Well, Kelly, I hope you do a better job on your thesis than you did on this essay. I had some serious problems with this essay — not with its ideas, which were, well, familiar, but with the way they were presented. Really, her ideas about internet fandom are sort of old hat, and the only original thing here was her metaphor, that if fandom is like a body, then fan fiction is its STOMACH. Even at its relatively brief length, this essay was the very definition of a (WEAK) analogy taken WAY too far.
In some ways, I think Rowlett might have been watching too much Xena, because her cheesy writing is perfectly suited to describing Xena’s ridiculous, over-the-top cheesiness. There are headings like “A Stomach Totem” and “A Stomach of One’s Own”, and we were treated to PRICELESS sentences like this: “Unlike the phyiscal stomach, but with the persistence of the flesh, fanfic devours its own components, and yet, the writers live to tell the tale.” There’s a problem with your metaphorical writing when it’s commenting on NOTHING EXCEPT THE METAPHOR ITSELF. At the end, she even asks: “Do metaphors of the organic incorrectly ascribe a connectness to human processes?” I think you’re on to something there, OL BUDDY!!! I fully agree with her assertion that high culture elitist and Marxist cultural critics have little respect for the intelligence and agency of the fan/”consumer”, but again, this isn’t really breaking news. Basically I spent a lot of time laughing out loud at the silliness of Rowlett’s writing while reading this essay.