OTW Fannews: What makes a fandom?

  • In reviewing a book on Twilight fandom for Religion Bulletin, writer Kelly Baker discusses how all her female family members pondered the novels. “We read them, we talked about them, we criticized them, and we reread them. Despite the bad prose and melodramatic storyline, something about the books managed to appeal to all of us. What was it about the series that drew us in? What kept us reading? Why did we all hate Breaking Dawn? What vision of the world did we consume by embracing this fantasy? What did fandom suggest about us and the series?”
  • At Freakonomics sociologist Jennifer Lena discussed the factors that influence the spread of musical taste. Her conclusion is that our taste for communities is what determines our other tastes. “Some people are into local music scenes because they like to interact with the musicians and other fans on a regular basis. They like that ticket prices are low and that the music is relatively unknown outside of their core group…In contrast, the global pop music experience is almost totally mediated by screens—blogs and music videos, for example—and most Pop fans have no unmediated interaction with the performers…We tend to think about taste as being all about aesthetic style, but ask someone what kind of music they like and they are likely to say, ‘Oh, I like a little of everything.’ Of course, we don’t actually like all music, indiscriminately. Instead we choose what bluegrass we like, or what kind of rock appeals to us based on our preference for one kind of music community over another.”
  • Comics Beat memorialized The Comics Buyer’s Guide as an entry into comics fandom. “There was no internet to bombard you with information on every topic, so every introduction to a secret world of obsession was really an initiation. Through Don and Maggie I learned about Doctor Who and Stephen King for the first time, and probably more. (I was a very lonely, isolated home schooled kid with no friends, so this was the only way to learn of anything off the beaten path.)” A professional career followed. “I’ve said it many times but Maggie is my role model—I want to be as smart and inquisitive and engaged as she is every day of my life. Now, many years later, I’m told I’m a role model for some younger women in the field. You try to pass it on.”

What’s central to your fandoms? Tell us about it in Fanlore. Contributions are welcome from all fans.

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