silversolitaire: (Eleven)
Just read this article on Entertainment Weekly and I must say I'm mightly impressed. I've always taken a keen interest in ratings and movie censorship issues. I always valued to great achievement of Jack Valenti when he finally abandoned the goddamn Code of Decency and actually introduced a ratings system. However, it is critically flawed as Mark Harris points out. Go ahead and read it! It has some minor spoilers for Hostel II I suppose if you don't like gory scenes to be spoiled.

NC-17: Fatally Flawed
When a film as violent as ''Hostel: Part II'' can get an R -- that is, it's deemed okay for kids to see with an adult -- it's obvious the ratings system is in serious need of reform

By Mark Harris

Jack Valenti has gone to that great screening room in the sky, but his legacy persists — for better and for worse — in the form of the movie ratings system. Back in 1968, Valenti's ratings replaced a capricious code of self-censorship with labels designed to help parents make choices. That's still a worthy idea — at least, it would be if it were applied with anything resembling sanity.

article )

Now, I must say I've always been bothered about this particular aspect. What the hell is the MPAA trying to do? Their self-professed aim is to provide guidelines for parents. As a matter of fact, a prerequirement to get on the MPAA board is to be a parent. I've liked when the MPAA started explaining just why they've awarded a movie with a certain rating. As a matter of fact, it's what I try to adopt for my own writing. I don't just go "adulz only lawl" but I explain why I gave that rating. I think that's important. Is it not suitable for kids because they're shagging like rabbits or because limbs get cut off gorily? That's important!

However, what is it that the MPAA really wants to do? Guidelines or protecting the innocent? Hm? It doesn't work in a country with a constitution like the US. I'm sure as soon as you actively start keeping kids out of movies that aren't suitable for their age, someone is going to sue somewhere for violation of their First Amendment Rights. Should they though?

I really do think they need to make up their fucking minds. And like Harris suggests, they should just make do with being advisors, and being good ones. I would totally love the idea of a comprehensive website where concerned parents (and queasy moviegoers) can check beforehand whether they'll like a movie or not. Take me. I like horror. I don't mind gore as long as it's clearly fake. I do however hate violence against animals. And zombies. God, can't stand them. Would be good to have a site that warns me about that.

That actually brings up long forgotten childhood dreams... When I was a teen I wanted to invent this all new movie rating system, giving points for ick-factors, boo-factors, smooch-factors and what not... LOL. I would love to have that. Rate every movie reliably for content. Don't attach censorship or a ban to it. Just say it like it is. "This movie contains explicit violence, sudden shock killings and zombies". That would be a wonderful rating for me. Hah...

Of course I realize that this is near impossible to achieve. Even moreso, the movie industry would oppose it violently. They'd fear viewing figures going down with people being scared of, or maybe spoiled. So, too bad.

Even more so, why don't we have a rating system for books? I've been wondering about that ever since. In fanfiction we always meticulously rate our fics, warn for any kind of matter that could arouse the slightest bit of issue. Yet, when you buy a book it's often a stab into the dark. When I was 13 I accidentally read a horror story collection that dealt with zombies in a way that is still inconceiveable to me how anyone would ever write that. I still remember every detail and could puke when I think about it. How come I was able to buy that, nobody even asked me if I really wanted that, and I was totally blindsided, thinking I'd read something along the lines of Stephen King! Some romance novels are extremely raunchy, borderlining porn. Yet it's open for sale.

I think there needs to be a rating for books too. Not one that actually prevents a mature, informed 13 year old from reading the book he or she wants, but one that will ensure that they know what they're getting into. It wouldn't even need to be as anal and inclusive as we fanficcers do, but would it be too much asked to just print on the back "violence", "sex", "intense horror" or whatever? I really wonder why nobody's thought about that yet. Everybody's bludgeoning the movie and gaming industry over this, but why does nobody bother with fiction? From personal experience, I've found fiction a lot more terrifying and impressive than the worst movies. But that might just be me...


Apr. 29th, 2007 12:39 pm
silversolitaire: (eh?)
Lloyd Webber rules out third reality show
Saturday, April 21 2007, 10:44 BST
By Daniel Kilkelly

Andrew Lloyd Webber has announced that he will not be taking part in a third reality series with the BBC.

Despite the success of How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? and new show Any Dream Will Do, Lloyd Webber has decided that he wants to concentrate on writing a sequel to his musical Phantom Of The Opera.

"I need to get back to writing. I want to throw myself into it," Lloyd Webber told The Mirror. "Over the Easter weekend I wrote the first song and I'm really pleased with it."

Andrew admitted that he would consider signing up for an American reality show because he wants to search for an actor to star in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

"I'd love to do a search for Jesus, but the BBC couldn't do that. It's probably against editorial policy," he explained. "I'd have to do it in America. I've told them I'll think about it, but only if it was in New York. Broadway is the heart of theatre in America."

Okay, two things. First: A sequel to Phantom of the Opera??? My initial reaction was D:!!!!!! My second is "Hm... interesting." I'm really torn on this issue TBH. I don't know if that's a good idea. And has there ever been a musical sequel? Does the story even give room for a sequel? Should there be a sequel? So many questions... and I can't decide!

Second: This is kinda funny, don't you think? First ALW was looking for a Mary, then a Joseph... then Jesus??? Oh come ON! That's too funny. But I'm not sure if that'll be a success since JCS was just staged in NY maybe 5 years ago or so? Not sure if it was on Broadway, but it definitely was staged there. I don't know if the sound of this musical meets current tastes. The music is rather particular. But we'll see. I can see why the Beeb doesn't want to touch it with a hot poker though. Casting Jesus is kinda controversial and I just can't see this happening in the US either, TBH.
silversolitaire: (love!) - The Complex and Terrifying Reality of Star Wars Fandom
written by: Andrey Summers
written on: 05/31/2005

My girlfriend doesn’t understand what I see in Star Wars. We’ve had several soul-crushing arguments about what exactly makes this series so important to me, and every time I have found it more and more difficult to argue my case. As the maddening years have wound on, I think I finally understand the reason for this crippling handicap.

There is a diabolical twist to Star Wars fandom, you see, that defies comprehension, and yet is the life-blood of all Star Wars fans. It is this:

Star Wars fans hate Star Wars.

reposted to keep )

There's a certain truth in this, don't you think? Kinda weird, isn't it, that we always end up hating what we love... and vice versa! I know some of my hottest and most loved fandoms have started out exactly like that! *g* I was all ranty about it, telling everyone about how bad it was and what sucked about it and the more I ranted, the more heated I got the more I realized how much I really liked it! So strange...
silversolitaire: (House - Bella notte!)
Ending Season Three With a Bang? An Interview with House Writer Lawrence Kaplow
Written by Diane Kristine
Published April 23, 2007
Part of House

Lawrence Kaplow is obstinately tight-lipped about the House season three finale, scheduled to air May 29. He does reveal that he co-wrote it with Thomas Moran; that the teaser was conceived before the rest of the episode, shot before the episode was fully written, and took considerable preparation, special effects, and stunt men; that executive producer Katie Jacobs, who'd directed for the first time on the Kaplow-penned "Half-Wit," was directing this one, too; and that the rest of the episode started filming on Friday.

rest of artice, reposted for keeping )
silversolitaire: (House - romantic.)
Torchwood star's civil ceremony

John Barrowman
Barrowman's civil ceremony was held at a hotel in Cardiff

Actor John Barrowman, star of the BBC sci-fi series Torchwood, has signed a civil partnership with his partner.

Barrowman and architect Scott Gill signed the partnership at a Cardiff hotel before the actor left to star in pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk.

Barrowman, 39, who plays Captain Jack Harkness in Dr Who spin-off Torchwood, has been with Mr Gill for 16 years.

The first series of Torchwood ends on New Year's Day while a new series will be filmed in Cardiff in the spring.

'Deserve rights'

For the ceremony at Cardiff's St David's Hotel, Glasgow-born Barrowman sported a kilt.

Around 40 people attended the private ceremony at function room in the hotel.

Afterwards, Barrowman said it was important gay relationships were accepted.

Scott Gill
Scott Gill has been with the actor for 16 years

"It feels great and I think more gay men and gay women should go ahead and do it as long as they're serious about it," he said.

"It's not really recognition but it's important for people to see the normality of the entire situation and it forces people who don't agree with gay men and have to accept us.

"We deserve the rights like everybody else.

"It's been a long wait but we legitimised our relationship to each other a long time ago when we signed our mortgages together and this is just something that forces people who don't want to recognise it that they have to."

Following the morning ceremony, Barrowman headed for Cardiff's New Theatre to play Jack in afternoon and evening performances of pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk.

Barrowman said partner Mr Gill would remain at the hotel with family and friends, adding: "Scott's already seen it twice".

silversolitaire: (banana)
Wednesday, October 25 2006
House Beautiful
With huge ratings and juicy plot twists, the hit medical drama is looking sharper than ever!

by David Hochman


Well, well. What have we here? Just off the main lobby at Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital, there's a plastic Baggie stuffed with amber-colored prescription bottles of every standard shape and size. It's Dr. Gregory House's entire stash. Exactly which bottle he chooses on screen depends on the situation.
"He uses a larger bottle with smaller pills if he's taking a whole bunch of them," explains Tyler Patton, property master on Fox's hit medical drama House. "Or he uses a short, squat bottle if he's taking one big Vicodin."

Either way, House always gets his fix, though this week — spoilers be damned! — the doctor pops one pill too many in an episode that catches House, played by Hugh Laurie, killing pain on the wrong side of the law. David Morse (St. Elsewhere, Hack) guest stars as a patient who also happens to be a cop. The multi-episode story line begins when House, cranky as ever, downs a self-prescribed Vicodin during the patient exam. And as Laurie puts it during a break between scenes on the Fox Studios set in Los Angeles, "It doesn't help that House keeps the patient waiting too long with a thermometer dangling — and I'm not talking about the oral kind of thermometer."

Rarely does such a wretched bedside manner draw so many return appointments. House's first season premiered to 7 million viewers, and the second opened with around 16 million. Earlier this month, Season 3 premiered to roughly 20 million viewers. And House the character has needled his way into the world beyond the hospital doors. Although Laurie was shut out of the Emmy race this year, his in-character diagnosis of Emmy host Conan O'Brien ("… subject could be anemic; possibly albino…") was the funniest moment in the funniest awards show in memory. Laurie will get another chance to show his funny side when he hosts this week's Saturday Night Live. Will there be an SNL parody of House? How could there not?

Off camera, the British-born actor is finally enjoying the kind of royal treatment in America he's been getting for decades in the U.K., where he's revered for his cheeky BBC comedies. (He and wife Jo Green split their home life between L.A. and London. "It's not ideal," Laurie says, "but then not many things are. It's actually weird that it's not weirder: Within half a day, you're going, ‘What was the weather like back in London?'")

The normally unflappable Laurie, whose latest contract reportedly earns him nearly $300,000 an episode, sounds a bit giddy talking about House's boom. "Last night a few of us went out to a bar that was positively heaving with humanity," he says, "and I thought, ‘We'll never get in.' But the maître d' took one look and—chop-chop—‘Right this way, Mr. Laurie. Here's your table, Mr. Laurie. We're here to serve, Mr. Laurie.' I thought, ‘Well, perhaps people are watching.'"

No doubt viewers will keep watching this fall, as House feels the heat during the investigation of the doc's narcotics habit. Morse is scheduled for six episodes, during which his detective "puts his entire life into making House's entire life miserable," Morse says. Adds House creator David Shore, "House finally pisses off the wrong guy, and now he and everybody around him are going to pay the price."

House began taking pills for chronic pain after developing an infarction in his right leg, which also explains that famous cane of his (prop-master Patton keeps six canes on hand — "one for every bad mood House has," he says). But while the drug habit was treated merely as a character quirk until now, it's about to become a full-on vice. "House is an addict, and we wanted to deal with that in an honest way," Shore says. "We're very aware that this is a real problem. Rates of addiction among doctors are higher than in the population at large, and we couldn't keep playing this for fun."

Then again, even Laurie was in denial about what House was taking until very recently. "I knew they weren't real pills, of course, but it wasn't until this season that I asked what they actually were," says Laurie, who looks relaxed despite House's perpetual five-day grizzle. It turns out the prop tablets are made of a Lactaid-like compound. "The other day, I took some and they were very sweet and the crew guys said, ‘You didn't eat those, did you?' and I said, ‘Uh, yeah.' And they said, ‘Uhhh, you'll probably be fine.'"

Everything is bigger this season on House....

Can't get enough of House? Find exclusive features, video, photos and more at
silversolitaire: (silly)
That guy is amusing XD.

Soap Not Spray Can: Reverse Graffiti Art.

Paul Curtis aka Moose is no regular graffiti artist. In fact, he’s the reverse-graffiti artist. He created his street art by *cleaning* the dirt and grime off of surfaces!

Authorities are baffled: is selective cleaning a crime?

The tools are simple: A shoe brush, water and elbow grease, he says.

British authorities aren’t sure what to make of the artist who is creating graffiti by cleaning the grime of urban life. The Leeds City Council has been considering what to do with Moose. "I’m waiting for the kind of Monty Python court case where exhibit A is a pot of cleaning fluid and exhibit B is a pair of my old socks," he jokes.
Yes, that's an interesting philosophical discussion, isn't it? *g* Is it wrong to clean a city? Hehehe... Of course, bonus points for that Monty Python reference there. Oh, I'd love to see that go to court...
silversolitaire: (House - romantic.)
This has been posted to [ profile] house_wilson and I'm reposting it here to keep it :3.

Medical association
Hugh Laurie as crusty Dr. House and Robert Sean Leonard as his best friend operate well together
Newsday Staff Writer

September 3, 2006

Disdainful doctor Gregory House lives in an old brick Princeton town house at street number 221. His apartment door bears the letter B.

Of course. The famed address of sleuth Sherlock Holmes clues us into what has become a surprisingly key appeal of Fox's top-rated series not involving a national singing contest. "House" enters its third season Tuesday (airing earlier, at 8 p.m., on WNYW/5) as much more than a medical procedural in which acclaimed star Hugh Laurie levels witty dollops of sarcasm while devising shrewd diagnoses of mystifying maladies no one else can fathom.
Rest of the article )

The more I read about the new season, the more nervous I get. I've been reading a lot of spoilers now, but none of them really managed to disparage my fears. spoiler ) Anyway, I'm both nervous and excited about it. This is why getting into a show while it's still on sucks so much! You always have to wait for new episodes and you always have to fear that they're going to screw up everything you loved about it! D: Oh well, guess I gotta wait and see.
silversolitaire: (shocked)
Duplicate tombstone deepens weird mystery
Thursday, May 18, 2006
By Bryn Mickle

FLINT - There's an extra tombstone for Carl Schopieray's mother and lots of questions.

rest of the story )
silversolitaire: (hmmm)
Gita on Fighting Terrorism
By Rajiv Malhotra

In the Bhagavad Gita, God appears in human form as Krishna, to guide Arjuna in the fight/don't fight dilemma that Arjuna faces. What might this 18 chapter holiest of the Hindu scriptures teach us in the dilemma we now face concerning global terrorism? Krishna's advice fits neither of the two extremes that are presently dominating the media debate: At one end are the majority of Americans who promote revenge against the terrorists, as a notion of justice - an eye for an eye. At the other end is a minority of anti-war activists who want no violence, and instead advocate that the US should take the blame for having caused hatred against itself. The Gita's message rejects BOTH these. Its short-term message for this situation pertains to the ethics of war, and its long-term message calls for systemic changes required by both Islam and the West in order to harmonize humanity.

Dharmic War

Krishna scolds Arjuna for his initial attitude of abandonment, saying that there is a global evil that must be dealt with; Arjuna is the best qualified one to fight this evil given his training, capabilities, and position. This is God's work and not his own. By analogy, one could argue that the US must play Arjuna's role, being positioned as the only superpower and having the resources to carry this out. In Hindu dharma, a ruler has the obligation to protect the public from such menaces, and to abandon this role would be irresponsible. God's advice to Arjuna is: "Engage in battle with equanimity and without getting overwhelmed by the extremes of joy and sorrow, gain and loss, and thus you won't incur sin."

A just war ("dharma-yudh" = war-as-duty) should not be for revenge but for the prevention of terrorism in the future. The Hindu idea of justice is in the form of karmic consequence; but these consequences are for God to take care of, whenever and however he chooses. The Gita emphasizes one's rightful action, but always letting God take care of the fruits. Therefore, from President Bush down to the pilots making the strikes, the attitude should be one of doing duty for the sake of ridding society of evil, and not for revenge.

Furthermore, the response has to be relevant and proportional. The Gita does not condone indiscriminate "carpet bombing". Since karma is individual and merit based, there cannot be racial profiling against anyone.

It is also made clear in the Gita that Arjuna has nothing personal to gain from winning. He does not seek power, wealth, fame or glory. Hence, it is not an act to be carried out by the ego and must be free of selfish motives. Applying this to the present dilemma, there are some implications:
  • The US should not be motivated for the sake of securing its oil supply, as that would be a selfish act.

  • The US should not focus on ending only the terrorism that is against the US, but rather, it should deal equally with all terrorism that hurts anyone in the world, including remote corners where the US does not perceive a direct selfish interest at this time. Everything is totally interconnected as per Indian cosmogony, and there is no morality in segregating the US's selfish interests from the interests of humanity at large. Unfortunately, Senator Kerry, head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, amongst other policymakers, has defined the area of US interests to be from Afghanistan to Saudi Arabia, which means that the Indian subcontinent's Islamic terrorism remains a blind spot.

  • The US cannot aid terrorists one year by classifying them as freedom fighters against a US enemy, and fight them the next year when they turn sour.
Arjuna is required to act in a sattvic mode (i.e. in an attitude of purity) even while carrying out a violent attack against evil. The US must note that collusion with evil cannot be sattvic, and that in the end such collusion cannot expect to result in lasting good, as the deed itself gets tainted by the affiliation. The Gita requires us to repudiate even the actions of our friends, if wrong. Have we, as the United States, had the courage to repudiate 'friends' who are clearly part of the problem? To have a sattvic activity, we must re-examine two countries we call friends, one that financed terrorists and the other that trained them:
  • For decades, Saudi Arabia has sponsored Wahhabi Islam, a fundamentalist variety of Islam, and funded 'madrassas' (religious schools) to expand the market share of Islam in poor countries. Madrassas often teach Islamic extremism and triumphalism, and then some of the youth advance into the hands of jihad preachers who are linked to some madrassas if not in charge of them. Yet, given their importance to the US oil supply, the Saudis have not been taken to task.

  • Pakistan created the Taliban, with US funding and weapons, to fight a jihad against the Soviets. This is not emphasized today by the US media, as it might embarrass prior presidencies and some of the senior cabinet members today who played a role in those governments. We must also ask whether strengthening the dictatorial Army rule in Pakistan, and thus subverting democracy, is in the best interests of Pakistan's citizens. US media has stated that 15% to 20% of Pakistanis are Talibanized, and given its population of 140 million, that is larger than the total population of Afghanistan. Pakistan has openly hosted Bin Laden's operating bases to attack civilian targets in India, killing more Indians than any other nationality from terrorism over the past five years.
Saudi's oil and Pakistan's geography give them unique value to the US short-term tactics at the expense of the long term vision. The Gita does not recommend such collusion with forces that are themselves responsible for the evil to be fought. Any such war would be a stop gap solution at best, and eventually the US would be playing into the hands of the very evil forces it seeks to eradicate. The US must encourage liberal Islamic scholars at the expense of totalitarian Islamic rulers; it must actively discourage Islamic triumphalism that drives many Islamic organizations.

[cut, read the rest here]

* * * * * * * *

Discuss? *g*

Well, my points are these. First off, we mustn't forget that this article was written in late 2001, so there is no direct reference to the Iraq war yet. However, it's still scary how well it fits, isn't it? This article doesn't condone Bush's actions, but rather relates when they would by justifyable. And why they're not.

Perhaps a little bit about the background of the Gita would be helpful.

Arjuna fought a battle he was obliged to fight in order to save his people and reinstall order and justice. He, being one of the five Pandu princes, was banished and expelled from his land by his cousin Duryodhana who was the eldest of one-hundred brothers. Seeing the hardship and pain inflicted on his people by this unfair treatment, Arjuna and his four brothers returned to the land of the Kuru to fight for what was rightfully his and save his people from further prosecution. At the dawn of the battle, Arjuna asks Lord Krishna, who has become his friend and companion as a reward for his fortitude and nobility of character, to drive his war chariot to a position where he may witness the two contending parties. Upon surveying the raging battle between dear ones on both sides, Arjuna is overcome with horror and refuses to engage in such a fratricidal war. He throws down his weapons and declares that he would rather die than shed the blood of his kinsmen on the other side.

Lord Krishna then explains to him in the epic that is known as the Bhagavad-Gita the importance of performing one's duty in accordance with ones nature, the existence of the hidden self and the omnipresence of God. He relates to Arjuna such basic concepts as the nature of our existence, the nature of our true self, our true relationship with God, the truth about action and inaction, the correct meaning of knowledge and ignorance, the inborn qualities of man and how they bind him to the mortal world, the meaning of true devotion, the right attitude towards the external world, and so on. Thus enlightened Arjuna is able to partake in the battle and reclaim his people's position.

* * * * * * * *

The difference here is that Arjuna recognizes his duty and acts accordingly. He does not desire power, fame or wealth, he merely does what is necessary. Bush's motives are questionable, at best. He claims that he is too accepting his duty as defender of the world. However, the target of his warfare isn't the evil he is seeking to extinguish, but innocent people who have no relation to the ones he is fighting. If Bush was targetting specifically camps of Bin-Laden and other terrorist groups directly and evidently related to acts of terrorism against the United States, I doubt a lot of people would object. But he's not. He's carpet-bombing an area where there might be something bad going on but we're not really sure and we just think they're terrorists because, well. Because. This is where all his good intentions are inevitably annihilated.

Furthermore, even if everything Bush did was justified and supported, his motivations are essentially selfish. He does this to protect himself and his allies whereas such an act would only then be excuseable if the desire to protect was extended to allies, strangers and even non-supporters. Not to mention the obvious hypocrisy involved, born from the notion of "My enemy's enemies are my friends" and "Who isn't with me is against me".

I think the Bhagavad-Gita is pretty clear about this. So, in the light of this sacred text it is safe to say the Bush is heading the wrong way. You mustn't oppose all fighting either, because sometimes it is necessary to fight for what needs to be preserved, but fashioning these justifications after your own selfish desires is wrong.

Okay, that's just my two cents. Any input?
silversolitaire: (shocked)
Potter hormones in overdrive as he turns 15

HARRY Potter is set to get SMOOCHY in his new book - by falling under the spell of a girl.

Author JK Rowling has revealed the schoolboy wizard’s hormones start "working overtime" as he turns 15.

And that means fans can expect sauciness as well as sorcery at the famous Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Rowling, 36, admits "more boy-girl stuff" is inevitable. But she REFUSED to say if Harry’s bossy chum Hermione - played by Helen Watson in the current Potter movie - is the target of his love interest.

Rowling says of Harry and his pals in a BBC1 Omnibus documentary next Friday: "They’re fifteen now - hormones working overtime."

[pic] Romeo ... Harry, alias Daniel Radcliffe

[pic] Pal ... Helen Watson as bossy Hermione

She added: "Harry finds out a lot more about his past, and gets to go to places in the magical world we haven’t yet visited."

Rowling admitted she plans to kill off at least one major character - but refused to say who.

She said: "More people are going to die and there’s at least one death that’s going to be horrible to write."

Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix will be the fifth in the series of books that have made Rowling a multi-millionaire.


Not that I'm not dying to read them, but I just dread what's going to happen. Same with the other two Star Wars flicks... *heavy sigh*

*mutters* Like hell Harry and 'Mione are gonna end up together. And I bet you a tenner that the "death that’s going to be horrible to write" is either Sirius or Remus. T_T

And don't ask me what's the deal with all those capitalizations and bold letters.
silversolitaire: (Default)
Article on Snapefans.

Professor Severus Snape

"Mr. Potter, our new … celebrity."

Messenger owls, flying Snitches, three-headed dogs, moving staircases — all that was secondary to these five words, intoned maliciously by Alan Rickman in the second Harry Potter trailer. The way his voice rises into caustic incredulity on the last three syllables of "celebrity." The way his stringy black hair moves jerkily into his eyes. You could watch it over and over again. All right, I could watch it over and over again. Because I've had a crush on Rickman's character, the invariably-described-as-sinister Potions teacher Severus Snape, ever since he first glared at the boy wizard on page 126 of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."

I'm not a lone wacko. There are many other wackos like me. Yahoo Groups alone hosts six Snape discussion groups, the largest of which comprises 398 members. Snape fan sites abound on the Web. But try finding a site devoted to, say, Hogwarts' eccentric elderly headmaster Albus Dumbledore. Not a one. That's because Snape is sexy.

I mean, you didn't think all those Snape fans were really just interested in discussing the curative properties of wormwood, did you? These women (and they are almost all women) rarely venture into the academic aspects of Snape's character. They've got other things on their minds. Like what he wears under those black robes. Whether he would ever permit a lover, in a moment of abandon, to shorten his first name to "Sevvie." Whether it's appropriate to write fan fiction in which he hooks up with 17-year-old students.

Consent laws aside, why would they — or, really, we — be so taken with this guy in the first place? He's not much to look at. Rowling first describes him as "a teacher with greasy black hair, a hooked nose, and sallow skin." Later discoveries do little to improve on that; we learn that he also has yellow teeth and an unfortunate habit of spitting when he's angry. And as a teacher, he probably won't garner any Dead Poets Society comparisons. Not only does he take every opportunity to try to get Harry expelled from Hogwarts, he also mercilessly berates the hapless Neville Longbottom and makes a cutting remark about brainy-girl Hermione's oversized teeth. "I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death — if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach," he tells Harry's class on the first day.

But Snape is, well, sinister. He speaks sarcastic putdowns in a tone that Rowling describes as "silky." He's powerful, taking charge after countless crises. He has a mysterious past — he's in his late thirties in Sorcerer's Stone, and no one's really sure what he was up to right before starting at Hogwarts. He's a loner, ever since his own school days when Harry's father's group of friends excluded and mistreated him. And he's honorable, saving Harry's life on more than one occasion. He's brilliant and lonely and complex and no one understands him except me and the other 397 members of "Snapefans."

So we reinterpret or even distort the character. He doesn't have oily hair and a hooked nose — it's really just sort of messy hair and a noble, aquiline nose. After all, the description is probably from Harry's perspective, and an eleven-year-old boy can't be expected to appreciate Snape's unconventional beauty. And the casting of Rickman hasn't done much to discourage Snape-obsessives from seeing their flawed hero as a barely-disguised hunk.

His crotchety, even cruel behavior must be mischaracterized too. He's nasty to the students in Harry's house because of a failed love affair, or a dark secret, or because he wants to convince the students in his own house, Slytherin, that he's on the dark side so he can become a spy later.

The last theory is probably the most convincing, but, not surprisingly, it's the failed-love-affair one that's gotten the most electronic ink. And most often, it's Harry's own mother, Lily, whom Snape fans like to cast in the role of love interest. After all, she's just about the only woman mentioned in the book who definitely went to school with Snape. As you'll find out on any Snape discussion list, we know from a Rowling interview that Lily's birth name was Evans, and "Severus Snape" anagrams to — PERSEUS EVANS! Significant, no? OK, no. But he could have fallen madly in love with her and watched helplessly as she went off and married his nemesis James Potter. It would certainly explain why he hates Harry so much.

Of course, all we know about Lily is that she was very good-looking, sweet and maternal. Not very interesting, really. Could she satisfy a complicated man like Snape? Other theories expanded in fan fiction involving compliant students and Potions assistants don't really do much in the way of explanation either.

But what if a new teacher, maybe a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, shows up one day and catches Snape's eye? She's just been laid off from a journalism job and is doing a little Web writing on the side for an independent magazine. After a little chat over some pumpkin juice, she finds out that Snape is a huge Velvet Underground fan, just like her. Snape's never met anyone quite like this at Hogwarts.

I've got to go write some fan fiction.

Julia Lipman

Comment: I find it amusing how the author refers so some Snape ML with a meager 300-something member count as the largest whereas Snapeslash has over 500! hehehe

Comment 2: Sis! Ann Arbor! The author! o.o


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February 2009

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