Yeah, so, I'm going sproing. Didn't expect it, but there ya go. I am going to take one whack at being coherent about it. In order to do so, I need to quote Jeffy's post. (I hope that's OK, jeffy, and also, please know that I'm taking it as sort of a group expression rather than just your own -- which may be where my problem is, but there ya go.)
We were talking elseweb about how some of us are feeling about Harpy's death and that for some of us it feels like a bit of a betrayal to cope with it by retreating completely into Reader Brain. Betrayal of our friend trollcatz, but a little bit betrayal of the SUverse and our rather unique relationship with it. Anyway, I said some stuff and txanne suggested I post it over here, so here ya go:
[The PTB] made Daphne more real for some of us than traditional prose could have. And with that reality came heightened impact when they killed her.
It's unfortunate that the power of the PTB through narrative was there with us when the bad thing happened to our friends and us, but the episode is over and we're left to cope all on our own. We can't even talk to the people who knew her best about it because for them it hasn't happened yet!
I think you're right that the forum has at least visibly been coping by letting Reader Brain come to the fore and tucking Friend Brain in the closet. If that's really what's happening, then for anyone with an inkling of Friend Brain about SU, it looks like an especially potent form of denial that can be semi-permanent because it's true. No meatspace person has died.
But for those of us who are trying to let the SUverse be as real as it can be, that looks like cheating and like a denial not just of Daphne's death, but of the reality of the SUverse and of our investment in it.
That said, I don't think the majority of the folks on the forum are really distancing themselves that much. Some are. For some it's never been more than a story scattered around the net. But I think for most of us there's at least a part that is experiencing something new and surprisingly profound. And that we're a little shy about talking about the real emotional component, especially when it's possible and valid to get some distance by talking about it publicly in Reader Space.
Sorry if this all seems pedantic. What were we saying about coping mechanisms? Pedantry is one of mine.
BTW, I'm not trying to impugn anyone's coping mechanism. The discussion about the narrative implications and motivations of this part of the story are interesting and important.
I read this, and my first reaction was to feel as if there were a steel spike through my guts, and the second was to want to delete everything I had ever posted here, and my account.
If I were a more Highly Evolved Person, I would probably be able to sit down and say, "That's interesting. Wonder what provoked such an extreme reaction? What's off balance in me?" or something like that. For good or for ill, though, I don't seem to be that kind of person. I just want to run as far away from SU fandom as contained in this board as I can, at the moment.
I feel like I've been told I'm DOIN IT RONG, and furthermore messing it up for everybody else.
As I reread the post, I try to frame it differently, to tell myself, "Oh, when he says 'For some of us it feels like a bit of a betrayal to cope with it by retreating completely into Reader Brain,' he means 'For some of us it feels like a bit of a betrayal FOR US to cope with it by retreating completely into Reader Brain." But then I get to "I think you're right that the forum has at least visibly been coping by letting Reader Brain come to the fore and tucking Friend Brain in the closet. If that's really what's happening, then for anyone with an inkling of Friend Brain about SU, it looks like an especially potent form of denial that can be semi-permanent because it's true. No meatspace person has died," and " But for those of us who are trying to let the SUverse be as real as it can be, that looks like cheating and like a denial not just of Daphne's death, but of the reality of the SUverse and of our investment in it," and I just want to go up like a skyrocket. Up and out and as far away as I can possibly get. Because it's clear that Jeffy and whoever he's been talking with are not judging their own responses. They're judging other people's, which means they're judging mine. And since a lot of what I've posted looks like Reader-Brain stuff, they mean me.
How dare you judge the quality of my reactions, the quality of my grief, and indeed its existence or non-existence?
For one thing, if the SU forums were supposed to be a clubhouse where everyone agreed there was a Designated Way to deal with this stuff, I never got the memo. Sorry about that. But really, how dare you judge my reactions? I almost want to quote Willow Rosenberg on vague disclaimers and give a mordant laugh, because the line about "BTW, I'm not trying to impugn anyone's coping mechanism" is ... eh, I don't know whether to laugh or throw things. Whether or not you're trying, you're managing nicely -- and how lovely and condescending to label my stuff a coping mechanism.
Tootsie pop, I've dealt with more death in quick sequence than the average person on the block. The stuff I have to say about Daphne's death is not coming out of nowhere, and it's not fluff, or facile, or denying anybody's reality...
... except, well, obviously somebody's bugged by it, or saddened or shocked or betrayed or any number of things, if I'm reading what's going on right. (I so often am not, but hey, I just try to gracefully accept that my life is full of plot twists, and some of them are due to my own misapprehensions. Don't always succeed, but I do at least try.) And I have a horror of hurting people without realizing I am doing so, for all sorts of reasons we won't go into just now, so part of my shock is feeling like I've been told I'm doing what is to me a Very Bad Thing Indeed.
But the whole "your reaction is a problem for us True Believers" thing leaves me feeling like... argh, how to say it?
I grieved for Daphne, and will do so -- quite possibly in private, because I've had enough public-access grief in my life already, and because I'm a little sensitive, having been asked by a number of people "Aren't you DONE grieving YET?". I know Daphne isn't "real", per se, though she sometimes feels pretty darn real to me. But I did think my SU-board friends were real, and after reading the "Reactions" topic, suddenly I feel like I've lost all of them. (OK, maybe not all. But it seriously did make me want to delete every post I have ever made here, and never come back.)
Discuss. Or not.
(Do what Thou wilt is the Hole in the Law, dudes.)