Hello everyone, and welcome to a delayed edition
of the C3 Weekly Update. C3's management is in the midst of a hectic
week, preparing for a string of conference presentations, finishing up
essays for publication, and managing a variety of exciting additions to
the Consortium's community that we'll be providing more details on in
upcoming editions of the newsletter.
We are in the process in particular of adding a
new round of consulting researchers to our team, and we plan to
announce who those new researchers are next week. For those who might
not be familiar, our small core team here at MIT is bolstered by a
variety of researchers from around the world, primarily at academic
institutions, who speak at Consortium events, share their work through
the C3 Weekly Update, and work with us on various projects. We are
excited at the quality of scholars who have expressed interest in
becoming part of the Consortium and who have expressed interest in some
of the common goals and focuses of our forthcoming research, and we
will be organizing full information about each of them for next week's
C3 Weekly Update.
Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference
C3 Director Henry Jenkins, C3 Research Manager
Joshua Green, and I are all preparing to present at this weekend's
Society for Cinema and Media Studies panel in Philadelphia. We are all
heading out shortly to participate in three different panels. My
presentation will be part of the opening round of panels at the
conference, at noon on Thursday. The panel will be entitled "Matters of
Narrative," and my presentation in particular is called "Understanding
Vast Narratives and Immersive Story Worlds." This will be based on my
Master's thesis work which is available on the back end of the C3 site
and publicly through the Comparative Media Studies site.
Jenkins' panel takes place from 3;15 p.m. until 5
p.m. on Saturday. The panel is called "Television as a Cultural Center:
The Future of the Public Sphere," and Jenkins' presentation is titled
"The Public Sphere in a 'Hybrid Media Ecology': YouTube, Network
Television, and Presidential Politics." This presentation will be
related to the work Jenkins has provided here over the past several
weeks, in preparation for publication in the paperback edition of Convergence
Culture, among other venues.
Finally, C3 Research Manager Joshua Green will be
participating in a panel called "Republic of Users" on Saturday morning
at 8 a.m., making a presentation called "The People Formerly Known As:
What Happens to the Audience When We're All 'Users.'"
C3 Principal Investigator and Co-Director of the
Comparative Media Studies Program William Uricchio will be chairing a
workshop entitled "The Future of Television Studies" on Saturday
afternoon, and a variety of our consulting researchers will be there.
We look forward to meeting for breakfast with several of you on Friday
morning and discussing the Consortium's upcoming research plans and the
work you're doing on these issues.
Our CMS Research Fair was a success
last week, and I just wanted to draw attention to the fact that, while
we'll be away at SCMS this weekend, the Program in Comparative Media
Studies will feature an event Thursday as part of the MIT
Communications Forum series here on our campus
entitled "Prime Time in Transition," featuring noted television
writer-producer John Romano, who has worked on such shows as Hill
Street Blues, Third Watch, and Party of Five.
For those of you interested in the state of the
U.S. television industry today, it will be an event worth joining us
There will also be video and audio from the event available later this
semester if you are interested but unable to attend.
This Week's Newsletter
This week's newsletter features an Opening Note
from C3 Consulting Researcher Robert V. Kozinets, who continues our
recent trend of looking at the U.S. Presidential Election in a
"convergence culture," writes about the Barack Obama campaign in
relation to the character of David Palmer on 24. The kernel for
this piece came from Kozinets' blog, Brandthroposophy.
This is the first of a two-part series, which will conclude in the
Opening Note of next week's C3 Weekly Update.
The Closing Note this week comes from me, as I
provide the first part in a two-part series from a draft of a piece for
the forthcoming Essential Cult Television Reader, looking in
particular at the success of Comedy Central's The Daily Show with
Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. The purpose of the full
piece is to acknowledge the show's place in history and its
significance and to culminate with some notes on why these shows, in
particular, are considered "cult television." Since MTV Networks is a
partner organization, I thought I would share these observations to see
if there might be further reaction from folks there, and overall to
drive further thinking about the place of political parody, based on
Henry's recent series here in the newsletter.
And, as usual, we include links to the latest blog
posts from the Consortium's site. This week's blog posts include pieces
from myself and our team of graduate student researchers, as well as C3
Director Henry Jenkins.
If you have any questions or comments or would
like to request prior issues of the update, direct them to Sam Ford,
editor of the C3 Weekly Update, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In This Issue
Opening Note: Robert V. Kozinets on Barack Obama
and 24, I of II
Glancing at the C3
Closing Note: Sam Ford on The Daily Show
and The Colbert Report, I of II
Thursday, March 06-Sunday, March 09
for Cinema and Media Studies Conference,
Featuring the following presentations:
Understanding Vast Narratives and Immersive Story
Worlds by C3 Project Manager Sam Ford
Bond in Bondage: Ratings Creep, Violence, and
Casino Royale by C3 Consulting Researcher Kevin Sandler
The Public Sphere in a "Hybrid Media Ecology":
YouTube, Network Television, and Presidential Politics by C3
Director Henry Jenkins
Architectures of Participation: Wiki Fandom and
the Case of LostPedia by C3 Consulting Researcher Jason Mittell
The People Formerly Known As: What Happens to the
Audience When We're All "Users"? by C3 Research Manager Joshua
Framing Motion: Early Cinema's Conservative
Method's of Display by C3 Consulting Researcher Ted Hovet
Scholarly Writing in the Digital Age workshop
featuring C3 Consulting Researcher Jason Mittell
The Future of Television Studies workshop
chaired by C3 Principal Investigator William Uricchio
Location Matters: Spatial Logics of
Bollywood-Dotcom Convergence by C3 Consulting Researcher Aswin
Thursday, March 06, 5-7 p.m.
MIT Communications Forum: Prime Time in Transition
Featuring John Romano: Bartos Theater,
Wiesner Building, MIT Media Lab
Saturday, March 08, 2-3 p.m.
by Southwest Interactive Opening Remarks
Featuring C3 Director Henry Jenkins and Steven Johnson, Austin, TX
Thursday, March 13, 5-7 p.m.
MIT Communications Forum: Global TV
Featuring Eggo Müller, Roberta Pearson, and William Uricchio:
Bartos Theater, Wiesner Building, MIT Media Lab
Friday, March 21, 10-11:30 a.m.
Valuing Fans Outside the Target Demographic: Soap
Opera Fans and Proselytizing
C3 Project Manager Sam Ford's presentation as part of the soap opera
area of the National
Popular Culture Association Conference, San Francisco
Thursday, April 10, 5-7 p.m.
MIT Communications Forum: Our World Digitized: The
Good, the Bad, the Ugly
Featuring Yochai Benkler and Cass Sunstein: Bartos Theater, Wiesner
Building, MIT Media Lab
Co-sponsored by the MIT Center for Future Civic Media
Thursday, April 24, 5-7 p.m.
MIT Communications Forum: Youth and Civic
Featuring Lance Bennett, Ian V. Rowe: Bartos Theater, Wiesner Building,
MIT Media Lab
Co-sponsored by the MIT Center for Future Civic Media
Friday, April 25
Passions 2008 Conference
C3 Project Manager Sam Ford presents "Outside the Target Demographic"
as part of the Gendered Fan Labor in New Media and Old panel.
Thursday, May 08, and Friday, May 09
C3's Spring Retreat
Thursday, May 22, to Monday, May 26
for Social Impact, Conference of the
Interntional Communication Association
C3 Research Manager Joshua Green will make two presentations at this
Montreal event. Details forthcoming.
Barack Obama, 24, and the
Hypermediation of the Political World, Part I
In the past, a lot of my research has considered the
porous boundaries between consumer culture and so-called pop, or mass
media, culture. I've found, in case after case, that what we commonly
think to be a "serious" cultural realm, such as R&D or innovation,
resistance and dissent, or religion and philosophy, is inevitably
shaped in many interesting ways by the "pop" (as in soda pop?) mass
cultural, consumer cultural, "just-for-fun" representations of the
Convergence Culture Consortium academics are very used
to talking about the blurring boundaries between "high" and "low"
culture, many of us making some of our strongest impressions in this
area. But as most of us know, among the population outside of a very
few academic departments, this is still a very provocative stance.
It's a two-way relationship, no doubt. Mass media is
also shaped by important cultural, corporate, and canonical influences.
And these supposedly distinct realms of culture also hybridize into
many interesting forms.
With an exciting Super Tuesday now behind us, and more
exciting election run-offs to come, I've been pondering the connection
between the candidacy run of Barack Obama and the role of the mass
media in this bid for the position of Leader of the Free World.
In particular, I've been thinking about the first season
of Fox-TV's hit show 24, which featured counter-terrorism
super-agent James Bond, oops I mean Jack Bauer, trying to save
America's first -and very promising-African-American Presidential
candidate from an assassination attempt.
24 has actually featured African-American
Presidents (or to-be Presidents, or ex-Presidents) in every one of its
six seasons, which I find significant as a pattern. The show gathers a
considerable audience of about 13 million viewers in its initial
Nielsen airing. But it also has a big aftermarket appeal in DVD rentals
and purchases. It has inspired novelizations, games, music album
soundtracks, t-shirts and all other manner of ancillary merchandise. It
has left all the entrails we would expect of a mass cultural hit that
resonated with a time enough to both reflect and carry notable impact
on American culture. Not only has it reflected post-911 fears of
terrorism and concern with National Security, it has also reflected
difficult and conflicting attitudes about gender, race and "the Other."
Writing in "Canon Fodder" in June of last year, Lucia
Bozzola made some similar linkages in a very insightful analysis
that I quote from here. Bozzola asserts that 24 "has made the
presence of an African American president not only normal, but also
desirable. Take, for instance, how the presence of the dearly departed
David Palmer, and in this season his brother Wayne is treated by the
show. Their race isn't a big hairy deal. It's certainly not the point
of the show. Contrast that to Hillary Clinton's canceled TV avatar
Commander in Chief. The presence of a female president was precisely
the point of the show, because oh my God, isn't that just so high
Reading between the lines a little, Bozzola is asserting
that, because a woman President was treated as the central point of
Commander in Chief, this highlighting emphasized the fact that the
American collective unconscious found this more of a rupture, a
disconnect, with the way things could be. In 24, the show
simply accepted having a powerful and strong President, who happened to
Then there is the matter of the characteristics of this
racially Other President. On 24, [the actor] "Dennis Haysbert's
David Palmer is smart, charismatic, informed, judicious. . . One of the
reasons a freshman senator from Illinois with only two years of D.C.
experience under his belt is even in the mix, let alone a major player,
is because Obama proved in his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic
National Convention that he has the presence to be 'presidential'"
So much has been said recently about Barack Obama's
"presidential" oratorical and rhetorical skills, and their significance
or insignificance versus the action or experience of Hillary Clinton,
that the significance of the issue seems moot. Presidents need to be
charismatic, especially in challenging times where big changes, big
risks, and collective sacrifices need to be made. I believe that many
Americans feel that this is such a time.
Part of my early research has concerned itself with the
way that mediated representations of future realities had a way of
slipping into reality, sort of like the sort of crystallizations that
scholar and thinker Rupert Sheldrake has written about as "morphic
fields." (See his 1995 book The Presence of the Past: Morphic
Resonance and the Habits of Nature. The theory of morphic fields
states that the initial time anything novel is done (such as to create
a new crystal, or to come up with a new invention, or to elect a
particular type of individual), an incredible amount of effort is
needed to generate a new "field" which will govern that behavior in the
physical world. However, once that boundary is broached, subsequent
similar acts become increasingly easy, simple matters.
These ideas of morphic or morphogenetic fields have been
taken up in paranormal metascientific discussions of the "Hundredth
Monkey" phenomenon. I find it interesting to consider how many
contemporary devices have been envisioned and named by writers (usually
SF writers) before they were created in physical reality: rockets,
space travel, submarines, robots, computers, communications satellites,
mobile phones, tablet PCs, big-screen TVs, and on and on.
These are, to borrow a lovely turn of phrase from SF
author Thomas Disch in the title of his 1998 book, The Dreams Our
Stuff is Made Of: How Science Fiction Conquered the World. In fact,
I think this is what Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek may have
been implicitly aiming for when he sought to show a group of diverse
individuals united in the future, a representation he continually
evangelized: African-Americans working side-by-side with Russians, a
Japanese man, even an alien, during the heart of the Cold War. The idea
may have been that this then-radical version of the future would have a
sense of normalcy and reality that would then carry it into being.
That, once represented on television, a new "field" would be opened
making its creation in lived reality more likely.
The second part of this two-part series will appear
in the Opening Note of next week's
C3 Weekly Update.
is a consulting researcher for the Convergence Culture
Consortium and Associate Professor of Marketing at York University's
Schulich School of Business in Toronto. His research areas include
branding, virtual communities, technology consumption, communal
markets, themed retail, entertainment marketing, new product
development, and postmodern consumer behavior. He writes regularly at Brandthroposophy
, his blog.
Glancing at the C3 Blog
Stories Across Multiple Media Platforms: An Interview with WWE's J.R.
(II of V). In the first part of his interview with Sam Ford, WWE's
Jim Ross talks about managing massive content from the archive and
connecting contemporary fans with the history of pro wrestling.
Stories Across Multiple Media Platforms: An Interview with WWE's J.R.
(I of V). Sam Ford provides the background for an interview with
World Wrestling Entertainment's lead commentator Jim Ross.
for Those Who Attended My Tampa Talk. C3 Director Henry Jenkins
writes about his recent talk at The Chronicle of Higher Education's
the Signal: Another Look at China's "Great Firewall." C3 Graduate
Student Researcher Xiaochang Li writes about the Beijing Olympics and
discussion over governmental intervention in terms of Internet access
"Awesome" to Self-Distribution. C3 Graduate Student Researcher Ana
Domb writes about the festival model
for "From Here to Awesome, a new project from Head Trauma's
Research Fair Tonight at MIT. The Consortium, and the entire
Program in Comparative Media Studies, presented the work of each of our
six research groups last Thursday. Find out more about C3's sister
research groups in this blog post.
UGC, and Advertising at the Oscars (2 of 2). In the second part of
this series, C3 Graduate Student Researcher Eleanor Baird looks at how
the "hype problem" could change surrounding Oscar ads.
UGC, and Advertising at the Oscars (1 of 2). In the first part of
this two-part series, C3 Graduate Student Researcher Eleanor Baird
compares advertising buzz surrounding the Oscars to advertising for the
from YouTube: An Interview with Alex Juhasz (Part Two). In the
conclusion of this interview, Henry shares Juhasz's comments and
YouTube videos to illustrate her points.
from YouTube: An Interview with Alex Juhasz (Part One). Henry
Jenkins provides a recent interview from his blog with Alex Juhasz, who
taught a course on YouTube at Pizer College last fall.
the Consortium: GDC, His Girl Friday, and the Advertising Lab.
Jason Mittell writes about His Girl Friday in the public sphere
and what that model could mean for old television content, while David
Edery shares notes about his GDC presentation and Ilya Vedrashko
provides a round-up of interesting advertising and community-building
Videocracy and Online Upfronts. C3 Graduate Student Research
Xiaochang Li writes about YouTube's recent Videocracy event and content
on the video sharing site.
Follow the Blog
Don't forget – you can always post, read, and
online conversations with the C3 team at our blog.
The Daily Show and The
Colbert Report as Cult TV (Part I of II)
News parody is hardly new. Lampooning politicians has
long been the job of political cartoonists. Publications such as The
Onion have been making a reputation for quality satire for decades
now, while parody news was a staple on NBC's cultural icon Saturday
Night Live since its first broadcast in 1975. Those with an
historical eye would point even farther back, to the central role the
court jester played in criticizing the decisions of monarchs in the
That The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and spinoff
The Colbert Report fit firmly within a rich history
of political commentary through comedy does not make the
accomplishments of these shows any less significant, however. Rather,
this tradition demonstrates the powerful cultural history these shows
have tapped into in becoming must-see television for a cross-section of
U.S. citizens and international viewers who have increasingly used the
on-screen parody of hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to express
their own frustration with politics and give voice to a cynicism many
scholars have been interested in over the past several years through
the circulation of clips online and both figures' permeation throughout
U.S. popular culture.
The Daily Show
The Daily Show debuted on Comedy Central on July
11,1996, originally hosted by Craig Kilborn. When Kilborn left the show
to become a late night host on The Late Late Show in 1998, Jon
Stewart was brought in, with his first episode airing in January 1999.
Stewart, who had developed a following through hosting MTV's talk show
The Jon Stewart Show, rapidly rose to greater prominence alongside the
show. In this decade, The Daily Show has risen to critical
acclaim with 10 Emmy awards and nine additional Emmy nominations. With
the proliferation in popularity of The Daily Show and its now
established place in popular culture, many current fans know little
about the origins of the show during Kilborn's tenure. In particular,
Stewart's involvement as a writer and co-executive producer has helped
create a stronger political focus for the show than was present in its
origins, and the show's political coverage of the 2000 election helped
increase its visibility.
Subsequently, The Daily Show has developed a
dual status as not only providing savvy political satire but also
including serious guests, which have included major political figures
such as Madeleine Albright, John Ashcroft, John Bolton, Jimmy Carter,
Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Bob Dole, John Edwards, Vincente Fox, Al
Gore, Alan Greenspan, John Kerry, Henry Kessinger, John McCain, Evo
Morales, Colin Powell, and Pervez Musharraf, among myriad others. The
show also regularly features entertainment stars, scholars, and
journalists. By October 2007, before the onset of the writers strike
that took the show off the air for several weeks, The Daily Show
about 1.6 million viewers per episode.
The Daily Show airs four nights per week, with a
season that lasts throughout the year but which allows for several
weeks of vacation for the cast and crew. In addition to Stewart, The
Daily Show typically draws from a team of four or five regular
comedians who act as "news correspondents."
The show typically includes a rundown of major news
stories for the day in the opening segment, followed by a second
segment that features a continuation of examining current news
headlines or a prepackaged correspondent's report. The final segment is
always an interview segment with the evening's guest, followed by a
final commercial break and a final short segment called, "Your Moment
of Zen," which typically features a video segment for which The
Daily Show is making some sort of ironic commentary. This may be
related to a segment from earlier in the show or a standalone video,
often lampooning coverage that has appeared on news broadcasts. The
only regular deviation from this structure is when the show features a
particularly notable guest, when two segments are given to the
interview portion of the show. After the launch of The Colbert
Report in 2005, the final segment often includes a witty exchange
between Stewart and Colbert, through the guise of offering a preview of
what is coming up on Colbert's show immediately following The Daily
The Colbert Report
With the rising cultural status and popularity of The
Daily Show, Comedy Central launched a spinoff series to air
immediately after the nightly show, in the 11:30 p.m. EST time slot. The
Colbert Report, starring longtime Daily Show personality Stephen
Colbert, debuted on October 17, 2005. Also airing four nights per week
most weeks in the year, the Report has developed almost as strong a
following, related to but distinct from its relationship with The
Daily Show. Colbert's history with The Daily Show predates
Stewart's as an on-air talent, and Colbert had served as a co-writer
for The Daily Show during his tenure there. The spinoff was
built around the extreme conservative stereotype Colbert had developed
for his on-air character, serving as a parody of personality-driven
news commentary shows rather than newscasts.
While Jon Stewart's on-air performance is portrayed as
Stewart "being himself," Colbert is always explicitly playing an on-air
character, one which he very rarely breaks, even if he often winks at
the camera (sometimes literally). Colbert received even more attention
after his 2006 appearance as the featured entertainer at the White
House Correspondents' Association Dinner, where he excoriated U.S.
President George W. Bush and U.S. journalists alike through his
satirical monologue. By October 2007, before the writers strike, The
Colbert Report was averaging 1.2 million viewers per episode, and
the shown earned a combined eight Emmy nominations in 2006 and 2007.
Colbert's show generally begins with a rundown of the
night's top stories before the show's opening titles, followed by a
segment featuring Colbert's opinion on the top news stories of the day,
concluding with "The Word," in which Colbert's spoken commentary is
supplemented by an ironic subtext that runs in writing on the other
side of the screen, often directly contradicting what Stephen says. The
second segment may focus on other current events or else introduce a
pre-packaged segment, an unadvertised interview, or one of Colbert's
recurring segments. These include "Wag of the Finger, Tip of the Hat,"
in which Colbert praises or criticizes those involved in recent news
events; "Better Know a District," in which Colbert interviews U.S.
Congressmen and rather famously creates humorous post-production edits
of political figures' comments; "Threatdown," in which Colbert lists
what he considers the major current threats to U.S. citizens; in
addition to less political segments like his animated series "Tek
Janson" and "The Sport Report." The final segment features an
interview, which Colbert also does "in character." Although Colbert
does not feature a regular cast of contributors, he does have
occasionally recurring characters show up who play a less prominent
role in his show than Stewart's correspondents. (For more on "Better
Know a District" in particular, see Geoffrey Baym's examination of the
segment in the October 2007 edition of Popular Communication,
entitled "Representation and the Politics of Play: Stephen Colbert's Better
Know a District.
Politics and Media Culture in the U.S.
Most scholarship on The Daily Show has looked at
the show's affects on democracy, citizenship, and journalism. For
instance, in his 2005 Political Communication essay entitled The
Daily Show: Discursive Integration and the Reinvention of Political
Journalism," Geoffrey Baym argues that "the show uses techniques drawn
from genres of news, comedy, and television talk to revive a journalism
of critical inquiry and advance a model of deliberative democracy."
Conversely, other scholars--along with many journalists--argue that
these parody shows only encourage further cynicism and apathy. (See,
for instance, Jody Baumgartner and Jonathan S. Morris' "The Daily
Show Effect," from American Politics Research in 2006.)
Other studies have looked particularly at a comparison between The
Daily Show and news broadcasts. (See, for instance, Aaron McKain's
"Not Necessarily Not the News: Gatekeeping, Remediation, and The
Daily Show, from the December 2005 Journal of American Culture,
as well as a July 2007 essay in The Journal of Broadcasting &
Electronic Media by Julia R. Fox, Gloria Koloen, and Volkan Sahin,
entitled "No Joke: A Comparison of Substance in The Daily Show with
Jon Stewart and Broadcast Coverage of the 2004 Presidential
Here, I aim particularly to offer some brief remarks on
the intense level of engagement these shows have with their fan
communities as a way to better understand The Daily Show and The
Colbert Report as "cult texts," but that meaning is nevertheless
particularly tied to its placement in the cultural and political
landscape in the U.S. and internationally.
Targeted to a younger audience with what most would
identify as a leftward slant on the political spectrum, these two shows
rely on at least some degree of implied common "agreement" with its
viewers, with the punch-line of many routines appealing to what it
supposes is a common sense of "common sense" amongst its viewers. Thus,
news content can often be shown with only minimal commentary, and new
meaning is created just from the appearance of these events on The
On the other hand, The Colbert Report can
present host Stephen Colbert's often ludicrous extremes of conservative
viewpoints because it relies on the core audience of the show knowing
that he is always in character. As Henry Jenkins said of The Daily
Show in Convergence Culture, the program "challenges
viewers to look for signs of fabrication, [ . . . ] In such spaces,
news is something to be discovered through active hashing through of
competing accounts rather than something to be digested from
authoritative sources" (227)
One could argue, then, that these shows have actively
encouraged a political media literacy that one could tie to the rise of
political parody videos through sites like YouTube. Certainly, among
the greatest contributions of The Colbert Report is the many
ways it has encouraged viewer campaigns online, encouraging fans to
submit user-generated videos using images of Colbert in a contest
called "The Green Screen Challenge;" driving fans to enter Colbert's
name in an initiative from the Hungarian government seeking public
advice for what to name a bridge over the Danube and subsequently
winning the contest; and encouraging viewers to participate in a
campaign to change the truth about elephant populations by editing the
Wikipedia entry to say that the African elephant population had tripled
in a six-month period.
These initiatives on The Colbert Report
demosnrate a type of activism that bears similarity to grassroots
political campaigns but operate through the elements and aesthetics
developed through online fandom. In fact, many of these initiatives
stem from Colbert's active attempts to foster a relationship with his
online fandom through what he calls "The Colbert Nation",
including a site dedicated to Colbert fans which Stephen refers to
regularly on his show. Stephen often parodies political activism in the
way he calls on "his nation," but the show's ability to foster and
maintain a vibrant online fandom has helped propel this show into being
consistently among Comedy Central's top programming, along with The
Daily Show. The immense popularity of these shows online also
explains why The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are
among the shows most heavily at the center of copyright debates
surrounding video sharing sites such as YouTube.
The conclusion to this piece will appear in next
week's Closing Note.
Sam Ford is Project Manager
of the MIT Convergence Culture Consortium and editor of the C3 Weekly
He has his Master's degree from the Program in Comparative Media
Studies here at MIT and writes regularly on fan culture, television,