However, I would love to hear what you guys have to say about culture - what do you think it is? What does it mean to be a member of a culture?
This post is actually to encourage you guys to post *ahem.* And I actually have a more "lively" topic - well livelier for me, anyway. I have lately begun noticing that fans of a series typically have a history of fandom membership... e.g. they are fans of other series, and in the past were fans of other shows. Of course, the extent of "fan" participation is not necessarily the same across the series. I'll give an example - my first "fan" experience was watching X-Files when I was 12ish. I fell in love with the show, had tons of books on it, read the novels for it, etc. I didn't participate in any fan community. I found a few other shows that I was a solo-fan of.. and then I hit Angel my first year at USC. Participated in an actual fan community (stumbled upon it when I was searching for episode reviews). Posted on a message board, discussed eps, etc. But I still didn't read any fanfiction or anything. And obviously with Weiss Kreuz and Gundam Wing I upped my fandom experience a bit with the fanfiction, fan art, essays... and err... research..
But it does beg the question - if most fans have a history of fan membership.. then what is it about being a fan that appeals to them? To be quite honest, I can't answer this myself and hadn't even thought about it until I was chatting with someone and it dawned on me I've been a fan of some series or another since I was itty bitty (I had other series I was a fan of when I was like 9ish, but I'm too embarassed to say which ones). And perhaps there's something about our personalities that draws us to series.. but it isn't just any series, no it's certain ones. I watched quite a few programs but never had the same level of involvement as I did with X-Files. So it's something about those shows that appeals to me.. and encourages a more active "audience" role.. and I'm sure it's the same for others.