The 2017 NFL draft is in town. Thousands of football fans and draft pick hopefuls from around the country have taken over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We’ll talk about Round 1 winners and losers and what this means for the Philadelphia Eagles with MIKE SIELSKI sports columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Then, guest-host Mary Cummings-Jordan talks with ZOE FRAADE-BLANARand AARON GLAZER, authors of Superfandom: How Our Obsessions Are Changing What We Buy and Who We Are, about why we are so passionate about our sports teams, movies, music artists and collectibles.
Watching football, whether at home or in person at a game, is more fun when using the #mondaynightfootball hashtag. Dressing up as the anime character Jessie from Pokemon practically requires an audience who can say, ‘Whow, how did you get the hair to stay that way?” Very few people would show up to a Star Trek convention with no one else there.
Fandom is inherently social. But our fellow fans do more than just make things interesting. In many situations, they make things possible.
On the afternoon of May 26, 1987, a New Jersey state trooper doing routine stops on the Garden State Parkway pulled over a rental car carrying two men. The infraction was an open can of St. Pauli Girl beer, part of a six-pack from a nearby convenience store. When the window was rolled down, the trooper smelled marijuana. The driver admitted there were a few joints under his seat.
“Hands on the hood, feet back, and spread ’em,” the driver later remembered the trooper saying before he radioed for backup. Handcuffing the driver took two pairs of cuffs; he was a very big man. The troopers then pulled the passenger from the car and searched his bag. They found a vial of white powder. The passenger was arrested too.
They were taken in separate cars to the police station, where the driver was identified as James Edward Duggan Jr., better known by his professional wrestling identity, “Hacksaw.” The passenger’s ID said he was named Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, but even the arresting officer recognized the popular World Wrestling Federation character The Iron Sheik. The powder tested positive for cocaine. But within a few hours Duggan was released, and so was Vaziri after signing an appearance bond. They returned to their car and continued southbound to Asbury Park, where they were scheduled to beat each other up before a crowd of thousands later that night.
Collect them all. Those three words put a smile on every marketer’s face and fear in every parent’s heart. “Collect them all,” as you may remember, was kid-code for “bug your parents until they buy stuff,” making you the envy of everyone in third grade. Your goal now: to capture that buyer’s obsession at the level you’ll see in “Superfandom” by Zoe Fraade-Blanar & Aaron M. Glazer.
We’re talking about plans this hour. First, a plan to keep you away from your cell phone and your tablet while you’re driving. Also, plans for finding some sunshine in Washington state – where to go and how long it’ll take. And a plan to figure out funding for arts in King County. We thought one plan was dead but now it’s not so.
Superfandom interview wraps the end of the hour. [Listen here]
The new book “Superfandom,” written by Zoe Fraade-Blanar and Aaron M. Glazer, explores the powerful ways fans can influence business. Sometimes it’s in support of a business, like when a group of instant photography fans revived film after Polaroid ceased production. It can also work against businesses, like when a small group of angry fans of Maker’s Mark revolted online after the liquor company changed its recipe, causing the company to reverse its business decision.
Host Lizzie O’Leary sat down with co-author Fraade-Blanar to discuss the new book.