Don’t Be Ashamed, LeBron

From Bre Page:

As part of an independent study with Dr. Perks I held a focus group with Hunger Games marathoners and conducted interviews with TV marathoners. My research fostered some interesting results solidifying some hunches that I had, as well as highlighting two very interesting new concepts.

First, I noticed that many of the participants were initially ashamed of their marathoning practices but as we continued talking, they began to tell me how they honestly believe that they would enjoy marathoning with some of their closest friends. For many, their desire to “escape” from reality, was transforming into a desire to make media marathoning a social event. Many talked about how they would love to hold a weekly gathering with friends to marathon some of their favorite shows. I project that as media marathoning continues to develop and becomes more recognized, individuals will not feel so ashamed and more social groups based upon the practice of marathoning will emerge. I personally think that while many individuals used their marathoning experience as a means of escape, they discovered that they would actually enjoy connectedness to others more so than isolation.

Secondly, I noticed a relationship between those who had marathoned books as a child and those who now marathon various media. Many referred back to their childhood saying how they had taken part in marathoning their favorite book series. I think that their marathoning experience as a child served as a platform for their future practices. It’s as if many of the participants were attempting to go back to their childhood through embarking on stories and journeys outside of their monotonous lives–but rather than picking up a book series, they would flip on the television.

Marathoning books may indeed be an adolescent’s “gateway drug” into TV and film marathoning, but the side-effects of escapism, socializing, and nostalgia should be no cause for concern.

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Be Ashamed, LeBron

  1. I’m glad you brought up the idea of shame in connection to marathoning. I came across a similar idea in one of my interviews. The participant had experience with both book and television marathoning but felt largely different effects when he participated in both. He seemed to feel extremely ashamed of his television marathoning practices, and would force himself to take 30 minutes breaks between episodes to do something he considered “more productive” and educated. When he marathoned a book series, however, he felt no shame at all (even though he was reading at work) and actually seemed to harbor a sense of pride during and after his book marathon. I think there is a social stigma that comes with television consumption that pushes people to feel embarrassed by and want to hide their marathoning habits. His parents even reiterated this to him from childhood to adulthood–requesting that he stop watching TV and go read a book. I wonder if this stigma will become less of one as narratively complex shows are requiring much more cognitive ability than in years past.

  2. I found through my interviews conducted as well that there were many points where the interviewee would pause to inhale deeply and let out an exaggerated exhale of breath. It was almost as they were confessing something that they felt ashamed about. Another interesting point you raised was the fact that people were reverting back to their childhood days where you would shut the world out for days in which to finish the Harry Potter book series. For instance, when I was little, I would read the Judy Moody book series before bed every night, where I would find myself entirely rewarded not only because I found myself to be more productive and furthering my education, but also, people noticed and it made me feel accomplished! Though today, marathoning a television series is so easy and enjoyable, I find myself ashamed when telling others I had finished marathoning two seasons of Pretty Little Liars in two days. But, the same summer, when I finished the book series of Fifty Shades of Grey, I almost found myself boasting, accomplished and satisfied that I had done so.

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