The Writers' Room

The Writers' Room
Where Do You Fall on the Fandom Spectrum?

Elizabeth Grunewald | 24 Jan 2011 18:25
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Browsing these forums provided heaps of material for my project, but a lot to mull over as well. Clearly, if someone "prays every night that Edward was real," she feels very strongly about this character, and the place he holds in her life, and heart, I suppose. The passion of the obsessive fan is a bit beyond my grasp, but it would be foolish to say this emotionally driven fan is any less legitimate than the intellectually driven one.

I consider myself a fan of many things. In the entryway to my apartment, there's a replica Dr. Who sonic screwdriver sitting in a dish with my car keys. From where I sit here at The Escapist, I can see my five Star Trek figurines, four Disney toys, a sassy Harley Quinn, and a big felt Kermit the Frog, carefully arranged on my desk. I wouldn't consider cosplay for any franchise of which I wasn't a fan, and I'm having a tough time narrowing down my costuming choices for any hypothetical conventions this year. That being said, I've never stopped by a Doctor Who forum, and haven't shelled out more than $20, probably, on any of my Star Trek memorabilia. I self-identify as a low-maintenance fan, but stacked up against one of these Twilight fans, or a discriminatory fanboy, I look like a veritable poser.

Are any of these fans more legitimate than any other? Does someone have a stronger claim to Doctor Who than I, due to their intense passion, or encyclopedic knowledge? We don't cherish our fandoms because we know everything about them, or because we're obsessed with them - it's the other way around. We learn and obsess because we cherish, we respond to our fandoms because they speak to us. Sure, you may be able to map out the Enterprise from memory, but you wouldn't have committed to learning the blueprints if something in that universe didn't burrow under your skin.
As long as we have a fandom to love, who cares what it is, or how much we know? If those Twihards are happy imagining Edward singing them to sleep every night, or what have you, let 'em. Similarly, I'll try not to bite your head off if you misquote early Simpsons episodes, or if you mix up your Muppet movies. After all, I let Joel Schumacher live after Phantom came out, didn't I?

No fans are better or worse than others. We can't force knowledge on anyone, nor can we prevent them from clumsily bursting in on our own treasured fandom. All we can do is control how we treat other fans, and strive to do that with grace and civility.

(Image, Image)

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