You guys, I had so much fun doing this story on Jewish fanfiction for Tablet magazine. It made me realize I’ve been interested in established characters plunked into newÂ settings since college, when I did my thesis on Eudora Welty’s The Robber Bridegroom. Have you read it?Â Such a weird, oblique, troubling book, and I loved it even though I didn’t GET it. There is really troubling sexual mishegas, and the characters are flat….but there’s something GLEEFUL and powerful about the way Welty messes with her characters. (Who really aren’t HERS.) (But for whatever it’s worth, I liked Margaret Atwood’s The Robber Bride, a longer and even more subversive version of the fairy tale that was published after I graduated from college, even more.) (And here is TRIVIA: Welty hated the word novella. But her book is a novella. She’s dead so she can’t come at me.) (This may be the greatest number of back-to-back parentheses I have ever used.)
This playbill for the musical based on the book is way better than any actual cover the book ever had. Please savor it.
But hey, would itÂ have killed them to put Miss Welty’s name on it?
My friend Fawn is amused that I’m so interested in fanfic when I’ve never even seen most of the shows that writers are riffing on. But I’ve seen Supernatural, which I hatewatch with one eye while making dinner, and I love the way fans redress the show’s queer baiting and homophobia. (There is sexism and racism not being much addressed, as far as I can tell. But no one has to fight ALL the battles. And in the Book Smugglers essay I cited in the Tablet piece, novelist Foz MeadowsÂ makesÂ an excellent point about why female viewers chose to write existing white male characters.) Â I kinda feel that my responses toÂ Sherlock, Teen Wolf, Stargate: Atlantis, White Collar and other fanficsÂ are purerÂ since I’ve never seen the shows. I have the luxury of responding in a purely literary way, without the baggage of the actual source material. Which I realize is not the point — you’re SUPPOSED to approach this stuff already immersed in characterization and the show’s canon and flaws — but it’s fun to come to these things stripped as bare as a wounded, hallucinating Castiel in Dean’s bed in a remote cabin in the woods. (Wait, what?)
Here is a fake Dean/Castiel (Destiel) movie trailer for you. No cabin in the woods though.
If you are so kind as to read the Tablet piece (it’s funny, I promise) please click on the links — I only included stories I really liked, and their authors deserve your attention! Here are some othersÂ I enjoyed that I wish I’d had room to mention in the Tablet story:
In other news, I also wrote in Tablet this week about an outbreak of antisemitism in Wisconsin (go Badgers) and an Unlikeable Female Character. My piece on Cool Whip was my last story before the paywall for comments went up. It is a decent object lesson in why we hid comments. To be perfect it would have to have someone accusing me of being a self-hating Jew and/or Zionist apologist but it’s still pretty good.