Home > Blog-related, Fandom, Ramblings > Welcome to Fandom High.

Welcome to Fandom High.

If there’s one thing you should know about me as a person, it’s that I don’t like to get involved. I would much rather be an impartial bystander of a stranger than have people know me and be deeply involved in the fray. I might still not get the whole story (or even any of the story), but it does give me an interesting perspective.

And that perspective is – if there’s one thing you can liken fandom to, it’s the stereotypical high school of movies.

Any fandom, really. You can take it on a large scale – fandom in general, regardless of what it’s for (Harry Potter or the Saw films or anime pop) – or bring it down into a specific group of fans (for example: J-Pop -> Johnny’s boybands -> Arashi -> fansubbers -> the community of STORMY team fansubs. Not that I mean to be calling that group out on anything, I just happened to join the Aibakaland forums last month under the name of Coquelicot so they were the first that came to mind.) You will have the cliques, you will have the groupies, you will have the nerds, the jocks, the bullies, and the “cool” people (these would be the Big Name Fans), and the wannabes (who want to be the Big Name Fans). You will also undeniably have the drama, the wank, and the amusement that comes with the drama and wank.

My own high school experience was devoid of such a thing, but if you were to typecast me I’d probably still be an outsider. (Considering my high school was a “geek” high school, yes.) Not on the Honor Roll, nor on any Sports Team, and in my second term of sophomore year, despite joining multiple clubs in freshman year and helping start one in the first term of sophomore, I officially signed up for the Going Home club. That didn’t actually exist, but work with me.

And so individual fandoms have their cliques. Sure, they’re not necessarily intentional, and you’ll have people who spill across the boundary lines, but you can separate people by their specific preferences in that particular area of interest (such as that ridiculous Utada vs. Koda “battle” two years ago, or the one-sided wFL vs. Johnny’s one that’s been going on since w-inds. popped up on the music scene and the odd little Urata vs. Nissy fight that Raid’s always trying to wage) or what they contribute. The bloggers. The reviewers (who aren’t always the same as the bloggers). The media sharers. The translators (who are usually friends with…) The subbers/scanslators. The fanfic writers. The graphic designers. In the J-Pop fandoms, the lucky people who can actually go to the concerts/events being done. Then you have the people who try to do everything… and the people who sit back and enjoy it all or envying those who can do what they do.

Perhaps it’s just me and my own self-deprecating loner complex, but sometimes it becomes hard to join a fandom because it’s just so distant. Joining a new fandom can be akin to starting your first day in a new school – right before midterms.

That’s not to say that fandoms aren’t welcoming – you have the elitists and the bitches, but it’s generally not hard to find those people genuinely excited about welcoming a new cultist to the fold. But everyone who contributes something other than blind adoration to a fandom not only knows each other and but also knows the fandom better than anyone else. If you want to find out more about something, of course you should ask the people who know. But then it gets slightly discouraging, because everyone who’s not a douchebag wants to make a good impression, and looking like you’re trying to become a complete stranger’s friend because it’ll help you get ahead (and maybe get you special things from them too) is not “a good impression”. (Douchebags don’t care, but that’s why they’re called douchebags.)

As always, to get to know people, you have to participate. The people who will get to know you come naturally when you do. But there comes a point in every fandom where there’s nothing you can contribute that isn’t already there. If it’s something old, longer fans will dismiss it casually. If it’s something new, then it becomes a competition. If it’s something borrowed (and especially without credit), the anger (rightfully) erupts. And something blue… wait, where am I going with this?

Um. So. Two sorts of bad people in fandom – the overenthusiastic ones and the competitive ones. The overenthusiastic ones may or may not add anything more to the collective fandom than their blind devotion – but they’ll shove the blind devotion in your face until you’re blinded by it too – or just want to punch their lights out. The competitive people will make or share things, whether it’s videos, magazines scans, translations, news, or gossip – and fight to stand out more. They’ll make a battle of it even if the other side just doesn’t care.

Therein begins the drama and the wank… and then suddenly the fandom doesn’t seem so appealing anymore. Because unlike movie high schools, fandom’s supposed to be a concept where people with a similar liking for a certain thing can get together, have fun, and revel in said thing. Not a place you’re stuck in just because you somehow ended there and you want to get out as soon as possible in one piece.

Unfortunately, people aren’t going to change anytime soon, and it’s people that make up fandom of any sort. Some areas will always be daunting to head into, whether it’s because of the ridiculous amount of activity or because it’s just dead. (Why do they always have to be the fandoms that I fall into?) But if the world would work the way it was supposed to, things would be a lot less interesting.

Categories: Blog-related, Fandom, Ramblings
  1. Raid-kun
    January 11, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    Best. Post. Ever.

    I’m the bitchy competitive one. xD And to clear things up, I don’t wage a NissyUra war, I just hate Nissy period.

    Personally, I figure if one has to choose between being one of the two bad ones, being competitive is by far better. You fight for the fandom by bringing new videos or pictures or whatever, but at least it brings the fandom forward.

    On the other hand, if I were to be a fan that goes “OMG I love BLABLABLA so much I would drink his bath water”, he/she may be positive, but the fandom isn’t going anywhere.

    You’ve left out a group of fans known as the protective ones. They’re not necessarily blind followers, but they’re the kind that will keep “flaming” the person that doesn’t agree with their fandom with facts as to why their fandom should get the said flamer as a fan. These people are irritating too.

    (Long comment, but I just wanted to rant.)

    This fandom clique thing is very VERY apparent in the A’dAA forums. TRF, F4, and whateverelse they have, it’s a lonely cyber world we people live in, and we just wish to get some company.

    It resulted in the forum being incessantly disgusting to be on. Aka High School syndrome as you mentioned.

    I may seem competitive, and I may be bitchy. But after a while, it gets tiring and irritating even. I soon cease to bother about my competitors and thus hide in my little corner with my CDs.

    Well at least I have you in my little corner (I hope).

    Oh my, such a sappy comment. DELETE DELETE!

  2. January 12, 2008 at 1:50 am

    I can greatly appreciate these sentiments. Thanks for the warning on being overethusiastic; I’ve leaned in that direction and, thanks in part to this post, I’ll be watching my step. I am not that competitive, but I really appreciate those who share my feelings about a certain topic.

    As for being left out in high school, that was me, but that was also because I just couldn’t see the point. I kept my independence and, in the end, that was for the best.

    My current J-pop addiction is something I have never had about any other topic. Maybe it’s just a phase, or maybe, finally, I’m just happy about something for the first time ever.

    http://radicalpatriot.vox.com

  3. Mel
    January 12, 2008 at 4:01 am

    Yeah.. I agree with you…
    When I first found out the concept of big name fans.. I pretty much figured that they were the ones who contribute the most to the fandoms… the elitist… I guess….

    There are some BNF who gets on my nerves, but there a lot of nice ones out there as well… I actually really respect them because without them, my fandom would have never been this established. They also always give me the latest news about everything… O_O And I mean everything!

    Fandom wank is STUPID… XDDD I find it so darn funny seeing a stupid person make him/herself look even more stupider in the internet… A lot of infamous quotes have actually come out from those er… wank.. ^^ It’s hilarious.. But they get tiring as well…. However, it’s just something that is bound to happen……. Circle of fandom, I guess…

    P.S. I’m just curious… Have you experienced any fandom wanks lately??? What’s with this topic? ^^

  4. January 12, 2008 at 7:40 am

    I love reading your stuff. This post really got me thinking… Who am I on the blogosphere? Why do I put so much effort into keeping my blog updated, and how do others perceive me through my writing?

    I’m going to watch out, too, as I think I can get overprotective. It’s like that whole pet peeve thing I wrote up a while ago. I don’t flame people, but if I feel the need to clear up something, I’ll do it defensively. And of course that annoys the hell out of many. Most of the times my effort to defend gets ignored.

    But after all, this is a virtual world…^^

  5. JJ
    January 12, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    Much like the sentiments of everyone else who commented, this a very well-written, thoughtful read on the blogosphere and fandoms. I, too, have been blogo-ly challenged to check myself and how I portray my love for someone/thing. Sure, we can all be biased at some point or another. Hell, we probably are all biased right now, but some people don’t have to be stupid/mean/pointless about it. If you’re a forum lurker, don’t spam, saying “OMG I LUV HER TOO ITS SOOOO SAD OMG,” you’re obviously making yourself out to be a freshie in the fandom world. As for the older fans, we don’t have to be pretentious, we’re all equal in the virtual world. Bloggers and reviewers (which can sometimes blend together as one, like ME!) also have their biases and claims about their favourite J-Pop artist or anime or manga, but at least all of this is reserved on a BLOG, not directly interacting with the readers, if they have readers at all.
    But remember that fandom is all about what you’re obsessing about, not the actual location of where you obsess. If people are mean fandom “buddies,” leave the forum/blog/community. There’s no need for flames and beef, but then again, it’s true. World would be borign without it.
    That’s just my two cents!

  6. Kimitsu
    January 13, 2008 at 3:40 am

    @Raid: Awwwww, I didn’t know you had it in you XD I’m holding onto this comment~

    I would say the protective sort are also the overenthusiastic sort – while they’re not blind followers, they do make it annoying to join a fandom. They’ll also probably be the first to go “I’m hurt that my idol may be dating someone but I will be supportive because it makes me look mature and self-sacrificing but the first thing I hear of a breakup, it’ll be BITCH BITCH BIIIIIIIITCH.”

    @Radical: It’s not so bad to be overenthusiastic about things, it’s really the forcing your opinions on people part that will (obviously) get irritating. If you want to share your opinions, by all means, do. That we have a medium (blogging) in which to do so is great, because I think of our blogs as our own turfs. If you don’t like my opinions, fine, but no one’s making you read my blog sort of thing. No one can argue that you’re forcing anything on anyone that way.

    @Mel: This topic (and so post) has actually been sitting on the back burner for a while, and I only decided to post it after being frustrated with the vastness of the Arashi fandom and not really being able to make any friends in it. But it was originally inspired by reading various fandom wanks in the Johnny’s fandom on LJ. One fansub group member felt shunted by another just because they were in different groups; some people didn’t like a particular subbing group; or people just didn’t like people – there was a particularly giant wank on Singaporean fans.

    Fandom wank is usually what makes me want to avoid joining a fandom, and for some reason it always involves the BNFs (or those who want to be), so I’ve never had a chance to really know the BNFs of any fandom I belong to.

    @Ines: I’ve had the same questions about my own blogging, but I’ve pretty much boiled it down to a simple “I enjoy blogging, and whether or not people read it or are influenced by my writing should not be of concern to me.” Though knowing that what I write is being read always helps my ego. XD

    While I can understand the desire to defend your favorites and your fandoms, I’ve become the sort who’ll let it slide and rather than arguing in so-and-so’s defense. But if you can find a way that will make people pay attention and maybe even open them up to your views, all the more power to you.

    @JJ: I wholeheartedly agree on how bloggers and reviewers have it a bit easier when it comes to portraying our love for someone/thing. Our bias shows in our reviews, and reviews in their very nature are opinions. No one can really contest it, because there’s nothing to argue.

    I used to take it upon myself to steer freshies in fandoms towards being “better” – whether it was improving the quality of their posts or trying to incite them towards discussion – but now I wonder if I wasn’t being an elitist fan because of that, and if I had any right to do so in the first place? Because, indeed, we’re all equal on the virtual stage that is the Internet.

  7. glitterandlube
    January 15, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Therein begins the drama and the wank… and then suddenly the fandom doesn’t seem so appealing anymore. Because unlike movie high schools, fandom’s supposed to be a concept where people with a similar liking for a certain thing can get together, have fun, and revel in said thing. Not a place you’re stuck in just because you somehow ended there and you want to get out as soon as possible in one piece.

    This is extremely accurate.

  8. February 20, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    That’s an interesting perspective, from an ‘outsider’ is that what you consider yourself? :D

    Most fandoms I’ve been a lurker, until Arashi, and I never intended to make any friends, but once I started up a blog and contributed content, it was inevitable that I’d start to connect with people.. I feel like I’ve established my corner of the blogosphere with my fan-friends. But by what particular chance did I get there, and not across by some other further nether-region of the online community?

    Fandom wank, hate memes, really brings out all the cliques~ its the most interesting social experiment to me XD most of it entertains me because I can’t take any of it seriously. Whether by Harry Potter or Arashi, the ugliness of the human condition surfaces.. fandom is fandom is fandom.

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