Tag Archives: Harry Potter

Becoming Real: Harry Potter and The Velveteen Rabbit

12 Jul

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Book CoverIn honor of the release of HP 7.5 this weekend, I bring you an excerpt of my thesis, “The Branding of Harry Potter: How Fanfiction is Challenging Concepts of Owner and Author”.  Before jumping in, here’s what you need to know:

I love Harry Potter and I love fanfiction; not in the way that I sit around and read it all the time, but you know, if I’m ever in a really bad mood…  I love fanfiction because it teaches people how to write and encourage people, especially young people, to find their voices and develop their skills as storytellers.  Everyone knows that Harry Potter struck a chord with a generation, but not many people know how it uniquely impacted creative and bookish teenagers.  Millions of their derivative works can be found on fanfiction archives across the internet.  Their writing and art, based upon Harry Potter and other fictional stories that became touchstone cultural artifacts, made up some of the earliest examples of Web 2.0.  And they did it all because of their love of the stories that inspired them.  Here we go… Continue reading

In which Slate validates my TV obsession

18 Apr

I’ve always been someone that’s gotten hooked on pop culture.  (When I was twelve, I told my Dad that my only goal in life was to meet the Spice Girls.  Don’t judge.)  Once I ventured outside of the realm of AOL into the big bad scary Internet, I found that there were many other people that shared my strange obsessions.  So, even though no one in my family wanted to hear about the greatness of the Spice Girls, people on the Internet were more than happy to let me browse their fan sites and to promptly ignore mine.  (True store, my first website was a Spice Girls Geocities page.  It had brightly colored Comic Sans MS font and tiled picture backgrounds.  It was awesome.  Too bad Geocities went down permanently last year – such a sad day – or I would link to it.)

Directly after Spice Girls, my next obsession was Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  (My IM name was Slayer8062.  In now recognize that that’s pretty creepy and that a lot of people probably didn’t get the connection that I was making.)  No website that time, sadly, but I found fan forums and spoilers for the first time – and they were great.  Who knew that there were thousands of other people who wanted to talk about if Angel was really evil?  And so I became a TV fangirl.  I trolled Geocities and the like and kept bookmarks of the best links pages.  (Of course I read fanfiction, but that’s a whole post of its own.)  Then I found Television Without Pity, and other semi-professional TV recap sites; it was the Internet home that I’d been searching for.  Scene by scene recaps, analysis of inside jokes and winks at the fans, active forums – what more could I want?  (As Slate’s Josh Levin says, “Week-to-week coverage reflects how people actually watch their favorite shows—we rehash the best lines, parse the meaning of weighty moments, and anticipate plot twists. At its best, new-school TV writing is brainy and inquisitive, thoughtful commentary borne out of a fanatical attention to detail.”  No wonder I loved it.)  But the time that I spent on TWOP was a guilty pleasure.  It wasn’t until college that told my friends about it, only to find that many of them had been doing the same types of things.  (I’ve come a long way – now I’ll publicly declare my love of Battlestar Galactica and fight you about it if you tell me it’s lame.  It’s not.  Kara Thrace is awesome!)

That was a long roundabout way of telling you that I’ve always been a fandom junky, but secretly.  It definitely qualified as a guilty pleasure.  Now Slate tells me that there’s nothing to be ashamed of and that being a TV fan is just as legitimate a pass-time as being a sports nut.  Comparing TV recappers to sports commentators, Josh Levin says, “We read television recaps for the same reason we read about last night’s game. We want to relive what we’ve seen through the eyes of an expert—someone who recognizes a callback to Season 2 or spots a parallel with the 1967 Red Sox.”  His piece on TV criticism, and the fan community that devours it, makes many more comparisons between TV and sports viewing.  No one’s afraid to wear their team jerseys or feels the need to hide their sports knowledge.  So get ready, maybe the next time I see you I’ll be wearing a Buffy or Harry Potter (my other fandom love) t-shirt.


MaggieCakes is a blog about culture, social media, and what’s new in the world of Internet culture. Every day (okay, I try for every day) I comb blogs and news outlets for the news about internet culture and social media to bring them to you (with my commentary, of course) here on MaggieCakes. MaggieCakes is hosted by WordPress and often draws upon Slate, Jezebel, The Hair Pin, and SocialTimes for links and inspiration. My post Social Media and the Art of Storytelling was featured on Freshly Pressed, bringing a while new readership to my blog. Find anything interesting in the worlds of culture or social media that you’d like to see a post on? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at 2maggieotoole@gmail.com.

Social Media and the Fear of Missing Out, Part Two

16 Apr

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post called “Social Media and the Fear of Missing Out”.  And, lo and behold, the NY Times covered the same thing last week (“Feel Like a Wallflower?  Maybe It’s Your Facebook Wall”).  (For purposes of this article making sense, be aware that the Times sometimes abbreviates this to FOMO.)  I love Jenna Wortham’s opening to the piece:

One recent rainy night, I curled up on my couch with popcorn and Netflix Instant, ready to spend a quiet night at home. The peace was sweet — while it lasted. Soon, my iPhone began flashing with notifications from a handful of social networking sites, each a beacon of information about what my friends were doing.

As the alerts came in, my mind began to race. Three friends, I learned, had arrived at a music venue near my apartment. But why? What was happening there? Then I saw pictures of other friends enjoying fancy milkshakes at a trendy restaurant. Suddenly, my simple domestic pleasures paled in comparison with the things I could be doing.

This.  So much.  Sometimes I try to ban myself from my laptop when I’m watching a movie because I know I won’t enjoy it if I’m distracted by all of the “better” things that everyone else is doing.  (Generally, I fail at enforcing the ban.)

But, it goes beyond doubting that what you’re doing in the moment isn’t good enough.  It also leads to doubting what you’re doing with your life.  A friend of mine turned 32 this week.  She’s a lawyer – smart and independent.  In the last year, she’s moved to a new city, started a new job, and made new friends.  All in all, I’d say it’s been a pretty successful year.  But on her birthday she was bummed.  Why?  Well, because her Facebook friends were all posting pictures of their new husbands, new houses, and new babies, and suddenly her accomplishments didn’t seem like nearly enough.

Ms. Jenner also recognizes this bigger problem:

A friend who works in advertising told me that she felt fine about her life — until she opened Facebook. “Then I’m thinking, ‘I am 28, with three roommates, and oh, it looks like you have a precious baby and a mortgage,’ ” she said. “And then I wanna die.”

On those occasions, she said, her knee-jerk reaction is often to post an account of a cool thing she has done, or to upload a particularly fun picture from her weekend. This may make her feel better — but it can generate FOMO in another unsuspecting person.

I’m completely guilty of posting things that make my life seem cool, or at least busy.  (And now you’re thinking, “Maggie, your newfeed doesn’t make your life seem cool.  If you think that’s the cool version of your life, your life must be really lame”.  And now I’m feeling bad…)  But, let’s be honest, we use social media to present idealized versions of ourselves.  No one posts pictures of their babies crying in the middle of the night.  People don’t post about the days it rained on their vacation.  And I don’t update my status to tell you that it’s eight o’clock and I’m getting ready for a thrilling evening of Law & Order in my pajamas.  (Although secretly, those are some of my favorite evenings.)


MaggieCakes is a blog about culture, social media, and what’s new in the world of Internet culture. Every day (okay, I try for every day) I comb blogs and news outlets for the news about internet culture and social media to bring them to you (with my commentary, of course) here on MaggieCakes. MaggieCakes is hosted by WordPress and often draws upon Slate, Jezebel, The Hair Pin, and SocialTimes for links and inspiration. My post Social Media and the Art of Storytelling was featured on freshly pressed, bringing a while new readership to my blog. Find anything interesting in the worlds of culture or social media that you’d like to see a post on? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at 2maggieotoole@gmail.com.

I want one! So, about this whole not wasting money thing.

3 Mar

So, this may just be the thing that pushes me over the edge and causes me to but something from Esty.  (This came to me via The Mary Sue, more on that in another post — possible Jezebel replacement?)

Artist wdkimmy is selling Harry Potter pillows.  You can choose from Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  Too bad no Draco.  (Yet?  Maybe it’s coming, please?)

Click the picture to learn more.

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