217: Get a Life

Get a Life

Star Trek gave us phasers, warp drives and a host of alien cultures. But its most enduring legacy might be the image of Trekkies themselves. Colin Rowsell discusses the toxic influence that hardcore fans can have on their beloved entertainment property.

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I don't think I quite understood this article. To me, the writer never quite articulated what "angery fandom" is and how it differs from just fandom.

I concur.
My thoughts at the end were a distinct "what the..?"

I agree "the obbession became the obbession itself" is a perfect discription of this type of fandom.

Only, are you sure that you haven't become too obbessed with obbessing about fans who obbess about obbessing?

I particluar liked what Abrams said to Trekkie fans: Don't watch the movie, You won't like it. Just get angry.

I agree that the author is a little unclear in defining Angry Fandom(I just call it fanboi-ism). However, I think I have the general idea of where he is going or trying to go with this. If I am understanding correctly, the Angry Fan or fanboi over-obsesses about something because he just doesn't have anything else going on in his life.

In my own take on the subject, the anger comes because the fanboi builds an ideal of perfect, utopian bliss with the expectation that this is achievable only through the thing over which he obsesses. Further yet, because he is seeking to obtain a perfect utopia for himself, he is uncompromising of how his ideal should be realized. He is so personally vested in the object achieving his utopia, he becomes obsessed with even the most minor detail that causes him discomfort, inconvenience, distress, or unhappiness. As a consequence, any suggestion that his spring of utopia may be less than perfect is met with the greatest of fury and dissent.

Unfortunately, reality comes into view (damnable reality) and disrupts this idyllic image(basically revealing that the object of obsession is not so perfect), and the fanboi is not able to cope with this prospect because his entire life's happiness is dependent upon the ideal being true. Suddenly, the fanboi is forced to compromise his utopia and thus lose it. In truth, having utopia ripped away would make anyone extremely unhappy and malcontent; however, the difference that I am implying here is that losing a real utopia is much different from losing an idealized one that didn't exist in the first place.

The fanboi, basically, has not developed the emotional maturity to realize that nothing is perfect, and happiness is only what you make of it. No external thing can bring happiness and contentment; this is something that only comes from within through much soul-searching and personal reflection. The is nothing wrong with being enthusiastic over something or deeply involved in a given activity; but there needs to be a balanced mindset that tempers one's expectations and perspective and does not lend undeserved importance to any one thing. Life is a journey; enjoy the ride in all its variety and don't be in such a hurry to get to the destination, if there is one.

This is my opinion.

geizr:
I agree that the author is a little unclear in defining Angry Fandom(I just call it fanboi-ism). However, I think I have the general idea of where he is going or trying to go with this. If I am understanding correctly, the Angry Fan or fanboi over-obsesses about something because he just doesn't have anything else going on in his life.

In my own take on the subject, the anger comes because the fanboi builds an ideal of perfect, utopian bliss with the expectation that this is achievable only through the thing over which he obsesses. Further yet, because he is seeking to obtain a perfect utopia for himself, he is uncompromising of how his ideal should be realized. He is so personally vested in the object achieving his utopia, he becomes obsessed with even the most minor detail that causes him discomfort, inconvenience, distress, or unhappiness. As a consequence, any suggestion that his spring of utopia may be less than perfect is met with the greatest of fury and dissent.

Unfortunately, reality comes into view (damnable reality) and disrupts this idyllic image(basically revealing that the object of obsession is not so perfect), and the fanboi is not able to cope with this prospect because his entire life's happiness is dependent upon the ideal being true. Suddenly, the fanboi is forced to compromise his utopia and thus lose it. In truth, having utopia ripped away would make anyone extremely unhappy and malcontent; however, the difference that I am implying here is that losing a real utopia is much different from losing an idealized one that didn't exist in the first place.

The fanboi, basically, has not developed the emotional maturity to realize that nothing is perfect, and happiness is only what you make of it. No external thing can bring happiness and contentment; this is something that only comes from within through much soul-searching and personal reflection. The is nothing wrong with being enthusiastic over something or deeply involved in a given activity; but there needs to be a balanced mindset that tempers one's expectations and perspective and does not lend undeserved importance to any one thing. Life is a journey; enjoy the ride in all its variety and don't be in such a hurry to get to the destination, if there is one.

This is my opinion.

This made more sense then the article itself. Might just be me note reading it right but to you Mr. Geizr I tip my hat.

This article resonates of truth, if in a bit of a rambling way. makes me think of 4chan, though i think they are the dark side of the moon side of this phenomenon.

JakobBloch:

geizr:
Snip

This made more sense then the article itself. Might just be me note reading it right but to you Mr. Geizr I tip my hat.

I was just about to say this.

I completely agree with Mr. Roswell. It's not ill-defined what constitutes Angry Fandom, the key phrase is "Obsessed with the obsession" with "trample the things you love, and they'll never leave you" as a runner-up. It's like with the infatuation story, he was in love with being in love, he saw this perfectly ordinary person as the end-all-be-all of everything to do with adolescence. In the end, she was just a girl.

There's a line from the Masters of the Universe movie that encapsulates this concept as well, about how the wicked look upon what they can't have and see that as their destiny.

I've never encountered Browncoats, but I've met quite a few less-than-likeable X-Men fans, namely the ones who importuned "Where's Gambit?" for each of the three movies then weren't any less angry when he finally did show up in the Wolverine movie. I wanted to say to them, at the risk of being eaten alive, "Look, Gambit's just not that interesting a character. These movies are about people regretting their abilities and the problems that arise from having them. Gambit just doesn't fit into that category." The point is, they're overlooking the source material because they basically want to see a glorified cosplayer on the big screen.

It's fine to be a fan, but believing that just because you bought the ticket, book, toy, or adult halloween costume, you're somehow entitled to the direction that work takes is just pure delusion. Fans come after the fact; they're a reactionary phenomena, the effect and not the cause.

To quote another Escapist contributor, "Fans are clingy, complaining dipshits who will never ever be grateful for any concession you make. The sooner you shut out their shrill, tremulous voices, the happier you'll be."

Cheers, Colin

look at Halo's online universe, a Microsoft-fostered environment designed to give rabid children something to be rabid and childish about.

*monocle*
I say, old bean, that was hitting below the belt! I know of Halo's status as whipping boy in gaming is second only to the Madden American Football franchise, but this seems to be taking it a bit too far!

It died when Gene died.

Extremism is good, else you wallow in mediocrity.

Also: I've seen increasingly the question whether an entertainment medium should appeal to the casual audience "OR" the hardcore fans? This dualism will be our undoing. It should appeal to BOTH. If you have to pick one, the casual audience will get you the most money, and the hard core--who will be far more demanding--will get you the most glory IF you succeed. So producers tend to go with the easy money. But if you alienate one side, the effort usually ends up appealing to neither side.

Heh. the point the article makes is reasonable enough, though the writing could perhaps have been a little clearer.

I'm obsessive enough to know stupid details about star trek (mostly of a technical nature), but while I think it can be fun, I grew out of the truly 'obsessive' behaviour when I was... Ooh, 17 or so...

Still, you can't argue with an obsession that I've had for 14 years or so...

I mean, the quiz here was amuzingly easy. The only hard question was one relating to the 'real' world, as opposed to a fictional one.

Hehe, I can just imagine Yahtzee surrounded by browncoats, the physical embodiment of two of his most hated concepts (fandom and anything written by Joss Whedon). It would be like his own personal hell.

I agree that the article was a little more opaque than not, but I managed to get the gist of what Mr. Rowsell was trying to illustrate. My feelings could not have been put into words better than that which most eloquently given by geizr.

Despite Yatzee's feelings in the matter, it occurs to me that any form of media is driven most prominently by fans. While the casual audience is the mass market, and this is obviously the market that most producers or writers or whatever aim to appeal to, it is likely that anything that aims to appeal to everyone will eventually fade into obscurity. Star Trek was a show designed only to appeal to the niche market of hardcore sci-fi geeks, and I think that is the reason it has lasted this long. If it was supposed to be made for everyone, the majority of people would watch a couple of the shows, possibly comment politely on any political messages or whatever with friends, and then go and see what else is new. However fans are the sort of people who battle furiously with anyone to so much as suggest that sci-fi is anything but a passing craze.

I don't pretend to be an expert in the difference between media made for casual or hardcore audience; indeed, I am not a fan of Star Trek myself (Stargate was my first hardcore sci-fi obsession). But it's the fans that will still be dressing up and paying for as much memorabilia as they can get their sweaty little hands on 50 or so years down the track.

I didn't watch Serenity because I had never even heard of Firefly

asiepshtain:
I don't think I quite understood this article. To me, the writer never quite articulated what "angery fandom" is and how it differs from just fandom.

I'm not sure that was the point- I think it's more about how concentrating on 'core' Trek fans, as opposed to a wider market, has done it more harm than good.

In other words, it's another opinion piece on The Escapist with little more to say than 'core' gamers are rubbish and unimportant and 'casual' gamers are amazing and the only thing that matters, to go with the other seventy billion they've posted of late.

I mean, there's nothing wrong with pointing out that there's a vast, expanded market out there and it makes sense to prioritise it over the smaller market- especially a hyperobsessive one that some things that reach a certain critical mass of fans (Star Trek, videogames, football teams) manage to develop- but surely we've got the picture by now?

I think that posting this may well have made me one of them. Oh dear.

Fearzone:
Extremism is good, else you wallow in mediocrity.

What about the space in between?

Enough drive to actually get things done competently and honestly is always welcome. But to much of it and you do get the sort of fanatical fanboy that the dude in the article spoke about. And mediocrity is just the other end of the coin. Extremes rarely produce lasting outcomes.

Anyway, I liked the article. There's space on Escapist to reasonable rants, and as I am particularly interested in understanding about the nature of a fan, be it trekkies, sports fan or members of the personality cult, it was a cool read.

Ericb:
Enough drive to actually get things done competently and honestly is always welcome. But to much of it and you do get the sort of fanatical fanboy that the dude in the article spoke about. And mediocrity is just the other end of the coin.

Extreme mediocrity? Let me wrap my head around that...

I think rabid fandom is largely about people wanting to make a mark on something they really love, and thus become part of it. Needless to say this usually isn't possible. Thus if they can't somehow contribute to it, they want to tear it down. Either way they become more than just "another fan".

I think that's the essence of a lot of the more extreme behavior.

I didn't think the article was unclear at all. An interesting read.

Another facet of this is that internet culture means not only is it okay to be an Angry Fanboi, you can meet other Angry Fanbois to support your Anger and maintain the rage.

There's also a tribal element, an "us and them" mentality that leads to this sort of thing. If you feel you belong to a certain group, you fight for that group. And the less you're exposed to other views the more extreme views tend to get. So it feeds on itself.

I mean I love the Trek, but I wouldn't be a Trekkie, and the opinion of Trekkies that's held by people in general makes me hesitant to mention this. But I could definitely see that people could be pushed the other way by the same reaction. So that even when they're not being attacked they're on a constant defense. But I would resist the temptation to Trek is the archetype, surely politicians and political parties get that cake for this?

Fearzone:

Ericb:
Enough drive to actually get things done competently and honestly is always welcome. But to much of it and you do get the sort of fanatical fanboy that the dude in the article spoke about. And mediocrity is just the other end of the coin.

Extreme mediocrity? Let me wrap my head around that...

Yeah, dictionary-wise it doesn't make that much sense, I know. =P

But I always felt that calling something you produced "average" to be much lighter than "mediocre"... so yeah.

I think I'll turn this article into an object of obsession.

I know that if I delve deeply enough into its mysteries I will finally achieve that last kernel of satisfaction, a lasting euphoria that doesn't tire with time and constantly demand escalation of activity. I can be forever freed from spirituality, materialism, gaming, sex, philosophy, Yahtzee and all other false prophets. I think we've found the Real Thing here. Get a Life will bring salvation to the masses and if it doesn't it's because they are flawed. Maybe I can expound on it enough to change them and bring them to their senses! No one will ever need to watch another movie or TV show or play another game ever again!

Wait. Why do I still want to watch Star Trek?
stupid article.

I think this is an excellent article - obsession can be dangerous. Some people get so wrapped up in their hobbied and fandoms they forget why they originally liked whatever it is they are fans of.

I don't need the author to explain to me the difference between angry fandom and regular fandom because they are one and the same. It's like asking for an explanation between a person and an angry person.

Good work colin.

Interesting how genuine beliefs can get as I see it, lost in translation, when it reaches others isn't it? It can be anything, from small things like TV/games to larger things like ethics/religion, since the only requirements for it to happen are time and people.

Really I ain't so interested in wrapping my head too tightly around some things because my mind is a fickle one, blessing in disguise i suppose when it comes to this. Some take longer, World of Warcraft for 2 years being the example, but when its finally gone....its time to move on.

very good article. now i know i wasn't the only one raging about firefly cancellation. however i just moved one unlike the mailing campaign. oh well guess im not that extreme.

yeah....

All i could think about reading this article is that football fans and football hooliganism is pretty much the same thing, Constantly attired in your teams strip, constantly bitching about how they could manage the team better, and the more stupid football fan/jock will physically attack a fan of an opposing team.

The angry 'Fanboi' phenomenon didn't originate with Star Trek

Nineteen of the top-20 grossing films ever are sci-fi, fantasy or superhero related.

Eh? What? No, I don't think so.
http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime/world/

Especially if you do the inflation-adjusted list:
http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime/adjusted.htm

How is it that hating fanboys en mass has not been recognized as performing the actions of those you hate. In truth, fanboys are important because they're holding developers accountable for not following very basic established outlines of what they're supporting. Fanboys recognize when you do sloppy work, and call you on it, and for this they're attacked by society because they're 'nitpicking'.

Star Trek '09 is a perfect example of appealing to the mass moviegoers and destroying your established fanbase. It had great acting, some good graphics, and a very stupid and simplistic story. The real problem is that they destroyed everything that had previously been done in the franchise, and then tried to say "no, it's all fine. It's in a seperate reality!" when it's the Star Trek FANS who know how things work in that universe and understand that JJ Abrams is feeding you a big trough of horse poo. They were lazy, they didn't do their research or ask anybody, and went with a "good enough" script. They insinuated that we were idiots and didn't back up anything they did with any supportable facts from the series. If they had just "remade" it, people would not have been as up in arms! You could have made a decent villian, any actual mistakes in the movie could just be described as "this is how it is in the universe now", and any time line plot holes can be ignored with ease. I will never attack a group who will hold another accountable for mistakes when they're trying to make excuses / ignore them.

Colin Rowsell:
Get a Life

Star Trek gave us phasers, warp drives and a host of alien cultures. But its most enduring legacy might be the image of Trekkies themselves. Colin Rowsell discusses the toxic influence that hardcore fans can have on their beloved entertainment property.

Read Full Article

It might have something to do with everyone call us Communists when we express the desire to live in something like the Federation so we latched onto the minutae instead.

 

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