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Fandom at the Crossroads - a review

I just finished reading Fandom at the Crossroads: Celebration, Shame and Fan/Producer Relationships by Lynn Zubernis and Katherine Larson (AKA the two lovely ladies who write Fangasm!)

I had bought it for myself (shipped up from the states no less) as a housewarming present. Because I'm the type of person that buys myself books as gifts instead of more practical things like clothes. It cost me a pretty penny, but it was worth it. (I also bought myself a Moriar Tea mug.) 

It's a really interesting book. The first 2/3 is about the psychology of fandom, specifically the psychology of female-dominated fandom and fanfic. I never studied psychology, which I think might be part of the reason I was fascinated. I love learning about things that I haven't studied before, and it was even more interesting because it was someone talking about a culture that I'm actively involved in - and basically grew up with (although I wasn't a participatory member of the culture until I discovered Supernatural). 

One thing the book really sheds light on is this ingrained fan-shame that we all (or most) seem to have to some degree or another and how we internalize and externalize it. I always thought that I didn't talk about fandom because...well, I was mostly just reading it for the porn when I was a teenager (Hi Mum!)...but even though that's not true anymore (90% of what I read is gen or I SKIP the porny bits and just read for the plot/characters/emotional-porn), the instinct is still to NOT talk about it. 

Therefore, most of my family and friends don't actually know that I've already written the equivalent of three or four novels...or that I READ the equivalent of 3 to 4 novels every week (and yet struggle to finish a regular book in time for book club every month). 

And the weird thing is, even if I DID only read for the porn, I'm actually of the opinion that sex and sexuality is something that people SHOULD talk about. That it shouldn't be something that anyone is ashamed of...I mean, there's a reason that they're called Pride Parades. (And even unhealthy sexual inclinations should be talked about so that people who have them can get the help they need, rather than living in constant fear of having their life destroyed and trying and possibly failing to manage it themselves...but that's an extremely sensitive rant that I won't go into right now).

I mean, there are kinks that I just do not understand...enemas, pregnancy, feeder, D/s....but that doesn't mean that I think people who get off on that kind of thing are wrong or should be ashamed of themselves in some way...after all, it's all about perspective. Just because you don't understand something, doesn't mean that it's wrong. I could tell an enema-kink fan about one of my kinks, and they could recoil in horror and say "Oh god! How on earth could you like that?! Why don't you read this nice enema fic instead..." and then I'd vomit and it'd just be a horrible scene...and someone somewhere would probably get off on it - and I'd be okay with that.

Basically, I'm saying that society is a bit fucked up - and it's also REALLY misogynistic, and sometimes I don't even realize HOW misogynistic until I read a book about women's psychology. It's amazing how much of this stuff is ingrained in people's psyche's...

For instance, the book talks about the fourth-wall breaking episodes and the divided reaction to them (The pre-S7 Chuck and Becky episodes especially)...and to be honest, I never realized how much some people didn't like these episodes. I really hate negativity, so I rarely read people's episodes reactions...I just don't want my squee harshed. The book actually includes some of the unfavourable reactions - and I found them interesting. They didn't piss me off and get me defensive about the show, instead, they actually just made me really sad for some people - because it was quite obvious that their dislike for the episodes wasn't really about the episodes, but about how their own self-perception. 

I've always had a sort of fucked-up gender identity (in my opinion anyway, I'm probably just normal)...but one thing I seem to have avoided (thankfully) is this notion that women aren't allowed/supposed to have complex sexual lives. And man, after reading this book, I realize just how much I avoided it. And I also realized how important it is for feminism and society as a whole that we all try to avoid it...I really do think that women should be less ashamed of their extremely complex sexual lives and more proud of them. We'd all be a lot happier (the men included).

Even with the sex aside - it's interesting that there's shame about just being a FAN of something...being a nerd/geek about something. I was talking about the book at bookclub (we have a slightly weird book club where we all read separate books)...and there is one other person at bookclub who is a "geek" like me. And I was describing what the authors were saying about fan-shame, and the other members of bookclub were confused and curious about...and they said to my friend

"So, do you find your censor yourself around other people?"
"Yes. All the time."
"Really?! This is you censoring yourself!? Wow! Well, please don't stop!"
...and we all had a laugh...but honestly, they had just made the book's point, and at the same time declared that it WASN'T okay for my friend to be THAT enthused about something or to actually be open and honest about her life...suggesting that she DID have something to be ashamed of, when she really does not.

(I should point out that one member of bookclub seems to be a walking hypocrisy machine).

(Of course, we later made the point that there's a difference between censoring yourself out of shame, and censoring yourself because whoever you are talking to just doesn't care. I mean, we've all been in the situation where someone is going on and on to us about football/computers/model-trains/history/fishingboats/finances/BattlestarGalactica and we've been saying "uh huh, yeah...uh huh" and inside we are screaming "OMG shut-up, can you not see that I don't care!!")

The last 3rd of the book talks how modern technology is breaking the 4th wall, and how Supernatural has embraced that more than any other show out there. This section was a lot of fun, of course, because it had interviews with Jared, Jensen, Kripke, and many many others from the show. And it's not your standard interviews, where they are just like "We love the fans" and "Wait until you see what we're bringing you next season!" Instead it's interviews about how Jared and Jensen manage their public personas, whether the creative team actually do listen to the fans or not, and what the creative team (Jared and Jensen included) really think about fanfiction and slashfic.

And this is where the whole internalized shame thing comes into play, because I was at a convention where someone asked Jensen a question about Dean/Cas, and I was pissed off, and the audience was pissed off, and Jensen looked pissed off too...so, naturally, my conclusion was "asking about slash pisses Jensen (and everyone) off." So, I thought it was rather hilarious that in reality, we only THINK it pisses him off. He doesn't actually give crap. (That being said, I do think that questions at conventions should only be about canon...but then, I'm a crazy canon-nazi, you may have noticed).

Jensen actually has the same opinion about slash as I do! (with the exception that he doesn't read it). He thinks he understands why people do it, and he doesn't care one way or the other about it...but he does wish that sometimes bros could just be bros. (And he says all this in the midst of a very adorable long speech about how awesome his friendship with Jared is.) Jared's opinion can basically be summed up as "whatever floats your boat."

Jared's interviews, of course, only made me like him more...which I thought was pretty hilarious, since in one of the interviews he basically says that I only like him because I've chosen to like him, and it doesn't really matter who he actually is...(and likewise, he likes me because he's decided to like me, and he doesn't really want to know who I actually am either, because this way we can all just love each other and be happy...seriously, what's not to love there?).

Anyway, yeah...interesting book. I could babble on more about it...but uh...I have a lot already, it seems. Hopefully whatever the heck I said makes sense.


( 42 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 9th, 2012 12:57 am (UTC)
I would love to read their book, but I feel the price is rather too expensive for my tastes (and my budget!).
Apr. 9th, 2012 01:04 am (UTC)
Yeah, I agree. I treated myself, but the price (and the shipping) really had my hissing through my teeth as I did so.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 9th, 2012 01:10 am (UTC)
I think the book has some really fascinating things to say, both directly and indirectly, about misogyny. Especially, as you say, how misogyny ends up influencing women's thoughts about respecting themselves (and each other)...so that, in turn, women end up unknowingly contributing to the amount of misogyny in society instead of fighting against it.

I almost want to quote more from the interviews, but I feel like the intent behind the words is better preserved in the context of the book. But they really are great interviews, and really just made me respect the Js and everyone else all the more (what can I say, I love thoughtful intelligent people). ;)

Edited at 2012-04-09 01:11 am (UTC)
Apr. 9th, 2012 01:19 am (UTC)
It's a bummer it's so expensive; I'd LOVE to get my hands on it. I'll keep an eye on it, though, in case it comes down in price at any point. Great review!
Apr. 9th, 2012 01:21 am (UTC)
Thanks! I think eventually they'll have it for cheaper...I hope anyway!
Apr. 9th, 2012 01:26 am (UTC)
Very intrigued to find someone who had read this book--it's currently out of my price range, but I would love to read it, esp. the in-depth interviews with the people who make it--I always wonder about their take on fandom, and whether they have thoughts on the difference between what they think they gave us and what fans perceive.

If you have more to say, please continue!
Apr. 9th, 2012 01:32 am (UTC)
Well, I suggest you definitely keep your eye on it to see if it comes down in price. :)

Jim Beaver had a funny thing to say about fan interpretations...where he read a meta about Born Under a Bad Sign online that talked about a supposed mysterious look that Bobby gave the boys, like he knew something they didn't, and Jim Beaver was like "the only thing I was thinking there was that I had no idea what I was talking about."

Jared doesn't read fan reactions, because the internet hurts his feelings. Jensen doesn't read them either. Kripke does/did, but only to an certain extent - but none of the interviews in the book mention him reading a reaction that he didn't expect. (He talks about Bella, but from what I gathered, the writers didn't like her much either, so they weren't too shocked that the fans didn't.)

Anyway - off to dinner, but if you have any specific questions, let me know!
(no subject) - borgmama1of5 - Apr. 9th, 2012 02:57 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hells_half_acre - Apr. 9th, 2012 06:45 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 9th, 2012 02:50 am (UTC)
Sounds like a great book! I'd love to read it, and I probably will...eventually.

I wonder if my library would buy it...
Apr. 9th, 2012 06:38 am (UTC)
I hope you do! :)

I don't know about libraries...it's kind of a specialty book and it IS expensive. I guess it wouldn't hurt to ask, you never know!
Apr. 9th, 2012 07:26 am (UTC)
...if you go to amazon you can "click to look inside". So at least you can read a few of the 250 pages... ;)

Seems to be an interesting, well researched book that is sympathetic to the fandom. But *gulps* 50 Euros...
Apr. 9th, 2012 08:14 am (UTC)
Yeah, like I said, I had to justify it as a housewarming present to myself - the price is not very appealing. It's definitely a good book, but I do hope it comes down in price so that it's more accessible.
Apr. 9th, 2012 09:30 am (UTC)
thanks for mentioning the book and some of the stuff in it!

I'm glad to know that neither of the guys really cares about slash. I think it is respectful to keep our fan products out of the faces of the actors, who are making a very different product than legally can't be seen to be interacting with fan products. (Several years ago my little boy wrote a cute Supernatural story that I sent to Vancouver as kind of a "look how cool you guys are, you inspired my little boy to write a fun story" idea -- but postcards are acceptable while stories get returned very politely by WB Legal!) But it's also good to know that neither Jared nor Jensen is actively offended by slash or fanfic in general, since there are some creators/actors who have been.

I think a lot of the "shame" of being a slash fan is what we fear the response would be from "straight" fans and colleagues. It's kind of a closet we build for ourselves. I don't really know what my friends would think about some of the explicit fic I have posted on the internetz... much less some of the incredibly explicit stuff I have read here and there (I am very curious about kinks and so I read a lot of stuff that I would never touch in RL).

I've always tried to make the internet and my experience of fandom as Woman Positive as I can. There is a certain amount of internalized misogyny among women friends, particularly in terms of how women characters are so heavily critiqued for being not enough this or too much that, or simply for taking screen time away from Our Boys while at the same time being reamed for being two-dimensional. Yeah, I have feelings about that. But I also think that there is a certain cultural element in fandom that suggests that secrecy = survival. There used to be an element that fanwork was okay as long as everybody could pretend it didn't exist -- but if networks found out about it they would be compelled to Shut Us Down. A few of my friends have actually received Cease and Desist notices -- so it's not an entirely groundless fear.

I guess all this is just to say -- does the book address fears that have some grounds? like --
"I have to keep my fanworks secret in order to protect myself from cease and desist orders."
"I have to keep secret because I am much kinkier online than I appear to my friends at church and on the PTA."
"I don't want to appear like I have Internet Addiction or that I waste my time and money." (Obvs. this one is more about perception of to what degree a person's fannishness dominates their life and/or a value judgement of how resources "should" be attributed)

anyways, thanks for sharing!

Apr. 9th, 2012 10:06 am (UTC)
They touch on those things a little.

In terms of Cease and Desist fears, they mention them, but don't talk about them too indepthly, as the authors point out that more and more creators are more understanding and welcoming of fandom (or at least tolerating) and the fears of being shut down are becoming less and less these days. (Obviously, it depends what you are doing, I guess. I was always under the impression that as long as you weren't trying to make money or distribute their product, they had no legal grounds to come after you...maybe that's naive of me though.)

They don't really talk to much about, what I call, the "porn" aspect of not talking about it. The truth of the matter is that NO ONE talks about porn in public - not even men (even though it's socially accepted that men like/watch porn). I think the author's points aren't really that women don't talk about it at the PTA/Church whatever meetings...but they don't even talk about it with their husbands/partners...which, yeah, I mean, good job if you can hide it from them, I guess, but I wouldn't want to live that way.

But, I think the point that they try to make is that it SHOULD be just as acceptable for women to have their porn as it is for men too. That doesn't necessarily mean that we HAVE to tell our friends what turns us on, but it does mean that we at least shouldn't feel guilty after getting off on it. I'm one of the most sex positive people that I know, but even I don't talk about my kinks to my friends...I'll talk about my sexual history, and I think once I told them my favourite position...but that's it. They don't need to know what porn I'm reading.

Oh man...tangent, sorry...uh, your last point about the time+money aspect - they don't really talk about that, no. But that's all a matter of perspective. Are you wasting your time and money if you are enjoying yourself? The way I think about it - I spend my evenings on my computer, writing, reading, surfing the internet. I'm sure some of my family thinks I'm addicted to the internet...at the same time, some of my family spends their evenings sitting in front of the television watching hours upon hours of TV...TV that costs just as much as my internet connection. How are they not wasting their time and I am? Why should I feel ashamed and them not? Likewise, if I spend money on a convention, where I have a ball...how is that different than them spending money to go on a cruise or spend a weekend at a spa? So, yeah, that's my two cents about that - even if they don't really touch on it in the book at all.
(no subject) - hells_half_acre - Apr. 9th, 2012 10:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hells_half_acre - Apr. 9th, 2012 10:07 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 9th, 2012 05:24 pm (UTC)
Sounds fascinating, I'll have to keep it in mind for a wish list when I've got a bit extra to spend.

Working at a bookstore alongside a lot of writers, I'm very open about my fandom participation. Most of the employees are aware of or participate to some degree in fandom. (Though TV-based fandom has some bias against it in that setting - they all know I write HP fics, but most would look at me oddly for Supernatural fics.) But I definitely run into the idea that I'm not serious about my writing unless I write towards publication. I don't admit that I've spent 5 years guiding my Severus fic to its final finished form, because they'd think it's a waste of time to have spent that long on a fanfiction. Nevermind that I couldn't have written a novel-length fic before I'd learned the process through a character I love and feel passionately about, even though he's from someone else's world.
Apr. 9th, 2012 07:04 pm (UTC)
I find that there's definitely a bias against television as a medium...especially in the book community. People tend to have this belief that books can be deeply metaphorical and philosophical, but TV is just about sex, violence, and slapstick. I don't think people realize that TV can just be like a really long play...and PLAYS are certainly recognized as having the ability to be deeply metaphorical and philosophical.

Basically, I'm saying that I know what you mean about the book-people not understanding. One of my sisters works in publishing, and I haven't actually told her about my writing in fandom.

The way I see it though is that when I started writing fanfiction for fun, I was pretty goddamn depressed with my life and I hadn't touched my "real" novel in 5 years. Fanfiction basically gave me a training room...it let me practice my writing using other people's characters and stories...and then I could get my confidence up enough to start working on something that I can legally publish.

But that being said, I don't think you need to have an eye on publishing in order for fanfiction to be justified. There's a quote out there by someone...Hemmingway? Gaiman? Some author...that says that in order to live a happy life, one need only produce art. It doesn't matter what KIND of art. And that's what I see fanfiction as - we can't all be painters and musicians, but some of us can write stories - and fandom both conveniently stocks you with characters AND provides you with an eager audience.

(no subject) - et_tu_lj - Apr. 12th, 2012 05:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hells_half_acre - Apr. 12th, 2012 09:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - et_tu_lj - Apr. 14th, 2012 06:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 9th, 2012 05:28 pm (UTC)
Huh. That sounds very interesting. I think I'm going to have to read this book.

Jared's reasoning at the end was funny, though it seems pretty true to me. I think that's how most people feel about celebrities-they don't really know them, but based on what fans hear and how they see celebrities in shows/photos/interviews they decided to like the them or not. I think this is especially true of celebrities like Jared and Jensen who are famous but not mega-famous.
Apr. 9th, 2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it was an interesting idea, but yeah, it might be unique to Jared's odd famous position...where he's a superstar in a cult show, but not at all well known by people outside of that show.
Apr. 10th, 2012 07:50 pm (UTC)
Because I'm the type of person that buys myself books as gifts instead of more practical things like clothes.

And this sentence right there just made my day. I do the same thing. And sometimes even more impractical things like theatre tickets.. At least books make a nice "shelf decor" when they become more than just a few hundreds :D 
Apr. 10th, 2012 08:14 pm (UTC)
Theatre tickets work as house-warming presents too...I mean, you wouldn't want to junk up your new house with unnecessary clutter. ;)

(no subject) - lusciniate - Apr. 10th, 2012 09:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hells_half_acre - Apr. 10th, 2012 10:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 11th, 2012 06:07 pm (UTC)
This sounds like a very interesting book and one that I would love to read, eventually. Particularly the last third of the book, the interviews of cast and crew would intrigue me the most.

But I totally get the shame one feels sometimes in regards to loving a show or being a part of fandom. All my life when I have gotten really interested and invested in a show, my brothers would look at me like I am some weird individual and my dad would shake his head all worried that I am in my fantasy land again and hoped that those thoughts or feelings didn't spill over into my real life in any way. None of my family or friends took an interest in my love or interest in shows, even now with Supernatural. I have a niece that is really into the show and we are together we have great talks, but otherwise, my family has no interest. And the sad thing is is that they have no interest in understanding or knowing why this show has become such an integral part of my life and is so important. They don't care. Yet, when the family gets together, all my brothers can talk about is politics and I have to sit and listen to them ad nauseum ALL THE TIME about their opinions and feelings and thoughts, etc. It drives me crazy. There is even one brother who doesn't know what show it is I am crazy about. He knows there is a show, but I refuse to tell him because I know that the only kind of response I will get from him will be teasing or a roll of the eyes, so yea, I keep quiet.

But, I'm not sure if it is shame or more just other people don't care, or don't understand, so why try to talk about it when others don't have any interest or desire to know anything further. However, I grew up with so many rolls of the eyes and weird looks from my brothers about my "obsessions" that I am very sensitive in talking about any of this to others outside of fandom.
Apr. 12th, 2012 12:41 am (UTC)
Yeah, I remember, even as a kid, trying to hide how much I liked certain cartoons...mainly because I was afraid that my older brother would think I was stupid. It turns out that *I'm* not stupid, I just happen to get a kick out of stupid cartoons...but that differentiation is hard to make when you are young.

I think some of my family understands to varying degrees..but yeah, I don't talk about it much, mainly due to the fact that no one cares. Actually, television aside, my older sister does this thing where she'll ask me a question about history (which I studied in school) and then when I start to answer her, she'll pretend to fall asleep...because, you know, that's hilarious. *sarcasm*

So, yeah, no matter WHAT it is, there's always going to be someone out there who wants to make fun of you for it...so, there's no sense making fun of yourself for it, which is essentially what shame is. :P
(no subject) - metallidean_grl - Apr. 12th, 2012 04:05 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 12th, 2012 04:31 am (UTC)
Thank you for this review, and for sharing some of the insights! It sounds like a fascinating book that I will have to track down.

ingrained fan-shame that we all (or most) seem to have to some degree

I'm one of those (rare, apparently?) fans who doesn't have fan-shame. I never have and when I first came across it (in a male fan) I couldn't comprehend why he would hide his Star Trek obsession. I mean, it was cool, and just because other people didn't like it didn't mean he was a loser!

But apparently a lot of people were mocked earlier in life for liking geeky stuff. I sometimes wonder why not me - because I grew up in a fan-friendly family where we all watched SF together? Because I was teased for being 'smart' rather than fannish? Because I don't look like the stereotype of a fan? Does the book shed light on root causes?

[I agree with the comments already here, that there are certain things you don't talk about in public ever, only with trusted friends, and important people in my life have always been aware that I write fic. I just link 'em to the (boring?) gen stuff and they lose interest.]
Apr. 12th, 2012 05:03 am (UTC)
I'm not sure if the book talks about root causes in general (and obviously, by "not sure", I mean that I don't remember it doing so)...it talks about female fans specifically a lot and the reasons that they hide fic and such...but yeah, just like, general scifi geekyness, I'm not sure if they touch on that too much, or if it's just assumed that it's because they were once ridiculed.

My situation is a bit like yours, and a bit not. My whole family grew up on Star Trek and Star Wars, and those were fine obsessions. My brother built the enterprise out of legos etc...but basically, somehow it worked its way into my psyche that it was only okay to be obsessed with older brother approved shows. I think it's because my brother could be pretty scathing about things he didn't like.

Actually, when we were all adults, and my brother had married, we all went to see one of the Harry Potter films. Afterwards, my brother made some comment about it - that obviously wasn't flattering to Harry Potter fans - and I was shocked when his wife made him apologize immediately to her. I think that's when I realized that he had married the right woman, because, my goodness, I had never seen anyone make my brother apologize before...it never even occurred to me that he could be in the wrong. So, yeah, I think what little fan-shame I have (and remember always having), I probably got it because of hero-worshipping my brother a bit too much. :P

(no subject) - jedinic - Apr. 19th, 2012 10:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 9th, 2012 07:59 pm (UTC)
I ran across this post while searching for info on the book. Specifically I was wondering why in the hell it was so expensive. Do you know? I will say that your review makes me want to read it more, especially the interviews the cast and staff (because I'm weird about those--there's that ingrained sense of shame raising its ugly head) so thanks for your insights, although I'll probably see if the paperback version is any more reasonably priced.
Sep. 9th, 2012 08:03 pm (UTC)
I have no idea why it's so expensive, unfortunately. I hope the paperback is cheaper!

I'm glad you found the review useful...even if it did make you want to read an expensive book more. :P

I know they're about to come out with two other books - so I'm dreading what those price-tags are going to be like.
Dec. 2nd, 2012 04:58 pm (UTC)
Your review helped me make the decision and indulge myself. Thanks! Now to wait impatiently till it arrives!
Dec. 2nd, 2012 09:09 pm (UTC)
Yay! I hope you enjoy the book when it arrives!

As you read it, you should keep in mind that Jared has also read the entire book... and he said it helped him understand a lot about the fandom and what happens at conventions. I like knowing that fact, because when I heard that, my first thought was "oh god, Jared knows all our secrets!" which is a feeling that plays right into one of the aspects of fan psychology discussed in the book.
Cynthia Blackburn
Jan. 4th, 2014 03:44 am (UTC)
Silent television fanning...
Larsen and Zubernis also wrote a much more budget friendly (if you don't mind the ebook) book called Fangasm, which is sort of the same topic with far more squee and less acadamia. (It's even got pics of J&J squeeing at a copy of itself, which is almost Winchestual in a strange way...)

It's more about their own adventures as fans, where they really do spend hours in line at cons and how Lynn refused to talk to the actors because she was too embarrassed (at first).

One thing they mentioned that made me smack me forehead and say "Hey...yeah!" was that MEN are fans of sports teams and no one blinks twice. In fact, it's almost abnormal if they're NOT fanatics about the local team. And--because my husband and I live in New England (please google if you're not in the US and don't know where this is), home of the NE Patriots football team...one of my sons is named Tom and the other is named...Brady. (Was this MY idea? NO! Does anyone think this is odd/obsessive? No! Can you believe it?) And I thanked God that my daughter waited to be born until after the World Series, because otherwise, I might have labored alone while hubs and probably my OB cheered at the television.

He's got T-shirts, hats, mugs, water bottles, a license plate holder, window decals, flags, Christmas tree ornaments, winter jackets, spring windbreakers and sweatpants emblazoned with Boston sports team logos--Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Pats. Does anyone think he's sad/delusional/pathetic? No! It's all normal and good.

So why do I feel like a freak if I even think about--maybe--seeing if there's a reasonably priced Supernatural mug (only for home consumption! God forbid anyone sees it outside my home!)? Isn't this somehow wrong?
Jan. 4th, 2014 06:31 am (UTC)
Re: Silent television fanning...
I actually just finished reading Fangasm! It's very much an "applied" Fandom at the Crossroads... for the less academically inclined, I suppose - or people who prefer a good story!

It's also fascinating to read their journeys through fandom and their experiences with TPTB.

But yes, it's SO TRUE about the sports thing. I live in Canada, so for 80% of the year it's all hockey all the time. It's become part of our national identity to be obsessed with hockey. I'm seen as a freak for only having gone to one hockey game in my entire life, and that being only on the provincial level rather than the NHL. I don't care about the playoffs, I don't care who wins the cup... of COURSE I want Canada to win Gold in Hockey at the Olympics, but it's probably mainly just because I know how happy it makes everyone, and how sad they get when they lose. It's ridiculous.

Yet, if I take that same level of obsession and translate it to anything else, I'm considered a freak! There's a singer I like who has a song with the lyric "So hide your passions in between the daily grind and broken dreams" - and the song is about living in the city, but really, I always take that line as what we're expected to do. It's not seen as "normal" to be passionate about something, unless it's an approved thing to be passionate about.

So, someone can know the stats, names, countries of origin, etc. for every member of the Vancouver Canucks - they can obsessively check hockey pools and spend 3 hours every two days for the entire hockey season watching games (seriously, my sister's boyfriend does this) and it's considered "normal" - but I spend 3 hours WHEN I HAPPEN TO HAVE THE TIME, writing a meta, or fic, or whathaveyou, and I'm considered pathetic?! I think not.

Anyway, I think it's better that we start wearing our passions rather than hiding them. We don't have to shove them in people's faces, but I definitely think we shouldn't be ashamed to take our Supernatural mugs to the office... the only reason I wouldn't is because I don't want anything to happen to it. ;)
( 42 comments — Leave a comment )


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