This weekend, I found my branch of the SPN Family.
I am not gonna lie, folks: I have been uber resistant to the whole “Supernatural fandom as family” idea. Not because I don’t dig a lot of the people I’ve met through SPN, but because I’ve seen that rhetoric used once too often as a means of division, rather than inclusion.
Supernatural fandom eats its own sometimes, is what I’m saying. Loudly. And in public.
But on Saturday, man, I don’t know: I guess I finally got it, what being part of that family—or one branch of it, anyway—can feel like. And how great it can be to be in a room full of smart people who love/hate/gnash their teeth over SPN as I do, as you can only do over something you adore even when it disappoints you, and have a chance to talk about it in depth.
Now admittedly, Charlie’s death hung over the day, a shroud of discontent that shadowed every panel I attended. The circumstances of her removal from the series were also a central topic of conversation in Robbie Thompson’s keynote Q&A.
[Dude was totally charming, by the way, and a better lecturer in terms of both the psychology and logistics of writing than some of the composition profs I’ve had. Shhhhhh.]
Both my friend Shannon and I were struck by how many people in attendance are still writing + thinking about the show, but aren’t watching it anymore. Indeed, based on what we heard, it seems that Charlie’s death is poised to push some folks away from the show for good. Which may not be a bad thing.
As Louisa Stein put it: “We have the right not to watch.”
But! Central to the event’s success was that the format of its panels flipped the script on those at traditional academic conferences.