thedeadparrot (thedeadparrot) wrote,

dear fandom, please stop making me hate you. no love, me.

So I managed to stumble on a story on trek_rpf_kink about George Takei that is making me want to kill things.

Like, okay, I get that in Shatner/Nimoy fandom, believing that the sun shines out of Shatner's ass is sort of standard, and that means that people tend to come down on Shatner's side in the Takei-Shatner feud whatevers. But I read this and came out of it shaking with rage, and I'm still trying to parse out why it's hit so many of my anger buttons.

I hate the positioning of Takei here. He's the sad, impotent Asian in the shadow of Shatner and his Whiteness, highlighted by his golden hair and amazing whiteness omg privileged attitude. But even though Takei keeps reiterating that Shatner is an asshole, we don't see him doing anything assholish, (and believe me, I can name at least two actual incidents off the top of my head that were completely dick moves) and that just seems to imply that Takei's the one here who's pathetic and alone, wanting things he can't have. Gee, that doesn't play into obnoxious stereotypes of Asian men at all!

I am very much aware of the RPF fantasy bubble, of the ways in which our versions of these characters aren't "real," that it's all about interpretation and collective characterization, but the way they use Takei's actual, you know, queerness to reinforce the ease and superiority of Shatner's fake-passing queerness makes me very uncomfortable in ways I am not very good at articulating right at this moment. I think this sort of dovetails in with a lot of other discussions about RPF. What are the lines we should draw? What are we allowed to do to "canon" for our own whims? How should we handle the queerness of out LGBT celebrities that end up in our RPF?

There are some sections that I think start to address this, about Shatner (in the fic) being able to do play-gay because he's got the straight cred of a wife and children. But it doesn't get at the heart of things, really. Shatner is queer in this fic in a seemingly uncomplicated way, untroubled by the realities of homophobia. And yeah, in some ways, that is the fantasy we have a tendency to engage in as slash fandom, that m/m (and f/f) sexuality has been completely normalized. I even like that fantasy, most of the time. I engage in it quite often. But here, in this fic, that fantasy clashes with the reality of Takei's experience as a gay man, and that, more than anything else I've seen, highlights the problems with fandom's appropriation of LGBTQ identities and LGBTQ experiences.

And in that same vein, this fic doesn't really deal with Asian-American identity, except in one place, and one place alone (fully in context): "The guys at work, he's willing to bet they'd all think he was a fucking joke. Twisted little Jap faggot, watching Nimoy's beautiful hands and wanting them inside him. Cocksucker. Queer."

I'm aware that this is supposed to be a moment of self-loathing, a moment of acknowledgement of the oppressions that exist, but this story doesn't unpack the issues here, and those words are powerful. Those words have decades and decades of pain behind them. But here, they're tossed off as if they're nothing. As if that is the only way being Asian exists in Takei's life.

But that brings us back to the crux of the issue, which is that this is ultimately not a story about Takei. It's a story about William Shatner thinly disguised as a story about George Takei.

Don't even get me started on the comments.

Okay, that's now off my chest. 'Scuse me while I go find a bucket to vomit in.
Tags: fandom, isms, racism
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