We’ve all been there. When talking to another nerd, you express an opinion that is outside of the mainstream–maybe you think Sisqo was the best Startfleet captain. Or you play Magic: The Gathering nightly, still. Whatever. And this other nerd looks at you like you’ve just said you’re against Miles Morales being in the next Spider-Man movie and backs away slowly. I’m not talking about friendly disagreements like we have here (see the Ian Khadan vs Omar Holmon throwdown on their favorite years for an example), I’m talking about the other nerd, then, actively disrespecting your opinion and trying to shame you into changing it, or at least recanting. “Oh, you don’t like [that thing]? Well everyone else likes it! You should just try it.” Look. If I based my opinions on what everyone else liked, well, I wouldn’t be a nerd, now would I?
The truth of it is, we’re all “bad fans”. We’ve all got opinions that others don’t share, that’s why they call them “opinions”. So I figured I’d pull together a list of all the “bad fan” opinions I have and just out them here. That way none of y’all will be surprised later. And if this means we can’t be friends, and you won’t follow me on Twitter, here’s a shot for you:
I haven’t read Game of Thrones and don’t intend to. I’ve been burned by too many authors dragging out too many plots. My rule is: “The Master did it in 3.” “The Master” in that sentence being J.R.R. Tolkien. Lord of the Rings is perfect in 3 books. Sure, there’s plenty of other stuff I can read, but if I don’t want to I can walk away from LotR and be satisfied. If you can’t manage your plot in 3 books, then you don’t need my money; you need an editor.
I like remakes. Ghostbusters with women? I’m in. Robocop? Watched it. I think remakes are interesting and bring new perspectives to movies. I’m not saying I like them all. I am saying that I don’t immediately turn my nose up at them just for being what they are. I even like to watch remakes back to back with the original, so I can compare. Sacrilege, I know.
Steamfunk, I dig. But I don’t get Steampunk. It is all just a little too colonial for me. I know there are a lot of Black fans of Steampunk and they enjoy the hell out of it. And I like the idea of it. And I like dressing up funny, for sure. I just can’t bring myself to dress up in Victoriana and pretend that everything was hunky-dory in 1850 and I wish it had never ended. Because it wasn’t. And I’m glad it did.
I don’t watch Doctor Who. I’ve tried several episodes across the series under the urging (read that duress) of friends. Different Doctors, different Companions, the whole thing. And I love British TV. (Have you seen Hustle? OMG, Hustle!) But I just don’t understand what all the hubbub is about Doctor Who. It takes itself way too seriously. And sometimes, unexpectedly, it is scary. Other times almost a farce. I’m a simple person, I need my shows to be less split-personality. I do dig the bow tie though.
I think the biggest problem with the X-Men movies, ALL OF THEM, is Wolverine. The Wolverine of movies is over-acted, over-powered and over-done. Gone is the ordinary blue-collar-ness of the comic Wolverine — the guy who likes to get drunk and have fist fights for fun and profit. In his place is this maudlin, mope-about with an unrequited crush on the only red-head around. Wolverine in the comics isn’t my favorite character, and I definitely side-eye at the whole Wolvie/Storm romance, but he’s a real(ish) person in print, not always likable, but always himself. The movies have turned him into a teddy bear/everyman. Ugh.
To be clear, I’m giving no pressure to you if these are all your favorite things. These are popular properties that have millions of fans. I’m just not one of them.
“Bad Fandom” is said with my tongue firmly in my cheek. As fandom continues to take over mainstream pop culture, the time for gatekeeping “Good Fandom” and “Bad Fandom,” “Real Geek Girl” and “Fake Geek Girl,” etc., has to go into the rearview mirror. Wax on about what you love; a polite geek gives others the space to do the same. There are no “Bad Fans.” Except maybe people who don’t like Dancing Baby Groot. I mean, really, what are you, a Satanist or something?
So what about you? What things do you love, or hate, that other folks give you shade over? Hit the comments. Or the Twitter. Just don’t sit in your living room with the blinds closed because you dig something your friends don’t get. Today’s Bad Fandom is tomorrow’s brony. Just sayin’.