I got this email today:
Do you realize that EVERYBODY in fandom hates your fucking guts you asshole?
I think it was from my Mom, but I’m going to answer it anyway. No, I had no idea. So, for fun, I thought I’d take a look at what some people are saying. Here’s a sampling:
Thy lips rot off, Lee Goldberg! Thou jarring, fat-kidneyed scullian! You speak an infinite deal of nothing! […] Goldbergs one and all, thine sole name blisters our tongues. Thou hath more hair than wit, and more faults than hairs.
I understand the impulse to write and read fanfic—you want to live in
this wonderful world as much as you can, and twenty-four hours a year
or one book every two years or whatever just isn’t cutting it for you.
There are several novel series that I am forever hoping will just happen to have a new installment at the bookstore every time I check. But
fanfic is like a steak dinner made out of meringue—might look the real
thing, but it’s not really going to fill you up.
From Dawn Rivers Baker’s Blog:
You know, it’s all very well to nitpick about the legal shimmies and shakes of fanfic,
but the legal stuff doesn’t cover what it must be like for the author
who feels violated by other people dipping their fingers into the
author’s creation. All you really have to do to "get" the author’s perspective is to ask a victim how it feels to have just been raped.
From Nick Mamatas:
Mystery writer and TV producer Lee Goldberg picks up a stick and whacks a hornet’s nest by taking on fanfic.
I have no dog in the fight; after all, what can I say? NOBODY had
better RIP-OFF my ORiGINAL CHARACTERS like … uh … Jack Kerouac and uhm Cthulhu and William S. Burroughs and and and…
However, I do like a good brawl, especially when everyone is so
obviously speaking past one another. "It’s illegal!" "It’s a hobby!"
"It’s illegal!" "It’s a hobby!" Haven’t these people ever heard of an
illegal hobby before? They sure seem to be acting like they run their
neighborhood meth labs.
I don’t read fanfic, I don’t write fanfic, and I’m not enough of a
fan of anything to indulge in either activity anytime soon. However,
self-righteous attitudes about how fanfic writers will NEVER BE REAL
WRITERS and ALL of fanfic is wrong and always will be wrong world
without end, amen, bother me. And frankly, so do people who malign
Seriously, it’s a toss-up right now which one irritates me more. If
whacking off doesn’t feel all that good to you, I think you’re probably
doing it wrong.
One thing I wished I’d gotten to say about Lee Goldberg’s position that
fan fiction shows disrespect for creators’ intellectual property — he
compared it to another person giving "your children" "attitudes you
never intended or wanted." Which to me sounds a lot like raising a real
child — they come from us, but they aren’t us, which is alternately a
source of joy and despair. I’m going to be writing a piece for a book
on IP and gender about the "work as child" metaphor. What fascinates me
is that the metaphor has persisted and still seems persuasive to many
even as the persuasiveness of the original claim to ownership of one’s
children has faded. It takes a village to raise a child; it takes an
interpretive community to create a text.
From Anacronym’s Blog:
The fanfic discussion continues
over at Lee Goldberg’s blog. A rare occurence: I think I’ve changed my
mind on this subject. I’ll probably post more over the next day or two,
but I used to think that fanfic wasn’t so bad. Having been exposed,
now, to the mindset, I’m rethinking that position.
I would get all pissed off about Lee Goldberg’s amazing decent
into further assholishness, but since it’s obvious he’s been going down
that road for quite some time (*remembers the producers vs. fans
flamewar back in the day*), I can’t muster the energy to blast him for
being a whiny little bitch.
From Flat Land Big Sky Blog:
I can certainly understand if the idea of someone writing about your characters or your
world squicks you in a visceral, personal way (though as said above, if
you’re writing for publication you already run the risk of someone
else’s imagination sullying your perfect creation). I can understand if
you think that most fanfiction is a waste of time; a lot of it is. But
I don’t understand how you can think of it as, by definition, not
"real" writing. It’s pen on paper, or pixels on screen, depicting
motivation, conflict, plot and theme: that’s writing.
From Alchemy Without Moles:
I’m not getting into the whole
arguing-with-the-masses thing over at A Writer’s Life. And I’m not
doing the man the favor of a link, either. (He’s getting quite the
reputation as an "expert" on fic: I wonder if he appreciates the irony?
[Although he’s not an expert, just a man with an opinion. With even
less justification for his posturing than J*hn Ord*v*r.])
[…] The subtext I read in a lot of the responses is that these professional
writers and television producers hate fic because they find it threatening.
Amateurs writing in their arena, how dare they. And, given what I’ve
seen in the Pit of Voles, and Gossamer, and Heliopolis, they’re so
offbase it’s ludicrous. 95% of fic is crap, everyone knows that.
There were a LOT more discussions about the fanfic posts here, but this one has got to be my hands-down-favorite comment because I think it really sums up the fanficcer/Talifan mindset. From Kristen, a SeaQuest fan:
I’m sure by now that those who read my writing see an over riding
moral. We are all connected and if you can’t let yourself go and
actually love what you do, quit before you screw it up. Today I use the
prime example of Lee Goldberg, who can be quoted as saying this oh so
wonderful pearl of wisdom to aspiring writers, "When the show is
cancelled (or I leave it for whatever reason), I stop thinking about
the characters and their "lives." I move on creatively and emotionally
to something else."
I have one response to this. Lee,
you’re a writer with no passion. You go through the moves and write the
words, but in reality you are no better a writer than the accountant
who tries to tell the banker what the show is about. A "real" writer,
whether you make money at it or not, feels the story and feels
motivated to finish that project no matter what the cost to himself is.
The fact that you can callously ‘move on’ and not give anything you
were doing a second thought tells me that you were never really on
board in the first place. seaQuest was cancelled because of
writers and producers like you because we, the fans, could tell that
you felt nothing for your own project. If you couldn’t champion it, why
The good fan fiction writers are different, and
perhaps, instead of a passionless cold fish, they should have been in