“One may ask, “How did Pedro come about?” Well, Mr. Schafer went to Mexico to establish import connections and met two young men. He helped them get admitted to the United States, and they went to work at the motel office as bellboys for several years. People started calling them Pedro and Pancho, and eventually just Pedro.”—
2) These two young men came from Mexico and worked as bellhops - THEIR NAMES ARE UNKNOWN - and people started calling them “Pedro” and “Pancho” and eventually called BOTH of them “Pedro” BECAUSE THEY COULD NOT BOTHER TO LEARN THEIR ACTUAL NAMES.
3) This fucking asshole owner decided to make an offensive caricature based on these two real live hardworking low-paid immigrants and turned it into a 97-foot statue.
4) It turns into a beloved racist offensive tourist attraction that is still popular in 2014.
In a recent public thread of a comic book series that I’m a fan of, I made the following comment,
"If [character A] is [character B]’s cousin, then what would [character C] be to [character D]?"
I then followed it up with a comment working out the relationship and determining that they would be second cousins, once removed.
The creator then came in and made the following statement,
“Guys…gals…others..please..STOP STOP STOP analyzing [character] genetics in human terms. Let there be magic. Let there be fluidity. Let there be fantasy. STOP thinking it works genetically for [characters] the same as it works for humans!!!”
(First of all, I’ll leave that problematic “others” aside because I think it was honestly-intentioned.)
Basically, the creator is implying that us silly fans are reading their text wrong.
This… isn’t how fandom works. It isn’t how reading works. Fan speculation can’t be policed. Fans are going to take what you give us and run with it. We’re going to put characters in impossible, ill-fitting scenarios. We’re going to dress them up as steampunk characters (which you applaud publicly!) and we’re going to engage in a little idle speculation about familial relationships. That doesn’t mean we’re not allowing magic or fluidity or fantasy. We LOVE the magic and we’re on board with the story as you tell it… as we’re reading it. But after we’re done reading the story, we’re going to do more stuff with it. That’s just the way it is.
I just shake my head at this kind of reaction from creators. You simply can’t police our imaginations. You can’t control how people think about your characters. You’re never going to be able to do that. You can tell us we’re wrong - you can tell us that your intentions differ from our interpretations - but you can’t tell us “don’t think about it that way”.
Imagine Edgar Allan Poe reading some modern-day interpretations of his stories in which every character is boinking every other character in the back room during the masquerade ball. He might not like it! He might say, “Don’t think about my characters that way!” But he’d be wrong and we’d be a lot poorer if people didn't think about his characters that way.
Tell your stories however you want. We’re going to enjoy them however we want. This is how it works best for everyone. Trust me. You don’t want a world where people don’t wonder if your romantic leads are third cousins. That’s a world where people aren’t thinking about your characters after we’ve closed the book. That’s a boring world with no fan interest and no fan engagement.