Why I can’t write about Buffy
I’ve been struggling for some time (years, perhaps) to compose a paper about my own fandom. It feels important to add my story to the aca-fan group confessional. With that goal in mind, I have for some time maintained a private series of notes. The notes are a chronological account of my Buffy fandom. So why has it been a struggle?
The chronological account of my Buffy fandom itemises the milestones along my journey to identifying as a fan: the first time I watched the same episode twice in one week, my first box set, my changing use of digital technology, when I started to seek out like-minded people. It shows that the temporality of the text mirrored events in my life (Buffy moved into freshman accommodation the same year that I did). It traces my nomadic routes to the other texts of which I became a fan. It tots up how much money I’ve spent on prop replicas and DVDs (do you remember when the first Buffy DVD box set was £80?). It muses on the value of the subcultural capital I have accrued over the years. Through it I can see the social and economic forces at work in the creation of my fan identity. Buffy is the text that first revealed to me my fannish tendencies.
But it is statements like that which trip me up when I try to write something down. I stop in my tracks. Am I taking a textual deterministic standpoint? Is that really what I want to say?
So instead I move on to reflecting about my fandom in general. I’m a fan of many things to many varying degrees, and my Buffy fandom is waning and has been since the series ended. In the beginning it was like the grand overture to, and the rising crescendo, of the symphony of Me. Now it’s one instrument in the orchestra; playing along happily with the rest, but seldom standing out.
But such metaphors make me stumble again; because the academic in me starts to filter my account through the lenses of discourse analysis or postmodern identity formation.
I can’t reconcile my fragmented identity. The fan-self writes and the aca-self analyses. Worlds collide, and the two accounts never seem to correlate. This is why I can’t write about Buffy.