Charlie is so ‘English’-like: nationality and the branded celebrity person in the age of YouTube

Charlie is so ‘English’-like: nationality and the branded celebrity person in the age of YouTube

The YouTube celebrity is a novel social phenomenon. YouTube celebrities have implications for the social and cultural study of celebrity more generally, but in order to illustrate the features of vlogging celebrity and its wider dimensions this article focuses upon one case study – Charlie McDonnell and his video ‘How to be English’. The premise of YouTube – ‘Broadcast yourself’ – begs the question ‘but what self?’. The article argues that the YouTube celebrity is able to construct a celebrity persona by appealing to aspects of identity, such as nationality, and using them as a mask(s) to perform with. By situating Charlie’s ‘How to be English’ in the context of establishing celebrity, the article argues that the processes of celebrification and ‘self-branding’ utilise the power of identity myths to help assist the construction of a celebrity persona. Use of masks and myths allows for one to develop various aspects of their persona into personas. One such persona for Charlie is his ‘Englishness’. As the social experience of ‘Broadcasting yourself’ necessarily asks one to turn ordinary aspects of their person into extra-ordinary qualities, Charlie’s use of Englishness allows ‘being English’ to become a mythological device to overcome the problem of ‘self-promotion’.


– Daniel Smith.

Forms of time and space in the Harry Potter universe: Or, the chronological impulse in fan communities

Daniel R. Smith

Harry Potter chronology… why?

After searching through a substantial amount of fan material on Harry Potter on various fan websites, I have found myself fascinated by the dedication of this community to develop an elaborate and well worked through chronology. Why do they do this? The dating of the Harry Potter series and the events covered, alluded to and existing outside the novels goes well beyond the necessity of being a ‘reader’ of the series. Just by way of example, the timeline on the Harry Potter Wiki site tells me that in 2785 boxes of Sugared Butterfly Wings at Honeydukes Sweetshop will go off for they were spotted in behind the scenes footage of the film version of Prisoner of Azkaban, whose events took place in 1993. It is not necessary to know this to ‘understand’ the story of Harry Potter, neither is it relevant to any other details of the narrative beyond the central storyline. The obsessive aspect of fan culture requires explanation; it simply cannot be understood from content alone, neither does a commitment to the series explain it. What is the power of the chronological impulse for a Potter fan? Continue reading