Yesterday (June 4) was my birthday. I'm not telling how old I am. But I figured the world would excuse me under the circumstances if a)I didn't write a lot for today's post (which was actually put together last night) and b)I was a tad self-centered. So today seems like the best time to share a few things that have come in my mail over the past week. The first are some doctored (as in "improved") images of me that are making the rounds of the internet. Several people had called to my attention a shift from the phenomenon of LOL cat pictures to LOL theorist pictures. There's even a site where people regularly post pictures of theorists, such as Foucault, Brecht, Jung, even Dewey (of the decimal fame) with pithy comments. And to my astonishment, yours truly has become a favorite target in this new academic pass-time. My students have long considered my face an icon upon which they can test their emerging mash-up and remixing skills so I am delighted to see these practices extended into the culture at large. Anything which will further the cause of participatory culture.
So here are two examples of the theory in action.
Most of the rest of the objects of these tributes are not around to respond, let alone post them to their blog so I should say thank you on behalf of Barthes, McLuhan, and Eisenstein, who I have channeled in my lectures often enough to know would have enjoyed these tributes every bit as much as I do. Thanks to Nancy Baym and Selki for sharing these links with me.
On other fronts, I wanted to pass along a link to the podcast of the slash panel from Phoenix Rising, "Shipping the Velvet: Slash Fandom, Convergence, and Why You Should Care About Harry Potter Mpreg," which Spellcast is making available to the world. Participants in this session included Aja, Erica George, Henry Jenkins, Mathilde Madden and Catherine Tonsenberger. I will confess to being a tad intimidated about participating in the session since I had not read very much Harry Potter slash and most of my work on the genre was done more than a decade ago. But Erica and Aja organized a really fun session and I learned so much from the other participants. Don't let the title of the session throw you -- there's not that much about "Mpreg" (a genre of fan fiction depicting men getting pregnant and having babies together for those of you who are uninitiated) though I do stir up a little controversy by suggesting that Mary Shelly's Frankenstein might be considered as an early contribution to the genre. There's even less explicitly about convergence, so the title may be a tad misleading. :-) But a good time was had by all. By the way, this panel got specific, though less than fully supportive, mention in Salon's recent article about the con.
Finally, let me at last acknowledge that reader Angela Thomas wrote me a while back to say that she has given me a Thinking Blogger Award. Thanks for the recognition, Angela, and all I can say is that the end of the term left me less thoughtful than usual so it has taken me a while to get around to acknowledging the recognition here. I promise to pass along the honors to someone else soon.
So, for now, Happy (Belated) Henry Day!