I write about disability inclusion, technology, music and pop culture, fandom and identity.
My independent scholarship on social media and fandom can be found at Google Scholar
Chronic Illness Truths: The Things We Don’t Say (2020)
The Good Life in Asia’s Digital 21st Century – co authored with Raizel Liebler (2016),
BitchFest: Ten Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages of Bitch Magazine (2006)
Recent Published Articles:
“Why Nonprofits Need a Values-Based Social Media Strategy” (Nonprofit Quarterly, April 2023)
Interrogating how legacy social media platforms and their harmful content policies impact nonprofit communications, organizing, and fundraising can lead us to prioritize equity and safety when moving to new platforms—or choosing to stay on existing ones.
“Finding My Way Back To Solitary Fandom” (Uncanny Magazine, July 2022)
Can an “extremely online” person enjoy pop culture alone these days?
It’s a challenge that I’ve posed to myself since the start of this year. After two+ years of relying on pop culture and social media as my way to connect to the world during lockdown, I needed a break from the 24/7 pop culture churn cycle.
“Genghis Tron reunite and shift gears on Dream Weapon” (Chicago Reader, March 2021)
In a 2020 filled with unwanted surprises, one bright spot was the unexpected reunion of experimental metal group Genghis Tron after a self-described “indefinite” hiatus. Dream Weapon, the New York-based band’s first album in 13 years, departs from the sound of their earlier records in a way that may startle the group’s patient fans, but it’s worth the wait.
“The ‘K-pop fans will save us’ narrative misses the bigger social justice picture” Prism (June 2020)
While the narrative of K-pop fans as social justice saviors is hopeful and even charming when viewed from those outside of K-pop fan communities, the lauding of K-pop activism that neglects this additional knowledge contributes to the erasure of Black fans’ longtime efforts as well as their harassment within these communities.
“Confessions of an Adjacent Geek”– (Uncanny Magazine, December 2019)
When I think about the current rules of engagement/consumption for fandom and what they’ve evolved into, I do sometimes wonder if there’s a room for the person I am now: a “lightly geeky,” casually interested fan with a history of being more highly engaged. It can feel disingenuous to be a “true-but-casual” fan, the kind of fan that drops in and checks out at one’s leisure, but still makes time to occasionally socialize and be present in public fandom spaces, but it especially stands out in spaces that make assumptions about the validity of your fandom and don’t necessarily make room for people like you in the first place.
The Empowered Stan (Fansplaining, September 2019)
We are currently in an online pop culture environment where this kind of behavior has been normalized. Celebrities and their social media management teams can both identify and communicate directly with Twitter fanbases, while also having the power to mobilize them against critique. That makes publicly expressing a critical opinion about an artist’s work more complicated than ever before.
Living, Working, and Fangirling with a Chronic Illness
Modern culture, particularly in the U.S., doesn’t socialize people to normalize chronic illness and disability. We’re taught to either push our way through illness or disability to not appear “disruptive” to others, or conversely we make illness or disability the focus of a person’s identity. One is either self–sufficient or totally helpless, always ill or a fighter who has “beaten” illness. There’s little room for what’s in between, which includes a lot of people living daily with chronic illness or disability.
Projecting a Spectacle – Candystations Deborah Johnson Creates Electrifying Concert Experiences
Working with a team of production designers, artists, and programmers, her approach is collaborative by nature, but never overly polished or “art by committee.” Instead, Johnson approaches her visual style as “the highest of the lo-fi, using these really sophisticated programming languages and tools — but it doesn’t look like Pixar; it looks like a child did it.”
In Memoriam: Frankie Knuckles, 1955-2014
“He was born in 1955 in The Bronx as Francis Nicholls, but in so many ways Frankie Knuckles belonged to Chicago.”
Sister Outsider Headbanger
(Bitch Magazine, 6/1/2001)
I’m not sure exactly when or how it happened, but at some point in my childhood I began to think I was a white guy trapped in the body of a black girl.