Hilary Keane started an interesting discussion on her LiveJournal yesterday questioning the notions behind Big Name Fans (BNFs). She says, "I've always been really curious about the whole BNF thing, and how they come into being. Personally speaking I find it more than a little strange that some fans are acredited more worth than others in a fandom."
The conversation is worth a read, though it's a bit all over the map. A couple of different fandoms are specifically mentioned, but the discussion is relevant to comics fandom by and large. It wasn't a topic I explored too heavily in my book primarily because I didn't want to focus on any one sub-set of fandom. But it does tie in with a discussion of cultural capital. That is, s/he who has the most often finds his/herself a BNF. But, as I also point out in my book, quantifying cultural capital isn't really possible. Which is where that discussion heads off into.
Further down into the topic, one poster notes that "one person's BNF is another person's nobody." Which is a completely valid point, which also speaks to the notion of cultural capital. Cultural capital is worth nothing to a member of an outgroup -- put another way, what you know about comics isn't worth jack to someone who doesn't care about comics!
I might suggest anyone interested in the topic could read my chapter about it online. While the examples are obviously comic-centered, they're easily adaptable into other fandoms. In fact, that's one of the reasons I put the book online for free: so that anybody could read up on the subject easily and (hopefully) have at least one other perspective when in the back of their head when they're discussing it.
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