Or, similarly, “It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing.” Fans reject the idea of a definitive version produced, authorized, and regulated by some media conglomerate. Instead, fans envision a world where all of us can participate in the creation and circulation of central cultural myths.
Henery Jenkins: As more and more amateur works have entered into circulation via the Web, the result has been a turn back toward a more folk-culture understanding of creativity. Historically, our culture evolved through a collective process of collaboration and elaboration. Folktales, legends, myths and ballads were built up over time as people added elements that made them more meaningful to their own contexts. The Industrial Revolution resulted in the privatization of culture and the emergence of a concept of intellectual property that assumes that cultural value originates from the original contributions of individual authors. In practice, of course, any act of cultural creation builds on what has come before, borrowing genre conventions and cultural archetypes, if nothing else.
The ability of corporations to control their “intellectual property” has had a devastating impact upon the production and circulation of cultural materials, meaning that the general population has come to see themselves primarily as consumers of — rather than participants within — their culture. The mass production of culture has largely displaced the old folk culture, but we have lost the possibility for cultural myths to accrue new meanings and associations over time, resulting in single authorized versions (or at best, corporately controlled efforts to rewrite and ‘update’ the myths of our popular heroes). Our emotional and social investments in culture have not shifted, but new structures of ownership diminish our ability to participate in the creation and interpretation of that culture. …
…Fans respond to this situation of an increasingly privatized culture by applying the traditional practices of a folk culture to mass culture, treating film or television as if it offered them raw materials for telling their own stories and resources for forging their own communities. Just as the American folk songs of the nineteenth century were often related to issues of work, the American folk culture of the twentieth century speaks to issues of leisure and consumption. Fan culture, thus, represents a participatory culture through which fans explore and question the ideologies of mass culture, speaking from a position sometimes inside and sometimes outside the cultural logic of commercial entertainment. The key difference between fan culture and traditional folk culture doesn’t have to do with fan actions but with corporate reactions. Robin Hood, Pecos Bill, John Henry, Coyote, and Br’er Rabbit belonged to the folk. Kirk and Spock, Scully and Mulder, Hans and Chewbacca, or Xena and Gabrielle belong to corporations.
a”so, it’s always fun to see a familiar echo happening in pop magazines from 40 years earlier. there really is nothing new under the sun. it’s all been done before (and better), whether it’s in the pop psychology magazine biz in 1929 or in the baby boomer psychedelia revolution in the 1960′s. we really live in an age of blind post modern appropriation. we really aren’t capable of coming up with anything ‘new’ anymore. we simply copy and adapt to a new environment. the more i lean about this stuff, the more true it becomes.
but, most of you will fight to the death to defend your sovereign originality. i actually see people suing each other over ‘intellectual property theft!” but,
his point in my studies, i can point out pre-existing examples of whatever it is you think you created from wholly original thought. it cracks me up. usually those examples are a hundred years old, too.
we should spend a lot less time shouting “THEIF!” and “GIMMEE!”, and spend a lot more time just working.” ( Art Chantry )
Fans also reject the studio’s assumption that intellectual property is a “limited good,” to be tightly controlled lest it dilute its value. Instead, they embrace an understanding of intellectual property as “shareware,” something that accrues value as it moves across different contexts, gets retold in various ways, attracts multiple audiences, and opens itself up to a proliferation of alternative meanings. Giving up absolute control over intellectual property, they argue, increases its cultural value (if not its economic worth) by encouraging new, creative input and thus enabling us to see familiar characters and plots from fresh perspectives. Media conglomerates often respond to these new forms of participatory culture by seeking to shut them down or reigning in their free play with cultural material. If the media industries understand the new cultural and technological environment as demanding greater audience participation within what one media analyst calls the “experience economy,” they seek to tightly structure the terms by which we may interact with their intellectual property, preferring the pre-programmed activities offered by computer games or commercial Web sites, to the free-form participation represented by fan culture. The conflict between these two paradigms — the corporate-based concept of media convergence and the grassroots-based concept of participatory culture — will determine the long-term cultural consequences of our current moment of media in transition.( Henry Jenkins )
THIS. IS. SPARTA!!! is a meme inspired by the brutal and overly dramatic movie “300″ where the Spartan king Leonidas shouts the line before killing a Persian messenger. The whole dialogue goes like this:
Messenger: Choose your next words carefully, Leonidas. They may be your last as king.
King Leonidas: [to himself] “Earth and water”?
[Leonidas unsheathes and points his sword at the Messenger's throat]
Messenger: Madman! You’re a madman!
King Leonidas: Earth and water? You’ll find plenty of both down there.
Messenger: No man, Persian or Greek, no man threatens a messenger!
King Leonidas: You bring the crowns and heads of conquered kings to my city steps. You insult my queen. You threaten my people with slavery and death! Oh, I’ve chosen my words carefully, Persian. Perhaps you should have done the same!
Messenger: This is blasphemy! This is madness!
King Leonidas: Madness…?
King Leonidas: This is Sparta!
[Kicks the messenger down the well]