OK, let me make something really, really clear here. I don't care that much about the subject I've been writing about the for the last couple of days. I have yet to see a single Japanese cultural import that didn't seem pathologically silly, boring, incomprehensible, or some combination of the above in 30 years. At best, it's mildly tolerable to me; at worst, I ask my friends "why are you showing me this?" Lest you suspect that it has something to do with Asians, I'll mention in passing that I feel the same way about almost every British book, movie, or TV show I've run across, and a fair amount of the music. So, unsurprisingly, I also don't get a rat's hindquarters about Harry Potter -- and if I don't care even that much about the canonical fiction, how much do you think I care about Harry Potter fan fiction, whether pornographic or not?
So my answer to the approximately 2/3rds of the 200 or so comments I've gotten in the last couple of days giving contradictory nitpicks about my jargon is, "I don't give a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut." Really. Can't be arsed to care.
But for the record, nobody has to tell me what "slash" is. I've been in active science fiction fandom, including Star Trek fandom back in the day, since at least 1973. When the fanzines were first having the argument over what exactly is and isn't slash, most of you weren't born yet, but I was reading those 'zines. At the time, the consensus was that fan fiction about non-canonical romantic and sexual relationships was simply fanfic, that it wasn't "slash" unless it was gay. This is not as arbitrary as it sounds, because the term "slash" comes out of the very first popular pairing, "K/S" (pronounced "kay slash ess" at the time), for "Kirk/Spock." Yes, I'm aware that the term's definition has drifted, and that it has been decades since anybody younger than me knew what "slash" used to mean. Yes, I'm aware that these days the term "slash" means fan fiction about any non-canonical relationship. Yes, I'm aware that it doesn't have to be sexual and it doesn't have to be gay to be called "slash" these days.
But I don't give a pluperfect damn, because I didn't say so. In every single paragraph where I referred to slash, I specifically referred to Harry Potter slashfic. I have enough friends who fanfic that I'm pretty confident in my estimate that right now Harry Potter fanfic is the dominant genre, anyway, the way that classic Trek was back in the day. If I had just said "fanfic" knowing that my audience would understand that I meant "fanfic, nearly all of which is Potter fic" I would have been right. But I didn't. Nor, to the best of my knowledge, did Strikethrough '07 target any fanfic other than specifically Harry Potter fanfic in which the vast majority, if not all, of the fic is about romantic and sexual relationships between the students at Hogwarts and their teachers. Yes, thank you assholes, I do know that that's not all fanfic. Which is why I never said otherwise. And everything I said about the public's reaction to the fact that you're writing stuff romanticizing age-inappropriate relationships between high school aged students and their middle aged or elderly teachers stands.
I will cop to the fact that no, I didn't know the difference between the various sub-genres of yaoi. Blame the person who taught me, the only actual yaoi fan I know personally; she's the one who told me that it's all man-boy or boy-boy sex stuff. So far as her best friend tells me, that is the only stuff that she reads. No, I didn't know better. But you know what? I still don't care. And you know why I don't care? Because I've seen this dance before too, and I know how well it works.
I'm one of the only Pagans you'll ever meet in your life who ever gave a fig about prison ministry. Even I haven't done anything about it, but at least I care a little, which is more than you can say for almost any Pagan. It's a subject that most Pagans I've approached about it run screaming from, because you never met a more reactionary person for believing that every person in prison deserves to be there and deserves every bad thing that happens to them, and for believing that whatever rights are taken away from prisoners won't affect them because those rights are only being taken away from bad people, than your average Pagan. But that's beside the point. The point is that I'm on the short list of people who've actually followed the ongoing legal hassles, some of them quite legitimate, between Norse reconstructionist Pagans and the prison administrations and staffs. Let me catch you up quickly.
There's a tiny fringe within white racist neo-nazi culture that's very into Norse paganism, mostly because they think that Hitler was, so it must be good enough for them. And they're very into recruiting any white prisoner who comes into the same jail as them, when they're in jail, into their white-power groups. Once organized into prison gangs, they routinely engage in organized mass violence against brown skinned prisoners, and against any white prisoners who won't join them for being "race traitors." So prisons have argued quite convincingly that any literature that murderous racist neo-nazi gangs want to use for recruiting other prisoners needs to be kept out of prisons, in the legitimate state interest of preventing riots and minimizing murders. So prison officials have been begging Pagan leaders, for decades now, to help them tell the difference between Norse reconstructionist Pagans who are racist neo-nazis and those who aren't. To that end, Norse reconstructionist Pagans have coined probably half a dozen different terms for what they do to specifically mean "Norse reconstructionist Pagans who aren't neo-nazi racists." That way they can say, "no, we're not (previously discredited term that has been taken over by neo-nazis). They're the bad guys. We're the (new term that hasn't yet been coopted by the neo-nazis), the good guys." But you know what? They can't stop the bad guys from using the same word, once they learn that using the new word lets them smuggle their neo-nazi propaganda into prison.
Now I'm not saying that that's the history of the division between manga that isn't yaoi and yaoi manga, that the term yaoi was coined so that manga fans who weren't fantasizing about gay teenage boys could have a clean term and could differentiate themselves from the yaoi fans and that shounen ai was coined so that yaoi fans could differentiate adult gay fiction from teen gay fiction, and that some term yet unknown to me may exist as a distinction so that the people into teen gay fiction can differentiate the stuff that's sexually explicit from the stuff that isn't. Whether that's why the terms were coined or not, whatever. I wouldn't know, I don't care. I don't care perceptibly about the differences between them, either, and you know why? Because never once in my life have I heard someone say that they're a chan fan, or a shounen ai fan. Nope. What I met the one time, and what I keep hearing about, is people with huge stacks of comic books and DVDs about gay sex between teenage boys who point to the stuff and say, "that's my animé collection" or "that's my manga collection." At most they bow to pressure from the other manga and animé collectors and call it their yaoi collection. So far as I can tell, the term shounen ai or chan or whatever is not a label that they use for themselves, it's a label that people who don't like them are trying to stick on them.
And so far as I know, there is no reason to think that that's going to work any better than the Asatruar claiming that they're not Odinists, and the Norse-Trads saying that they're not Asatruar, or whatever they're calling themselves these days saying that we're not the Norse-Trads, so that the public will only go after those awful bad guys over there. Hell's bells, I got threatened with nine kinds of retaliation by Pete Pathfinder back in the day because he believed that Pagans should be helping the cops round up the Satanists, or at least passively sitting by and doing nothing, so that the cops would understand that it's not us Pagans who are the bad people, it's those awful Satanists. He knew that the Satanists weren't any worse than we are, he just didn't care as long as his own people weren't the ones being rounded up. Well, you know what? The cops weren't even caring if they were real occultists, let alone subdividing them along finicky denominational or doctrinal lines, before deciding who to shadow or who to frame. So if a crackdown does occur on Japanese imported or Japanese inspired video and comic book porn about sex between teenage boys, or sex between teenage boys and adults, the cops aren't going to carefully ask each collector if they're yaoi fans or shounen ai fans or chan fans and leave the people who give one or another answer alone. Never going to happen. They're going to know that the people they're hunting for call themselves yaoi fans, and that's who they're going to focus on.
I'm within an inch of locking comments on this and the previous couple of days' journal entries, because my patience with the subject is long past exhausted. Because of my relevant experience and expertise, I was pressured by friends and readers into having an opinion on Strikethrough '07, on what it meant and what it meant for the future. I gave my opinion. Now I'm going back to writing about crap that I actually care about.