Valuing Fanfiction...?

Sunday, March 13, 2016
by Jameson Ngo

Woody and Buzz light-year meme saying

(Image from: Source)

So fanfiction is a thing that exists. It is a genre that uses characters and settings from an original work of fiction (or creepily enough, real life) to create a story. There are many appeals to fanfiction: it takes less effort to become familiar with characters and settings, it can take a different spin on particular characters or settings you enjoy (or don’t enjoy), and it can give more incentive to read/write.

A laptop with the word

Like all genres, its works can range from really “good” to really “bad.”

I put “good” and “bad” in quotations because it depends on what your standards for writing are.

Every time I hear someone vocalizes the word “fanfiction,” I usually cringe. This is because fanfiction is seen as a very low culture form of writing, which means it’s seen as “less-educated” or one of “the worst” forms of writing. Thus, I instinctively expect the worst from it.

A potato with a face that is cringing. The word

On the other end of this writing culture spectrum, high culture works are seen as "the best" and are held at the highest esteem, like literature or poetry; it’s very elite.

But what makes something low culture, and who gets to decide this?

This distinction of high versus low culture is an ideological value judgement. Fun exercise: try to think about whose beliefs/attitudes/values are dominant in society (primarily in literature), and what these beliefs/attitudes/values are (sometimes I feel like my blog posts always unintentionally become political). This should answer these two questions quickly.

A man with a moustache and a fancy hat holding a book titled

Therefore, high culture forms are privileged, while low culture forms are marginalised, and this sucks because low culture forms like comics and contemporary writing and BLOGS are generally dismissed by the public! Even very “good” ones!

Yes, I know: depending on your tastes and if you dare to get (or already have got) your feet wet, you’ll probably find that there are (a lot) more bad fanfictions than there are good ones (and thus we get into high culture and low culture within fanfiction! How meta!). But chill! This is probably true for any genre (I mean, there are millions of stories out there), and many low culture forms do possess many characteristic of high culture forms (which are frequently biased anyway, so).

So what was the point of this blog post? Am I trying to convince you to read comics and fanfiction? Maybe. I don’t take any responsibility, though.

Sign here if you agree with these terms and conditions: _____________________