Recent Comments

February 6, 2017 - 23:26

I would have to agree with both A. Lorean Hartness and my peer Tonya Schmehl. Projects, such as this, allow for a broader interaction which leads to a wider array of insight, knowledge, and in Hartness' example of To the Starts with Difficulty, creative. It opens possibility for new perspective that may have not been considered previously. This can result in further research or questions to be looked examined. 

I believe the world we live in today puts a lot of value on the media and the information that comes from the media. I think the mix between the academic and the non-academic is crucial in ensuring that adequate information is being presented and questions are being answered factually. Which is why in my opinion easily accessible resources for academic research is imperative to guarantee that all sides are being considered. Having interaction with people from all over the country, even the world, helps understand so many different ideas. How are people understanding recent events? What are people curious to know about? What options are not being explored? and so much more. 

February 6, 2017 - 17:15

As A. Lorean Hartness noted in her example To the Stars though Difficulty, the project worked to bring together a variety of participants from all walks of life. However, what may be the bigger significance is that engaging in online activity has the ability to start a conversation about differences across a plethora of boundaries. While Hartness’ example provided a platform to engage between social classes; this project, at least to my understanding, will take on a global role.  

 

Projects like this allow a conversation of intersectionality to develop. Contributing with someone across the country or around the world has the ability to change each individuals perspective on the question. This opens up the possibility to expanding thoughts and new questions. Education and understanding does not develop in a vacuum, it expands as other ideas are considered and explored. Much like the poem referenced above, digital platforms allow us to physically connect with individuals around the globe, to expand our thoughts and ideas and create the possibility of expanding knowledge that only a few generations ago would require actual physical meeting.

December 7, 2016 - 11:57

Lauren, 

I am also more of a fan than a scholar on these matters, so I can offer more insight and opinions over actual facts. It is strange how this generational aspect works. I am a millennial, so I believe that I fall on both sides of the argument. I am both against the remakes of once popular texts, yet also intrigued by them. For instance, I think would throw a major fit if one my favorite 80's movies (Ferris and Back to the Future) were remade/reimagined. But with the recent Disney live action reimaginations, I am more open. For example, the show Once Upton A Time adds a twist to the fairy tales we all grew up with as children or the recent trailer of Beauty and The Beast. I am both for remakes and against at the same time. So I cant argue that it is completely generational, but rather the timeframe that they are made. For instance, my favorite 80's movies were made before I was born, so I regard them as true classics. These Disney adaptions, are of films that I grew up on in the 90s, so I am more comfortable with them. 

December 7, 2016 - 11:26

Hello Lincoln,

I must say that I enjoyed that you touched on the idea of ownership. Original fans of the series (and of any text), express a sense of "ownership" for their favorite shows/movies/games. They feel as if it is theirs, although they didn't themselves create it, they feel a strong connection of  personal property to the work. Which would explain the strong emotional ties of discomfort that they may feel from a Hollywood reimagining, plainly because it is not the original. No matter how well received the text may be, there will always be a tiny feeling that "'their' text is 'harmed.'" That is the beauty of fandom, it is both scary and romantic. 

December 6, 2016 - 20:10

I wouldn't say they are "forcing" them; fans will sometimes abandon a disappointing text for their own imaginings. But yes, it definitely makes it more appealing. I find it to be clever. 

December 6, 2016 - 14:39
I'm very interested in the view of what constitutes an active fan and their role they have within the industry. I believe you are correct that in order to be a fan, one must be an active and contributing participant in their niche and that one may use their active status and skill to strategically position themselves in order to gain more cultural and social capital.   While reading your submission, I cannot help but make a parallel to the gaming industry and how individuals follow the same cycle as you suggested. One example that came to my mind is Grand Theft Auto V and how fan communities will augment the game in order to generate a different kind of feel during gameplay to get a different experience. Rather than playing with the preset characters, one can change the entire theme of the game to change the main character to Harry Potter. I believe this is where these intersections come together, where what propels people to do this is either for higher social and cultural capital, or to gain money. The gaming industry is unique in the way gamers can gain significant agency in doing live streams—be it on YouTube or Twitch—and even are given sponsors.   I cannot help but wonder how resilient these communities really are. Looking into the Dreamcast, there is a relatively active community keeping the console relevant through recreating video games. While the deprecated system lost support from SEGA, the community gives support to those seeking it. This same community is lobbying SEGA to recreate the Dreamcast, showing the symbiotic relationship that the fans and those in the industry have. The fans want an updated console and seek the support of SEGA to produce it. There is this appetite that is difficult to satisfy with fans, which leaves them wanting more.  I cannot thank you enough for your thoughtful submission. It was very thought provoking and inspiring. 

—Ivan

December 5, 2016 - 12:00

Hi Mike,

As a mom of two, I know well how enjoyable—and sanity-saving—it can be to apply rhetorical theory to children's media, to which we parents are exposed ad nauseam, so I very much appreciate your post. For a while, my daughter watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 on repeat, so my question for you stems from that.

For my adult viewer-and-scholar self, the critiques of Cloudy 2 resonated, such as the technological creation of and threat to destroy ecosystems, questions of the pristine, the wild, and human intervention, ethical treatment of the animal and environmental 'other' ("I am not a monkey—I am an APE!!"), the Steve Jobs villain whose hippie flavor of corporate greed is exploitative of both environments and people, the self-replicating nature of consumer culture… There's a good bit going on there, even though I honestly find the film annoying to watch. 

But bigger than that, to me, was the narrative structure's similarity to the Jurassic Park films. It has made me think about how our culture is infused with contradictory impulses of technophilia and techophobia, often depicted through sci-fi narratives, and the ways in which these messages have been communicated to child audiences. 

Do you feel that, as with the original transmediation from print to screen you discuss, what is lost here is the imaginative in the factual, or are there other more dominant concepts at play for you in this film? Does this film manage to bring back any of the lost awe from the book, or does it present only further loss? 

Do you feel there is a sense across children's programming that what's good for adults is good for kids, i.e. filmmakers logicking that the Jurassic model has worked before, so why not reapply it, rather than thinking about what message it sends or about trying to send some other message instead? Is this connection meant as sympathy for adult viewers? Or is this merely one instance of "bad" filmmaking (forced romantic side-plot, illogical science, flattened villainy, abundant cliche), same for kids' media as for adults'?

Thanks for raising the discussion!

Lauren

December 5, 2016 - 11:10

Hi Kathleen,

I very much appreciate your discussion of the "generation wars" that are often sparked by reboots and new content in a franchise. Most of my experience with fandoms has been personal as a fan myself; I have not devoted much scholarly effort to fan studies, so a lot of this is new to me.

I was wondering if you could direct me to any relevant sources or comment on a question I have. As new Star Wars content has emerged, fans have broken into factions favoring one trilogy over the other or the new content over the old, and although it would seem logical for that to be age-based, I have not found that to be the case. It seems more likely for older fans to favor the original trilogy over Force Awakens, but the breaks don't always occur that way. I have experienced numerous fans under the age of 40 (an arbitrary break on my part, to be sure, but for the sake of argument…), for example, who object to the new content on the basis of identity politics; they don't like women and people of color starring in "their" franchise. Conversely, many fans embrace these changes, regardless of their age, and many regardless of their own political identity (meaning I know plenty of white folks who are perfectly happy with Finn and Poe and plenty of guys who love Rey as a character). 

How does fan studies as a discipline break down generational questions like this when generations of the media themselves seem so clear? Do things tend to fall smoothly in line with age, or are there scholars discussing blurry lines? If age doesn't work so well as a way to talk about differing opinions, what might work better? Demographics? Politics?

Thanks, and great post!

Best,

Lauren

December 1, 2016 - 17:10

Ooh, great questions!! I think there's two ways to think about publishing and generations:

1) What do we mean by publishing? From the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries (more or less) coterie writing, in which women wrote and privately circulated manuscripts, was the default for women writers—and this was by no means as limited as it may seem, given that really popular manuscript works such as poems or songs could and do have upwards of a thousand copies in different hands. I liken this to both fanzines and locked online fan communities where writing can be shared with a similarly limited and intimate audiences. These texts are simultaneously private and public, shared and not shared, which is I think interesting on its own.

2) How do we think about generations—years or technology? The thing I really see right now is how contemporary fandom has split along gendered lines, with a lot of male fans still writing and producing in the fanzine format—title pages, numbered pages, table of contents, multiple authors—even for digital-only texts and women fans being almost completely online in digital archives and communities. And when it comes to the online communities I know so well, I see fans of all ages interacting in the same ways whether on Livejournal or Tumblr or AO3—there are established norms of behavior that we generally follow.

Right now  what strikes me about Fan Studies is how it has historically looked at the people rather than the texts to make meaning—asking "who" creates and "why?", and only more recently asking "what?" I think we should look more closely at the whats—what are the fics and art being created and what do they mean writ large!

December 1, 2016 - 09:31

Yes, this is exactly what I'm hoping to consider. As I cannot speak to your personal experiences, I'll offer what I hope is a similar case.  Some time ago news circulated that The Craft (1996) was going to be treated to a remake. 

The reaction I heard, largely through social media and from a very particular demographic (30-something white middle class women), was vitriolic; fans of the original film were horrified that a text significant to their juvenile identities was going to be changed, and railed against the value of such a project. Interestingly, the responses weren't just dissatisfaction that the film itself was going to be changed, but a projection onto, and predictions about, the potential new fan base: there was eyerolling, sighs, and a general dismissal of a wave of preteen girls who would find themselves under the spell of social liberation promised in the fantasy of the narrative (pun unashamedly intended). This projected fan base became a subject of derisive superiority, as self-proclaimed fans of the 1996 film quipped with disdain that one should prepare for "a new wave of thirteen-year-old witches." But what this perspective didn't actively acknowledge is that this is precisely the identity upon which the responders were basing their dismissal - that they themselves were once enthusiastic preteens seeking out the same sense of power, and identifying with characters who excused themselves from traditional social structures. This is where I see Shahani’s bottom state, and retrosexuality; in this specific example, the bottom state is that of an adolescent girl, whose body, clothing, movements, sense of security, and identity are all governed by critical patriarchal institutions, leaving her powerless, teaching her shame, and subjecting her to strict regulations. Into this bottom state comes a text that provides a fantasy of liberation, i.e. teenage girls who discover the power to evoke change through witchcraft. As a deviant identity unto itself, the figure of the witch is marginalized and criminalized, but in her potential some read an example of agency, and adopt (or at least identify with) this same identity to experience the autonomy that allows at least the illusion of exception to social regulations. The adult reaction to the remake of the film is, I’d suggest, a policing of these borders, and a desire to preserve this bottom state for that power of exception it offers – “original fans” don’t wish to dilute the identity through an influx of new fandom, and seek to maintain their own control through the exclusion of others. 

Similar responses accompany comic book movie releases, and remakes of cult classics such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The fan response to Suicide Squad has been particularly interesting, as it seems to have generated categories of fan identity more firmly rooted in social media than in fandom of the original text(s).