I like the BBC show Sherlock. I mean, I really really like it. I shame acquaintances I have no business in shaming for refusing to watch. I have deeply personal feelings about Benedict Cumberbatch. I lurk on the Reddit forum. I wear the tee. But I didn’t wear it last year, and there’s a decent chance that I’ll have lost interest by this time next year.
Moffat’s lovable sociopath was the sweet escapism that recently got me through a long, tedious project; watching the episodes over and over when I couldn’t type even one more word. For that, it has earned my completely sincere and heartfelt—but probably temporary—loyalty.
May the Fourth be with you! Today is Star Wars Day, the fan-created international celebration of all things Jedi. (Fans of the Dark Side will have their turn tomorrow with their own day, “Revenge of the Fifth.”)
The pun-based holiday is only a few years old, but its vast fandom has already embraced the date with their own Star Wars-themed parties, movie showings, and contests. On the corporate side, Disney stores are hosting Star Wars ceremonies, storytimes, and droid-drawing tutorials, and the Star Wars website would like you to celebrate with some blue-milk lattes straight from Aunt Beru’s kitchen on Tatooine.
And, of course, there will be discounts on various Star Wars-themed merchandise, game access, and paraphernalia.
We’re often asked if fandom is just a form of marketing. In a way, yes. At the heart of almost every fan object, these centers of emotion and love that arise from pop culture, lies a commercial product. A thing that can be exchanged for money. It might be a product, an experience, a ticket, or the advertising value of our eyeballs as we watch our favorite YouTube channel. In fact, another definition of fandom is ‘externally-generated branding’.