I was even more annoyed with the doctors that they spoke to, all of whom have no real concept of what fandom is, aside from a great, deep love for something — particularly a television series.
Vulture, with their dependency on the pop culture obsessed to click on their articles, should know better than to have published Pheobe Reilly’s piece.
Here’s a few choice quotes:
“Dr. Keith Ablow, an author and infamous Fox News talking head, takes a characteristically hard line: Most fandom is distraction. People who are living their lives completely have very little time to be significant fans of anything, but people avoid struggling to find themselves because that journey is painful.”
Yes. We fans fail to live our lives completely. We are shells of human beings who avoid anything painful because it might make us sad. No one ever watches a show, reads a book, loves a band or even a sports team because they either are inspired by or identify with the characters, the lyrics, the tale. No one ever finds clarity in their own head or heart, or finds inspiration to follow a path because of a tv show. Nope. We’re all stupid, pathetic shells.
“[Dr. Sudeepta Varma], who admits to watching the Real Housewives on a regular basis and finding reality television fascinating in general. “
OH! YOU FIND IT FASCINATING! Aren’t you so WONDERFUL with your ability to look down at us fans and REALLY RELATE with us because you have deemed your condescending self a moment to indulge to find television fascinating.
“Fandom is reasonably unsatisfying,” [Dr. Drew Ramsey] says. “It doesn’t return something specific to the individual.”
Let’s use me as a one-person case study: I graduated college and came back to my hometown in late 1997. Most of my friends had moved on or away, and I was terribly lonely — I soon fell into deep depression. In the summer of 1998, I started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I’d caught a few of the first season episodes while at school). As a girl who already had dipped her toes in online fandom through newsgroups and message boards (My So-Called Life, Beverly Hills 90210, Kevin Smith’s View Askew Universe), I went in search of people who were as enamored of this show as I was. That brought me to the Buffy posting board, The Bronze, where I met people from all over and found best friends. I started PopGurls, a pop culture-commentary website with four of those Buffy posting board friends in 2001. There, I honed my writing and interviewing skills, and got to interview fantastic and fabulous people. A decade later, I got a book contract to write Joss Whedon’s biography in 2011 due to those skills AND those connections I made on the board.
Yep, I got NOTHING back from fandom.
And my experience may be unique in that most people may not get to publish a book about the person who created a world that ultimately changed their lives, but it’s pretty universal in the emotional connections and empowerment that being part of a fandom often creates. I have dear friends who wrote brilliant fanfiction that went on to become successful published novelists. I know people who met writers and producers through a fandom and went on to write for the very shows they loved or with the people they greatly admired. And I have been told countless tales of people finding a community of close friends from around the world, and they only connected because they all happened to watch the same show and love it so much that they needed to share that experience. That to me, is the most important and greatest thing that fandom can do.
“Wait, but sometimes it does!” Phoebe Reilly said, trying to prove that fandom occasionally does something for the fan. “Is it not exciting when your favorite team has a comeback?”
And you, you don’t get fandom either. Good day, Miss. I said GOOD DAY.
I have loved many shows, movies and bands — here’s a collection of the fandoms I was/am most passionate about (1994-2014):
My So-Called Life
Beverly Hills 90210
The View Askew Jersey Trilogy (Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel
(Yes, I had an obsession with The WB.)
Parks and Recreation