Tuesday, October 7, 2014

You need people of Intelligence on this sort of Janeite...Tag...Thing

...since I am feeling particularly uncreative today, and dear Evie tagged me quite some time ago, here is an almost unheard-of event. Catherine is doing a tag.
Sorry about the weird highlighting; it does that when I paste stuff. :\
~~Thank and link back to the person who tagged you.
Check! Thank you, Miss--er, Mrs. Brandon. Be sure to check out her lovely blog. 

~~Tell how you were introduced to Jane Austen and share one fun fact about your Janeite life (this fun fact can be anywhere from "I stayed up all night reading Emma," to "I visited Chawton and met Anna Chancellor.").
~~Answer the tagger's questions.
Skipping the last two steps because I am lazy...
Fun fact: I have stayed up all night several times sewing Regency gowns, usually while watching some JA adaptation.
I was introduced to Jane by...wait for it...wait for it...
The 2005 Fake P&P. 

Not by watching it of course; Mum got it through Netflix for whatever reason and was watching it with Dad. I was curious about it and was told that the book was on her Kindle. So I read it.
...and this was pretty much my reaction.

~~How many JA books do you own?

I own a 'master copy' (leatherbound, Barnes and Noble--Christmas gift) of seven of her novels (the big six +Lady Susan), which I adore, and I have at least one paperback copy of all her six big novels (I have an extra Persuasion if anyone wants one). I have an additional copy of Persuasion (I've got enough to stock a small bookclub, apparently) and P&P in hardback. I pick them up at Goodwill whenever I can. Mery gave me The Novels of Jane Austen in One Sitting, and I have a teeny decorative version of P&P on a necklace. 
I'm not obsessed at all.

~What Austen character do you think you're most like?

I've taken different tests and come up with everything from Elinor to Elizabeth to Mary Bennet. In social situations I feel like Darcy--a bit snobby and even more awkward. It didn't say 'heroine,' just character!

~Have you read the Juvenilia?

Quite a bit. Not all, though. I love her plays!

~Favorite movie/TV adaptation of an Austen novel?

I'm a member. 
I also love S&S '95, Emma '09 and NA '07 (though we skip a few bits in that one).

What is your favourite Jane Austen minor couple?
Erm...Jane and Bingley.Would you rather spend a weekend with Mr Wickham or Mr Willoughby ?
Spend a weekend with? I assume in company. Erm, Willoughby. He seems to be the more entertaining one. 

You've been invited to a ball; what is your first reaction? 

EEEEEEK! and second, "I seriously need my dress trimmed out afresh."
If you could choose a Jane Austen home to live in what would you choose? Netherfield? Pemberley?
Certainly Pemberley. 
Brandon or Ferrars?
Brandon--he's so patient and honest, without being overbearing. I love Edward, but shame on him for deceiving Elinor, however accidental it might have been.Knightley or Captain Wentworth?
How dare you? Knightley, indeed! Mr. Knightley is wonderful and all others 'cept Percy pale before him.
Well, that was fun! Feel free to consider yourselves tagged, or go on with your day. Hopefully there will be something longer tomorrow. :)

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Question: With Which Miserableness to Start?

As most of you know or have guessed, I am a Les Mizzy. It began back in 2012 when I read the entire book* in our week of pre-Christmas break from CC and Veritas (don't try to do both at the same time. It doesn't work). My family did not see much of me. My introduction to the musical, which I love as much as the book, came a bit later. And now it's in the top 10 quoted things at my house. Anytime anyone asks anything about a sign of any sort, at least four voices chime in ''To rally the people, to CALL them to arms! TO BRING THEM IN LIIIIINE!"
I have a question for all my fellow miserables. If you're trying to introduce someone to the musical who is mildly interested, what means would you choose?
The 2012 film (which I have not seen yet)? I would think it might be a bit graphic and scare people away. And--how can I put this nicely--I have the soundtrack and the singing is not the best I've heard. But it does tell the whole story.
The 10th anniversary concert is my favorite overall cast (I mean, Colm Wilkinson as Valjean. Phillip Quast as Javert. How can you argue with that?) but Fantine's wig is terrifying and it (the concert, not the wig) leaves out huge chunks of the plot. *Huge* chunks.

And then there's this:

I do love the 25th concert, HOWEVER (and this is a big however), there's one teeny tiny gaping hole. It has a great cast, great costumes, even a decent set, but it also has this.
The Jonas. It's not that he wasn't a good Marius, it wasn't that he wasn't as good as Michael Ball, it's that he was a BAD Marius and couldn't handle the singing and couldn't handle the acting and couldn't even handle (hold) Samantha Barks's Eponine when she was DYING and...yeah. I don't want to think about it too much. *shudder*
But the rest of the cast is great (Karimloo, people!) and it includes a whole lot more of the recitative  bits than the 10th. So does the Jonas factor o'ershadow the rest as to make it unusable for introductions?

I've heard it suggested that someone read the book or listen to the 1988 recording all the way through. That sounds great, but they both require quite a bit more than the two or three hours that my hypothetical semi-interested person is willing to apply themselves to.

So, which one would you choose? Or do you have another idea?

*well, almost the entire book. After Hugo duped me into reading 200+ pages of Waterloo and the convent, I grew more careful. I skipped the sewers and Parisian slang.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

How to Protect Your Conscience While Fangirling

...between you and me, why can't people think?
As implied in my INTJ fangirl post, I was reluctant to enter the fandom life because, to quote the Parrot Sketch, is seemed 'Silly, silly silly!" I saw (romantically) obsessive posts about characters/celebrities and these people popped into my head...
...and then those who weren't having crushes all over the place were moaning about how they were born in the wrong era/world/whatever and wished a time lord would pop out of nowhere and save them from their meaningless existence.

To be entirely, embarrassingly honest, I went through some of this a while back with the Percy Jackson books. Shhh!
I have such a hard time controlling my tendency to fall into escapism, because, as this picture so eloquently puts it,
Life becomes misery while I pine away after fictional characters and worlds. It's like an eternal pity-party. I really didn't want to go through that again. Ever. So when I started becoming more active on the internet, I decided I would try to stay away from exaggerated media-related mania of all sorts. I would read the books, and that was all.
 Ha. Hahaha.
It didn't work. 
Since I discovered some fellow fans who did not seem quite as silly as the others, I decided to check it out cautiously.
I didn't--and don't, want to consume my media like some people consume soda--pop the lid and guzzle mindlessly. For one thing, it makes you burp. For another, you're drinking high fructose corn syrup and don't even realise it!  Here are a few guidelines I've made and try to keep for myself to prevent falling into empty-headed ridiculosity.* I've even categorized them. 

Real People
~~Don't look up actors' personal lives. You will probably learn way more than you wanted to know and feel melancholy and despairing of humanity the rest of the day. Or week.

~~This is a long one...
Differentiate between what people can do and who they are. Someone's talent/beauty/personality is a gift--what matters about him/her as a person is what he decides to do with it. 
Let's say that you're looking at a portrait. This one will do.
You can admire it on different levels.
You could look at it and think 'that's pretty'--admiring the appearance of the subject.
You could look at it and think 'how did she hold that pose so long? I would get so uncomfortable"--admiring the skill/ability of the subject 
You could look at it and think, 'that's a really interesting outfit and background'--admiring the set and content
You could look at it and think, 'oh wow. Those ruffles are great--how do they look so perfect? gah, I wish I could paint hair like that'--admiring the skill of presentation. 
At this point, unless you are an art expert or Sherlock Holmes, you don't know anything about the subject or painter. You're just enjoying the art for what it is, and not who created it.
I try to watch movies/shows the same way. All kinds of people have been given talent in so many areas, and they don't need to be 'good people' to have and use talent correctly. Don't get me wrong; it's doubly awesome when a good person is a good artist, or vice versa. But all too often people confuse the two.  
trying to avoid this...

I can fangirl about James Barbour's voice all day without for a moment implying anything other than that he has an amazing, well-trained voice.  That doesn't mean I think he's nice, or clever, or a role model. I can blabber on about what a wonderful actor Tom Hiddleston is without sacrificing my romantic ideals to him. I can pin as many pictures of JJ Feild as I like without thinking him to be an exemplary human being. I might just like his ears. And his smirk. Or the fact that he looks like Tom Hiddleston. Moving on...
You get the picture. I may jokingly swoon a lot, but I really do try to keep admiration of celebrities in check. Separation of the talent from the person works really well. Wholehearted admiration, from what I've seen, turns into unhealthy infatuation very quickly. And then you get stuff like this...
~~Analyze everything. When you like something, find out why.
 When you sort out the pros and cons, you appreciate the good and true in the story, but you also recognize any false arguments the book/show may be pressing on you. Eat the meat and spit out the bones.
Different people have different safe tolerance levels. I can separate the humanistic messages Les Mis might try to send me and concentrate on other themes (grace vs. justice, redemption, charity, etc.), or enjoy Sherlock, despite the language or twisted worldviews, while a friend or family member may not be ready yet--or ever.

You don't have to embrace everything to love a book or show--we should treat our media like we treat people (only we have more power of selection with media). When we really like someone, we acknowledge their faults and forgive them. Some people are good to be around because they inspire us to grow and learn and love. Some people we shouldn't hang around because they're a bad influence. It's a tricky business. So filter everything you take in. Think about it, compare it with other things--Bible stories, other books, movies, historical events, whatever, talk about it, discuss it.

 Only after I have things sorted out in my brain do I switch on the emotions and allow myself to fangirl. But when that happens, you had better look out.

 It's like checking your sleeping bag for scorpions before climbing in.

 In addition, you'll be able to explain yourself to others a lot more easily. Often I feel like I can't tell people I like certain things without them being shocked and horrified.
I can just hear "Oh, you're one of those..." running through their heads.
So, keep a disclaimer on hand.
Imaginary person 1: "Yes, I love Doctor Who."
Imaginary person 2:*awkward misjudgey silence* oh my gosh she's one of those brainless fans who slurp up all that evolutionary agenda without a moment's thought.
Imaginary person 1: "...I love how they explore sacrifice and love, and the historical episodes are really interesting. There are a few bits I don't agree with, but overall I think it's a great show. Have you ever seen any?"
Imaginary person 2: Hmm. This person has some good pointsMaybe the show isn't as bad as I thought. "No, which doctor should I start with?"
Not that actual conversations work like that, unfortunately, but it's still a good idea to have some idea in case anyone has questions, no?

Problems with Escapism
Ah, the biggie. It took me months, but I finally (thanks mostly to Omnibus) understood why the idea of belonging to my fantasy worlds appealed to me so much. It's linked to this idea:

~~When you find yourself wishing to be part of an epic, remember that you are. I'm not going to delve too deeply into this, but the Bible is seriously the most exciting fantasy story ever written, with the best Hero and the best minor characters. Only it's not fantasy; it's real. All the others, at some level, are just imitating. It's the only book whose 'fandom,' if you will, actually gets to live in its world and participate in the adventure. I personally find that a bit mind-blowing.

If you've made it this far, congratulations!

Do any of you have any tips for thriving in the clutches of fandom?

 *yes, this is a word. I made it up. You have my permission to use it as much as you like.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Obscure Fandom Day

Since I'm pretty dead from being in town all day, I thought a short post was in order.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you a book that I'm not even sure has a fandom!
 Some dear friends were kind enough to insist that we read this book; I'm sure glad they did. It's quite an intimidating-looking thing--not Les Mis heavy, but still pretty thick. In the beginning of the book whoever wrote the foreword said he took three days of steady reading to finish it.
So of course I said "Challenge accepted" and read it in two.
The Hidden Hand is fast-paced (for 1859), intense (yet still oddly lighthearted) and generally just fun. It's also American--see? I can read non-British things, if only on occasion. It's full of mysteries, abductions, broken hearts, grumpy old men, evil, mustache-twirling blackguards, Black Donald (I like him too much), and sass. Lots and lots of sass--mainly from Capitola, who is basically the opposite of a mild-mannered blonde Victorian heroine. She cracks me up.
I found it to be completely satisfactory in its ending--it has sad parts, but it neither sacrifices its characters to complete tragedy nor falls into the stereotypical happy ending trap. There are a lot of Christian themes woven in, not tacked on, which was impressive.
Its main fault is too many exclamation points! All the time! But we must forgive it its little quirks. We can't all be Jane Austen.
So if you've never read this book and are looking for something fun but not *too* fluffy, give it a try.   Jess and I are working on a dreamcast project, because there needs to be a movie for this thing. Once you read it, send one of us a note and we'll add you to the Pinterest board!
I hope I'm wrong about this book not having a fandom--now's your chance to prove me wrong.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Can INTJs Fangirl?

There you have it.

Actually, that's not true. As most of you know, I am an INTJ, which is hardly the fangirliest type--we have a general reputation of being sarcastic loners with no emotions whose only purpose is to take over the world.

Gee. Fun.
So, a few weeks ago, just out of curiosity, I did a Google search on the fangirling capabilities of the INTJ type. As I was typing, I found some interesting suggestions...

Another search proved even more interesting...
...apparently people have doubts as to our having feelings, or hearts, at all...
"I've been reliably informed that I don't have one."
...but we all know that's not quite true. 
True, INTJs are not 'emotional.' If someone asks how we are feeling, we might respond with a moment of reflection and 'fine,' because we literally don't feel anything at the moment--a perfectly normal state of being for us. When we're talking, we probably say something like "I think that that is not a good idea" where others would say 'I feel like that's not a good idea." Emotion is not a go-to state. And that's all right. An INTJ (or this one, at least) is 'happy' when her brain is occupied, usually on some hypothetical scenario or some long, twisty train of thought (usually philosophical, in my case). We think. We judge. It's what we DO.*  We don't normally feel sad--frustrated is a better word. If something's wrong, we try to fix it, or at least figure out how it could be fixed, or what made it go wrong in the first place. We aren't easily manipulated by pathos arguments.
This doesn't happen a lot to me, luckily. But I understand.

That doesn't leave much room for this, does it?
a gif of fangirling. Thanks, Pinterest.

Most INTJs probably feel--er, think, that fangirls/fanboys are completely ridiculous (to be fair, a good quantity are). They are disgusted by their gushing and blind adoration of flawed things.  For an INTJ to fangirl, she thinks she would have to turn her brain off. And thinking is everything. 

However,  the world does not and was not made to make perfect sense. It's messy. It's illogical. It's beautiful. A purely rationalistic viewpoint misses out on some of the best things this crazy life has to offer (read Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl for more information). There's nothing wrong with correctly moderated emotions. In fact, there's a lot right with them. 
This may sound ridiculous, but fangirling can actually be a sort of emotional exercise for the INTJ. When she enjoys something and exerts herself to show it, she is opening herself to others, making herself vulnerable--one of the most difficult things for an INTJ to do. When she talks to fellow fans, she's learning how to communicate better and even tolerate others' crazy feelings.  
When she obsesses over stories, she's not just gulping them down; she's analyzing every bit and her J (judging) is working like crazy. She's learning how to care about others, learning how people act and why they do what they do. 
And if a story makes her cry (which happens rarely), her understanding of pain and sorrow will become firsthand, without actually having to go through tragedy--when something breaks through the outer shell and touches an INTJ's heart, it usually leaves quite a mark. She'll learn how to deal with it. Maybe she'll even learn how to deal with people experiencing it. Catharsis, of sorts.
Even the Brain has his moments. 

So living in a fandom is quite beneficial to the INTJ, if she's careful.

As to the question of the capability of INTJs to fangirl, the answer is yes. However, there may be more going on than one would realise. 
 ~~An INTJ is likely to deliberately imitate the fangirls around her, because her emotions don't translate themselves well. She has to learn how to identify them and act accordingly. So, if you see an INTJ write 'SQUUUEEE!' in truth that was probably not her immediate reaction. 
~~the real reaction probably went like this: (after seeing an exciting announcement)
1. She reads the article
2. She verifies it by research from other sources
3. Her brain processes the implications of what she just read.
4. Here is where emotion starts to enter the picture. She feels a tickling in the pit of her stomach, and as she ate nothing to disrupt her digestion that day she assumes that it is excitement. She has read descriptions of such. Hmm. I think I am excited. I should alert my friends.
5. Hmm...I *am* excited. What do people say when they are excited? Ah yes. 
6.. She composes an appropriate response and sends it...

 ...although her actual response was nothing like the image she projects. She's not actually faking; she's simply trying to translate.
Well, there you have it, a quick guide to you INTJ fangirl. I hope this was helpful. And hopefully you also no longer doubt my credibility to post on the topic of fandoms, just because I have the personality type of Nietzsche or a not-short French dictator.** 

For further insight, remember that these are thought (at least by me) to be INTJs too...
Mr Darcy models my average INTJ fangirl/boy face. Lizzy taught Darcy about feelings and as a result he grew into the ideal of every Janeite today!
I'm only on episode 3 right now, but I'm loving seeing how Sherlock has changed since he became friends with John. He's still got a long way to go.
I love how Elsa goes through emotional developement--from hiding to 'let it go' to love.
Note: it has been pointed out to me that Elsa displays more INFJ-type qualities. I'm good with that, but I won't take her picture down because I like it.
and, of course...
our dear Jane. 

*bonus points if you guess this paraphrase's original source. Family members and Emery exempt. 
**if you thought of Horrible Histories and guessed Napoleon, you are awesome.
Disclaimer: I speak mainly from my own experience, thus the feminine pronouns.
 If you are an INTJ and feel I have misrepresented our type, please leave a comment--you know I love a good 'discussion.' Come to think of it, leave a comment anyway, angry INTJ or no.

31...er, 30...er, 30ish Day Challenge?


How's that for an exciting start? Since I believe, apparently, in arriving fashionably late to events, I found no reason to make an exception for the 31 Days challenge.
Apprehension and uncertainty had nothing to do with it, I assure you.

So, without further fuss,

Welcome to...

30ish Days of Fandom Randomness! 

(clever title, no? I came up with it myself)

...in which I shall attempt to post something every day for the rest of the month. The topic is my 'fandoms' which is short for 'fanatic domain,' (thank you Pinterest) or a domain of fans.

People who inhabit fandoms are generally called fans; if one wishes to be gender-specific, fanboys or fangirls. The latter are most common and most prominent.  I thought we might start with a few definitions to smooth the way for those of who who may be unfamiliar with the topic.

fangirl--noun, 1. a female fan 2. one who fangirls
fangirl--verb, 1. to feel excitement concerning a fandom 2. see 'whale noises' or 'pterodactyl screaming'  3. a seizure--symptoms: impossibly high-pitched whining noises and temporary paralysis of the upper body (with the exception of the hands, which often flap about wildly), combined with difficulty breathing.
Example: "I am fangirling so hard about the Dauphin rescue scene."

past tense: fangirled-- 1.to have been fangirling under the circumstances described above 2. a feeling of exhaustion caused by fangirling
Example: "I am all fangirled out after that Tinkerbell movie. OH HIDDLES!" 

To fanboy is also generally accepted as a verb but is less commonly used, due to the scarcity of the species.

Feels: noun, emotions, usually overpowering. Always used in plural form.
"Oooooh the FEELS!"

Ship, shipping: verb, to desire two characters to become romantically attached to each other.
Example:  (in reference to a conversation between two characters that implies possible attraction) "I ship it!" 
"I am shipping Sherlolly so hard right now." 

Ship: noun, a (real or imagined) couple. Often associated with nautical terminology. 
Example: "My ship has sunk. Curse you, Moffat!" 
OTP: a shipping acronym for "One true pairing," meaning the shipper's ideal or favorite couple. The 'one' can be misleading, as most fans have several OTPs 
Shipping names: one of the most confusing habits of the fandoms is the tendency to type seemingly unintelligible gibberish. "Knighthouse? What's that about?" 
This is an example of a shipping name, which is developed by smashing together the names of the two parties of a ship for quicker reference. Simple, no?
Canon: in accordance with the original inspiration or material. 
"I really like the Canon references in "A Study in Pink."  
Squee: exclamation. Short for "I am squealing loudly like a stuck pig at the moment because I am excited." 
There are many more terms, of course, but that should prove sufficient for now.
Over the next few weeks we will explore several different aspects of being in a fandom, a few of my fandoms, and fandom-produced stuff. Some possible topics:
Obscure Fandom Day, Old Fandom Day, Random Fandom Day, The Starving Fandom, Frightening Fangirls, How to keep Your Conscience Safe while Fangirling, Fanfiction: Yes or No? Liking with a Disclaimer, Can INTJs fangirl? When is it okay to Fangirl? Is there Life after Fangirling? (no),  and that tricky game, Faking Fandoms

I hope you'll come along for the adventure as we delve deep into this fascinating world.
"Do you wanna come with me? 'cause if you do, you're going to see all sorts of things. And it won't be quiet, it won't be safe, and it won't be calm. But I tell you what it will be. The trip of a lifetime."

Leave a comment and tell me what you want me to write first (bonus points to you if you guess the quote. Not that points are worth anything)!

Disclaimer: I do not own any photos that I did not take. If it looks like I didn't take them, then they're not mine.