Get in early enough, and you can watch a fledgling fandom try to survive without drama. It’s like watching a baby piglet before it knows it will be delicious, devourable bacon. Sweet, innocent, a little smelly, but full of potential to grow into something that will appease the carnivorous fanmasses.
These baby piglet fandoms can sometimes, somehow, exist for years without drama IF and ONLY IF they don’t have screen adaptations. There is an algorithm out there that can explain it better than I can, but somehow it never fails. Screens mean the end of sweet baby piggies. Your fandom is now a suckling pig.
It’s been a couple of years since I prophesied on how to avoid fandom drama, so if you missed the first five parts of the treatise, you can read it here. But I will also sum up the salient points.
Be chill with your merchandising.
Never get a fandom tattoo of someone’s face.
Back away from the RPF.
Shipper fights are not real life.
Stalking is illegal.
I stand by these Top 5 Fandom Dramz. Watch yourself out there. But as is always the case, there can be more to fandom drama than making fun of someone’s photoshop or hating a canon ship. The truth is, if you don’t find your people and stick with them, you will always encounter fans in your fandom that make you scratch your head and those that make you want to scalp heads. It happens. People are annoying. Fans included.
So I decided to continue this little series that I started many moons ago (not as a series) to help you navigate those fandom waters. When you find yourself unsure of where you stand on some drama you see unfolding, I hope you find succor at That’s Normal. A balm for your bruised fandom backside.
Caveat: I will tell you what I think is right and what is not. I will be policing your fandom behavior. WHY? That’s Part 6.
How to Avoid Fandom Drama, Part 6
6. Shut Up and Color
Let me explain. “Shut Up and Color” has two parts. Shutting up. And coloring. Let’s talk about the latter, first.
When it comes to fandom drama, STAY IN YOUR LANE. Find your people, your friends, your boos, whatever you want to call them, in your fandom and STICK WITH THOSE BITCHES FOR LYFE. They will have your back, they will DM you horrible screenshots of what those other fandom people did and you will LAUGH, and it will be awesome.
Do you guys like making up dirty limericks and photoshopping them onto random screenshots of your favorite actor eating funnel cakes? Well, ok. Do that all day. Do you enjoy hosting non-canon ships only, alternate universe, timeline adjacent fic contests? Go forth and wreak havoc. Do you enjoy sending baked goods across the Atlantic? Stop that. Find something else to do.
But color. Just color your little fandom brain out with the people who like to color like you do. Spiral with your fandom BFFs til you dizzy.
But do not, under any circumstances, run off to screennames you barely know and tell them how wrong they are about whatever they are probably totally wrong about. Even your passive-aggressive “I’m pretty sure the showrunner/writer/director disagrees with you that …” is just no. Tell your friends. Sub-tweet that shit. But SHUT UP and color. That’s the second part, first. SHUT UP.
I don’t mean don’t say what you want to your friends, in your twitter feed, on your own blog. (HELLO.) And hell, if someone throws out a random fandom question, asking for opinions, feel free to give them your grad school thesis on the topic.
But don’t borrow trouble. What use is there in running into someone else’s @mentions, their blog comments, their pages and giving them hell? Just talk about them behind their backs, LIKE LADIES DO.
Now, it may seem like I am breaking my own rule by telling you to do that. After all, what if you JUST broke this rule, and am I not running my mouth, telling you how WRONG you are? Um. No. This is MY blog post. I can say what I want. Now, if I run to YOUR blog post and tell you what to do, you can feel free to tell me to Shut Up and Color. That’s fair. But I don’t do that. What I WILL do is tell you all day long what to do … OVER HERE.
Like how I am about to tell you what to do with Part 7.
7. If you hate spoilers, don’t internet.
Sorry, spoiler haters. This is your only option.
Spoilers come in all shapes and sizes, and frankly I love them. I don’t run around reading wikis for every book I haven’t read yet, but when it comes to shows and films, well-spotted and unintentional spoilers are a goddamn delight.
The summer between season 2 and 3 of The Office was a veritable GARDEN of spoilers for me. I spent innumerous hours in the Jim and Pam spoiler thread feeling out every behind the scenes pic, casting announcement and shade of blue that John Krasinski was wearing. GOD, if only we’d had Twitter then.
Spoilers can be fun. They can also be super lame. But one thing spoilers always are is … everywhere. If you haven’t seen the recent episode of How to Get Away With Murder, stay off Twitter. If you’re on west coast time, but are waiting for your show to start, guess what? You don’t get to internet.
That’s just how it is.
If the act of looking at pap photos of actors in costume from long-range lenses causes you to have a panic attack, then you a) need perspective and b) are going to have to stay off the internet forever. Because you cannot avoid pictures on social media. It’s just impossible. Believe me, I’ve tried to adjust the mute tags on all my devices so I never have to see a Jenner or Reese Witherspoon ever again, and my eyes are still assaulted with Kardashian and pointy-chinned nonsense every day.
So because spoilers are ubiquitous, you spoiler haters must concede. Try your mightiest, but you will fail. Spoilers demand to be seen. So when you DO see them, well, chalk it up to the fact that you refused to not internet. Then shut up and color.
Addendum: People who spoil on purpose without spoiler tags and warning … are jerks. Just because spoilers are everywhere doesn’t mean you have to blow them up on a Times Sqaure sized internet billboard. Have some restraint.
So that’s it for this edition of How to Avoid Fandom Drama. If you have suggestions of future drama scenarios that you would like addressed, please feel free to leave them in the comments, or tag me on twitter. In fact, just answer this question: what’s the worst fandom fight you’ve been in?