Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Fuck Fandoms

Unless you've been living under a rock or paying attention to the actual important things going on in the world lately, you know there's a new Star Wars trailer out. Yes. Even though the film doesn't come out until next December, we got a trailer now, because Star Wars is just the kind of thing people need to be reminded to be excited about.

And while most of the feedback has been pretty level-headed, you DO get a certain subset of backlash over silly things like the very minor changes in design to the Millennium Falcon:

Or the three-pronged, vaguely cross-ish lightsaber we see:

Because apparently a fictional sci-fi universe can't deviate at all from its own rules when a new chapter is made like 40 years later – or maybe just 15 if you're counting the prequels, which I personally don't as they were terrible. Honestly, it just baffles me. These things are problems now? They're little tidbits in a 50-second trailer for a movie that isn't coming out next year. A movie which we know very little about so far. I didn't know you could glean information about the quality of the whole product from a few minor details that haven't even been explained to us yet. You must be psychic. Please, tell me my fortune, too!

I'm just going to come out and say it: if any of those things bothers you, you need to go outside. Just...put down the laptop and go outside, and breathe some fresh air for a second, because you have a problem.

And I'm going to go on a special tangent on the backlash against the black Stormtrooper we see for like a second, which was pronounced enough to get a reaction from CNN.

We see this black dude in a Stormtrooper outfit for like, a split second, which was apparently enough for people to start whining and crying about that too. Oh, is it because all Stormtroopers were “supposed” to be clones of Jango Fett? I'm not even a big Star Wars guy and even I know that doesn't have to be fucking true – and hell, maybe he just snuck into one as a disguise like Luke did in The New Hope. You don't know shit yet. Why would you get mad about this?

Oh yeah – it's because you're secretly a racist piece of trash and trying to cover that up by pretending to care about the franchise.

Some people will also complain about deviations from the “Extended Universe” novels, as apparently some kind of official voice has spoken and said the “EU” no longer “counts” and the movies will be the only official canon. I'm sorry, but what's the problem? You can't just ignore that bullshit and pretend your favorite books are what counts? Who gives a fuck if some multi-millionaire out-of-touch-with-reality movie studio tells you what's what? You like what you like and you make your own canon! That's why it being a fictional universe is cool. I read some of those Star Wars “EU” books – some of them were pretty fucking good! But I just don't see how the studio making a movie that disregards those storylines is so offensive. Unless they're sending Stormtroopers to your house in big black vans to collect and burn all your Extended Universe books, I don't see the problem.

All this just points out one important factor to me that I feel like I just have to say plainly – Star Wars fans can be real nitpicking whiny babies about this stuff.

Not to exclude fans of any other big franchise or fantasy world. Lord of the Rings fans, Harry Potter fans, Doctor Who fans and many others can all be like that. Over the last year or two, I've liked hanging out with people less and less who are super obsessed with movies and TV shows, especially with ones that are big multi-verse fantasies like Star Wars. Which sounds weird, given what I do on here and how invested I can get in a good movie or show, but hear me out.

When I say “emotionally invested,” I don't mean you just can't care AT ALL about these things – certainly you're supposed to get into what you're watching; that just means it's done a good job telling its story. I myself get very much into certain movies and shows and can find them immeasurably powerful. However, there's a certain point when it just gets too far. I think that point is when you start actually referring to yourself as a member of a “fandom.”

If you're not familiar with this term, it's best summed up as a cultlike fanaticism around certain popular series – Harry Potter. Star Wars. Lord of the Rings. Doctor Who. The list goes on – some people are just really, really into that stuff and call themselves part of the fandom. This just means they're super big fans of it. Fine. Yes. OK. I've got plenty of friends who love these things and I have nothing against them for that. If you just really like something, that's cool with me and you're not who I'm talking about here.

The problem though, is that for a disturbing amount of people, fandom seems to be an excuse for “I take this way too seriously and will get mad about changes to it, and then get in pithy overly emotional online debates about it.” Because, frankly, that's what the Internet is for I guess – stupid arguments over fandoms.

So I'll come out and say it – fuck fandoms. Fuck them forever.

I'm just tired of it. Tired, tired, tired of the endless bickering and shit-flinging over what should just be good entertainment. People will go on about this shit for days on end if you let them about how the world of the fiction of their choice is a sacred, real thing and everything in it should be a part of continuity. It's kind of a strange argument because it strangles the hell out of actual creativity. Which is why they like their preferred fandom to begin with (whether they have the articulation to realize that or not) – that big, expansive, fantastical universe the original creators made up that they can dive into and forget their own lives for a little while. It's fiction! You can do whatever you want with it! The Star Wars universe is basically the modern equivalent of a whole mythology, it's got so much you can do with it. Why would you care if someone new who has new ideas made a few changes?

I guess I also just don't get it because honestly, even if the new Star Wars sucks and totally shits on the established franchise and books and what not, why do you care that much? Just acknowledge that it sucks, and then go back to reading and watching the stuff you actually like. Pretending like a fictional universe like Star Wars can be "disrespected" in some way is the dumbest thing ever. Even if the new Star Wars movie is full of rapping Jar Jar Binks, Ewoks everywhere playing competitive sports and Han Solo turning gay, you can still just ignore it and go back to watching the movies or reading the books you actually like.

The only exception to this would be if you are like me and want to lampoon shitty things on a blog for humorous purposes and don't actually let it affect your real life. Then you're totally okay and, since you're like me, are probably an Adonis-like God figure and should be worshipped and showered in gifts. But I digress.

I'm not really talking about one person or one fandom in particular; it isn't just about Star Wars. I have seen this stuff all over the place, from many different people and many different subjects. This stuff should be fun. It shouldn't be some kind of incentive to go to war with people you don't know over stupid shit that doesn't matter. It's escapism – it should be something that makes you happy.

Bottom line is this – if you get mad or upset about anything in a fictional universe changing with the times, you probably need to take a deep breath and just leave the room for a while until you calm down. Seriously. It isn't really a big deal.

P.S. The new trailer actually makes me excited for that new Star Wars movie. I'll go see it.

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