Gender and Fan Culture (Round Nineteen, Part One): Lori Hitchcock Morimoto and David Surman

Introduction LHM: I'm Lori Hitchcock Morimoto, and my academically sanctioned biography states that I'm a PhD candidate at Indiana University, working on a dissertation that examines Japanese female fans of Hong Kong cinema in the 1980s and 1990s. Normally, I would not include the information that I just now plopped my daughter in front of an episode of Dora the Explorer in order to buy some time to write, but that information - as well as the fact that I'm presently seven months pregnant - turns out to be relevant to the ways in which I'm thinking about female fandom in my dissertation, as well as the ways I'm thinking about academia in my own life. In essence, I'm interested in unruly fans (and unruly academics).

My own fan experiences, like those of the women about whom I'm writing, are very much a product of personal transnationalism. I spent my formative years living in Hong Kong; there, I was a fan of Hollywood blockbusters and took every opportunity to fill Chinese embroidered scrapbooks with movie stills culled from the Japanese movie magazines Screen and Roadshow. Later, I paradoxically 'discovered' the unique pleasures of Hong Kong cinema in Japan, and, as a fan, I've invested my fair share of hard-earned cash in star and movie memorabilia, quaked with excitement upon realizing that the Hong Kong restaurant I happened to visit was the backdrop of a favorite scene in Peter Chan's He's a Woman, She's a Man, and shaken Leslie Cheung's hand at a concert in Osaka. This is all by way of saying that fandom, for me, has been - first and foremost - a very personal and highly affective experience. As with many of the female fans I've talked with over the years, it stems from passion - for a narrative, for a genre, for a star. The fans with whom I identify are messy - to borrow from Martti Lahti and Melanie Nash, we're "those girls": the ones who exceed predetermined parameters of fan/star interaction, who allow our lives and our fandom to commingle to an unseemly degree.

DS: My name is David Surman, and I am founding Senior Lecturer in Computer Games Design at the University of Wales, Newport. Fandom brought me to university, where I studied animation, with a view to working in the games industry. I was chaperoned through childhood by a Sega Mega Drive, and as a teenager I was consumed by an expanded passion for Japanese animation, games and popular culture; I guess I would qualify as one of the first wave of UK game otaku. I was caught up in the cloud of excitement around anime and manga generated by Jonathan Clements and Helen MacCarthy in magazines like Manga Max and Manga Mania, at a time when British and American animation was a dust bowl. Even though retailers sold the limited number of titles available at mercenary prices, over the years I acquired numerous videos with my meager allowance. I came to them knowing something of the controversy but nothing of the pedigree in anime.

My own media mixing put Kaneda and Tetsuo headlong along the same highway as the Gunstar Heroes and Joe Musashi on horseback. Videogames, manga and anime became the counterpoint to boredom at school, and university provided me with an opportunity to deepen those interests in an almost-legitimate way. No sooner had I got there, my interests began to broaden, through a patchwork exposure to film studies and classic film and animation. I found a passion for European experimental and North American limited animation, and these in turn deepened my appreciation of anime. My masters and PhD work followed the path set during the degree; I have sought to bring film studies methods to bear on transnational videogame and animation cultures. I guess, in this process, I have been examining my own fandom. I don't think that my experience is in many ways idiosyncratic; it always amazes me how many of my students share biographical details, motivations, dreams and desires, having spent their childhood committed to the same mediums as me.

In several recent essays I have vainly vindicated my own abstruse feelings about games fandom. My film studies prejudices come to the fore in the essays on Fable in the Animated Worlds anthology, and on StreetFighter in Videogame/Player/Text. Until relatively recently game studies have tended to focus on matching the sociology of play to the dynamics of gameplay. Along with a few other guilty parties, some of whom have contributed to this gender and fandom series, I am interested in the relationship between game aesthetics and fandom, though I suspect aesthetics is sometimes too weighty a term. Game art, images, advertisements and merchandise fascinate me, in particular when they betray particular cultural and generic assumptions about gender and games.

The 'Messiness' of Transnational Fan Culture

Whenever I think, "what am I doing?," I remind myself of what I consider one of the great fan studies texts, Barthes' The Language of Fashion. His summary exclamation, 'The most seemingly utilitarian of objects - food, clothes, shelter - and especially those based on language such as literature (whether good or bad literature), press stories, advertising etc., invite semiological analysis.'

I have tended to work with an emphasis on close analysis within the systems of games representation. Like Barthes I guess, the sum of my interests in games, animation and fandom pass through another lens, sexuality, which shapes my thinking, and my consumption of images and play experiences. I think I qualify as one of your messy fans, Lori. In my recent work I have become interested in female transnational/transmedia character archetypes (phew!), as loci for fan investment, authorial refinement, and cultural commentary.

LHM: Actually, I'm intrigued by your parenthetical "phew!" there at the end of your self-introduction, since it really is a mouthful but, at the same time, something that's part and parcel of contemporary globalized (or transnational or transcultural), gendered fandom. Since we've both written on media fandoms in a transnational context, I think this is something we might be able to talk to in addition to issues of gender. In my own work, I've found that the sheer amount of exposition necessary to bring a more general audience up to speed in terms of the specific culture(s) I'm talking about often acts as a barrier to discussing those cultures in terms of broader issues of fandom. In an English-speaking Western conference setting, for example, comparatively little background information is needed for speakers and audience members alike to engage in fairly high-level theoretical discussions of, say, Doctor Who or Lord of the Rings fandom. But in the case of characters like Kaneda and Tetsuo (who I was pleased - and mortified, but only because it dates me - to recognize), theoretical discussion often seems to take a back seat to exposition. My feeling is that, as a result, such discussion tends to get ghettoized or relegated to 'specialties' within academic discourse on fan cultures.

DS: Specialties indeed; your description of the challenge facing new territories of media research chimes exactly with my experience over the past 5 years or so, as games in particular have entered the mainstream as a object worthy of intense scrutiny. The stellar growth of the games and animation research fields has not been matched by moderate methodology, and there is still a substantial problem regarding the sensitivity with which scholars and critics figure transnational relations, and even the principle of national identity, in their research questions.

For me, one of the crucial issues in fan critique is the discrepancy between the needs of industry, journalistic, academic and general fan opinion, in relation to the expression their views on subjects, for instance national identity, and oriental/occidental constructions. I recently commented on this issue on the DiGRA (Digital Games Research Association) listserv. Distinctions between East and West require sensitive disentangling in academic thought, and such demands aren't generally expected of those in other domains.

I think it is absolutely crucial in this sort of comparative discussion that the category of the 'West' is not positioned as a coherent singularity, where narrative/generic/ideological operations can be thought relative to opposing and equally pejorative notions of 'Japan', which is somehow taken out of its Asia-Pacific context. The conceit of 'Japan' juxtaposed against a singular 'West' depends on outmoded assumptions about the dynamic topography of transnational media relations. It seems essential to figure into aca-fan thinking the internal complexities within Western media culture, and to further measure those against a similarly nuanced discussion of Asia-Pacific media culture, within which Japan is placed. The uncomplicated singular construction of 'Japan' as a media producer recurs time and again in animation and game scholarship, and it's not useful, especially when justified in relation to an equally mythic West. Woeful industry, journo and fan conceptualizations of East and West should be left for them to ruminate. A discussion of transnational media relations needs to proceed from a more nuanced set of assumptions, am I right? You wouldn't get away with it in any other field...

LHM: It's the challenge of articulating heretofore discrete fields of inquiry - area studies, in particular - with disciplines that have only just begun to confront your "dynamic topography of transnational media relations." These days, it's become more difficult to talk about fandoms within the American television mediascape without at least a passing knowledge of shows such as Torchwood or Naruto (or even Are You Being Served? - and I'd love to see a paper that really delved into the apparently bottomless popularity of that dinosaur in the U.S.!), yet because of those persisting notions of national coherence that you describe above, we seem to have a hard time breaking out of a framework that emphasizes cross-cultural exchange at the broadest national (or regional) level. At the risk of appearing sycophantic, given the forum for this conversation, I would mention that recent work by Matt Hills and Henry Jenkins emphasizing "semiotic solidarity" and "pop cosmopolitanism," respectively, offers a means of making sense of transnational fan networks that takes us outside traditional notions of the individual and the nation.

Of course, once gender enters the conversation, we're confronted with an even more complex nexus of identity construction. These days, we're relatively comfortable talking about 'otaku' in the context of transnational fan cultures centering on anime, but it's generally a foregone conclusion that, in the Japanese case, 'otaku' are men and, thus, comfortably "Japanese." When the discursive construct "Japanese woman" is introduced to the conversation - along with centuries' worth of baggage about her ostensible subservience and cultural/political disenfranchisement - discussion about what role Japanese female fans might play in furthering our understanding of how fan cultures work across national borders gets shelved in favor of trying to understand the women themselves. Scholars such as Brian Larkin have written exceptional work introducing non-Western media fans to discussions of how transnational media are consumed across borders, but these fans are almost exclusively male; the conversation about non-Western women and media consumption seems to be stalled in debates about resistance and subversion - debates that the mainstream of fandom studies has called into question. And given the contested value of any kind of "cosmopolitanism" in fostering mutual empathy among media consumers within a framework that privileges resistance and, in particular, cultural authenticity, it becomes all the more difficult to break out of old models of national identity in attempting to make sense of globalized patterns of media consumption on the part of non-Western female fans.

Performing the National

DS: I remember reading Volker Grassmuck's early work on otaku culture, and being amazed when his first interviewee was a female game otaku. I think problems associated with women's fandom emerge from a complex historical construction of women's work, play, recreation and entertainment. Early games culture was profoundly male dominated, with only a few women of exceptional resilience able to stand the grunts and smells of the old arcades! I guess a comparative analysis of women's recreation between different cultural spaces would no doubt shed new light on how we conceive the operations of fandom. Like Lawrence Grossberg suggested, I think we need to bring it these sorts of issues closer to home if we are to see rich new avenues opening up. William Gibson has drawn some interesting parallels between British and Japanese culture, mutually juxtaposed against American culture, he writes that '...the connoisseur, more concerned with the accumulation of data than of objects, seems a natural crossover figure in today's interface of British and Japanese cultures.' Gibson has certainly contributed to the conceited picture of 'Japan' through his science fiction novels, but his statements in the Guardian are useful for illustrating the point that comparative analysis is best researched in discussions taking place closer to home than antiquated notions of East and West.

Making the effort to proceed from complicated beginnings might mean that, in the long run, we say much more sustainable and durable things about the subject in question, in this case gender and fandom. Work like Andrew Higson's early essay 'The Concept of National Cinema' in Screen from 1989 give a really sound explanation of why we can't permit brutish and uncomplicated discourse on the scale of transnational relations. A few lines are pretty useful:

'To claim a national cinema is first of all to specify a coherence and a unity; it is to proclaim a unique identity and a stable set of meanings. The process of identification is thus invariably a hegemonising, mythologising process, involved both in the production and assignation of a particular set of meanings, and an attempt to prevent the potential proliferation of other meanings.'

My question would be, to what extend does English-speaking fan film/animation/game criticism need a represented Japanese mode of production to perform a particular set of codes (and by extension narrative and ideological functions), against which it can define itself within a particular set of its own traditions? In increasingly globalised and mutually intelligible film/animation/games production cultures, where different production traditions rub shoulders in elective spaces such as the Tokyo Game Show or cable television channels, are such national/occidental/oriental discourses evoked out of 'fear of cultural contamination', as Iwabuchi would suggest?

Does the need for a coherent Western fan tradition (see responses to Dr Who, LOTR) arise from the new transparency of transnational games culture? Is that need for coherence the driver rather than the cause? In this case, do differing national fan subjectivities exist as a textuality of sorts in themselves, which compete within commodified fan culture as a form of generic reconciliation (the fight for shelf space in retail comic book stores for instance).

LHM: This last question is very intriguing, and it gets me thinking about the ways in which fans perform both their own, as well as target, national identities within the context of, for lack of a better term, non-native fandoms. For example, one female writer of Torchwood and Doctor Who fanfiction who I know from my own X-Files fanfiction writing days assumes what might be described as a stereotypically British personae when talking about these particular shows on LiveJournal: exclamations of "La!" and observations that "I'm so knackered" seem to express a kind of delight in - rather than fear of - cultural difference. The beauty of one of her exclamations - "He's lovely!" - is especially nice insofar as it refers to a Japanese anime character; this isn't the rigid Anglophilia of the PBS crowd but, rather, a messy and decidedly incoherent revelery in transnational fandom.

Equally, this kind of playfulness is at work in the Japanese female fandom of Hong Kong cinema, again manifesting itself in language. In this case, similarities between written Japanese and Chinese, which have typically been used to demonstrate discrete cultural affinities (often in the aid of arguments for the cultural "Asianization" of East Asia), become a site of excessive intra-fandom communication. For example, stars are referred to not only by their Anglicized stage names (ie: Jacky Cheung), but also by their Chinese given names (Cheung Hok-yau) and - most notably - Japanized versions of their Chinese names (Cho Gakuyu), which, in spoken Japanese, are intelligible only to other Japanese fans of Chinese stars. Japanese fans of East Asian popular culture have been used to illustrate Japan's rediscovered Asian belonging on the part of political and cultural elites, but such arguments are grounded in the maintenance of coherent borders between Japan and its East Asian neighbors. In contrast, this kind of play exceeds conventional understandings of linguistic and cultural coherence, and it emerges not from a perceived need to communicate across borders, but from the sheer pleasure and intimacy it fosters between both fellow fans and those fans and the stars they admire.

Given that this kind of transcultural play is especially evident in recent role-playing fanfiction (eg: Milliways bar on LiveJournal -, I wonder if this sort of thing is at work in transnational gaming culture, as well?

Gender and Fan Culture (Round Eighteen, Part Two): Julie Levin Russo and Hector Postigo

Technology and Control HP: One of the things we talked about during our meeting in Providence was how new media technologies, especially the internet, can potentiate changing conditions and relations vis a vis consumers and producers? I've sort of touched on this a bit above with my comments about how the web allows for mass broadcast of previously isolated products. So I think user production and fan contributions and their value (i.e their exploitability) are a function of the medium. Fan fiction for example, has been around for some time and their communities have been able to coalesce and remain together over time thanks to zines and fan cons and other social/communication enterprises. I think that the web adds an element of mass broadcast to fan production such that we are talking about fan products as content; as part of the commoditized information flowing out of the pipe. So I don't think we can any longer ignore the political economy of fandom. One of the interesting points that comes of all this is the question of control. If all this production is entering into some sort of relation with capital how is it controlled? The relations we discussed above are social relations but they happen through a technology so we could ask ourselves to what extent does the technology of the internet shape/is shaped by the productive relationships?

JLR: I'm so glad you asked! Control is a fruitful concept for articulating the economy with technology because, as the story of late capitalism goes, a new configuration of control is now coming to the fore: one which is just as horizontal, localized, and networked as the field of production on which it operates. Rather than enforcing prohibitions, it organizes possibilities and enables free movement within them -- often mobilizing technology to do so. In Protocol, Alex Galloway suggests that today we commonly experience hybrid grids of control, and offers the anatomy of the internet an as example: it combines the top-down architecture of DNS with the distributed architecture of TCP/IP. I often notice an analogous strategy at work in proprietary fan-driven content initiatives, where the confining threat of legal muscle is overlaid on a structured platform for creative license, striking a compromise that (when it's successful) is tolerable to both sides. What's clear is that, at this point, if we're looking out for hierarchical, centralized diagrams of power, we're going to sail right over the terrain of struggle. Web 2.0 is seductive in its user-centric mentality, but in exchange for the convenience and scale of social media we accept (literally, by ticking the box on the TOS) its given parameters, both technological and economic. Recently fandom is beginning to wise up to this dynamic and work towards building an infrastructure that is user designed, owned, and operated.

HP: I like the idea of alternative infrastructures that resist the commercial iterations of things like Web 2.0 driven social enterprises. I wonder to what degree power in this system of sociability/production/distribution is dependent on technological know-how. Will only those that can design infrastructure be able to challenge protocol with a counter-protocol? I would take a lesson from Langdon Winner and say that not all of us have to be technologist but it's in all our best interests to be concerned with the technological structures that consistently arise around us. We walk around in a state of what he calls "technological somnambulism" where before we know it we are moving through systems (social and technological) that were not democratically designed nor designed with the interest of democracy in mind. To what degree is this happening in participatory what degree has protocol taken shape around us without our input and without consideration to the values that users/fans/etc hold dear?

To get to the question of gender and technology it seems that these are not only pressing questions for participatory culture but also questions about how technologies embody gendered/sexist assumptions of what it means to produce in the digital world. Pointing to the troubling trend, when a technologies or professions become populated by women the economic rewards for the work decrease...the idea may be related to class too as for example when we say that a technology "is so easy to use anybody can do it" what we mean is that it's lost its elite status because not only college educated white men can use it but also everyone else of any class, educational background, and gender. In the logic of supply and demand of course this would dictate that the supply is increased and thus the value is decreased but I don't think this maps out in the area of cultural productions where conversations, reconstructions, and networks create these cases the fact that anybody can do actually adds value but the elitist rhetoric holds it back when viewed from a market perspective.

JLR: Interestingly, this gendered revaluation can also move in the opposite direction: some occupations, such as film editing and computer programming, were initially understood as repetitive, detail-oriented labor that was thus feminized and performed primarily by women, and then later masculinized into elite technical skills. And while one sentence isn't much of a corrective to the white- and US-centric slant of this project, I'd like to note that there's a global dimension of inequality here too, as devalued forms of work are often relegated to the world's as well as the nation's "second-class" citizens.

One cause for optimism in the localized case of media fandom is that it's always been full of geeks -- women with highly-developed expertise in digital technologies -- and thus surfed the first wave of innovation throughout its decades-long history (thanks to Francesca Coppa for reminding us of this). Moreover, fandom is collaborative, so it's not necessary for us to be cultivating a counter-protocol on an individual basis when we collectively have a resevoir of competences to share. In any case, these are all good examples of the myriad ways technology intersects and intertwines with power, gesturing toward the merits of exploring, within our academic work, the particularities of its role in fan practice and fan/industry relations.

Ownership and Desire

HP: From the small clip I saw of your work it looks like you are looking at the content produced by fans and how readings of a text (TV show) inform fan production and how that production does or does not mesh with what we assume are the goals of the industry. In my experience with video games, I have not played close attention to content just its volume (i.e. how much of it there actual is). I would posit that the substance of the content (what it is actually is about) is in the aggregate less of a concern to media companies than the whole productive field. Which is to say that so long as the whole of the content has substance that can help meet the demands of selling that product then the media companies do (or should) live with the content that in substance is not "mainstream" that from a bottom line perspective this content does one of two things for the content owners. #1 Nothing or #2 something profitable. #2 is interesting to me because it says that in some way all content is profitable and this is why. Of all the content that is produced by fans some will be quite good, some may even bring some attention to the original work which then helps the media companies, some will be bad (poor quality which does nothing for the company) some will have readings that the company may object to. If the whole field of fan production is seen as a testing ground, a free market-research domain, then companies can't really loose. If they notice that everyone seems to like a particular reading then that is an intimation that perhaps that reading ought to be explored, packaged, resold. I think this claim runs into trouble when there are critical messages in fan created content such that they critique the media company where it would be believed that the content will actually be bad for the bottom line. This is all well and good for content owners but what about the fans. It seems problematic especially if the critical force of some content rests in part on marginal status.

JLR: In terms of content, I think there are some legitimate concerns among fans about the suppression of work that falls at the more extreme end of the continuum of "non-mainstream" readings. In these exceptional cases, there can be a #3: something perceived as detrimental to the value of the property or service. One recent and very visible example is LiveJournal's mass suspension of journals and communities accused of hosting "pornographic" works about underage Harry Potter characters, supposedly in violation of LJ's TOS. I'd argue that this is an instance where the substance of fan creations threatened the ideological underpinnings of the dominant system, albeit an oblique threat filtered through a series of legal and institutional mediations. The specter of such a crackdown hovers over the rich cosmos of derivative smut, the majority of which is currently situated within commercial social media platforms with official bans on "inappropriate content" (which they can interpret and enforce at will).

I wouldn't claim, though, that fan activities resist commodification simply by virtue of being slashy or critical -- the commercial media are becoming ever-more adept at self-reflexively absorbing such orientations. For the most part I agree with you that the salient conditions are structural and largely independent of the content of fanworks. I hope it doesn't sound like I'm saying that femslash challenges capitalism because it's about lesbians! However, I do think we can view queer fan production as form and not just as content. The widespread notion of "subtext" implies an open, plural, and dehierarchized model of textuality wherein diffuse and collective creative labor isn't easily contained by top-down intention and authority. I realize I'm risking a dubious move here, collapsing embodied queer sexuality into metaphorically queer textuality, but I'm committed to making this metaphor work convincingly in my project. Given the centrality of the mechanics of desire to the economic system, I don't think it's a coincidence that the representation of desire becomes particularly unruly. Considering that the value of media properties inheres in the libidinal labor of their consumers, corporate "ownership" is held in place primarily by the external fiat of intellectual property law. I think this is a foundational contradiction that fandom can productively stress.

HP: I find this last paragraph very interesting. It sounds like you are drawing a parallel between the drive to inspire a desire for a given commodity and the "unruly" representations of desire in fan production. ("Given the centrality of the mechanics of desire to the economic system, I don't think it's a coincidence that the representation of desire becomes particularly unruly"). Equally interesting is the claim that desiring the commodity gives it value (actually the interesting part is the consequences you imply). That this desire (wanting) is labor in itself that justifies a claim of ownership by fan communities (You statement that IP is a fiat that holds owners claims in place leads me to this interpretation...correct me if I'm wrong). I like both of these because they really de-center the rhetoric of IP that has governed western rationale for property ownership: the "mixing of labor" argument put forth by Locke. In your interpretation it is the mixing of desire (ironically constructed by capital to drive consumption) with the raw material of popular culture industry products that legitimizes ownership. You don't outright say this but I think you imply it. Also the first sentence I quoted above suggests that consumption driven by desire leads in some instances to re-writings inspired by desire. The link between the two can further be stretched to articulate with Jenkins' recent arguments for a moral economy of fan production and ownership...if we count desire as a valid "mixing of labor" argument (where labor is now desire) then the moral hold on property (which is in part the foundation of IP at least in political philosophical terms) is shaken. NEATO!

To further think about how your thoughts might de-center other lines of rationalizing about how IP gets legitimized through moral/philosophy rhetoric we might consider the notion that creative works are part of the self. Thus in the European tradition authors' rights tend to be stronger in terms of the control authors have over their IP because in a sense it is extension of the self. It would seem that desire as a vehicle for extending the self into the production of fan re-writings, for example, would create competing claims about self. In other words, authors' claims of moral ownership over a particular piece of IP rooted in arguments of the self conflicts with fans' claims of ownership over a re-writing based on the same arguments. In this sense it would seem that the claims of self from fans would be secondary to the claims of self by original authors. However, the scholarship of legal scholars like James Boyle suggests that in a cultural commons the original author is a myth. This has interesting consequences for any totalizing claims over IP.

JLR: First of all, thank you for this elaboration of my ideas! I'm still in the early stages of trying to articulate this thesis, and it's exciting that you can amplify it in ways that make sense. I'm pretty rusty on Locke and much subsequent political and legal theory, but I think you've captured the contradictions I'm getting at here. I love that you come around to the relation between creativity and selfhood -- of course the IP regime depends on a unified and bounded model of subjectivity wherein "original" artistic production emanates ex nihilo from individual interiority (which, as you mentioned in pt. 1, tends to be inflected as male/white/bourgeois). Working psychoanalytically, I'd go beyond competing selves to argue that any of the selves involved is internally conflicting, fragmented, and intertextual, further compromising the claim of "ownership" over expression.

Nonetheless, intellectual property law is held in place by institutional power (the tangible threat of debilitating lawsuits [Fair Use doctrine has been called "the right to be sued"] and the intensifying alliance between legislative and corporate sectors in extensions of copyright), often very successfully despite this conceptual incoherence (which grows ever more insistent as consumption and production blur together). What I find valuable about analyses of concentrated "moral economies," though, is that they can highlight the equally central role of discourse in this process. Copyright, which undergirds the economics of who can make money from what kinds of artistic labor, can't operate only by force -- its legitimacy requires an ongoing ideological negotiation (this should sound Gramscian). This is one example of how work -- both academic work and fan work -- that engages at the level of discourse is crucial. I hope that this series of "debates" can, at best, be an intervention on that very real terrain.

HP: I agree with your last paragraph. It seems that the discourse has been dominated by rhetoric that dominates IP law and policy. Such things as copyright as incentive, the balance between the public and the authors and the construction of users as pirates all tend to skew how we percieve the limits of use. The problem of course is that these are powerful tropes in US society and so alternative discourse is needed to challenge them. Well I think that wraps it up for me. Thanks go out to Henry for giving us the forum and thank you for engaging in these topics with me. Hopefully we can meet for tea again!

JLR: The communities that we work on and within, modders/hackers and fan producers, have certainly been dynamic channels for alternative economies, discursive and otherwise. So my optimism hasn't been disciplined out of me yet! I'd like to thank you, Henry, and the rest of the participants for this opportunity to ruminate and hold forth on some of the issues I'm passionate about. It's been a pleasure conversing with you, and very fruitful for my own process. Look me up when you're next in town!