tonights: (slytherin meetings)
[personal profile] tonights
Yesterday evening (after the aforementioned margaritas) I was discoursing expansively to Patrick on the topic of why I refuse to pursue academic works about fandom, even though I look at my experiences in fandom as the greatest anthropological participatory fieldwork of my whole life. I entered into the conversation by telling him how, as an anthropologist, I was really fascinated by some key differences between Harry Potter fandom, which is my "home" fandom as it were, and Watchmen fandom. He thinks it's sort of a wasted opportunity if I don't put my wealth of useless fandom knowledge to some kind of end goal. My main personal arguments against doing so are such - I tried to recreate these as I said them (i.e. slightly full of tequila).

1: "Fandom is like Narnia. You have to seek it out on your own, and then it's like opening a door to this huge and always-developing community you never knew about before, real new emerging communities and just as valid as any other social group with their own language and collective knowledge and their own subgroups and taboos and ways of doing things. But you have to find it yourself, because inevitably if you try to explain it to someone who's never had the urge to seek it out, you wind up sounding kind of insane."

2: "I mean, I'm a nerd, say it loud and proud, but at the same time I wouldn't be interested in working academically on anything other than slash fandoms and I don't necessarily want my cohort to know what I do in my spare time and daydreams, yknow?"

3: "Every time fandom skims the surface of mainstream culture, problems happen. I mean, two summers ago Livejournal got tons of people thinking that Harry Potter fandom is full of pedophiles. It's like the first rule of Fight Club. Fandom's been underground since people had to walk uphill both ways to get their Star Trek slash zines!"

In tribute to what a good partner he is, he patiently listened to me babble about this for over an hour and also asked pertinent questions. This was not the first time I have drunkenly rambled about fandom, alas.

Date: 2009-03-30 03:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elise-509.livejournal.com
"Every time fandom skims the surface of mainstream culture, problems happen. I mean, two summers ago Livejournal got tons of people thinking that Harry Potter fandom is full of pedophiles. It's like the first rule of Fight Club. Fandom's been underground since people had to walk uphill both ways to get their Star Trek slash zines!"

That, perhaps, is the best thing I've ever heard read. :)

Date: 2009-03-30 03:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tonights.livejournal.com
Heh, thanks. After being in various fandoms for eleven years, I can be as rabidly protective of it as a mother badger.

Date: 2009-03-30 03:16 am (UTC)
ext_17435: (Default)
From: [identity profile] incapricious.livejournal.com
Holy crap it IS just like Narnia! Funny given how many of us probably used to look for Narnia as children.

Date: 2009-03-30 03:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tonights.livejournal.com
It totally is! Because until you've stumbled upon it, you can't really conceive of such a thing.

Date: 2009-03-30 05:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] scarlet-malfoy.livejournal.com
SO MUCH WIN. OMG. I was having an argument with a really close friend of mine the other night who just couldn't see the merits of fandom, and OMG... can I please quote you? Please? I like... read your numbers 1 and 3 and did one of those really lame arm-pulling YESSSSSSSSSSSS's. Awesome. Fandom = Narnia and Fight Club. Perfect! =D!

Date: 2009-03-30 05:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tonights.livejournal.com
XD! I did one of those "yesss's" when I read that you'd done one. I was really hoping that my somewhat tipsy thoughts would resonate with people.

Be my guest and quote away!

Date: 2009-03-30 04:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skycornerless.livejournal.com
I agree with all of these points!

I actually was inspired to try and do a paper about internet discourse (particular to RP/fandom) for an anth class last year, and I ran up against all the walls you stated above. It was the worst. The paper turned into this completely different thing as a result, and I ended up really unhappy with it (even though my grade didn't really suffer).

Date: 2009-03-30 05:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tonights.livejournal.com
I've never tried, but there have been a bunch of times I've wanted to. Truly, I believe it would actually be impossible for me to do any kind of meaningful work about fandom because I just love it too darn much. But it's not like anyone who didn't love fandom could write about it adequately, or even want to. It's a conundrum.

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