To this day, there exists a video on Youtube, a video that I’m sure will haunt me should I ever have kids, or undergrad students (They are practically the same thing anyways, aren’t they?)
In my 2nd year of undergrad, I was asked to create a youtube video en lieu of writing an actual term paper. Once I got over the offence of making my participation in social media (effectively compromising my online anonymity by having my face anywhere on Youtube) contingent to my academic success (pretty sure I didn’t put it quite so pompously back then, and there was a lot more swearing), I decided to just go for it, and go for it I did.
Continuing my quest to write about the seemingly least serious topics possible and see if I could get away with it (a.k.a. have the teacher still grade me), I chose the topic of Fanfiction, a long-term guilty pleasure I shared with a number of my female friends. I think that was the part that initially got me into talking about the topic, that I felt guilty and embarrassed admitting to reading fanfiction out loud and to people I met. It felt like the equivalent of telling people your walls are covered in Boy Band posters, or admitting that you could speak Klingon. Some voice in the back of my head told me that most “people” would find it “silly” or “weird”, and I still wasn’t nearly as okay with those labels as I am now. Even amongst Trekkies, fanfiction is sometimes seen as geeky or overly fannish behaviour, despite the booming Fanfiction industry for Star Trek.
As has often become the case over the past few years, when something infuriates me, baffles me, or embarrasses me, I become driven to find out why. I mean, I love reading fanfiction, have shared countless hours of laughter, gossip, and inside jokes with close friends over the imagination of others. I Had seen the truly horrendous, but also the truly magnificent. Why should I feel embarrassed by it, and why were so many people dismissive of what we did? There just had to be more to it than meets the eye.
And so I looked, and so I found. The video attached to this post is my completed video project (I figure I might as well own my ridiculousness). It is in no way a complete look at the topic of fanfiction, but I still think it’s an interesting summary introduction to the topic, and makes the compelling argument for the social and cultural processes that fanfiction readers and writers go through, while interacting with their favourite canons.