Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Surfing the fandom wave

We all know those people. People who declare, usually angrily, that they liked this band before they were popular. They they read that book before it became a bestseller. That they liked that actor before they were famous. And they get all annoyed when other people jump on the bandwagon and love whatever-it-is too. I can’t understand this. Why wouldn’t you want other people to love what you love? Why would you want to go it alone? Don’t you want to share that passion and excitement with others?

I have this terrible habit of falling (hard) for TV shows that get cancelled. Moonlight, Farscape, Veronica Mars, Pushing Daisies, Firefly... The list goes on and on. They were all cancelled too soon and I would have loved for more people, lots of people, to have loved them too. But sadly their fandoms were too small, or too late (see Moonlight).

Being a part of a fandom is like surfing a wave*. If you’re early, you’re out there on your own, arms in the air, super excited about that thing—telling anyone who will listen about how great it is. Or maybe you’re intensely secretive about it. It’s your beloved thing—that no one else knows about yet. It’s a thrilling experience to be ahead of the curve, but a lonely one. Whereas, if you join the wave later, you’re surrounded by other people to share the experience with—you discover more.

Then there’s the over-saturation point. You missed the wave and are trying to catch up to everyone but you’re under the water, your voice drowned out. You’re too late—no one wants to hear about whatever-it-is anymore.

Of course there’s also the hatred for fandoms. If you’re riding high on the wave, others try to knock you down, tell you what you love isn’t worth bleep. They fight you simply because you’re up there, riding your wave, having fun. It’s sad. Can’t we just love what we love in peace?

So I ask you: is fandom a dirty word? Or are you proud of the things you're passionate about with no time for haters? What fandom are you a part of? No judgement here!

*Disclaimer: whilst I’m Australian and grew up around beaches, I by no means claim to be a surfer, or knowledgeable about surfing, or knowledgeable about anything to do with the ocean, really… So accept my metaphor at your own risk…

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