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An article I did over at Quartz
May the Fourth be with you! Today is Star Wars Day, the fan-created international celebration of all things Jedi. (Fans of the Dark Side will have their turn tomorrow with their own day, “Revenge of the Fifth.”)

The pun-based holiday is only a few years old, but its vast fandom has already embraced the date with their own Star Wars-themed parties, movie showings, and contests. On the corporate side, Disney stores are hosting Star Wars ceremonies, storytimes, and droid-drawing tutorials, and the Star Wars website would like you to celebrate with some blue-milk lattes straight from Aunt Beru’s kitchen on Tatooine.

And, of course, there will be discounts on various Star Wars-themed merchandise, game access, and paraphernalia.

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An article I did over at Huffington Post
Watching football, whether at home or in person at a game, is more fun when using the #mondaynightfootball hashtag. Dressing up as the anime character Jessie from Pokemon practically requires an audience who can say, ‘Whow, how did you get the hair to stay that way?” Very few people would show up to a Star Trek convention with no one else there.

Fandom is inherently social. But our fellow fans do more than just make things interesting. In many situations, they make things possible.

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An Excerpt from Superfandom over at Quartz
On the afternoon of May 26, 1987, a New Jersey state trooper doing routine stops on the Garden State Parkway pulled over a rental car carrying two men. The infraction was an open can of St. Pauli Girl beer, part of a six-pack from a nearby convenience store. When the window was rolled down, the trooper smelled marijuana. The driver admitted there were a few joints under his seat.

“Hands on the hood, feet back, and spread ’em,” the driver later remembered the trooper saying before he radioed for backup. Handcuffing the driver took two pairs of cuffs; he was a very big man. The troopers then pulled the passenger from the car and searched his bag. They found a vial of white powder. The passenger was arrested too.

They were taken in separate cars to the police station, where the driver was identified as James Edward Duggan Jr., better known by his professional wrestling identity, “Hacksaw.” The passenger’s ID said he was named Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, but even the arresting officer recognized the popular World Wrestling Federation character The Iron Sheik. The powder tested positive for cocaine. But within a few hours Duggan was released, and so was Vaziri after signing an appearance bond. They returned to their car and continued southbound to Asbury Park, where they were scheduled to beat each other up before a crowd of thousands later that night.

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Superfandom

I have published a book.

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An Excerpt from Superfandom over at Inc.
In their book, Superfandom: How Our Obsessions Are Changing What We Buy and Who We Are, authors and cofounders of toy company Squishable Zoe Fraade-Blanar and Aaron Glazer dig into how some brands manage to turn ordinary consumers into diehard fans. In this edited excerpt, they discuss why Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting is know as the “Woodstock of Capitalism.”

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An Excerpt from Superfandom over at New York Magazine
Tish Bellomo looks to be in her fifties, but it’s difficult to know for sure — there are few pictures from the past forty years of her or of her sister Eileen, who goes by “Snooky,” without both of them sporting wild, fluorescent-colored hair. News clippings from the eighties hanging in their shared office show it layered, feathered, and back-combed into a fiery mane. At the moment, hers is bright pink with a green streak at the front — a nod to the hair-dye brand that made her and her sister famous four decades ago, and the company they still run today: Manic Panic.

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Having trouble deciding if you should totally steal someone else’s artwork and then be a complete butt about it? For those coming late to the story, frat-fave DJ Diplo last week totally ripped off the work of Brooklyn-based illustrator Rebecca Mock for one of his promotional videos. When she called him on it, he kept it classy by responding with creepy misogynistic taunts, which some might consider an interesting tactic with a person who now totally has the legit right to sue you.

Now, the usual defense in this kind of case is for the perpetrator to claim that their blatant theft of a hard-working artist’s sole means of support is actually NOT theft because it gives the artist free publicity.  It’s like stealing a pizza from a restaurant but claiming that other people will see you eating it and be so impressed that they’ll decide to go themselves. Of course, the “…but it’s free publicity” defense starts getting kind of funny when the publicity is obviously not the type the artist would ever have wanted. We all read a lot about privilege, but one good definition would be, ‘I’m so great, of course I can take anything I want because anyone would be proud to be associated with me.’

It’s funny to think that folks in the music industry, which spends a serious amount of time making a big-assed deal about their own copyright issues, should be such douches about other people’s, but them’s the crappy crappy breaks. In any case, on the off chance that there really is a big community out there who is struggling with understanding the basic, 5-year-old morality of this issue, read on!

artwork

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