chapter  5
Scribbling in the Margins: Fan Readers/Fan Writers
Pages 35

This scene contrasts sharply with the passivity and alienation Michel de Certeau evokes in the passage that begins this chapter. If de Certeau raises the possibility that readers of literary works may become writers (if only by scribbling in the margins, underlining key passages, etc.), he maintains little such hope for the viewers of television. Broadcast technology resists popular colonization; the concentration of economic power and cultural production seems so immense that there are much more limited opportunities for viewers to directly intervene in the production process. No longer a writer, the television viewer becomes “pure receiver,” the perfect counter-part to the broadcaster, the ideal consumer of advertised

goods. De Certeau’s belief in the powers of textual poachers stumbles here against his anxieties about the powers of the broadcasting industry and the general bias against technology within his account: “The reader’s increased autonomy does not protect him, for the media extend their power over his imagination, that is, over everything he lets emerge from himself into the nets of the text-his fears, his dreams” (De Certeau 1984, 176). De Certeau again displays his concern about the ideological implications of the viewer’s “surrendered intimacy,” the fan’s emotional proximity to the text. De Certeau fears that the reader may be drawn too close to the television screen, may submit too fully to its fascinations to be able to extract a personal vision from its compelling images.