There’s a common joke among Star Trek fans that the number one way to find out if you’re a trekkie is when you develop an unnatural fear of wearing red shirts. Don’t get it? Most people outside of the Star Trek communities wouldn’t. From the Twihards, to Whovians, to Gleeks, to Potterheads, to Bronies, to Sherlockians, to Tolkienites- it seems everyone’s got something they’re just a little more into than others.
I must admit I’m at a bit of a loss with this one. I haven’t really been into anything like that since my younger days at the peak of Power Rangers and Pokemon. I don’t own any fantasy clothes or show memorabilia or play any MMORPG (massively multi-player online role playing games). I’ve always been a big science fiction guy, but not to one specific show or film, I just like the idea of the genre. In fact, the only real connection I have would be my interest in sports, but even then I don’t paint myself in team colors or attend that many games. But compared to those I see learning fictional languages and treating content to an near religious degree, it’s overwhelming to most. This is where some of the fan hate comes from.
This is the darker side of fandom communities- putting up with haters. They’re not so much communities as they are people who may have very little in common except enjoying poking fun at diehard hards of something. They do not hold conventions or discussion groups, but many of them are well versed in using a method of insult that can be applied to any source of fandom. This is a very simple algorithm involving taking the most common name of the source of fandom and adding the word “fag” at the end of it. A pokemon fan, would called a pokefag. A Harry Potter fan is a Potterfag. Clever huh? Although I do find the GRRuMblres to have the perfect name (Game of Thrones fans devoted to convincing author George R.R. Martin to “finish the damn series”). Here’s a bit of their work.
There is also comedy gold to be found in fans who take advantage of those who don’t know any better. In this episode of Frasier, Fasier’s son has his bar mitzvah and Frazier hopes to express his pride in him by giving a personal speech in Hebrew. He doesn’t know Hebrew, so he asks a friend, Noel, to help him translate and memorize a speech. Noel at the time is upset at Frasier over something and so to get back at him, being a major Star Trek fan, he translates the speech into Klingon instead!
There are a few films dedicated to the obsessiveness of fans and one of my favorites is Fanboys. The basic plot is about a groups of Star Wars fans hoping to take their dying friend to Skywalker Ranch to view the upcoming Star Wars Episode I before his death. If you have a basic knowledge of the franchise this film is quite funny, but without it, this all may pass above your head. This in particular is one of my favorite moments in which one fan tattoos characters to his body to flaunt his dedication, even before the movie’s release.
What can I say? I just let these people be. I respect their dedication because for all I know, a new film, or show, or book, may come along where even I hop on board with all things fandom. That’s what great fiction makes people do, right?