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Fanfic and Deconstruction, or I don’t think that’s what Derrida meant, Zutarans

So I’ve totally over-reached myself on this one. That’s what you get for being a smarta*%e Madam... So all that goes below is based on a limited and biased understanding of the subject matter. Make of it what you will and if you are a Derrida scholar, please kick me into touch.

So Jacques Derrida is generally regarded as either one of the most important post-modernists ever to live, or one of the most obscure and ornery writers in the history of the world, depending on your perspective. As an area of study, he and his works are up there with Proust as being Quite Hard. Sort of the literary equivalent of Brain Surgery or Rocket Science . But without the ability to save lives or propel us to other worlds. Yeah, that’s right. Science man.

As regards literary criticism, he came up with the term Deconstruction, but, as the Other wiki observed, “he carefully avoided defining the term directly.”

Now, I trained as a scientist (I am not one, and haven’t done actual science for a while now), and that sort of statement makes me a) hopping mad and b) suspect the guy was deliberately obfuscating so that he could move the goal posts. C’mon, the guy says stuff like this: "Needless to say, one more time, deconstruction, if there is such a thing, takes place as the experience of the impossible."

Say what, now?

But anyhoo! The essence of what Derrida seemed to feel about stuff other folks write is encapsulated in the famous statement, “There is nothing outside the Text.”

I think that what was actually mean by this is that as a work is the sum of all its influences and since influences are subjective (ie my influences are peculiar to me, ain’t no one else got just the same ones) and vast, it is practically speaking, impossible to say what is ‘meant’ by any piece of writing because you can’t get in the author’s head. But equally, some interpretations of a work which could be made were not, or were not consciously made, by the author, because the list of ALL possible influences or interpretations is basically infinite.

That’s pretty much an invitation to interpret any piece of creative writing, film or any other media in any way you like. Which means the Zutarans have every right to bang on about their One True Lovepairing.

But so does everyone else. Including Bryke. Perhaps even, especially Bryke?

I do find it strange that people who are obsessively into something can be just as obsessively against the decisions that the people who gave them that awesome thing make regarding the direction it takes. Sure you can think the last series or so of Lost got a bit.. well... lost, but it ain’t going to change things. At the end of the day, they made something you love. Lap it up. Learn from their storytelling ability. Bow in awe at their success. And if you want some of that, try to get better at whatever it is you are doing.

I am aware that as a franchise expands, that undefined space becomes smaller and more limited. The Avatar universe is in a state of Schrodinger's Canon, with events in both The Promise and Korra defined by the writers, but as yet unknown to most of us. It can be a bit frustrating. But guys! We love this stuff. Keep the faith!!! Play Ultimate shipping wars! Be joyful that Bryke continue to shower us with their munificence.

And if when it comes, you find yourself feeling frustrated by the course a particular story arc is taking, if you are thinking, I could do better, maybe that means you have sufficient imagination to start doing your own stuff! Be brave! Create your own worlds and characters, or if that’s a bit hard, steal ones you like and disguise them really well I think that might be a more productive use of clearly fertile imaginations that shipping wars or angry comments or leaving the forum.

I think if you are here, it's because you love Avatar, and since everyone else here does too, that means we should all be merrily skipping round the garden singing 'Secret Tunnel!' together. If you are here and you are writing, then you should consider yourself a writer.

So write.

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