Benedict Cumberbatch and Orlando Jones Have Expressed Varying Levels of Comfort With Slash
Orlando Jones is a wonderful human being, part infinity of infinity.
Over the past few days, one Benedict Cumberbatch—star of Sherlock, The Imitation Game, and Tumblr—and Sleepy Hollow‘s Orlando Jones gave interviews where the subject of slash fanfic came up. The former interview was in Out magazine, the latter in a roundtable panel at New York Comic Con. (Which I actually participated in, though sadly I was not at the table where the slash question was broached. I did, however, ask him about Orphan Black. Look for that on Friday.) Their attitudes are, erm… different.
On the more “I am actually really uncomfortable about this to the point of being vaguely condescending about it” side of things we have Cumberbatch, who spoke with Out about the “rapacious slash fiction community that has turned his chilly, acerbic, and distinctly asexual Sherlock into a lustful cock monster.” Pause to appreciate the interviewer’s phrasing.
“It’s always, like, one of them is tired, one comes back from work, the other is horny, a lump appears in his trousers, and then they’re at it,” says Cumberbatch, who’s apparently… read a lot of smexy fanfic of Sherlock and Watson? Because the “it’s just about two dudes boning” is a common misconception about slash fanfic—it’s about romance and character development and storytelling and, often, dudes boning. Via Out:
“It’s usually me getting it — I’m biting Watson’s dog tags.” Perhaps, I suggest, making Holmes and Watson gay is a way to remove other women from the picture. “Yes, yes,” he replies enthusiastically. “I think it’s about burgeoning sexuality in adolescence, because you don’t necessarily know how to operate that. And I think it’s a way of neutralizing the threat, so this person is sort of removed from them as somebody who could break their heart.”
That’s… hmm. I’m going to be diplomatic here and say that he doesn’t seem very comfortable with it, which I can’t really fault him for, because I’d be pretty freaking weirded out about explicit fanfic of myself, not gonna lie. And it is true that slash often serves as safe space for its teen/young adult writers and readers to explore their own sexual and romantic tastes. I mean, how many of us got “the talk” more from FanFiction.net and LiveJournal (really showing my age there) than from anywhere else? I would argue that’s a good thing—slash being a safe space for sexual exploration, not the appalling state of sex ed in schools, which, y’know. Not great.
On the more positive side we have the notoriously fandom-friendly Orlando Jones. When it comes to slash,
Take it away, sweet prince:
“I like the slash, and I think I like it because I feel there are so many people who are under-represented—or not represented at all—in mainstream Hollywood entertainment. I really enjoy the fan fiction that embraces character and themes that showcase those people—their love, their desires, their passions.
“I think that’s really cool—and I hope the show as it continues embraces that more, because that’s an opportunity to tell stories that other people might not be familiar with. I mean, there’s slash of me and Ichabod… that’s like, ‘What?!’ and then I read it and it was really well-written.
“I get it—it’s another way to go but it’s no less valid than what we’re doing and it’s certainly interesting, so I really get a kick out of that. To read fan fiction and to see fan art and to watch other people’s artistry paint different colors on top of what we’re doing… how can you be mad at that? That’s just completely awesome!”
Can I get that on a t-shirt? Slash serves the under-represented! Slash can be really well-written! Slash is an expression of love! Slash is a valid form of creative expression! Slash isn’t just about smut!
(via: Digital Spy)
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