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A Subject By Choice?

(I wrote this for a graduate course on critical and cultural theories. It helped fuel my thinking about agency, fandom, and reception studies. I believe the citations are in reference to work by Judith Butler about Louis Althusser, but unfortunately I cannot find it. If you know the source, then please let me know! And, of course, there is a little Michel Foucault thrown in … Continue reading A Subject By Choice?

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Convergent Wrestling: The Nature of Professional Wrestling

Professional wrestling has been criticized for its emphasis on the fiction of its entertainment rather than the reality of its sport. My partner, Christopher Olson (Seems Obvious to Me), and I argue that professional wrestling functions as a convergent media product, representing a vital text for examining the media landscape of the 21st century. The true nature of professional wrestling is in how it combines … Continue reading Convergent Wrestling: The Nature of Professional Wrestling

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The Pop Culture Lens: Fan Harassment

I have been talking about this idea of fractured fandom on this blog for awhile now, because I have been concerned with the problems and tensions fans are facing in contemporary fan communities and fandoms. Across the Internet and around the world, it seems that hardly a day goes by without another story, another anecdote, another survey revealing the dark side of fandom. Of course, … Continue reading The Pop Culture Lens: Fan Harassment

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Conversations of GamerGate and Fractured Fandom

One of the things I have been doing this year (i.e. 2015) is trying to better understand what I mean when I say “fractured fandom” and how it manifests in the world. I’ve been writing about it for a couple years now, I have done an online interview study to gather people’s stories, I have attended panels at conventions and conferences that relate to the … Continue reading Conversations of GamerGate and Fractured Fandom

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The Pop Culture Lens: Episode on the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Fandom

On a special episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and I discuss a subject that has been one we have debated numerous times in our private lives and has become one that I have been focusing on as a research project: fandom, is it good or bad? http://ThePopCultureLens.podbean.com/mf/web/4kuzg8/Ep9FandomGoodBadUgly.mp3 We begin the conversation with a reflection on our experiences at the Chicago Comics … Continue reading The Pop Culture Lens: Episode on the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Fandom

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Fandom as Repeatedly Returning to What Matters Most

Being a fan can mean many different things to many different people.

It may mean a person likes to collect memorabilia for a favorite sports team. It may mean a group like to wear costumes and reenact an important event. It may mean individuals compete with one another to test their knowledge in trivia contests.

It may mean talking, acting, making, writing, reading, speaking, wearing, collecting, seeing, hearing, knowing, believing, arguing, communing, buying, selling, traveling, identifying, and so on and so forth.

At the base of all of these activities that people do to demonstrate to others that they are a fan — at the foundation of even this idea of “the fan” as a derivative of “the fanatic” — grounding this idea of being a fan as being about love and passion and sometimes obsession — is a simple act that people do that let’s them know to themselves that they are a fan of something.

This basic foundation of fandom is the idea that a person willingly repeatedly returns to the object of their affection.

Continue reading “Fandom as Repeatedly Returning to What Matters Most”

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Pop Culture Lens Podcast: The X-Files

In the sixth episode of our ongoing podcast, The Pop Culture Lens, Christopher Olson and I discuss my favorite television series of all time, The X-Files. I was a huge, huge, huge fan of this series; I can still recall sitting there when the show premiered, on that magical Friday night back in 1993, with my father, and thinking that we had just seen something … Continue reading Pop Culture Lens Podcast: The X-Files