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Why I stopped worrying and learned to love fandom again

themonkeycabal pointed to a troll who seems to delight in trashing that which he doesn't belong to just to be cooller. I met folks like this in high school and pittied them 30 years ago. I can't believe this guy is still spouting the same stuff. But I want to comment on his Diatribe #2

I basically totally agree with her questions and opinion of this guy, this so-called reviewer.

KJB's Backlash #2
"What's so frelling funny 'bout peace, love & felgercarb?"

October 19, 2004 - It's an image that is still a favorite for any TV news hack that gets stuck covering the local "Sci-Fi" convention in their town – grab the most overweight fanboy (or girl – they are an equal opportunity humiliator, these days) dressed in some kind of ill-fitting costume and put them on camera. Most of them, when asked why they attend these conventions and frequent Internet chat rooms to create circles of friends who are also interested in the same television series, will usually give you the same answer that sounds like it came straight from the Secret Handbook of Geekdom, focusing on a sense of community and a desire to have a society where everyone gets along. Invariably, these images infuriate other fans because, in their opinion, it only shows a stereotype and fails to portray the community as they think it really is.

It's a great Utopian fantasy, this notion of being among a group of people that give you instant acceptance just because you can quote the opening narration to Star Trek (original and TNG) or every variation on the opening to Farscape. It helps provide a sense of community to some who might not feel it otherwise. So it shouldn't surprise anyone, let alone someone like me who has been around this kind of a community for the better part of 25 years, that a group of people who espouse acceptance of everyone from every stripe of life should be as hypocritical as any other group of fanatics.

You can't lay the blame solely at the feet of the media fans – they are, after all, only products of a society that has become increasingly factious and fanatical from our religions to our politics. But SF media fans maintain an air of superiority that makes it hard to give them a free pass just because everyone else is willing to go to war over something as silly as "tastes great" or "less filling." When you try and present yourselves as being above the petty concerns of the "mundanes" it makes it that much more ironic when the facts come back to slap you in the face, especially when you have the balls to go on television and discuss that great, peaceful future that Star Trek represented while dressed in full Klingon battle attire.

The facts are that any group of people has its hypocrites, its followers and its opportunists. When Farscape fans thought the world was coming to an end because the Sci-Fi Channel had the gall to cancel a show that was hemorrhaging viewers on a weekly basis and was costing more and more to produce, anyone that spoke up in support of their "Save Farscape" movement was a friend. Say nothing or, even worse, say that you thought the series was anything less than the "best television series ever produced" and you were the Great Satan, somehow responsible for the cancellation of the only reason God created Friday nights.

Then, the opportunists arose. Those people set up "funds" that somehow made fans believe that they could save their show by opening up their checkbooks and contributing to "the cause." Whether it was by accident or design, some of the organizers behind the movement to bring that series back on the air bilked fans out of money that would have been better spent on the homeless, other charities or even on their own bills. When I first reported on this phenomenon that seemed to be unique to the Farscape movement, I had a number of fans proclaim that they felt better after spending the money, like they'd done something about this great injustice that was committed against their television series. They'd willingly eat Top Ramen for a few days or weeks because their money was going to serve a greater good. Interestingly enough, when asked to comment, these same people would tell me that they thought people who did the same thing but sent the money to a televangelist were complete idiots. I guess it just depends on where your faith lies and what you're asking the flickering God-box to heal.

After the 9/11 tragedy there were numerous reports of swindlers collecting for non-existent charities that were supposed to benefit the families affected by those events. Con men know how to take advantage of people when they're emotionally vulnerable and Farscape fans were similarly vulnerable when the door closed on their favorite show. Just like the con men who stole money from well meaning people who thought that the best way they could help the 9/11 victims was by sending money, the jackals of Farscape fandom stole from their own by instilling a false belief that their money could somehow be used to return Farscape to production.

The sad truth about the Farscape debacle is that the fans of that series were lied to from the get-go: the evil network that dropped the axe on their beloved show, the-greatest-show-ever-made-never-to-be-equalled-but-watched-by-so-few, was only cancelled because the people who made the show gambled that their fans could strong-arm a network into making a business decision that made no financial sense. We have Gene Roddenberry to thank for creating the myth that this sort of thing can actually work.

Next: The Roddenberry Principle, or "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Nielsens" in Backlash # 3.

The original article is located here: IGN Article


I went to my last convention in 1976 to see Cliffard Simak and Roger Zelazny speak on science fiction. I was the epitome of a fandom geek back then --KJB's overweight fangirl who had worked in 1966 on Bjo Trimble's original write-in compaign to bring back Star Trek (I was 11 and 12 years old then so this has been going on a long time). I liked Star Trek and the next year saw Star Wars 13 times. But I got turned off by the visions of desperation of the SCA (Society of Creative Anachronism) folks and our local version Markland Military Militia as well as all the Spock ears and stupid questions of the fans. We all were basically wanting to find a community that would accept us with our eccentricities (mainly huge imaginations) and non-standard body types. I didn't like myself much back then. I couldn't see how I fit this group that was in my stupid opinion the bottom rung of college life. Yet, I loved to read Science Fiction and I loved to draw Marion Zimmer Bradley's world and published in her fan magazines regularly. But I did so secretly because I was embarrassed at the opinion of the outside world.

It has taken me almost 30 years to get up the courage to accept myself as who I am (overweight looks, large complex vocabulary that confounds bosses and other strangers, weird, eccelectic interests, and a mind full of useless knowledge) and accept and give to the love and friendship of the amazing people within Farscape's community. Never mind what we look like. There are so many different sorts of people. Some like harsh worlds, some are shippers, some strattle, and on and on. Some folks are "normal", some are overweight like me, some are gay, some are straight, some Christian, some atheist, there are anarchists, Democrats, Republicans, Europeans of many stripes, and on and on. You know, it was this accepting community I found on FMD and Kansas that brought me back to fandom that I had left so long ago out of disgust with myself and the lonely souls I saw around me. Now I can laugh until I cry at the the movie Galaxy Quest because it is so true, yet loving. So, KJB has it really wrong. A group of people can band together for virtual friendship and make a difference. No matter what this person says, we did bring back a show that was worth saving. It has been fun, aggrevating (especially for the wonderous folks who started this thing and who have run it professionally), and really exciting to watch unfold.