Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Core Post 3 - TV + The Audiences

This week’s reading pertaining to fan culture and how they interact with media, blurring the lines between consumer and producer, were particularly interesting considering that the writers introduced points that have undergone many transformations over the years.  Between hash-tags and tweets, producers are frequently encouraging users to advertise for them.  Andrejevic argues that users are actively critiquing their shows to prove that they are not being duped, ironically causing themselves to be more susceptible to exploitation.  Later in the text he relates viewer’s position towards the media through a quote from Gitlin.  He mentions that viewers have a, “ ‘a postmodern fascination with surfaces and the machinery that cranks them out, a fascination indistinguishable from surrender- as if once we understand that all images are concocted we are enlightened’ ”(40).  Quite often audiences note how terrible a show is, criticizing it through social media, or saying things like, I know this is all fake, but I enjoy participating in the craziness.  I would not say that we are so intent on rejecting our duping that we are not savvy enough to realize the inverse has occurred. It is more so the case that we knowingly are being exploited, but knowing the workings of the structure is fine enough.  Thus, terrible reality shows I believe flourish on the communal feeling they provide for users, giving them a false sense of power, power that is used ultimately by the controllers of content.  This is even truer when Andrejevic introduced the idea of neoliberalism and television viewing.  Although a viewer may consider a show terrible, the idea that they are in control of their own viewing in a sense drives these terrible shows to become more and more interactive. 

In regards to Jenkin’s article on Star Trek, while something like remediating a television show for their own use was done as early as the late 80s, with the introduction of the web, characters have been placed in all types of situations that are out of context.  For example, folks may recognize Captain Picard from a later installation of Star Trek as the guy who is always angry at a social absurdity, due to his image’s popularity as a meme. Then there are YouTube videos, which take the idea of the fanzine and animate them.  Users may take two characters from different works and pit them into a what-if battle.    And of course the classic idea of the fan novel still exists, but with wider dissemination and cheaper production values.  The blur between producer and consumer has become easier to blur, but also in a sense, chances of being noticed within the wide web is less likely due to this ease.  Conventions such as Comic Con are becoming far larger than a subculture, and as they listen to their fans speak online, these events become more and more geared to a general public.   The ethics of taking these characters out of their world and remediating them into other texts may have been reduced, and users face less backlash, but when a successful meme, video, or even fan web novel is created, producers benefit now even more than ever, as these subcultures become a mainstream commodity. 

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