Love, Death, and Codependence: The Family in Supernatural
Breaking the Fourth Wall: Meta in Supernatural
Race and Fandom
Robbie Thompson’s Keynote
Exploring Fandom in Supernatural
Writing about Supernatural
It Goes Both Ways: Fans and Producers
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Question 1: To what degree does Kindle Worlds suggest that the fanfiction can only be legitimized through the eradication of fan culture’s gift economy?I also said some stuff on tumblr. Hi tumblr, I’m trying you out. And wow are you terrible for conversations!
Question 2: Fanfiction has significantly changed our media culture. Kindle Worlds isn’t just capitalizing on it, but arguably represents an attempt to shape it. Is this a feedback loop in action or an attempt to stop the catalyst that is fan work?
Questions 3: The contractual terms of Kindle Worlds are the sort traditional professional writers would be strongly advised against signing on to. Is fannish work worth less? Should it be?
Question 4: Fanfiction has, arguably, always been about the option to use use all the tools, particularly those often discouraged by corporate content production (e.g., sexuality), to tell story. If the toolbox is limited, whether a given writer would choose to use all the tools or not, is it fanfiction or is it some other form of derivative (vs. transformative) work?
Question 5: How will fan readers view/treat fan writers who use a tool like Kindle Worlds? And how does that impact our communities, hierarchies, and barriers to entry?
One argument I’m suddenly hearing a lot of is: Of course violent TV has a violent influence. Isn’t the whole TV advertising model based on the idea that content can influence action? Does that influence stop once the commercials are over?Which led me to this essay on why all the "good" TV is so violent:
For starters: yes, actually, it kind of does. In the sense, at least, that advertising is a different kind of rhetoric from fiction. It’s generally a direct argument: buy this product, for this reason, you will get this benefit, you will look and feel a certain way.
Fiction–even really bad fiction–doesn’t work that way. It tells a story, and people make meaning from it. It can have profound effects on people, but not necessarily the same ones on everyone, and its message isn’t linear. Breaking Bad, for instance, is a violent story of bad people, but you would have to have much more contempt for its viewers than I do to assume that its “message” is: life is cheap, power is awesome, so go cook some meth, dominate your wife and hurt whomever you have to, even kids, to get your way.
But what is concerning is that this revolution has been deep but narrow; it's like we have an army of dazzlingly fluent poets who all write in one language. That doesn't, of course, make all the poetry the same, any more than all English-language poetry is the same. These shows are varied in many ways: The Wire is not the same show as The Walking Dead just because people get shot and otherwise brutalized, and American Horror Story and Boardwalk Empire are hardly identical twins. But they share elements, one of which is that the stakes involve — not solely but largely — avoiding being violently killed. And for that reason, they ask the viewer to want to watch people being violently killed now and then, and sometimes now and then and then and then, because otherwise the threats are false.
(It's worth mentioning that the violence is not the only thing many of these shows have in common. They're also very heavy, though less uniformly so, on the question of what it means to be a morally conflicted 40-ish white guy in modern America, or '60s America, or Prohibition-era America, or Westeros. This is also the theme of the highly decorated Louie, which is sort of a comedy, but only sort of. As much as it's failed to reach many kinds of stories, the revolution has also failed to reach many kinds of people with any regularity.)