Dush and Jenkins: the fan-focused commodification of culture

By February 29, 2016 BlogPost No Comments

As I was browsing through everyone else’s blog posts, I stumbled across Sarah’s blog post reacting to Henry’s Jenkins piece, “How Texts Become Real.” Here’s a link to that blogpost, for those of you who haven’t had a chance to read it.

In the post, Sarah mentions quoting Spongebob Squarepants twice within 15 minutes. When I started thinking about how fans will quote random lines, which Jenkin elaborates on in his article, it reminded me of Dush’s argument about how content is commodified. For Dush, this commodification seems to be the ability to break things into smaller pieces for monetary gain. Her example was taking a chapter from a book and getting paid to have it be in an anthology. My example? How you can buy 1 song on itunes instead of needing to buy an entire album.

So, how does the commodification of content relate to this reference? Well, Jenkins talks about how fans will take their favorite quotes from a show and share them with each other, working them into casual conversation. I have done this with some of my friends who are fans of the musical Hamilton, quoting lyrics or using song titles in casual conversation. By doing this, am I commodifying Hamilton?

Yes, but in a fan way. By being able to break the musical into easily recognizable chunks, I am proving that I am a valid member of the fandom; here, I am commodifying Hamilton for the social ethos it gives me with others.

It’s so interesting to see how these two readings interact, and how breaking down a text to memorable moments and using those quotes in conversation is actually a fan’s way of proving their worth.

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