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Henry Jenkin’s Views on Technologies

Textual poaching is explained by Jenkins as the phenomenon of rewriting of original text belonging to a certain author by supplementing the text with additional details and special features. One of the examples of such “reluctant” poaching is rewriting Star Trek by female fans that transform it into “feminist romance” (Jenkins, 1988, p. 103). Such type of rewriting is caused by the fact that the majority of fan writers consists of women (Jenkins, 1988).

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The female fans transform Star Trek in such way that it explores the themes that are interesting and important for women. Fanzines often reflect the feminine view of the popular science fiction and bring to the surface “the unwritten feminine counter text” (Jenkins, 1988, p. 103). I find this example important for illustrating the fact that rewriting of the original text is not necessarily an attempt to steal somebody else’s ideas and use them for one’s purposes. On the contrary, it can be a creative activity that reveals the hidden and unspoken aspects of popular works and help the fans to express their vision of certain issues. This example helps to understand that such reluctant poachers benefit the popularity of the initial work, as they popularize it rather than plagiarize it (Jenkins, 1988, p. 103).

According to Jenkins, the public image of pop culture fans has changed a lot as they can no longer be considered a small distinct part of the society. Jenkins claims that the development of technologies and internet has enabled every person to participate in the process of shaping the modern media world. People sharing their videos and thoughts about certain works on the Web comprise the largest part of modern fandom, even though they are not aware of this. Therefore, modern fan culture has a real economic and cultural impact, as fan tastes dominate the television and shape entertainment industry (Jenkins, 2007).

Fans can no longer be regarded as special people gathering together to talk about some work and wearing the costumes of their favorite heroes. Modern fandom is characterized by continuous participation in the process of influencing and shaping the media environment according to the needs of fans, and they cannot be called “poachers” anymore (Jenkins, 2007, p. 361). On the contrary, using the original works is regarded as consumer participation in promoting the brands and works (Jenkins, 2007).

Jenkins criticizes the “effects” model and claims that it supposes the absence of conscious cognitive activity of gamers (Jenkins, 2006). The author emphasizes that such model can only work if the players are not capable of rational thought (Jenkins, 2006). I do not agree with the author’s position as I believe that video games including the demonstration of violence and brutality affect the subconsciousness of the people playing them. Even the person that is capable of critical thinking and considers killing and hurting people immoral gets accustomed to continuous participation in violence in the virtual world of video games.

Any beliefs and influences of educational and cultural background can be overshadowed by constant exposure to the demonstration of certain actions and presenting them as a part of normal life. I think, playing video games that include an extensive amount of outrages and killings do harm the person’s psyche and have a huge potential in shaping his/her opinions and behaviors. I agree with the claim that games can be powerful teaching tools if the learning is understood in more active, “meaning-driven” way (Jenkins, 2006, p. 215). However, in my opinion, the “meanings” model does not prove that playing video games without active striving for achieving certain goals does not affect the person. The games can be powerful teaching tools, but the neglectful attitude to the games that do not have certain educational purposes but encourage the players to participate in virtual violence is very dangerous.

References

Jenkins, Henry. (1988). Star Trek rerun, reread, rewritten: Fan writing as textual poaching. Critical Studies in Mass Communication, 5(2), 85-107. Web.

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Jenkins, Henry. (2006). Fans, Bloggers, and Gamers: Exploring Participatory Culture. New York: New York University Press. Web.

Jenkins, Henry. (2007). Afterword: The Future of Fandom. Web.

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