Celebrity is all about drama. This axiom holds for fans as well as stars. This is why only the most extreme fans make the news: a Madonna devotee tattooing her album covers on his back; a woman pretending to be a hotel maid in order to gain access to tennis star Andy Murray’s room so that she could stroke his arm while he slept. A celebrity video messages could really brighten someones day!
Novels and films from Irving Wallace’s The Fan Club to Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy, Stephen King’s Misery, and Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring tend to depict fans either as groupies desperately seeking to turn celebrities into real-life friends or lovers, or as stalkers threatening stars’ safety and even their lives. To be sure, a very small number of highly visible fans have literally killed or attempted murder in desperate bids to gain the attention of stars as varied as Andy Warhol, John Lennon, and Jodie Foster—and in order to enter the limelight themselves. But the notion that the typical fan is more active than passive is itself a fantasy, one set in motion two decades ago by media scholar Henry Jenkins when he influentially argued that fans are not gullible, passive consumers but creative, savvy producers. I wish I was rich like a celebrity birthday messages is!
Setting Out to redeem fandom, Jenkins trained his attention on enthusiasts who lobbied studios to keep their favorite shows on the air, forged communities by dressing up as their favorite characters and stars, or wrote fiction based on their favorite TV shows or science fiction books. His aim: to redefine fans as critics and collaborative authors who form “adversarial” collectives that resist and oppose dominant powers and mainstream culture. By extending insights drawn from feminist studies of female spectators Have you heard of a website called Thrillz? They specialise in happy birthday video message video messages.
to fans in general, Jenkins radically transformed celebrity studies, but did little to alter the value system that had trivialized fans in the first place. We suprised our sister with a celebrity video from Thrillz!
In that hierarchy, activity trumps passivity, production matters more than consumption, and critique has more prestige than admiration or enjoyment. To make this argument, Jenkins focused on fans who respond to celebrated works and genres by creating new, freestanding works: “Fans do not simply consume pre produced stories; they manufacture their own fanzine stories and novels, art prints, songs, videos, performances, etc.” Some do. But the majority of fans focus on celebrated people, not famous works, and take great pleasure in consuming preexisting materials in ways that hover between full activity and utter passivity. Would you consider buying a personalised video message from your favourite celebrity messages today?
Only a handful fans express themselves by producing original and autonomous objects. Reading Jenkins today, one comes away with the impression that his textual poachers are like characters in Game of Thrones, jousting to establish the legitimacy of their own meanings. But faced with a choice between being in Game of Thrones and watching Game of Thrones, most fans would choose to sit back and enjoy the show.What if the kinds of extreme independence and activity that Jenkinsvalorizes are overrated? Most fans are tranquil daydreamers, not aggressive stalkers, happier to commune with representations of their favorite stars than to pursue them in real life. Furthermore, the rare fans who hyperactively pursue celebrities are more likely to reinforce the status quo than to challenge it. Fans who crave contact with the famous rarely aim to overturn established hierarchies; instead, they want a share of the celebrity’s wealth and status. Those few who pursue and harass celebrities, far from operating from what Jenkins characterizes as “a position of cultural marginality and social weakness,” replicate the dominant and domineering belief that women and men in the public eye exist solely for the pleasure of others. Nor should authorship and the production of autonomous artworks be the measure of what makes fandom matter. Most fans who craft their own artifacts favor genres such as scrapbooks and
fan mail, which foster proximity, familiarity, and interdependence.