The Scourge of Fandom (or: The Entitled Nerd)
“Fans are the absolute best and worst parts of all fandom…”
Anyone that actually knows me… not you out there living your lives on the interwebz, but my actual friends, are familiar with that phrase since I’ve been uttering it ad nauseam for about 10 years now.
When did SO MANY nerds become such entitled, tantrum-throwing children?
My mind hops in the way-back machine when “Attack of the Clones” came out… my least favorite of ALL the Star Wars films… Yes! I griped about it incessantly with my friends. Yes! I thought the acting was terrible, the CGI (though groundbreaking at the time) was overwrought, and Anakin and Padme had all the chemistry of a sack of rocks… the movie happened, warts and all, and you know what I did about it when the dust settled? I filed it in its place in the saga and buckled up for the next one!
That is the way a fandom is meant to, and should, operate.
Nowadays if something doesn’t live up to the lofty expectations we’ve built up in our heads, out pop the change.org petitions, calls for reshoots / boycotts, or the worst: Harassing the actors on social media because you didn’t like the character they played. Whatever happened to just enjoying the ride, OR, just getting irritated with it, and moving on with your life? And how DARE you attack someone for performing a role? (I mean, probably NOT you directly, but you get the point). What gives YOU (there I go again) the right? Who are YOU?
Newsflash: Just like me, YOU ARE NO ONE.
Social Media has given a voice (good, bad, or indifferent) to everyone whether they should have it or not and it has become a tiring exercise in idiocy. Whether it’s Doctor Who regenerating into a female; Jon Snow not saying farewell to his Direwolf; Captain America passing his shield over to Falcon; LGBTQ characters FINALLY getting representation; Rey being a ‘Mary Sue’ due to her lack of training with The Force (because, you know, Luke was SO well trained); or the character of Rose Tico simply existing, some small minded man-child will take it upon himself and not see the world past his itty-bitty nose. And I say man-child, because nine times out of ten, it is some guy in his basement making an idiot out of himself on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, WHATEVER… Seriously folks, just look at ‘Comicsgate’… that is some ridiculous shit right there.
I get being passionate about whatever your thing may be, but you do not own these properties, and there are more people out there that love this stuff than just your average white male. "Forced Diversity" is not a thing... the world is diverse, and nerddom should refelct that. No one is trying to enforce their beliefs on you, Mr. Internet Rando… believe it or not: Other races, genders, orientations exist out there… look out your front door, you may meet someone that happens to be pretty rad that doesn’t look or sound like you. Amazing, isn’t it?
With all of that being said, I also believe that without the fan of the ‘insert random nerd property here,’ nerd culture would not exist. Star Wars would’ve died in theaters; Star Trek would have never made it past season 1 in 1966; The Lord of the Rings would have languished in your local library (remember those?) leaving both George R. R. Martin and Led Zeppelin without the necessary inspiration to write their masterworks.
So, what can be done about this nonsense? Probably nothing because of our culture. As stated before, we live in a seemingly unstoppable ‘social media’ fueled world where everyone is demanding their 15-minutes of fame.
BUT… but… what if those that were sick of the nonsense of the vocal minority joined social media groups that focused on positivity and constructive criticism? Groups that DID NOT add fuel to the fires by sharing the negativity and focused on the sheer awesomeness of living in this incredible time where the things we love, things that were once considered taboo, are now accepted and (should be) celebrated? SHARING THIS SHIT is what gives the vocal minority power. It adds fuel to their idiocy.
So I did just that. I removed myself from several social media groups and found a series of groups for people that aren’t dicks about their fandoms and guess what happened? The shouting on my social media wall disappeared! Now the only time I see something stupid is when a friend shares something with me and asks: “what do you think about this?” to which my response has over the last few months been: “You know, hadn’t heard about that… who cares?”
The thing about social media feeds is that YOU (yes YOU this time) have control over what you see. Are you tired of the bullshit? Change it! You don’t need to get into flame wars with some rando on the interwebz whose opinion DOESN’T MATTER. You love your thing. Why defend it to someone that doesn’t mater to you? There are real problems in the world out there. Fuck ‘em. Don't like my opinion, guess what? I don't care!
It's y'know, like, my opinion man.
This is truly an amazing time to be alive… CELEBRATE THIS SHIT.
*Scott's favorite super hero is Green Lantern so he understands disappointment in movies more than most.