Reply All: #6 This Proves Everything
December 26, 2014 3:33 PM - Subscribe

Depending on who you ask, Keith Calder is either a 35-year old film producer, or one of the players in a vast international conspiracy designed to conceal the greatest love story never told.

In this episode, PJ explores the deep rabbit hole of "Larry Shippers": One Direction fans who believe that band members Louis and Harry are actually in a secret relationship.
posted by radioamy (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
PJ and Alex consistently discover the *weirdest* shit on the internet. I have to be careful when discussing things I hear about on their show with normal people, because I get that "How the eff do you know about these things" look as they slowly back away.

I am way out of the target demo for One Direction and am not a big fan of the songs of theirs that I have heard, nor do I actually care if two of them are in a relationship. In fact, I'm inclined to agree with PJ's hypothesis that the two guys might just be true BFFs. However if they *are* actually gay and in a relationship, I feel really bad for them that they have to hide it, especially at the behest of the record label. Gay rights and LGBT acceptance has improved greatly in recent years. Maybe when my (hypothetical) children get obsessed with the boy band of their era, nobody will bat an eyelash if one of the members is gay.

Tangential to the story - I noticed that they credited Alex Kapelman, who produces Pitch, another great podcast. If you haven't heard it, I recommend starting with the ep about The Clearmountain Pause.

Confidential to PJ & Alex, since you mentioned it during the ad spot: 60-80% open rate is nothing to sneeze at. Benchmarks vary by industry but hover at around 20-30%. So you're doing something right.
posted by radioamy at 3:44 PM on December 26, 2014

I kind of know kcalder from Twitter and I'd heard little bits of this story through tweets over the past year but I'm really glad they devoted an entire episode to explaining the background, since I had no idea how vast and deep it ran.

Also, thanks to the ReplyAll crew for teaching me the phrase "shippers"!
posted by mathowie at 11:51 AM on December 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Frantic, one-eyed, shipper fandom has been pulling this stuff for nigh on decades, social media has only broken the fourth wall on it. Within shipping circles those who are convinced their OTP* are really, really real are called tinhatters. Sure, there's a chance that their great celebrated love story is real, and there's a chance that a radioactive spider could bite me and give me superpowers.

*One true pairing.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 6:07 AM on January 3, 2015

Gin and Broadband, tell us about other shippers! This is fascinating.
posted by radioamy at 10:55 AM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

radioamy - sure, I might as well get something from those years stalking fandom_wank!

Probably tinhatting is old as the hills, but it's an edge of fandom that, as fan-works and fan-culture have gone increasingly mainstream, has grown at a similar rate. I would venture that it comes out of the slashing response ("Mmm, those two would be great together") and just takes a few psychologically satisfying steps to the realm of "Those two are so doing it."

Put on your protective gear and wade into

I remember the LOTR thing when a discussion on an IMDb board (oh, my mis-spent youth) descended into claims that two of the lead actors were engaged in an open love affair when on set - it stuck in my mind because I happened to know someone who had dated one of the actors while they were in New Zealand and made the huge mistake of mentioning it. The biggest palaver I can recall was over Supernatural: when there was news of fans trying to get cast members to comment on the Great Love Affair the two leads were apparently conducting.

Aside from the examples in the fanlore link, I have some dusty memories of this stuff happening to a group of either Panic! or My Chemical Romance fans, where a splinter group were convinced of the supposed Epic Love Story To Rule All and confronted the band members with 'evidence'.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 2:01 PM on January 4, 2015

From that fanlore link, this take on Larry shippers from within fandom might make a good postscript to the show: Great money quote:

"I also think that the whole notion of tinhat conspiracy theories is hilariously unstable. Like, if I were a PR Devil tasked with making sure 1D came across as 100% hetero all the time, I sure as fuck wouldn’t be letting them climb all over each other and cuddle and grab each other’s dicks in public"
posted by Gin and Broadband at 2:04 PM on January 4, 2015

I had *no* idea that "shippers" and "tinhats" were such a major phenomenon in fandom! The LOTR thing is

Tinhats now feel entitled to DEMAND that the boys come out, and to harass them, their families, their partners, anyone who’s breathed in the same space as them.

And apparently anyone who shares a last name with abovementioned.
posted by radioamy at 8:45 AM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Most of the podcasts I listen to are from radio people who are now doing podcasts instead or as well, and it's really great to seem to FINALLY get to the point where professionally created podcasts are not trying as hard to be radio, but for the internet, but instead be it's own thing.
posted by garlic at 9:06 AM on January 5, 2015

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