The trouble-side of fandom

Yes, this is a One Hundred Days of Blogging post. I’m trying to not tack that onto all of the titles (a little late into the game for that, I know). It may spark some rage towards me, but I’m willing to take that risk in this case.

The good: I had an excellent time seeing Guardians of the Galaxy for a second time, but this time with Jason at Hollywood Blvd. What an awesome theater/restaurant/whatever. Such a great movie, paired with terrific food, made for an excellent time all around. Oh, and there’s the good company I had, too, I guess. I should probably mention that as well.

The bad (which I will keep brief so I don’t get scolded for letting this roll around in my brain): Some ass-jackal swiped my debit card info and treated themselves to about $150 in purchases at Target. I hope, in some special kind of karmic justice, those purchases maim the person/people who made them. You pieces of shit.

Fortunately for everyone, this post has nothing to do with the volume of food I had tonight, nor does it have to do with the shit-eating troll-pukes who took some of my money (I’m sorry, folks, but my blood is molten lava right now and I am trying to suppress my inner rage-monster by using all the hyphenated phrases). This is about fandom, and it’s a tricky topic to say the least.

Day Forty-Nine – The trouble-side of fandom mentalities

I, like many other people, love a lot of different things. Shows like Doctor Who, an abundance of video games, and so on. I just enjoy a lot of things, and it’s made even better by knowing there are communities for all of those things, and they are filled with people who share my interests. Hooray! There are a good few people to many of those fandoms who are very good at turning people away with rude, perhaps even elitist, behavior, and that’s something I find vexing.

This isn’t just a topic I pulled out of the air, though. The premiere of Doctor Who, and some issues of when it’s okay to post spoilers versus when it isn’t, really brought this back to focus for me. It’s The Doctor, not Doctor Who. Unless you watched the classic era episodes, in which case the actor is listed as Doctor Who. God help you if you say Dr. Who, by the way, because you’ll end up skinned and put up for display like the Lady Cassandra.  Above all else, it’s important to remember that fandom is an entirely serious, very important thing that cannot be a vehicle for having an enjoyable time. Never.

My issue with this, and it’s not exclusive to Doctor Who by any means, is that I have talked to people who won’t give a show, a game, or something else a chance because the people who are so fanatically in love with it also turn away or insult newcomers to their thing. If you love a show like Doctor Who, don’t treat it like it’s some part of your dragon’s hoard.

But why not? Here’s the very serious side of scaring potential viewers, readers, gamers, and so on away from something they could have enjoyed, and I obviously may not be entirely correct here. By pushing away new members of a community before they can even engage, you’re losing numbers needed to keep something going. Old fans can, and sometimes do, go away with time and changes. Spoilers: no matter how much a group of people loves something, it will go away if the audience dwindles enough. By scaring away new people by behaving like superior beings (get off of your pedestals, people), some members of fan communities are helping bring about the slow demise of the very thing they love.

There’s a lot to be said of the negative side of this, but I’d prefer to focus on the positive here instead. The room to make things right. It’s where my personal mantra, and the community-growing mindset of events like Intervention, comes into play. Spread awesome and be kind. Even if it bristles you that people say Dr. Who instead of Doctor Who, just be kind. Each and every fan has the capacity to be the person who helps someone else enjoy what they do, and become part of a new community. Fandoms shouldn’t be these exclusive, restricted admittance sorts of things.

Essentially, don’t be an asshole. If you love something, and new people want to enjoy that thing, you should be the kind of person whose eyes light up when the opportunity to extol your passion’s virtues. Don’t be the person who says how others aren’t as much of a fan as you are. Those are the worst sorts of people, and they’re part of why so many people have such negative shit to say about the major TV shows, movies, comics, etc. Related: accusing people of being a fake geek guy (or, far more common, fake geek girl) just proves you’re a great big bag of excrement. Don’t.

To close on a more positive note: I hope all the other Whovians out there enjoyed the series 8 premiere as much as I did.

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3 thoughts on “The trouble-side of fandom

  1. Target and stolen debit-card info so together like pop-tarts and my stomach. Which means, uh, that there’s frequent interaction. I hope you called your bank and so on. I never shop with my debit card for this reason.

    I’ve run into elitism as a horror fan, mostly in the form of people believing you are a phony if you like films that anyone actually heard of. Essentially, anything made in the US or Europe is too maintstream, even if it played at one drive-in in 1972 and has been lost since. It either has to be Asian or South American, lack subtitles, and not be in focus or professionally lit for it to qualify as a “real” horror movie. Luckily, I don’t mind telling people to go f- themselves, which has made some of my message-board interactions more satisfying while at the same time harming me professionally.

    As for calling the Doctor “Doctor Who,” it cracks me up when fans get elitist about that. The show is called “Doctor Who.” Who do they think “Who” is? The producers of the show named the show after the main character. Whether you call him The Doctor (which I do) or Doctor Who, he’s Doctor Who. Peter Capaldi calls his own character “Doctor Who.” So some fanboy knows better than the star of the show?

    My online encounters with hostile DW fans usually involve them trashing their allegedly favorite show, hating the characters, and despising Steven Moffat with all their hearts and souls. Why they continue to watch such an awful program and then bitch about it at length afterwards is beyond me.

    • WordPress for Android just ate my almost-complete reply. I am not amused.

      Anyway, for the sake of fairness, it’s always that one group of assholes from a fandom who really ruin it. I’ve noticed it is a common problem with shows like Supernatural as well. Doctor Who fan pages seem especially toxic on Facebook. People should just shut the Hell up and enjoy shared interests in peace.

      Related: I always look forward to your comments. Don’t let that go to your head or anything.

      Debit card hijinks have been resolved for now. Mostly just frustrated and disgusted with people.

      My phone really wanted to say bikinis instead of hijinks

    • Also, in regards to the last bit: some people will never be happy with something. I think Moffat has done well. Otherwise I imagine he’d have been politely, in a very British fashion, ask-told to leave.

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