Probably most people who are interested will have seen the interview with Martin Freeman here in which he describes the relationship between Sherlock and John in gay, if not sexual, terms.
Don't misunderstand me. I have no problem whatsoever with this from a viewer's angle. It's interesting, it's consistent, it's fun and TV drama should have more of it. Steven Moffat is still as far as I'm concerned the closest thing to God since Douglas Adams died.
But for me it tears the heart out of the slash. Which is not and never had been about gay men; it's about subverting the text. Gay fanfiction is not the same thing.
At this point you're tutting in annoyance. Semantics. Why do I get to impose my views on an entire genre? Words change, definitions change. What was called slash thirty years ago doesn't get to define what it is now. People can and should write whatever they enjoy. There are fifteen thousand Jack/Ianto fics out there proving me wrong. Not to mention a Wikipedia entry on the subject.
I can't argue with any of that. Wittgenstein said that the meaning of a word is its use in the language and he was dead right. Clinging onto the old definition of slash is no more sensible than trying to correct every use of "decimated" that doesn't involve tenths. Classifying things is a mug's game anyway.
And yet I tend to believe that what value there is to me in my writing comes because it's part of this thing that used to be called slash fiction. That slash had something that the wider genre of fan fiction didn't share (and not just extra penises). Which is itself nonsense because most slash never had anything of the sort.
Start again, because this isn't an essay and I can. The more strongly an onscreen relationship is implied, the less interested I am in either writing about it, or reading fanfic about it. Slash fic used by definition to be about relationships that were a very long way from canonical. However as gay relationships became more common canonically (and writing a character as gay was no longer automatically subversive) it has my view blurred into general fanfiction and the elements that I thought made it unique and interesting have been diluted.
This was inevitable. Slash arose from imagining the taboo. Jim and Spock (the original ones, not the remake) didn't have a relationship onscreen because it was morally and culturally impossible that either of them could be gay. That's gone, and finding its replacement is tricky. (At this point I wondered about gender-swap, not something I tend to read but I can see that technically it might be doing something like slash used to.)
It makes no sense even to me to try to hang on to the oldest definition of slash; fic involving some sort of romantic/sexual relationship between two canonically straight male characters. For a start, as a bisexual myself I'm hardly in a position to classify characters that way, and it just isn't automatically important enough any more.
Maybe I should leave slash to be a catch-all for gay fanfic, after all. Perhaps what I want is a sub-genre defined not by sexuality but by its angle to the original text. There is a reason that I write a great deal of conflict-driven slash; not just to satisfy my S/M tendencies but because that's one place where you can find the relationships that run at right angles-the ones that are effectively canonically impossible- and write them.
Still, I mourn slightly the days when the very fact of slash's existence had the power to shock. If Sherlock's creators are happy with their fanfic, maybe i'll go write something else instead.