Welp, I was going to try to tie everything in this post into some neat little theme or other, but I kept finding other things I wanted to talk about... and any connections between them all were really tangential... and ellipsis lists need to have at least three items or they look stupid...
Anyway, click below for a little bit about a lot of things. There's probably at least one item in here that's of interest to you!
On PP's blog post:
On Friday, I posted a guest column by Present Perfect in which he made some controversial statements regarding the responsibility of the fandom to push the boundaries of the show. And by "controversial," I mean that nearly everyone who commented, myself included, disagreed with him.
Now as part of the Las Pegassist dealeebob, he got to post a guest column, but I made sure to include language to the effect that I wouldn't post anything that I didn't think was worth posting. Moreover, PP asked me to look it over when he sent it in, to see what I thought. Although I didn't agree with him, I thought he made an interesting argument, and posted what he sent me as-is (as-was, whatever).
I think there's inherent value in being exposed to intelligent opinions counter to one's own, and while I may not have agreed with PP's conclusions, I definitely thought they were intelligently conceived and presented. I was very happy with his post, and was equally happy with the way that the people who commented disagreed civilly and substantively. It's always nice to see people discussing or debating a point without resorting to name-calling, personal attacks, or the like.
In conclusion, you guys rock.
On anti-critical culture:
As you all know, if you have any idea what this blog is about, I am very much pro-criticism (I'm using the word in the sense of "analysis and judgement," obviously). I realize that the world of ponyfiction, and of fanfiction generally, is skewered heavily towards positivity, but there's nothing inherently antithetical about criticism and positivity. So it bothers me when I see anti-critical thought taking root in the community.
Now, only once or twice has anyone posted anything particularly vitriolic about me on this blog itself, but I occasionally see the snide or angry comments that pop up re. my reviews on fimfiction, /mlp/, and the like (almost never from the authors whose works I was discussing, interestingly). It doesn't really bother me--people say things on the internet, and I've got a thick enough skin to ignore it. But I do worry that this kind of thing discourages other reviewers; who wants to put a lot of time and energy into something if they're just going to be called names, after all?
I don't know if there's anything to be done about that. I just look at the culture of authorial positivity that exists in most fandoms, including this one, and I think about how many people have been encouraged to try writing something for the first time because of that atmosphere. Why can't ponyfiction have an air of critical positivity, too?
On other reviewers:
Well, I don't know if there's anything I can do about that culture bit personally, but if nothing else, it'd be nice to see a little more reader-oriented reviewing in this fandom. There are a few dormant/defunct fanfic reviewers whom I know of, like Ezn and InsertAuthorHere, and a few new or budding ones that I've been introduced to, like Not Worthy and Admujica. But I'm sure there are some reviewers out there that I simply don't know about! If you are/know of anyone who does reviews on a regular basis, please send me an e-mail; I'd love to be able to post a compilation of review blogs.
I read a story about the role of grammar in society today which I thought was fascinating (mostly what I got out of it was that not using apostrophes is a turn-off on dating sites). You should read it, too.
To me, using poor grammar in one's writing is like playing an untuned piano--maybe it's good enough for when you're just goofing around by yourself or with a couple of friends, but it's not something I'd perform on, and that being the case, it's not what I would want to practice with, either.
On EqD pre-readers doing everything wrong (again):
So, for those of you who missed the latest round of pre-reader attacking, here's the short version: an author got e-mailed a rejection, but was accidentally also forwarded some internal discussion where the PRs joked about banning the story for not being a Waiting for Godot parody, and laid out the Cliff's Notes of what they didn't like about the fic bluntly and without elaboration. A surprisingly large group of people took this as confirmation that the PRs are biased, arrogant, elitist... you get the idea.
Look, it sucks for the author to see that internal commentary, sure--but how does it prove, well, anything? I take shorthand notes on the stories I review, and somewhere between reading and posting, a highlighted passage and a "wtf no" turns into "this fic suffered from poor characterizations for all of the canon characters, such as..." The fact that it started with "wtf no" doesn't make it any less true. I really don't see how a PR grumping about a story in (supposed) privacy has anything to do with the veracity of the PRs' opinions themselves.
Look, it's not like these guys are perfect, but can't people at least hate them for things that aren't hilariously asinine?
(DO NOT POST: Okay, super-secret EqD pre-reader cabal, I stood up for you guys. I held up my end of the bargain. Now, hurry up and figure out a system for getting some new six-star stories; I'm down to my last half-dozen or so!)