A Critical Eye for the Queer Text: Reading and Writing Slash Fiction on (the) Line

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In the first half of the 21st century’s first decade, information and communication technologies, commonly referred to as internet technologies, are embedded into the lives of most middle-class North Americans. According to Nielsen//NetRatings, over 200 million Americans over the age of two had internet access by August 2004. Of those, 137 million were classified as “active” users who accessed the web pages tracked by Nielsen (ClickZ Stats, 2004a). In the United Kingdom, 24 out of the 34 million who have internet access are considered active users (ClickZ Stats, 2004b). Judging by the proliferation of chat rooms, Multi-User Domains (MUDs), Usenet newsgroups, message boards, and electronic mailing lists, what is being sought out is not only information and/or entertainment but interaction with others using both synchronous and asynchronous forms of communication. Scholarly investigation of computer-mediated communication has drawn attention to the complex ways inwhich identity and community are produced in a range of cyberspaces. While a body of literature that critically examines issues of gender and to a lesser extent, race and sexuality, has taken form, little has been written about class beyond the digital divide between the information “rich” and “poor”. At its broadest, this chapter is an attempt to map out the performance (Butler, 1990) of gender, sexuality, and class on an electronic mailing list made up of fans of the Canadian television series Due South (DS).