If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, did it make a sound? If a small town allows a racist police force to murder and create martial law, while the state cuts off all contact, by land river and air to the community, and the Federal Government allows it, is it fascist?
Let’s talk slash. Slash is, at the most basic, a fic with a romantic pairing, and most often contains sexual content. The name comes from the tags authors use to mark their fic and make it more easily searchable (also, so that readers aren’t blindsided when everything turns sexy). For example, Kirk/Spock means that Kirk and Spock will be a romantic pairing. I use this example because it is the ur example. I’m pretty sure sexually-frustrated female Trekkers weren’t the first people to tell stories about two hot guys in a canonically close relationship getting it on behind the scenes, but in the age of modern fanfiction, they codified the early terminology. (For the interested, Kirk&Spock meant the relationship was purely friendship.) Slash was initially used exclusively to refer to relationships of two male characters (also known as m/m), but can now also refer to femslash (or f/f, or safFic). Slash is massively popular, and you can find at least one example of any pairing engaging in any kink. There’s buckets of vanilla sex and hand-holding and cuddling, and almost as much hardcore BDSM. Slash is like the garish magazines you get at the cashiers in a supermarket: people don’t like to admit they read them, certainly they don’t like to admit they buy them, but clearly, someone must be buying them, and a fairly obvious majority likes to accidentally stumble across them to just take a quick peek. Slash is like that, only free, and you can clear your browsing history! It’s the most popular type of fanfiction, but not, to some people’s shock, the only kind.
Here’s the twist: it’s important, to a lot of people.