A Glee Vid in Memory of Alex Doty

August 24, 2012
By | 8 Comments

“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.



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8 Responses to “ A Glee Vid in Memory of Alex Doty ”

  1. Alexis Lothian on August 24, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    Louisa, I am so happy to see you posting this here. I’ve often said that vidding is a process much like scholarship, but where it differs is that it’s so overtly, so unavoidably about emotion. In making this vid and bringing it into the academic space of Antenna, you’re reminding us that our feelings are never so far from our intellectual work either. Like you, I always so admired Doty (though I never met him) for insisting on that. Thanks for carrying the torch. 🙂

    • Louisa Stein on August 24, 2012 at 3:02 PM

      Thank you, Alexis! This was a key part of the reason that I did share this here. I wanted to honor Doty for helping me to even envision that I could, and should, bring something like this–something that marries emotion and analysis–into an academic space. I find myself hopeful that it’s a merger we’ll see more and more of.

  2. Brenda Weber on August 25, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    Thanks for this! Alex was both a dear friend and a much-loved colleague, and I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that he would have been greatly moved to know that his passion for films, for free expression, for queer excess, and for devine divas (and devos) could be so perfectly encapsulated in video form.

    • Louisa Stein on August 26, 2012 at 8:19 AM

      Brenda–Thank you! That means a lot to me. Alex’s work and words were a tremendous influence on me, and so many others.

  3. Caetlin Benson-Allott on August 26, 2012 at 8:47 AM

    Louisa, that is an incredible piece– really moving, and it also made me think a lot about what it means to be a fan of an academic and what loss means for the fan. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

    • Louisa Stein on August 27, 2012 at 10:56 AM

      I love this way of putting it:

      what it means to be a fan of an academic and what loss means for the fan.

      I hadn’t thought of this connection so explicitly; this makes me think about how we invest in academic ideas and in scholars as well as in media texts, and how connected the two can be. It’s yet another layer on the “what’s my investment?” question.

      Thanks so much for commenting, Caetlin! I’m really glad you enjoyed the vid.

  4. Stacy Wolf on August 27, 2012 at 7:53 AM

    Thank you so much for this moving and clever piece and thanks to Mary Kearney for posting it. I was also profoundly inspired and shaped by Alex’s work and benefited from his astute editing of my own fan-scholarship. This piece captures the pleasure and intelligence of his work. Thank you!

  5. Louisa Stein on August 28, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Thanks so much, Stacy. That’s lovely to hear! I’m very glad to share this video with others who were as moved by his work as I was.