My lack of PETJA has managed this post into existence.

So this post I found via [livejournal.com profile] metafandom made me think about this. Yeah, yeah, I'm writing about RPF and celebrity gossip, neither of which I know very well knew very well when I started this entry. Go away.

First of all, I admit to reading some RPF. (Okay, Gary Oldman and Tim Roth were totally something of a gateway drug. And damn the Supernatural fans to hell and back. You're all damaging to my psyche, no matter how much I love you.) Yeah, I admit also to being squicked by a lot of it. For all that I've been on the internet and in fandom for more than half my life now (Jesus Christ!), I seem to have a low squick threshold for somethings. If they don't involve capslock. In any case, I do read some and sometimes I like what I read.

Some people in fandom really, really don't like RPF. In fact, there's something of a stigma against it. (Being mildly squicked by the somewhat creepy and vaguely stalkerish lens of some fics I've seen, I... I am torn on this.) I've seen it called weird and offensive and, oh, look, even I've called it creepy. Hell, [livejournal.com profile] ckr_actorfic tells readers, "I know not everybody agrees with the concept of RPF— hence the membership mod’ing and the automatic f-locking on all the entries. If you're not down with the RPF, that's okay; just please respect our right to have a difference of opinion, and we'll respect your right to not frequent this journal." Most of the RPF communities I found in my research are locked tighter than the Snarry communities after the LJ fiasco last summer. (Wow. Can I just say, wow?)

But... and I swear this comes from reading [livejournal.com profile] metafandom shortly after being out at the shops... why do people think there are problems with RPF? So, some folks think that writing fiction about Orlando Bloom bottoming for Johnny Depp is really hot. They are calling it fiction, after all. Some people think it'd be awesome if the actors from Supernatural had superpowers and used them to have kinky sex. Okay, that's obviously fiction. Some band guys are humping each other on stage (I've watched MTV, don't tell me that's not what they're doing) and their fans take that and write about them humping each other off stage. I'm not familiar with bandom, given that my favourite bands don't have much in the way of active fandoms, but I'm fairly sure they're still calling it RPF. In fact, [livejournal.com profile] wb_rps comes with this warning: "NONE OF THESE STORIES ARE REAL. THE BOYS ARE, THE THINGS WE MAKE THEM DO IN OUR SICK, SPECIAL HELL IMAGINATIONS ARE NOT." [livejournal.com profile] rugbytackle tells viewers, "All the material on this site is fictional unless specifically noted otherwise. These are our fantasies and have NO bearing on the real lives or activities of the subjects of our stories and artwork" (italics theirs).

This seems fairly clear, altogether. This is fictive stuff. Our friend Merriam-Webster defines fiction as, "1 a: something invented by the imagination or feigned; specifically : an invented story."

Ok. But some people don't like fiction. We're getting to crux of my argument here.

We are surrounded, in American culture at least, by RPF that isn't calling itself fiction and most people are calling it shiny and fine. Some of these same people are continuing to discriminate against fandom RPF.

What am I talking about, you ask? What have I been smoking? Where are these fics and vids that I'm claiming your parents and baby siblings and grandparents and bosses are reading and watching? These are people not in fandom.

Have you seen Celebrity Gossip? Have you seen Star Magazine when you pick up groceries? When you flip on the TV after work or school, have you seen E!?

TMZ, a celebrity gossip site/TV show, as far as I can tell, posts a picture of Brody Jenner (someone want to tell me who this is) and girlfriend/boyfriend/other person (I have no idea what gender Brody is). If you click on the link, you will see a picture of a bikini clad woman bent over in front of a man in swim trunks who has his hands on her back. The caption reads, "This is what Brody Jenner does all day long."

Here The Hollywood Gossip posts a number of highly disparaging comments (monthly winners) about celebrities. Included are such gems as, "June 2006: Heather Mills. Heather Mills sucks. But that one-legged, gold-digging ex-call girl sure did give us some great stories for a time," "February 2007: Antonella Barba. This New Jersey-ite couldn’t sing all that well, but her oral skills were on full display. If you know what we mean. We mean there were pics on the Internet of her servicing some schmoe," and "October 2007: Heidi Montag. Heidi and Spencer engaged! Heidi and Spencer call off wedding! Heidi and Spencer pose for staged pics on the beach! A story about them always gets attention, which Heidi Montag loves."

Here Star Magazine speculates about Vin Diesel's secret babies. Here you can vote on how many kids Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt should have (although last week when I was buying milk, I think the same magazine claimed that Brad Pitt had left her). "However many they want" is not an option, sadly. Learn all about Shia LaBeouf's family life here. I'd go on, but, honestly, I think I'm already losing brain cells.

I think you get the idea. If you go to the grocery store, the pharmacy, or the newstand or if you turn on the TV, you've seen it. Celebrity gossip, it's everywhere. Frankly, I find it fairly creepy - these poor people don't have any privacy anymore. Paparazzi are trying to get crotch shots of 18 year olds and the country waits on tenterhooks for the next young celebrity to go into rehab. People feel that they should have a say in how many kids a total stranger ought to have.

But that's not my point. My question is, how is this stuff not RPF? Angelina Jolie apparently didn't give birth to twins last week, like the tabloids claimed, and apparently, Brad Pitt didn't leave her. And yet, they're given a green light. I've seen people call them trash journalism, but I've never seen the stigma of RPF associated with celebrity gossip. Yet, it seems that RPF is, by and far, the more harmless of the two.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe RPF will give me herpes and the bubonic plague while celebrity gossip is benign, like freckles. Wanna tell me why?

Holy research Batman! I did more research into celebrity gossip and RPF than I thought I would. I admit that I've got more on celebrity gossip than on RPF. RPF seems to be a strictly closed community, so I know mostly what I've seen, whereas celebrity gossip is open and freely available to the public, often thrown in our faces.
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