In last night’s Media Marathoning class, we discussed what it means to take an “active audience” approach after reading Henry Jenkins’ chapter “How Texts Become Real” in his 1992 book Textual Poachers. I consider this to be one of the most illustrative quotes from the chapter: “The text is drawn close not so that the fan can be possessed by it but rather so that the fan may more fully possess it. Only by integrating media content back into their everyday lives, only by close engagement with its meanings and materials can fans fully consume the fiction and make it an active resource” (62). Jenkins draws from the Skin Horse’s lesson to the Velveteen Rabbit to illustrate that texts (toys) are not made real by authors (toymakers), but rather by the readers, viewers, and fans who love them. When we actively create meanings from the texts that are relevant to our lives and repurpose the texts for our own needs, we are giving life to the texts.
Below are two of my favorite examples in which viewers give life to Star Wars (and a third one that’s growing on me):
Do you have a favorite example of viewers giving life to Star Wars or another cult text?