Prepare for the ship war.
It’s Tuesday morning and I’ve already published four posts and I’m getting tired of the WordPress editor. It’s also the time of week where we dive into TV Tropes to take a look at an amusing literary theme or device that makes our favorite pop culture interesting. This week, we look at a trope called Ship-to-Ship Combat:
AKA Shipping Wars. Nothing to do with naval warfare (or space warfare for that matter). Or UPS vs. FedEx.
Many fans ship. Some of them have a distinct ship that they like over all others, while some of them support several, sometimes contradictory, pairings. Some of them like to debate a pairing while keeping in mind its status in canon, while some of them discuss it believing their pairing iscanon (or will inevitably be). Now throw in the power of the Internet to connect everybody (and everybody’s opinions) with everybody else…
Shippers tend to become emotionally invested in their pairings, and Internet shipping discussions can be quite difficult to keep peaceful. All too often, they can’t help but devolve into heated quarrels where preferences are insulted, ad hominem attacks are thrown, and comparisons to Nazis are made (though, to be sure, the latter aspect is just as capable of arising from anysubject of disagreement currently known to exist).
These Flame Wars are known as Shipping Wars: verbal arguments between people with different opinions about romantic relationships between fictional characters. There are those who bash whoever doesn’t like their ship of choice, those who bash whoever likes a certain ship, and those who do both, usually basing their attacks on how canon/Fanon the discussed ship is.
Gather ’round children and let me tell you a tale. A tale of the dark times. Before Vision of the Future. Now, I was not there to witness the events first-hand, but the records are seared into the very memory of the vast wasteland known as the Internet.
Kids, you might know that your favorite Jedi Master Luke Skywalker married a spunky ginger by the name of Mara Jade. Destiny, some would say. They were perfect for each other and certainly everyone could see that. Oh, but child, if you only knew. If you only knew.
You see, there was another woman by the name of Callista that vied for the hand of Master Skywalker. Some fans felt that Luke and Mara were destined to be together. Some felt that Callista was the one. Others felt that Luke was a monk and shouldn’t get married at all, but those folks were largely ignored by the shippers.
Child, the Ship War of the 90s were a frightening time. Tempers flared. Ranty missives were composed. Fan fiction was written. Oh the fan fiction. All of the fan fiction. They were frightening times. But they were merely a precursor of things to come when a fifteen-year battle raged over three men that fought to court one Jaina Solo.