I’m a Serial Obsessive, which means I rarely continue a strong interest in any one topic for more than a few months at a time. Casual interest in a topic means I don’t quality as being in any particular “fandom,” really. I’m not saying my way of doing things is better or worse than anyone else’s, and having interests and hobbies is not a bad thing, either.
That said, most fandoms simply exhaust me. Been there, did that. I actually do have some t-shirts, too.
Things about fandom that really piss me off:
1. Other people don’t give a crap. Please get other (completely unrelated) interests, so you do not bore everyone.
2. Being a Big Name Fan is a generally empty prize, much like winning the Doesn’t Sweat Much For A Fat Chick gold medal award. Speaking as one who was thrust into BNFness and took years to escape from it, if you have had BNFness thrust upon you, for whatever reason, be it visibility, or knowledge, or active participation within fan circles, don’t let it define your entire being. I do know that you can’t escape from BNFness, whether you want the label or not, unless you withdraw completely from the fandom. Did that.
3. Melodrama about how your fandom saved you from social retardation, illness, mental illness, suicide or self-harm really make me worry about you. Save the drama for your mama.
4. Insisting that you know better than the participants involved (actors in a film, writers of books/scripts/etc., band members, team mates) what “really” happened is delusional. It goes beyond speculative fiction at that point.
5. If you are not twelve, then banding together with socially retarded peers and feeding off of each other’s social retardation to annoy other members of your fandom or outsiders is BAD. Just STAHP, okay? You make non-socially retarded members of your fandom look stupid by association, and it is a sad fact that the loudest and most outspoken fandom members are typically those with the fewest other interests in life, and the most free time.
6. Feeling jealous rather than happy for peers who have had an enjoyable fan experience you wish you had experienced is childish.
7. Sock puppetry for fun and profit is the sign that you are taking your hobby FAR too seriously. You are not “more right” if you and all twenty of your alter egos show up to argue that you are right.
8. Refusing to acknowledge any flaws your fandom or objects of interest in your fandom might have is silly and a way of avoiding critical thought and perspective. Example: “Arena” was embarrassing. Sane Duran Duran fans acknowledge this. Insane ones think it is high art because it has a reference to a softcore French comic book that was later a film. Ooh. Art.
9. Shipping in general is tiresome to me, but that is a personal gripe. If the writers put a couple together, I accept it. If they don’t, I accept it. I don’t spend a lot of time poking at the possibility. In fact, I generally dislike situations that make a big deal about relationships. Example: X Files jumped the shark when Chris Carter pandered to Philes and got Mulder and Scully to hook up and breed.
10. A real person’s sexual inclination and preference isn’t really cool to speculate about unless it is generally known and discussed by said person. Example: No, Merry Whosits is not secretly sucking Frodo’s toes behind a bush in Chapter Twelve. Or in the trailers between takes. “Gandalf”, however, has a truly hot real life boyfriend. It is entirely possible there was some hot boy on boy lurve in the Wizard’s Winnebago occasionally.
11. If a character is supposed to be 12, what possesses you to spend hours lovingly sketching him or her having sex with an adult and not seeing that there may be a slight problem with this? If nothing else, it is distasteful. Quick guideline: can you show this to your grandmother and your pastor (or imam or rabbi, or whatever)? It’s probably not okay to upload to Teh Intarweeblez. Srsly. What’s your motivation for this, if not to titillate someone (if only yourself)? Which is gross. And illegal.
12. Characters are not paper dolls that you can write absolutely anything about. Well, you can’t do it convincingly or well. Also, spelling, grammar, punctuation, paragraph breaks, plot, characterization, showing rather than telling and lack of cliches are all required in GOOD writing. They are not optional.
13. Mary Sue and Gary Stu can go get bent.
14. Lack of well-roundedness in life, when reflected in obsessive fandom-ness, can make you boring. There are things outside of your fandom ‘verse. Truly. A sense of perspective is useful in life. Enjoy your fandom. Just give it a rest once in a blue moon.
15. Just because you want something to be true, it does not make it true.
16. Speculation and satisfaction with said speculation is no substitute for actual research, logic, and, when appropriate, canon.
17. Don’t expect outsiders to understand fandom-specific slang, acronyms, band member names, footnotes, the name of the gaffer on the set, your favourite character’s girlfriend’s birthdate, and so on. Why would outsiders care? Conversely, don’t be surprised if an outsider does happen to know some of the Sacred Secret Insider Information, as s/he probably saw the same TV show / website / interview you did.
18. Do not tattoo your fandom on your body. It is unkind to name your children after your fandom. Example: If your dog is named after a Hobbit or a Jedi, do not be surprised if Obi-Wan the poodle bites you.
19. Tips for writers: “Rape” is not a synonym for being 100% willing and OK with being talked into having sex so you don’t feel guilty or dirty because you have some prudery issues or whatever. It is, however, rape is someone says no or is unable to consent.
20. Tips for writers: “Incest” is not healthy or sexy or titillating. Family members who are close do not inevitably secretly desire to have sexual intercourse with each other.
21. Tips for writers: Even if two characters you find attractive are gender- and sexual-preference-appropriate for each other, that does not automatically mean they “should” hook up. If they are not sexual-preference-appropriate partners, bending the laws of space and time to make them bi or gay when they are not is not “being gay positive,” it is called “having a sexual kink that is sparked by writing or reading about fictional people getting it on”.
22. Tips for writers: Relying on death, sex, or soap opera plots to insert Dramatic Tension in your story is rarely going to result in a fine result. It’s been done to death, it’s been done very badly, and there are other ways to construct plot and dramatic tension and excitement into a story.
23. Tips for writers: Mixed metaphors, especially inserting quotes from another obsession or fandom ‘verse into your writing, is generally a bad idea. Strive to be original and to speak in your own voice when writing, without neglecting the natural voice and character development set forth in canon for your borrowed characters. NOTE: Crossover fic has its own rules, but it is still a good idea to remain true to the various established personalities and ‘voices’ of your borrowed characters.
24. If cosplay is part of your fandom, glamour bombing and freaking the mundanes is an attention-seeking ploy that makes your fandom peers look bad by association. Try to restrict your urge to run around like a vampire or fox person to your private gathering spot.
25. If you are a furry, don’t bother non-furries or try to win converts, and, for god’s sake, please don’t mongle your dog.
I’m just sayin’, man.
I could go on, but I’m getting repetitive.