Vidders Talk Back To Their Pop-Culture Muses

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News Media Commentary
Title: Vidders Talk Back To Their Pop-Culture Muses
Date(s): February 25, 2009
Venue: online
Fandom: Vidding
External Links: article is here; reference link
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Vidders Talk Back To Their Pop-Culture Muses is an artile by Neda Ulaby published for NPR.

Fans interviewed for this article are Rachael Sabotini, Lim, Francesca Coppa, and Rebecca Tushnet.


For decades, Americans sat in front of their televisions and watched — just watched — their favorite shows.

Those days of passivity are over. Now when we turn on the TV, we also fire up the Internet to vote for contestants on Dancing with the Stars, check out extra interviews with the cast of Survivor and read the Grey's Anatomy writers' blog — all while chatting with other fans on message boards, of course.

But one group of fans has interacted with their favorite television shows for more than three decades. Vidders, as they're called, make unauthorized underground videos using clips from the shows. Each vid compiles dozens of clips from various episodes, all set to a song.
Both Coppa and Tushnet say that media corporations are beginning to tolerate vids — to the point that some vidders feel they have to struggle against commercialization. In the meantime, the medium is beginning to find significant mainstream recognition, even from museums. One rising vidding star has this vid, called "Us," on display right now at the California Museum of Photography.

It's about what it means to be a fan, and it was painstakingly created by a 27-year-old British woman who vids under the name Lim. "We all speak the language of television," Lim says. "We all know the basic symbolism. Rain means redemption; an open window means a new choice or opportunity." In fact, Lim says she's mastered the language of television better than the media companies that often put pressure on vidders. "The media seems to think they own the things they've pumped into my brain in 27 years," she says with an incredulous laugh. "It seems to me ludicrous that television spends so much time and so much money carefully colonizing my mind. But it is my mind."

Lim can't help but speak her mind, she says. And she's one voice in a growing chorus of fans who've discovered they can talk back to their television shows.