Minion of the Universe (littera_abactor) wrote,
Minion of the Universe

Not-Fandoms and Me: A Sad Tale of Slash Corneas

So, cereta asked people to tell her what obscure books or movies or comics or whatever we've come across lately and thought, "Yuletide fandom!" And the thing is - well. I can't really do that. I'm handicapped by a litle thing I've heard called slash corneas (although really it ought to be slash occipital lobe, because it goes deeper than just my eyes).

See, once upon a time, I had never heard of slash. But I was still a slasher, and the proof is in everything I read obsessively and repetitively between the ages of 10 and 14 (Georgette Heyer, Wodehouse, Asimov's I, Robot, Moby Dick, John D. MacDonald, and on and on and on, believe you me). It's not just that I see now that it's all wonderfully subtextual and slashy, it's that I saw it then. I just didn't know the name for the dynamic that fascinated me so.

But now that I do know what slash is, and why it fascinates me, and I have Best Beloved as my partner in crime for the slash hunt (kind of like a treasure hunt, but at the end there's glorious, glorious porn), I see slash everywhere - so much so that I really couldn't answer cereta's question without copying down most of the contents of my library and DVD collection.

As an example, and to answer said question, I dug up the rest of this post, which I wrote three weeks ago but decided wasn't worth posting. (Yeah, that happens. A lot. You all should be very grateful that you're spared 80% of my rambling; I expect, at minimum, an e-card in thanks. Maybe something with a tasteful puppy motif.) But, hey, if Lucy needs distraction, I want to give it to her, so - here's my Not-Fandom I Saw Slash in Recently.


I'm watching a documentary - Best Beloved gets anime from Netflix and I get documentaries; it's just our thing - called The Cutting Edge. It's about film editing, and it's fascinating in its own right. I totally recommend it to anyone who likes either slash or vids, and if you like both, get it right now.

Because it's not just educational; it's also the slashiest thing I have ever seen. Film editing, it turns out, is slashier than due South and The Sentinel combined. No. It's more slashy than that.

We are, as I write this, thirteen minutes in. And we've already had to pause to sketch out the obvious RPS begging to be written between D.W. Griffith and his editor, James Smith. I can't quite capture the insanely slashy descriptions of their relationship - you'll just have to watch the documentary for yourself - but the salient facts are these:
  1. They were together basically around the clock in the studio, "working" late into the night on the film shot during the day.

  2. They were joined at the hip.

  3. And when Smith got married to another editor during the shooting of Intolerance, Griffith gave the two of them the weekend off.
I'm sorry. There's a whole story in there - the desperate 2 a.m. blowjobs, Griffith's abrasive personality, Smith's yearning for conventionality and his feelings of suffocation under Griffith's rising fame and creative obsessions, the introduction of Rose, Smith's relationship with Rose, Griffith's rising jealousy desperately suppressed, the weekend off that Griffith spends drinking in the studio - I mean, it writes itself. Right? Right? (God, I hope I'm not alone in this. Slashland is a better place to live when you have neighbors.)

And then Ridley Scott says that picking an editor is like getting married, and of course my brain goes immediately to "a partnership is like a marriage, son."

And then Quentin Tarantino talks about how he wanted a female editor on his first movie, Reservoir Dogs, because he thought she'd be more nurturing and less aggressive, and -

Okay. First, Best Beloved says, "Mommy issues! Quentin, your mommy issues are showing."

And then I say, "Is it just me, or does he talk exactly like Rodney McKay?"

And he does. He so totally does. The first time he shows up in the documentary, when he's trying to dumb down editing so that the (idiot - this is never stated but clearly implied) audience can understand it, he's got the Rodney-explaining-things-to-Elizabeth tone. Later, he's got the hand gestures, the inflections - it's just, it's fucking terrifying how much he sounds and moves like Rodney McKay.

So BB and I discuss this for a bit, and then I say: "OH MY GOD. AU. Rodney's a director, John is the editor!"

And then we get to Tarantino's description of the editing of the date scene in Pulp Fiction, where he loses it and starts flailing his hands around (I was afraid someone would get hurt, seriously) and says stuff like, "And sometimes I get annoyed with her for not reading my mind 100%, all right. It's not good enough that she reads it 80% of the time, all right." (One thing he does that Rodney McKay does not do, thank god, is say "all right" at the end of every fucking sentence until you want to beat him to death.)

Sally Menke, the editor from Pulp Fiction (and Reservoir Dogs) says, "We work very intensely together and it's kind of amazing that we still like each other. If I was with my husband that long, I don't think I'd like him that much."

And then comes another director/editor pair, Alexander Payne/Kevin Tent, and Payne is saying that making a movie is exhausting. After he's written the script, gotten the financing, cast the movie, directed it, etc., he's so happy to get to the cutting room because he can finally start making the movie. "It's like I've washed up on shore."

Tent, his editor, says: "It's so hard to be a director. It's hard on the set, by the time they come into the cutting room the first week, they're usually half the people they were when they started out, you know, they're shells of the people they were. And, at least in my cutting room, I try to make it very easygoing and try to heal them back into shape so that they can get to work on the movie." I just - am I the only one who hears the plaintive voices crying out for slash there?

(By the way, Payne and Tent told a story - in different interviews, but they cut back and forth between them telling it precisely the same way, and, hello, MORE SLASHINESS - about editing Election; for a pivotal scene, Payne wanted to cut it one way - like The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, with swelling music and very long close-ups on each face - and Tent wanted to use dozens of very fast cuts, and Tent ended up getting his way via bribery.

I'm sorry, is it just me or can you hear Rodney saying, "No. NO. John, I'm the director, and we're going to - it's going to be just like -"

"Rodney, if you say The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly again, I'm going to -"

"It's perfect! Come on - the drama, the swelling music, the long, long shots -"

John lowered his head and let it rest on the edge of his table. "Rodney. No."

Rodney folded his arms across his chest, raised his chin, and pouted. John had always found the expression ridiculously endearing, but since Rodney usually pulled it when John pretty much wanted to strangle him, it tended not to be really obvious. And Rodney - well. He was Rodney.

John closed his eyes. Right now, he didn't need to find Rodney endearing. He needed to find Rodney a new job. Or maybe he just needed to find himself a gun.

"'Genius.' 'Stunning vision.' 'One of the most compelling, fresh, and creative directors of our time,'" Rodney said, using his interview voice. "'His movies define a generation.'"

"And who cut those films?" John went right ahead and answered himself, since Rodney wasn't going to. "I did. And who argued with you about the flying motorcycle scene? I did. And the sex scene in the shower? I did. And the alien hives coming alive? I did. And I was right. And I'm right about this, and it's 2 a.m., and I know you've been through three vats of espresso but some of us need sleep, so - look. You know I'm right. Stop fighting it."

Rodney sighed heavily, the classic put-upon genius, and said, "John. You're not seeing my vision here."

"I'm seeing your vision fine. The problem is that you aren't hearing me tell you it sucks."

John didn't need to be able to see Rodney to know that he was leaning forward now, his arms open, his hands framing a widescreen. "John, just picture it. Okay, so he comes in, and his -"

"Rodney. Please. I will pay you money to just let me cut it my way."

There was a pause, and John cracked one eye open. Rodney was wearing his thinky face.

"How much?"

"Fifty dollars."

"Not worth it." Rodney sounded smug.



"Rodney, I'll blow you. Just let me fucking cut it my way."

Another pause, and then Rodney said, "You'll - seriously?" His voice cracked on the last syllable.

John lifted his head up all the way; suddenly he was a lot less tired. He looked Rodney up and down, head tilted, inspecting the goods, until Rodney's face started to fall, and then he said, "Yup. After you let me make the cut."

"God, just - do it, okay? Do it already." Rodney obviously couldn't figure out what expression he was supposed to be wearing or how he was supposed to be acting, and he'd settled on a fascinating combination of truculence, anger, amusement, disbelief, and hope. But his face was flushing and he didn't know what to do with his hands, and even someone who wasn't an expert speaker of non-verbal Rodney would know what that meant.

John reached out to his board, tapped two keys, and saved his work. Then he turned to Rodney, licked his lips, and smiled.

I mean, it's not just me, right? You can see it now, right? Oh, god, please tell me you can see it; I don't want to be all alone in the land of Slash Everywhere.)

And Payne says, "I think editors are like sly politicians." I mean - hello! JOHN! He sucks at working with the natives, but with one individual person? If that person is Rodney? YES.

And then, as if this documentary wasn't wonderful enough, they throw in a little bonus cookie of film wank, with Rob Cohen all, "Fast cutting is like OMG SO COOL and all you people with your forty-second shots are SO LAME and OLD and stuff."

And Martin Scorsese is all, "Listen, noob, you're RUINING THE CULTURE with your fast cuts. You're destroying society!"

And I say to Best Beloved: "Hey, I think I saw this argument on metafandom like, last week."

Seriously, this is the best documentary ever. You need to watch it. And film is so my new fandom. Well, this week, anyway.


So there you have it: a look at a post I didn't post, and a discussion of the latest not-fandom I briefly became obsessed with. Plus, hey, it's a handy exemplar for the Slash Brain Diagnostic Test. (This would be the example for the "very severe" diagnosis, for the record.)

Okay. Time to send me the e-cards saying, "Thank you for usually sparing us the unfiltered contents of your brain. Please return to this policy ASAP." (Remember: puppy motif! Or, or, maybe wombats, if you can find them! Or red pandas!)

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