Hey, Assbutt! Just Shut Up And Enjoy The Paranoia.

So I got good news, bad news this week.

Good news: I had papers accepted at two more conferences for this fall. Which means four conferences in the next four months. Woo!

Bad news:  Two of the conferences are within 10 days of each other in September. And the other two are within 10 days of each other in November.

And did I mention that the ones in September are OVERSEAS?

My dad: …are you sure this is a good idea?
My lovely spouse: …are you sure this is a good idea?
Me: NO but for now I’m going with YES.

I mean, let’s be honest: on the one hand, this is seriously fantastic. People want to talk about Supernatural and fan practice! About women and the negociation of desire! About teh Wincest! Yay!

On the other: WTF was I thinking? Hell, what the hell AM I thinking?

In truth, I’m trying not to. I almost had a panic attack yesterday, when the last acceptance letter came through. I had 10 seconds of happy, of “I am freaking amazing” and then bam! Right to “I gotta breathe in a paper bag and/or vomit.”

Or just roll into a ball and write some nice fluffy Destiel.

And I know this comes off as bragging, or something, but truly, it comes from a place of angst. As one of my colleagues pointed out last week, being an academic means embracing a life of paranoia, fear, and imagined inadequacy. We send out proposals and essays and articles and just cringe under our desks as we wait for a response, which, inevitably, even when it’s a yes instead of a no, feels like a big old Molotov cocktail right in the gut because then we actually have to DO the thing we’ve said we could do and holy fuck does that suck, sometimes.


But most of me right now is like: WTF is wrong with these conference types? Don’t they know that I’m just wanking about SPN? That, at some level, this can’t be “scholarship” because it’s so fucking much fun? That my business card (if I had one) should really just say “professional fangirl”?

I mean, I get to read slash fic AS HOMEWORK. Come on. Seriously?! How did I get so lucky? (Or the world so delusional?) I mean, yeah, then I have to write about the hot sex, rather than just write it, but still. It is fucking awesome.

So I’m grateful. And, when I let myself? Very happy. And utterly and completely freaked out.

…where’s that damn paper bag?

He’s Best When He’s Bound and Gagged

I’ve spent a lot of quality time with Becky Rosen lately. And this is a piece that’s come out of our communion.

I’ve been working with Becky since last November, when I watched episode 7.8, “It’s Time For A Wedding!” for the first time.

My first reaction to what I saw as the episode’s, uh, problems? Was to write my first S/D story, “Hot Blooded.”

My second? Was to start work on this piece, which has moved  from a presentation [of which this is version 2.0] to a lengthier academic essay.

The reaction that I’ve received to this work at the two conferences at which I’ve presented it has been generally positive, but it’s also stirred up some hornets’ nests for some folks, which is kind of awesome. 

This presentation relies pretty heavily on images [which is part of why I’m so fond of it, I think]; if you wish, you can download the associated slide show here

While Supernatural doesn’t belong to me, this work does. And, as Becky might say, everything may be a fic of everything else, but don’t try to slash this slasher, to represent this work as your own.

He’s Best When He’s Bound and Gagged:
Deleting Female Desire in “Season 7: It’s Time For A Wedding!”

Soon after its premiere in 2005, the television show Supernatural—the story of Sam and Dean Winchester, two brothers who’ve committed their lives to protecting people from supernatural creatures—spawned an online fandom dedicated to “slashing” Sam and Dean; that is, to writing stories in which the brothers are portrayed as lovers. Indeed, over the course of seven seasons, the existence of these narratives—affectionately dubbed “Wincest” by the show’s fans—has become a defining feature of Supernatural‘s primarily female fandom.

By introducing a meta-textual version of the show—a series of books also called Supernatural—into the primary narrative, the program’s producers have allowed Sam and Dean [and, by extension, the producers themselves] to comment upon the productive and consumptive practices of Wincest fans. However, the subsequent introduction of the character of Becky Rosen—dedicated Wincest writer and devoted fan of the Supernatural book series—has allowed the producers to take this commentary one step further: to illustrate the monstrous potential of the female fan, particularly one who actively engages in the construction, consumption, and distribution of Wincest narrative.

In this paper, I will argue that a central image in Becky’s most recent appearance in season seven, episode eight exemplifies the danger that the show’s producers see her [and the female fans for whom she stands, in their minds] posing to the show’s carefully maintained masculine order: the image (slide 1) of a semi-clothed Sam bound to a bed, his body and the text which it represents at the mercy of his female captor. The transgressive nature of this image lies in its reversal of what Laura Mulvey calls “the symbolic order” of gender in the visual, one in which “the silent image of woman [is] still tied to her place as bearer of meaning, not maker of meaning.” That is, the threat that Becky poses to Sam, to Supernatural, lies in her status as a woman and as a fan writer, as a figure who can upend the central narrative by affixing the masculine to her “rightful” place as the signifier of meaning while claiming the role of producer for herself. Continue reading “He’s Best When He’s Bound and Gagged”