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Helen LovejoyApril 16, 2014: In a thread titled “Make a plea to TPTB,” a nonny alluded to wank about Cecil, the [gay] main character of Welcome to Night Vale, not being corporeal. Asked for details, they checked and reported back complaints about a headcanon that Cecil was a computer program, which was said to be “dehumanising queer people.” All relevant Tumblr accounts have since been deleted, but one of the people leveling the “dehumanization” accusation was Trepannist.

Another nonny replied, “Trepannist has gone completely over the edge on this. I almost wonder if they're having some sort of breakdown because there is nothing of love or enjoyment of the canon on their tumblr, just endless continual wank and flagellation over how horrific every single person who likes the show is.

There was some discussion in response about the activities of WTNV BNFs such as Cecilos and InternLeland. Then, on the evening of April 17, Trepannist herself showed up in the thread remarking, “My reputation precedes me.” She noted that InternLeland had been speaking out against white-supremacist harassment of “people in the tag specifically devoted to promoting poc headcanons for Cecil for months now.” She also complained that some people on Tumblr “have refused to tag triggering content which has made the tags unsafe for browsing,” and that “abusive interpretations of relationships have been glorified and promoted to a terrifying extent.” She concluded by offering to converse with people via her askbox, “although you seem more intent on questioning my mental stability than my arguments. Ah well. Good night.

A nonny expressed sympathy about the racism but added, “The internet isn't a safe space. Learn to block users and if you're super sensitive, turn off automatic image showing.” Trepannist clarified that “a certain extrememly popular fandom artist has encouraged others to refrain from [tagging],” after which she was told that it still wasn't anyone's obligation to tag.

Yet another nonny asked her about the “abusive interpretations of relationships,” and Trepannist replied by asserting that “In the Carlos/Cecil section of AO3 there are 27 hits for non-con, 25 for rape/non-con, 21 for dub con, and 9 for mildly dub con… That doesn't even touch on the huge number of incredibly gross and abusive AUs, fics in which Cecil is 'possessive' and manipulative, and 'darkfics'.” She also complained about “a literal paedophilia AU” and abuse fics about Kevin. All of this offended her because Cecil/Carlos is “one of the most healthy canon queer fictional relationships I've ever seen.”

It was pointed out to her that 82 out of 2,000 Cecil/Carlos fics is not that much. Another nonny demanded to know, “Are you genuinely for real? Are you arguing that the presence of non-con fic in a fandom is so terribly shocking that it needs a push back? Did YKINMKATO just completely pass you by?” They also challenged Trepannist's perception that “darkfic” is OOC for the canon, or that possessive!Cecil fic is that common.

Within a few comments, Trepannist was pulling the "WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!" card:

Where do you think queer kids learn to look when they can't find themselves anywhere but fanfiction?

I'm sure that none of you doubt that 13 year olds are reading what's up on AO3, but has it honestly never occurred to you that they actually do learn from and normalise what they read?

The responses were swift and angry. This was one of the best:

I was that thirteen year old, waaaay back in the 90s. Fanfic was a godsend- all these stories about people like me! All kinds of stories! Romance, adventure, action… for the first time, I felt like I wasn't a complete freak. Slash probably literally saved my life. So I read a lot of it. God, everything I could find.

And you know what? I read a lot of fucked up things. Hell, I wrote some fucked up things. But one) the good outweighed the bad and two) sometimes, writing fucked up things is your way of processing them. Sometimes I WANTED to read about my favorite characters being bad people, but not bad *because* they were gay, because being gay was normal. Sometimes I wanted to write about people doing terrible things because when I wrote those things, I could control them. I didn't write noncon, but I wrote a lot of gore/torture, because it was something that scared me, and by writing I could explore those feelings safely. i could face the worst possible things, if only in my mind. If you asked me at the time, though, I wouldn't have said that. I didn't know why I was drawn to it, just that I was.

I just… we live in a kind of fucked up world. Some people need to read/write about a better one, and some people want to explore darker things. And sometimes that writing is going to be REALLY PROBLEMATIC, because the writers are living in the same world and not everyone is aware of what draws them to these things. They're figuring things out, too. Fiction gives us the ability to explore these ideas in a relatively safe way. I'm all for encouraging healthy, positive relationships in both canon and fanfic, for talking about why a certain depiction is unhealthy, and for warning people who find it distressing. But the idea that people shouldn't write dark stuff at all… I can't get on board with that.

Trepannist also quoted Cecil Baldwin about how the podcast could help LGBT teens realize they and their significant others could have happy lives. She was challenged to answer how that quote contradicted the anon she was replying to, how the presence of noncon fic in fandom erased the functional relationship in canon; she didn't answer either question. Nor did she engage with the nonny who replied, “I am queer. I've been through my angst and that moment of being 15, 16, 17, 18 and looking for people like me. You know where I didn't look? Kink fic. So clutching your pearls over how evil it is that people enjoy non-con when kinkfic isn't canon in any way possible is ridiculous.”

This nonny made a spreadsheet that compared noncon in the Cecil/Carlos tag with noncon in the Kevin tag and also with noncon in tags for five other juggernaut pairings in fandom. They reported that Cecil/Carlos has the lowest percentage of noncon, about half the total average for all these pairings.

Trepannist never engaged with that comment, either. She did, however, complain, “It's almost funny that my attempt to inform the people here of the real problems within [WTNV fandom] has been derailed by an enthusiastic defence of the glorification of abuse and rape. Not that I expected much better, lol” She was roundly mocked for claiming that people disagreeing with her were “derailing.”

In the next post a few days later, a nonny linked to a now-deleted Trepannist post (her entire Tumblr has been deleted) quoting Tumblr user verygibbous responding to a complaint about the push to “only have healthy loving relationships in fanfic” with: “healthy loving relationships are a 'trend' now omfg. trendy stylish consensual relationships is this a super villain monologue. it's like. surreal”. Trepannist showed up twice to say she hadn't seen the word “only” in the original post before she reblogged. Nonnies told her to stop engaging.

On a side note, it was asked “why someone who has chosen the Tumblr URL 'trepannist' would be concerned about whether people are engaging in 'healthy' fantasies or not. :\” This inspired a bit of Cecil/Carlos trepanation fic:

“I only love you for your big scientific brain,” Cecil said, power drill in hand.

“Argh,” said Carlos, tugging futilely at the tentacles holding him down. “I thought you loved my hair.”

“Yes,” Cecil said dreamily. “And the advantage of this primitive method of brain removal is that your empty skull will be as pretty as ever. Ha. Ha.”

“Argh,” said Carlos again, with more pronounced emphasis.

trepannist.txt · Last modified: 2021/08/30 19:14 by nonnymousely