Kat (insomnikat) wrote in gwslashresearch,

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Okay, I'm here. It's exactly 2:52am and you know what... I have NOT played any SIMS in the past three days! So consider this my "don't say I didn't make some weak excuse of an explanation before you read."

So. Culture. Well, I guess old school would define it as the common beliefs, traditions, (daily) rituals, language, slang, etc. arising from the fact that a group of people are all living in a certain place and have to get along. Hmm, but since Rach is all post-modern and shovelling her own path through 18 inches of snow... I'd tweak the definition to: a coleection of common beliefs, traditions, and general perception of what is (un)acceptal behavior and action amongst a group of people who (often) dwell in a particular area. The post-modern twist being that the unspecified area is not necessarily a physical domain.

Wow, I either sounded really smart or really BS there. Which means my brain's buzzing. Yay for you!

To be a member of a culture is to be like, "Hey, we have some things in common besides brown eyes and being brainwashed by television that we can be absolutely anything we want and, apart from the occasional teen angst, we'll ALWAYS succeed." It's the ability to be able to walk into a room and feel an instant bond to all these strangers cause you know you have something in common with them besides an affixiation to boyscouts. Something specific like that would be for a club or secret society or help group. Nope nope, to be a member of a culture is to be able to speak the same lingo AND understand each other. Have the same general education (ie, animes are NOT cartoons). Like how Rach noticed that those who got into the Buffyverse were more often than not fellow fans of older fandoms (I get to leave the explaining of that invisible but NOT make-believe world to you, right?). Hmm, I remember having 'met' several La Femme Nikita fans in my time there.

Of course, to be a member of a culture, one first has to create a culture. And one can't create a culture just based on admiration and respect for a certain ... trend, let's say. No, the stakes have to be upped. You can't just be voyeur, you have to get your hands dirty. All bark and no bite. See, the word cult is in culture! It begins with some degree of a personal awakening. Obsession, however, is a strong and vulgar word. I prefer immense devotion and magical/spiritual awe -- just in general having a personal chord struck. Completely converted, devoted people to a cause, a purpose, a way of life --- blah, I think I'm losing my point. But, um, yeah. Being a member of anything required being involved to a certain extent.

So I guess fandoms and anime fandoms have 'evolved' from mainstream trend and the social phenomenon of late 20th century that coincides with the rise of the internet into a culture. In fact, if not for the world wide web, our fantasy worlds would remain just that -- fantasy and locked up in our minds such that only the few truly gifted that come along every other generation can take out and share (in literary form) with everyone else on a wide scale. Culture is formed with the sharing and gradual development of a general set of beliefs, notions, etc. And... and it's vast! It's multi-dimensional. A culture isn't narrow... it encompasses many fields. Online fandom has become that. First it was just a sharing of general information. Facts, pictures, occasional media files. A sharing and indirect recruitment of new members to the cult of anyone whose interest is peaked by what they see and hear. Ideas were exchanged. Shared. Points discussed. But the desire to interact and do more grew. 'Communities' became visible in the form of message boards. Chat rooms. Little digital villages popping up all over the digital realm.

Hey, we met in the Asylum, remember? How I loved that place. It was a real place. It was regarded by many of us as our escape and home away from home. Oh how much madness and fun we had. Oh our balls, remember?! *sighs nostalgically*

ANd yes, so now we have actual communities all sharing the same general interests, ideas, knowledge and language (like, say, terms like SLASH and LOL). These communities, like traditional communities, are constantly looking for ways to improve their 'standard of living.' Enhance their living experience. So, we have innovators who expand fandom into more creative expressions. Dojinshi. Our own interpretations of canon. Rach wrote a paper on this.

So cause it's 3:40 now and I do need to wrap up if I want to be greeted with "good morning" rather than "I didn't make you pancakes cause I knew you wouldn't wake up," what is appealing about being a fan? The sense of feeling involved with your chosen cult fandom. RPGs. Fanfic. Music videos. Dojinshi. Fan art! Wouldn't you want to do your best to show your love and appreciation for something or someone? What's appealing about a fan... I guess is similar to what I found appealing about having a fansite. It allows me to get closer to the action. To the characters we have come to adore. LOL, it's playing Sims. Not only do I get to be more intimate with the subjects of my endless fascination and joy, but I get to know others who share the same affinity. And I confess, humans are social creatures. We don't like to be lonely. We like to be accepted for our thoughts and ideas, no matter how out there. We like to feel comfortable and safe and wanted. We want to have a Neverland to escape to with other kids at heart who - for the time being - choose not to grow up.

We like to think there is no such thing as time series analysis and graduate level statistics.

I mean, ancient civilizations worshipped deities and paid tributes to heroes and mythical creatures and spirits throughout history. This... is merely the 21st century version. And dude, the ancient greeks probably wished they'd thought of cosplay (which you KNOW you must do as part of your research eventually. You can't shy from it if you plan to make this the basis of your career!)

In short, that leaves me with one question. *raises brow suspiciously* Who else, if anyone, is reading this besides us crazy folk?
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