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Defiant Programming: The Culture of Easter Eggs and its Fandom
Unformatted Document Text:  21 When it comes to popular culture, we all "roll our own." We cobble together a personal mythology of symbols, images, and stories that we have adopted from the raw materials given us by the mass media, and we invest in those symbols and stories meanings that are personal to us or that reflect our shared experiences as part of one or another subcultural community (Jenkins, 1999). Both Fiske and Jenkins place the consumer in a more empowered position, in which it is his/her engagement with commodity that creates culture and pleasure. It is through this process, then that the line between consumer and producer is blurred. This is particularly true in the case of Easter egg fandom. Some of the fans are programmers themselves. Likewise, many programmers visit the Easter egg websites to share and exchange information. Obviously, most eggs might never be discovered, unless the programmer shares with others the extremely complex series of actions which must take place to reveal it. The fans especially enjoy the more humorous or provocative Eggs, which undermine the legitimacy of the corporation which markets it, or those which defy the inner logic of a program, such as the one which causes Lara Croft to turn into a dragon. In short: these fans “get the joke”. They share the programmers’ defiant pleasure in the act of resistance within the corporate limitations. In addition, the practices of the technocratic boy culture can be found on these websites as well (I have no data on the percentage of women who participate in these groups), as can be concluded from the various discussion threads dedicated to video games, science fiction and fantasy. I am not arguing, however, that Easter egg online fandom is a true community, or even a “real” virtual community. Baym argues that virtual fan communities, such as r.a.t.s, possesses many of the traditional characteristic associated with “real” communities: strong and weak ties between members, social engagement, cultural

Authors: Temkin, Einat.
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21
When it comes to popular culture, we all "roll our own." We cobble together
a personal mythology of symbols, images, and stories that we have adopted
from the raw materials given us by the mass media, and we invest in those
symbols and stories meanings that are personal to us or that reflect our shared
experiences as part of one or another subcultural community (Jenkins, 1999).
Both Fiske and Jenkins place the consumer in a more empowered position, in
which it is his/her engagement with commodity that creates culture and pleasure. It is
through this process, then that the line between consumer and producer is blurred. This is
particularly true in the case of Easter egg fandom. Some of the fans are programmers
themselves. Likewise, many programmers visit the Easter egg websites to share and
exchange information. Obviously, most eggs might never be discovered, unless the
programmer shares with others the extremely complex series of actions which must take
place to reveal it. The fans especially enjoy the more humorous or provocative Eggs,
which undermine the legitimacy of the corporation which markets it, or those which defy
the inner logic of a program, such as the one which causes Lara Croft to turn into a
dragon. In short: these fans “get the joke”. They share the programmers’ defiant pleasure
in the act of resistance within the corporate limitations. In addition, the practices of the
technocratic boy culture can be found on these websites as well (I have no data on the
percentage of women who participate in these groups), as can be concluded from the
various discussion threads dedicated to video games, science fiction and fantasy.
I am not arguing, however, that Easter egg online fandom is a true community, or
even a “real” virtual community. Baym argues that virtual fan communities, such as
r.a.t.s, possesses many of the traditional characteristic associated with “real”
communities: strong and weak ties between members, social engagement, cultural


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