“What’s my investment?” This, the opening question of Alexander Doty’s Flaming Classics, is one that has stayed with me since the moment I encountered it. I remember the moment very clearly; I was a graduate student, reading raptly in a coffee shop, completely struck by the notion that someone could write about popular media in the way that he did, incisive analysis and felt emotion melded together into one.
I regret now that I didn’t get to know Alex Doty personally, and never told him how much his work has impacted me, not only in terms of its content but also his methodology, his modeling of the possibilities of scholar-fandom. As a scholar fan, I continue to share his intention to push at the divide between “high” and “low” culture. Though I never met him, I feel his loss keenly.
I want to share with you this fanvid/remix video that combines Glee with other popular cultural texts (mostly classic movies and movie musicals). I made this vid with Doty’s work and words in mind; I hope that it reflects not only his concern with the various ways in which queer meanings circulate in popular media, but also the way in which our investment in popular media shapes us and vice versa.
In the conversations at Henry Jenkins’ blog last fall, Doty spoke of his hope that “the queer goal of acafandom should finally be to trouble the categories of ‘fan’ and ‘academic’ (and academic and fan discourse) so much that we are left with…a space that allows ‘our arguments and ideas to speak for themselves’ no matter what their approach, methodology, or form.” In this spirit, the vid is dedicated to Doty. I hope that those who admired him and his work (as well as those who enjoy Glee‘s Kurt Hummel) will appreciate this offering.