OTW Fannews: Fandom and Society

  • A U.S. state senate candidate who is a gamer has had her hobby used against her. “In an unusual press release issued Thursday, the Maine GOP attacked Lachowicz for a “bizarre double life” in which she’s a devotee of the hugely popular online role-playing game World of Warcraft. In the game, she’s “Santiaga,” an “orc assassination rogue” with green skin, fangs, a Mohawk and pointy ears.” However “Lachowicz has a master’s degree in social work and runs the school-based programs for a statewide mental health center. She’s the former Democratic Party chairwoman for her town and has served as vice chairwoman of the county” party.” But the opposition party thinks that it’s what she does in her time off that matters. “Maine GOP party spokesman David Sorenson said. ‘Certainly the fact that she spends so much time on a video game says something about her work ethic and, again, her immaturity.'”
  • In nearby Connecticut a library has banned furries, but at least some of them think the library had its reasons. “‘I can certainly see how [library officials] might be leery of allowing anyone in a costume to simply walk in and run about,’ says Samuel Conway, head of Anthrocon, the biggest furry convention organization in the country. It’s the potential attraction of children to folks dressed up like fuzzy Disney animal creatures that has librarians worried.” Instead, another furry suggests that “any fursuiter who wants to appear at a library should probably meet library officials in advance, provide identification and ask for permission.”
  • TheForce.Net wrote about a Miami TV station which covered a Star Wars con by focusing on the “Celebration VI photo gallery [and] proceeded to insult and demean the Star Wars fan community through the use of mean spirited captions that seemed to step over the line into full-blown cyber-bullying.” The community refused to allow it, insisting through numerous challenges that the station both take down its feature and apologize to the individuals targeted. “Local10 eventually removed the post but also started removing social networking posts by Star Wars fans (especially on Facebook) that brought light to their ill-thought-out photo gallery. Then there was a sarcastic Local10 Facebook apology that just fueled the fire some more.” Eventually, however, the fans prevailed. As the apology post noted their action got an international response — “They lit up our phones, filled our Facebook page and inboxes.”
  • Meanwhile The Total Fangirl podcast puts a spotlight on raising geek kids. “Your kids might be into less mainstream things because you’re a geeky parent or because they happened to gravitate toward fantasy or science fiction all on their own. Either way, it can leave them feeling like no one ‘gets them.'” The podcast discusses challenges, and how parents can help their kids feel like they’re not weird and find a place where they belong. (No transcript available)

If you have things to say about cyberbullying, discrimination against fans, or multigenerational fandom families, why not check out Fanlore? Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

3 thoughts to “OTW Fannews: Fandom and Society”

  1. Apologies first for the self-referencing, but the content may be of interest…

    I am a publisher (and a fan), and a proponent of fanfiction as an online model for publishing and as a form of cultural production. Taking this perspective, I spoke on a panel about The Evolving Role of Readers at a conference at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

    This is the article published prior to the panel, in which I explore how fanfic interrogates the established Narrative and narratives of Publishing. Why Fanfics Are Like Startups: http://publishingperspectives.com/2012/10/why-fanfics-are-like-startups/

    I cited Francesca Coppa at the panel with respect to the performative nature of fanfiction, but this citing was lost in the press coverage.

    Some coverage of the panel:
    Smartphones, reading and a new world of collaborative writing: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/international/Frankfurt-Book-Fair/article/54261-frankfurt-book-fair-2012-smartphones-reading-and-a-new-world-of-collaborative-writing.html
    Is Traditional Copyright Outmoded?: http://blog.book-fair.com/2012/10/09/is-traditional-copyright-outmoded/

    P.S. I wrote a piece earlier in the year, which I think was mentioned in a News post here: What Can Trade Publishers Learn from Fanfiction? http://publishingperspectives.com/2012/06/what-can-trade-publishers-learn-from-fanfiction/

    1. Hello Anna! As it happens I have the Frankfurt panel as well as the startups piece in two different upcoming posts (we’ve got a queue reaching into next month). But thanks for the links 🙂

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