Apparently, fandom is the future (361). It’s becoming a normal part of life; “this kind of fandom is everywhere and all the time, a central part of the everyday lives of consumers operating within a networked society” (361). I appreciate Jenkins’ call to his fellow academics to be in conversation with academics in other fields who are talking about these same issues, though perhaps “using a different language” (363). I like especially his acknowledgement at the end that “there is no typical media consumer against which the cultural otherness of the fan can be located. Perhaps we are all fans or perhaps none of us is” (364). And if this is the case, then the normalcy of fandom requires an adjustment in the lens through which we view culture. But what does that look like?

I never understood the addictive draw of video and computer gaming. The authors paraphrase that “the value of gaming is not to be found in the game text but in the way it is performed within a social context” (277). I remember many times walking into my brothers’ room growing up to see them immersed in “conversation” with people they were playing online war games with. They would talk about the games together and get help from their friends when they got stuck, always coming up with new “cheats” to help them advance levels. Who knew this was a part of forming social context? I thought it was a waste of time, sucking your life away in front of a screen (instead of buried in a book like I always was!). I still think it’s not the best use of time, but I have to acknowledge the validity of the authors’ assertion “that even individual gamers bring their social, cultural, and psychological selves to the games they play” (280).

A good question: does “cultural identity in any way determine the performance of fan identities” (211)? Although the article does not offer an answer. It was interesting, however, to consider the difference between TV characters and film characters in terms of longevity. The more background or “meta-text” a character has, the more attachment to that character. People tend to attach more to film stars and TV characters. That’s an interesting phenomenon and I think goes back to the fact that fandom is about emotional relationship, which is hard to build with a character who appears over two-three hours and then vanishes forever.

The opening sentence: “The changing nature of social and cultural life requires a new understanding of interconnections among types of audience experience, simple, mass, and diffused” (125). I didn’t really engage with a study on cinema in places I’ve never been. But it’s an interesting thesis, nonetheless. It’s true that our economic status and geographical location play a role in our engagement (and what we think about our engagement, and what we think about others’ engagement) with culture and society. We as the church need to be aware of these interconnections and work to bend and mend them, always looking for ways to build those bridges–highly complicated in our uncategorical society.

I know it’s typically postmodern of me, but I like the ideas Abercrombie (the clothing company? surely not!) & Longhurst assert about the “fluidity of identity formulation and reformulation” (qtd. 120) through engagement with culture–high or popular. We’ve already realized that identity is bound to culture (like religion), and here it surfaces again. As we encounter the world, through whatever means, in a way that activates our emotional (and consequently rational?) selves to respond and seek out others who respond, our identities are being shaped and formed and re-shaped and re-formed over and over in the relativism that is our secularized society. What holds firm is our foundation (can you hear the organ?) in Christ…but how to build bridges that won’t break in an ever-shifting culture?