Fans of Trump, Fans of Jesus

To start. I want to return to the original conceptionalization of fanaticism defining fandom. So, let’s do a dive back into what this word means. Merriam-Webster defines “fanaticism” as having a “fanatic outlook or behavior.” Well, that’s not helpful, because it defines the term with a different version of it; so, what is fanatic? The…

Customer-Fans and the Happily Exploited

Time for another story (I appear to have a lot to tell!); this time, about the experiences I had at the biggest comic book convention in the world, San Diego Comic Con International. When I graduated college, I moved to Los Angeles and ended up working at an agency that represents writers, directors and producers….

Community at AAW

It takes a community to build a wrestling promotion. We have been going to AAW shows now for over a year. We have been to see them in the various venues they use in Chicago — Logan Square Auditorium, 115 Bourbon Street, the Berwyn Eagles Club, and Joe’s Live at Rosemont. We have watched some…

Pop Culture Lens on Transformers

In the thirty-seventh episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and I welcome friend of the podcast Jef Burnham of CadaverCast to discuss the classic toy line, Transformers. In this episode, the three recall with fondness how these toys impacted their lives, but in doing so, they also focus on the relationship between nostaglia…

The Pop Culture Lens on Doctor Who

In the thirty-sixth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and I welcome friend of the podcast, Paul Booth of DePaul University, to discuss the venerable British science fiction series, Doctor Who. In this episode, the three discuss what has led to the longevity of the series, which started in 1963. This discussion…

A Subject by Choice: The Agency of Fans

I wrote this reflection paper back in 2007 to consider how theories about subjectivation occurs in fandom. Which is to say, how fans of something willingly become identified with that thing they are a fan of. Subjectivation would argue that people passively become something through external ideological forces — that they have no say in…

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…

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,…

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…