sab: (voy >> fandom culture on the skids)
[personal profile] sab
First they came for the hackers.
But I never did anything illegal with my computer, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came for the pornographers.
But I thought there was too much smut on the internet anyway, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came for the anonymous remailers.
But a lot of nasty stuff gets sent from anon.penet.fi, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came for the encryption users.
But I could never figure out how to work PGP anyway, so I didn't speak up.

Finally they came for me.
And by that time there was no one left to speak up.


That's me referencing [livejournal.com profile] alara_r's classic reappropriation of the Pastor Niemoller poem, which has always been a kind of fannish mantra for me. And the circle of reappropriation goes on, and on...

I want to talk about the debate surrounding the mainstream popularization of [livejournal.com profile] killabeez and [livejournal.com profile] tjonesy's K/S vid, because --

[livejournal.com profile] jadelennox said:

It's been bothering me increasingly in recent months, as fanvids get posted on YouTube (not by the creators), that my non-fannish friends link to them as just another cool internet video. Of course, how would non-fannish folks recognise the incredible violation of fannish etiquette involved in posting a vid to YouTube? They're insider creations, not intended for general consumption, and so why would non-insiders know the etiquette involved?

Well, first what it is is we have to start adjusting to the fact that we're not insiders anymore -- the world got really small really fast, and we are right there in the spotlight, or, as Punk put it, they can see us now. We've been on the cutting edge, "hiding" on the internet with our creations, but here in Web 2.0, the user-created web, we can't hide anymore, we are the internet. And so of course people are going to try and find ways to popularize us -- eventually, they will try and find ways to use us to make money.

Take Revver.com, for instance, which is a YouTube clone with one bonus feature -- you upload homemade vids and get PAID per click, so it behooves you to make a vid that lots of people want to see. (Revver, at this point, is only accepting original material, however, so while you can make bucks off that video of you making a Mentos bottle rocket in your backyard, you can't yet make money off of Kirk and Spock and Nine Inch Nails. But, it's only 2006 and copyright law has a long way to go to catch up with the world we're in...)

Point being, the folks who see the Closer vid on YouTube might not be "fannish" per se, as we have come to understand it, but I defy you to tell me the difference between a fannish person watching a slashy video and enjoying it, and a "non-fannish" person watching a slashy video and enjoying it. At that moment, they're just as fannish as we are -- it's not that they've intruded into fandom, it's that fandom extruded to become big enough to hold the whole world in its hands.

In Doctor Who's The Chrismas Invasion, the Doctor says to Prime Minister Harriet Jones, when she asks if there will be many more alien races invading Earth: The human race is drawing attention to itself. Every day you're sending out probes and messages and signals - this planet's so noisy. You're getting noticed... more and more.

Her response was to shoot down the alien spaceship, kill it dead before it can go out there and warn the rest of the galaxy about us. Like that'll work. Like that'll keep us hidden. The intergalactic equivalent of not signing the Kyoto Treaty because doing so would admit that global warming exists.

And I don't want fandom to be another Harriet Jones, shooting down everyone who finds us, rather than trying to find ways to integrate ourselves with the new and changing world we live in -- because it's not going to go back to how it was. Not ever. The days of hiding out in brown paper zines and usenet are behind us, and we have to move forward or die. And then the new generation will come along, with their fanvids and their YouTubes, and they'll act like they invented the thing, like they own the place, and we'll all be stuck at the old fangirls' home, bitching about Chris Carter and the good old days.

We're all the same, the creators and the poachers and RPSers and the YouTubers and the uploaders and the downloaders. And the world right now is trying to figure out how to regulate us, how to clap down on us, how to make money off us. If we want to be part of that process, we have to stop pretending they can't SEE us just so we feel safer.

Date: 2006-09-19 11:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] scrubschick.livejournal.com
Well stated and thank you. I need to pay more attention to these things for all of the reasons you listed. The ostrich philosophy won't help my future grandchildren.

(But can we still sit together in the old fangirls' home and bitch?)

Date: 2006-09-21 10:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] iamsab.livejournal.com
We can always sit together at the old fangirls' home, laughing at the newbies having their very first flamewars and remembering the good old days when we had to put disclaimers on our fic and could still use the MPAA ratings system.

And, still, bitching about Chris Carter and how he played us all for fools for seven years. That with which he cannot live without my tiny pink ass!

Date: 2006-09-19 11:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] madam-rptr.livejournal.com
Wow. What a fantastic post. I knew there was some great reasons to add you to my flist. I'll be linking to this tomorrow or late tonight (when I get time to post it properly) in my very small LJ with your permission.

Date: 2006-09-19 11:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] iamsab.livejournal.com
Of course you have my permission, to wit, once we put stuff on the internets, they are on the internets for all to see!

Also, hi!

Date: 2006-09-20 04:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] madam-rptr.livejournal.com
Agreed - and...remind me to go check my flist...(ha)

And - hey! I friended you just recently, and honestly, I can't remember exactly why this exact moment but I'm glad I did.

Date: 2006-09-20 12:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] se-parsons.livejournal.com
I think you're right.

I only fear that all of fandom will soon have to lawyer up.

Considering how much the folks like RIAA are going after even use of music in multiple formats by people who have paid for it (i.e. they want a kickback if you transfer your legally downloaded songs from your ipod to your computer or any other format), we're probably going to see a lawsuit very, very soon over a fanvid on behalf of not an artist, but a record company.

I deal with these people every day and they are utterly rapacious bastards at enforcing their copyrights. Warner, EMI and Disney are particularly evil.

Date: 2006-09-21 10:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] iamsab.livejournal.com
THAT is why we need to stick together, that RIGHT THERE.

There are more than enough of us to make a very influential demographic, but not if we impose false wossnames between the slashers and the vidders and the RPFers and the downloaders and so on and so on.

Either you're a poacher or you ain't, and it is getting SO CLOSE to too late for us to organize.

Date: 2006-09-20 12:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] projectjulie.livejournal.com
YES

as [livejournal.com profile] cyborganize said re: the Wall St. Jnl article. help me write my dissertation?

Date: 2006-09-21 10:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] iamsab.livejournal.com
Everything I know I know from the Julie/Emily hivebrain, I thought that bit was understood. And, of course I will. Read my responses to some comments here too, it might be that time of day where you and I fight about Lessig again!

/loving you so much my heart hurts

Date: 2006-09-22 10:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] projectjulie.livejournal.com
*readz commentz*

you and [livejournal.com profile] cathexys both have spicy, spicy brains. overall, a lot of it seems to be a rhetorical problem: we don't have good critical language to compare things that are kinda ALIKE and kinda DIFFERENT. so it just turns into a glass half full/empty runaround.

personally, I'm far less interested in the border policing than in the emergent economics of the situation (both commercial and libidinal -- not that these are separable). there's going to be increasing stress on the CW that fan practices are "resistant" (whatever that means -- I have been thoroughly disabused of this notion). hopefully (and this is my dissertation) more soul-searching discussion of the complicity of fandom and capitalism, but also the rifts at the heart of capitalism that open up new possibilities.

"The Future of Ideas" is the Lessig current on my field lists -- is that what you were reading? I'll get back to you when I manage to actually pick up a book (I can't even bring myself to read Snow Crash, when the internet is in the room). meanwhile, here's something that will amuse you (http://onegoodmove.org/1gm/1gmarchive/2006/09/john_oliver_orp.html), anglophile.

*hurts back*

Date: 2006-09-20 01:31 am (UTC)
ext_841: (Default)
From: [identity profile] cathexys.livejournal.com
Point being, the folks who see the Closer vid on YouTube might not be "fannish" per se, as we have come to understand it, but I defy you to tell me the difference between a fannish person watching a slashy video and enjoying it, and a "non-fannish" person watching a slashy video and enjoying it. At that moment, they're just as fannish as we are

Hmmm..yes and no. I think you're right that it is kind of a false dichotyomy to define indsider and outsiderdom, esp. in a culture as malleable and fluid as ours.

On the other hand, I do believe that there *is* a community (however ill-defined and frazzled around the edges), and I do believe that the very fact that people took the vid and posted it on youtube, the very fact that others forwarded it, the very fact that people watched it without having any sense that it is part of a larger whole, that it can (though not must!) be read in context (source textual and fan contextual) suggests that they are not part of that partivular community (though they clearly are part of *another* community, namely that of youtube sharing, slash vid enjoying folks). in other words, the very fact that they were defying tyhe community conventions of a community they didn't even know existed does define an insider/outsider status (even if there are plenty folks outside who totally get it and folks inside who think that those conventions are silly and ought to be done away with!)

I think it takes more to be a part of fandom than to be fannish (which brings me back to my rntire community definitional issues). Is a person writing her HP opus and hiding it in her drawer and never reading anyone else's fifcf or even knowing that others are out there fannish? Certainly. Is she a fan? Clearly. Is she part of a fannish community? Not really.

So, yes, i take that challenge, b/c I can easily do it with fic. If I read your latest story, then I will read it very differently than if I handed it to my best friend...even if she watched SGA regularly and passionately. I will recognize the way you engage with certain fannish tropes (both fandom specific and in general); I may read it against discussions we (you and I or people in the fandom in general) have had about a given characterization or whatnot; and I know you, have read your and punk's stuff in other fandoms, have you on my flist and have exchanged emails with you. Moreover, we both define *ourselves* as part of a community whereas my friend clearly doesn't.

You do not need to have watched hundreds of vids or hang out with vidders or be in fandom or even have watched ST to enjoy Closer. But to say that random Boing Boing user X and I watch the same vid in the same way (besides the fact that youtube's pic quality sucks ass!!!!!)...I disagree.

Date: 2006-09-21 12:24 am (UTC)
ext_230: a tiny green frog on a very red leaf (Default)
From: [identity profile] anatsuno.livejournal.com
I could defy a dozen community conventions tomorrow for breakfast, because they always annoyed me like hell nd I politically disagree with them. one of those *could* be that I upload a vid from someone else to Youtube, or break another fan's carefully maintained semi-anonymity wrt the internet at large. That I would defy these conventions tomorrow would not suddenly make me "not part of the fandom", either. This to say, I think the way you're looking at what defined a innsidership/outsidership is interesting, but it's not this clearcut as that, either.

If fen belonging to the fandom were "the ones who always abide by all of the community's conventions" there would never be wank about the fen who bring a box of sex toys to Michael Rosenbaum, or the fen who offer Elijah Wood a sexually explicit slash drawing of Frodo with Sam, etc etc. Some rules are widely enforced and constitute the fandom's own set of cultural taboos, yes, but one can be an insider and trespass, too.

Date: 2006-09-21 10:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] iamsab.livejournal.com
You do not need to have watched hundreds of vids or hang out with vidders or be in fandom or even have watched ST to enjoy Closer. But to say that random Boing Boing user X and I watch the same vid in the same way (besides the fact that youtube's pic quality sucks ass!!!!!)...I disagree.

Yeah, fair enough.

But I do think that people who watch/consume fannish product "like us" are shortly about to be overrun by people who watch fannish product "like them," and as fannish content eases its way into the mainstream, the lines are going to blur...and then vanish.

In other words, for those of us familiar with the subtleties of slash, and those of us who have seen more than one K/S fanvid -- we're able to say, Killa's vid was interesting in A, B, and C ways, she used these classic clips intercut with these rarer clips, she played with fannish tropes of K/S slash, etc etc. And a YouTube stranger comes in going, "dude, someone made a movie where it looks like Kirk and Spock are gay for each other!!!"

But in a year, or six months, when there's fifty seven thousand K/S vids on YouTube, they're going to be able to make the same distinctions we do, have "favorite" vids based on criteria the mainstream internet viewer picks up on, etc.

I posted my first vid this year, right, a vid to the BBC mini "Casanova." I posted it on YouTube and then spent some time clicking through similar vids, other Casanova vids and other vids with Tennant in. I have no idea whether those vids were made by people I would typically consider "fannish like me," but, removing authorial intent, all I was left with was a stack of Tennant videos on YouTube, of which mine was part.

Point being, yes, you're totally right that we come from a different place, with a communal vocabulary and list of experiences that allow us to consume fannish product in context, in the context of the tradition of fannish creations we've been living in for all these years.

But I am quite dubious about how long the protective bubble around this community can last. Because, it'd be one thing if random BoingBoing user X saw a K/S vid, thought it was funny and gay, and went back to her life, never having heard of "fandom," and never knowing that this is the sort of export that lots and lots of people on the internet do and have done. But I think they do know that (cf. the media's continued and growing exposure of fandom, Jenkins' article, etc etc), I think we are very close to people consuming our product as a kind of fannish international export -- and globalization leads to homogenization, and then all of a sudden it's, "let's try this at home, kids!"

Did that make sense?

Date: 2006-09-23 02:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rez-lo.livejournal.com
and then all of a sudden it's, "let's try this at home, kids!"

...and isn't that the creative essence of fandom?

In the course of this debate so far, I have yet to see any speculation on the potential for positive influence--the inspiring potential--of that single fanvid. But that is what I expect is going on, along with all the other things that people are anticipating or fearing. "They" won't do it like "us," but they'll do it. I kind of like that idea.

(Here via [livejournal.com profile] vee_fic with many thanks for the insight and lucidity.)

Date: 2006-09-20 06:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thedorkygirl.livejournal.com
I don't .... want the media to ruin fandom.

I don't want everybody writing about fanfiction in their local newspaper (and most of 'em incorrectly) so that people pop over and go, whoa, hey, don't write for my show! It's weird enough that the Heroes website is by the guy of Kyrptonsite or whatever and says something about "starting a fandom" on the front page.

I want to be recognized -- not me, personally, but fandom. It's nifty to talk about something and not have people give you a blank look. But it also has drawbacks. It'd be AWESOME if "MsScribe" were mentioned in some newpaper, but, whoa, then we have people who just don't understand jumping around and mucking things up. Nonfandomers being idiots, yeah?

But I want it. I want all the new fandomers who might not discover fandom any other way. I want people to read something without realizing what, exactly, they're getting theirselves into. I want them to stumble into fandom. Maybe that's what the Lost television & newspaper advertisements did, 'cause it probably brought more people to the internet?

With more exposure, yeah, we get Talent. And Talent needs lured in to each and every nook and cranny, but there are a lot more Iffys than Talents out there, and almost as many Plain Bads too.

THAT actually brings me to another thing that bothers me -- who am I to judge the PBs -- the probable fourteen-year-old kid who has, for the first time, taken hand to key and written something for public consumption? So by inviting this innocent stranger into my fandom (through exposure of fandom as a whole by the media), I also invite him to the wolves of sporking, y'know? Everybody was new to fandom once, but not everybody was oh-so-great as one claims he was from the start.

So I want them quiet, I want them in, and I want to let them grow. It's like a really weird porno, but, hey, my fandom?

Date: 2006-09-20 08:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apathocles.livejournal.com
Exactly. I would've found the K/S vid hysterical in my pre-fandom days. Because I've always been fannish, and it's not like picking up on homoerotic subtext is an activity confined solely to those who discuss such things on the internets. Kirk/Spock + Nine Inch Nails = comedy gold, no matter your fannish involvement.

That being said, there's sometimes a small element of 'I knew them first!' in my brain when it comes to fannishness being covered in mainstream media, but then again, I get like that about small fandoms within fandom. (Which is counter-productive, I know.) However, we can't stop it, and so we may as well make the most of it. A lot of people are fannish about things, even if they poo-poo the idea of fandom itself; plenty of people discuss TV shows with their friends and co-workers IRL, after all. Doing so on the internet just gives you more ways of expressing that fannishness. It's not all that different, really.

I mean, when I first got online, I stumbled upon fandom by accident -- I was just looking for transcripts of BtVS eps I had missed. I found a messageboard, and went, 'huh, a place to discuss eps'. And then I was like, 'who the hell would want to read fic?'. (Never mind that I wrote a whole lot of fanfic as a kid.) Eventually I caught on that these things are fun.

Fandom was an accidental thing for me, rather than something I was looking to get into. And I daresay it would be true for a lot of other 'mainstream' people. I didn't go seeking it out for some special reason; it was just like there was a place to have the kinds of discussions I already took part in regularly IRL. A logical extension of my pre-existing fannishness, which wasn't particularly different from that of most 'normal' folks.

I mean, even the stuff that's seen as particularly weird (by some), like political slash... that happens IRL all the time. A few years back, the Australian news media were constantly associating politicians (particularly Dubya and John Howard) with homoerotic imagery. It was hilarious. *g*

In conclusion: I don't think fandom is the unique snowflake it thinks it is.

*is promptly expelled from fandom*

Date: 2006-09-21 10:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] iamsab.livejournal.com
And what we've got here, Ap, is a great example of how even IN fandom we can't be expected to consume product the same way. There are plenty of people out there who take K/S set to NIN very seriously and do not think it is at all made of hilarious, and yet, they're just as entrenched in fandom as you are, and just as much a part of the Great World of Fandom in all its multitudinous pockets of sovereignty.

In conclusion: I don't think fandom is the unique snowflake it thinks it is.

Or, that. Exactly. Or Matt Perry bringing Brad Whitford onto Leno just to give him a Deep Passionate Hug. Or Chris Meloni making out with Lee Tergesen at the GLAAD awards, or Felicity and Marcia kissing, or or or. We're queering and they're queering and we're blurring the lines between fiction and nonfiction and we're taking content and recutting it and they're doing the same thing.

And -- now that Web 2.0 gives us all, equally, the opportunity to produce and publish our product, and enjoy one another's product with almost zero difficulty -- the veil's been lifted, you know? We can SEE each other now.

Date: 2006-09-22 01:31 am (UTC)
ext_150: (Default)
From: [identity profile] kyuuketsukirui.livejournal.com
There are plenty of people out there who take K/S set to NIN very seriously and do not think it is at all made of hilarious, and yet, they're just as entrenched in fandom as you are, and just as much a part of the Great World of Fandom in all its multitudinous pockets of sovereignty.

I was going to comment on that, too. I'm definitely one of the "K/S + NIN = comedy gold" folks, but I knew there were plenty of people who would likely not read it that way at all, and not just hardcore, old-school K/S folks.

Just because we're in fandom (such a huge, diverse place to begin with!) does not mean we'll have anywhere near the same reading of something. I'm sure there are some fandom outsiders who watched the vid and took it seriously.

Date: 2006-09-22 01:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apathocles.livejournal.com
For some reason, it didn't even occur to me that there would be people taking this very seriously (although now that I actually take a second to think about it, it's bloody obvious).

It probably doesn't help that I'm very much outside the vidding culture, for two main reasons: 1) a piss-poor dial-up connection, and 2) vidding is a medium that just doesn't capture my imagination all that much. I'll usually only even attempt to download a vid if I think I'll get a laugh out of it (and I never did see the end of the Closer one, because my connection kept crapping out).

So yeah, I'm probably coming at this from the POV of someone who doesn't participate in vidding culture, and who remembers TOS to some degree from her childhood, but isn't actually involved in the fandom (and doesn't 'ship anyone from the show).

However, even if the vid featured one of my favourite pairings from my fandom-of-the-moment, I would have still laughed hysterically (even while going 'ooh, hot'), because I am twelve, and the thought of vidding anything at all to NIN amuses me. And also because there was a Closer parody around in the '90s called Closer to Hogs, which took the whole 'fuck you like an animal' thing just a little further than the original did. (Hillbilly NIN covers = also comedy gold.) Any vague chance I had of taking that vid seriously? Gone.

Which is just another example of how everyone brings their own baggage and perceptions into the fannish experience. We're not all going to view things the same way, and I've often found myself having in-depth, fascinating fannish conversations with non-fandom folks IRL, while trying to initiate the same conversation with certain people online leads to wanting to beat said people with an axe. There are some differences, sure, but I don't think the boundaries are solid.

Date: 2006-09-25 02:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] catalenamara.livejournal.com
>>>However, even if the vid featured one of my favourite pairings from my fandom-of-the-moment, I would have still laughed hysterically (even while going 'ooh, hot'), because I am twelve, and the thought of vidding anything at all to NIN amuses me.

I can think of at least three other vids done to "Closer" over the past several years - "Smallville" Clark/Lex and "X Files" Mulder/Krycek are the ones I'm remembering right now, but I know there are more.

Date: 2006-09-20 07:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elke-tanzer.livejournal.com
(edited to fix italics, sorry!)

Lots to think about here. Thank you!

I defy you to tell me the difference between a fannish person watching a slashy video and enjoying it, and a "non-fannish" person watching a slashy video and enjoying it.

The first thing that came to mind for me when I read this: some viewers reactions to the vid may be laughter/derision, some may immediately flame the vidders or people who enjoyed the vid, because they find flaming to be a fun hobby. Some may react by going out to purchase the shiny DVD sets of ST:TOS... and some may go out looking for other fan-made vids or K/S fic for the first time in their lives, and some may write K/S for the first time in their lives, or learn to vid.

I'd call the first two reactions non-fannish/nonconstructive reactions (though I wish I had better words to describe those behaviors), the middle one fannish, and the latter ones fannish-participatory.

I think.

:-)

At that moment, they're just as fannish as we are -- it's not that they've intruded into fandom, it's that fandom extruded to become big enough to hold the whole world in its hands.

Wow, what an image...

Must think more about all of this... especially this:

If we want to be part of that process, we have to stop pretending they can't SEE us just so we feel safer.

Date: 2006-09-22 01:34 am (UTC)
ext_150: (Default)
From: [identity profile] kyuuketsukirui.livejournal.com
Er...except that there are people in fandom, including myself, who thought the video was hilarious. Clearly, that is not a non-fannish reaction. Just because someone watches the video and is in fandom doesn't mean they're going to be converted to the K/S love.

Date: 2006-09-22 04:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elke-tanzer.livejournal.com
I didn't mean to imply that the possible reactions I listed were a comprehensive list...

There's a spectrum of "hilarious", too... the type that immediately came to my mind was one of almost cruelty, derision, as in "isn't this f-ing funny, that someone would spend time making this" (and I have seen that reaction to some fan-made vids, not only Closer) and I think of that sort of "hilarious" as a nonfannish/nonconstructive reaction -- but of course there's also the type of "hilarious" that is nearer to delight, charm, friendly amusement, bemused smiles... which I think of as... I guess the word I want is something like non-nonconstructive, for that.

"In fandom" can mean so many different things, in so many different contexts...

*circles around the whole concept a few times, and keeps returning to IDIC*

Date: 2006-09-20 09:36 pm (UTC)
ext_21:   (Default)
From: [identity profile] zvi-likes-tv.livejournal.com
I disagree with you on whether outsiders are being fannish when they look at vids, but then I tend to look at Xena fans crosswise since they were feral and developed largely in parallel to mediafandom rather than in conjunction with it.

Media fandom, to me, is a group of behaviors and decoding techniques that we teach to one another, and people who don't have access to those techniques (because you can be part of the club if you are rejecting those techniques, to my way of thinking, as long as you know they exist) aren't us.

Which isn't to say that people who aren't media fen are not increasingly exposed to the reality of media fandom and that we can avoid dealing with non-fans having access to fannish product. Security in obscurity is illusory. But, no, I think the guy who watches the Closer vid because it got posted to boingboing or Salon is not acting fannishly (in the context of media fandom), even if he likes it and it gives him a happy, because he doesn't have the tools to understand what the vidders were trying to do (irregardless of whether or not we think Closer is a good or skillful vid, he doesn't have the tools to evaluate the vid within the aesthetic under which it was created.)

It's like, say, madrigals (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madrigal_%28music%29). I can listen to a madrigal and I can tell you if I'm having a good time listening to it. But I can't tell you what the song means, or if it is a good example of its form, or if the singers are singing it as the writer of the madrigal intended, or much of anything. I don't have the knowledge or skills to evaluate a madrigal performance within the madrigal aesthetic.

Date: 2006-09-21 10:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] iamsab.livejournal.com
Yeah, I agree with you on this, as I just said to Cathexys. And well said.

But I think our glory days of having this unique language and ability to consume content are rapidly coming to an end, or, at least, are about to be diluted in the way communities get diluted when the population expands exponentially.

We've already started picking up their language, and they're using ours (where "we" are community self-identified fannish people, and "they" are casual YouTube clickers), and as technology and the web continues to be more transparent and as we get closer to a wiki society and further from specific authoreal ownership and intent, I think the lines between us and them are going to blur to the point of invisibility.

Which isn't to say that there won't be caches of fandom that stay isolated -- we've always had secret cabals, private mailing lists, password-only bboards and will continue to do so, but I suspect that fandom as a culture and fandom as a way of life will expand to include the ways that all people, mainstream folk, our parents and our children, consume media.

As in, everyone'll know that if there's a hot Meredith/McDreamy scene on TV, they can excise it, put it to music, and put it on the internet. And up until just recently, that kind of poaching was ours alone.

Date: 2006-09-21 11:00 pm (UTC)
ext_21:   (Default)
From: [identity profile] zvi-likes-tv.livejournal.com
I am not convinced that what you are talking about is diluting fandom, as opposed to fandom just being on a slipperier slope. Like, everyone knows about fantasy sports leagues, right, and some of the obsessive stat keeping that they do has leaked into the real sports world, right? But the fact that ESPN caters to the desires of fantasy sports leaguers doesn't mean that fantasy sports leaguers aren't doing something different from the guy who just roots for the Ravens, right? Even if the guy who roots for the Ravens now knows that he should pay attention to the individual stats of players to try to figure out how the Ravens will do.

I mean, it's a little like saying that because electronica and rock and roll use samples, there's no more point to doing hip hop; that's obviously crazy talk. The spread of our techniques doesn't mean we don't still have a useful, and identity-creating, way of reading, interpreting, and responding to texts. It just means that people who aren't us will sometimes use some of those techniques, too.

Date: 2006-09-22 07:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dafnagreer.livejournal.com
I also think the glory days are over. I'm fairly sure you know where I work (Shana does, anyway) and the speed with which my work life and my fannish life are colliding is amazing even me -- and that's even counting the period of time in which Lance Bass was the subject of both. Last week I found myself having to explain to a co-worker who was blogging about the "Closer" video what "slash" was (he had it wrong) and why we called it "vids" and not "mash-ups" and oh, incidentally, why it was freaking hysterical that he also posted about the Teremaire book deal in the same post (I named no names, but I don't want him to look like an idiot either.)

I do think there is a potential upside in terms of some new allies on the copyright front and the ways in which it's just so much harder (RIAA notwithstanding) for big media to go after fans without repercussions. But it's not a small wading pool anymore.

Date: 2007-05-12 09:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_swallow/
Hey, lady. I'm writing a paper for my History of Reading class about this (talking about how fandom looked like participation required special equipment and special devotion of time, like the woman who kept a photocopier in her spare bedroom so she could make zines, and how it looks now that digital technology has mainstreamed [*] so that everyone with a personal computer and internet connection is two clicks away from uploading a fanvid to YouTube, and asking what we can predict about new "mainstream" behavior in media consumption given its invisible connection to fandom), and remembered this post because it really influenced the way I think about the subject; can I quote you, and link to this post?

I know that you've said this essay can be linked to freely, but I've been sensitized to LJ/professional-blogosphere/academia crossover privacy concerns, so I thought I'd ask first. My professor is http://weblogs.swarthmore.edu/burke/ fwiw.


[*] to, of course, a definition of "mainstream" meaning everyone elite enough to have a personal computer and internet connection! I'm not sure what other word to use, though--

Date: 2007-05-12 09:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_swallow/
"how fandom looked like when participation", etc.

Date: 2007-05-14 02:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] iamsab.livejournal.com
Of course, use or link this in any way you please. It's what the internet's FOR!

Date: 2006-09-21 01:31 pm (UTC)
fairestcat: Dreadful the cat (Default)
From: [personal profile] fairestcat
Great post. Thank you for this.

As a bit of a feral fan myself, I'm always frustrated by the more limiting definitions of fandom and particularly by people freaking out about fandom becoming more accessible.

If fandom had not become more accessible with the internet and lj and such, I never would have found it. People who spend all or most of their time at the fannish center - following the popular fandoms, going to cons, hanging out in the big pan-fannish communities - tend, after a time to start to think of all fandom as like that. But the majority of fandom is already at the fringes. Fandom is full of people who got sucked in by one particular source, often a small fandom and are happy to stay in their little corner completely unfamiliar with the larger community and the larger issues. Maybe they write or draw, or maybe they only read and feedback and share in the squee. They too probably only saw the Closer vid when it hit youtube, and had no idea that it was a fanvid that had been posted without the creators' permission, but that doesn't make them any less a part of fandom than you and I.

Date: 2006-09-21 06:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morgandawn.livejournal.com
in response to fairestcat: I have mixed feelings about the mainstreaming of fandom. And I also agree that most fans forget they live in a very small world. But in all fairness if someone wants to strip off their clothes and run naked through the Internet fountains, go for it. And as you and others have pointed out, there is a ton of good to come from it. I personally would draw the line at stripping off my neighbor's clothing then calling NBC to film them in their nakedness.

Or, to carry the analogy further - since all Internet distribution is 'public' in a sense - if someone decides to strip quietly in one corner of the park for a few friends (hang in there - I know this is a weird analogy), I'd be hesitant to call the ABC newschopper in on them. Or send photos to their neighbors, family, employers. No matter what my motivations might be - I try to ask myself: WWJD? (just kidding on the J part ... feel free to insert the deity of your choice: WWBD? WWMD? Or in my case: WWSamDeanWinchesterD?)

Date: 2006-09-21 08:57 pm (UTC)
fairestcat: Dreadful the cat (Default)
From: [personal profile] fairestcat
I should clarify. I think posting someone else's vid to youtube is tacky beyond belief. But I think it's a case where fannish etiquette and what's becoming general internet etiquette are colliding.

And I really dislike a lot of the arguments that assume that the people who posted Closer to youtube or the people who watched it there or elsewhere aren't fans.

Not Closer, but the first of Killa's vids that got youtubed, the Monty Python one? I saw that linked to several times by fannish people on my flist who had no idea that it was a fanvid posted without permission of the vidder and not just any random funny vid found on youtube. And these are fans I'm talking about, but they're single-fandom fans for the most part, with small discrete friendslists and not a lot of interest in vidding or in the more general multifandom spaces.

And actually that whole experience had me thinking about what the difference really is between something like Closer and say all those Brokeback whatever vids that were going around for a while. Is it just a question of who made them? One's a fanvid because it was made within the vid community and thus should be treated by the standards of that community and thus not uploaded without vidder permission, etc, etc and one is a humor/youtube video and should be treated by the standards of that community which is a general anything goes attitude of viral distribution?

And actually I think that's where the heart of the issue lies. Fandom has been around doing this vid thing for a long time and we've evolved certain etiquette and standards of behavior, but first the influx of feral vidders and then youtube have brought in a massive influx of people creating vids completely outside that fannish framework, and they've developed their own standards and etiquette (or lack thereof) and there really isn't a way to make the new feral majority conform to the older model even if that older model is more polite and also more legally and ethically conscientious.

Date: 2006-09-21 09:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morgandawn.livejournal.com
I am a big believer (if that is the right word) in the difficulty in changing social norms (norms along the lines of what you described among the latest wave of fans). I still think it is useful to have the following discussion: 'hey youtube tribe, the nontube tribe would prefer if you xxx.'

in Killa's case she wisely decided not to try to engage this particular discussion. in my case seeing how the newyoutubetribe is approaching fandom, I will no longer be putting any credits on vids. I am toying with the idea of zipping the vids with a small txt file with my contact info. and of course, if/when more music companies get on board with Youtube and agree to not C&D vids made with their music, I may change.

In other words: the tide is coming in, gotta go with the flow.

Date: 2006-09-22 01:45 am (UTC)
ext_150: (Default)
From: [identity profile] kyuuketsukirui.livejournal.com
Yes, yes, so much word. I clicked on the Closer vid from a link on my flist, but I didn't know it was a fandom vid and there was a big controversy over its getting posted there until after I'd watched it.

A couple months ago I linked a couple fake movie trailers on my journal and then someone else on my flist watched them and managed to find a Gladiator video as well, and linked it. Because she mentioned it with the trailers, I clicked thinking that's what it was, but it was a slashy vid set to Celine Dion. I still have no idea if it was meant to be comedy or if it was serious. I don't know if it was a funny internet vid or a fandom vid.

I don't think it's as clear-cut as a lot of people want to make it out to be. I am in fandom, quite active (and while not involved in vidding circles, I certainly read a lot of meta about it through metafandom), but if I click something, I can't tell the difference.

Date: 2006-09-21 03:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laurashapiro.livejournal.com
Thank you so much for this.

I've been working up to a meta post for weeks now, and I almost feel like I don't have to, because you said so much of what I was going to say.

Off to link you...

Date: 2006-09-22 01:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anoel.livejournal.com
I really hope you still do that meta piece. I look forward to it. But thanks for the link, this is great.

Date: 2006-09-22 01:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laurashapiro.livejournal.com
My pleasure! I do wanna write that piece, but I've been so distracted lately. I just need to sit down and *make* myself do it.

Date: 2006-09-22 01:51 am (UTC)
lapillus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lapillus
Point being, the folks who see the Closer vid on YouTube might not be "fannish" per se, as we have come to understand it, but I defy you to tell me the difference between a fannish person watching a slashy video and enjoying it, and a "non-fannish" person watching a slashy video and enjoying it.

I think that there is a qualitative difference in fannish and non-fannish enjoyment of things. Not in the sense that fannish is necessarily better (there is much to be said for shallow transitory enjoyment just as there is the occasional binge of junk food), but rather that it is deeper and I suspect tends to be less transitory. I think K/S fans (and proto K/S fans) are going to have a more personal reaction to the vid than someone who doesn't consume media, particularly ST:TOS (or NIN- judging from YouTube comments it can work well fannishly for NIN fans, although I'm sure quite differently than for K/S fans) in a fannish mode.

I have no problems in showing non-fans vids; I do it not infrequently. I find their responses interesting and often useful as a vidder and, as I noted to Killa, the rate of response on YouTube seems about the same as the rate of comments in fandom and, if one is to judge from the old Escapade comment sheets (the only feedback source I've found that got folks who werent' excited about a vid to actually comment on occasion), with about the same range of opinions. I do agree that if you're out there, you're out there and that it is a lost cause to try to put it back in the box. However, because our sources have yet to accept this fact I think it doesn't hurt to try to inform others about expectations about not redistributing vids. And in the meantime I've glad that the AU vid that Killa and I did is in a fandom that is not so attractive to the net as a whole.

Date: 2006-09-22 11:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stickykeys633.livejournal.com
Oh yes, finally a post that I feel like I can reply on! I've been reading, but unfortunately unable to contribute, and though a part of this still mystifies me (I've been a part of QAF fandom, but really just as an observer. I did recaps, but never any fic though I did have fun with graphics), I must say how much I adore you using TCI to make your point.

Though I must say while I completely agree with your point, I also believe that Harriet's actions weren't completely geared towards segregation. There's a difference between protecting what you hold valuable to you, and completely walling it off.

I understand the argument against fanvids on YouTube; though I don't necessarily agree, I can see the need to protect what is yours and to make sure certain guidelines are being controlled. It's about preserving the quality. I do think this can be done and still allow for sharing.

I don't know, I keep going back to the whole MsScribe thing when I think about outsiders getting crazy, but thankfully that's a rare case. I hope.

Date: 2006-09-25 02:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] catalenamara.livejournal.com
>>>And I don't want fandom to be another Harriet Jones, shooting down everyone who finds us, rather than trying to find ways to integrate ourselves with the new and changing world we live in -- because it's not going to go back to how it was. Not ever. The days of hiding out in brown paper zines and usenet are behind us, and we have to move forward or die.

I don't think many people realize how astonishingly public Star Trek fandom was in the 1970s.
I have in my Trek memorabilia collection at least two copies of a nationally distributed magazine, "All About Star Trek Fan Clubs", which listed page after page of the names and address of fan club presidents (not just for the actors, but for university and other local Trek clubs), as well as for fanzines.

In the 1980s, things got more paranoid, due to George Lucas and an incident regarding Aaron Spelling. But fandom didn't start out as all that much of a secret underground. On the contrary, people were doing everything they could to bring it to public attention. When I got involved in fandom in 1975, I viewed it as if it were like any other special interest group - accessible to the public, but of interest to a relatively small number of people.

I did a post on this in my LJ awhile back, I think I'll rework it and repost it.

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