Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about fandoms and backlash. When I was growing up (back in the old days of 1980s…) most kids got a lot of their identity from the things they liked and didn’t like. I loved The Little Mermaid. I knew every scene, song and wished I could be like Ariel. Then in high school I loved Les Miserables. I saw it in New York, watched the 10th Anniversary Concert special over and over again. It was great! I loved Jewel, Simpsons, REM and Clueless. I saw Jurassic Park 6 times in the theaters. My friends all saw Titanic over a dozen times and I was annoyed by it but it wasn’t a big deal.
In college it was Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Pixar, Jane Austen, Norah Jones, romcoms and Jane Eyre that caught my attention.
Back then I may have gotten a little bit of backlash from friends and family who were sick of my talking about Ariel, Les Miserables or Clueless but none that I can really remember. My sister loved Star Wars and had 7 or 8 life size cutouts lining the hallway to her basement room. My brother loved skateboarding and movies in general.
What I’m getting at is growing up you were allowed to have your fandoms and love something not really being challenged about it.
I kind of miss those days…
Now being a fan of something is very different. You aren’t allowed to just love something but are confronted with loud voices who hate, criticize or are ‘sick of’ everything you like. It turns you from a fan into a defender which isn’t nearly as much fun.
I’ve even seen a contrast between when the Twilight books first came out in 2005 and the fandoms of 2014-2015. I feel the Twilight books were allowed to simmer longer and most people didn’t really start hating on them until the 2nd movie came out. I actually liked the first 2 Twilight books and saw them as kind of a guilty pleasure but the 3rd entry I didn’t care for and wasn’t a fan of the movies. Still, I didn’t feel a need to lambast people who liked them (which was most girls I know).
But now in 2014-2015 fandoms aren’t allowed to simmer but boil over in a manner of weeks. Something like Lego Movie or Frozen is loved by many people but seemingly overnight hated by just as many. It kind of leaves you feeling like ‘wait this was so much fun and all the sudden it’s not…’
I saw it with Guardians of the Galaxy, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Interstellar and Boyhood. The period fans could gush over these movies was very brief.
I also have the strange personality that doesn’t get sick of things like others. It has often happened that I’m still riding high on something while my friends have gone sour and like I said the souring happens so quickly now. It really can be kind of discouraging.
Now I am far from innocent on this trend. In the past I didn’t really care that everyone thought Rushmore was a classic and I didn’t really care for it or that I didn’t think Goodwill Hunting was all that great. I could just let it go.
But in the last year or so I found myself in the department of naysayers with Birdman. I really did not like it and found myself bothered by its popularity. Why? Well, in that case I thought it wasn’t just a harmless film like Lego but that it had some harmful depictions of women, rape and female sexuality. It bothered me it got so much praise. I also felt a little bit this way about Breaking Bad which is not a favorite of mine. I grew to despise the mere mention of Walter White and his meth business.
Perhaps part of it is a defense mechanism? After seeing films I like nitpicked to death and criticized it is natural to want to retaliate when I’m on the other side of the conversation. Perhaps it is just the way things are? Most of the time I try to keep my mouth shut but not always.
But either way I am going to try harder to let people enjoy their movies. If they like it that’s great. I always want people to have a good time at the movies. That doesn’t mean I don’t express my feelings in a reasoned and concise way but I’m determined to let other people have their favorites as well. If someone hates what I like that’s ok. If they like what I hate that’s great!
Being a member of a fandom is fun. It’s exhilarating to be a part of something bigger than yourself. It’s fun to bond with people who love the same things you love. I get that with Survivor and the fan group I’m a part of but its harder than it used to be.
If others can’t respect that and are going to troll around saying mean things than so be it. I’m just going to be more conscious of the trend and try to support the things I love more than criticize things I don’t. Join me!
Let’s at least agree to let kids decide what they like and not give them grief if you think it is ‘overhyped’.
Say no to backlash and yes to being movie fans again!
I’m also over the whole angry critic shtick and feel it is partly responsible for this behavior. Everyone is trying to be the Nostalgia Critic and it has gotten very old. What wasted energy. At least NC used to be funny (rarely is any more IMO). A lot of his copycats are just angry, mean-spirited and negative.