Hello lovely readers! I’m Adri and I’m thrilled to bring you guys this week’s edition of The Shipping News! We’ll look into the slash shippers’ love affair with Twitter hashtags, the turbulent and the inexplicable sides of fandom, and some love for one of the slash world’s most epic pairings. Let’s go!
Slash Soap Box: Twitter Campaigns
The first thing I want to talk about on my shiny new soap box is the fact that we have a soap box. Even though slash shippers are well known in fandom for their passion and often explosively excited nature, it’s taken a while for the spotlight to shine on us. Did the good old homoerotic subtext in TV and film get even more obvious, thus causing a spike in the number of swooning fans? And if it did, was it due to show runners finally catching on to the untapped resource that is the hundreds of thousands of fans tripping over themselves for some guy/guy romance? I, for one, would like to thank the Twitter hashtag system.
Sometime around early 2011, TV bosses figured out that if you want to know what your fans want more (or less) of, all you need to do is check Twitter. Not long after that, fans caught on to the fact that the head honchos – like the temperamental gods of Mount Olympus – occasionally want to throw us a bone in exchange for ratings, a trending topic, or you know…cookies. But I’ll get to the cookies in a minute.
Once writers, producers, and stars started to acknowledge our enthusiasm towards our ships, slash shipper’s twitter campaigns were born. The logic is simple, if we tell them what we want then we may just get it. It’s really evolved from spontaneous reactions to our favorite boys breathing near each other to cleverly designed phrases tweeted by thousands at the same time with military precision.
The most successful of these endeavors has to be The Box Scene Project. Last Christmas, Fox outright teased Klaine shippers with promotional pictures of Blaine giving Kurt a tiny boxed gift. The shippers watched the episode with baited breath, but the scene never came. We wanted to know what was in that box so badly that the shippers gathered, strategized, and created The Box Scene Project, an effort to win the full script of the mutilated episode that contained the answer to our burning (raging) question. But Klainers didn’t stop there. Once we had secured (and read and wrote fanfics of) the scene, we embarked on an epic Twitter campaign asking Glee producers to release the actual footage. Spoiler alert: it was a success.
It’s now a fairly regular occurrence to log onto Tumblr (assuming you’re one of those people who actually logs out) and find instructions on when and what to tweet this or that creative team to give our non-canon slash ships a chance at love.
The latest endeavor comes from Sterek, the relatively young slasher sensation. Fans of Stiles and Derek from Teen Wolf took a little Twitter interaction with the show’s head writer, Jeff Davis, in which it was implied that he could be bribed with chocolate chip cookies and they ran with it. A four tweet long exchange sparked The Sterek Campaign, which has set up a monthly action plan, the first of which is (you guessed it) “Cookies for Sterek.” Fans took pictures of themselves holding a plate of chocolate chip goodness and pleading for more Stiles & Derek, then they tweeted these pictures with #CookiesForSterek tacked at the end.
With great support shown by the cast and MTV’s thank you gift to Facebook fans in the form of a Sterek-centered blooper reel, you could say that these shippers have it good already. But the campaign didn’t go unnoticed because, well, we got this:
— Jeff Davis (@JeffDavis75) September 17, 2012
Will these campaigns influence storylines in the actual shows? Only time and those taunting, teasing show runners will tell.
Slash Dictionary: Wank
No, lovely readers, I’m not talking about the Britishism for good old self love. Fandom “wank” refers to (in simplified terms) drama. Drama, as my 9th grade Literature teacher once told me, is a fact of life. It’s also a law of fandom. I personally belong to that group of shippers who wants everyone to hold hands and sing Kumbaya, but we seldom get our way, and I don’t honestly think that we should.
Discussions, heated arguments, disagreements, and detailed opinions are (though sometimes unpleasant) ultimately beneficial to the fandom and to the people who take part in it. If we were all conformists who went along with the masses we wouldn’t really be violently shipping so many canon and non-canon queer couples.
There was a bit of wank in the comments section of our column last week and though at first the camp counselor in me wanted to bring out the marshmallows and have us hug it out, I’m ultimately glad for it. There is concern about slash as a whole, about whether there is disrespect to characters, and about the fetishization of queer men, most of this in light of the fact that this column is written by women. Of course I have my thoughts on these subjects (as a fanfic writer, and shipper, and a psychology student– and most importantly a queer woman) and I know that my fellow columnists and I all respect and genuinely want to know and learn about the thoughts of our readers. So we want to invite you all to bring your thoughts and opinions into the comments without reservations (while obviously keeping to respectful dialogue and staying above general nastiness). This column isn’t our personal blog, it’s a space for all of us to share and celebrate and discuss and I hope everyone can enjoy it.
Fandom News Roundup
- Hypable is holding BattleShips: A Fandom Shipping Tournament. Make sure to head over and battle for your favorites!
- Actor Ty Olsson (@TyOlsson) who plays the vampire Benny on Supernatural (and had a hand in a very Destiel moment), took a shot at reading and critiquing Dean/Benny fics on Twitter even though he doesn’t actually ship it. Curious cast members are always fun!
Jensen Ackles, Ty Olsson and Misha Collins in a scene from Supernatural
- New York Comic Con brings us a deluge of information via Twitter reports about the third season of Teen Wolf. Though we’ve thoroughly terrified Jeff Davis in regards to the term queerbaiting and thus have limited him to very vague answers concerning Stiles’ possible bisexuality and Sterek in general, the panel did confirm that next season will bring in a new gay character and that Jeff enjoys working with Keahu Kahuanui, which possibly translates to more Danny. A love interest perhaps? We certainly hope so.
Down the Rabbit Hole: Written in the Stars
We know that slash shipping is hard for outsiders to understand, but sometimes things happen in fandom that are difficult for even us seasoned shippers to wrap our minds around. For example, it’s a known fact that if it exists we will ship it; but that had hardly been as clear as it recently became.
For those of you not in the planetary know; an asteroid that may or may not have been headed for Earth hit Jupiter instead, for reasons of Science. That was all that slash fans (excited and stressed by the then ongoing Ultimate Slash Madness Tourney) needed to form an astronomical new ship.
Don’t bother questioning our sanity, it’s the first thing we do every morning. Instead enjoy some Jupitearth art:
Artist Jake Hercy
M/M Pairing of the Week: Destiel
SPOILERS FOR THE LAST SUPERNATURAL EPISODE AHEAD!!!
I need to tell you all something about Tumblr: it gives you the ability to follow a show without ever actually watching the thing. This has been the case between me and Supernatural for about two years now, a situation I hope to rectify by the next time my go at this column comes around.
In any case, I have watched about two-thirds of a Supernatural episode in my life, but that doesn’t mean that I cannot ship Destiel. Guys, I ship Destiel. It’s next to impossible not to when every so often my screen is flooded by the cries of shipper joy and despair coming from these people. Often I will see gif sets and bits of dialogue that look like snippets of fanfiction, it only takes a few minutes to verify that these intense interactions between Dean and Castiel have indeed happened in canon.
I mean as I understand it, Castiel once told Sam, “Dean and I do share a more profound bond.” I mean, what is a slash goggle wearing fan supposed to do with that?
So this week I log on to Tumblr and see the cries of CANON and MY OTP IS BEAUTIFUL and well, something obviously happened, right?
What happened was a heart-wrenching Castiel & Dean reunion scene, which I understand was a flashback. I saw gif sets and screencaps of this scene, and I found it impossible not to jump on board with this ship, I can only imagine what long time shippers must have felt watching the obvious love and affection between these two. Destiel is a strong ship with an army of fans behind it, fans who are always there to reach out to other fandoms in their heartbreak and need (who didn’t have a Destiel shipper comfort them about the Klaine-Heartbreak-We-Shan’t-Speak-Of?). So, for the sheer shipability of the pairing and the moral fiber of its followers, I’d like to continue their week of shipping victory by naming Destiel our ship of the week!
Artist to Watch: Nana
Fanartist Nana from Indonesia has produced some amazing pieces for the Destiel and Sterek fangirls and fanboys as well as a few other miscellaneous pairings. With my limited knowledge of art I personally love the realism and the use of light (and I’m not being a total museum snob, look at the pieces– it’s easy to tell Nana is an amazing talent). Just look at this intense Destiel scene (intense seems to be a word with these two, huh?):
Artist Nana (source)
Check out a full gallery of this artist’s work HERE.
If you’re like me and like your Sterek with a nice slow build up of trust and non-mystical pack bonds then this is possibly the best fic out there for it. It’s easy to describe it as an ensemble fic with a side of Sterek, but the shippers will see the subtle and quite beautiful undercurrent of the Stiles/Derek relationship throughout. Set years in the future, this fic is one of those simplistically gorgeous stories that you don’t forget.
“Drink,” Stiles tells him, holding out a water.
Derek stomps over, ill-tempered, his hands still shifted, and snatches the bottle. There’s sand pouring out of the gashes in the punching bag, and Stiles watches it fall while Derek drinks the water in one long swallow. When he’s done, Derek crushes the bottle and throws it across the room. Then he stands there, the lines of his body tense, but with small tremors jerking his muscles, before his knees buckle under him.
Stiles looks at him, the clenched fists pressing down on his thighs, the lips tightened until they’re white from strain, the wild flaring of his nostrils, and the wretchedness in his eyes.
Stiles closes the two feet between them on his knees. His hand slips on the sweaty skin of Derek’s shirtless side before he gains purchase. “Come here,” he croaks, tugging.
Derek doesn’t respond, at first, doesn’t seem to even hear the words, but then he moves, tumbling them to to the floor on their sides, arranging them so that he’s wrapped around Stiles from behind, face buried between Stiles’ shoulder blades.
All right guys, that’s it for The Shipping News this week. I’m sure that by the time my turn comes once more I will be proudly aboard the Destiel ship.