Monday, October 8, 2007

Fandom and History

What seems so facinating to me is what Coppa said at the beginning of her article about fans either not caring about or not having access to fanfiction/fandom/fan history. It sounded as if she was rather disappointed with many fans for not caring about fan history and she seems resigned to the fact that only "true historians" will ever really care about the history of fanfiction.
But is this such a bad thing? Coppa doesn't bring it up again in the end of her article-- instead, she seems happy with the major new artworks and fandoms appearing all over the internet and with the dozens of new communities based around those fandoms. Is this "loss" of history bad for the imagined communities or has there been a shift into a more post-modern outlook (like Hegel's "temporal modality")? Instead of nostaligic writing by and a visible seniority/hierarchy among fandom members, there is "new" art/writing/vidding/etc. all over the internet and a lack in any sort of structure or history throughout fandoms. Like the Filipino prisoners dancing to Thriller, there seems to be a lot of fanfic nostalgia without memory-- terms like Mary Sue, crossover, and slash are still used, older shows (such as Battlestar Galactica) are resurrected, women writers are still the majority, etc. Members of the fanfic communities, know all these terms, shows, etc., but they care and/or know little about the history behind them.
This type of shift in the fandom community-- from zines where members could only exist by going to conventions and being invited into the community to internet communities where members (or anyone) can freely browse through videos, writings, art, etc.-- indicates not a loss of temporality, but an increase in modality. History is no longer the focus because history does not matter to the continuation of these communites. What matters is the amount and variation of fan art/writing/vidding/communities one can find and the increased creativity within those areas. If these fandoms keep allowing new art to be recognized, the members of the fandom have ensured the continuation of that community.

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