Fan Service: The Internet’s Welcome Wagon– Rule 34

Rule 34– Ruining childhoods since the days of yore.

By Mel Turnquist. Posted 07/10/2012 14:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

Mel Turnquist's Fan Service masthead column

Hey there, boys and girls, and welcome to yet another edition of Fan Service where the best of fandom gets their props and the worst of fandom gets their knocks.

Before I get into today’s topic, let me just set a disclaimer on the masthead, which got a little bit of attention last week. First off, I’d like to apologize to those who were offended by it. Offending the fan base was NOT what we intended when it was done. Secondly, the pastiche of da Vinci’s Last Supper painting wasn’t in such poor of taste as one may think. While I won’t reveal my own religious beliefs, I do like to think that God has a pretty healthy sense of humor and would get a kick out of it. However, out of respect for those whom were offended, I’ll refrain from using it this week, but it will stay in regular rotation starting next week.

And now, in one of the strangely bizarre shifts of tone, let’s dive into one of the most polarizing things that could happen to fandom of any type: Rule 34. This article is going to be more generalized about fandom rather than just focusing on Nintendo– I swear, this is the only time I’m going to pull an MTV on you guys and do something not to do entirely with Nintendo and video games!

(DISCLAIMER: If you are under 15, I would highly advise you don’t read on. I’m doing this as a precaution because I do not want to get into any hot water with angry parents for exposing their kids to a truth of the internet, and on top of that, you really shouldn’t be reading stuff like that. But if any young’uns accidentally end up reading beyond this then…err…my bad)

Rule 34 is pretty much one of the most tried and tested rules of the Internet culture. It states quite simply that, “If it exists, there’s porn of it.” So pretty much anything that you see out there, there’s a porn version of it. Disney? It’s been done. Childhood Nostalgia? Oh, you better believe it. Vampires? Dude, 50 Shades of Grey is pretty much a Twilight fanfic with the names all changed. And as for Nintendo? Well, as much as they don’t want you to think there is, there’s no doubt that there is some porn out there of that.

I’ve touched up on this a little bit in my “Stop the OverSexualization!” column, but I thought I’d get at least a touch more in-depth about it. Pretty much the residue of Rule 34 is shown in these oversexualized images of the Nintendo characters we all know and love. Though, much to the dismay of those who like equality, it’s only for the female characters. However, I’m not sure if I ever want to see a Sexy Yoshi. Enjoy that piece of nightmare fuel tonight, guys!

If you think this is bad, you clearly haven’t come across Rule 34…

I think that maybe there should be some kind of perspective shift on Rule 34 for some of the creators of these fine products, whether it’s Nintendo or whatever other pieces of childhood nostalgia that are being ruined by it. Instead, they should think of it as a bit of a compliment. The fact that people would take time out of their busy schedules of work, school, or professional internet trolling to draw the fan art and write the fan fiction that varies from average to plain indecent is actually kind of flattering when you think about it. If anything, I think that the creators should only be mad if it’s either written poorly or their characters are so badly misconstrued. If I ever created anything that was subject to Rule 34, I’d only get mad if it was written terribly or was laughably absurd. Despite that, I’d still be flattered.

You see, Rule 34 is the internet’s equivalent to a musician appearing on Saturday Night Live, a video game reporter going to E3, an actor going on Sesame Street, or even an internet meme somehow being talked about on a talk show. It’s a sign that you have made it. You’ve managed to make yourself one of the several upon several “its” in Rule 34. You exist, therefore, you are pornified. You matter enough for people to take time out of their lives to actually care about making a sexified version of it. Granted, it can get to be a little much if it’s all you see, but you got to admit, it’s pretty awesome if you end up mattering that much to SOMEONE out there.

And if this article results in me being Rule 34’d, then I’d be flattered but a little confused. I mean, over one silly article? Really? There’s far better folks to apply this rule to than myself at the moment. I’d rather see them get the recognition.

Rule 34 is the unofficial internet rule that everybody loves and hates at the same time. On the one hand, it can ruin any piece of nostalgia you held dear to your heart. It can squick you out and cause you to question humanity. On the other hand, it’s pretty hilarious and a surefire sign that you have made it. It really depends on how you look at it. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t get outraged… hell, if it invokes anything that evokes imagery of child pornography, then by all means rage away! That stuff is just not right. We all should have those kind of standards because, my god, is that stuff just so wrong. But if it’s like something along the lines of an adult age, then just let it roll off your back and laugh. Once again, it’s only fandom, so calm yourself down.

And with that, I close off this strange edition of Fan Service. Tune in next time when I’m actually back on topic.

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