Quick note on Jenkins…

I found Henry Jenkins’ Textual Poachers to be very relevant and a unique application of the Marxist thought and critiques that we have read this semester. Jenkins’ text brings up many interesting questions about the influence of fan culture, especially on the original work. I always found it somewhat puzzling that the creators of the work would be opposed to fan-created materials because I didn’t think it would have a significant impact on the original work, but Textual Poachers led me to understand that this type of interpretation can actually change its meaning. By reinterpreting the original text, fans influence future interpretations, and the original work will become conflated with the fan text. Jenkins bring up the notion that reading is no longer a passive activity and fans now have the ability to actually change the original meaning. On the other hand, I do believe that many of these fan cultures truly bring value to the original work because we make the meaning. While I am not very familiar with the fan culture surrounding Star Trek, it seems like the show would be nothing without the fans. I also found Jenkins’ thoughts of female social predispositions toward fandom particularly interesting, especially his observation that females are more inclined to interpret the story whereas men tend to stick to the original story.

One response to “Quick note on Jenkins…

  1. I was interested in how Jenkins paints fans as doing something subversive, and specifically the fact that they analyze non-canonical works with the attention usually given to canonical literature seems relevant to the idea of giving power to “the people.” In other words, if we are taught how to read academic and canonical literature, then fan culture is subversive in its refusal to read the “right” books in the “right” way. For example, most of us have been taught to read “The Great Gatsby” as having to do with “The Death of the American Dream,” etc. The thing is, it’s very nice to talk about fan culture as an act of subversion, but it seems a little condescending to make somebody’s interest or hobby into a big ideological statement when it could just be something somebody likes to do. Also, the whole subversion thing is thrown into question given that people are still using the same analytical strategies, just on “low-brow” content.