First Results: Fandom History & Interaction Survey

Yesterday on kind of a whim after a discussion about fandom and our own experiences within it, a couple of friends and I ended up throwing together a survey to ask other people about how they’ve been involved with fandom and fandom discourse/wank/drama. Initially I didn’t think there would be very many responses, but the fact that there has been (a little over 325 in under 24 hours!) suggests to me that people are interested in sharing their fandom experiences, and the response that I’ve gotten to the survey on Twitter tells me that other people are interested in the results.

I do want to offer a disclaimer before showing any of the results: everything is anonymous, and while I could have asked Google to make people sign in to complete the survey and ensure that they only did it once, I decided against it in fairness to people who don’t want their results associated with the Google account, people who don’t have Google accounts, and in the event that Google would show me people’s emails. I don’t want that information. The demographic info I asked for was to see trends in who was responding, not identification purposes. Additionally, the data that we decided to collect isn’t for an intricate study on human behavior–I came up with in an afternoon (literally yesterday), and so the questions haven’t been run through IRB approval. If I were doing things totally right, they would have had to have been. That said, the survey is voluntary. I’ve been really pleasantly surprised by the amount of people who’ve responded, and the depth in the open-ended question responses tells me that fans care about this sort of thing.

The questions were as unbiased as we could make them–there are a few instances where I left off “non-applicable” instructions, and while one person has said it’s biased not to include it, the reason is honestly because by that point I figured most people would know to put it if it didn’t apply to them (and most people did). Because I have no way of knowing who answered what, I have asked questions about sending and receiving hate messages. The point of the survey is not to judge people who have sent them, but to understand why they were sent in the first place, and to talk about trends in discourse. It was my first attempt at making a survey of this kind of scale, and now going through and looking at the first round of data collection.

If you’re interested in taking the survey, you can do so here.

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Shakespeare Calls at 4AM After Getting Too Drunk to Drive Home From the Bar

I started to think about Shakespeare’s sonnets in the context of the moment in Frank O’Hara’s essay, “Personism: A Manifesto” when he says that he could have just as well called someone over the phone rather than writing the poem that he did.

To be fair, I was in the shower, and we always have these kinds of mental exercises when we take showers (there are blogs about that), but think about it. What would Shakespeare be like if he had access to the telephone? Even if the Fair Youth, Dark Lady, or Rival Poet are all for our intents and purposes characters within the poems and Shakespeare himself is not the speaker–we approach everything assuming that the poet is not the speaker here, even if, like O’Hara, they really want us to think they are–it can be fun to imagine the sonnets as telephone calls that Shakespeare might have made.

 

‘I Wish You Were the Last Person I Went to the Sharon Cinema With’

…And not the jerk who I actually went with to see “Fury Road.”

In June, there is a book convention in New York City. I have been before and while NYC didn’t agree with me then, I am a different person now than I was two years ago, and also, I like the idea of free books, so I will probably go.

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How Do You Make Death Appealing? [Review: ‘The Anatomical Venus’]

Here is a fun fact: I used to work at haunted houses. This stems not necessarily from my desire to scare other people (though that is fun), but because, like all proto-goths and many Neoromantics, I have a fondness for the macabre. There’s something breathtaking in death (literally, ha ha ha), and there’s been a long human tradition extending even beyond the black and white film female victims in Hammer Horror films to trying to find something beautiful about death. When I first saw “The Anatomical Venus” on the shelves in my store, I got really excited because it combined two things that I enjoy–that is, wax models of dead people with exposed organs and books talking about the history of science–and I asked for it for my birthday. Lo and behold, here it is, featuring one of the pretty, flayed Venuses on its cover.

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Better for Younger Horror Fans: ‘Slasher Girls & Monster Boys’

It’s probably no secret to anyone who’s been reading this blog for a while (or who knows me in real life) that I enjoy horror, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that, though it’s a YA book, I picked up “Slasher Girls & Monster Boys” (ed. April Genevieve Tucholke).

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