Created By: Pufflizard on October 4, 2008
Nuked

Death Of The Author

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Trope
Basically, a fandom (or at least a faction of it) who is so stuck in their beliefs in their work of fiction of choice, canon or fanon, that they will even disregard Word of God from the creator of the piece itself.

An example would be that there was an interview between Pokebeach.com and a storyboard artist from the Pokemon anime: the storyboard artist gave several explainations about several things that the fandom of the anime has nagged about for years (The GS ball: a Macguffin that was later forgotten about, and Misty's departure and the chances of her appearing again.)

However, fans were decidedly not happy at all with his answers. They then made claims that his answers didn't count because he was only a storyboard artist and not a writer on the show. Some even went as far as to launch personal attacks. Such as calling him a sexist pig.

Not sure if this is even viable trope though.
Community Feedback Replies: 38
  • October 4, 2008
    Fulltimedefendent
    Title is sort of misleading. Maybe Ignore The Word Of God?
  • October 4, 2008
    Kahuna Burger
    This is basically Death of the Author written from the perspective that it's wrong. The belief in literary criticism that the author's creations must stand on their own and the author's take on "what it really means" or "what they really did/thought offscreen" is no more valid than anyone else's is not exactly fringe from my casual observations. Since Death of the Author has been cited in the Word Of God already, and is afaik the most common name for the literary theory, I'd just write up that theory impartially with a side note on how it has sometimes been applied by fandom.
  • October 4, 2008
    VampireBuddha
    Yeah, Death Of The Author is probably the best name.
  • October 4, 2008
    Indigo
    • J.K. Rowling has a lot of fans like this, who insist Remus and Sirius are really a couple despite her having Jossed that in book 7.
    • Mercedes Lackey got death threats from so-called fans, such that she quit writing the Diana Tregarde books.
  • October 4, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    What about Who Cares About What God Says?

    I dunno how to make the link thingy...
  • October 4, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    ^YouSmashTheWordsTogether like so, only without the markup I used to make that not a link.

    The fandom of A Series Of Unfortunate Events tends toward this, hoping for a sort of canon Fix Fic and disregarding the fairly clear statements that the series is over(even if the ending is fairly open).
  • October 4, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    This sounds like a specific example of Dis Continuity. Maybe those pages have more examples.

    Also, Death Of The Author isn't a good name because it would make people think it's about Author Existence Failure.
  • October 4, 2008
    Recon 5
    Not exactly Dis Continuity. For example, the Code Geass fandom may accept all of the episodes but decide that the writer is so prone to equivocation that they no longer accept what he says personally.

    "You say X lives? Shut up and give us season 3."
  • October 4, 2008
    Unknown Troper
  • October 4, 2008
    Haven
    I think Death Of The Author works. One way or the other, we should have an article on the Death Of The Author, even if it's not this one. From Word Of God we have:

    "Note that many people reject the notion of Word Of God, considering something to be canon only if it appeared in the original source material, and that if the creator wanted a certain fact to be canon that s/he should have included it in the work to begin with. Some people go even further, considering the uncertainty and ambiguity of canon to be a good thing and decry the Word Of God as shackling the imagination and interpretations of the fans — a belief supported by modern literary criticism, notably in Wimstatt and Beardsley's "The Intentional Fallacy" and Barthes' "Death of the Author," both of which argue that the author has no right to control what other people think of his or her work. "

    So I'm glad we at least acknowledged that idea on this Wiki beforehand.

    re: "Also, Death Of The Author isn't a good name because it would make people think it's about Author Existence Failure." So we just add in "Not to be confused with Author Existence Failure". "Death of the Author" is already a phrase with cultural and scholarly authority behind it, it means a specific thing, I think we should go ahead with it.
  • October 4, 2008
    TheNifty
    Don Quixote fans. Just... Don Quixote fans. The author devotes a good portion of the sequel to explaining to you how wrong his fans are.
  • October 4, 2008
    LordIncompetent
    The fans ignore the Word Of God? Then they speak the Word Of Satan!
  • October 4, 2008
    Ryusui
  • October 4, 2008
    TheChainMan
  • October 4, 2008
    Scorus
    No, no, Word Of Barthes. I've heard scattered criticisms of this from the academic world but until post-structuralism's popularity wanes, this will probably remain a dominant concept for quite a while. Interestingly, the criticisms of this and of Marxism can ocassionally run along the same chains of reasoning
  • October 5, 2008
    Sen
  • October 5, 2008
    Mrs. Abject
    The Harry Potter fandom does this so much. A lot of the relationships of the minor characters were cleared up by Rowling after the last book came out, and even some of the people who so far have completely stuck with canon 'ships are ignoring the way she pairs major characters with people who have been mentioned maybe once.
  • October 5, 2008
    Scorus
    We could be puntastic and call it Morte D'Author
  • October 5, 2008
    ROBRAM89
    I like Morte D Author, but the apostrophe apparently makes the wikiword not work.
  • October 5, 2008
    random surfer
    A later ep of M*A*S*H did something like this with a (fictional) mystery book The Rooster Crows At Midnight. BJ gets the book from his wife, tears it apart chapter-by-chapter so the whole unit can read it instead of waiting until he's finished, then discovers the last page (with The Reveal) is missing. They call the author (old lady, Agatha Christie expy, who wrote it 30 years ago), she tells them whodunnit, which is announced over the PA; then the unit realize[s] that the person the author said couldn't have been the murderer because of [whatever] in chapter [whichever].
  • October 5, 2008
    EtherealMutation
    No mention of Star Wars Special Edition yet? Or Steven Spielberg's edits to E.T.? I've seen both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg get called out for "ruining" their films in editorials outside of their fandoms (I can only imagine what inside must have looked like).
  • October 5, 2008
    Sabre_Justice
  • October 6, 2008
    Scorus
    You see, however, if the author adjusts the work in the question, this doesn't work. This applies to an author's comments or intentions which exist outside of the text being described as on the same level of importance as those of anyone else. If they actually change the text in question, then it's something alltogether else. I think, anyway.

    Either way, I find this position really rather strange when taken up by "fans", whose designation as such implies a sort of suppliant / dependent position to the author.

    To elaborate on what I mentioned earlier, the criticisms of this piece which I'm familiar with are that A) It removes the text from a larger cultural context if referring to the intentional fallacy of new criticism, and B) it's effectively a symptom of critical insecurity and a need to create a mode of reasoning which stresses the critic's importance over the author, effectively making Dot A a systemization of resentment and self-doubt projected outwards. Personally I have no feelings either way, and I understand neither of these are widely accepted in scholarly discourse. Your Mileage May Vary
  • October 6, 2008
    Sabre_Justice
    I like God Is Dead.
  • October 6, 2008
    Kuciwalker
    The title is really non-negotiable. This is the established, scholarly term in criticism.
  • October 6, 2008
    Hazel
    Wow. I'm so impressed that you can reduce a complicated concept in literary theory down to, "fans are stupid because they don't like my favorite book/show/movie."
  • October 7, 2008
    Space Jawa
    To throw a name suggestion out there - Atheifanism? Or would the proper pronunciation go Athefanism?
  • October 7, 2008
    Kahuna Burger
    Hrm, the second of the listed criticisms is just funny. "You're only saying that because you aren't as important as a real writers, neener neener!" Heh...

    The first is sort of interesting as well, as some Dot A critiques I've heard involve the possibility that the author is the one ignoring the cultural subtext that he may have been unaware of when drawing characterization examples from the real world. To use a made up example "Special Agent Bob is really a sociopath." "No he's not, the author says he based him on the real undercover agents of the 15 minute war of 1932 who were noble paragons!" "Well, actually, once it was politically safe to do an investigation into those agents' actions in the 15 minute war, it was found that the majority of them committed what would have been charged as war crimes if we had lost. So whether the author thought of him as one or not, I'm still comfortable calling him a sociopath based on his actions." The question of whether a character is gay or not is also a good example. It's trivial to imagine a situation where an author includes aspects of a character that scream out to anyone within the setting's gay community "in the closet here!" and honestly think he's writing about a introverted bachelor like some of his friends.
  • October 7, 2008
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    A lot of fanfiction seems to handwave ignoring certain cannon facts, for example shipping a favorite cannon character in a time after the end of the original story with another cannon character who died earlier in the same story.

    Most of these authors though, acknowledge that their story is a "what if", or otherwise completely non-cannon and thus not a contradiction, where this trope is about fans who truely "don't get it" from the author's point of view.
  • October 8, 2008
    Fluffyskunk
    Death Of The Author is the only title that works. See TOW.
  • October 9, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    This is very similar to Too Good For That Bastard and They Wasted A Perfectly Good Plot... It's a pity Better Than Canon is stuck to a damn Shipper trope.
  • October 9, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    So steal it. Why should such a broad and descriptive name be claimed by such a narrow subject?
  • October 10, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    Is this going to get launched or what? I think we might as well stick to Death Of The Author since that's the scholarly term and expresses it perfectly.
  • October 10, 2008
    KillerRabbit
    Because sometimes the most obvious answer may the correct one, Word Of God Is Dead?
  • October 10, 2008
    Wild-Card
    ^I agree. I also don't really get why people are saying this scholary term is "better". The point of this site is too have fun! That's not too say we can't have scholary terms and all...

    But this is kinda missing the point of it all. It is very much a Misleading Title that few people will understand without seeing it first. Word Of God Is Dead does sound better, but I prefer Better Then Canon for this.

    Why don't we just change Better Then Canon to a trope about this and ad another Shipping Trope as a Sub Trope of this? Seems easy.
  • October 10, 2008
    silver2195
    We already have changed Better Than Canon. The shipping trope is Fan Preferred Couple.
  • October 10, 2008
    Recon 5
    Just to let anyone know, fans ignoring works is Dis Continuity.

    Here, if an author wants to get a point across to the fans, i.e. explain why Agent B was actually The Mole, he'll have to make a side story and publish it because no one will trust what he says in interviews.
  • October 10, 2008
    Scorus
    Well, I daresay that without having read either of the Word Of God or the hypothesized Death Of The Author entires, they would both be about the same level of misleading just going on titles. If we really must change the title, why not shout out the originator of the idea and call it Word Of Barthes? Personally I'm not sure why "the author died" is a trope (though I'm sure there's a reason). it's not like there aren't any tropes around here with less-than-informative names.

    My point is, complaining that Death Of The Author is misleading is only an internal point of view and ignores that Word Of God is equally misleading, if not more so, without knowing that the trend around here is to use religious metaphors for the author. Also, it's somewhat... odd... to call this "better than canon" because it's exactly canon, and regards anything not written in the work as trespassing including the author. So even Better Than Canon is a pathetic, small measure bit misleading.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=smh064n1vt6gv4pm0s0p8zrf&trope=DeathOfTheAuthor