1589: "Frankenstein"

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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby 1337geek » Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:30 pm UTC

SimonMoon5 wrote:
TheStormRanger wrote:When do Frankenstein and The Doctor hop in the TARDIS?

Well, if we're accepting popular mistakes as "correct", then you can't call him "the Doctor," you have to call him "Doctor Who". Then, the two of them (Doctor Who and Frankenstein) can team up with Shazam. Those are my unholy trio of fictional characters that the general (idiotic) populace gets wrong. (And, yes, I know there is a character named Doctor Who; he was played by Peter Cushing. And, yes, I know that the current DC comics people have made the character-formerly-known-as-Captain-Marvel into a character known only as Shazam, after having previously made the character-formerly-known-as-Captain-Marvel-JUNIOR into a character known as Shazam.)

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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby speising » Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:36 pm UTC

Shouldn't it be more relevant how he wants to be called himself? And as far as i recall, he regularly answers the question with "just call me 'doctor'". This, then, is his canonical appellation.

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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby da Doctah » Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:44 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I saw a brief clip of some show I don't watch and can't recall now, where characters exclaimed that they were being chased by "draculas". I cringed.


Venture Brothers, maybe? In the episode where Doctor Orpheus is introduced. I took it as part of the characterization of the boys' naivete.

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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:08 pm UTC

1337geek wrote:
SimonMoon5 wrote:
TheStormRanger wrote:When do Frankenstein and The Doctor hop in the TARDIS?

Well, if we're accepting popular mistakes as "correct", then you can't call him "the Doctor," you have to call him "Doctor Who". Then, the two of them (Doctor Who and Frankenstein) can team up with Shazam. Those are my unholy trio of fictional characters that the general (idiotic) populace gets wrong. (And, yes, I know there is a character named Doctor Who; he was played by Peter Cushing. And, yes, I know that the current DC comics people have made the character-formerly-known-as-Captain-Marvel into a character known only as Shazam, after having previously made the character-formerly-known-as-Captain-Marvel-JUNIOR into a character known as Shazam.)

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...which just goes to show that the people writing the scripts and the people creating the credits don't talk to each other as much as they should...

In a related error, in Anne McCaffrey's BrainShips shared universe, the serial of a brainship is {brawn's initial}{brain's initial}{serial number} - so the original is the NH834 - except that the blurb on the back cover of one of the early books got the initials the wrong way round (they were correct in the text) and at least one later author copied that mistake (presumably, they looked at the covers of their copies of the earlier books, and the only version that made it onto a cover is the wrong one).

A couple of later-written stories sidestep the issue: one has a ship with the same initials for brain and brawn; the other invents a different naming convention for stationary space stations and has a station-brain rather than a ship-brain.

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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby Copper Bezel » Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:14 pm UTC

speising wrote:Shouldn't it be more relevant how he wants to be called himself? And as far as i recall, he regularly answers the question with "just call me 'doctor'". This, then, is his canonical appellation.

Yeah, that's the fight in a nutshell, then, fans siding with the fictional character over the show creators where the two disagree. It's probably not trivial - if a work of fiction consistently misgendered a trans character, I wouldn't follow their usage, but would generally note it. If a character demanded an absurd honorific title or something as a gag, and others in the work did not follow that character's preference, I doubt I would either. So there is a bit of potential muss in whether the canonical name is always "correct" and in what sense. It's also a navigation of trying not to sound either ignorant of the work or hopelessly lost in-universe.

As in most of these cases, my real response is to say "The Doctor" and not correct other people when they don't, but I admit I cringe internally.
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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby Magister343 » Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:23 pm UTC

Frankenstein always was the monster in Shelley's novel. His Creature was not such a bad guy. He just found himself in bad circumstances, due mostly to Dr Frankenstein being a terrible parent. The Creature was far more intelligent and articulate than his maker, and had better moral sentiments too.

In this version I prefer to take the doctor's claim literally and assume his name is "A. Modern Prometheus." I like to think that the "A" stands for "Alfred."

"The Doctor" would not be as terrible a parent as Victor Frankenstein was.

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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Oct 12, 2015 11:24 pm UTC

I will usually say The Doctor whenever context permits understanding, and will argue that that is correct in-universe, but sometimes for the purpose of communicating with people outside of that context I find myself having to say "Doctor Who".

For example, there's a series of callback lines in the Rocky Horror Picture show, where Dr. Scott is describing the "audio-vibratory physiomolecular transport device" and after every line of his description there is a callback about it being some kind of vibrator (i.e. a sex toy), culminating in the description of it being capable of projecting matter "through space, and who knows, perhaps even time itself!", with the callback "It's Doctor Who's vibrator!" Even as a big fan of Doctor Who, I think that line just wouldn't work at all if you said "it's The Doctor's vibrator!" without context, and there isn't time enough for the sake of comedy to establish the context of Doctor Who (the show), such as saying "The Doctor from Doctor Who".

But in all seriousness, The Doctor's vibrator is probably just his sonic screwdriver. Vibrating things is its primary function, after all.
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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby QuantumJack » Tue Oct 13, 2015 12:56 am UTC

Maybe I can use this spotlight to bring up my own pedantic qualm with Frankenstein, and popular ideas about it:

The monster (whatever you want to name it) was NOT made of body parts of dead people. He dug them up to study to know how to build the parts, but made the creature larger so he could do the delicate work with his hands.

As a matter if fact, he clearly states that he discovered the secret to imbuing life into non-living matter, but that it is impossible to restore life to that which was previously alive.

He therefore made the creature from inert , non-living material, larger than a normak man, and put life into it. Using pieces of dead people, it would be exceedingly difficult to create a result which is significantly larger than a person, so that never really makes sense anyway.

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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby xtifr » Tue Oct 13, 2015 1:30 am UTC

Perhaps he's "The Doctor" in his universe, but "Doctor Who" in ours. :D

As for the famous monster, he may have been nameless in the original book, but the monster is Frankenstein in many adaptations. Those adaptations may be low quality (and usually low budget), but within the canon of that work, it's perfectly correct to say that Frankenstein is the monster. Randall may have done this deliberately, but I'm pretty sure he's not the first to have done it.
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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby Tova » Tue Oct 13, 2015 2:07 am UTC

So now if someone calls the monster "Frankenstein," I can simply reply that I much prefer the original. Hooray!

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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Oct 13, 2015 2:17 am UTC

Yes, you may now flavor your unhelpful pedantry with a dash of affected purism.
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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby xtifr » Tue Oct 13, 2015 2:24 am UTC

Not to mention revealing some possibly questionable taste. I mean, the book was ok, but hardly a masterpiece of literature. Poorly paced, full of exposition. Some of the movies, on the other hand, are, at the very least, masterpieces of their genre. Even if that genre is cheesy B horror. :)
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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby Docrailgun » Tue Oct 13, 2015 2:27 am UTC

No. One is not allowed to decide what is canon just because one wrote fan fic.
Until Mary Shelley retcons her book... oh, wait - she can't.
So, the monster is "Frankenstein's Monster".
If you don't like that, call him "Adam".

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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby RogueCynic » Tue Oct 13, 2015 3:24 am UTC

xtifr wrote:Perhaps he's "The Doctor" in his universe, but "Doctor Who" in ours. :D

As for the famous monster, he may have been nameless in the original book, but the monster is Frankenstein in many adaptations. Those adaptations may be low quality (and usually low budget), but within the canon of that work, it's perfectly correct to say that Frankenstein is the monster. Randall may have done this deliberately, but I'm pretty sure he's not the first to have done it.
Uh, no. He has a name in his universe but it is not used. River Song whisper's the name in one episode to win the Doctor's trust. In another episode, he and I believe Rose Tyler solve a problem in a school and run into Sarah Jane Smith. He calls himself "Doctor Smith". As to the correct pronunciation of "Frankenstein", it is "Frunkensteen". Just ask Eyegore.
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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby Tova » Tue Oct 13, 2015 6:48 am UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:Yes, you may now flavor your unhelpful pedantry with a dash of affected purism.


I like to delude myself that my pedantry is helpful; but the purism is definitely affected, well spotted.

I hope that helped.

Edit: Oh, I'm fairly sure Frankenstein rhymes with Einstein. None of this "steen" stuff.

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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby Ilze123 » Tue Oct 13, 2015 7:03 am UTC

in Buffy season four we have a "Monster of Frankenstein" called Adam.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_(Buf ... ire_Slayer)

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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby The Moomin » Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:01 am UTC

I think the sensiblest way to determine the name would be to find the origins of his constituent parts. Whomever the greatest portion by mass came from is the name he adopts. If there's a draw, he can have a double barrelled name like Steve-Dave.
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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby orthogon » Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:56 am UTC

Tova wrote:Edit: Oh, I'm fairly sure Frankenstein rhymes with Einstein. None of this "steen" stuff.

Just in case you aren't aware of the Mel Brooks movie Young Frankenstein, you are now. (The "Fronkensteen" thing is a running gag/theme). Having said that, I've noticed that a lot of American -steins seem to pronounce it "steen"; according to this article it may be that Jewish -steins tend to use the "steen" pronunciation because of a sound change that occurred in Yiddish (the standard German pronunciation would be "stine").
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby CharlieP » Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:01 am UTC

Frankenstein was definitely cat-sized in the future.
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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Oct 13, 2015 2:31 pm UTC

The Moomin wrote:I think the sensiblest way to determine the name would be to find the origins of his constituent parts. Whomever the greatest portion by mass came from is the name he adopts. If there's a draw, he can have a double barrelled name like Steve-Dave.

And resist the chance of unnecessary portmanteaus? What dark science is this?
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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby Arancaytar » Tue Oct 13, 2015 3:45 pm UTC

Wait, all my life I thought he was spelled Frankenstain! :o
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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Oct 13, 2015 4:16 pm UTC

RogueCynic wrote:
xtifr wrote:Perhaps he's "The Doctor" in his universe, but "Doctor Who" in ours. :D

As for the famous monster, he may have been nameless in the original book, but the monster is Frankenstein in many adaptations. Those adaptations may be low quality (and usually low budget), but within the canon of that work, it's perfectly correct to say that Frankenstein is the monster. Randall may have done this deliberately, but I'm pretty sure he's not the first to have done it.
Uh, no. He has a name in his universe but it is not used. River Song whisper's the name in one episode to win the Doctor's trust. In another episode, he and I believe Rose Tyler solve a problem in a school and run into Sarah Jane Smith. He calls himself "Doctor Smith". As to the correct pronunciation of "Frankenstein", it is "Frunkensteen". Just ask Eyegore.


"John Smith" is his most-used pseudonym; "Doctor" (or "The Doctor") is his common use-name. There is also the secret name, which appears to be hidden even from Carrionites.

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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Oct 13, 2015 7:10 pm UTC

Magister343 wrote:Frankenstein always was the monster in Shelley's novel. His Creature was not such a bad guy. He just found himself in bad circumstances, due mostly to Dr Frankenstein being a terrible parent. The Creature was far more intelligent and articulate than his maker, and had better moral sentiments too.
Education is knowing that Frankenstein is not the name of the monster.

Wisdom is knowing that Frankenstein is the name of the monster.

Docrailgun wrote:No. One is not allowed to decide what is canon just because one wrote fan fic.
"Canon" is largely a fiction to begin with, if you believe that it's one single thing even within a single work by a single author. And across multiple works by multiple authors/screenwriters/artists/directors, it's even messier. The original idea of a literary (or Biblical) "canon" was *always* based on decisions made by other people long after the original works were written.

Also, the distinction between "adaptations" and "homages" and "fan fics" is even more artificial than the idea of a single objective "canon". Everyone who has ever written an adaptation or homage or parody is likely at least somewhat a fan of the original, so what distinguishes their works from fan fiction? How is the Divine Comedy not author-insert fan fiction? How is the vast majority of Reaissance and medieval European art not Biblical and mythological fan art? Thousands of papers have been written about the fannish headcanons people have about the works of Shakespeare, who himself wrote a fair amount of history fic.
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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:23 pm UTC

Fanfic is normally an amateur derivative work written without authorization of the property owner. If you don't have copyright or if you don't have a publishing industry, then all derivative works are equal and there is no fanfic. It's an anachronistic projection. The unauthorized Don Quixote sequel was not fanfic.
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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:39 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:Fanfic is normally an amateur derivative work written without authorization of the property owner.
But then you're just pushing the problem over to definitions of "amateur" and "derivative". (I know there are legal definitions, but that doesn't make them any less vague.)
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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:48 pm UTC

I guess I really meant derivative in the really broad non-legal sense of being based on characters, events, concepts, etc. of an existing work, precisely in a way that is not vaguely defined. And "amateur" is probably less important than "not authorized by the property owner". Mostly, I think fanfic refers to a pretty specific phenomenon of the present system and a practice with its own history and fuzzy areas that doesn't need to be generalized to cultures where those specifics couldn't be conceived.

Edit: Fanfic, homage, and adaptation aren't points on a scale, they're individual things that any one work can be or not be, in any combination.
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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby xtifr » Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:26 pm UTC

Every work of fiction is canon unto itself. To argue that one depiction of a character is "more" canon than another shows a frighteningly tenuous grasp on the distinction between fiction and reality.

As Sir Terry Pratchett once said*, "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds."

* Yes, I know he was quoting Emerson. I don't expect the kind of people who argue about canon to recognize the name Emerson, though. ;)
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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:32 pm UTC

Canon within a body of work matters to fans of that work and certainly to the people involved with making it. You don't have to care about the concept of any particular canon any more than I have to care about scoring in rugby. It's still a thing.
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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby orthogon » Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:40 pm UTC

Presumably the whole Frankenstein-as-the-monster misconception/alternative canon thing is a phenomenon of the anglosphere? The name sounds hard-edged and sinister to the English speaker's ear, but to a German (or Yiddish?) speaker it would just be something like "Frenchstone": an unusual but perfectly acceptable name for a doctor.
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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:52 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:I guess I really meant derivative in the really broad non-legal sense of being based on characters, events, concepts, etc. of an existing work, precisely in a way that is not vaguely defined. And "amateur" is probably less important than "not authorized by the property owner". Mostly, I think fanfic refers to a pretty specific phenomenon of the present system and a practice with its own history and fuzzy areas that doesn't need to be generalized to cultures where those specifics couldn't be conceived.
I know what "fanfic" generally refers to, but I'm saying that it's an inconsistent and often bigoted set of things.

If a man writes it and it gets published, is it still fanfic?
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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:01 pm UTC

Is there some kind of gender stereotype associated with fanfic? Like only women write it or something? I've not read a lot of it, but the one I've actually really gotten into (HPMOR) was written by a man (and I'm reading the metafanfic sequel to it now and just realized I don't know the gender of the author of that, though I had assumed it was a man for some reason), and I'm a man and I've written a little bit myself.

That aside, I'd say if it gets published, it's not fanfic anymore, usually because publishing it would require permission of the original author (or whoever holds the rights to their works) which grants it a degree of officialness that fanfic characteristically lacks. For derivatives of works that are in the public domain, which are usually so old as to be part of the sort of background cultural heritage by the time that could happen, that feels to me more like an original work just drawing from that background like all original work does, if perhaps more directly; like a new story featuring the Greek gods, say, would just be an original story, even though it features characters from older stories.

I think something like Frankenstein is near the border of that. It's recent enough that everybody knows the specific singular author who created it originally, unlike ancient myths, but it's old enough that "frankenstein" has (disputably) become a genericized kind of creature, and the character of the Creature himself has some of the archetypical quality that characters from ancient myths do.
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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby Coyoty » Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:55 pm UTC

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein's monster was created through alchemy and was probably a homunculus of unusual size. It's possible, though, that Victor pioneered tissue engineering.

The monster from the movies was a flesh golem, animated through science instead of mysticism.

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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Oct 13, 2015 11:28 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:I know what "fanfic" generally refers to, but I'm saying that it's an inconsistent and often bigoted set of things.

To a certain extent, then, that's all I'm getting at. It's not something fuzzy at the edges of adaptation, because it's a specific kind of adaptation, and sometimes doesn't actually have a lot of adaptation involved. It's a known domain. Disliking the category is fine, I guess? But it's nice to have words for things, don't you think? If the general opinion of fanfic is unfairly negative, then perhaps that is the problem?

If a man writes it and it gets published, is it still fanfic?

Like Pfhorrest, I'm not aware of a gender bias here. Actually, my mental archetype fanficker is basically the same as my mental archetype D&D player, which tends male (and white, pasty, overweight, and socially limited.) My bigotry on the point is more likely to be ableist than sexist.

Like Pfhorrest said, I think copyright and what counts as fanfic are closely but indirectly linked. It would be strange to refer to something as Lewis Carroll fanfic, even if someone were holding onto the rights to Alice in Wonderland somewhere. There's an implication of being a timely response to work rather than just any derivation, and the more the thing being ficked looks like a corporately held IP and the less it looks like an individual person's work, the more it's a relevant term.

Since, it's, you know, an outgrowth of fan culture.

Fan. Fic.

Meh.
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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Oct 14, 2015 12:06 am UTC

So thinking about this some more, I realize that the way that I've organized the small amount of self-published fiction I have, I've got a couple of things in a category that I've called "semi-original fiction". That page used to be nothing but fanfic, until I wanted to add a few original stories to the page and reorganized it that way, with a few stories that I wasn't sure whether I should classify them as fanfic or original. They are:

A prequel to Peter Pan, drawing bits of inspiration from background information in the original book and also a bit from the Disney sequel film Hook, but otherwise original aside from the setting and two characters. (And how do we categorize Hook anyway? Disney doesn't own Peter Pan AFAIK, so they don't have any authority to call their sequel canonical. But it doesn't seem like the label "fanfic" comes anywhere close to applying, either.).

A comedy mashup of Superman, Jesus, and Santa Claus stories, merging those three characters into one, along with bits and pieces and allusions from a bunch of other things like Dr. Seuss's Grinch, Frosty the Snow Man, Lovecraft's Cthulu mythos, and so on. Some of that is clearly ancient mythology and folklore (Jesus, Santa, Frosty), some of it more in the Frankensteinian grey area (Cthulu), and some of it in what would squarely be called fanfic territory I think (Grinch and especially Superman).

What might be termed a "style parody" of Disney Princess movies, without directly referencing any of them in particular, but knowingly and self-consciously referencing the tropes typical of them.

I'd say that, in that order, those get further and further away from being fanfic and close and closer to being really original stories, but they all seem to blur the lines a bit.
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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Oct 14, 2015 12:56 am UTC

I'm reminded of the classic Robin Hobb rant on fanfiction which started by carefully stating that it applied solely to unsanctioned derivative works, and that any officially published derivative works were not, by definition fanfic, and none of the rant should be taken as applying in any way to such works. It then argued passionately that fanfic lacked artistic merit, was uncreative, and diminished the original work by polluting headcanon (the phrasing is mine) purely through being derivative works by someone other than the original creator(s). That is to say, none of her actual arguments distinguish between published and unpublished derivative works...

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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:44 am UTC

Yes, fanfic is far more likely to be written and read by women. And more broadly transformative fandom is dominated by women and girls, while curative fandom is dominated by men and boys. And shockingly enough the bias within geek culture tends to be against the transformative kind.
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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby Ray Kremer » Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:29 am UTC

dean.menezes wrote:"No, he's just 'The Doctor' "


"Please state the nature of the medical emergency."

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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:59 am UTC

I'm not familiar with this "transformative vs curative" fandom dichotomy. Care to elaborate?

ETA: I googled it myself (curative fandom, c.f. affirmational fandom, v. transformational fandom) and I find the idea that these two kinds of fan-activities should be in conflict with each other to be saddening

It looks like that closely parallels the conflict between scientistic* moral nihilism ("the world is what it is, stop talking about 'ought's! that's literally meaningless nonsense!") and moralizing social constructivism ("reality is nothing but a social construct built to perpetuate power and privilege, and we should redefine it to better serve the disenfranchised").

I hate that kind of false dichotomy. Studying an original work (or studying the world) is a valuable activity in its own right, and transforming a work (or the world), enhancing and extending and improving it, is a different, but equally valuable activity in its own right too. (And I'd argue, whether about fan activity or real life, they are both enriched by each other, but the distinction between them needs to be clearly maintained at all times).

Interestingly, the stereotypes of those philosophical positions I'm making analogy too also seem gendered, the former being found (in my anecdotal experience) in male-dominated STEM fields and the latter in female-dominated social sciences and humanities.

*(note the "st" there: "scientistic", as in scientism; not just "scientific")
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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby orthogon » Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:16 am UTC

Pfhorrest's link wrote:Curative fandom was a category created by LordByronic in a 2015 Reddit thread

That's ... just ... but it still is 2015 ...! Stop the Internet, I want to get off!

Also: this means that the whole "curative does not mean curatorial" debate - which will be responsible for 20,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2025 - was started by a particular documented and dated post. When we get that time machine, we need to go back and kill LordByronic*.

* This is a joke. Killing people is bad, mkay? As is interfering with the space-time continuum.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1589: "Frankenstein"

Postby cellocgw » Wed Oct 14, 2015 11:44 am UTC

xtifr wrote:Every work of fiction is canon unto itself. To argue that one depiction of a character is "more" canon than another shows a frighteningly tenuous grasp on the distinction between fiction and reality.

As Sir Terry Pratchett once said*, "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds."

* Yes, I know he was quoting Emerson. I don't expect the kind of people who argue about canon to recognize the name Emerson, though. ;)


Are you sure he wasn't quoting Asimov quoting Emerson? :twisted:
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