“Quentin Tarantino’s Star Wars?: Digital Cinema, Media Convergence, and Participatory Culture” reviews Star Wars spoofs and how fan film operates as a central function of popular culture. Jenkins view media fans as “active participants within the current media revolution, seeing their cultural products as an important aspect of the digital cinema movement.” They’re not losers as they have been commonly viewed, there is nothing wrong with them. New media is in “transition.” Consumption and new media forms are more accessible thanks to technological convergence. “Star Wars is, in many ways, the prime example of media convergence at work.” A new type of consumerism comes out of this fanfare. Media convergence is the newest form of corporate strategy now that we are interacting with media content so differently than we have in the past. “Fan fiction repairs some of the damage caused by the privatization of culture,” creating a broader dialogue between viewers and content. Fan fiction is able to increase interest by “pulling its content toward fantasies that are unlikely to gain widespread distribution, tailoring it to cultural niches under-represented within and under-served by the aired material.” This nature of publicity can be helpful to the medium. Fans usually imitate what they admire, not what they want to bash. This will be known as the birth of an “elaborate feedback loop between the emerging “DIY” aesthetics of participatory culture and the mainstream industry.” The work of these fans has been extremely influential for the “emerging generation of amateur digital filmmakers”… Jenkins argues that it is “almost as influential in fact as Star Wars itself.” Jenkins wants to know what the future of digital cinema will be. I feel like future cinema is never wholly new or innovative and we should promote fans to interact in this new form of cinematic dialogue and to continue this process and see how it develops.
In the second article, “Why Heather Can Write,” dealt with kids and how their dialogue with popular culture, outside the classroom. Here Jenkins, focuses on high school kids who are reading, writing, editing, and critiquing Harry Potter fan fiction online. Does this interaction with popular culture like similar interactions really compete with students academic “attention”? I think it can. But Jenkins argues that it usually is beneficial for students and despite its success, he is unsure whether this “can be duplicated simply by incorporating similar activities into the classroom-though some teachers are using fan fiction exercises to motivate their students.” Many of these kids want to have professions in writing and many end up pursuing this goal. “Fandom is providing a rich haven to support the development of bright young minds that might otherwise get chewed up by the system, and offering mentorship to help less gifted students to achieve their full expressive potential.” These kids are finding a new reason to go online, a new outlet, not provided in most schools.