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David Hines [userpic]

the origin of the kink meme

January 8th, 2010 (03:58 pm)

A question for my all-knowing, all-porning flist: what is the origin of the kink meme?

The gimmick, for those who are unfamiliar: somebody makes a post declaring a kink meme, and people post in comments (frequently anonymously, occasionally not) with requests in the form of fic prompts. Others than comment on, typically in the form of enthusiastic seconding, or write fic in (frequently anonymously, occasionally not) in reply to these requests as they are made. These requests typically embody some specific kink, hence the meme. From what I gather, the idea's antecedent is probably the anonymous love memes that go about every so often, where people post their username and others then anonymously make nice comments about them. But I don't know where or when people started writing fic in these things. (Fanlore has no entry for the concept of "kink meme," which seems to me to be a pretty gaping hole given that several fannish pages refer to kink memes.) The first one I remember seeing was for the 2009 STAR TREK flick, but being as I am not in fandom for the porn and because there are huge areas of fandom I know absolutely nothing about (see: SGA), I don't know when it started or in what fandom.

The other curious thing about the kink meme, to me, is that the anonymity function is designed to facilitate people asking for/writing exactly the kinky perverted fanfic they're asking for with no inhibitions from some attendant sense of shame. This strikes me as odd, because as several fandoms -- most especially SUPERNATURAL -- have made it abundantly clear at this point, fandom *has* no sense of shame.

("Damn, they're hot! What? They're brothers? OKAY INCEST IS AWESOME NOW YAYE.")


Posted by: madripoor_rose (madripoor_rose)
Posted at: January 8th, 2010 09:31 pm (UTC)

I'm not sure. I think it's a LJ thing, I don't remember anything like it on list-based fandom or usenet.

And one thing I've learned from Fandom Secrets is how many people claim to be fannish hypocrites, so there probably is a big niche for people who say they hate this particular pairing or mpreg, incest whatever and are happy to secretly request it on a kink meme.

Posted by: Vvalkyri (vvalkyri)
Posted at: January 8th, 2010 09:41 pm (UTC)

dunno, but i ran across the entry for sherlock holmes and there was some surprisingly well done stuff in it.

Posted by: Barbies May Bite Me (obsession_inc)
Posted at: January 8th, 2010 10:03 pm (UTC)

Oh, good lord, these have been happening for years. I forget when the first time I saw one was, but I do know that they'd been happening enough by 2007 that there was an attempt to corral them in one big index. I'm pretty sure it's an LJ thing, since LJ allows anonymemes to exist (list-based fandom obviously would not), so, based on that assumption, the earliest it would have come about would have been around 2002, when the migration to LJ was more or less complete.

More importantly, both Harry Potter and LotR started coming out on film in late 2001, so 2002 was the year that both those famously whackadoo fandoms really got into full swing. (That Fandom_Wank was born in 2002 is no coincidence.) I'm willing to guess that most LJ-based fannish things were born in 2002, because that was the year things went CRAZY.

This strikes me as odd, because as several fandoms -- most especially SUPERNATURAL -- have made it abundantly clear at this point, fandom *has* no sense of shame.

Yes, well. I have discovered that while fandom as a group has no sense of shame, fans in the singular do. There's an odd phenomenon that happens after a new show/movie/etc. appears (and yes, reboots count), in which people suddenly yearn to apply hackneyed tropes from other fandoms to the new fandom. Even, maybe especially people who hated those tropes in the old fandom: I remember seeing a boomlet of "accidentally spending the night in the same hotel room" and "fancy-dress ball/dance/etc." fic crop up as XF fans moved into new fandoms. A similar thing happens with porn. In the first flush of fannish excitement, everything is fair game, and sometimes the first thing people think of when they see a new movie/show/etc. is... something weird that they weren't down with in old fandoms.

tl;dr version: familiarity breeds contempt, newness means everything is briefly AWESOME.

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: January 9th, 2010 04:10 am (UTC)

Thank you for the awesome information! I knew it had to be an LJ thing, but didn't have any clue when they had started.

That's a really great point about new fandoms meaning recycled tropes. I'd forgotten how many "accidentally spend the night in the same hotel room" stories there were in X-FILES fic.

Posted by: soundingsea (soundingsea)
Posted at: January 8th, 2010 10:42 pm (UTC)
spn - dean/sam - hands

("Damn, they're hot! What? They're brothers? OKAY INCEST IS AWESOME NOW YAYE.")

I've observed that dysfunctional sibling relationships in fiction seem to breed sibcest in fandom. It's not just Wincest; see also Duncan & Lilly Kane (Veronica Mars), Simon & River Tam (Firefly), etc. We could call it Flowers in the Attic syndrome, perhaps? In any event, I think the sibling relationship itself is what leads to the 'ship, not the actor hotness necessarily.

Posted by: Stillane (stillane)
Posted at: January 8th, 2010 11:26 pm (UTC)

I debated commenting, because you don't know me from Adam, but...

Maybe it's just what I've seen and YMMV, but what continues to surprise me is the unexpected definition of 'kink.' While, yeah, there's definitely a lot of very specific sex fic requested in these memes, there's also a good deal that has nothing to do with sex at all, or only peripherally. In a lot of ways, 'kink' in fandom has come to be about pressing the buttons of the reader, sometimes erotically, sometimes otherwise. Kink memes, at least the ones I've seen in recent months, seem to be more like anonymous tailor-made fic requests than the flat-out PWP orgies that one might expect.

Jumping off from that point, the idea of shame has to be looked at a little more closely, too. A writer, for instance, might be totally comfortable with producing a Kirk/Spock BDSM latex fic of epic proportions, but she might not be willing to admit to having penned the fluffy Enterprise-crew-as-Care-Bears G-rated crackfic that hit all the spots she and the recipient were looking for. It's a little like singing in the shower, I think: It's fun, it makes you happy, most people get a kick out of doing it, but a lot of people also don't want to be observed doing it.

In short, I think the idea of having the anonymity to ask for what you honestly want and to write something that you might not otherwise touch is at the heart of it all, rating be damned. The fact that there's a lot of porny fic as a result... Well, it is the internet, after all. *g*

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: January 9th, 2010 04:18 am (UTC)

No need to be known from Adam! That is the point of the internet!

Yeah, there's a lot of fluffy stuff in kink memes, isn't there? Very surprising, in a way.

Posted by: leftarrow (leftarrow)
Posted at: January 9th, 2010 01:45 am (UTC)

Lots of good thoughts in the comments, and I don't have much to add. However, I do have sort of an amusing note about fandom vs. shame.

If I'm reading it right, the very first post in the Star Trek kink meme is here; it's not anonymous and the immediate follow-up is sort of funny and telling with respect to the discussion at hand.

In spite of being completely derailed by the fandom, I didn't do very much at the kink meme (mostly because it was overwhelmingly huge) and what I did was under my own username. However, I suspect that my lack of shame has more to do with the fact that said username is itself a form of anonymity than with some sort of abundant comfort with my own fannish preferences.

Ah . . . so anyway, that's my sort of related two cents worth of commentary on kink meme anonymity.

(Also, for what it's worth, the Star Trek one was the first massive, giant, mind-boggling kink meme that I've come across, although some other folks have made notes about its predecessors that I was totally unaware of.)

Posted by: Elspeth (elspethdixon)
Posted at: January 9th, 2010 07:48 am (UTC)

The first kink meme I participated in was the Watchmen kink meme, which began a good six months before the Star Trek: Reboot movie came out, when the Watchmen thread on /pco/ got shut down for being too disturbing. Yes, they got kicked off of 4chan.

Then the fandom proceeded to take up home on an lj anonymeme (keeping the anonymity of 4chan) and write fixit fic, fluff, crackfic where all the Watchmen characters are in high school/in the old west/in World of Warcraft verse/etc., sex pollen stories, and yet more "/pco/ finds you... disturbing" snuff porn.

A lot of the locus-f-shame for Watchmen seemed to revolve around requesting things you knew would never work in canon (like any character experiencing a moment of hope or joy,or Rorshach having sex), wacky AU crack, hurt/comfort fic, and fluff ("I feel so ashamed, but I must have more of Dan in the fluffy owl-themed snowsuit cuddling with someone, or I cannot live!")

Posted by: greyandgold (greyandgold)
Posted at: January 9th, 2010 08:19 am (UTC)

"This strikes me as odd, because as several fandoms -- most especially SUPERNATURAL -- have made it abundantly clear at this point, fandom *has* no sense of shame. "


"The first one I remember seeing was for the 2009 STAR TREK flick"

I think that the first kink meme that I saw was indeed LOTR - and it disturbed me so much that I still get cold sweats thinking of hobbits and foot-worship.

Posted by: stalkere (stalkere)
Posted at: January 9th, 2010 02:45 pm (UTC)
kink meme?

You think the kink meme is HOW old?
OK, maybe the one on LJ is fairly new, but that's only because LJ is new.

The "Two Guys walk into a bar" story is a freaking rip-off of a anonymous post I saw on USENET back in 1984 or so.

I recall that I was working the overnight shift at the University Computer Services Center and I discovered that there was this set of threads call "alt.*" - then I found "alt.sci-fi.star-trek.slash."

I remember being stunned by the idea that there was star trek fan fic, then discovering that there was star trek fanfic homosexual porn - in fact, it odd fact - I didn't see any ST HETERO porn until ST:TNG came out.

Since them, I firmly believe in Calvin's Law - "If it exists, there is porn of it."

In the "you gotta be frakkin' kidding me" category, I have a folder of jpgs - that is "The Simpson's" Porn. That is just wrong on so many levels.

Posted by: mendori (mendori)
Posted at: January 11th, 2010 05:50 am (UTC)
Re: kink meme?

That's also known as Rule 34. Rule 35 is that, if there is not porn of it now it will come into existence simply by someone having thought of it.

Posted by: Grey Bard (grey_bard)
Posted at: January 16th, 2010 05:55 am (UTC)

Well, for every fan who is willing to fly that freak flag and say OMG MPREG IS THE BEST! there are another two hideously embarrassed to have the exact same desire.

Plus, authors often find it helpful, because they want to write in a fandom, but aren't sure they can do it well, or whether they want the resultant fruits of their labors attached to their names.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 11:28 pm (UTC)

The first kinkmeme came out of LJ anime fandom: specifically, the Bleach kinkmeme here (http://ketsumetsu.livejournal.com/33277.html). From there, it spread into other anime fandoms and then into Western media fandoms.

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