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Fandom At The Crossroads: Celebration, Shame and Fan/Producer…

de Lynn Zubernis, Katherine Larsen

Sèrie: Supernatural (Criticism, Studies, Etc.)

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Fandom At The Crossroads: Celebration, Shame and Fan/Producer Relationships is an in-depth exploration of the reciprocal relationship between a groundbreaking cult television show and its equally groundbreaking fandom. For the past six years the authors have inhabited the close-knit fan communities of the television show Supernatural, engaging in criticism and celebration, reading and writing fanfiction, and attending fan conventions. Their close relationships within the community allow an intimate behind-the-scenes examination of fan psychology, passion, motivation, and shame. The authors also speak directly to the creative side in order to understand what fuels the passionate reciprocal relationship Supernatural has with its fans, and to interrogate the reality of fans' fears and shame. As they go behind the scenes and onto the sets to talk with Supernatural's showrunners, writers, and actors, the authors struggle to negotiate a hybrid identity as aca-fans. Fangirls one moment, legitimate researchers the next, the boundaries often blur. Their repeated breaking of the fan/creative side boundary is mirrored in Supernatural's reputation for fourth wall breaking, which has attracted journalistic coverage everywhere from Entertainment Weekly to the New York Times. Written with humor and irreverence, Stalking Fandom combines an innovative theorizing of fandom and popular culture, which will be useful in a variety of courses, with a behind-the-scenes story that anyone who's ever been a fan or wondered why others are fans will find fascinating.… (més)
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Okay, let’s get this out of the way: I couldn’t read this book as an academic, only as a fan. My own shame/squick issues were so profoundly present during my reading, because the book focuses both on fannish shame and on actual interviews with people involved in producing SPN to see what they think about fandom, that some identificatory switch was flipped; I even felt that the occasional typos were my typos. (Also, I am quoted.)

That said, I felt that the book was a dead-on description of various kinds of fannishness—the fannishness explicitly rejecting shame and the fannishness that is both ashamed and excited—and the kinds of inter-fan and fan/producer interactions that the variations produce, including lots of policing of what other fans do. During one of the discussions of “inappropriate” fan behavior (as defined by other fans), I started thinking: what’s been theorized about groupies? Does Cynthia Plaster Caster become appropriate because she and the band share enough overlapping interests? I’m guessing other fans thought she was inappropriate. Also, when are producers of content with fan followings behaving inappropriately, or is inappropriateness just for fans? That’s an argument into which I see counteragent’s comic about SPN fandom and officialdom fitting. The authors are very positive both about fandom in general and about the people who produce SPN, so they understandably don’t go in that direction (though they briefly mention that thing Eli Roth did where he broke the fan/star boundary in a very public way). I feel the same protectiveness myself for fandom.

Also, though please know that I am totally aware of the contradictions here, I came out of the book respecting Jared Padalecki, whose stance on fan/celebrity interactions is both thoughtful and also recursive all-Cretans-are-liars genius. He states outright that he performs a “Jared” for the fans and that he has a separate self for his actual intimates, and that he equally wants the fans to remain a bit mysterious to him. Now, suppose he actually (whatever that might mean) has great contempt for fans instead of the appreciation he professes—he’s still telling the truth! He just told you that he was going to lie! Or suppose he actually is exactly as he seems to be onstage--he's still telling the truth! He told you he was going to protect his true self, and he did so by hiding it in plain sight! I love it. (But I still don't want to meet him, because that's my squick!) Secondarily, I found Eric Kripke’s reaction to reading RPF featuring him quite Golden Rule-ish: after his initial reaction of “that’s not right!” he pointed out that he’d been writing real people into his shows—Samuel Colt, for one—with blithe unconcern for facts too. As he put it, the writer was using a “façade” of him “because underneath, it’s all them.” Also, Sera Gamble apparently wrote Twin Peaks fanfic—but we don’t get the quote, just the statement that she “confess[ed]” to it. ( )
  rivkat | Sep 24, 2012 |
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Larsen, Katherineautor principaltotes les edicionsconfirmat

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Fandom At The Crossroads: Celebration, Shame and Fan/Producer Relationships is an in-depth exploration of the reciprocal relationship between a groundbreaking cult television show and its equally groundbreaking fandom. For the past six years the authors have inhabited the close-knit fan communities of the television show Supernatural, engaging in criticism and celebration, reading and writing fanfiction, and attending fan conventions. Their close relationships within the community allow an intimate behind-the-scenes examination of fan psychology, passion, motivation, and shame. The authors also speak directly to the creative side in order to understand what fuels the passionate reciprocal relationship Supernatural has with its fans, and to interrogate the reality of fans' fears and shame. As they go behind the scenes and onto the sets to talk with Supernatural's showrunners, writers, and actors, the authors struggle to negotiate a hybrid identity as aca-fans. Fangirls one moment, legitimate researchers the next, the boundaries often blur. Their repeated breaking of the fan/creative side boundary is mirrored in Supernatural's reputation for fourth wall breaking, which has attracted journalistic coverage everywhere from Entertainment Weekly to the New York Times. Written with humor and irreverence, Stalking Fandom combines an innovative theorizing of fandom and popular culture, which will be useful in a variety of courses, with a behind-the-scenes story that anyone who's ever been a fan or wondered why others are fans will find fascinating.

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