You May Be A Fan If… -Foxfier
There’s been a bit of a to-do about who is a “real” fan, and someone pointed out an amusing contrast with the “real geek girl” to-do of a year or three ago– roughly, the sides are reversed. This got me to thinking (quake in fear!), and late last night I realized– this one is backwards. Fan isn’t something you disqualify from, it’s something you qualify for. The things that were put forward as necessary to be a fan were just sufficient, not mandatory. It’s qualifications for a sub-group of fandom.
The word means something, but it was like a very odd conversation I once saw where someone tried to disqualify a Star Wars fan from being a scifi fan, because ‘Wars is an example of a science fiction setting for fantasy. Swords, sorcery, lost prince… it actually works rather nicely. But being fantasy doesn’t mean it’s not also scifi, it just means it’s not that it is unlikely to be either hard or hyper-realistic scifi, which is another argument where a sub-group is being over applied. Look at comic books: you run a good chance of having scifi, fantasy and technothriller themes on the same team, much less the same time-space continuum. Heck, I’m enough of an X-Men fan that I was one of those upset when a mutant who negates mutation-based powers negated a magic helmet. Yes, I’ll give fans of the Star-Wars-Movies-Which-Did-NOT-HAPPEN!1!11!1 trouble, but it’s usually in fun. About the only time I’d be serious would be the same as with the archetype of the Twilight Invasion– great, you like one thing in a category; would you call yourself a fan of classical music because Flight of the Valkyries is awesome? Much less take that as standing to opine about who else is a fan? It’s not a thing to be proud of, although it should not be a shame- fan, geek, fill-in-the-blank nerd are all descriptions.
The “real geek” thing I personally saw more often used on hipsters or as pushback; shockingly, didn’t see a lot of guys complaining about pretty girls dressing like comic characters, but did see folks pushing back when folks tried to mainstream the geekdom they’d chosen, to the point that it didn’t have anything to do with what it originally was– rather than wanting to share part of it, some folks wanted to control it. People being people, I’m sure at least some folks mistook someone with a different fandom focus for not being a fan at all, especially in the aftermath of the infamous Twilight ComiCon Invasion(s) of six or seven years ago, and pushed ‘back’ when there was no initial push. I’ve run into that a few times myself when checking out new game shops, being closer to the archetype of a romance novel reader than of a gamer. Never really rudely, and usually it just amuses me– if I’m dressed in my “take me seriously, I’m a mom” outfits, how are they supposed to know I’m not a well-meaning ‘dane looking for a gift for a geek relative? It’s not like I have “former raid tank” written across my forehead, and approaching my sister like she’s a geek would probably scare her off, which is really bad for a game shop.
I know I’ve touched on this before with the somewhat related “hipster or real geek” question, but I still think it’s accurate– to be a fan is to love. To geek on a thing is to show your love so openly that it becomes an obvious vulnerability.
So, in the grand tradition of the Redneck jokes, here’s a start- can you add some?
You may be a fan if:
You have ever spent more time on plausibility fixes for a plot hole than the original author did.
You get annoyed by plotholes that make the the people who did an adaptation of one of your fandom targets get huffy about your over-thinking, and can explain a half-dozen different and very easy fixes.
You love the adaptation anyways.
You know more about the relationships of your favorite characters than the relationships of your co-workers and/or family members.
You carry a grudge for a change to a character that was made a decade ago.
You love an entire franchise because of a single Crowning Moment of Awesome that was a decade ago.
Your car, computer or router is named for a character or item in a book, or make a joke about it. Bonus points if you have customized your car to make the joke on its own.
Your ring-tone is from a game, movie or show.
You are asked by co-workers to set up their ring-tone for one from a game, movie or show.
Family and friends call you for “the name of that guy in the show you liked, you know, the one with the science-y thingie?”
….and you are able to give it to them.
You have ever had a “Who would win, Batman or” conversation.
You are now prepared to defend whichever side you take in those, to the pain.
You smiled even a little because of the Princess Bride allusion.
You have ever had to explain you were quoting the Princess Bride, and proceeded to bully the person asking into watching the movie.
You have ever been shocked that someone hasn’t tried a fandom you consider basic, and proceed to try to correct this with great enthusiasm.