A Fandom Divided: Stop The Insanity!

Craig Ferguson said it best when he put lyrics over the iconic theme for Doctor Who, lyrics in which he tried to sum up the point of the show for those that may have not seen it:

“One thing is consistent though and this is why the show is so beloved by geeks and nerds.
It’s all about the triumph of intellect and romance
over brute force and cynicism.
Intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism!”

Cynicism can hurt any sort of fandom as it gives many a false sense of what the general opinion of the masses could be. It also makes it hard to attract new fans, as the older fans are seen as jerks by the general masses. I try to stay away from acting like this if I can, but fail miserably when it comes to things like WWE wrestling; something I used to love, but struggle to tolerate today. The difference between me and other fans, is that I try not to get too worked up about things; if something pisses me off, I simply distance myself from it for a while as to not prolong the torture I endure when I attempt to watch it. This however is not a trait shared between me and other fans of certain shows I like, Doctor Who being the one that caused this reaction.

I’m all for having differing opinions on things, in fact, while doing this blog I began to read a fellow blogger’s site, Tea With Morbius run by a Mr. Matthew C. We don’t see “eye to eye” with our views on the show, but he doesn’t attack me for it, we just have polite discussion about things we both like. That’s the beauty of a show like this; it has been going on for so long that it has many fans of many different eras. This common courtesy has not been happening on a lot of Doctor Who related message boards as of late, with one of the more popular ones out there turning into a vile cesspool of trolling, personal attacks, and utter disgusting behavior. Sadly I decided to stop attending one such site today, not because I don’t like seeing different opinions, but because I don’t like seeing a group of people scared to say what they believe with fear of being attacked.

This isn’t just from cynical “haters” of the current season, but smug “fanboys” as well, while I don’t like such brandings, they are sadly the best way to illustrate the situation. On one hand we have folks that post their undying hatred for the current show to the degree that some have begun to personally attack others for liking it. This has caused a group of “cheerleaders”, folks that champion the current series, to show up and try to counter them at every turn. All I see are two groups of asinine people fighting for no reason. I guess it may just be my current annoyance with many dualistic institutions such as our current government and its sudden inability to work together; but I don’t want my favorite fandom to suddenly get a huge schism right down the middle. I have seen this happen with other things such as the aforementioned pro wrestling scene (WWF vs. WCW in the past, currently WWE vs. TNA), The Japanese anime Gundam (UC fans vs. “Wingers”) and many more.

Why can’t we all be more moderate? With Doctor Who, I mentioned that there are many different flavors for fans to like. In my case, I grew up watching old Tom Baker episodes on PBS in the late eighties, when it came time to actually watch more than just the handful of 70’s serials I had seen, I made a real effort to take it all in. I fell in love with the William Hartnell episodes of the 60’s as well as those same Tom Baker episodes immediately. I did, however, not take to the 80’s era as much and still do not regard it as one of the better eras of the show. But that’s the thing; it’s just my opinion in the end. Many HATE the older episodes, and love the very same ones I do not like. Do I feel the need to yell at those folks and get them to my side? NO! I respect the show too much, and generally like any era of the show. I’d take a “bad” episode of Doctor Who over pretty much anything else on TV most of the time, well that is except for the TV movie (I kid, I kid!).

We all just need to chill out, and stop the penis measuring contest. In the grand scheme of things there are more important things in the world to get riled up about, and a science fiction show isn’t one of them!

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6 thoughts on “A Fandom Divided: Stop The Insanity!

  1. Although i do not watch Dr Who anymore for a variety of reasons ( no more Tom Baker top reason) i do agree that the squabbling is childish an sadly representative of our inability to discuss anything anymore in a civil way. Unfortunately i don’t see much hope for the future………

    PS: however, my penis is bigger than yours…………….

  2. This sort of snobbery and silliness goes back a long way, and I don’t think it has a lot to do with specifically British science fiction. Witness the Great Divide between the “Trekkers” and the “Trekkies”. The “Trekkers” were supposed to be the more serious, literate fans of Star Trek, while the “Trekkies” just collected video tapes and autographs and wore pointed ears at inappropriate times. But to be honest, I could never figure out whether I was One of Them, or One of Us.

    I think it all comes down to a certain amount of borrowing one’s sense of self esteem from identification with one public iconic figure or another, and taking exception when somebody else doesn’t find your particular choice of fandom appealing or appropriate.

    People go nuts over football and go shirtless on the coldest day of the year and paint themselves blue and sit in the front row. And they call us crazy. But seriously, really, it’s just their thing, and there are a lot more dire things in this world than the differences between one fandom and another – there’s really no reason at all for the exclusionary approach. Who’d guess that science fiction fans would have to do battle with xenophobia, of all things?

    – Gene Turnbow
    Krypton Radio

    • great post kryptonradio! thanks for the comment! As a fan of trek, but not a super-fan, I always wondered what the difference between the two groups was, funny to see that “Trekkie” is essentially a derrogatory term to the “trekkers”…ugh

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