Why I Have Trouble Fanning These Days

I’ve been listening to the latest episode of Fansplaining, with guest Emily Nussbaum, and it’s led me to sort of a revelation.

[First, an aside: Emily Nussbaum mentions in the episode that in her Buffy days she was on the Bronze. It’s no secret that that was my first fannish home. It’s so nice to hear about Bronzers in the world. I don’t know if Emily would call herself a Bronzer, but my definition is just somebody who spent time at the Bronze, so she counts.]

Since I decided to do my dissertation on the information literacy practices of cosplayers, I’ve been reconnecting with fandom. For years now, I’ve had trouble staying connected to any particular fandom specifically, and fandom itself in general, for a number of reasons:

  • my fannish home being in diaspora
  • burnout after a failed Save Our Show campaign
  • the proliferation of social networks
  • grad school
  • parenting

W. has repeatedly suggested that being fannish is easier in your teens and 20s when you have fewer responsibilities than it is in your 30s when you have a kid, and that’s fair. But I always feel like none of these explanations are quite enough.

Listening to Emily Nussbaum say:

“…the situation in which somebody produces an entire show and then releases it to the audience changes the way that people talk about TV when it doesn’t come out week-by-week.”

…gave me a little lightbulb moment.

My primary fandoms have all been week-by-week TV fandoms: Sailor Moon when it aired as an afternoon show in the 90s, Buffy the Vampire SlayerAngelFireflyWonderfalls (yes, Wonderfalls!), The Inside (I’m here for Tim Minear’s most obscure work), Veronica Mars, 30 RockNew Girl. The intensity of my participation in fandom for each of these varies, but other than a brief flirtation with Star Wars fic in high school because Sonja was doing it, and some heavy time spent reading Harry Potter fic and playing in related RPs, weekly television is my medium of choice.

And the way we talked about weekly television in the late 90s and early 2000s is how I know to talk about things as a fan: what is the significance of what just happened? What will happen next? What do we wish would happen next?

You can do all of these things after bingeing a season of Stranger Things, and I do (though mostly only with W.), but it feels different somehow.

I’m going to try and crack it. I’m going to figure it out with Glow.

Anyway, this has not gone very far, but it’s just something that I thought about and wanted to write about a little bit.

I just sent off the comps chapter that refused to be finished to my committee. It’s been 9 weeks since I sent them the last chapter. It is less than 6 pages of prose and 5 pages of tables and figures. A lot of the writing is in the tables.

I want to mention the work that isn’t evident in the final product.

I spent a lot of time trying to decide if I was going to focus on one theory in this chapter or incorporate others. I read about them and considered. They’re going to end up in the next chapter instead. So that added some time.

I did a lot of trying to wrap my head around how different evolved versions of the theoretical concept at hand related to the original, and how I could synthesize them.

But also, I lost the equivalent of three weeks to travel and lack of childcare. So actually it did really only take me six weeks to write, which lines up with the earlier chapters… But I sure hope the next one goes faster.

I’m crowdsourcing a superhero-themed playlist for my son, heavily Marvel/Avengers-slanted (esp. Age of Ultron era). So far:
* Iron Man – Cardigans cover
* Immigrant Song – John Craigie cover
* Theme from Spider-Man – Spider-Man: Homecoming version.

Looking for mellow or orchestral stuff more than metal. Suggest away!


I’ve been using “fanfiction” instead of “fan fiction” when writing my comps and sincerely hope nobody tries to come at me on this.