OTW elections are coming up. As I hope you all know, OTW (the Organization for Transformative Works) is a nonprofit that runs AO3. It also participates in advocacy, runs Fanlore (a wiki on fandom history) and Transformative Works and Cultures (an academic journal), and does lots of other fandom-y things, but let’s be real here: you care because AO3 is where you get your fix.
This year, there will be a rare opportunity to vote in a heavily-contested election. Your vote counts. This post will be long. I am from the time of the internet dinosaurs when teal dear frolicked upon Usenet. Deal with it. Now on to election thoughts:
I don’t like Chicken Little attitudes: OTW has been plagued by naysayers who think it’s on the point of collapse since the Livejournal post where the concept of AO3 was first proposed. OTW is not going to suddenly collapse just because the “wrong” person wins an election. But the reality is that AO3 got fucking ginormous much, much faster than anticipated, and the management and planning just didn’t keep up. There have been problems with project management, communication, and delegation for years at this point. Financially… well, OTW is Magic Mike, and fandom’s been making it rain, but a lot of that money remained stuffed in OTW’s thong, doing nothing useful. Looks like there’s no oversight of it at the moment either.
Culture-wise, there have been widespread problems with hostile environment, unprofessional behavior, and extreme burnout, and I’m not just talking about whichever Board member we’re convinced is the devil right now. Nasty, toxic behavior pops up easily all over the org, from the board on down to the volunteers. I’ve been a volunteer. I’ve been on multiple committees. I’ve chaired. I’ve been on the Board. The problems are burnout, nobody knowing what they ought to be doing and therefore feeling a massive sense of guilt/impostor syndrome/I left the stove on at all times, and a few toxic assholes who just can’t help themselves. And, because of these other factors, epic levels of paranoia and refusal to give anyone the benefit of the doubt result. Voila! Crazy-making hostile environment. Maybe it has changed since I quit the Board and org work in general, but it doesn’t sound like it.
It would have been sensible to quit because I was too burnt out to answer emails or do a remotely decent job of being a Board member or because of people doing the digital equivalent of screaming in my face and then going “Oops, I overreacted” as though that magically erases the attack. I’m not that sensible. I actually had a time conflict with the annual retreat, and it seemed like an opportune moment to leave.
Here’s what I have learned in my time at OTW:
The only people you should be electing are those with good social skills.
Professionally, I have worked with quite a few people who “tell it like it is” (i.e. who are rude assholes). To a person, they were extremely slick, they were extremely functional, and they got shit done. That’s how they got away with stepping on so many toes. Within OTW, it isn’t like that: the tellin’ it like it is people are generally not efficient-yet-brusque. No, they are ticking time bombs of anxiety and poor reading of social cues waiting to explode in a gooey spurt of miscommunication, emotional abuse, and tantrum-throwing. (A pity Fandom Wank chafed itself out of existence a long time ago.) The display of martyr complex that follows one of these wanksplotions is the cherry on top of the jizz sundae. Yes, I know that failure to understand social cues and a keen sense of one’s own oppression are business as usual for fandom, but they are incompatible with a career in management or in a high-stress team environment. Sorry guys, but that’s the truth. Elect somebody gracious and calm. They’ll be the only one who will actually get the job done.
Whomever you elect should also have good management skills: management of projects, management of people, management of their own time. Many people who work for OTW devote the equivalent of a full time job to it, without pay. Some people make this work. Many don’t. Ideally, there will come a day when things are not so stressful, but we’re dealing with the here and now. Elect somebody who can take the heat.
In my opinion, whomever you elect should be new to the Board. Regardless of who’s at fault, serving on the Board means getting involved in a backlog of feuds. Turnover is good for OTW. Fresh faces mean less baggage and new ideas. That’s one reason I left OTW entirely and haven’t been back.
I have yet to decide on my exact ballot, but I will be ranking Atiya Hakeem, Katarina Harju, and Matty Bowers high.
Reblogging both for signal & so I can find the thing six weeks from now.
Source: Here’s a Quarter
the Hobbit is ONE book that has been stretched into THREE movies. Bilbo, unlike, hella many protags has no forced heteromance to satiate the romantic audiences desire. One of the central conflicts and POIs is his growing and disintegrating relationship with Thorin (as well as the rest of the co. but Thorin specifically). To make some stretched and ‘eh’ movies slightly more interesting, like ben hur, the actors act out a non-textual story of Bilbo and Thorin falling in love with each other. And of course all of this would feel possible and without any repercussions for Jackson as far as following through on queerness goes because he knows Thorin is gonna die.
Ben Hur & Queer Subtext: x
Young!Bilbo’s literal last words of the series are answering the question of what Thorin meant to him.
What Thorin means to Bilbo is literally at the center of BotFA, it is the final note, it is the final question answered. Yet even then Martin demonstrates his extraordinary ability to appear to be thinking and saying two things at once. Bilbo looks utterly heartbroken, as if he’s staring down a long tunnel towards a an dark and empty future, as he’s being asked once more to delve into the single most painful moment of his life to someone who has ransacked his home and whom he must utterly despise. He must come up with an answer that he hasn’t been able to speak to one of his closest friends (which Balin unequivocally is in the movie but especially in the book) and do so simply to be left alone with his own home, sorrow, and thoughts.
I don’t for one second believe, “He was my friend.” was the full extent of the truth. Fili and Kili were Bilbo’s friends too, and receive not even a mention after the initial tragedy. Thorin is the literal capstone of Bilbo’s experience on the journey. Bilbo left without treasure, with only a few souvenirs and some small renown, and a Ring that will slowly drive him mad in much the same way another golden treasure drove Thorin mad, and there are no happy endings and no one got what they wanted, except in the broadest sense that would likely have been exchanged in a second if given the chance. Worse, Thorin’s madness was not singular in the slightest, but the very person who saved him from it is subjected to it too, only now without the aid of the other to save him from it, or his isolation, and if someone had the gall, the audacity, to say this relationship wasn’t at the center of the movie, wasn’t the heart and depth and soul of it, and if that ever happened I would be stunned speechless.
…Which is my very rambling, post-addendum way to say, well done, very lovely analysis and it reminded me once against why I’m so utterly devastated over these two
I think I should have watched The Man from UNCLE movie before marathoning the TV show because Robert Vaughn and David McCallum are just perfect and I can’t imagine anyone else than those two.
Cosigned. But as a huge fan of the TV show, I still enjoyed the movie in an Au fanfic kind of way.
Cicero sends greetings to Atticus.
I have nothing to write. I’ve heard nothing in the way of news, and I replied to all of your letters yesterday. But since melancholy not only robs me of sleep but also does not even let me endure staying awake without the greatest pain, I have begun to write to you something or other without any topic put forward in it, so that it’s like I’m speaking with you, the only way in which I find repose.