Thursday, May 5, 2016

The High-School-Ization of Fandom

Well, not so much of a rant, as a "Get Off My Lawn"
In the show that came out this past Tuesday, Trentus Magnus & Michael Bailey were talking, in part, about the High-School-Ization of Fandom. What Magnus said was that High School was the last time you were expected to be good at everything (ie all of your classes) and that fandom had become where you now must like every aspect of geekdom, be it movies, TV, the original comics, etc, or you can't call yourself a fan.

While that's a perfectly valid way to look at it, I have a different take on that phrase. Something I've noticed a lot more in the age of "internet anonymity" is more of the clique mindset, as many have seen in High School. What I mean by that is the "I think this is the best <insert medium> representation of <insert character> and if you don't agree, then you aren't really a fan of him/her!" attitude.

I might be odd (OK, I know I am, but stay with me) but I'm able to compartmentalize things. For example, where Superman in concerned, I can see the George Reeves version, the Christopher Reeve version, Tom Welling version, and the Henry Cavill version all* as valid ways to go with the character. I obviously like some more than others, but that's my prerogative. On top of that, I don't think any of them have to match 1:1 to the comics version, or any of the various carton versions.

Do I think someone that who likes Tom Welling but doesn't like Christopher Reeve is an idiot and "not a real fan"? Heck, no! It means that they're an individual and I respect their opinion. It affects me not at all, so there's no reason to get upset by it. If you're stuck in the High School mentality, though, where popularity is based on your public persona, and how much that matches the "cool" group, then you might just fall into the group think and start blasting people that dare to have their own tastes.

To those people, the one's that think their opinion is the only right and valid one, I say ... well, this is a family blog, so I can't really say it, but I think you get my meaning.

BTW, here's the link for the episode in question. Worth a listen, in my opinion.

* I didn't include Brandon Routh in the list because he's, essentially, playing the Christopher Reeve version and not his own.

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  1. I made that observation in passing but based on how people have reacted to it, I wish I'd articulated it a bit more. You understood it exactly as intended but a lot of listeners were expecting something else.

    I rather admire your holistic, tolerant approach. I think we'd all do well to remember that while we have our fandoms in common (or maybe just fandom as an abstract concept), the philosophies and values that motivate our individual fandoms will inevitably be different from everyone else. A little bit of live and let live from everyone would go a long way.

  2. I don't know if it's me being tolerant or my "I don't give a damn" sub-routine kicking in, but I agree that we need more "live & let live" in our community. :)