FANDOM IS F**KIN’ FUNNY.
It’s a phrase I find myself coming back to more and more these days. Everyone just seems mad all of the time about something involving fandom. Now what was once called “fandom wank” is called “discourse,” but it remains basically the same. At the end of the day, fandom is meant to be fun. It’s meant to be escapism. Absolutely it’s something worthwhile to be involved in, I’m not trying to downplay that. But it makes me sad to see so many people angry at things that are supposed to bring them joy.
Sometimes people have opinions, sometimes other people don’t agree with those opinions, sometimes all parties get really angry with one another.
Back in 2001 fandom was still a thing that very few people admitted that they were a part of. Eighteen years later, people are less likely to hide under a table at the mention of fandom. But as such it definitely means there are a lot more people, and the voices are sometimes much louder.
This isn’t about the thoughts and feelings that people may have of creative properties — it’s about how we express them, how we treat one another, how we treat the creators and everyone involved. There are enough articles and essays on why a thing was good or bad.
With Avengers: Endgame being extremely divisive, and Game of Thrones ending in a way that many people weren’t keen on, it’s hard to scroll through Twitter without seeing someone criticizing creative properties. That’s not to say that these complaints aren’t warranted; Endgame didn’t pan out how a lot of people wanted and it sounds like the last season of Game of Thrones was rushed (I don’t watch the latter so I’ll have to take everyone’s word on it).
But I think there’s a line between expressing valid criticisms and behaving like a spoiled brat who didn’t get what they wanted, lashing out at people who don’t agree with you or may have differing opinions. Perhaps not many people have crossed that line, but enough have.
I’ll come right out and say it — I loved Endgame. I think it was a great ending for that arc and closed the storylines of characters we’ve come to know and love well. Do I have complaints about it? Absolutely. There were things I would’ve liked to see and things I think they could have handled much better. That being said I’ve honestly not talked much about it. Why? Because I honestly feel to come out and say that I enjoyed something that a lot of people did not would result in a lot of people wanting to challenge me on my thoughts and feelings about it.
I’m not interested in having someone come into my mentions on Twitter and tell me why liking Endgame is wrong, and here’s a list of reasons why. I liked it. As I said, I do have complaints about some aspects of it, but overall I enjoyed it. You can like something and still acknowledge the things that maybe weren’t done well, that didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Enjoyment of a creative property doesn’t necessarily mean you have your blinders on. It could simply mean that you enjoy that thing in spite of those plot threads that weren’t handled well, those character arcs that were a little questionable.
It’s okay to like things just because you like them!
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting and expecting better of the creative properties that we consume. As I said, a lot of the criticisms of Endgame that I’ve seen are extremely valid. And I even share some of those! They don’t personally hamper my enjoyment of the film, but I can see why they would for others. And I’m certainly not trying to tell anyone how to enjoy fandom, that would be a jerk move.
But I think that we do need to remind ourselves that fandom is meant to be fun, and it’s meant to be funny. I understand that it can hurt when we invest a lot of time and energy into liking something, only to have it disappoint us. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to cultivate your own fandom experience. And if part of that fandom experience involves being extremely negative, or calling out others for not sharing the same opinions as you, or signing a petition to have creators remake an entire season of something (not gonna happen), then I think it’s fair to suggest that you think about what it is that you truly want from fandom and your fandom experience.
It’s okay to step away from things if they’re not making you happy anymore. Life is too short for bad television or watching a cinematic universe where you’re certain that you’re just going to be annoyed by everything that comes out.
You can always come back! And if you don’t, there is always going to be something else out there that will bring you joy.