Curious: What has your fannish history been after Due South? What did you get into after that?
Brynn: After Due South? I have to go back and look… There was the whole Six Degrees of Canada thing. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that.
Curious: I’m not, I just learned that term this weekend.
Brynn: Because there are like 30 working actors in Canada, right? And they’re all in everything. One of my two favorite bands, the Headstones, is Canadian. I got into them because Callum Keith Rennie, who was in Due South, was in a movie called Hard Core Logo about a fictional punk band, and the guy who played the lead singer in that movie is actually the lead singer of the Headstones. So I got really into the Headstones, and that’s still one of my big fannish investment points. And I literally am going to have to go look at AO3 to figure out what else I got into after that. Hold on…
Curious: During the vidshow I was so confused, because the guys from Due South were singing in a punk band. Was that from Hard Core Logo?
Brynn: Well there’s two things. There were clips from Hard Core Logo, and then there was also other footage… because Paul Gross has a vanity band…
Curious: Is he the one with the Mohawk?
Brynn: With the Mohawk, that was Hugh Dillon from Hard Core Logo. He’s the lead singer of the Headstones who I’m obsessed with.
Brynn: There’s been this recent renaissance of Headstones fandom, because the Headstones actually broke up in 2003, I want to say, so by the time I discovered them, they were already broken up, and it was very upsetting. Hugh Dillon went on to become a pretty successful actor.
Curious: He looks so familiar. I know I’ve seen him before…
Brynn: Have you ever watched Flashpoint?
Curious: Yes! It’s that guy, the Flashpoint guy. That’s a good show.
Brynn: Yeah! So he’s done really well with his acting career. Then a few years ago, pretty much out of nowhere, the Headstones were like, “Oh, we’re getting back together,” and we were like, “What?!” Now they’re back together and releasing new music, and playing shows, so it’s really amazing. Really amazing. That’s been a great revival of the fandom.
Oh, that’s what I did! I got really into David Cook. That’s what it was. After Due South, I was really into David Cook.
Curious: I don’t think I know who that is.
Brynn: Oh, he won American Idol a few years ago. He’s very close to some of his bandmates. And then from there, I got into bandom, My Chemical Romance specifically. I was really into bandom for a couple of years, and that was the last big fandom that I was involved with. Then I’ve really gotten into music, and some cool local bands, and then baseball has become my primary fandom these days, which is not something I expected … It’s sort of happened without me realizing it, but it was just like, “Oh, this is what I’m most excited about.”
I’ve been a baseball fan most of my life. It was something that my dad got me into when I was a kid, and then I started following it really closely when I graduated from college–I was basically unemployed at the end of that summer, and I was watching a lot of baseball. And then the season after that, the Mariners had a really amazing season where they tied a record for the most wins in a single season, so that really cemented it. The Mariners have been mostly terrible since then, but a few years ago, I found an online community for the Mariners which I have just basically lurked in, at least up until this season, when I’ve actually started participating more. It was so interesting to find this community of people, and it’s majority guys as far as I know, but they’re doing fandom so similarly to how we do fandom, the community aspect of it, and gifs, and all that. It’s so interesting.
Curious: I’ve been reading a lot about sports fandom, it’s really interesting to see the parallels, the passion, the emotional investment. It seems very similar.
Brynn: Yeah, and a lot of these people are nerds too, like sci-fi nerds or comics nerds or film nerds or whatever, and so I think that’s part of where it comes from. Mostly what I’ve seen is not a lot of derision. They’ll talk about fan fiction, and they usually mean it jokingly but not mockingly. Like there was somebody on Lookout Landing, which is the Mariners blog that I read, and at the beginning of every season, they write a post that’s essentially fan fiction about if the Mariners go to the Playoffs this season, and they will totally acknowledge it as fan fiction.
I don’t do a lot of RPF for baseball, though. I don’t know why. It took me a while to even think about that as an option, and I’ve read a few baseball fics, but I’ve never really felt that pull, either reading or writing (though I’ve worked baseball into a lot of my fics in other fandoms). But it’s interesting because baseball become my primary fannish investment, and in some ways it’s the way that I’m used to doing fandom, but in other ways not. I’m finding more and more women in sports fandom, which is amazing.
Curious: When I hear people in my fandom circles talk about sports fandom, I assume they’re writing RPF fic. That seems pretty big now, especially in hockey.
Brynn: Hockey, yes. I have a lot of friends who are super into hockey, both for the sport and for the fic. But with baseball RPF, I don’t know, I just haven’t really felt the need. The baseball Twitter community is really active, especially for certain teams. It’s the best sports bar in the world. There was somebody on Twitter last year who made a big list of women in baseball fandom and split it out by team, and so I met some really cool people through that.
And because sports blogging is such an open platform now, more and more women are getting involved with that, so I just feel more comfortable in that community, and finding women who are into it. It seems to be that people are getting more comfortable with having feelings be a component of it. That’s one the things I really like about the Mariners community that I lurk in–they’re very open about how being a sports fan is an emotional experience, and that’s cool.
Curious: Sports fans are definitely passionate.
Brynn: Yeah, but I think that the dominant paradigm for a long time was this bro-y element, like you can have feelings but you can’t have tender feelings about sports. You have to either be angry or aggressively celebratory.
Curious: Strong feelings!
Brynn: Exactly, yeah, so having some nuances of being invested in a player as a person, or being invested in the relationships between the players even if it’s not a fic kind of a thing, you just love that these two guys are adorable together, or what the game and the community and the experience of being a fan means to you beyond just wins and losses–it’s been nice.
Curious: On the forums, do you feel that they’re more accepting towards women?
Brynn: In my corner of the world, I do. One thing I love about Lookout Landing is that they have a staff of writers–I don’t know exactly how many there are, but I think somewhere around ten–and last year they hired a female writer, and now they’ve hired two more. And in fact, last year I emailed the guy who’s the site editor just to say how much I was enjoying everybody’s work, and I was saying one of the things I really appreciated is that they have a woman on staff, and that makes me feel more comfortable in the community. And he said, “Thank you. That’s something that’s been really important to us.” It’s something they’ve really consciously tried to foster–and not in a self-serving clickbait sort of a way, but in a way where the writing staff as well as the community regulars will actually call people out in the comments for being misogynist or homophobic or whatever. The editorial staff has changed a few times there over the last few years, and when I first discovered it, the community wasn’t aggressive or unwelcoming toward women, but especially in the comments, it was a low-key version of that locker-room kind of vibe where it definitely felt like the default assumption was that there were no women reading. So to see the current staff making a substantive, sincere effort in that area is really great.
I’m also seeing a lot of conversations going on in baseball fandom about female contributors, and women in positions of power in the industry, and that has become much more prevalent in the past couple of years. There’s a female coach for the Oakland Athletics now in their minor league system, and ESPN is going to have Jessica Mendoza, who’s a gold medal winning softball player, doing their Sunday Night Baseball broadcast every week. There’s also a backlash–I see the crap that women who write or talk publicly about sports get, and it ranges from mildly to severely fucked up–but at least women are becoming an undeniable part of the conversation. There’s a writer named Julie DiCaro who writes about the Cubs, and some guy asked her on Twitter recently why guys can’t have just one thing without women trying to butt into it, and she was like, “You can have erectile dysfunction. That’s all yours.” Such an amazing comeback. So there’s some progress, it’s just a lot slower and more painful than it should be, like all progress.
Sports fandom is really fun, though, especially because it’s an easy thing to translate. Even if it’s not your sport or your team, it’s like, I know how that feels. I mean, it’s true with any fandom, where you can get vicarious enjoyment out of other people’s enjoyment of it, which is awesome.
The lovely Brynnmck can be found on Twitter as @rockedfaces, though she warns that baseball is the main subject of her tweeting right now! Go Mariners! You can find Brynn’s Due South and multifandom fic on AO3. Go check it out!
And Bitchin’ Party is back! A few months after this interview, it was announced that BP would be back in 2018. If you’re looking for a small, totally laid-back, super friendly, multi-fandom weekend convention, you should definitively look into this one. Check out the Bitchin’ Party LiveJournal for details and updates!