Fred's Fans' Failures
NOTES: Origins and Context | See Also
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Origins of this content
This texteo sits on the Fred Fan Rant hidden YouTour so as to be simultaneously "published" in a special issue on fan/remix video at Transformative Works and Culture. It is extracted and refined from a talk presented at the UCSD symposium, Youth Media, Sensory Ability and Visual Culture, 2010.
Fan-vids and fan studies have exploded with the Internet.

"I think upholding this distinction between a 'vid' and 'fan videos' in general is important not only because vidding has a specific history and aesthetic tradition, but because it also speaks to your larger argument, i.e. that we need to differentiate between the kinds of fan-made videos that are self-aware and have a point and those that aren't. Btw, people who self-identify as vidders often also draw a line between the kinds of videos they produce and the more run-of-the-mill fan-made music videos you might come across on YouTube and that weren't made by people who identify as being part of the vidding community." Melanie Kohnen (from personal email correspondence)

"It may not be as highbrow as the works of Shakespeare are perceived now, but surely even the Bard could not resist a chuckle at some of the finest fails YouTube has to offer." [cit]
Can we talk about the failures of Fred's fans? I'm not suggesting that these particular helium-talking boys are failed people, or even failed video artists. Rather, I am noting the reflexive parallels between videos that say they fail and videos about fails and failures. For, a major sub-genre of this body of fan videos (not to be confused with fan-vids, see Origins and Context, the blue pull-down menu at the upper right) is itself about failure: alternatively, the failure of these very videos and/or their makers and/or Fred. In this huge body of youth/fan produced video it is often hard to see past all the overt malfunctions to find what has been euphorically projected as the ripe possibilities for youth or fan produced media (use the See Also blue pull down menu across this tour to see more examples of the Fred and Fred fan videos I discuss).

"If we want to get young people to vote, we have to start earlier, changing the processes by which they are socialized into citizenship. One way that popular culture can enable a more engaged citizenry is by allowing people to play with power at a micro-level, to exert control over imaginary worlds." Henry Jenkins

"I hate him. He's not funny. He dubs his voice ... He has no friends. He's an asshole. That's why I'm doing this today." Fredisafagg

Admittedly, I use Henry Jenkins and Fredisafagg as fo[a]ils. Much of what they (and the many fans of fans) admire (or hate) in fan culture is true. Fred's fan's video practices can promote citizenship, creativity, self-authoring and control, just as micro-level aggression, name-calling, and sarcasm are possible outcomes: "I can choke him, kick him in the nuts, rip his balls off. Make him eat them."

Who are these fans learning from? Fred and each other and YouTube.

What more might Fred's fans need so that they might learn and grow—as fans, artists, citizens, and kids—to be qualitatively more productive, enabled, and empowered than even the world's best?