Fandom Was Born When the First Two Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1565 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Mythology

Fandom was born when the first two people started talking about their favourite program and it rolled like an avalanche into our times when fandom took unimaginable proportions for those first people who used to bring it up as a means of interacting. Today there are associations, estates (Tolkien Estate) and numerous fandom communities around the globe the existence of which is facilitated by today's means of communications through television and Internet.

TV series such as Star Trek, Xena or X-Files long after they ended their production still have their share of faithful fans. Matt Hills' researches on the topic of "Fan Cultures" reveals and analyses the scientific grounds for two mainstreams of fandom: "good " and "bad," or consumerist fandom. He is citing the writings of authors like Abercrombie and Longhurst, Jenkins and Fiske in his attempt to establish if there is in fact a distinction that is possible between the fandom made of those who are only interested in the stories as long as they follow details accurately and stay on the right, logical track of the narrative and those who are the primary target of any well marketed product: the consumers who help the producers increase their revenues by every way possible. The conclusion of the author is that the matter is much more complex than a simple demarcation between the two categories.

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This leads to another point of the discussion that concerns the interaction between the producers of a TV series, for example and their fandom. The fans are not mere receivers, but they are often proven to be active participants in the follow up of the stories. There are many forms of manifestation for the fandom that put it from the passive role of audience to the active role of producer. To support this, Hills is using Nightingale's and Jenkins' theories: "The creativity of the cult fan as a producer (within the supposedly 'free' space of leisure practices) has formed the basis for theorisations of fandom which celebrate this 'activity', whether it be video editing, costuming/impersonation (see Nightingale 1994, 1996), filk songwriting and performing or fanzine production (Jenkins 1992a). " (Hills, 2002, p. 39)

Term Paper on Fandom Was Born When the First Two Assignment

Active writers themselves or mere consumers, the members of fandom could not be ignored by those who produced a television program and even if they were considered by some theorists a niche audience, they revealed the power to make things happen when it came to some decisions that were to be taken into consideration regarding the continuation of their favourite TV show.

Even when a particular TV show started being broadcasted only as reruns it still represented an epoch and an important tool to remember the state of mind of a particular stage in the lives of the fandom members. Many fans grew up and developed into adults long with their favourite characters. TV series like Seinfeld are symbolic for the state of mind of millions of fans around the globe at the late nineties. The last two episodes of Seinfeld were broadcasted to an audience of over seventy million people around the world, in 1998, after five years had passed since the pilot episode had been broadcasted. A story without a plot entered history. More relevant to explaining the pleasure and motivation of fandom to remain attached to the characters they had fallen in love with is the example of the TV series "Friends." The audience literally grew up with Chandler, Joey and Ross and Rachel, Phoebe and Monica. "Friends" picked up from where "Seifeld" has left it, still in the area of comedy, but in a different manner. Another epoch began with Friends and the transition in the way of life from the late nineties to mid two thousand was done not only on screen, but also in the real life. or, the other way around. Of course, one can follow this course of ration backwards and start with "The Cheers" in this respect. The fandom of t his kind of TV series could easily suit the "good" side of fan culture. However, Hills relies on another writer to emphasize that "Janet Staiger has similarly cautioned against cultural theorists' tendency to split fandom into 'good' and 'bad' components: 'While most studies of fans emphasize the positive features of exchange and empowerment... I would point out that scholars may need to shift their presumptions even here -- although not back to the days when fans were considered pathological spectators... Fandom...cannot be easily bifurcated into good and bad' (Staiger 2000:54)."(Hills, 2002)

From the perspective of 2007 one can easily see how fandom can affirm the hegemony of culture. Like printed fiction, the television broadcasted series are the voices of their times. Mentalities, technical means, an entire society could be revealed to a teenager today by watching TV series from past decades.

Lancaster is one of the theorists Mills agrees with, even if not entirely, when it comes to supporting his views regarding fandom. Over the decades of television era, it became obvious that the psychology of fans must be taken into consideration since their views turned out to be important to the producers. Lancaster opposes the mere "fantasy consumers" to a much more active audience that is intelligent and imaginative enough to take part in the creation act and not only swallow the story without digesting it, but also eing able to create scenarios and make the most pleasurable part of being part of the fandom by doing it. Mills comes to the point of discussing the relevance in culture of the fans compared to the same issue when it comes to those who created a television show in the first place. Ellen Seiter, on the other hand points out that "It seems increasingly likely, however, that commercialization of the Web will discourage activism in favour of consumerism and the duplication of familiar forms of popular mass media, such as magazines, newspapers, and television programmes (Morris and Ogan 1996)."(Seiter, 1999, p. 116). This might be the theory of reverse in the sense of evolution of the public fan from passive to active. But Seiter is also writing about the way the Internet enables not only the mere viewing of a television show, but the discussion of it afterwards in chatrooms. This is already an active form of participation from the part of the fandom. There are new web pages fans create dedicated to their favourite TV series and to their stars and this is the new form of spreading this form of subculture and enriching it on a scale that was never possible before. One of the most productive fandoms in the world ever is the Tolkien fandom. It started with the publication of the books in the thirties and it reached its highest levels of influence once the Jackson movies were released. Today there are countless societies webpages and studies dedicated to everything the prolific media industry produced based on Tolkien's writings. The same model, on a much concentrated time frame followed J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter. There is a cultural impact that is noticeable especially when it comes to the stories created for children and young people who are most likely to follow new trends and copy their favourite hero onscreen in real life. The release of the last book from this series almost created a mass hysteria among children and teenagers who had the chance to see their favourite star, the good sorcerer becoming a teenager himself. The question will he survive till the end or not made fans queue for hours waiting for the release of the announced last volume.

Following this trace of thought, one can conclude that not only does fandom influence the way a story will develop from a certain point when its increased popularity makes it impossible to ignore its fans, but the fandom… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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