Raftman Fandom


I have a particular interest in narratives about popular culture fandom. In part it’s for teaching, as I like to show films like High Fidelity and Almost Famous
that dramatize how fandom matters in people’s lives. But I also find them generally compelling when done well, as the dramatic power of the intense affective relationship that popular culture can have in someone’s life seems to resonate with me (hmmm – I wonder why?).

So I was quite pleased to discover “The Raftman’s Razor,” a short film about two teenage fans of the world’s oddest comic book, linked from Chris Dahlen’s blog. Dahlen has a longer profile of the filmmaker, Keith Bearden, and an account of the film’s genesis and festival circulation, but be sure to watch the video first.

The film’s concept is great, as the two fans search for meaning in unlikely places and face disappointment when the revelation doesn’t live up to the anticipation. But what gets me are the absurdist little production details – one kid wears a T-shirt with the word “Salt” on it, the random pictures on the classroom wall, the sombreros. It just creates a vibrant world unlike our own, but close enough to feel right. I hope you enjoy it too.

One Response to “Raftman Fandom”

  1. Really liked that one. But if you’re disappointed by the ending of a narrative, or if you come to believe that the author was just screwing with you, can you go back to your original interpretation or original feeling that were evoked by the text the first time you experienced it? Sometimes, I feel almost shameful about trying to do that, like I’m shrinking from the “reality” of the text, reverting back to some naive, childlike way of looking at the world b/c i can’t face the fact that the story (or the author) wasn’t what i thought it was. But when i think about the ideal story experience as a temporary state that is co-authored by the audience and the authors (as this short film seems to be saying it is), then i feel better about it. Maybe we have to be temporarily ignorant of the intentions of the author as well as the conclusion of the story in order to get lost in a good story, which is part of the reason I can’t get truly “lost” in Lost – the constant presences of Lindlof and Cuse.

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