Fannish Histories

  • OTW Fannews: Fannish divisions

    By Claudia Rebaza on Jueves, 27 March 2014 - 5:13de la tarde
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    • As greater recognition of the diversity of fandoms appears in the media, author Brad R. Torgersen decided to trace 21st century English-speaking fandom’s path. "I agree absolutely with Toni that some of these fault lines can be traced directly to the social and political fault lines in the wider English-speaking culture; out of which a good deal of fandom springs. But I also think that much can be explained by examining where people come to fandom from–and through which doors they walk when they enter." Torgersen discusses, among other things, the importance of super-cons in allowing people to experience fandom together.
    • One of the most significant super-cons, however, has demonstrated yet another division: the one between geeky and mainstream audiences. Laurie Penny addressed this at New Statesman while various others have weighed in with additional concerns. "Why is it that this early history of Science Fiction fandom is presented as 'idyllic' when we know for a fact that large groups of people stood outside looking in? Isn’t that history being rewritten in front of our very eyes?...It is obvious to me that this idyllic period of Science Fiction 'history' is told largely from an American, white, male perspective. It might be an important part of a historical narrative, but it is not the whole narrative."
    • Fangirl the Blog pointed out more in-house divisions within fandoms by gender. "The Star Wars fandom as a whole often has gendered reactions to different types of fan participation in expressing love for the franchise." She listed examples in RPGs, fanart, cosplay, fan films and fanfic, concluding "Ultimately, if Topher Grace and Kyle Newman can be praised, even given official support and visibility, for their fan creativity – for their fanfiction – then female fans deserve equal respect for all the ways they produce fanworks, too. Including their prose fanfiction."
    • The OC Weekly turned a spotlight on Disney social clubs and the mixed reaction they have received. "These social clubs are a new generation of hardcore Disney fans, powered by Instagram and Facebook and made up of grandparents in their 60s, as well as teens and toddlers plodding along beside their parents...Like the Goths of the 1990s or the hippies of the 1960s, they trek the park like a second home, occasionally mistaken for troublemakers and ne'er-do-wells. But unlike other groups, they're not at the parks to scare or intimidate. They're there for fun, for friendship—and to uphold Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom ideal."

    What fandom divisions have you come experienced? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • Events Calendar for March 2014

    By Angela Nichols on Sábado, 1 March 2014 - 10:58de la tarde
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    Welcome to our Events Calendar roundup for the month of March! The Events Calendar can be found on the OTW website

    • To celebrate the OTW's Milestone Month we are hosting four events featuring a discussion on "The Future of Fanworks" with a variety of special guests.
    • March 8: Live chat with fan studies scholars on "The future of fanworks" from 1600-1800 UTC
    • March 15: Live chat with fans on "The future of fanworks" from 0200 - 0400 UTC
    • March 21-24: Q&A posts with copyright practitioners and scholars on "The future of fan works."
    • March 29: Live chat with entertainment industry representatives on "The future of fan works". Start time TBD
    • Check out more details here!

    We have four calls for papers coming up in the next month!

    • At Joss Whedon: A Celebration DePaul University's Media and Cinema Studies program will honor of the work of Joss Whedon featuring a roundtable discussions from scholars and fans of Whedon, speaking about his cultural impact, as well as analyzing aspects of his television shows and films. If you’re interested in speaking on a round table on Saturday, May 03, in Chicago please send a 200 word abstract by Mar 15.

      Read more about Joss Whedon on Fanlore

    • Subverting Fashion: Style Cultures, Fan Culture & the Fashion Industry aims to explore appropriations of fashion and style as creativity, self-expression, collective identity and rebelliousness in media and culture, as well as questioning these approaches both within and outside the fashion industry. 250-word proposals for 20-minute papers are needed on topics related to alternative fashion, style and performative identity in popular culture and the media. Papers from all disciplines and areas of research are invited. Abstract deadline: 20th March, 2014.
    • A Fantastic Legacy: Diana Wynne Jones Memorial Conference will celebrate the life, and contributions to children’s literature, fantasy and science fiction of a ground-breaking writer of British children’s fantasy. They are currently seeking papers on any aspect of Diana’s life and work. Participants are invited to submit 100-250 word abstracts for 20 minute papers by 28 March 2014

      Read more about Diana Wynne Jones on Fanlore

    • New Perspectives on Cinematic Spectatorship, Digital Culture & Space The journal Networking Knowledge is publishing a special issue on the ‘cinematic dispositif’ in light of the transformative effects of digital culture. Articles by postgraduate and early career researchers, which are 5,000 to 6,000 words long are welcome. Please send abstracts of up to 300 words along with a 50-word biography by April 1st 2014

    • The Events Calendar is here to inform and connect fans about upcoming fan events both face to face and online! We are always open to submissions by anyone with news of an event. Events come in many categories such as Academic Events, Fan Gatherings, Legal Events, OTW Events, Announcements of fanwork fests and challenges, or Technology Events taking place around the world and online. New ideas and categories are encouraged! If you know about any upcoming fan events please let us know!

  • OTW Fannews: Fan words and papers

    By Claudia Rebaza on Miércoles, 19 February 2014 - 7:24de la tarde
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    Banner by dogtagsandsmut of an open book with the OTW logo and the post title in two word bubbles

    • Texas A&M's libraries wrote about the closing of a Game of Thrones exhibit while one on filk replaced it. "The Cushing Library filk collection will showcase examples of these songbooks, as well as audio, video, digital recordings and fanzines and fanvids— which demonstrate the interest and affection for particular aspects of both literary and broadcast science fiction and fantasy media. The collection seeks to preserve the popular legacy of science fiction and fantasy by documenting and acquiring various fanworks." They are also looking for donations of "fanworks and filk-related materials."
    • The University of California Riverside posted about 10 Notable Fanzines in the Eaton Collection. "You could say the fanzine is the internet’s precursor. These amateur publications began in the 1930s as a way for science fiction fans – who were geographically spread out–to share their ideas with one another. Created with mimeograph machines during people’s private time, fanzines included letter columns, author interviews and book reviews...The Eaton Collection is home to nearly 100,000 fanzines."
    • The Macquarie Dictionary Online selected a word of the year but fanfic didn't make it to the final round. It was, however, the finalist in the Arts category.
    • The Guardian looked at words as well, specifically those found in Buzzfeed's style guide. Listing reasons to love the guide, the first choice was that "[i]t's got entries that no other style guide has. 'Fangirl', 'batshit', 'bitchface' – one word or two? You aren't going to find the answers in the Telegraph Style Book."

    What fan words do you think need a guide? Write some definitions on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • Announcing International Fanworks Day

    By Claudia Rebaza on Martes, 18 February 2014 - 8:20de la tarde
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    AO3 logo wearing a party hat amidst confetti with text of '1 Million Celebration'

    Now that our milestone weekend has ended, we're thinking of plans for 2015. Specifically, next February 15th, we'd like to hold an International Fanworks Day.

    Why do we need a special day?

    Because fanworks are awesome! That's why fans, the AO3, and many other archives around the web have ended up with hard drives full of fanworks and thousands to millions of users. Lots of people want to create them and even more want to access and save them. And like other communities that celebrate their special traditions, a specific date for celebrating fanworks speaks to their importance in our lives.

    Because fanworks are international

    Every part of the world creates fanworks, both about their own stories and those which have crossed national and language borders. Fanworks belong to everyone, and a fanworks day would be a great time to have them shared with someone new.

    Because fanworks don't all look the same

    Text, audio, multimedia, physical or digital, fanworks exist in all sorts of formats. Whatever time period they were created in, all of them should be discovered by someone who will love them.

    Because someone is looking for them

    Maybe someone's new to a fandom and wants to know where the goodies are. Maybe someone's never seen a fanwork before and wants to learn more about them. Maybe someone's been away from fandom for a while and wants to know where to go to get caught up. International Fanworks Day is a great opportunity to rec your favorite works to someone new, and to celebrate the reccers and rec communities for the work they do year-round.

    Because fanworks are valuable and ought to be preserved

    A sad moment for any fan is trying to access a fanwork they've enjoyed only to discover it's suffered a takedown, has gone offline, or has otherwise become unavailable. The OTW wants to put the issue of fanwork preservation out into public discussion, whether it's to remedy the legal problems fans may suffer when they try to share their work, or by creating safe spaces where fanworks can be housed when they're at-risk.

    So how do we celebrate it?

    Any way you want. Fans are the most creative people around and everyone enjoys fanworks for their own reasons. For example:

  • Fan 1 may make it a day of activism, reaching out to legislators or taking part in an organization's campaign for the public's right to remix
  • Fan 2 may make it a day of renewal, dusting off a WIP that was put aside when things got busy
  • Fan 3 may make it a day of reflection, writing meta about what fanworks mean to them
  • Fan 4 may make it a day of sharing, posting recs to their favorite works for others
  • Fan 5 may make it a day of traditions, organizing a Fanworks Day challenge
  • So tell us how you'll plan to celebrate!

  • OTW Fannews: A closer look at fandom

    By Claudia Rebaza on Jueves, 13 February 2014 - 8:32de la tarde
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    Banner by caitie of a magnifying glass passing over the post title

    • King's College London will be offering a new undergraduate degree in Digital Culture which includes sessions on transformative and fan culture as part of its modules. Admissions have opened for the degree program which will launch in 2015.
    • Den of Geek wrote about Holmesians as the template for modern fandom. "The kind of hype surrounding Sherlock today very much resembles the hysteria around the time the stories were originally published; in fact, Sherlock Holmes is arguably responsible for much of fandom as we know it today. Long before the possibilities of today’s mediated world, he was one of the first characters to massively, irrevocably, step off the page and into the world, and refuse to get back on the page...It’s a fascinating history about what it means to love a story, to let it have power, and to be a fan (or a geek)."
    • While the Holmes fandom is certainly a very long running one, sites as varied as The Asheboro Courier-Tribune and Huffington Post have been looking at Beatles fandom, which is reaching an important U.S. milestone. One fan in particular is part of a nightly remembrance. "When Paul performs a song 'All My Loving'...he picked one girl to be behind him in the Jumbotron showing the days from 1964. There is Irene--she travels the world with Paul." Irene added, "The first time I saw it was just totally amazing to me. I had no idea it was coming up, and all of a sudden you see my face jumping from screen to screen to screen, ending up on the Jumbotron. And then I did scream, because I was completely freaked out."
    • The demographics of fandom is something that NPR's discussion of Supernatural failed to examine, only mentioning how slash is "usually written by women." But it focused on the effect of fandom on a show's success and even storylines, asking "Fan engagement gives color and volume to dry data, such as ratings, but the question remains, how do you quantify depth of feeling? Writing a story takes longer and means more than hitting a 'like' button or re-blogging a picture. How do you measure a kind of success that, by its very nature, is completely resistant to metrics?"

    What closer looks at fandom have you come across? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: The power of the personal

    By Claudia Rebaza on Lunes, 6 January 2014 - 12:35de la mañana
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    • Nico Lang wrote in Salon about why an album is her Thanksgiving go-to. "When Liz Phair was recording 'Guyville,'...she had to pretend that she could find the answers in his music, a way to go forward as an artist. However, Phair knew all you really have is what’s in your own head, and listening to 'Exile on Main Street' on repeat tells you more about yourself than it ever will about Mick Jagger. 'Exile' has become a tradition for me...not as a memento of the past but as part of a relationship that will continue to evolve even as others come and go. We have the traditions that are given to us by historical edict, but the more important ones are those you build for yourself, the constants that remind you of who you are and where you’ve been."
    • Emily S. Whitten had things to be thankful for in her Comic Mix columm. She wrote about the results of a fandom auction to help her with vision surgery expenses. "[B]y the end of the auction, fandom, consisting of some people I knew but many I didn’t, had raised the entire $8,000. Add to that a few other generous donations from friends who had learned of the online fundraising secondhand...and my recovery and medication expenses were covered as well. I could hardly believe it, but there it was. This tremendous burden lifted from my life by the kindness of a community. Seeing fandom come together to help me like that was, and to this day is, one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced."
    • The Otaku Journalist wrote about one fan's experience moving to a relationship with someone she was fannish about. Asked "What has been the most interesting part of your transition from fan to girlfriend?" she responded "I am a fan! *punch*...I joke to him that I’m his fangirlfriend. Before and after we got together I drew fanart, wrote a fanfic, read his fan tumblr, and watched each episode when it comes out. I also did a cosplay once, but I’m too bashful for him to see me in it. The only thing that is different is that I know some upcoming AT4W stuff. Not a whole lot, but now I get the excitement of seeing other fans reactions." Dating someone who has fanworks about him is "Like dating anyone, but with more pictures and words!"

    What have you personally experienced in your fandoms? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Criticizing Fandom

    By Claudia Rebaza on Sábado, 26 October 2013 - 5:52de la tarde
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    Banner by caitie of 3 figures at a table holding up cards with scores on them.

    • Entertainment Weekly kicked off a new pop-culture-related column with a look at TV show finales and cited former OTW board member Francesca Coppa. "Mentally, it is difficult to imagine someone from the 50s declaring themselves a 'fan' of a TV show the way someone self-identifies as a 'Fan' of Walking Dead or Vampire Diaries or Firefly or, hell, NCIS: LA. This is partly because we inaccurately agree that TV wasn’t as good in the ’50s and partly because we assume people in the ’50s had better things to do...But modern fandom has roots in that time period. Francesca Coppa’s fascinating essay 'A Brief History of Media Fandom' (available in the Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet) traces our contemporary idea of media fandom — fan clubs, fanfiction, fan conventions — to a pair of TV shows from the 1960s: Star Trek and The Man from U.N.C.L.E."
    • As a possible example of the fan complaints cited in the EW piece, Hypable jumped on the criticism by Once Upon a Time fandom about poor marketing efforts by its network. "ABC has had to pull back the Once Upon a Time season 3 cast photos due to unexpected fandom backlash. Once Upon a Time fans love their show and its characters, and have reportedly responded so negatively to the season 3 cast photoset that ABC has pulled the photographs from their press site."
    • The EW piece was not flattering to fandom, but writing in Flavor Wire Jason Diamond dismisses Jillian Cantor’s Margot as fanfiction, as if that were equivalent with poor taste. "Shalom Auslander, in 2012′s Hope: A Tragedy, wrote a book that I consider in even poorer taste, placing a still-alive Anne Frank in the modern-day attic of somebody’s house, trying to squeeze humor from this Philip Rothian plot device. Like Cantor, and unlike Mangum’s album or Quentin Tarantino’s fictional Jewish revenge film Inglourious Basterds, his book upset me because it trivialized, rather than made moving art in tribute to, the real lives of Holocaust victims."
    • Perhaps this negativity explains why, in this ABC piece Cafe Tacvba Fans Downplay Their Fandom, though the reporter concludes otherwise. "Eager to collect fandom statements on what makes a Cafeta fan a real, super, ultimate fan, I flew into New York City from Miami to attend its Monday night concert. Being a fan for the past 15 years and this probably being my 25th time going to a Cafe Tacvba show, I thought I was a super fan. But after talking to folks, I wonder if I'm committed enough to call myself one. There, I was not able to find anyone who would even self-identify as a "super fan"...Turns out Cafe Tacvba fans are so devoted to them, they believe they are not worthy of their fandom. They downplay their devotion, because proclaiming they are Cafe Tacvba super fans would entail great responsibility."

    What fandom criticisms have you seen? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Anime missing and found

    By Claudia Rebaza on Sábado, 7 September 2013 - 4:54de la tarde
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    Anime eyes by Robyn

    • Fantastic Memes discussed how anime fandom affects Japanese language learning. "In English, we have plenty of loan words from the Japanese language – and, particularly in the English-speaking anime fandom, these words take on different meanings and connotations from how they were originally used. It does have an effect on how anime fans (as opposed to textbook users) approach learning Japanese as a second language."
    • Blogger TheBigN discussed transience in anime fandom. "[T]he incoming class of freshmen had what I’d call a sharply divided focus on how they approached anime and fan culture than what I had. While the general format of club activities stayed the same, in choosing shows, their focus was more about shows that entertained...If they didn’t get that, some people would find some other way to get their anime, as this was when fansubs became easily obtainable. And this new group expressed themselves and their fandom more openly, with more participation in some other aspects of culture (from gunpla to cosplay), as well as how they watched anime...But while it wasn’t a sea change, but[sic] the time I graduated college, it definitely felt like my “era” had passed in a way."
    • Blogger Andy Piper praised the Nine Worlds convention citing how it was "an inclusive and diverse event – and that is the standout memory of my 3 days at the con. The range of tracks, fandoms and cultures on offer and on display was outstanding and I enjoyed the opportunity to mix with all kinds of folks and make new friends from across all of them." However while the event had an Indie Comics track, manga was not mentioned in the program and there was no programming that focused on anime either, whereas 6 of the 26 different tracks were focused on roleplay or gaming. The OTW was, however, featured in the Fanfiction track where OTW staffer Lucy Pearson presented Owning the Servers: OTW and AO3 in a post-'50 Shades' world.

    What anime and manga fandom events do you know of? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: How to be a fan

    By Claudia Rebaza on Miércoles, 21 August 2013 - 5:24de la tarde
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    Banner by Bremo saying a fan is someone who has found something they like

    • Morgan Davies wrote about the stages of becoming a Teen Wolf fan. "I used to creep downstairs after my parents had gone to sleep to plug my laptop into the dial-up cable in our family room and load all seventeen chapters of a story in different windows before scurrying back upstairs and reading them all in bed until three in the morning, always ready to snap the computer closed and pretend to be asleep in case anybody came looking. Some years later...I started telling myself that at some point I would outgrow fanfiction, and fandom in general...I kept telling myself this until I was around twenty, or twenty-one, and then I decided that persistent self-delusion wasn’t cute."
    • Being a fan is increasingly being seen as someone who is a producer themselves. Den of Geek collected examples of fan creations memorializing Doctor Who's 50th anniversary. The variety of ways to be creative and share with others keeps expanding.
    • Diana Uy wrote in Manila Standard Today about How to be a Kpop Fangirl, interviewing Gigi Melodias. "Melodias discovered some of her longtime friends through fangirl forums and concerts. In 2009, She collaborated with some of these friends to start FangirlAsia.com, the first online store of Kpop merchandise with its own domain in the Philippines. Today, FangirlAsia.com is owned by Melodias, her husband, and sister. With some extra help, this small band of Kpop fans also organizes artist events and gatherings for loyal Kpop fans."
    • At least in sports fandom howerver, the collecting aspect is a predominant form of fandom activity. Thom Lovero wrote about jerseys as a symbol of fandom. "The jersey has become the flag of sports -- the most powerful symbol of the connection between fans and their teams. 'You can’t do any more than wear a player’s number on your back to show that connection,' said Merrill Melnick, a retired sports sociologist at SUNY Brockport who specialized in studying fan behavior." But when things go sour, the jersey takes the brunt of fan anger. "'When the athlete does something to let them down, they can’t take them to court, so symbolically they burn a jersey,' Wann said. 'It’s like someone throwing a ring back in the face, as publicly as they could possibly cut off the ties to the athlete.'"

    What fan history stories do you know of? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Love and respect

    By Claudia Rebaza on Martes, 25 June 2013 - 7:39de la tarde
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    • The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art opened a new exhibit last month called Love to Love You which "gathers art work that takes fan culture as a cue to examine not only the specifics of how we express affection for people far removed from us, but also what that means beyond the exact relationship between audience and creator." The exhibit focuses primarily on music and sports fandoms. "Elissa Goldstone creates objects where there is some resemblance to merchandise or objects that circulate in fan culture, but because of the handmade quality of it, it really has very emotive aspects. It also has a performative aspect, because she sits and watches games and keeps scorecards and then embroiders them, so it's fan identity as performance that then gets transferred to an object."
    • While stories such as a fan's walk-on role in "The Office" finale tend to get press for linking fans to creators, places such as The Keysmash blog have been celebrating fandom stories for their personal aspects. In one post a mother realized that fandom could be her community in many ways. "Folks were open and welcoming. I met other women with special needs children and we could talk out our problems and delight in our kids. I met women who had battled depression and anxiety too and I learned from them. I met writers who encouraged me to follow my passion for it. I met women who were not afraid to write and talk about kinks. I met artists who just blew my mind with their talent and creativity. I met runners and fitness gurus who helped me run two 5Ks...I met people from all over the world with different lives and different experiences and different knowledge and I basked in it and shared what I could with them...I am the healthiest I have ever been in mind, body, and spirit and it is all because a prince and a sorcerer couldn’t stop eye-fucking each other."
    • The SplitSider focused on fandom's effects on a larger scale by discussing The Arrested Development Documentary Project just as Netflix resurrected the series. The film "flips between interviews with...creator Mitch Hurwitz, seven of the nine regulars, and the show’s producers- and thoughts from die-hard fans of the show. Featuring interviews with passionate Arrested Development fans is a great idea. After all, it's the fans that kept the show alive, making it the cult hit it is today. Unfortunately, this technique doesn’t entirely work. For one thing, the fans [are] never identified—it’s a string of anonymous faces and a brief cameo from Keith Olbermann. And all the enthusiasm in the world doesn’t necessarily make someone an eloquent orator, able to clearly articulate the brilliance of the series."
    • Fan eloquence can shine in individual posts, however, utilizing more than just words. One post among the Month of Meta's offerings on Dreamwidth discusses fan expression on Tumblr and why "feels" have come to be. "The term is, far from being a corruption of the language, an elegantly precise word that serves a very useful function. So next time you feel reluctant to say something 'hit you right in the feels' or to cry out 'ow, my feels!' embrace your inner fan, let go of your inner grammarian, and go for it!"

    What tributes to fandom have struck a chord with you? Write about it in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.