Thursday, September 10, 2009

What is it about fandoms?

This article from Publisher's Weekly briefly discusses the concept of fandom, using the two biggest out there at the moment, Harry Potter and the one with the glitter. What makes a fandom? What drives a fandom? What happens when the chicken's been plucked naked and put on the chopping block?

The thing is, fandom is nothing new. It's been around for decades. One of the biggest fandoms that's been around the longest is Star Trek, followed closely by Star Wars. And we're talking massive fandoms to boot, all without the aid of the intarwebs. The internet has just surfaced fandom from the underground where it once dwelt. It's allowed easier, and cheaper, access to a broader range of people to discuss what it is they're fanning over. No more constantly having to travel to conventions to convene or writing those old tyme things like letters to people. It's instant access to instant fandoms.

Now I don't know if it's the accessibility of the internet that can be thanked for the psychosis status of fandoms now or what but I do think fandom has elevated to a new height. I've gone in and out of The Lost Boys fandom for more than 10 years now and nothing will be able to beat what it once was with the people that were involved. It was awesome and very close knit. Over the years different people come in, different environments are made and things change. Not necessarily for the worse, but they change. I wouldn't know the people I knew now if it weren't for the online fandom. I also wouldn't have had the massive headaches I've had because of it either.

But at the end of the day, the fandom for my little 80s movie is still, even in the age of the internet and with much younger fans, drastically different than the likes of Harry Potter and other ilk. It's not as maniacal. It's not as crazy. It's more casual and laid back and less mentally disturbed. Maybe I'm biased. But what I do know is that none of us Lost Boys fans are self-harming for the sake of actors in the movie. That much I do know. And I doubt neither do the Trekkies or the Star Wars guys.

So what is it about fandoms now? Why is it so rabid? Again, maybe I'm biased but I don't think Harry Potter has even come close to the psychosis of Twatlight. See comment re: self harm. Yeah, there's a lot of fandom around HP. But it's not that crazy. But it's still huge. So what is it? Is it the access that's making is grow more and more? The more people there are the more the crazy is fed? Mob mentality?

Like I said, fandom has always been around but maybe, just maybe, it meant something more when it was further underground, where you actually had to work and put the effort in to be a part of it. And I'm not talking about just being a fan. Being a fan and being in a fandom are two different things entirely. Is the crazy now giving a bad name to fandoms? Are people that might have joined up backing away because they don't want to be associated the extremists?

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Oh the HP fandom is okay, until you reach the shores of the Black Lake of Fandom were the Eternal Shipping Wars are fought. The fiery cauldron that consumes anyone who dares dip even a toe in those harsh waters will blast the sparkles out any twifreak to oblivion and back again.

You have been warned.


Anonymous said...

I think I'm a fan addict of Hannah Friedman. AAAH! I just finished Everything Sucks and found her youtube and I'm like totally obsessed

Hooray 4 Harry Potter 2, of course :)

Reader said...

@ralfast - got to agree that the Harry Potter fandom can get really crazy. I've known people who were WAY too into the books

pirate penguin said...

The most rabid fans I've seen are the ones for twilight... HP fans seem harmless in comparison (or at least in my experience). I don't know why fans nowadays are more crazier than they used to be... it's like you said, the internet has unearthed a lot of things and made access A LOT easier than back in the old days. Maybe there was craziness back then as well, but it was better hidden? But yeah, fandom has reached new levels and it can be scary o__O!

Lost Boys? I like that movie; I just wish it wasn't so short!

Donnaaaa, you still haven't given me your email for the contest! I don't want to be mean and not enter you because of a silly mishap. So pleeease comment D:

Donna said...

Yeah, I've never seen nor heard anything from the HP fandom that's anywhere near as psychotic as the Twitards. Like I said in my post, there really aren't any HP fans that are self-mutilating for the actors in the movies.

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