1. notleia says:

    It’s kind of awkward, because I’m totally a person who would make melodramatic jokes about someone who disagrees with me on a minor point of fandom to be a heathen.

    The more awkward part is using them in contexts where it’s a loaded word that people can use in earnest, like this website. So I don’t, but I think it’s a loss to the quality of humor possible.

    • Joking about it is perfectly fine, though, so long as there’s an obvious indication that there’s a joke. Or at least a willingness to immediately clarify that something is a joke if someone accidentally takes it too seriously.

  2. E.F.B. says:

    You and I are pretty much agreed on this one, Shannon. A fandom can mean the world for that lonely kid (or adult) who feels rejected by other groups, but is able to form lifelong friendships with people they never would have connected with if not through their favorite fandom. Or for the person going through terrible hardship, but the story they love, as well as their fandom friends, are able to distract and encourage them, and give them the strength to hold on just a little while longer. Or for the elderly father and adult son with a shared love for a story, and that story was able to provide them with times of laughter and bonding in the father’s last days when he was too weak to do anything else. These are all true scenarios that some of my friends from the fandoms I’m part of have experienced.

    Things like the above scenarios can be, in my opinion, a huge part of the reason we see fans arguing with and hurting each other (and sometimes celebrities) online. Part of the value of fandom comes from the things we associate with it. For the people I mentioned above, if they’re not careful to stay objective, a disparaging comment about their fandom could feel like an attack on those precious memories, experiences, and life lessons that they associate with the fandom, and therefore trigger a strong emotional response. It’s not an excuse for the terrible fights, but it is a reason. I could also talk about trolls (people with genuine personality disorders, not just people we call trolls because we don’t like what they say) causing fights, but that’s another topic entirely.

  3. Fandoms are great, people just need to be reasonable about it. Like, treat the author with the respect owed to another human being. Don’t act like it’s ‘ok’ to violate their copyright just because they’re ‘famous’ (because being a famous author makes people automatically assume the person is rich and will never struggle financially in the future). Behaving like that is basically punishing someone for being successful, whether that’s the intention or not.

    Aaaaand, just because a fan doesn’t like the way an author wrote a story, doesn’t mean the author is ‘bad’, a lazy writer, or that the author’s work should be rejected from the canon. It’s alright for someone to have their own ‘head canon’, or invent their own fan timeline for the sake of fanfiction. But don’t take it to the point if denying or rejecting the official canon of what the author wrote. Criticizing the author is perfectly fine, but there’s a difference between that and pretty much hijacking and denying the original author’s work. Like it or not, the canon story is still technically the author’s at the end of the day. Saying otherwise is basically spitting in the face of the person who worked hard to make the story the fans supposedly love.

    And then of course there’s how fans treat others in and out of the fandom. That’s probably more obvious, though. In some ways fans probably have a slightly easier time defending themselves, though. Like, authors have to be more afraid of coming off the like the bad guy if they stand up for themselves too much or (accidentally) in the wrong ways.

    • notleia says:

      See, I’m more party to the school of Death of the Author (don’t worry it’s just metaphorical death). Or at least I’m not afraid of cherry-picking my headcanon like the fruit just came ripe. Fandoms are supposed to be fun, and if the author is going to ruin my fun with terrible plots or colonialism (lookin’ at you, JK Rowling), I’m going to completely ignore it.

      Take Star Wars. Clone Wars is canon, most of the movies surrounding it I reduce to broad hints and specific scenes and the rest I refuse to accept as canon.

      • It doesn’t have to ‘ruin the fun’, though. Like, I have my own fanfiction timeline for what is practically my own Naruto novel series. It’s an AU in so many ways, and I personally have a LOT of complaints about the way the sequel anime series, Boruto, is going. But accepting Boruto as canon in no way interferes with the fun I have in the fandom. In some ways it’s actually a good thing, because if Boruto was perfect, it would be HARDER to write fanfiction about. Like…I don’t know how to explain it, but if a story is a complete masterpiece, it can sometimes be harder to explore/add to in fanfiction. So it’s not that the author’s authority as canon maker is bad, it’s just that fans have the wrong mindset.

        I think there were some aspects of Death of the Author that I agreed with, but for the most part, no. And even if a canon series is bad (poor Boruto, which I will keep picking on right now) there are still redeemable aspects to it. Like, worldbuilding and plot IDEAS that can be good fanfiction fuel, even if they weren’t executed well in canon.

        • notleia says:

          You could argue that fanfiction in of itself is taking part in the Death of the Author. We reject the word of god (TV Tropes version, as in: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WordOfGod) and substitute our own version that may or may not jive well with the established canon, but WE DO WHAT WE WANT AND THEY CAN’T STOP US MWAHAHAHAHAHHAHA.

          • I don’t really consider it Death of the Author when someone still accepts that canon exists and is what actually happened in that story universe. Personally, I respect the fact that the canon story is still the author’s and am grateful for the chance to play around in their story worlds and show the results of that with others.

  4. notleia says:

    Off topic: I had something of an existentialism today because my one-time high school classmate who had a baby just after graduation re-friended me on Fbook. It’s one thing that this person who was a baby bump last time I saw them in-person(?) is now long ambulatory and somewhat elementary-educated (OH KRISHNA AM I OLD NOW).

    But relating back to an earlier topic of conversation, she did marry the baby daddy soon after graduation, but it does not surprise me that, tho she kept his name (prob for the kid’s sake), they are no longer together. Chalk up another stat for early marriage –> early divorce. She’s dating some other guy, and I’m happy for her because baby daddy was unstable and unreliable af even in high school (I don’t understand what she saw in the guy [well, you could say the same about my boyfriend at the time], but chances were he was a symbol of teenage rebellion against parents with high expectations. BUT FOR HECK’S SAKE YOU COULD’VE USED A CONDOM.)

    People who’ve kept in contact with her are probably long over it and I’m just super late for the party.

    • I think I’m so used to people’s drama right now that it doesn’t usually surprise me anymore(so my reactions to situations like that are probably more boring than yours), though I guess depending on what happens I can still get a little worried and upset about stuff.

      Sometimes it does feel weird to see people my age or younger with kids, though. Like, I know some people that got married and started having kids when they were around 20 (and they’re still with their spouses, as far as I know) I don’t think them marrying at that age is automatically bad or anything, so I don’t know why it’s odd to think about my peers having families of their own already. Maybe it seems a little surreal to me since I don’t really worry about or participate in romantic relationships.

What do you think?