August 8th, 2005


Emerson from Mugglenet was on my TV.

Yes, it's true. Last night I happened to watch a local interest program called 'Eye on Chicago' which is on every Sunday evening after the news and before CSI: Weekends (yes, you caught me, that IS the real reason I was watching it. Shut up) on our CBS affiliate. One of the news anchors interviews local politicians, actors, businesspeople, etc - anyone doing something interesting, really. And last night, who to my wondering eyes did appear but Emerson from Mugglenet, who is from a part of Indiana that's close enough to Chicago to be in the viewing audience (natch).

So the first thing that surprised me was Emerson's age - I really had no idea that he'd just turned 18. Knowing this now, I'm somewhat inclined to forgive his serious lack of good judgement during the recent JKR interview. That said, the young are supposed to learn from their elders, so I've decided that since I am rather ancient and also running a rather large Harry Potter fan site, who better than me to impart some wisdom?

So Emerson - if you ever see this - here are some thoughts for you:

Perhaps, being so young and then suddenly getting thrust into the spotlight AND getting to meet JKR, you didn't realize that your personal opinions don't get to count anymore. Because truthfully, once you start running a site like that you really do have to keep your opinions to yourself - especially when it comes to a delicate subject like shipping. While I am not and never have been a diehard shipper, there are ships I prefer. However, I defy you to find anyone on RestrictedSection who can name my preferred ships. Sure, if you look at my LJ interests or my icons you can probably figure it out, but I don't talk about it at RS. Why? Because it's not fair. Even though it still boggles my mind some most ALL of the time, running a site like this is something of a position of power. If I were to say even casually on the RS discussion boards that I'd really love to see some good Ron/Kreacher fics (AND I DON'T - THAT WAS JUST AN EXAMPLE, PLEASE NO), I'd probably get deluged in them within days. Which would be personally gratifying to me (IF I REALLY LIKED THAT PAIRING, I DON'T), but not fair to RS as a whole or any of the other users. RS doesn't exist to serve me - it's a bit closer to the other way around, really. That's not to say I don't get some personal gratification from running the site because if I didn't, I wouldn't bother. But I'm very conscious of the fact that I can't take advantage of the position I'm in.

So, Emerson, you took your preferences and broadcast them for everyone, including JKR, to see. Bad show, old sport. You pissed off a good portion of the fandom doing that - and no, not just the supposedly 'delusional' people. I'm not a Harry/Hermione shipper and I never have been, but I have plenty of friends who are, and while they might tease me for preferring Ron/Hermione and I might tease them back about their preferences, there's never been any malice in it. Ship whomever you like is my motto. I just can't get behind you publically calling my friends and fellow fandomers names just because you disagree with them. And doing it in front of JKR? Ouch, just ouch. For you, I mean. I have a feeling that in a few years, you're going to read that interview and just cringe at the things you said. Maybe you were nervous - hell, I would've been too, can't blame you there! But that's just not a good excuse. When you're in the position that you and I and a number of other people in this fandom are in, you have to be impartial. You have to be responsible. You have to be, dare I say, professional? I realize that none of us is doing this as a career, but if you're trying to do it well, you almost have to treat it like a job. There are certain standards you should adhere to. I hate to say it, but I wasn't pleased with how you and Melissa (if I'm not mistaken, she's quite a bit older than you are and REALLY should've known better) represented this fandom. And I hope JKR realizes that you're only two people and not the entire fandom, too. /imparting wisdom

All of that said, the 'Eye on Chicago' piece was not bad. Emerson looked a bit uncomfortable at times, but when the host got him talking about theories - specifically about whether or not Snape was good after killing Dumbledore and whether or not Harry is a horcrux - he was much more animated and he came off well, I thought. And I should point out that shipping was in no way discussed - it was simply seeing the piece that prompted me to get out some of what I've been thinking since that interview was published. They do rerun the show, so I'll try to pay attention and let people know when it comes on again, if anyone else who's local is interested.
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