Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Wrap-Up Book Discussion

Posted by nathanpowers22 on April 26, 2017

In the conclusion of Spreadable Media, the authors note, “However useful [the dandelion] analogy may be, it is a metaphor, not a system by which we propose to make sense of spreadable media.” Nevertheless, I feel like this analogy, which has been right in front of our faces every time we’ve read essays on spreadablemedia.org, could be interpreted in multiple ways that demonstrate different ideas discussed throughout this semester. Of course, the analogy as posited by Cory Doctorow is that fans and the Internet are like a breeze that carries dandelion seeds “to every corner of the globe, seeking out every fertile home that they may have,” effectively distributing copies of an author’s “works.” Continuing this analogy, the abundance of dandelion seeds mirrors the high-volume output of media companies and independent creators alike to curtail inherent uncertainties of the entertainment industry (i.e. not all seeds land in a suitable region and germinate). In fact, the seeds might actually represent independent creators better than media conglomerates because, in comparison, their cost of production is so cheap and their distribution is so stochastic. Something like rose seeds might better embody the latter group, since such seeds are much more expensive and often planted in a highly specific, conventional arrangement. Fans might also be seen as the soil that helps dandelion seeds grow and proliferate by acting as “multipliers,” rather than “consumers;” otherwise, the seeds would have no impact wherever they land. Additionally, in the same ways that environment shapes the genetic profile of dandelions between generations, political, economic, and cultural attitudes define how transnational media gets incorporated and transformed over time (even within a single generation). Finally, the seeds could even symbolize fans themselves. That is, fans radiate outward from some central media text(s) that unite them, and their breaking away illustrates a sort of proselytization, whether it be through word-of-mouth, blogging, social media posting, memes, etc.


One Response to “Wrap-Up Book Discussion”

  1. katemilner9 said

    In a way, it’s almost fair to say that as we leave this class, we’re becoming seeds too, as consumers of media. We leave this class now with new knowledge on how to handle the media we see everyday, everywhere, and we’re able to spread this awareness to others.

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