ETA: Turns out I had something to articulate after all:
I want to reach through the computer and smack posts like this, attitudes like this. We're not questioning the system. We were never questioning the system. We were buying the things the system produced and then making our own fun. Totally different.
And now? Now that the system knows we're there and they can make money and things can work like that? The system is changing around us, because of US, and so by being there we've done more to effect the system than anything since the creation of the first film critics society.
And is that going to mean things like FanLib pop up sometimes and draw in unexpecting, naive fans (of all ages but primarily teenagers, lets be honest, because teenagers are less likely to be wary of things like legal contracts)? Yes, it means things like FanLib pop up sometimes. And we -- and our influence and our knowledge, collected because when we're not in fandom we're mostly middleclass, college educated women -- will smack them down in our own circles.
And I, for one, think that's okay. It's what we've been doing for years because FanLib is not the first to try and take advantage, it will not be the last to try and take advantage, and that has nothing to do with our exposure. There's been companies trying to take advantage since fandom began because, you know, companies can tell fandom exists by the pure fact that, duh, of course a fan-base exists for a show that gets ratings.
And, jesus, the journalists and the academics -- and most of the academics, Henry Jenkins withstanding, are part of the fandom in some or form to begin with -- are not ruining it for everyone else by giving us more exposure. Because, if nothing else, they're calling this a hobby, which is exactly what it is.
In the end, there's nothing different from loving Shakespeare as an English major and loving Harry Potter as a fan except the legitimacy that fans themselves give it. And if those fans are seeking some sort of outside legitimacy, well, how does anyone think branches of study like Literature started? They started by someone doing it and saying "This is legitimate" and other people coming to agree. Media studies has had a long, uphill battle to gain legitimacy against Literature studies because 'television cannot possibly have as much depth as Literature' and that battle isn't over. TV criticism is still the bastard child of analysis. The internet as a legitimate form of communication has had a battle too. And I use the word legitimate here purposefully because, like it or not, in a capitalist society like the vast majority of the English-speaking world is legitimacy comes with funding.
It's not about the secret world of fandom and protecting our little personal interests because that box has already been opened, Pandora. We were never a secret, not where it mattered, and the only difference between then and now is accessibility. Now your average Jane can walk in and become part of what we are just by having an internet connection. So, if people are looking for things to blame in terms of taking away our "special bond" I'd start with pointing a finger at global internet access and not things like FanLib or our own supposed desire to become legitimate. Because FanLib is just playing on something that's already there and we're just responding to something that's within our reach, nothing more, nothing less.
eta, the redux: This was a rant. I don't even know if it was really coherent. Just, you know, FYI.