a lot, right.
FK: Totally. So a bunch of people said fanfiction is written for pleasure, either for the pleasure of the writer or the pleasure of the readers. Some people put that in contrast to profit, but not everyone did that. Some people were like “It could be written for profit, but it’s also written to give people pleasure or for you to enjoy it.” And then another small group of people said fanfiction was written as homage or out of love of the source text, or to celebrate the source text, which I sort of consider all to be one theme, although they’re not exactly saying the same thing.
ELM: That’s interesting. Do you think that stands in opposition to critiquing the source text?
FK: Some people had both things, right? So other people said that fanfiction was a critique or response to the source text, some people said both things could be fanfiction, but some people said it just like you did, that these things were in opposition. There was one person who said, “So someone writing a satire of Harry Potter who doesn’t love Harry Potter would not be writing fanfiction.” I was like, “But, hmm! Does that mean someone could still write a satire if they loved Harry Potter and it would be fanfiction?”
ELM: This is interesting because Harry Potter’s a good example because people do this a lot. The one thing that immediately springs to mind is “Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality,” which I’ve actually never read.
FK: I have read it! You don't need to.
ELM: I got that vibe. But it’s also, it’s always frustrated me because over the years I’ve seen people outside of fandom invoke it and say “Oh, this is a really great fanfiction of Harry Potter.” And it’s always men who do it and it’s always…
ELM: Computer programmers.
FK: We are at one in this. [ELM laughs] Men explain “Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality” to me. Like, every time they hear that I was into Harry Potter fanfiction, computer programmers for sure. It’s like “Yeah! Have you read ‘Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality?’” Yeah bro.
ELM: So frustrating! If there are any men listening, don’t do that.
FK: But what’s important about it though, I guess we don’t know about the affect of the guy who wrote it, but something he’s said many times was that he wrote it in order to basically indoctrinate people into his way of thinking about the world. His idea of rationality and the way you should think about the world. Because it seemed like a good vehicle to do that, right. Harry Potter was a good way to get people to think in those ways. And so if you don’t, if you believe that affect has to do with this, then maybe that’s not a fanfiction for you.
ELM: Yeah but again then the question is, [sighs] I’m gatekeeping this guy. I feel like, obviously I’m resentful of this story because of exactly what you’re describing, because of the way he gets dragged out and…if he wanted to call it fanfiction, and he didn’t write it for pleasure…I also think that writing it for pleasure is an interesting thing, because especially I have written so much fix-it fic that obviously there’s a pleasure in that, but it’s partly coming from a position of pain, right? Because of all my faves dying. You know? So it’s like…is that writing for pleasure? I guess, right? But it doesn’t really, I wouldn’t describe it that way. Pleasure feels like “I love these characters and I love this story and I just want more.” But maybe that’s a weird blinkered version of a definition of pleasure.
FK: I don’t know, but I see what you’re saying. I do think it’s interesting, you saying “Well, if he defines it as fanfiction,” because there were some people who said fanfiction has to be self-defined as fanfiction.
ELM: We said that a lot when we talked about this.
FK: Right. And then there were other people who said fanfiction has to be very upfront about the fact that it’s borrowing from other texts. So not necessarily that it had to be self-defined as fanfiction, but basically I think for some people this was a way of saying “Well, of course all literature can be referential, but fanfiction is not only referential it’s also very…”
ELM: Explicitly so.
FK: It says. It’s explicitly referential in a very, very front and center kind of a way, right. I thought that was interesting.
ELM: Yeah. it’s interesting too in the sense of, while I get frustrated when fandom people downplay the fact that influence and working with other texts is the bedrock of literature, and not something that’s unique and special about fanfiction, it is true that I don’t think it’s as often foregrounded. You don’t go to the bookstore and say “I’m looking for books that were influenced by the Bible,” and then there’s the Bible section and you pull out a Bible-influenced novel. Or influenced by Henry James or whatever. Whereas that’s the way that you search for fanfiction. You don’t just go into a big pool and then like, “This is a good one,” and you’re like “Oh, wait, who’s the influence?” You know? So it’s like, coming at it from opposite directions basically. I think that is a distinction. But I think that’s born out of the community, it’s not necessarily born out of anything about the form.
FK: Right. Well, and speaking of the community, there were also people who got very specific about the community. There were some people who said fanfiction includes fandom tropes, or fanfiction includes shipping, specifically shipping in the way that shipping works in fandom. And I thought that was interesting too because that’s also sort of a formal definition in a certain sense: you’re saying fanfiction is a thing the form of which includes these tropes or this type of relationship, but it’s also about what the community finds normal.
ELM: Hm. That is interesting, but then it’s like, so many different definitions and so many different communities and…it’s complicated. [sighs]
FK: Should we take a break from thinking about this and then come back and wrap up?
ELM: Yes, let’s take one more break. We have so many breaks. We’re making up for all the times we have guests and never find a place to pause to take a break.
FK: That’s because we’re just, it’s just us!
ELM: Just us, chillin’, takin’ breaks.
FK: Chillin’, takin’ breaks!
ELM: OK, let's do it.
FK: All right, so we’re back and I want to discuss with you some interesting linguistic things that came up in these responses.
ELM: Why, you’re pointing at me right now.
FK: I wanna know what you think about this!
FK: Ok. So this is something which, when I looked at this I was like “I can’t tell if this is the smartest thing ever or the dumbest thing ever or both at the same time.” Which is that in a lot of definitions, people sort of re-centered reality on canon. So people said that fanfiction is fiction, and then they referred to it as though canon was nonfiction. So isn’t that both weird and cool?
ELM: It is though my immediate response to that is that I wonder how much of this is a reflection that I’ve observed over the last decade or so of a shift in fannish discourse towards what happens in the text being considered the truth. Not to say that this was not around before, but I feel that this is increasingly being centered in conversations. And…
FK: I think you’re right.
ELM: And the extreme emphasis on ships being validated because that makes them true. That makes them the nonfiction, right? This is real, this is it. Right? And I have to wonder if this is a reflection of that.
FK: I think you’re right to wonder that, I think that it also relates to how so much about individual…individual works of fiction’s diversity and the choices they make with their characters feeling so important. And let;s note I think diversity and not killing off lesbians, I think this is very important, right? In general as a whole. Absolutely, as trends, I think it is vastly important. And I also think that emotionally it can be important to individuals. But there’s something in between that, where “it’s really important that my favorite gets it right,” you know what I mean? And I think that may have to do with this also.
ELM: I think my taking the cynical side of it, like “people just want their ships validated,” you can say the truth that I want out of this show is that you’re not killing off the black women, you’re not killing off the lesbians or whatever. You should watch Black Sails if you're interested in lesbians who stay alive!
FK: She’s recruiting, guys, for her pirate ship.
ELM: Do you like pirate lesbians? They’re queer women. No one is, everyone’s very fluid. I'm just saying.
FK: It’s good to know. Thank you.
FK: I feel represented by Black Sails now.
ELM: There’s even a blond woman who has onscreen sex with a man and a woman.
FK: Delightful, is she kind of butch?
ELM: No, sorry. There is a butch woman, though.
FK: The representation of my self-image is not perfect in this show so maybe I’ll be mad at it.
ELM: I don’t know, they’re all living in a pirate town, most of them look a little rough.
FK: All right, we can work with that.
ELM: Just like you.
ELM: No, I’m completely kidding, you look great. That was a big aside.
FK: [both laughing] Oh, thank you! Anyway, OK, OK. So the other…
ELM: No no no, so I don’t mean to be flippant about that, and I obviously think that…it makes me think of our conversations with Rukmini in particular, talking about who needs canon, characters of color need canon. So to say that the truth, the canon is the truth, in some cases, that can feel like wanky and “I just want the creator to put their stamp on what I want,” but sometimes what you want is the black female character to not get killed off.
FK: Right, and you want…yeah. Yes. YES.
ELM: But I think it also might reflect some people have different attitudes towards canon in the sense of like, I put literally negative stock in J.K. Rowling's continued announcements, right? But a lot of people say, they file them away into their knowledge about the books, right. So we would write different Harry Potter stories because we’d be working with a different set of facts.
FK: To some degree I really agree with this idea because when I personally write or read fanfiction, I think it is important…a lot of people talked about the importance of knowing the canon or having an awareness of it. I really like to know that. There’s been a couple cases where I didn’t and that was OK because the story was good, but most of the time I’m interested in stories because of how they play with canon that I know.
ELM: Yeah, me too. Totally.
FK: So in that respect I think I too think of it this way. I think of canon as sort of the truth whether I like it or not, and then this is gonna play with it.
ELM: That’s interesting. I don’t know, maybe because I like fix-its so much.
FK: I like fix-its but I like fix-its because they’re fixing the thing that was…
ELM: That’s true, but I don’t know if I could come around to seeing a work of fiction that I love as the nonfiction.
FK: Yeah. Well anyway, I don’t know that these people explicitly are either, it’s just sort of a way that they’re using the word.
ELM: Sure sure sure.
FK: So the other thing that I found interesting was people using the term “fandom” to refer to the source texts themselves.
FK: So people would say things like “stories based on fandoms written by someone other than the author of the fandom.” Or usually people wouldn’t go so far as to say “the author of the fandom.” Because that doesn’t make sense, it sounds bad. But people would say “a story written based on a fandom.” And after looking at a bunch of these and seeing a bunch of different framings of it I realized, “Oh, they’re not meaning based on a fandom, a story about people in Sherlock fandom.”
ELM: That would be a story I don’t need to read.
FK: They mean it based on a fandom, like based on the object of fandom.
ELM: That’s very interesting.
FK: Yeah, cause it sort of implies that there has to be a fandom around this thing, and it sort of conflates it. You know?
ELM: Hm. Do you have immediate thoughts about this? I’m trying to wrap my head around it.
FK: I guess I sort of think it’s interesting because most of the time, my experience of a story is often really hard to distinguish from my experience of the fandom about that story. Right? So for instance, the problem of Snape in Harry Potter, which we’ve invoked many times before. People who were fans at a certain point have a very different view of Snape’s character than people who came in later. And that’s, we’re both reading the same text up to the amount that we had read. Actually we’re both reading the same text in total, right? All the way through Book Seven, it’s the same books. But because of our different experiences of fandom and the way people interpreted that text around us we have different ideas of the character, just like you were saying.
ELM: Sure. Oh, FYI, I was talking about this with someone on Twitter that I don’t know at all, and they’re a teacher of seventh and eighth graders, and I offered up this theory cause someone else was saying about…it was when J.K. Rowling apologized for Snape’s death and I was like “why are you doing this.” People were theorizing that people like Snape more because of Alan Rickman, which obviously everyone has always theorized about. I was like, “Actually I have observed that younger fans really hate him, and I think it's because they’ve always had the full seven books,” exactly what you’re saying. And so this person was a teacher and they were like, “I’ll poll my class!” And the class all really liked him!
FK: Woah, so maybe this is a false idea that I have!
ELM: I don’t know! I was like, “Well, I see this on Tumblr in fandom, so I think that most kids read Harry Potter.” So maybe it’s like…maybe they have a more casual view. You’re like “Yeah, he’s good.”
FK: Yeah, that’s curious.
ELM: I have no idea.
FK: Now I want to do surveys about this too.
ELM: Oh my God. [laughing]
FK: No, we don’t need to do another survey right away, I still have so much to do.
ELM: Snape discourse!
FK: Snape discourse. OK. I think that’s kind of what I had to share about this.
ELM: These are all fascinating results, and obviously you’re going to have a lot more in the Medium post—which by the time this episode airs will be published, so you should check that out.
FK: Yeah, there’ll be a lot more. And by the way, there are so many more questions in this survey, we’re gonna be having data from this survey come out for probably years.
FK: I don’t know, it’s a lot.
ELM: And you’re over here making your RPF survey and your Snape survey, it’s just a survey machine.
FK: Just too many things. Anyway. So we’ll, you know, we will be releasing the raw data to people if they wanna poke at it, and yeah!
ELM: OK, great. Well I think this was a great survey and a great bunch of results, and thank you for doing it!
FK: You’re very welcome. I’m glad that it at least so far seems to have sprung up a lot of discussion and I hope it’ll keep doing that, cause that was really the point.
ELM: Yeah, totally.
FK: There’s not an answer to “what is the definition of fanfic.” This survey was never gonna come up with it, because I don’t think there is a hard one, but I think it’s really important that we talk about it and have ideas.
ELM: The ways that we define it, it’s what surrounds it, it’s not the actual definition, right? When you brought up this definition example, do you wanna say your car definition? I really liked that.
FK: Yeah, totally! So if you ask somebody to tell you what a car is, they might say “a car is a motor vehicle that doesn’t have an open bed in the back.” And that doesn’t make any sense if you’re just like, at random. But if you’re having somebody look at cars and trucks and you’re trying to draw a distinction between them, then that makes sense.
ELM: Whereas then when you said this, I gave the example of you say, “Oh, it’s a vehicle that has an internal combustion engine and isn’t drawn by a horse.”
FK: [laughing] It’s 1909 I guess!
ELM: I would never define a car in opposition to a truck, but if you do, that might say something about, I don’t know, what you use vehicles for, where you live, what your job is, you know.
FK: Right, and if I were gonna say what a car is it would probably have to do with it being owned by an individual or something like that because I take public transit all the time.
ELM: Right, exactly. It’s what surrounds definition, not the definition itself. So that’s really interesting, and I think that these results really showed a lot of some of the scaffolding, even if it’s contradictory scaffolding, that goes with this.
FK: And there could be totally different scaffolding too, right. This is barely scratching the surface, it’s 3,000 people drawn from similar backgrounds and spaces. But, 3,000 interesting people. thank you everyone for taking it!
FK: 3,500, 3,500.
ELM: Those last 500 shouldn’t get left out.
FK: Let’s not leave them out. Thank you last 500, you’re awesome.
ELM: Thank you everyone who took it. And everyone who sent feedback. So in our wrapping up business, one of the ways that we could do this survey, very awkward transition, is we have this Patreon.
FK: Yeah! In fact I think it’s important for us to talk about the Patreon now because I think we need to have another push to try and get some more support. We’re sort of on this bubble right now where with a little more support we could get more help in editing the podcast, which would free both of us a lot more to do things like building out the Medium collection more, doing the analysis of this data more quickly, being able to take part in a lot more. So we’re going to be soon creating another push for people to support us, and we hope that everybody who’s enjoyed this survey will A) give money and help us out, but if they can’t or in addition to doing that, spread the word about that.
ELM: Totally. I mean, I guess we’re approaching our two-year anniversary of the podcast, and also then we launched the Patreon around our one-year anniversary, so I guess we’re coming up on our second year, so what we’re getting right now is obviously incredibly helpful, we’re able to commission our last Medium piece by Allison Gross about boy band YA novels, so if you missed that check it out. We wanna commission more but I don’t wanna be able to commission like two pieces a year. I wanna get more voices onto this collection writing long form stuff about fandom. So that’s another reason I would love if anyone has a few dollars to spare it’d be really awesome.
FK: And in addition to doing that we’re very grateful that we have some cash so if one of us wasn’t able to work on the podcast for a while we could get help, we could keep up our schedule, et cetera. But we’re still on that spot where we could use more.
ELM: [laughs] Yeah! So patreon.com/fansplaining, if you get in now you’ll get in time for the spring tiny zine, which I am working on.
ELM: Which I think I over-promised in the last episode by mentioning that I’m a professional magazine maker, that is true, I do production for two major magazines that you may subscribe to, that being said, I don’t wanna over-promise. [FK cackles] It’s not going to be like the magazines that I make for my job. No, it’ll be good! It’ll be charming. It’ll be a fanwork. It’ll be a labor of love. Which is not what I would say about my jobs.
ELM: So that’ll be coming up really soon, and then if you don’t have any money or even if you do and wanna rate us on iTunes or leave us a review, that’d be really helpful.
FK: We would love it.
ELM: And yeah other than that if you have more feedback, firstname.lastname@example.org, also on Twitter and Tumblr, or ask box is open, our anon is on, please don’t be aggressive and mean but you can obviously send us critiques if you want, we definitely appreciate them.
FK: Yeah, and we look forward to any thoughts, any commentary, we wanna continue the discussion because that was the point of this survey! So hopefully we can have some good arguments and enjoy that.
ELM: Also, if you’re into Black Sails you can message me too.
FK: Or Harry Styles.
ELM: No, skip that.
FK: Over here. [laughing]
ELM: I think that you know at this point that Flourish is into Harry Styles so you are either seeking her out or aggressively avoiding her on social media.
FK: OK OK OK, Elizabeth, are we done?
ELM: I have a pirate show to go watch, I gotta go.
FK: All right, I’ll talk to you later Elizabeth.
ELM: OK, bye!
[Outro, disclaimers and thank yous]