Tag Archives: they don’t sparkle ok

yeah, I’m on vacation

All I really want to do is recommend you some vids, because, yo, I’m obviously not doing anything constructive on vacation, but perhaps this post should have some content. Or maybe not. At least, it’ll have some links.

– I love Dinosaur Comics. So, naturally, I also love fanstrips that address the Serious Issues of cultural appropriation and racism in dance moves. I think this may be a call to action, action in this case being a slumber party with Save the Last Dance, lots of alcohol, and critical analysis. Or maybe just some Bring It On.

– Apparently there are no good fanvids for Golden Girls. Well, I don’t believe that. None that I can find easily. This is frustrating.

– I actually recommended a fic to someone the other day with the endorsement, “It references Stanley Fish!”

– My church’s book club is reading Small Gods for January and Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bible! for February. Previously on Olga’s Church’s Book Club: Cat’s Cradle and The Poisonwood Bible. I am pleased. (I have not yet read Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bible!, and I keep getting it confused with Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains!, which I am fairly sure is not the same.)


Okay, done with content now! Vid recs, absurdist edition!

– As I said to my friend Mer, who is the target audience for this fic, “Christian Bale + Zefron = NO = yay!” “Bet on It” meets Newsies for a ludicrous Disneygasm.

– There is no way that the execution of “Harry Potter meets Snakes on a Plane” could ever have topped the concept, but my, does Dualbunny’s vid give it a run for its money. I have at best a tepid tolerance for the first four Harry Potter films, and neutral feelings about HP vidding, but this vid won me over.

– I have feelings about the first Twilight movie, feelings which mostly boil down to, “I am so glad that my friend Dallas bought this for me, because I would never have paid money for it, but it is the best excuse for drinking games ever.” (Sidenote: despite what the content of this post, and possibly the content of this blog, may suggest, I have never played a drinking game.) However, this vid has made me see that, deep inside this… this… I’m trying to find a synonym for “black hole” that doesn’t have disturbingly yoni-like connotations — this abominable snowman of a movie, there is actually a pretty hilarious film. From Cappy, “All Apologies”. Ah, Nirvana and Edward… a match made in heaven. I cried happy emo tears.


Next time on the blog: actual content, as opposed to a mashup of links I keep emailing my poor innocent best friend in France & my Twitter feed.

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come with us now, if you will, gentle readers

So, I mention occasionally in this blog (and a lot more, in meatspace) that I spend a lot of time in Buffy fandom. Sometimes, this is greeted with “how totally cool, please link me up to your hot Spike/Buffy fanfic,” but more often, with bemused tolerance, and occasionally, rolled eyes. I actually suspect that more eyerolling goes on behind my back, but, you know, that’s ok. The point of this post is not the true love of Spike and Buffy (or Kirk and Spock, or Harry and Draco…). Rather, it’s transformative works. Although fanfiction is more what I do (since 1999, yo), this post largely focuses on vidding because it has a very interesting history and I think it’s more accessible to the outlander, if you will.

What is a transformative work? Well, I will give you the definition that the Organization for Transformative Works has in its FAQ, which I think is an excellent one:

A transformative work takes something extant and turns it into something with a new purpose, sensibility, or mode of expression.
Transformative works include but are not limited to fanfiction, real person fiction, fan vids, and fan art. The OTW is interested in all kinds of transformative works, but our priority will be to support and defend the types of works hosted in our archive, and the fans who create them. […]
The term transformative was specifically chosen to highlight in the nonprofit organization’s name one of the key legal defenses for fanworks of all kinds (including real person fiction): that they are transformative of original source materials.
A transformative use is one that, in the words of the U.S. Supreme Court, “adds something new, with a further purpose or different character, altering the source with new expression, meaning, or message.” A story from Voldemort’s perspective is transformative, so is a story about a pop star that illustrates something about current attitudes toward celebrity or sexuality.

andrew in buffy 7x16 storyteller

So, my gentle readers, you may be going, “why do I care about this” and/or “is this remotely related to feminism” and/or “is this remotely related to life,” but trust me, I am going somewhere with this.

Did you know that the 90% of fic writers publishing in Star Trek zines in 1973 were female? Star Trek is considered the foundation of contemporary fandom, and also the origin of vidding culture. In the early 1980s, female vidding collectives sprung up to meet the needs of early vid makers. Collaborative effort was necessary due to the time-intensive and cost-prohibitive nature of vidding in the early days of the VCR.

Check out “Women, Star Trek, and the early development of fannish vidding” by Francesca Coppa.

It’s not just Star Trek. Fan culture at large is not disproportionately female. But the culture surrounding fanworks, and the creators of fan works, has historically been female-driven and women-populated. (I am aware that this is not always the case these days – anime vidding fandoms? Might be dude heavy? But my point stands.) There’s even a TV Tropes page, because we all know that TV Tropes is the true arbiter of truths on the internet: Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls.

Why do women create fan works? Back to all that “transformative works” stuff. Women are challenging, editing, and changing popular culture because we’re not satisfied with it. Fanfiction and vidding are both fertile grounds for textual de- and re-construction, and for expressions of female desire. They’re also both powerful mediums for feminist critique. As someone who literally grew up in fandom (I started reading and writing Daria fanfiction when I was 12 – yes, I’m a little embarrassed), the strong, nurturing, and largely female community I found in fandom has been a huge part of my life. I met my best friend through fandom in 2001 – through her, I discovered and decided to attend [that place where I went to undergrad]. Every time I go to a new city, there’s someone I know and want to meet up with there. Nimbus 2003 was the summer before my junior year of high school. (And here I am Nimbus. Yeah… no explanations for that one.)

So, transformative works? Important.

If you are curious about vidding as feminist critique, here are a few vids you might check out:
She Walks by jmtorres (Dollhouse). Meta on rape culture; I just linked to it in my previous post.
Bachelorette by obsessive24 (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Patriarchy in the Buffyverse. This video also showcases the epic racefail that is Joss Whedon, so forewarned is forearmed.
Origin Stories by giandujakiss (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). “It’s Nikki Wood’s fucking coat.” Criticism of the series’ handling of Spike and related epic racefail.

…the title links the vid to Donna Haraway’s feminist, antiracist critique of Western civilization’s origin stories in Simians, Cyborgs, and Women, much of which is based on a close reading of Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis trilogy; because superheroes have origin stories,and Slayers are superheroes, and so is Robin Wood; because the plural in the title makes you think, “Whose origin? Whose story?”; because there isn’t just one story, ever. Because I wanted to say, “Pay attention to whose stories don’t get told.”

ETA: Piece of Me by obsessive24 (Britney Spears) is a great example of a vid about celebrity culture working with non-narrative footage. obsessive24 is one of my favorite vidders, and her work is generally excellent – this is no exception. 🙂

book recs & link round-up

Last night’s party was awesome! If you weren’t there, we totally missed you. It was good times.

Two books I heartily recommend:
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks – Do you like smart girls? Do you like the panopticon? Do you like subverting the dominant paradigm? In YA fiction? Then… this book is for you. There aren’t even any vampires.
The Magicians – I just really want someone to read this book so they can discuss it with me! A strange blend of Harry Potter, Less than Zero, & The Secret History.

LINKS (the part you all care about)
great post by my friend Flourish about Twilight.

But when we do that, we’re aligning ourselves with the patriarchy. Do you think that patriarchy is only about presenting women with images of sexy Edward who stalks you (but it’s okay, because he loves you)? No, that’s not the only thing patriarchy is about. Patriarchy is also about saying that what women like is not appropriate. Boys read boys’ books, and girls read boys’ books. Girls get to cook and clean and be doctors and lawyers, but boys only get to be doctors and lawyers. Girls are shamed for their desires, girls are told they aren’t allowed to have desires.

16 of 19 social networking sites have a more female than male users.

– (ok, this is just cool) The Jayne Austen Book & Gun Club: Pride & Extreme Prejudice. I’m not a Firefly fan, but this made me laugh. A lot. So I offer it to you.

Dollhouse, Joss Whedon, and the Strange and Difficult Path of Feminist Dudes: Some Thoughts. As someone who (a) loves Buffy and (b) only managed to get three episodes into Dollhouse, I’m really intrigued by this writer’s perspective. It may persuade me to give Dollhouse a second chance. But maybe not. (You should totally watch the linked vid, btw.)

– Another great post about Twilight from Tiger Beatdown. It’s my new favorite blog, btw.

of colds, romantic aspirations, sci-fi heroines, and DARK WILLOW

(Remember how I was like, I’m totally not going to talk about Buffy in this blog? That was a lie. But there is way less Buffy here than in my other blog, so there!)

My brain was totally on vacation last night, so I’m going to try to read the articles for today again before class. Colds are so annoying. Also, soy milk with Hershey’s Special Dark syrup? Cannot compare to the same with whole milk, but I am off the dairy sauce until I stop being so mucousy. For someone who loves dairy, this is akin to torture. MIIIIIILK. I could be in one of those ads.

Due to recent singleness, I have recently been pondering whether or not I should look for the qualities I think I want in a partner or embrace them for myself. I could be a butch, leather-wearing, motorcycle-riding Ph.D. candidate! Unfortunately, when I shared this with friends, they giggled and said, “Sorry, Olga. You are way too lipstick.”

That wasn’t even my problem with this plan. How I am going to ride a motorcycle if I don’t even drive a car?

I guess that’s going on the backburner.

Admittedly, as I expressed to my friend Rebecca, I’m pretty sure that my checklist is an improbable conflation of patriarchy blamin’, cradle Anglican, and Spike. Still, I’ll keep looking. There must be one out there. Maybe even one with a sexy accent. Who knows all the words to the secret handshake Easter hymn that I don’t even know all the words to.

I wrote an essay a while back, for a book collecting contest, about women in science fiction. I should probably track that down and post it, because it’s, uh, a HIGHLY AWESOME list.

In conclusion: I spent way too much time looking at Dark Willow fanvids last night in an effort to explain to my ex-boyfriend why Dark Willow is so much more badass than regular Willow, even if she is all veiny. (Although, problematic trope at in play here (see: Evil Magical Lesbian), which, while I think worked on the show – the show is in the context of real life, Joss! And real prejudice! Jeez.) Anyway, seriously, why are all of these fanvids SO BAD? Sigh. I guess I know what I’ll be doing once I get the hang of Adobe Premiere Pro (my project for the December intersession). Remember how I keep talking about conferences? VividCon is right here in Chicago in August and I am totally going to go. I am SO SAD that I missed the Bechdel test show this year!

stuff I actually read as opposed to ignoring vehemently

stuff I actually read on a regular basis because it brings joy and gladness to my heart (or at least, warms it with the purifying fire of snark):
smart bitches, trashy books: not only an awesome blog about romance novels, also great to follow if you’re interested in developments in ebooks/digital publishing. ( During the lull in my fandom life, I devoured every vampire romance novel I could get my hands on. Lesson learned: you can actually get burned out on vampire romance novels. Also, vampire mind control ain’t no excuse for dubious consent. Bitch, please.)
I Blame The Patriarchy – Jill is a friend of a friend of a friend and used to write for the Riverfront Times in STL. I often disagree with her, but I love her posts. She is so cranky. I am cranky, too. Anything that has the disclaimer “intended for advanced patriarchy-blamers” is all right by me.
On The Table: sermons from Christ Church Cathedral, St. Louis. Mike, the current provost, was my chaplain the first semester I was at college, and is the reason I am a member of the Episcopal Church. His sermons, especially, are great. But everyone is great! My love for the Diocese of Missouri knows no bounds. I miss y’all.
Imperfectly Vertical: a criminal defense attorney and writer blogs about life in New Orleans.

I was also reading a blog which documented the HORRIBLE HORRIBLE urban blight in North St. Louis, but it was too depressing and I had to stop. (WHO THE FUCK STEALS BRICKS??? I AM NEVER GOING TO UNDERSTAND THIS.) Every time it updated, I wanted to (a) cry and (b) move back to St. Louis and kick some ass. I am kicking ass for you from afar, my adopted home city!

If you are going, my, Olga, that is not many blogs, you are forgetting my other internet life full of the true, true passion of Spike and Buffy. And also Kanye West memes.

Now I will return to my current Saturday night pastime, eminently suitable to a recently-single young lady in her twenties: hemming my BEST VINTAGE FIND EVER and listening to iTunes on shuffle. (Oh, Laura Ashley dress, you have been waiting since 1993 for me to find you, behold your true beauty, and chop a foot and a half off your skirt!)

Edit: oops. Apparently I’m going for a Slutsgiving 1993 look. I think that adding some lace to the hem might help. And really opaque tights.

conferences (I promise the vampires are academically relevant)

Successful day at the library today! Man, I whine about the library a lot, but they have a ton of awesome new books on disability theory/PWD/women & disability. Today’s AWESOME find (while checking in books): Digital Disability: The Social Construction of Disability in New Media! Not only is this freakin’ awesome, it’s also perfect for a paper that I’m writing. Other library loot: Gilead (it’s been rec’d to me by about a billion people; I keep confusing it with The Handmaid’s Tale), Creating Mental Illness (right up my alley!), and What Would Buffy Do? The Vampire Slayer as Spiritual Guide (I am morbidly curious, in addition to being mildly appalled).

I’m a tiny bit stressed because, in addition to finishing my final project/papers for my two classes, I also need to whip up two abstracts for Slayage (OMG I AM SO EXCITED) and 11th Annual Graduate Symposium on Womens and Gender History. The papers are due on 11/18 & 11/21; the cfp deadlines are, respectively, 12/1 and 11/15. On the bright side, I am pretty sure that I know all about what I want to submit for the latter conference (19th c. narratives of mental health stuff). For Slayage, I have some ideas, but there is SO MUCH literature reviewing I have to do. Thank goodness for Thanksgiving weekend, no pun intended!

(Also, my fellow graduate students? You should totally be submitting abstracts to the Graduate Symposium, too! It’s at UIUC, so not too far away. We could carpool. If you have a car.)

I really want to go to WisCon, but I have a feeling that WisCon is just not in the cards this year because it’s so close to Slayage. WisCon is every year and Slayage is not, so I know where my priorities lie. :/

Also, if it is not totally obvious? Olga == nerdcore.

I will conclude this post with a link to Kate Beaton, whom I adore, and you will, too: DUDE WATCHIN’ WITH THE BRONTES.

it’s british slang day

I am totally chuffed by how many books we have about feminism and disability/women and disability in the library. I was surprised when I went to grab one (The Rejected Body by Susan Wendell) this afternoon. I’m working on my final project (syllabus for a graduate level course on theorizing the body) already because I have to do so much research and reading; I don’t know all the areas I’m covering. Which is good! But man, I miss Wash U’s library and MOBIUS right now.

It was also nice that I lived close enough for me to roll a suitcase over to return books at the end of the semester without taking any stairs.

Things I am NOT chuffed at:
– all of my books are still in freakin’ Indiana. Admittedly, I have no bookcase on which to put them and several precarious stacks teetering between my desk and dresser right now… but I don’t have Yes Means Yes! No theology books! No vampire romance novels! (And I mean the ones without skeevy mind control consent issues. Gross. Or the ones in which vampires aren’t actually supernatural, just from Atlantis. I’m looking at you, Lindsay Sands.)
– my cuddly blanket that Riley gave me for Christmas a few years ago is in Indiana. Also, I have an insufficient amount of throw pillows. And the one I have doesn’t match
– how do I store comics?!
– there is no way I have enough time to run up to Evanston for my politically incorrect mink shrug. (it’s vintage ok)