Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Write Stuff

Let’s get two facts out of the way right away. 1) I am not perfect. In fact I am practically imperfect in every way. 2) I am not AfterEllen. I just write for them and respect their mission. With that said, I feel it’s important to discuss this furious Hydra that has emerged from my post yesterday. Think I am kidding? Read the comments.

But first, some more facts. AfterEllen has only two full-time salaries staff employed by Logo. There is also an assistant editor and the rest of us writers are all freelance. All of my writing for AE since I started in 2007 is freelance, done in my free time for a small commission. I also work a full-time, 40-plus hour a week job that allows me to keep the lights on and pay my cable bill. I write about pop culture and the lesbian community because I love to do it and because it alternately thrills and enrages me when the two intersect. I hope and fight every day for a world where it is more of the former and less of the later.

I have been intensely interested in all things “Lost Girl” and Doccubus since early 2011, when I finally succumb to the smoking snippets I kept seeing on YouTube and marathoned everything I could find. I was left feeling giddy and energized and turned on. Because, this show is hot – an unavoidable repeating theme when your hero is a supernaturally powerful bisexual succubus who must feed off the sexual energy of others to survive. My love for the show, its characters and actresses should be unmistakable to anyone who has been following along these past two years when I’ve practically accosted people on the street and yelled, “Are you watching Lost Girl? Well you should be!” into their faces.

Which leads us to last week, where this happened. 1) I wrote a recap on Tuesday of the episode that contained the line “Look, I’m steadfastly, unwaveringly Team Doccubus. But, dammit, if Copubus isn’t all kinds of hot.” Because I thought it was hot. And I called it hot. And then 2) On Tuesday morning after seeing the intense flurry of more than 60 comments at that point (yes, I counted) on the recap, most of which were talking about Doccubus v. Coppubus and one of which even specifically discussing the shipping war that had erupted in the thread complete with corroborating animated gifs, I posted this tweet:

If you think that’s somehow throwing Doccubus under the bus and abandoning my favorite current ship on television, I am sorry. I see it as having fun with a show that has almost too many hot characters than it knows what to do with. I did not create Copubus out of clay and present it to the world as a shining statue to shipperdom. I just noticed it existed. And I joke because I’m entirely and unquestionably secure in by belief that Doccubus can handle and best any competition, real or imagined.

We can argue until the cows come home and those cows have babies and then those baby cows come home and they have their own baby cows and so on and so moo about which ships are our favorite and which deserve more coverage and which are getting shortchanged. But in the end hopefully you can see that my ultimate goal is always for there to be more and better LGBT stories for us to enjoy. I am inclined, despite my misanthropic nature, to still believe the best in people until presented with the opposite reality. I would hope you afford me that same courtesy instead of attributing nefarious motivations to things which you do not fully understand yet.

Because here is what I believe about these stories that flicker across that glass box in our living rooms. We, the viewers, are entitled to the best stories possible. We are entitled to authentic characters and real portrayals. We are not, however, entitled to our favorite pairing living happily ever after. We simply are not, as much as we want it. We can hope for it and advocate for it and fight with our last breath for it. But writers do not have to give it to us, they only have to give us the most honest story they can.

And there is a real nuance to this point, and the nuance is everything. I get mad and will always be mad at Ilene Chaiken because her stories were not authentic. She gave us wonderful characters and amazing relationships, but then she jerked them around like a mad puppeteer and we all saw the strings and wished so much we could cut them. I am thankful to her for creating the show, but I wish she had let it live free of her personal agenda.

Same goes for Ryan Murphy and “Glee.” The show can, when it’s truly on, give us stunning moments of universal empathy where something which the wider world did not understand before becomes crystalline before all of our eyes. Kurt receiving the unconditional love of his father. Santana cracking open the hard shell she protected her soft heart with. These moments moved us. But then characters flitted and floated and look, something shiny. And he insisted we should be happy we got Brittana in the first place. But, at least for me, it wasn’t just about giving them a happily ever after. It was giving them a real reason for not riding off into the sunset together. I am thankful to him for creating the show, but I wish he had let it live free of his personal agenda.

I am not, however, mad at say a Joss Whedon or a Shonda Rhimes because as crazypants and tragic and disappointing as some of their plot twists may be, they do it in pursuit of their stories, not just their own desire to bend the world to their megalomania. But now I’ve veered into a philosophical discussion of my television-based worldview. Which, you know, embarrassing.

If you think my or AE’s coverage of “Lost Girl” is lacking, tell us where we can improve. But also be realistic. “Lost Girl” gets recaps, actress interviews, news updates, viewing guides and general commentary about it on the regular. The site has done interviews with the stars of the show every year the show has been on the air. Not too many series with major LGBT characters have afforded us the same courtesy and access. This is no small feat for a non-mainstream media site to accomplish. Almost every single post about the show gets promoted into the marquee on the AE homepage. The only reason I do not include a Twitter roundup of “Lost Girl” fans comments like with some other shows is because this show airs in two different countries on two different days. And it would become too cumbersome and time consuming for me to track, review and catalogue hundred of tweets over a two-day period. I am but one girl with a computer, and sometimes even I need to sleep.

You want a wide-reaching article about “Lost Girl”’s impact on popular culture? Sure, one might be due. But also realize AE is a commercial news and entertainment site and as such it goes where the audience is. “Glee” gets more coverage because “Glee” has a larger audience. That’s just another fact. Last season it averaged around 7 million viewers per episode where “Lost Girl” hovered right around 1 million. And “Pretty Little Liars” averages around 2.5 to 3 million viewers a week its last season. And if you think all of the coverage of “Glee” of late has been positive, you just weren’t paying attention.

As for AE coverage in general? Well, as I mentioned, I’m not the one steering that ship. But I will say the site over the years has evolved and while it is not perfect, because nothing is, it strives to give full and far-reaching coverage of what has become a very diverse universe of lesbian media. No site can be all things to all people. And, yes, it devotes some coverage to subtext because, again, there’s an audience there who asks for it. If you do not enjoy the subtext coverage, I politely ask you simply do not read it. Because there is plenty of coverage of maintext you can read instead. This season alone the site has recapped “Lost Girl,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “Glee,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Bomb Girls,” “The Good Wife,” “Degrassi,” “Chicago Fire,” “True Blood,” “Last Tango in Halifax,” “White Collar,” “American Horror Story: Asylum,” “Emily Owens MD,” “The Challenge: Battle of the Seasons,” “Project Runway” and “R&B Divas” – all shows with a major lesbian and/or bisexual character and/or contestant. The only shows it currently recaps with subtext? “Rizzoli & Isles” and “Once Upon a Time.”

(Please note and respect that I am emphatically not here to debate the merits of subtext. That is another post for another day.)

Bashing the people in your community who chose to write about and champion our representation, out of nothing more than love for the medium and a desire to see our lives reflected back honestly to us, doesn’t solve the problem. It doesn’t make TV writers write more LGBT characters. And it doesn’t create a utopian universe of LGBT visibility. All it does is make the people who do the writing weary. That’s not a threat, that’s just a fact.

p.s. You pick a fight with Heather Hogan, you pick a fight with me. She has done more to promote visibility, service fandom and make the world less lonely for people like us on the outside looking in than anyone I know. That’s my homegirl. And you can’t talk shit about my homegirl in my house.


R said...

::slow clap::

::standing ovation::

Amanda Morrell said...

You're great. There's a reason I've been reading for five years now.

Anonymous said...

Wow I can't believe the amount of crap you've gotten. I think you're great and hope you don't let them get to you.

Yu3risel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I am with you, Snarker. 3 simple words to explain all this shiz:


I guess we shouldn't really be surprised.

Yu3risel said...

The first comment was all too right, this definitely deserves a standing ovation. I've been an AE fan long enough to remember a time before the adorable South of Nowhere vlogs, and it's because of brilliant writing like this and like everything else you and the AE staff continue to produce. Keep at it, you're super awesome.

AtlAggie said...

You're classy and gracious as ever, Ms. Snarker. It couldn't have been easy to write such a thoughtful and diplomatic response after being on the receiving end of so much misplaced (and to me, unjustifiable) anger over this kerfuffle. I'll never understand the whys and wherefores that cause members of a community to turn so viciously against one of their own.

Hope all of the vitriol hasn't gotten you down too much. You do good work and should be thanked and commended for being a real asset to our community. So thanks.

kasadilla11 said...

::joins that standing ovation::

I have always appreciated what you do for the lesbian community, Ms. Snarker. Thank you and please keep writing.

fairydogmother said...

I love you all the more for "and so on and so moo". Brilliance.

Fannie said...

Well said.

And for people who demand better coverage of shows like Lost Girl, let me introduce them to a nifty little site called Blogger....

Go and fill the gap.

T said...

This is one of only two blogs that I read every post of; I go to my google reader and skim through the posts to see if there is a new one. So thank you :)
I hope you're not too downhearted from this criticism; people on the internet confuse me sometimes, the ability to complain about stuff apparently without reading it properly...

Heather Anne Hogan said...

You're my hero. :)

Anonymous said...

I think it says a lot about you that you felt the need to clarify this issue in such a wonderful way. Thank you.

Which only leaves me waiting for Heather Hogan's apology regarding her surprising Ryan Murphy moment in the comments of the other article.

Ashley said...

Damn, I was worried you were not going to post today, so I finally broke down and left a supportive comment on yesterday's post that would have been better suited for this one.

Regardless, I will restate that you are amazing and this lady loving lady thanks you for all you do. You do not deserve the negativity directed at you, and I hope you will not let it diminish your love or enthusiasm for the community and our culture.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this great piece. I believe in the relevance of your work. I love it. Many of us globally scattered lesbians need it to keep going. Please don't let yourself be discouraged by this ordeal.

Anonymous said...

What is that stereotype about crazy, angry lesbians? Yeah. Stereotypes are there for a reason. And if we cannot laugh at ourselves, then other people will ;) You do a great job, some people are just too attached to their fictional OTPs, is all. It is good that you call them on their crazy behaviour, though. So keep writing, keep telling us what you find hot, and keep telling us when we are being a bunch of insufferable, crazy lesbians.

Anonymous said...

Go Dorothy!

Anonymous said...

Heather Hogan doesn't owe anyone an apology... and neither does Ryan Murphy.

I feel bad for TV execs in his position. They write a couple it's romantic, they decide things are getting staid so they introduce an element of drama and break them up- either temporarily or permanently; doesn't matter.

At this point a new breed of person emerges from the woodwork. Someone who thinks their emotional investment in someone else's intellectual property gives them a right to make demands. And they're angry. Intensely angry. And all the people they talk to online, they're angry as well. They get together to talk about how angry they are, and in that echo chamber totally lunatic overreaction becomes the norm.

And then, in this interconnected social era, they do the obvious, and start writing poison pen letters to the creator. This person will receive death threats, insults which are personal on every level, and unkind, and disproportionate. This is the dark side of fandom; the jealous abusive drunk of a spouse that doesn't care what it does or how it hurts its partner because it never saw them as a person anyway.

Of course there are moderates, too, but they are drowned out. And these moderates tend to downplay just how shitty their fanatical conspirators are being, because they have similar feelings though they'd never express them that way.

And eventually it gets too much, and then the writer loses their temper and responds, lashing back. They're probably only thinking about the asshole who sent them a death threat accusing them of misogyny, internalised homophobia, republicanism and sacrificing miss kitty fantastico to chthulhu. What they dont' realise is that the wider lesbian blogosphere is also going to take it personally; the ones who never sent any emails or burned any effigies. THey've been largely ignoring the worst behaviour for a while, or excusing it or what have you. Now they're incenced; why did they ever caution their companions? Why, all of a sudden effigy burning seems like a pretty good time.

And there you have it: this is why Ryan Murphy is not an asshole. I mean, he is, his shows are insane and have no internal consistency and yadda yadda yadda yadda.

But you guys, a lot of you are incredibly entitled and whiney. You sound like the nerds who protested Mike Morales being the new ultimate spiderman because spidey is white. You sound like the Xena fans who protested against all this talk of gay subtext. In short, you're... kind of gross.

Not all of you. But a fair auld whack, judging by the comments here in the last few days.

Anonymous said...

Awesome post! Thanks so much for your writing here and on AE. You and your work are very much appreciated by so many of us out here who read and delight but lurk when it comes to commenting. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Snarker, your writing and coverage of all lady-loving media content is fantastic! You are simply the best. Your writing is warm, inviting, and even-handed.

All of this misplaced ranting anger is exhausting, petty nonsense. I hope it doesn't get you down.

Thank you for the continued fabulousness of Dorothy Surrenders.

thesaturnyear said...

Thank you for explaining a little about how AE is run and why they cover the shows/topics they do. By the time I read your post and the comments yesterday, the argument had evolved into mostly criticism of AE in general (and I acknowledge that your personal blog is not the right forum for that, so I apologize for using it as such).

I enjoy your coverage of Lost Girl, and your writing in general; the only part of your post yesterday that I really took issue with was telling people not to bite the hand that feeds them. That's basically the equivalent of telling us to sit down and shut up when we disagree or take issue with something. If queer women had not spoken out about our representation in the media, AE wouldn't exist. And now AE itself bears some responsibility for representation, as it's become somewhat of the "face" of the lesbian fan community to the mainstream media. (I think you and your writing represent us well, to be clear. There are others I'm not so fond of.)

The comments on yesterday's post got completely out of hand, and you didn't deserve the nasty mud that was slung, but that doesn't mean we should all just take what's given to us and be happy about it. We should always strive for something better.

Sorry for again going off on a tangent. Thank you for taking the time to explain/respond, and thank you for your writing.

P.S. - I think we need a good Tank Top or Naked Lady post this week to make us all feel better. ;)

roussefolle said...

Thanks for all Your great work You doin' missy:D

Anonymous said...

Emma, I think she does. As a lesbian I'm always mystified by how quick and easy anything a bunch of lesbians do that someone doesn't like is immediately regarded as "crazy lesbians", "entitled lesbians", how was it, the Scary Lesbian Blogger Community? You can't speak against remarks like those and THEN use them yourself. It isn't at all possible that After Ellen touched a sore point for some and those people felt the need to tell Dorothy and Heather how they felt, of course not. They're just crazy lesbians, right?

I mean, I hope no one ever uses your status as a lesbian woman to brush your concerns like they mean nothing. And specially because these concerns were just about a TV show it feels kinda low HH said something like that. Like, it NEVER crossed her mind to consider that maybe they just disagreed with her approach. She went straight to the insult.

Anonymous said...

That's right, give 'em what for darling! I just love it when you come out fighting!!!

A couple of teeny tiny points, if I may?

AE not mainstream? Darling please, if Viacom isn’t mainstream then what the hell IS mainstream?! :)

As for the subtext minefield; well, I must confess I am something of a schizophrenic (some might venture hypocrite?) on that front. Sometimes I adore it (Myka/HG) while at other times I find it to be... well... delusional drivel contrived in a fit of hormone driven frustration (that, or cold hard bottom line expediency. *Cough* Viacom *cough*???) And yes, I’d gladly give up (almost) all the subtext in China for heaps more *decent* maintext! Regardless, I do think that at times AE leans on the subtext crutch rather too much. Although, things do seem to have improved of late?

Let’s be honest, AE has (more or less) gone downhill since darling Sarah sold up (and out?) and left for greener, more gentile pastures. Even I (hardly the Media or Women’s Studies type) miss Ms Lo’s (and others) beautifully crafted, long and winding pop culture essays. I don’t know... Something just seems to be lacking somehow? Perhaps it’s me? (She says taking off her glasses to check for rose tinted sabotage.) I know others feel the same though. One need only stick ones head ‘round the door of other popular lesbian Internet hang-outs (*Cough* L Chat *Cough* - more of an Internet dive quite frankly, but a *painfully honest* Internet dive!) to find evidence of that. Yes, I still visit AE on a near daily basis but Morning Brew headlines and the occasional article aside, I find myself reading less and less. As for commenting on AE; I gave that up as a bad job yonks ago. I simply couldn’t take any more of the **horrendous** UI!!! (Ms Davis no doubt still misses me terribly? :) )

These days I find myself gravitating more towards nice blogs like this one. And Ms Hallowell’s. Hmmm, does old Atwell have one? If not, she ruddy well should have! :D

However, it was not on a blog that I discovered the joys of Myka/HG and Bomb Girls (yes darling, powder my eggs and throw me in the air raid shelter for I have well and truly succumbed!) No, it was on good old AE.

So THANK YOU AE, Snarks, Atwell and the rest of you. You may, for the moment, count on my hits.


PS "I think we need a good Tank Top or Naked Lady post this week to make us all feel better." You said it sister! :D

PPS Thank you Snarks. No, really, I mean it. Well so long as you meant all that stuff about not fighting? :)

Anonymous said...

Cray Lost Girl Fans: "We will never forgive you for this!"

DS: "Well I hope that's not true."

Me: "Oh no please don't break up omg I need us to stay together!!"

Thanks for not dumping us :)

Anonymous said...

Dorothy Snarker, You have my support!

Love the eloquent snark, don't ever stop.

All the best to you.

Anonymous said...

I think we spent so long fighting battles with people who sought to use our identities against us, we only learned to fight back with language that unpicks that approach; thus we have lesbians unironically accusing HH of being a misogynist in league with Ryan Murphy and the forces of Byson. It's like, you don't know when your sexuality actually isn't relevant to the criticisms people are making of you. The fact that any of us are lesbians has nothing to do with anything. Literally nothing. I mean, if we can't realise that when we're arguing with each other about stuff like this, what the hell hope have we of ever breaching mainstream? Or did that stop being anyones goal? I mean, do we enjoy the sense of persecution? Is that it?

Anonymous said...

DS doesn't owe any apologies.

HH absolutely does though, and I can't believe anybody's trying to defend that comment.

Anonymous said...

You're my favorite blogger because you write with wit, intelligence, and a crazy little thing called balance, which is sometimes absent from the shipper world. Please keep doing what you're doing and please don't go away! Life would be far less hilarious without you!

Many, many kudos to you, my favorite and also kind misanthrope!

thesaturnyear said...

I was not going to be the first one to bring up HH here, but she absolutely owes an apology. Her "entitled lesbian fandom" comment was uncalled for and unprofessional. (And when I pointed out as much on Twitter, she promptly blocked me.) I realize that most of the AE writers are just fans themselves, but as representatives of the site they write for they should have a bit more tact and decorum than the commentors.

Anonymous said...

I've read your article about Doccubus and Copubus (aka Valkubus)and the comments that some -angry- people left. In my opinion, there were no reasons to say such things, it was definitely unfair to you. But now we can't turn back time and explain them the real intention of your article. I think now they wouldn't understand either.

I read your recaps regularly, so let me say that I'm grateful to you for it and also for your contribution to the pop culture through your blog.

Miss Snarker, you're a special, particular person who has the talent to write, to make us laugh, to make us love our fictional characters in more than one way. Please keep writing the same way you've been doing until these angry people came to leave their unpleasant comments.

I should add that you have no need to explain us what you do with your own free (or not free) time, but it was kind from you to let us know that you're a human being like any other and you've got to work, just like us.

Anonymous said...

You are being a fandom of entitled pricks who happen also to be lesbians. I'm sorry, but the word entitled applies here. Explain to me why HH should apologise for stating a fact.

lenageek said...

Hey Dorothy -

I often don't comment here, but I wanted to say that I've always appreciated your time and effort that you put into all your recaps and blogs. You make me laugh as I hold my desk with a white-knuckled grip, my shoulders shaking uncontrollably, or snort water out of my nose! I've read AE for years and it's directly or indirectly lead me to some of the most wonderful shows I've experienced, such as Los Hombres de Paco and now Lost Girl. For that, I'm grateful, especially when I have recaps and a fan community to share my joy with.

That said, I was appalled by some of the comments yesterday. I'm a full fledged lesbian, but also just a fan with a simple mindset when it comes to my TV viewing choices. I watch the shows I watch, appreciate those that make them happen and those that review them like you. If I don't like it, I'll stop. I feel there's no need to write diatribes in the comments trolling every aspect of your blog and the show.

Anyways, keep going with your bad lezzie self, Dorothy! I can't wait to see what you come up with next!

Katie said...

I have always enjoyed your blog but have even more respect for you after this post. It would have been easy to write everyone off as crazy but instead you posted a thoughtful response that makes them look foolish by comparison. The best revenge is always to be better than your opponents and you did that beautifully.

This has nothing to do with this post but somehow seems appropriate here. Your blog, moreso than AE and any other blog I found during my frantic googling as I realized that I was in fact gay, helped me realize that I wasn't alone in my ogling of my favorite characters. That I wasn't the only one that thought some supposedly straight characters seemed a little too cozy. You helped me come to terms with being a nerd and a lesbian and even with coming out when I was older (26). I don't always agree with you, but I don't need to. Keep up the amazing work and thank you so much for being a beacon of hope when I needed it most.

Heather Anne Hogan said...

Comment one of two:

It's bizarre to me the internet has cultivated this idea that commenters or readers or whomever can spread as much vitriol as their consciences and imaginations will allow, but the people to whom they're speaking -- the writers, the bloggers, the "professionals" -- live within a different set of ethical standards. Like, because Snarker and I write for AfterEllen, anyone should be able to say any terrible thing to us, accuse us of all kinds of awfulness, call into question our skill sets, our integrity, our commitment to the LGBTQ cause at large, and that we should not push back against the hate and anger at all. Here's the comment I made yesterday:

"Entitled lesbian fandom outrage at AfterEllen (and at Dorothy Snarker) never ceases to blow my mind."

That's not me lashing out or throwing a fit or saying anything that requires an apology. The comments on yesterday's thread *were* rife with entitlement. The idea that Dorothy Snarker, that AfterEllen, that the Lost Girl actors, that the Lost Girl creative team, that any of them *owe* the lesbian Lost Girl fandom more than they've given them: that's entitlement. That it is the *right* of Doccubus fandom to read the kind of recaps they want to read, the *right* of Doccubus fandom to have answers to the interview questions they want asked, the *right* of Doccubus fandom to see the stories they want to see: that is entitlement. And mixed in with that entitlement was a whole lot of angry conspiracy theorizing and insults that somehow seemed to suggest that Dorothy Snarker, AfterEllen, and I had teamed up *against* the *true* lesbian fans of the show.

Entitled lesbian fandom outage. That's what I called it because that's what was happening in these comments yesterday. It was entitled outrage by lesbian fandom. And yes, it blows my mind. You guys have no idea how much time and energy Snarker puts into the Lost Girl work she does for her personal site and for AfterEllen. No idea. And she does it because she really fucking cares about lesbian and bisexual women, and the way they are represented in modern media. She's been doing it her, on her own website, for free, for YEARS. Even when she's on vacation, even when she's sick, even when she's been beaten the hell down by her day job and her real life responsibilities and the perpetual indignation that is being hurled at her from all corners of the internet, she comes here and she gives, gives, gives, gives. She won't tell you this because she's too modest, but there are *multiple* lesbian and bisexual TV characters on Canadian and American television today that are a *direct* result of her efforts on behalf of lesbian fandom. Like, writers and directors and producers sat in a room and read her stuff out loud and said, "How can we do right by this woman and the community she represents?" And the result is better les/bi visibility than ever before in the history of television.

Heather Anne Hogan said...

Comment two of two:

I met Dorothy Snarker because I was hanging around in a TLW forum dedicated to Bette and Tina. Like back in 2006 or something. And Snarker had written on this very blog for Tibette fans not to get their hopes up about the finale. She'd seen a screener and she knew that Bette was going after Jodi with that tractor and and she didn't want Tibette fans to get their hearts broken again. And in the forum, people were talking about her post, ripping her to shreds, saying she was on Showtime's payroll, saying she was a liar, calling her all kinds of names. And do you know what she did? She went home on her lunch break and she screencapped that tractor scene and she gave it to the Tibette fandom. Not to clear up her name, but because she cared -- really fucking cared -- about them getting their hopes up and their hearts broken. That's the kind of person she is, that is the way she gives and gives and gives, and has been giving forever and ever.

And then this post today. I don't know another writer on the internet -- on the whole entire internet, and I know a hundred writers on the internet -- who would have responded to the comments yesterday like she did today, with such grace and aplomb. Frankly, I don't even know another writer who would have responded to it all.

I know Dorothy Snarker, OK? I love her. And to come to her site and see the kind of outrage that was being directed at her yesterday, to see it coming from the lesbian fandom that she fights her ass of for every day of her life, "entitled" was the nicest thing I could think of to say. I won't apologize for defending my dear friend by telling the truth about the anger and the entitlement and the bewildering nature of it. I love lesbian and bisexual pop culture. I love writing about it. I love making a difference. And I love sharing the huge awesomeness of it with Snarker. What I'm sorry for is that the backlash of my comment has hijacked the conversation on what is a thorough, articulate, heartfelt post by lesbian fandom's very best advocate.

R said...

::another slow clap, this time for HH::

Anonymous said...

Dorothy will not surrender. amen:)

Anonymous said...

To Dorothy and all the writers at AE THANK YOU. THANK YOU for all your hard work and the wonderful way you bring the world, real or imagined, to us thru your words. To all the naysays I say, fck’em feed em beans.

Anonymous said...

HH, that was so well put. I appreciate such talented and thoughtful women such as you and Ms. Snarker. And it is so nice to see you sticking up for each other. Thank you for all that you do, both of you.

Anonymous said...

Just want to had my voice to all the others. I've been reading your blog for years. I just love what you do, please don't change.

Anonymous said...

DS you are awesome Thank you for taking the time out of your busy life to entertain and enlighten your readers. I look toward to your blog daily because not only are you incredibly funny -you are sincere and honest. Anyhow thanks to you I'm now watching lost girl season 3. Sure I'm having a little difficulty following the back story but then I remind myself- its a show, a tv show with a premise that comes off as the plot of N adult movie- and because it is a show- we're all entitle to dream, create ans scheme all we want for the characters. Anyhow- wanted to let you know you look really pretty today

Anonymous said...

HH, the fact that you're still choosing to hang the frustration in the comments section yesterday around Dorothy Snarker, or even those two particular characters, or even that particular show, just illustrates how much you don't get what people are trying to tell you.

That was not a fandom thing, the fact that it blew up around that particular cluster of variables when it did was a matter of bad luck and bad timing. The stuff people were trying to vent about goes way beyond AE's treatment of that one show. At least Dorothy Snarker was canny enough to recognize that and decent enough to address it honestly to some extent.

Anonymous said...

From reading through all of this, it looks like the crazy reactionary commentators are mostly the same one or two people? Is it much ado about next to nothing from the near nothing percent who just yell the loudest?

And you go HH/DS coco

Anonymous said...

I’ve enjoyed reading Ms Snarker’s blog for the last three years, but I have never posted a comment before. I have to start by saying that this site is where I first discovered Lost Girl, for which I will always be grateful. Also, as a writer, I fully appreciate all the effort DS puts into her recaps and posts, both here and on AE. I was appalled at the tone of some of the comments left here yesterday – but I have to point out that people on both sides of the issue were rude at times, so let’s not pretend that Doccubus fans were the only ones doing the name calling. It’s a shame that the emotions of the moment seem to have clouded many of the valid, thoughtful points (and, yes, criticisms) that were made.

Here’s the sticking point for me: I take umbrage at the notion that the Doccubus fandom is “entitled” or “cray” simply because some of us voiced frustration with the idea (whether joking or not) of jumping onto a crackship when we’ve got a perfectly great, perfectly real ship right in front of us. I’m not going to go into all the reasons why this struck a nerve with some Doccubus fans because others did so quite succinctly in their comments on yesterday’s blog, many of which have been ignored or lumped together with the far less civilised responses.

Needless to say, DS unwittingly stepped into a minefield, and unfortunately she ended up being the target of a lot of frustration toward AE that has been building for some time, and not just within the Doccubus fandom. I am grateful that she offered such a thoughtful response to it all today; however, I feel that the larger point has been missed, particularly by Heather Hogan. This was never about Doccubus fans demanding to “read the kind of recaps they want to read,” nor was it about us blindly thinking that Bo and Lauren must live happily ever after forever and ever. That would be silly, and I think most people understand that Doccubus is in for all kinds of drama for however long this little-series-that-could stays on the air. No, even though it started as an innocuous joke about a crackship, this whole discussion was ultimately about the way we are represented in the media and AE’s influence (and, yes, responsibilities) as the most prominent lesbian pop culture site out there.

HH pointed out that AE doesn’t “owe” us anything, and that’s certainly true. Ryan Murphy also doesn’t “owe” us thoughtful, equal LGBT representation on his shows, but that doesn't stop Brittana fans from asking for it. And I for one would like to believe that AE holds itself to a higher standard than Ryan Murphy. After all, isn’t the whole point, the thing that DS has repeated over and over on this very blog, that we should demand more from the media? Better stories, more visibility, stronger representation? And isn’t AE a part of that very same media? To dismiss criticisms from members of your audience, to call us “entitled” because we dared to demand more, goes against everything that I thought AE was supposed to stand for.

Ultimately, I know this post isn’t likely to change any hearts and minds, but I am grateful to DS for providing a space for us to express our opinions, even when things get ugly.

Anonymous said...

Oh honey, just do your thing. People who get upset with you or any other writer on AE need to calm the hell down. You and Heather are both fantastic and just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean they have the right to attack. Have your own opinion and keep on writing! And thanks for your hours and hours of free entertainment that you give us, by the way. I, for one, appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

The upshot of this post is that I feel much, much better about Dorothy Snarker and much, much worse about Heather Hogan.

Please stop digging, by now as many or more of the complaints are about your awful responses rather than the original topic.

thesaturnyear said...

Brava to the 5:07pm & 6:32pm anons. They've expressed much more succinctly and eloquently the point I've tried to make in a couple of my comments. AfterEllen is all about demanding better from our media - well, AfterEllen is a part of that media. Readers asking for something better, or even just something different, from AE (as a media outlet) does not make them "entitled." It makes them active participants in their own representation.

I'm also going to say one last thing about professionalism and then I'll drop this.

HH, you said, "It's bizarre to me the internet has cultivated this idea that commenters or readers or whomever can spread as much vitriol as their consciences and imaginations will allow, but the people to whom they're speaking -- the writers, the bloggers, the "professionals" -- live within a different set of ethical standards."

The writers, as representatives of the site for which they write, should be held to a higher standard of behavior than the commenters (or consumers). What you did is equivalent to me, as an employee and therefore representative of my company, replying in a negative fashion to comments made by customers on my company's FB page. (I'd be fired if I did that, by the way.) It sucks to have to take shit from a bunch of anonymous people on the internet sometimes, but that's life.

Mahlers5th said...

Thank you. Hope others take the time to digest what you've said here.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dorothy,
I've been a fan of yours and a loyal reader for a long time. Please don't change your writing style or lose your voice because a slim minority of people can't grasp the intrinsic hotness of Copubus while remaining steadfast with the Doccubus nation. Their loss, not yours.

Keep on shipping on!

Anonymous said...

I love when people act like jerks, get called out on acting like jerks, realise they were being jerks but then decide what they were really mad about was how someone called them out on being a jerk, they should totally apologise OMG.

This is called "moving the goalposts" and it's a sign of weak character.

Anonymous said...

Count me as one who has never left a comment before (Bad! Bad reader!!) But I've been reading Snarker for years. I've continued to read her blog because of the always intelligent, often thought-provoking, funny, funny posts. (And the Tank Top Tuesdays, but I digress...)

I read Snarker, but I don't read the comments. I don't read anything on AfterEllen except the recaps of the shows that I'm interested in. Why? Because I can't take the drama. One person will make a comment that someone else takes exception to, another person piles on that comment, someone else objects to THAT comment and all of a sudden it's WWI where all the countries with their complex criss-crossing treaties pick sides - oftentimes NOT in nice language.

That being said, yesterday I broke my self-imposed rule about reading comments. And Snarker got caught in the cross-fire, on her personal blog, by people who have a beef with AE and how it's run. A fact which was acknowledged by people but didn't seem to stop them. And I don't think I see a single apology in today's comments from anyone who left a not-nice comment yesterday. Which makes the calls for an HH apology interesting to me.

"Entitled lesbian fandom outrage". Well, people were outraged. Most of them, I assume, were lesbians. They are fans of "Lost Girl". So the sticking point would seem to be "entitled". I have to say to the people that are saying "we're *asking* for something, we're not *demanding*" - well YOU might be asking, but others certainly were not! And, yes, some of it did come across as "we're the fans, we made your show (or site) and you must give us what we want!" Well... no. They don't. They don't have to give you what you want. They have to do what is right for the show/site in *their* eyes. You don't get a vote. It's not a democracy. You get what they give you, for better or for worse. If you don't like it, you can stop watching, stop clicking on the site. You can *advocate* for what you want - write emails, write blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube - whatever floats your boat. But they don't have to listen to you. And if you yell at them, you will, probably, be dismissed out of hand.

I can see the points that are trying to be made, but if you're going to scream at me, you're going to lose me. And I'm not invoking the "angry lesbian" stereotype. I don't appreciate ANYONE yelling at me! And I imagine that the people at AE or show-runners for that matter, might react the same way. If you're not going to speak respectfully, I don't have to listen to you.

Roz Turner said...

So glad you've commented on this Ms Snarker - the torrent of ridiculous comments you've received over fictional characters of late is totally stupid.

I love Lost Girl. I love Doccubus. But hey, I also love Tamsin's character too. I don't really care who Bo is with, necessarily, so long as the writers and showrunners stay true to her character, presenting bisexuality in a positive and realistic light (which is why season 3 so far is a million, trillion times better than season 2!).

All this bitching and moaning from bloody shipaholics is very, very silly and highly immature. I really don't buy this 'Christian fundamentalist trying to skew the internets OMG!!!11' bullshit either, utter nonsense.

Keep doing what you're doing Snarks. You'll always have at least one person reading and laughing along from London. Sod the others.

Mica said...

Why is it so hard to get?
It kind of snowballed from DS orginal tweet but there are basically are 3 main factors to this mess.

First off, there never was a shipper war. That is the starting problem of all of this. You counted the comments but others looked at the actual amount of users and the content. At the time of your tweet It was approximately 10 (yes just around ten) people who had been discussing it in a more serious context. I.e. if they wanted the ship or why they didn't want it, and then about 6 that thought it would make for a hot hook up for feeding or the like. Approximately 16 people talking overall pretty camly is not a shipper war. Especially if about 5ish of the total are merely stating oh I prefer Doccubus or Tamsin/Bo because XY joined with some OMG that would be hot posts from others.

People grossly mislabeled all of this as shipper wars are NASTY. There wasn't even a death treath or name calling, which tends to serve as warm up for real shipper wars. So it seems a bit like you were trying to instigate some actual nasty in fighting in the fandom with your tweet etc. to get some easy clicks on AE. And it did start to stir up stuff because all of the sudden people thought there was a shipper war and started weighing in with their 2 cent. This is where some people started to take issue. Your article after the recap did not make things come across better, since (to me) it was almost like hey you help fan the flames (unintentionally or not) and now you stand back and get a bit judgy on people. I don't think you are that type of person, but it was one more side-eye worthy action. I think that lead to more people feeling a bit ruffled over your actions and hence the comment section.

Dorothy I do think some of this has taking a life on it's own that is unrelated to anything you did, and more related to issues many have had (and still have) with the turn AE has taken. That brings us to the second issue.

Some fans have been disapointed over the coverage of Lost Girl. I think some fans expected AE to try to push it harder. Personally I have gotten the feeling from some comments by AE Staff that it is almost grudgingly that Lost Girl gets coverage past a blurb on the site. That really bugs, because shouldn't Lost Girl be the type of show AE should be allllll over? Instead of subtext shows (yes this old argument) with writers/cast members/showrunners that talk shit to its LGBT* audience? You have addressed this now, but I do believe that was one of the main issues in all of this.

Third issue that ties together with the second is AE extensive cover of shows like Glee and to a lesser degree R&I. You already addressed the reasons for this in this new post, but surely you can at least understand the frustration from some? That shows that actually more often than not, does us a huge disservice seems to get much more enthuasiams and coverage?

And I think that is just about it. Besides the James factor who was all over this mess in various places, and several people involved played right into his hands. James being the super creepy homophobic Dybo likely-to-physically-assault-ZP-in-real-life-if-they-ever-meet guy. I been in various fandoms for over 10 years and he is by far the scariest I have ever come across. Like he is not just a member of Crazy Town, he is the fucking MAYOR.

Anyway yeah just my sum up of what I think caused to this go as it did since going by the comment section there are people with a superiority complex going "oh you silly sensitive shippers being big ol' mean cranky lesbians hahahahaha" that don't actually know what caused people to be upset. Like this kind of thing happens for just out of thin air for no reason what so ever. Just no. Many in this conflict even outright stated they liked DS and/or their issue was mainly with the turn of AE. So those posts are just pointless and serves as flame bait.

PS: ESL with no spell check (wordPad FTW) so please ignore any English errors.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to put in my two cents:
I'm from Spain,I'm from the south of Spain, I'm from a little village from the south of Spain. I live there with only three others known lesbians and I've only meet one of them. I've learned English reading the different forums of mostly Xena and Buffy pairings. Then I discovered AE and through the site I discovered DS and HH, and I got to say that I found the two of you absolutely awesome and I love how you both use words and what you love I become drawn to because on how you present it.
All that to say that I can't understand in any way how one comment about two hot girls kissing can make lesbians mad and, in my opinion, say really hurtful things and do so in the name of visibility.
Maybe I'm too naive, but I can't be nothing but grateful to all three for making me feel like I belong in something for the first time after 44 years of life.
This is my first comment ever in any forum, I've enjoyed everything being a lurker, and now I'll retreat again in my world, but I thought that I owed Ds,HH and AE my most thruthfully thanks.
(Sorry for the mistakes)

Anonymous said...

Very noble and dramatic of you Heather Hogan, but personally you've lost in me a follower and admirer, Dorothy hasn't. In my opinion, she never was to blame on the first place, and even if she was, it's all forgiven because you rightfully took the spotlight to yourself with your entitled lesbian comment.

You don't think you need to apologize? fine. Don't think that makes you feel better. It just makes you sound arrogant and unable to recognize your faults, which from my perspective isn't something to be proud of.

Have a nice lesbian day.

aimatron said...

Oh my goodness. I don't really understand what on earth the problem is here. DS - love the blog and all you do. Some of your posts don't interest me, I don't always agree. But you know what, that's fine by me, we're different people and you can say what you want.

HH, I personally think you're absolutely right. This whole argument smacks of entitlement and as a lesbian, I'm embarrassed by the whole thing.

Group hug, y'all. Peace.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, I hope you're not trying to suggest that you brought Lost Girl to AfterEllen. Because they may have removed the early recaps from someone else they used for free back in 2010, but it still happened.

Franzi said...

I decided that after this blog entry you deserved a comment that tells you just how grateful I am to you for all the time you devote to write this wonderful blog day after day. I think you are brilliant and I wouldn't dare to judge you. Everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and feelings and who am I to tell you that the reactions you have to a scene on a tv-show are not only completely wrong and insulting but are also disruptive to an entire fandom?! For lack of a better expression: WTF!
I really wanted to read through all those comments so that I'd be able to say I'm well informed about this issue and qualified to add my two cents in but that's simply impossible. It's just too much and I don't have the time to sort through all of them. Because being informed is important if I want my criticism to be based on facts so that it can be used for improvement in return. I happen to think that the majority of people who left a comment didn't do their homework well enough.
From what I've read I get the feeling that your blog was just used as a platform where some people could vent their anger. It's not fair to you but sometimes things happen that are simply not fair. It's life and you just have to deal with it. You don't deserve this but I'm sure that you're going to be stronger for it.
I think you are exceptional and fantastic and incredibly funny. But most importantly: you are so very smart! It's always a pleasure to read one of your articles. And darn! You can kick ass, girl! xD


Suzy said...

It's easy to talk shit when you are anonymous.

Please Ms Snarker pay no heed these petty idiots. People who have nothing better to do than sit at home probably in their parents basements and spew vileness and hatred. You can never please all of the people all of the time but you will never please these people any of the time. The problem is some people will never be happy!

These are the same kind of dicks who constantly pick up on spelling and grammar. They have nothing better to do than piss people off.

You brighten my week with your thoughtful and insightful writings. Everytime you put pen to paper so to speak it is done with honesty, integrity and soul. Your work is always well thought out, considered and never knee jerk. It's funny, insightful I love it!

If folk don't like what you write then they should just not read it!!

Dorothy Snarker You Rock!! Please don't forget it!

If you and Heather ever want to Assemble like the Avengers and kick some idiot ass then I'm sure there are plenty that will stand along with you. You can count me in!!

Anonymous said...

I think you're awesome, always funny and witty and genuine and warm. The only personal blog I visit on a daily basis. And you introduced me to the infamous Lost Girl for which I will be forever grateful! You rock Dorothy!

Selenyx said...

I am always in awe at how graceful you manage to address negative comments. Do your thing, ship whoever we want, I would read your blog even if you weren't a Whedon fan either. Just because you're awesome ;-)

Anonymous said...

I have followed this blog on a daily basis for years, but I haven't commented before. The latest vitriol and rudeness directed at DS compels me to state my support for her, this blog and her contributions to AE.

I had a hard time coming to grips with the fact that I am a ladyloving lady and didn't come out until my late twenties to friends and family. For many years DS' blog and AE made me feel less alone and that there was a community out there of people like me. Fot that I will be eternallly grateful. It was also because of DS that I discovered Lost Girl (and so many other good things) and for that I'm equally grateful.

I really hope you are able to shrug off all the negativity and keep on writing for the benefit of people like me who are searching for a voice and a community that is hard or next to impossible to come by in real life. You are doing great work here, and I'm very happy to see that I'm not the only one who thinks so!

Big Shamu said...

I have never felt so old as I have reading these comments and trying to understand the vitriol concerning fictional characters on marginal television shows.

Anonymous said...

You are not perfect and some of the stuff you post is idiotic but most of it is pretty great including the lost girl stuff. I personally do not have time to write long diatribes to you about how wrong you are and nor do I want to. To those who have all that time and misplaced anger I hope they get laid soon.

maya said...

At this point, I don't think this comment will make much of an impact to the ongoing discourse, but for my own soul I just wanted to apologize for my own negative comment to the previous post. It's my general practice not to engage in negative interactions on the internets, but I was so dumbfounded and aghast by some of the comments that I reacted hastily without taking the requisite night to sleep on it. (Ms. Snarker is always a good role model for me in this department.)It's so sad to me how mean people can be to each other. I don't know Dorothy Snarker, and yet I feel protective of her and this space because I identify so much with the thoughts and feelings she expresses here. So, ridiculously, I take the criticism personally. It's so sad to me how mean people can be to each other. Just be nice, okay?

Heather said...


Anonymous said...

Some members of the Lost Girl lesbian fandom need to have more respect. Period.

I am a bisexual (maybe lesbian, maybe pansexual, super kinky, labels are confusing!) woman who shipped Dyson/Bo for 2 seasons (GASP, I know! Traitor! Judas! Burn the witch!). Season 3 is bringing me around to the idea of Doccubus but it's not my OTP.

Does that mean I deserve to be called a "Dybot" ?implying that I'm some sort of robot for liking Dyson/Bo... that's just mean, and rude to bisexual fans who ship Dyson/Bo. Which is maybe just me, but I EXIST.

And I completely realize that no one's really talking about Bo/Tamsin or Doccubus anymore, but I had nowhere else to rant about this.

Keep doing your do Ms. Snarker. I don't agree with everything you say, but you give me boobs o'clock, and for that, I'm forever grateful :)

Anonymous said...

I regularly read 5 sites devoted to talking about lesbians in popular media. Many days it seems like writers are searching for scraps, and grasping at anything that seems lesbian enough to generate a post. Some days it's laughable, other days it's downright pathetic. Most days it's just *shrug*.

Then there are those days that gleam and shine because, finally, finally, there are genuine lesbian characters doing genuinely gay, sexy things. That's the root of the fire and vitriol, if you ask me. Some of us are so desperate for meaningful, ongoing representation, and not drive-by publicity stunts, that it's like these gems we find are balancing on a razor thin wire. Any wind will knock them to their deaths.

Lesbians may be at fault for being too quick to offer TV relationships their loyalty, and too anxious to dig in deep. In that context, it's not personal to the great, awesome, patient (and equally obsessed) bloggers who write about the stuff; it's like some kind of autonomic threat response. This precious, rare lesbian portrayal has come under attack, it is swaying on the wire, and all attackers must die!

I don't like to see lesbians sniping at one another like dogs in the manger, or whatever, but we haven't evolved to that phase in popular media where we can feel safely, solidly represented. We're still anxious over all these fragile, delicate shoots of life we see. It's dissapointing and disheartening to so often be on the brink of being invisible. Maybe it's some kind of PTSD. But people, think before you speak. We don't need to tear down one another because The Man isn't giving us what we need.

Anonymous said...

Well said!! Bravo!!! :-)

Anonymous said...

The vitriol you have to deal with sometimes ... reminds me of the time I mentioned that I mentioned that I don't like Brittana and immediately there was an army of angry people stomping after me online because HOW DARE I DON'T LIKE BRITTANA WHEN I'M A LESBIAN!!!!! REPRESENTATION!!!! SISTERHOOD!!!! HOW DARE I!!!! THE DOWNFALL OF LGBT RIGHTS IS ON MY SHOULDERS AND ON MY SHOULDERS ALONE!!!!

I think every once in a while people should take a step back from their computers and go out for some fresh air. (Maybe there should be a built-in feature in every computer for that.) Not everyone has to like something that the masses like. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

Sally said...

You are awesome. People with strong opinions will vent them on the internet, because that's what they do, but please know that I and my family and my small tender little lesbian heart loves AE and loves you and all that you do to comment on, interpret, and opine on lesbian culture and subculture. Heck, I started watching Lost Girl because of your dorothysurrenders posts about them, and the one that made me to to it? Docubus vs. Copubus. LOVE the show and now it has a million and one viewers.

Anonymous said...

The moment some anon starts saying things like AE and/or AE writers should be held to a higher standard... Well, that sounds kind of entitle-y. Or something. Never surrender, ladies! Xo Cgrrl

RH said...

I'm a regular reader of your blog and AE as well. I still don't get it how a seemingly innocuous joke about a beloved tv couple (which I love and yes, I voted for them on E!) can turn into an endless amount of bile. I do understand however some of their complaints, but whatever happened to respect and social decorum? Can't we engage in debates and conversations to get our points across without getting anyone hurt or humiliated? Sigh. I'm glad it's over now and I've noticed that you and AE has somehow listened to what they're saying. Thank you for the new/added coverage of Lost Girl on AE. I truly appreciate it. And thank you for introducing me to Lost Girl. Please keep up the funny recaps and blog posts on anything and everything about Lost Girl. :-)

One last thing, please please please do an interview of the lovely Rachel Skarsten. I'd like to know more about her and her thoughts on the Lost Girl fandom, especially the lesbian fans. It was a joy to read your interview with Zoie Palmer (I'm a fan of hers) back in 2011 and I thought you should do this one, too. For Science. For Humanity. For World Peace.

Anonymous said...

Fucking shippers - get a life.

Enjoy your stuff DS but loathe AE with a passion. Panders to the lowest denominator (ships!)& a shadow of what it once was.

Steer clear of the shippers & you'll be alright.

Anonymous said...

Amazing and well put rebuttal. You did not deserve those negative comments. You are a funny, thoughtful and talented writer who happens to be a great person as well.