Now that we’ve explored the remediated realities of Moss, Abed, Codex, and even ourselves, what does that all mean? Well I think it’d be helpful to go back and discuss what I briefly touched on in a previous post about what commonalities the three characters have with each other.
In that post I mentioned that:
- All three of these characters are considered to be “weird” or “different” by the other characters of their respective shows. Often times this “weirdness” sets them apart enough to have these remediated reality experiences, and each character knows they are weird.
- When a remediated reality experience occurs, often times the other characters on the show embrace it as well, or at least pretend to go along with it.
- Also, these three characters often use their remediated reality experiences as a way to communicate with the other characters on the show.
As I’ve explored the three characters more in depth, I would also add that:
- Through the remediated reality experience, the character usually comes away with a new found realization about their own personality or identity.
- Each of these characters is a fan of something, which usually helps shape the remediated reality.
This last one is a point that I don’t think I’ve talked about very much and would like to explore because I think it’s this point that allows the audience to identify more with the characters and perhaps explain the reason why we want remediated realities for ourselves or represented to us. Moss is, of course, a fan of technology, which we can pick up from in his very first introduction to us (see the video in this post) when he talks about various machines and software with such enthusiasm. Abed is a fan of pop culture, specifically movies and television shows, and Codex is a fan of her video game. As we’ve already discussed, the characters’ remediated realities are shaped through these things. In many ways the things they are a fan of have informed their self identity and therefore informs their remediated reality.
It only makes sense that being a true fan of something would lead one to want to incorporate it more and more in one’s life. Found in the book Fandom: Identities and Communities in a Mediated World, which is a collection of essays, Roberta Pearson expresses in her essay “Bachies, Bardies, Trekkies, and Sherlockians”
Fans… incorporate the cultural texts as part of their self-identity, often going on to build social networks on the basis of shared fandoms (pg. 102).
In another essay in the book “Place, Elective Belonging and the Diffused Audience,” Longhurst et al. say that fandom indicates “aspects of everyday performance and imagination that are informing mundane practices. Thus, performance, imagination, and spectacle are embroiled in practices of attachment and identity in everyday life of media-drenched societies at many levels” (pg. 137). And lastly, in their essay “Playing the Game: Performance in Digital Game Audiences,” Crawford and Rutter express the same sentiment as the previous essays:
Abercrombie and Longhurst (1998) suggest that the mass media increasingly impinges on and saturates contemporary society in a “mediascape” (Appaduari 1990) that, as with the landscape beneath our feet, often goes unnoticed but is fundamental in shaping the world around us. This mediascape provides a resource that individuals draw upon in their social performances. As a result, “being a member of an audience is no longer an exceptional event, nor an every day event [;] rather it is constitutive of everyday life” (Abercrobie & Longhurst 1998: 68-69). That is to say, we live in an increasingly narcissistic and “performative society” where individuals will draw on the media as a “resource” (such as informing the way they dress, speak, or act) in constructing their social performances (pg. 275-6). *Note all references in this quotation were in the quote and can be found in the book.
We’ve already discussed what all of these essays point out, that our society has become saturated with media, and it is because of this that the media has influenced our lives and formed our identities. But it’s not just the media in general, but the forms of media that we love and adore, that we use consistently, that we are fans of that help us bond with others and create our own sense of self. This goes back to what I said earlier that the characters use their remediated reality experience to communicate with those around them, and that often times the other characters go along with the experience. If the media can help create fans that then use the media to find each other and bond, it makes sense that the fans could take it a step further by creating a remediated reality to do the same thing: connect, bond, and communicate.
As we can see in the way we use media now (setting remediated realities aside for the moment), other than for entertainment purposes, the majority of mass media is used to communicate with other people around the globe, through phones, television, Internet, radio etc. It’s also used as a way for people to identify themselves and create bonds with others: we have social media network sites like Facebook that allow us to show what bonds we have and to explain to others who we are and what we like; we have various blog platforms that allow us to further express ourselves and even help us find others that have the same interests. There are even other media outlets that let us create and even collaborate with others to create something that we can then share with more people.
The first thing that came to my mind (since I am a part of it) that is an example of this is Tumblr. At first glance it seems like Tumblr is just another blogging platform, and in many ways it is, but once you’ve been on it and created your own Tumblr blog, after awhile you see it is much more than that. It is a very social community of users that create, collaborate, share, and bond. Speaking from personal experience, it is through Tumblr and my love for certain TV shows, movies, books, actors etc. that I have been able to find others that are fans of the same things I am. While I have my own blog that I use to demonstrate what things I enjoy (so creating my own identity), I have become friends with others who share my same thoughts and feelings (communicating through the media). And it is through these fandom related things that I have been able to create stronger bonds with these people whom I’ve never actually met in person but whom I’d consider to be my friends. Many create things on Tumblr related to their interests that others add on to or recreate as well. In many ways, we are doing the same things as Moss, Abed, and Codex, creating an experience that we share together that is highly mediated but that allows us to communicate, self identify, and bond with each other.
Basically what it comes down to is this:
We are fans of media. And as fans, we have incorporated the media into our lives more and more, making it become second nature to us. It informs our identities, and creates our social communities and bonds with others. Just as Codex works with the other members of her guild to create a remediated reality to take down Zaboo’s mom the “boss,” that afterwards not only makes Codex more confident in herself but helps the guild bond more and create a tighter friendship, we do the same with our media. We meet others through the media that we identify with and we create stronger bonds with each other and communicate with each other through the media as well.
It’s true that we might not be able to truly create the remediated realties we see on TV through these three characters and others (at least not yet anyway). I highly doubt that any time soon we’ll wake up one more and find ourselves stop motion animated, or suddenly shoot lightning bolts from our eyes, but it doesn’t make the remediated realities we see on TV any less significant to ourselves. We could, like Abed, set up a whole dinner to be like a movie. We could, like Moss, use an app to help us talk to others so we can fit in with them more. We could, like Codex, relate the things that happen in our lives to a video game. And many of us do. We still try to communicate with others through the media, and some of us might be “weird” and take a more extreme approach like our three characters, but the same principles hold true for us all: we use media to communicate with others, to create bonds with those others, and to set us apart and identify ourselves as a fan of a certain type of media.
Our realities in many ways are already remediated, and we’re okay with it and want more.