In Defense Of Fandom
Fandom has come under fire recently, the majority of which focuses on the over the top nature of many communities and fans. We at Reupp want to take a step back and defend the fandom community, because we believe it is fundamentally misunderstood.
Passion is good
Fandoms, it goes without saying, come from passionate fans. Passionate fans are the ones who keep struggling stories alive so they can find their stride. They keep tv shows with low ratings going until they find their audience. They hold up examples of movies that didn’t do very well at the box office as misunderstood, allowed for a delayed success in rental and streaming services.
Fan comes from fanatic, and we’re here to defend the fanatics. Passion is almost always seen as a positive thing. We’re told to be passionate about the work we do, the things we study. But why not the stories were hear and see? Stories are a basic form of communication that allows us to feel and experience other people, and when we truly connect with one, it expands our perspective and knowledge of our world.
We find more good in the acts and deeds of protagonists from our favorite stories than we often do in our real life relationships.
Why All The Hate?
So when we get dressed up like our favorite characters, stand in line to see a midnight screening of our favorite movies, and go to conventions to find and converse with out passionate people like ourselves, why are we criticized?
We want our characters to live on forever, we don’t want the story to end. We find more good in the acts and deeds of our favorite protagonists than we often do in our real life relationships. Why is this fantasy looked down upon? People often hold up real world examples of characters that act selfishly, and do harm to others. Not only do they not have any consequences for their real life harm, but they are celebrated in deceptive and untrue ways. People who live lies are often more accepted the people who prefer a good fantasy to a harsh reality.
Perhaps there is a jealousy of non-fans, an inability to connect with something greater and have that connection improve their lives for the better. Religion is another storytelling mechanism that greatly influences people. Most of this influence is good, but some leads to real world violence. Yet dressing up and meeting with religious followers is seen as a virtue, whereas connecting with a fictional story, with different characters, is seen as silly or rude.
Fandom Speaks Truth To Power
Lets face it, producers of stories aren’t always the most grounded people. When you have the gift of storytelling, you often times think your opinion is the only one that matters. Even in a small scale, collaboration does wonders for creativity. One example of this was the original Star Wars movies, where George Lukas was flanked on both sides by writers, directors, producers, that were not afraid to give their input and and guide the production of the films. The new Star Wars “prequels” had only one creative source, and we all saw how that ended up.
Fandom is the key to keeping storytellers grounded, in an environment where everyone else is too scared to speak up. Fans have other allegiance than to the story, while this doesn't mean we are always right, it does ensure our motives are in the right place.
Yes, We’ve Always Been This Way
Given some of the reactions to fandom, you’d think we all just came out of nowhere. We have always been here, and we have always been this crazy. The internet may be shinning more of a light on a couple of our..stranger communities, but this is who we are. The passion, the strong words, the infighting, a lot of times it’s not a pretty site. But this is out outlet, this is how we communicate our passions to each other and the outside world.
Us lovers of fandom are a special bunch, but who isn’t a little strange these days? Our stories are not the official ones, but they mean just as much to us as they do to you. We celebrate the influence our stories have on our lives, just as you do. We are not asking for churches, or tax except status, only the respect you would offer to throughs who follow a different story than you do. And look at the weirder members of our communities with a little tolorance, as we do with you. :)