The fandom menace

Posted on 05 November 2015 by admin

Why fanbase entitlement has to stop

Staff Writer

When it comes to fans of sci-fi, fantasy, anime and comic book superhero fiction, there is no question that their passion runs very deeply.  They debate over which character would win in a fight or discuss their favorite stories within the lore; they even talk about the themes and philosophical messages within the stories.

Sometimes, however, it seems as these franchises only attract negativity.

Fans will demolish and insult one another because one of them enjoys a movie or episode that the rest of the fandom perceives as worthless. Fans will even attack either the creators or distributors of the work entirely, claiming that they ruined their childhood or that they ruined the work as a whole, while looking down on the more appreciative fans as either idiots or liars.

How do they expect to think of themselves as fans when most of their involvement in a particular franchise is spent on petty and putrid insults and complaints?

The “Star Wars” fandom is an incredibly infamous example of a heavily divided fan base. In one corner there stands the original trilogy fanboys; these are the self-entitled purists and elitists who will not stop criticizing the changes in the newer additions. From scathing Internet reviews that do nothing but nitpick everything or complain ceaselessly, to calling fans of the prequel trilogy sheep or pretenders.  In the other corner, there stand the prequel supporters, who see the movies as one whole saga.

The issue, however, is not that some people were disappointed with the prequels or that some people love Jar Jar Binks.

Rather, it has to do with the fans’ attitudes.  Their constant need to have the last word in any argument and rant on message boards about George Lucas and the Prequels has driven fans of the Saga away in disgust.

With the fanboys’ constant complaining and criticism, who can blame them?

Who needs to be told what they should or should not be a fan of?  Even after 16 years, people are still angry at George Lucas for creating Jar Jar Binks.

Anime purists and elitists seem to be no better than “Star Wars” elitists when it comes to their senses of entitlement. They demand that anime be presented in its most original form possible, without dubs or edits.

Their attitudes towards the original two dubs of “Sailor Moon” are a great example of their profound senses of entitlement.

The original two dubs of the anime that were done by DiC and Cloverway made many changes to the original work, from name changes, removing certain episodes, and even changing the relationship of Haruka and Michiru (Amara and Michele in the dub) from lesbian lovers into cousins.

Some were enraged by this change, so much so that they called the people who worked at Cloverway homophobic; however, since American broadcast standards are very different from Japanese ones, the change had to be made simply to make sure it would be broadcasted.

More than anything, Cloverway and DiC were trying to avoid controversy and make the show family-friendly. They did not make the decision because they were repulsed by the idea of a lesbian couple.

It is this profound sense of entitlement that cripples fan bases and turns them into hostile environments. It only leads to petty arguing and it only gets worse from there.

If fans do not feel comfortable in their own fandom, and if they feel shunned by said fandom as a whole simply because of their differing opinions, how can we expect them not to feel ashamed of calling themselves fans of anything – be it a movie series, an anime, a TV show or a rock band? Why would anyone feel comfortable in any environment where insults and humiliation are the norm, be it online or anywhere?

Self-entitled purists and elitist fans have to understand and respect the fact that not everyone is going to agree with them on their favorite characters or series. They also have to restrict the impulse to think of those who do disagree as morons or pretenders.  Moreover, they simply need to know three very important things.

First of all, it does not simply belong to you. Regardless of what you are a fan of, it is for anyone to enjoy. Your memories of it belong to you, but the material itself belongs to the rightful owners.

Secondly, art and business go hand-in-hand.  Forget about all of your preaching and ranting that art and business are not mutually exclusive. Studios and companies are all willing to make money by any means.  They do not owe you anything.

Finally, your opinions are not to be shoved down someone’s throat.

By trying to convince others that your thoughts and opinions are more important than the writers, creators and distributors, you are forcing others to follow your beliefs.  You and no one else in the entire world have that right.

There are no rules when it comes to how to enjoy anything. There are no rules when it comes to who should or should not be a fan of anything.  Overall, there are no rules regarding what you can or cannot be a fan of.


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