On Twitter I’ve been boosting what I can, when I see it. This means linking to articles about the hate crime shooting spree in Atlanta (and the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, violence, racism, etc) across the past year and change alone. I also shared donation links from foundations specifically to benefit and uplift Asian American communities and help the victims of the latest attacks to hit the news. I neglected to do that here as I was focused on using that bigger platform to boost and be helpful that way.
However, it’s important to make things clear here as well: I stand in solidarity with Atlanta’s Asian American community as well as with Asians and other people of color who are subject to the horrors and hatefulness of white supremacy everywhere. White supremacy is a rot that must be rooted out of society and solidarity is a community building/reinforcing tool that will help us do so.
Rather than center myself at any point, I’m sharing some of the links I shared on Twitter so that folks who read this site can see how they can help and what they may have been missing. This will include donation links to GoFundMes and foundations.
Why yes, I am making a blog series all about fic that shaped me as a person. I am speed-running my way through this however, so I haven’t attached any warnings or content notes to any of the stories since for some of them, it’s been a while. So I maybe don’t recall what notes or warnings a story requires before recommending! Read carefully if you decide to dive in!
Why It Hooked Me:Glass Houses is set near the end of the main Weiss Kreuz series and main character Ran Fujimiya (who takes up his sister Aya’s name while she’s in a coma) loses her at the start of the story, he tries to take his own life. While he’s miserable and restrained, series antagonist Schwarz, rolls up to “rescue” him and one of the quartet, the berserker Farfarello, becomes enamored with the wounded “kitten” and seeks to remake him to his honest and best form. I remember a lot of the early parts of this massive fic, but what hooked me was this part where Ran realizes that he’s getting pleasure from killing and it’s not about killing the just or whatever, he just likes this shit. Him starting to accept his real monstrosity – more than killing, but liking it and realizing that this wasn’t Stockholm Syndrome but genuinely his real self breaking through– was where I settled in for the story. I genuinely didn’t expect to straight up change my life.
How It Shaped Me: I’ve been reading Glass Houses since I was a high schooler. Even when I’m not reading it – a thing I used to do multiple times a year before it crossed the million word mark – I’m thinking about it. This story is a masterclass in how to write fix it fic and pull the characters in a story far from their origins while remaining in-character. Everyone in Glass Houses feels the way they would in the anime series. It’s an implausible but logical progression and the sprawling cast of characters – incorporating existing characters from side media like the radio drama or sequel manga but also new characters – helps keep you on your toes. At no point do I think “wow this couldn’t happen”. In fact, I’m like “why didn’t this happen?”. This was also an early primer for me figuring out how to write intimacy and banter so as a baby I would try to write my own fic in ways that echoed the flow of Glass Houses. I also became deeply attached to people and characters named Sasha because of this. #IfYouKnowYouKnow
I know “betrayal” is a strong word, but there’s no other term that captures the full effect of what queer fans feel as a result of queerbaiting. For many queer fans, queerbaiting removes the confidence they had that the media they were watching was made with them fully in mind. It reinforces that to studios (and some celebrities), queer fans are walking rainbow wallets to be discarded once empty. Part of why queer fans have gravitated to shows like Taika Waititi’s Our Flag Means Death or The CW’s Batwoman is because these shows don’t hold back the “good stuff.” In these series, queerness – especially as seen from characters and people of color – isn’t something we get hints of before it’s snatched from us. It’s part of the narrative and made stronger for it.
I know people don’t always agree on what queerbaiting is or looks like. I get yelled at once or twice a year for disagreeing when I see people talking about queerbaiting in a fandom — even when I use coded names and don’t specify the fandom. There are thing I think are queerbaiting that’d get me labeled as Terminally Online TM and “reaching”. It’s not super easy to say “this is queerbaiting” sometimes, but that’s something that I’ve since learned… doesn’t matter? Because it’s not about our feelings as we watch other queer fans be like “wait but we’ve been waiting for this fir six years and it didn’t happen??”
Queerbaiting is one of those fandom things I’ve realized is like… confusing to people who aren’t affected or don’t see it (for whatever reason) but is frequently devastating to the people who put their time and energy into it. And yes it took me ages, but I learn nothing when I’m being yelled at by random people on the internet, so in moments of peace I sat, researched, and learned.
Also, semi-related but when Ruby Rose was cast as Batwoman Kate Kane initially, one of the wildest things was watching people (other queer people) say that Ruby Rose was queerbaiting. Ruby Rose, mind you, is gay as hell and has been from before I knew she existed. How could Ruby Rose, a real out queer person, queerbait?
To this day I don’t know the answer for that one.
Anyway, go share on twitter if you want! Please read the piece for sure!
As I write this, there are Star Trek fans mad about Star Trek: The Animated Series character Admiral Robert April’s upcoming appearance in Strange New Worlds. April is now being played by Canadian actor Adrian Holmes, who currently plays Uncle Phil on Bel-Air, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot. Obviously, Holmes looks nothing like the original admiral… but is that such a bad thing? After all, as Jamie Lovett points out over at ComicBook: “Despite being one of Starfleet’s most highly-decorated captains, April has previously only appeared in canon in a single episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series.”
One episode in a show older than most of the people complaining.
And yet, there are people screaming and moaning about “the wokes” forcing “political correctness” on Star Trek, a show that has apparently never delved into progressive politics or had people of color in main roles. Except… Star Trek, while imperfect in execution, was a science fiction pioneer in how it portrayed a relatively progressive society with diverse people learning, loving, and living together. From day one it was a show that put people of color and women on-screen… and had detractors because of that.
“Taming the Tiger” is one in a long line of “mad noble” webtoons I’ve been reading for a hot minute. The noble in this is Ahn Geum-hoo who needs fresh animal blood for his brother’s medicine and he gets entangled with “Nobody” – later called “Beom” – a butcher who eagerly does his bidding. It’s steamy and I really love Beom who is basically The Ultimate Service Top. I want to brush his hair So Badly.
Then “I Got Pregnant With the Tyrant’s Child” legit caught me from an Instagram advertisement. I truly was not expecting marketing to work on me (lol) but I stayed up until around 4AM reading this webtoon. Elan, a royal knight, has a wild one-night stand with a man who uses magic to blur his face. As a result, she gets pregnant and realizes that uh… the baby daddy is the terrible and terrifying tyrant. Now, I will say that as thirsty as I am for Kylart the tyrant (lol), he’s genuinely terrible. Like he is the creepy stalker dude you wish you didn’t dream of. He is terrible and it takes him way too long to realize he’s wrong. Also the fact that he keeps trying to take her kids might be triggering for some people so… yes. But I love it, I actually like the development of the relationship, and I think Kylart is a babe.
If you’re into TikToks, I even made one about this series!
This is so old. I don’t even remember when I finished the first draft. Anyway, it’s a rant and it reads like a rant. Sorry I can’t smooth down my edges this time.
One of the wildest aspects of White Feminism ™ in fandom, media/pop culture criticism, etc… is the way these White Feminists™ – who are not always white or women but are always in service of feminism that privileges white women – refuse to acknowledge the difference between “I like this because it’s good” and “this is good because I like it”.
Too many people think that because they like something as a marginalized (usually white) person – an idol group, a movie, a pairing, a character – that that thing is automatically good, empowering, and feminist. They don’t engage with critical reviews of the work – in any sense – to get a sense of what they can bring to the table or what the thing does in general, not just for themselves as the consumer.
And if they dislike something? There’s nothing you can do to change their mind. It’s eternally Bad, Fucked Up, and the dreaded “Problematic” even if they’d only read a summary of the thing on Wikipedia or gotten their knowledge of a person secondhand from people who also hate the person. (Hello to my anti fandom!)
When we talk about “toxic fandoms” and racism, the easiest example people go to are male nerds mad about Black people being cast to play comic book redheads and other “historically white” characters. However, one little known or talked about example is the way that the Harry Potter fandom from 2005 practically went to war over the one-line reveal that Slytherin Blaise Zabini was actually Black.
One perfect example of antiblackness in fandom that proves false these claims that Black characters and celebrities are just “lacking” something to make them worth shipping (characterization, canon romance, tapping tropes) and that is why no one ships them?
The Harry Potter fandom’s response to Blaise Zabini before and after JK Rowling’s reveal that Blaise was male (2004 in a Q&A) and Black (“He recognized a Slytherin from their year, a tall black boy with high cheekbones and long, slanting eyes” in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Chapter 7: “The Slug Club in 2005).
Blaise Zabini’s only appearance prior to that book and film was in a single line in the first Harry Potter book (““Well done, Ron, excellent,” said Percy Weasley pompously across Harry as “Zabini, Blaise,” was made a Slytherin.). However, people instantly made up all sorts of headcanons for this character based off of a name and Hogwarts house.
For the eight years between Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, here’s all what fandom frequently decided Blaise Zabini was:
Tan (but sometimes pale)
Dark haired with light, sometimes blue or green eyes
Draco’s best friend
A pain in the ass to Hermione
Sometimes shipped with Pansy Parkinson
Sometimes a girl
A bisexual Chad
A cool badass
Occasionally very Gender (and written as androgynous or gender queer/fluid)
He didn’t have any characterization or lines in canon, but he sure did have all of that.
Sure, if you press these “fans” on the reasons behind their bad behavior, few will say outright that jealousy fuels them. They won’t say that they believed they really had a shot with the celebrity or that they’re mad that the opportunity is no longer open to them. Instead, they claim that the potential partner isn’t good for the celebrity, that they’re using the celebrity, or that they’re ugly. They’re not willing to say that they think the celebrity should be with them or, in the case of a partner that’s a woman of color, a white woman they can layer themselves and their desires onto almost like a reader insert.
Trying to do a new feature where I talk about what I’m into and a little bit about why!
Right now the webtoons I’m keeping up with are uh… pretty spicy. One is Love is an Illusion – the Queen, a contemporary omegaverse webtoon starring a female alpha, male omega, and male alpha in a love triangle. That’s by Fargo. The other is Wild Eyes by Flowermeat and Sora (original work by Ra-hye). That one is a dark historical erotica about a wild prince and the maiden sent to service him by his scheming stepmother.
I’m not necessarily recommending either of those – because I rarely rec books with female alphas because the concept tends to be done poorly on multiple levels and it’s better to be safe than sorry and… Wild Eyes is… very much dark erotica. Warnings are a must for both stories. If you want to read either comic and you need to know warnings, ping me please!)
I’m reading them because I haven’t read webtoons in a while and I’ve watched the dramas based off of the ones I liked so I needed to branch out a bit. (Oh, and Painter of the Night is on and off hiatus so i’m expanding my horizons.) I’m having fun and reading challenging things.
Notes: This big installment has relatively graphic descriptions of violence, my desire to do violence (it’s really bad, I want to end the villain myself), Hector remains a sex pest near the end, body horror, some death by rats, and I guess I might cuss across this. I don’t know. I wrote this all while screaming.
On the surface, it looks as if I’m having mercy on you all by doing a speedrun through the last six chapters of this book.
But I am not.
If I were to have mercy on either of us, I would make up an ending where they all died and then move on to one of the books I want to go over because of how good they are. Instead, I am consolidating the suffering… by making the few of y’all still here go through six chapters all at once because in total that’s only gonna be like 5000 words max anyway!
In exciting news, my biggest piece so far is out in Teen Vogue! I interviewed Stranger Things’ Caleb McLaughlin (he’s a delight, a dream to interview, a really cool guy) and did a profile on him for Teen Vogue’s New Hollywood package. It’s a COVER STORY!
You can also share this little round-up piece stemming from Caleb’s love of Euphoria and that was put together by my editor Claire and me!
A friend sent me a Reddit post in the r/FanFiction subreddit made by a Black fan venting (it’s literally tagged as such) about how it feels for her to read fan fiction while Black and essentially looking for support. Fandom being fandom – aka “racist as hell” – the most highly upvoted comments in the sub on her comment are from people insulting her, insisting that she’s an entitled “Black American” for venting, and complaining about “wokeness” in fandom (and some that even wind up getting in digs at people like myself apparently leading the charge).
A common thread across many of the comments? They’re not just telling the OP to “make your own” – especially in the case of Reader Inserts, but they’re also assuming she doesn’t contribute anything to fandom at all in the first place. If she’s “just” complaining without contributing – even though she says she’s a writer and has a clear history of engaging on the sub and other parts of reddit as a writer -, then it’s not her place to complain.
For Yoongi’s birthday, I was going to do a bonus podcast episode all about Yoongi’s best verses/songs (to me). Think about something in the style of the MOTS7 or D-2 reviews but gushier – as the D-2 review did have some criticism that no longer applies. I’m feeling a bit ill and couldn’t do the podcast editing and recording in a timely manner, but I wanted to do this anyway.
So here are 11 of my favorite Yoongi verses, solo songs, or collabs so far in no particular order
(Lyric translations are from Wisha and Doolset and are linked for each song!)
Cypher Pt 2
I love a good diss track and BTS’s Cypher PT.2 Triptych is probably one of the best and most well-aimed weapons in BTS’s early arsenal of clapbacks. While all three verses from the group’s rapline shine like the blade of a knife, Yoongi’s verse is just so…. Delightfully mean. It’s smug, it’s sharp, it’s Yoongi thumbing his nose at rappers who do less but expect to get more because of embarrassing understandings of authenticity in hip hop. It also has a dig at B-free, who I loathe, so that’s nice. This is one of the songs I play when I’m in a fighting mood and Yoongi’s verse, his rough voice… that’s why.