In Defense of Fandoms
I’ve been called out several times over about how frustrating it is that I can’t just like something and leave it be. That I’ve crossed the line from appreciation towards obsession several times over, and that to pore over something thoroughly is not the same as adoring it abusively. I’ve had a long talk about it with my condiment bottles (don’t ask), and I have this to say:
It’s absolutely fine to have a spectrum of appreciation that delves into the disturbing sometimes. I think everybody has the potential to think this way, most just don’t let themselves because there’s an unspoken rule that says anybody who does is clearly insane. And those who do convene because people who understand feeling strongly about the same things happen to be a rarity.
And the moment they do, something brilliant happens: a new culture forms. A new culture bred out of a person’s work sparking something in people, ideas begetting further ideas, forging relationships, and creating a new zest for life, activity, and creativity.
I usually delve into a fandom after falling in love with something for the shallowest of reasons, at first. But then, how can you possibly not start seeing the real world better after loving something so intensely?
- My first love that got me into fandom was Heroes, and I fell in love with it because I thought the contrast between the two primarily popular heroes was portrayed absolutely perfectly. Hiro Nakamura and Peter Petrelli both took the initiative to try to save the world, Hiro out of a sense of duty — with great power comes great responsibility — and Peter out of a quest of self-discovery, and finding a purpose in life.
- Afterwards, that show introduced me to what would be my next, and most long-term love: Doctor Who. I learned that even the most godlike of creatures, who believed in people and taught that even the most ordinary of people have the potential to be fantastic. Also that things are best seen with a fresh perspective.
- Doctor Who then introduced me to Sherlock Holmes. Oh, what a love affair that’s been ever since. I’ve gained a newfound confidence while learning to be humble, learnt to ask better questions and seek out more facts, find how to better my friends and how they can better me, among other things.
And this is only my personal, isolated experience of it. Once you find people who feel the same way, things change. People who appreciate the creative process and try to recreate it, themselves, who see the value of layers and layers of content, and how much heart and effort was put into all of it. I really do mean it when I say I wouldn’t be half as confident as I am today without the Sherlockians, or the fandom experience as a whole.
And the thing is, it is so difficult to find that in other people these days. Many of us have become so nonchalant, being bombarded with so much information and being asked to pay attention to so many needless things that it’s become so easy to get disenchanted with the creative world, because the things that are remiss tend to be oversaturated and mass-fed to the public without knowing they’re gorging on insubstantial stuff. Kind of like wonderbread.
So yes, I do love being an irrationally exuberant fan. I love how it gives me confidence and makes me learn to appreciate things better. I’ve learned to only be critical for the right reasons, and to seek value in all things. I’ve seen how people, given the right material to channel energy from, have the potential to be amazing. I’ve seen how different people can have different motives towards the same goal, and how those motives reflect different cultures and reveal essential similarities and difference that help to understand people better.
And most importantly, I’ve learned about the power of imagination, and how ideas can bring people of different cultures together and make their lives all the richer.
And if you have a problem with that, you can suck it.
LOL I CRACK MYSELF UP
I can always dream