I caught up with the entire third season of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic today, in time for the season finale tomorrow morning. (Yes, it's still Friday to me right now.) I know I can't really be that great of a fandom member—especially that of the most recent generation of MLP, for all the reputation that the bronies have accrued—if I haven't been watching keeping up with the episodes since mid-November... But hey, it's not like I'm that one pony freak in your area that struggles his three spare tires into XXL-size pink T-shirts emblazoned with a cotton candy–pink little girl's toy and a cryptic and probably-humorous-if-I-was-one-of-them-girly-faggots slogan every day. Everyone's allowed a vice or two, but I don't think they're allowed to define your life.
It's also inspired me to start writing again. I don't know whether or not to be proud of that or not, but I hope to at least channel some of this enthusiasm into E2 at some point. And yes, no need to be alarmed: fanfiction is definitely not something I'll force you guys to suffer through, not to mention those of the pony variety.
The whole dynamic behind fanfiction is an interesting one. Not counting the obvious joke entires, or any of the myriad poorly-written self-inserts where Mary Sue OCs sex up all of the main characters and end up being buddy-buddy with pretty much everyone who had airtime, there is a whole lot of fanfiction which is basically almost its own fiction, if it weren't for the almost superficial ties to the fandom. I won't deny that it's good to read the kind of fic wherein subtle intricacies in the conduct between characters is teased out of their canon actions into a beautiful and believable new story, regardless of whether or not the genre or subject matter matches that of the source work, but a lot of the star players are usually the ones that treat canon (and possibly fanon) as simply a vehicle to expedite exposition, so that the writer doesn't have to get bogged down in the obligatory introductions of person, place and thing: they just grab the characters already around, what with their personalities and interpersonal ties and emotional baggage, and get pretty much straight into the point of the story.
And interestingly enough, a lot of this kind of fanfiction ends up being better than a lot of mainstream/published novels, even when you consider the 'vehicle' thing. I'll admit some of the novelty comes from the way those stories reinforce or re-imagine the canon, and they're definitely not Crichtons or Asimovs, but they sure as hell trump Cussler and really start to compete with Ludlum on the sliding scale of intriguingness. And we're not even going to talk about the deal with Stephanie Meyer and the genius behind 50 Shades: fanfiction can get to be some damn good literature if you see it as something to be taken with a grain of fandom-flavoured salt.
But, of course, there will always be tripe, and there will be people with low enough or unsophisticated enough standards that the tripe might even get popular, and that which is lucky enough not to be tripe might see itself trod all over, even despite its merits. This is one of many reasons I try not to associate with my popular fandoms, especially in the case of bronies: when something becomes accessible to the layperson, any internal standards will also take on that of the layperson's. Music is mostly safe because it takes some measure of skill to get popular; the ability to regurgitate the words "no Rainbow Dash is best pony" is not so lucky as to require any modicum of effort—only shamelessness.
The hipsters, for once, were right, I think. They're still faggots for their art degrees, barista lifestyles, and PBR-tier brand loyalties, but I'll concede they might've actually been right.