April 17, 2008
Around the Consortium: Jayhawks Fans, Sarah Marshall, and Filipino "Thriller"

As I've noted in the past, we have a slew of interesting people associated with the Convergence Culture Consortium. There is our core team here, our alum, and all sorts of great C3 Consulting Researchers, most of whom are located at academic institutions around the country, and internationally.

You can also find many of their blogs linked from our page here. As I did earlier today, I like to point out some of the most C3-relevant work these folks have been doing on their own blogs of late. After all, one of the best ways I have to keep abreast of the latest happening around the media industries is through the work of these folks, and what I like most is the diversity of viewpoints within a particular field of study that an environment like the Consortium offers.

As I scroll through the work on the 12 blogs we link to, perhaps the most surprising discovery is that I rarely, if ever, see the same story covered...so I not only get to learn about what's happening in stories I normally care about, I also get to find out what's happening in areas normally outside my radar.

Take, for instance, this post from C3 Consulting Researcher Nancy Baym. Still within her purview of fan studies, Nancy covers the reaction of her university's KU Jayhawks, celebrating their Final Four victory. She writes, "The internet is great for information pooling and network building, and it does alright at collective emotion, but there is simply no substitute for sharing physical space with other people feeling the same thing. It builds, it magnifies, it takes on a life of its own. It allows people to TOUCH. This is why fans will always create opportunities for collective face-to-face experience."

I agree, in that I think there are some forms of fan behavior that can only manifest themselves most fully in a face-to-face setting, which was one of the primary reasons I felt the pro wrestling arena was one of the best venues to see the various modes of fan engagement at work (see here). In addition, I think her piece points out that--no matter what we find empowering about the "virtual world"--these experiences are not separate from the physical world. While the Internet has provided ways to facilitating the gathering of enthusiasts in myriad new ways, "online fandom" is not removed from the rest of human experience. Far from it.

Meanwhile, C3 Consulting Researcher Jonathan Gray has written a great review of the Sarah Marshall advertising campaign surrounding Forgetting Sarah Marshall, including information about the real-life Sarah Marshall who owns the domain writes:

And so, as a Filipino fan of Filipino fannish appropriation of American pop culture, when I watch Filipino Thriller, I love it. I eat it up like it was bangus. Filipino appropriations of Americanness are beautiful, campy, revisionist, spectacular-spectacular thefts of, and claims of ownership over, well-known icons. They are reader-response incarnate and enacted. They are the postcolonial nation/people's retort to the West's exploitation. They are postcoloniality turned into exhilarating performance. If Filipino Thriller is so bad it's good, if it's so pitiful it's ridiculous and awesome, well, welcome to the relationship of the postcolonial to its former colonizers and neo-colonizers, welcome to the subjectivity of the Third World vis-a-vis the First World.

Also, see Gail's post about a review of her essay "Archontic Literature" by Comparative Media Studies graduate student Lan Xuan Le.