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Genuinely Fake: When Fans Make Parodies That Mean Something

(I’m going to go on a tangent about Star Trek. Bear with me.)

There’s been a complaint, recently, about the new Star Trek series, Star Trek: Discovery. Actually, there have been a lot of complaints, but one of the real head-scratchers has been that The Orville, the parody TV show created by Seth McFarlane, feels more “Star Trek” than Discovery. While Discovery is certainly a departure from the usual Trek formula, it seems…a bit much, to decide that the parody is the more “real” creation.

photosets

Photosets: How fans are using Photoshop and screenshots to create a new art form on Tumblr

There’s a unique art form that blossomed on a unique social platform, spurred by the unique way fandom democratizes art. Photosets, edits, or photomanips–they go by all those names, and yet many other things do, too–rose as a way for fandom to express itself beyond the bounds of fanart or fanfiction, and the aesthetic sensibilities that have risen from them have had wide-ranging implications on fandom on Tumblr.