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09 January 2010 @ 01:11 pm
Bright Star  
I woke up this morning with the idea of writing a lengthier entry on Jane Campion's Keats movie Bright Star (For the interested: the last three years of John Keats' life, seen through the lens of his relationship with Fanny Brawne; a movie typical of Jane Campion as a director insofar as Bright Star's superb visuals, added by a strong focus on the observation of character dynamics make more than up for the film's slow pace. What struck me as most noteworthy was how Campion has managed to transfer the romanticism of Keats poems into essentially quiet but powerful images. Altogether a film well worth seeing, with some very fine actors and quite a bit of costume porn at work there*g*)

Opening my browser window, however, I got somewhat distracted, not only by reading up on the featured Keats poems, but also by the latest edition of metafandom, featuring the all time discussion classic of of how much cultural literacy fanfiction authors should expect from their audience.

Without going into any details, some of the actually quite sensible and pragmatist answers to that question scare me, mostly because I firmly believe in the importance of broadening our shared cultural horizons and the role that fiction (any fiction, not just "literature") plays as a means of transporting knowledge.
Current Mood: pensivepensive
Molly Joyful: criticjoyful_molly on January 9th, 2010 07:16 pm (UTC)
"I think you should expect your readers to have absolutely ZERO cultural literacy"

I find this neither pragmatist nor sensible, but rather insulting.

You know, I wonder if this is not the fear of writers that their readers could think they are "elitist" or that they sound pretentious for knowing something their readers maybe don't. I love finding new things in the fics I read, and if I don't know something - research and: yippieh! SOMETHING NEW!

In my opinion, keeping the level of writing at the least common denominator is the wrong way to go.
Bimo: Hamster_teabimo on January 11th, 2010 05:58 pm (UTC)
"Least common denominator" really nails it, doesn't it? *sigh*

I suspect that attitudes like the one expressed in the post you've cited are mostly the result of fandom's self-perception/self-idealization/self-delusion of being per default an all-tolerant and non-excluding global community with just the right niche for absolutely anybody. The second you publicly express the idea of certain minimum standards of knowledge, regardless how relatively low these standards might be, is also the second you exclude and thus violate one of most basic and crucial community rules.

Also, at least for a certain percentage of authors, popularity might be a factor as well, in which case a comparatively easy accessibility of the produced texts would definitely be a major plus point, guaranteeing a larger audience.

Personally, I've often found that the authors whose stories I truly enjoy are exactly the authors who are treating their readers as their equals.

(Deleted comment)
Bimo: Coopbimo on January 11th, 2010 06:14 pm (UTC)
The IMDB lists September 2009 as the official release date for Canada, so the film probably already has disappeared from most Canadian theatres. However, according to Amazon.com, the date of the US DVD release is January, the 26th :-)
diotimah on January 13th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC)
Good to hear you enjoyed Bright Star. I *love* that movie - it's one of the best recent biopics, in my opinion. Particularly because it doesn't claim to be an 'authentic' depiction of the relationship between John Keats and Fanny Brawne, but is told entirely from Fanny's perspective. And it's well-acted and wonderfully atmospheric.:-)