The more I read John Fiske's essay "The Cultural Economy of Fandom" (from Lisa A. Lewis's lovely 1992 collection The Adoring Audience), the more I find reasons to dislike it. The collection itself is excellent. It's this annoyingly patronizing take on what fans do that gets me. Just because someone can write clearly on television and communication theory doesn't mean gross generalizations of fan activity will stand up under (procrastination-fueled) scrutiny.
I offer you:
"Fan texts [i.e., not "fan works" but "fandoms" - the shows, films, stars, etc.], then, have to be ‘producerly’ (Fiske 1987, 1989a), in that they have to be open, to contain gaps, irresolutions, contradictions, which both allow and invite fan productivity. [So, they have to be broken? Below the standards of highbrow literature, art cinema, worthy public figures... Not quite finished, half-baked?] They are insufficient [UGH.] texts that are inadequate [AUGH.] to their cultural function of circulating meaning and pleasure [completely dead, empty, meaninglessly incoherent] until they are worked upon and activated [*bzzzzt* WARNING: ACTIVATING CULTURE. *whoop whoop whoop*] by their fans, who by such activity produce their own popular cultural capital [which naturally can't be accessed by anyone else, for whom these "insufficient texts" remain... deactivated?]." (p42)
Way to damn with faint praise, Fiske. I'd say fandom adds a kind of meaning to texts - like, at VVC there've been lovely Watchmen and Wanted vids that heighten an emotional interiority of characters that is obscured in the films themselves - but it's a kind of fannish meaning that permits texts to be read in specific ways.
"Insufficient texts" is such an idiotic phrase. Fannish "texts" are read as containing a little semiotic wiggle room by some fans, they don't necessarily contain a systemic deficiency of meaning or pleasure.
I mean, honestly.
And then this:
"Collecting is also important in fan culture, [Yes!] but it tends to be inclusive rather than exclusive: [fandom's all about inclusion, amirite? oh, wait...] the emphasis is not so much upon acquiring a few good (and thus expensive) [*HEADDESK*] objects as upon accumulating as much as possible. [Let's all point at the creepy hoarders. HOARDERS. HOARDERS. They have TV shows about broken, antisocial people like you.] The individual objects [like what? Kitschy mugs, action figures, coasters with Spock's face on them, what?] are therefore often cheap, devalued by the official culture, and mass-produced [whaaaaaat examples aaaaaare you uuuuuuusing]. The distinctiveness lies in the extent of the collection rather than their uniqueness [uh huh...] or authenticity [*red flag*] as cultural objects [inauthentic. cultural. objects. auuugh.]. There are, of course, exceptions to this [good!]: fans with high economic capital [probably men, right? "high economic capital" doesn't often refer to women] will often use it, in a non-aesthetic parallel of the official culture [what does that even mean], to accumulate unique and authentic objects – a guitar [like a (male) rock fan would do!], an autographed piece of sporting equipment [again: stereotype of male fandom], an article of clothing ‘genuinely’ worn by the star [women! women like fashion!], or an object once possessed by him or her [but not, like, romance novels that you can share with your friends, right? so between a sizable community there can be a significant number of volumes without any individual member needing to purchase everything? No, that wouldn't be "authentic".]." (p44)
....Ah, I feel better now.