Fandom Week 10: Authenticity Issues

This week’s first reading, “the pretty good problem” was a little hard to get into. It required a little bit of researching terms ( I had never heard of ‘Godin’s purpleness‘ … and I think the reading starts somewhere in the middle of the chapter after ‘Magic’ has been described/defined as a show). Once I got myself up to speed, it made some interesting points! I was surprised that the author didn’t take more time to delve into the story of Hello Kitty and how the fans reaction to and interpretation of her changed the direction of the company’s entire brand and business. If you haven’t watched The Toys that Made Us on netflix, they do an amazing job of covering the whole story in their episode on Hello Kitty:

watch it here if you have netflix!

Moving on to the second article, I think went into reading it expecting some of the terms to be academic coinages. From what I know from friends who are wrestling fans, it definitely accurately portrayed the two camps in WWE fandom, but I wanted to check the terminology with a real fan. So I checked in with my friend Rob who, at that moment was watching Wrestlemania at Dave & Busters. The terms check out! Mostly… he seems to think the two camps are marks and SMARKS. He also threw in an extra fan analogy:

“Marks are like tumblr fans and Smarks are like the marvel fans that get on reddit and write fan theories and know all the casts’ personal lives” (Rob is clearly very involved in more than one fandom)

I’m not a fan of wrestling, I’ve never seen any backyard wrestling and don’t know much about the plotlines… pretty much everything I know about the WWE I learned from this video, which I think is the best example of Smart/Smark fanlike activity I’ve ever seen:

(disclaimer: I know a lot of people find Max Landis problematic, but if you put your feelings about him aside you’ve got to admit this is an awesome example of a lot of extremely dedicated fans having a LOT of fun together)

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