This is a post I’ve actually wanted to write for a long time, but it was a little tricky, technically being part of this community of people. But I have some thoughts (okay, more like a rant) on the subject that I just need to get out.
I am a part of a number of fan communities, I would say. I’m a concert fan, a Game of Thrones fan, a Doctor Who fan… and those are the big ones. As in, I’ll buy tickets to shows the second they go on sale, or I’ll watch the episode as soon as it airs and have a lot of fangirl-esque feels and fan theories to discuss with other fans of the show.
And okay, maybe I’m just becoming an old, grouchy adult, but I just cannot enjoy certain fan communities. They actually make me want to not associate with those people, because of how intense they are.
To me, fandom crosses a line when the entire thing becomes a competition, and when people put “being the biggest fan” ahead of being, y’know, a decent human being to others. It’s not about genuinely liking and enjoying something, but rather becomes this competition where you have to prove that you’re the biggest fan, and will do anything to earn your title and gain a reaction from people like, “wow, that’s incredible – I wish I could have the money/time to do that!”
Because honestly, I’ve been that person. For example, I love Firefly and am working my way to collecting all of their autographs. But at the same time, the further in I get, the more I realize I’m spending a lot of money for 2 minutes with a celebrity who will forget about me in literally 5 seconds. Is it worth it?
Another fun example that I hate talking about, but will talk about anyway: Jersey Boys.
I saw that god damn musical over forty times. Why? Because I was an impressionable teenager who thought it was so impressive to meet the cast members a million times. “Oh wow, these people remember who I am; that’s so cool!” I cringe every time I look back. That’s about when I realized it was better to cultivate relationships with people to whom I actually mattered. And made it my life goal to focus on the people who return the interest and care that I put into them.
But circling back to what I was saying before. I was never rude to people to get these autographs, or use them to prove how desirable my life is (spoiler alert: it’s really not).
This is the reason why I stopped attending bookish events and eventually gave up book blogging altogether.
The people are far too intense. The needing every book that comes out, even if they can’t read it in time. The need to go to every event and meet every author. The constant social media posts. It’s not about discussing books and sharing recommendations and building a network, anymore. Now it’s about rewarding those who are the loudest with more views. It all just feels so fake and attention-seeking. And I don’t know where I fit into that community anymore.
Don’t get me wrong – there are a few people who I can call friends. But I have honestly never been to a book event where people didn’t make me feel uncomfortable, or where guests were legit just absolute dicks for the sake of getting more/better free swag. It’s ridiculous. And quite frankly, it’s exhausting to be around these people.
Why put myself through this for the sake of writing a blog post about it that no one will read anyway? who am i going to these events for?
Fan Expo is usually my favourite time of year, but now I’m just not sure I want to go. Photos and autographs seem like a huge waste of money, and the insane crowds don’t seem worth it. Maybe I just don’t care about things as much as I used to, or maybe I’m reaching like, the old cranky lady stage of my life before I’m thirty.
I just feel like I used to be so timid and enjoyed watching people go nuts over something that seems so small in the grand scheme of the universe, but now if I go to these things I won’t be able to keep my mouth shut and I’ll just tell off the people off who sneak ahead in lines, or take more than their fair share of swag. Fan communities encourage craziness inherently (most of the time, with no bad intent), and I don’t really want to be a part of it, on any level.
I think I’m just really fed up with people who are so focused on material things and who feel entitled to these things because they are “a huge fan”.