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Apparently I chose the wrong day to log back into Tumblr to set it up for cross-posting. Or the right one? I'm unsure. There was some sort of to-do in the X Files fandom wherein a young'un (I declare myself old enough to refer to everyone under 21 as such and will continue to do so until Dr. B no longer refers to me in emails as "kid") felt the need to post about how the XF fandom has become "cliquish," with all of the "old" fans coming in where they don't belong - i.e., a "youth space" - and pushing the fans that "belong" out. This is hilarious, of course, given that the people they are saying don't "belong" are fans like Dasha K, Mustang Sally, MD1016, Rivka T, etc: the *original* "BNFs," whose "cliquishness" is coming from having been friends since the show aired, and - understandably - from, well, things like this.

It did spawn a pretty excellent post, though, with a lot of old-school XF fans learnin' kids somethin'. Because I don't know when to shut up, I had to come out of hiatus to put in my thoughts:

I was 13 when I started watching XF, and 14 when my family got our first computer: in the living room, on a 56k modem that could only be used after 10:30 because we had one phone line and my parents have a family business (they do not save people nor hunt things). I was one of only five, perhaps six fans I knew who (after a fair amount of time) admitted to being under 21, and I was publicly “around eighteen” for a good, long while.

I’m rather finished finding kind ways to say this: fandom is not a youth space. It is a subculture, a rich one with a very long history, pre-dating your parents, mine, and arguably even theirs (fun fact: the term “fan” was first used derisively to refer to largely female-identifying theater-goers at the turn of the 20th century, in reference to the belief they were ‘taking up seats’ by going to shoes they were not appreciating, only to ogle the actors. Gee, sound familiar?). Youth-oriented spaces within fandom are a fairly new construction, enabled by the rise of the internet and the ability of fans to connect with other fans, and share their enthusiasm for the texts they love, at lower and lower entry cost. It’s a wonderful addition to fan culture but it is a ripple in the pool of fan history. Fan space is not “youth space.” There is a good deal of overlap, and it is very possible to make your space consist of only your peer group – regardless of your age. But it is not a default and Tumblr’s insistence otherwise is absurd, particularly as it continues to utilize the aspects of fan-culture that are, let’s be honest, very clearly the work of older fans, from the OTW and AO3 to the changes in copyright law that allow for the sharing of high-quality gifsetst and fanvids, to a good portion of the fanfic and fanart you consume.

This isn’t to say we shouldn’t be aware of age differences online; we should be conscious of how we handle ourselves in all public spaces, particularly those of us on the adult end of the scale. But that is exactly what fandom is: a public space. And one that was built by, and for everyone. There are other replies to this post that have backed this up with tumblr user-statistics and facts, and I’m not going to do that because frankly, I’m tired of chasing my tail over the absolute obvious: fandom is not an age-related hobby. Your younger sibling might be reading that Sherlock story you wrote, but it’s just as likely (if not more) that the last Destiel fic you read was written by your intro to American Literature instructor. Because you might grow out of wearing that Cosplay Tardis dress in public on a day-to-day basis, but you no more grow out of having a Mulder funko pop on your office desk, or the “Star Spangled Man With A Plan” as your ringtone, than you will your love of listening to glam rock, or buying anything with subtle rivets, or incorporating doc marten boots into reasonable day wear. Because, say it with me now: fandom is a subculture. You don’t “grow out of it.” It incorporates.

Tumblr will just have to incorporate, too.

ANYWAY the moral of the story is a closed Askbox and a long day in which someone numbs your nose and sticks ENORMOUS FREAKING NEEDLES UP IT and into your ears will apparently take your final fuck away from you.  Go figure.

In other news, internet: for as much as I Do Not Like that my classes have a five hour break between them in which I have no idea what to do with myself, I do not think I could have landed in a better place, post-nervous breakdown, than ASUW.  I love my students.  My classrooms have COMPUTERS.  I have REALLY GOOD HEALTH INSURANCE - like, I can finally get this stupid root canal that goes into my sinus cavity fixed, levels of good!  "I have a doctor that listens to me and is helping me get my mood stabliizer, stablized," good!  Despite the fact that it does not pay great, I remind myself when I leave class every day, how many people leave their jobs energized, particularly someone as introverted as I am?  I love teaching to the point where it's fairly ridiculous; to the point where composition is genuinely fun.  But ultimately I think the most important thing for me after moving back from Seattle was to feel safe -- that's a tall order of a new job, but particularly making the transition from grad student to "Real Adult," there's something to be said for being HOME.  I've been anxious, the last week or so, over the potential chance to teach literature classes because while ASUW *desperately* needs lecturers (i.e., the next payscale up, where a PhD is absolutely required, the course load drops to 3/3, and you're teaching 200 and up lit classes) they're having some (perpetual, always) budgetary issues.  My problem is that I very, very much want to do it - I'm under no illusions I'll land a tenure-track position in the next couple of years, and I want to do more than teach composition.  But I also don't want to put myself in a position where I'm saying yes to things that have me doing more work than my pay grade entails, and it has me worried I'll agree to things because I'm afraid I won't be rehired otherwise.  It's a silly fear given the department itself (I really do love these people) but at the same time, one can never fully trust that your "boss" is really looking out for you when they have a budget to answer for, you know?

This is where I'm unbelievably lucky though, in the end.  I had lunch with Dr. B today -- he was my British Literature professor when I was 19, and I just kinda....stuck around.  Oop.  I don't even know when it transitioned from "professor that puts up with me because I'm pathetic and wide-eyed and need help" to "friend who has possibly been stockholmed into putting up with me," but somewhere in there.  He was on my MA thesis, he helped get me into grad school; he called me regularly while I was in Seattle, he put up with me after I broke up with Misha (yes I kind-of dated a guy named Misha no sadly he looked nothing like real Misha), he found me this job and dragged me into applying for it, he talked me through my nervous breakdown and somehow still likes me anyway.   I don't know.  I'm reasonably sure he's putting up with me on purpose at least; I'm still in touch with a few other students who took a bunch of his classes as undergrads and while he's helped them out with various things (job recs, letters, etc) he's Pretty Pointedly Avoided staying in touch with them personally, so I don't actually feel guilty anymore.  At any rate, I talked to him about it a little bit and I think it bothered him I would worry about it to begin with, but he solved the present problem (pushed the Problem MA Class to next fall) and gave me the answer I should've known all along, which was essentially just -- if anything ever comes up that I'm afraid to deal with, to talk to him instead.  Which is not an Adult Solution to anything and I realize it, but this is why this situation is ideal for me: because I'm *not* okay enough, yet, to be able to fully handle Adult Solutions.  85% of the time, yes.  That last 15%?  I really do need an Adultier Adult.  I'm just...very, very lucky to have one, for the most part.

I mean, and then I end up trying to explain to him Twilight fanfiction and 50 Shades of Gray and it ends with me announcing, "look sometimes people just want to think about Jensen Ackles naked and making out with Misha Collins, don't worry about it" just as his, quote, "pain in the ass one o'clock" appointment walks in, but I figure at this point he's known me long enough to have a pretty solid idea what he's in for when he asks questions that begin with, "how the hell do you get vampire bondage out of that?"

I really did miss this campus.  Here's hoping B continues to think about whether or not they can figure out how to bump me up to lecturer because I would be all about that life.  I wanna teach the thing, she said, maturely, like an adult.  Of course right now he's decided he's searching this year's job market for me because I'm being ridiculous by skipping it, but they're going to have to confront the harsh reality of their total lack of an Intro to American Lit 2 instructor eventually. :p
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