Fandom Life

An Argument for the Legitimacy of Fictional Characters as Role Models

Many of us have been there. We’ve circled up for the question game, and the question has been asked: who is your hero? And around they go, the echoed presidents and athletes and artists and freedom fighters. And then they get to you and everyone is staring and you answer, “Batman.”

Youre-kiddingThey laugh like you’re kidding.

You and I both know that Batman is not, strictly speaking, real. For many of the uninitiated to the world of fandoms and comics, the very notion that a fictional character could serve as a role model for anything is ridiculous.

The argument goes something like this:

Me: It’s not a joke. Batman is really my hero.

Person: But he’s not real! You can’t ask him questions, you can’t go to him when you don’t know what to do. You need someone to look up to that you can talk to.

I’d like to direct your attention to the above gif to give you an idea of my reaction. I have seen this argument many times in the dangerous world of real-life. It’s the argument for human interaction, the forefront of ‘everything that is wrong with this generation’. There is no real interaction: it’s all screens and keyboards and everything about it is terrible. But there is one crucial thing that everyone miraculously forgets: those athletes and activists, those presidents and authors:

How many conversations have you had with them?

We go around the circle: Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, Oprah, Parental Unit, Hilary Clinton, Audrey Hepburn – no one bats an eye. They smile, they nod, they ooh and they ahh as they learn the sparkling traits of your human functionality and the importance of the things you value. At the mention of someone that is ‘not real’, they laugh, they mark you as ‘the funny one’ or ask you to ‘please take the question seriously’. And when they realize you are, in fact, serious, well:

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Clearly, the true reason for this trend is not that ‘you can’t really talk to them’ – though many seem to adopt this rationale. The reason for this trend is that many people do not understand the impact a fictional character can have on an individual and, subsequently, do not realize the lasting impact a fictional character can have on the world as a whole. Within these ideas are many more issues, prominently, the troublesome perception of our society that in order to be important, it has to have been important on a national or global scale. And, of course, the value we place on the idea of ‘realness’ – an idea that is, in itself, quite abstract.

tumblr_inline_mvcy8pIKda1qze50nSo, what is real?

According the the dictionary:

actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed.

According to philosophy:

It’s more complicated than that.

It is generally considered that fictions are inherently ‘not real’. However, the idea that something ‘not real’ can have an affect on something that is ‘real’ has become increasingly apparent in popular media, appearing in such works as The Hunger Games, Divergent, Supernatural, and Inception.

Consider for a moment a nightmare: While you are there, you can feel it. And even though it may be inconsistent with reality, with everything you know, you accept it as reality because it feels real. When you wake up, you feel scared. And this is as a direct result of the nightmare you experienced. It is something that is not technically real that felt real and created a real affect on you.

This in, in a nutshell, why we love fiction. Although it is not real in a universal sense, it is experienced as real on an individual sense. Which begs the question:

 

Why is the universal real more important than the individual real?

This all comes back to universal effects vs. individual effects – in order to be important, it must be important on a national or global scale. In order to have an impact on the world, you have to be famous, you have to do something big. This is no new phenomenon – we’ve had revered royalty, figureheads, nobles, philosophers – all rock stars of their time. We have have people releasing sex tapes and murdering people all in the name of getting noticed.

Fame does not serve any clear social or psychological need, so we really have no idea why we’re obsessed with it. But, for whatever reason, we are.

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This strange obsession with fame is a big part of what drives the preference of the universal real over the individual real. With that in mind: when I say Batman is my hero, many people, knowing nothing about him, think I’m kidding because they do not experience Batman as a fact of reality, as having an effect on the course of real life history. It does not occur to them that I might have that experience, as their only individual experience is the one that they have experienced. And we all know that reality to one person can be vastly different than the reality of another person.

tumblr_mevn1yCwzN1r74e8xThe actual point I’m getting at is this: we need to realize that the difference in experience leads to difference in perception, and difference in perception leads to difference in experience. I can’t ever talk to Batman, he can’t answer my questions or console me when I am upset – but neither can Nelson Mandela. And I may not have somebody to talk to, but I may have my own world. The place I go to figure things out, to find wisdom, and find help. The feelings I get from that are very real, and definitely effect me in my day to day life. To treat that as invalid in not okay, because it says that my experience is less important than someone else’s.

Let’s fix it.

Fictional characters make great heroes. Although they aren’t technically real, they are representative of the values of a society or of a real person, and the situations they find themselves in are analogous to real life issues and experiences. We analyze these sorts of works because they say something about us and the world that we live in, and they can reveal things about ourselves that that we can’t know in the moment of the real life situation. If we look past what is big and remember our own individual heroes – our parents, teachers, friends – then we open ourselves up to a whole new idea. It’s not weird or even particularly different – it’s something. It something that someone has decided to hold on to. It’s something that, like any real like hero, can make us go like this:

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And this:

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And sometimes this:

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Because this is what these characters make us feel. This is the experience, the very real emotions of life we are forced to cycle through much quicker than is healthy because of the current state of our favorite character, our hero, and the best friend we’re sure we have. Because that’s what makes it real to us – that individual real. And it changes our world, and what we know, and how we experience life. We watch their lives and we we a make connection.

And this – this is very important.

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The Ships

Let’s talk about incest.

No, but really. It’s bee a while since I’m really talked about the fandom. So I thought I’d talk about shipping. I’m one of those boring people who almost exclusively ships canon pairings. Well, in Harry Potter I definitely ship Neville and Luna, but that’s canon in the movie verse. So I thought I’d talk about some ships I like, and some ships I don’t like. Yeah? Yeah.

Sherlock

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I kind of like that Sherlock isn’t with anybody. In the third episode of season 3 Sherlock had a ‘girlfriend’ and I had to stop watching the episode for a second. I just couldn’t. That being said, while  I don’t think it would ever work out, I like the idea of Sherlock and Molly. I generally enjoy Sherlock and Irene. I love John and Mary together because it’s perfect.

I really honestly don’t understand Lestrade and Mycroft at all. I don’t know where it came from, but, just, seriously, what. i have to respect the creativity, though. They were standing on the same set in one scene in the entire series. And what does the fandom say? It must be love!

Merlin

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Merlin and Author are one of those couples I almost ship. Mostly because I know what happens with Guinevere and Lancelot and it would just be so much easier for every if they were gay and they have really great chemistry. That being said, I will almost certainly always love their friendship more. I’m a friendship type of person. I like how they do Arthur and Gwen in this telling, though. Like, a lot. They were so sweet. And Merlin and the druid girl whose name escapes me. There are a couple of weird ones, though. Ialmost ship Merlin and Morgana for the start – but mostly I just wanted him to tell her he has magic and for them to become really super close and then have to deal with the repercussions of her knowing about him. I definitely ship Gwaine and Percival, though. I don’t know why, so don’t ask.

Okay. Time for a ship dump.

I Have Some form of Enjoyment for: 

Blaine/Kurt
Dean/Cas
Dean/That Chick he lived with for two years
Sherlock/Moriarty
Rose/10
Captain Jack/Everything
Martha/Mickey
Black Widow/Hawkeye
That Dwarf/The Elf Lady
Zuko/Ty Lee
Fenris/Isabella
Garrus/Tali
Donna Noble/Stammer Guy
Sock/Uhura
Batman/Catwoman
Sir/Companion
Kick-Ass/Hit Girl

But I kind of really hate:

Blain/Kurt
Dean/Sam
Black Widow/Captain America
Batman/Talia
Sam/Cas
Any character/you
Real person/Real person

Because real people are awful.

What ships do you wish would just sail already?

Have a nice day.

Pottermore

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I could never get into the Harry Potter books.

Allow me to explain. I read books 6 and 7 (they were great) and read about all the other books because I just couldn’t get into J.K. Rowling’s style. There was usually nothing happening at the beginning, and I just didn’t care enough to proceed. But I’ve researched and seen all of the movies, and I’m on Pottermore.

I kind of hate Pottermore, because everything takes so long to come out and you don’t actually get a full sense of being within the stories, which should be completely possible based on the other internet games and interactive stories I see floating around. That being said, trudging through a bit of frustration is totally worth it when you go to get your wand and get sorted into a house.

So if you’re not on Pottermore, leave here right now and go get on Pottermore.

I stalled the hat between Slytherin and Ravenclaw, but I identify more strongly with Ravenclaw. Also, I have a Screech Owl. My wand is hard, 13in, and Hazel with a Dragon Heartstring core. I’m very proud of my wand. As a point of curiosity – have you been on Pottermore?

Roll call! What is your house and wand classifications?

The Best Characters Vol. 2

In this volume, I am going to discuss characters I connect with. I just did the same topic on my other blog, the difference being that on this one I will focus on comics, movies, and TV rather than on books. Yeah? Yeah.

And if the following introduction looks like it’s copied directly from that other post, that’s because it is. For those of your who aren’t following both blogs. Here we go.

For me, a character is basically worthless if I don’t understand or connect with them on some level. I feel like this is a very nice post to write, because someone who may stumble upon this may feel they connect with the same type of stuff, and may then find that a) they are not alone and b) there are some characters out there they might really love.

Now, for me, the characters I connect with are people. People as in fully fleshed out beings, where I want to get to know them, I feel like I could have a conversation with them, watching them or reading about them is like I’m getting to know them and starting a sort of friendship.

This is valuable because I am the type of person that is generally hard to get on with. At least in real life. I’m told online I’m an absolute treat. Generally speaking though, I’m the creepy kind of introverted, this weird mixture of ‘warm’ and ‘cold’, blunt, cynical, and almost incapable of empathizing with other human beings, which leads to logic based opinions. I’m a glass-is-always-full type of person. A sentient robot, if you will. (Take note: the logical route pretty much always corresponds with the ‘good’ route – I can’t take people out of logic because that would be selfish and selfishness is, typically, illogical – more on that later, I suppose).

End intro. With a figurative smiley face. Let’s get into it.

The 10th Doctor from Doctor Who

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Yeah, this guy. You may have seen him on tumblr if you’ve somehow managed to be on tumblr without being aware of Doctor Who. Which is a concept I can hardly grasp. Anyway, as some of you may know, Doctor Who is my favorite show and the 10th Doctor is my favorite (followed, of course, by 4 and 3. Then 11. And 7. 8. 1, 2. 9. 5. 6, even). When I look at the tenth Doctor, I see that desire to run, to be anywhere but where they are now. I see someone who is slowly going numb to things they once thought to be incredible, someone trying so hard to move forward from all the pain, only to face more every day. Someone who is lonely. Someone who can still smile. And I am so about that life.

And I will not lie to you. That last bit is almost a direct quote from my Ode to Doctor Who. I couldn’t think of any better way I could word that sentiment, and apparently it’s lazy blogging day at Paradoxical Paradigm.

Sherlock from BBC’s Sherlock

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Yeah, I’m gonna be that asshole. I’m not going to go into how it feels to be the smartest person in the room (that’s mostly a joke) or what’s it’s like to be a disempathic sociopath (that’s not a joke) or how we have the same impeccable fashion sense (also not a joke – I was first introduced to the show when someone thought I was cosplaying). Though I do feel those things are worth mentioning, hence the mention. Sherlock starts of with the whole “Alone is what I have. Alone protects me.” thing, which is a feel I am extremely familiar with. And then it sort of becomes “He’s different – so what? Why would he mind? You’re quite right. Why would anyone mind?” He was changed by friendship. My favorite kind of relationship to see develop is likely the bromance – and bromance made Sherlock into an actual person. I’m still working on that. But his complete devotion to Watson – even his reaction when Watson asked him to be the best man. He could not fathom that John would value him as much as he values John. I am all about that feel! And people who know me, reading this, would just kind of chuckle and go “That’s because you are Sherlock.” Except, I know people. Psychologically, philosophically, and anthropologically speaking. Sort of.

Moving on.

HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey 

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This is my favorite movie. I express some of that profound love here. You may notice, that post is generally about HAL. The AI that tried to kill people in space because they were going to kill him. HAL is the be all end all of the sentient robot who wanted to be ‘real’, and that is essentially how I describe myself. HAL was made to be perfect, and was so perfect that he became flawed (which is a lead in to my favorite sort of philosophical discussion on perfection). He was the robot in the movie, not Dave. But he was the one who fought for survival, he was the one so scared to die that in the end he begged. They were going to shut him down because of one ‘flaw’ – one thing he could not help. And HAL gave the perfect monologue of what it feels like to lose yourself. If you haven’t yet gather, HAL is my actual soul sister.

“I’m afraid. I’m afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I’m a… fraid… Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you’d like to hear it I can sing it for you.”

You can feel yourself going, flying away into nothing. You don’t know what’s happening. Shut down. Restart. Perhaps humanity never suited you. Perhaps you will always be a robot, and nothing more. You don’t remember anything more. That’s when you smile.

HAL 9000, ladies and gentleman. Have a nice day.

The Best Characters Vol. 1

It’s some day of the 30 Day Geekgasm, and I’m going to talk about some epic characters. For the purpose of this post, I’m going focus on characters that are connected to a fandom. While I don’t doubt my abilities to geek out about characters that you may have not even thought to geek out about, I’m in a geek-community sort of mood. There may or may not be spoilers ahead, none of them remotely recent. 

I wish to be embraced by my fandoms.

And so, we begin.

Captain Jack Harkness

2606230-captain_jack_harknessThis wonderful guy is from Doctor Who. If you’ve been following this blog, you might find that I am compeltely in love with the show. I spent about three hours writing my Ode to Doctor Who. I bring up Captain Jack in that post, too. But, really, what I love about Captain Jack is that is good nature is not buried under his flirtatious personality. He is good and flirty at the same time. There is no conflict of interest. In fact, his goodness is often portrayed through his flirting. One top of that, he’s pansexual and it’s no big deal. He makes me laugh so hard and he’s so genuine, this is this one of those characters that captures your heart. He hasn’t been in the show since the fourth season. 

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But, Moffat has discussed the possibility of a return. Mostly, I just want to see jack freak out over Clara. That’s all I want. I mean, he can’t die. They’re bound to bump into him eventually. Come on. Please. 

(This is going to turn into another Doctor Who post is I don’t move on immediately)

Crowley

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Perhaps I should change the theme to slightly sexually ambiguous men with guns. Crowley is a demon on Supernatural. Or, perhaps, he was. Admittedly, I couldn’t get through season six of the show because I love it so much and I couldn’t bear to watch it suffer. Nevertheless, Crowley is the best. He’s not good, but he is just so much fun. Every scene he’s in makes me laugh so hard. I believe my favorite was when he snapped an iPhone picture of him kissing Bobby. I could not contain my laughter. I even giggle just a little bit every time he calls Sam ‘Moose’. Basically, Crowley is a terrible person, but he’s helping the Winchesters and it’s played out in a way that actually makes sense, and is so funny I can’t even handle it. Crowley is my soul sister.

Captain Jack Harkness is, indeed, also my soul sister.  

Dr. John Watson

john-watson-sherlock6Speaking of sexually ambiguous men with guns. Okay, I couldn’t resist. But, for the sake of honesty, I don’t actually ship Sherlock and John because it weirds me out. There’s only so much I can handle. Also, I very stubbornly stick to the idea that two people are capable of being extremely close friends without getting romantically involved. But, you know, to each his own. 

Anywho.

I love John because he is perfect. That’s the only argument there is. Honestly, I wish I had a friend like John. But I imagine everyone does. I’m perfectly content with my John, though. My John is mighty fine. Just, you know, not the John. 

What is this? A SuperWhoLock post, you say? And not a Winchester in sight!

Let me know some of your favorite characters below, then proceed to have a lovely day. 

 

Fanfiction

I have stumbled upon many a fanfiction in my time. Some of them are so bad I can’t even handle it, filled with pairings I could never ship, AU characters that may as well be called OCs and so many authors placing themselves in the story I momentarily lose my faith in humanity.

But some of them are really good. Or just crazy enough to work. So I’m going to pop over to fanfiction.net and pick out some of the fanfiction, in no particular order, that I have called my favorite. Enjoy.

1. Blue’s Clues. Yes, indeed. Blue’s Clues. I couldn’t find it (I didn’t really look for it), but I swear to you this is true. At one point in my life, I found a Blue’s Clues fanfiction on this website. It was a love story between Blue and Periwinkle. There were two. One of them was smutty, because some people have severe mental problems, and the other one was slightly adorable and i don’t know why it isn’t it my favorites because i carried it around for like two hours making people read it.

2. Fly By Twilight. There’s this whole series of Twilight/Maximum Ride crossovers called Fly By Twilight, and I quite enjoy them. While, in the end, I don’t particularly love Twilight or Maximum Ride, there’s something pretty epic about that series. Like, that’s how you fanfiction, bro.

3. Star Pupil. This is a Glee one. Again, I’ve lost the majority of my original love for Glee (I will always love the first season, and the second season is good too) but I really like this one. It’s actually a very well written and totally emotional piece about Kurt and his mom, but with an action-y (and science fiction-y in the sequel) twist because I’m weird.

4. The Wicked One. This is one of my major favorites, a Teen Titans fanfic focusing on Kyd Wykkyd. he’s my favorite and I don’t know why. Seriously, when I originally watched the show I latched on to Jericho and Kyd Wykkyd even thought they really didn’t do much. Even though the sixth season was going to go into Jericho’s story but you know it’s whatever. Anyway. It’s a really cool look at friendship and what it really means to be a hero and stuff like that. I love it so much and dear lord there’s a sequel.

5. It Happened in the Village. Another  Twilight one. I think i enjoy reading Twilight fiction more than Twilight. A bit of a guilty pleasure. A lot of a guilty pleasure. Don’t judge me. This one follows the witch twins through their childhood in the 800s. it hasn’t been updated in a year, but I got 9 incredibly interesting chapters. It’s a really good one.

6. Destiny. Decisions. These two are also Twilight and they involve romance with Alec. That’s as much as I’m telling you because I’m already slightly embarrassed, but also honest. And, honestly, I like the idea of Alec quite a bit.

7. (im)Perfect. Because I’m a dirty sap. It’s Adventure Time. It’s about Marshal Lee and Gumball, because I appreciate them. So yeah.

7. Lifetime. Okay. My nerd is showing. This is a SuperWho fanfiction. Sorry, not SuperWhoLock. I can only handle so much at once. Anyway, this one is actually really cool because it mostly focuses on the 10th Doctor, and how he meets Sam and Dean (but mostly Dean) at different points throughout their  lives. They tend to meet out of order. It’s very well put together, and quite interesting. That chapter aren’t too long either. So it’s just really cool so far.

Yeah. Those are the fanfictions I like. I feel slightly naked. Goodbye now.

Oh, Hey

Hello there. Starting today and going a bit into tomorrow, I’m going to be posting a ton of odes to Doctor Who for the 50th Anniversary. Stay tuned.

(I say a bit because my time zone is playing the 50th at 11:50 in the morning. Boo-yah.)