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Community deorganizer

By the conventional wisdom, I’m into all manner of things considered “nerdy” or “geeky” or whatever the cultural adjective du jour is. But, I generally cannot stand their associated fandoms and communities at large. The Internet has only made rabid fanboyism worse, despite also serving to bring fans together. Not a day goes by where we don’t hear about complaints and even death threats towards creators of comics, games, and other media due to some miniscule belief or alteration. Those few make fans as a whole look like terrible people, and I can’t fault the rest of the world’s misconception of nerds and geeks as a result. These communities and fandoms bring out the worst in people, and I stopped visiting most message boards many years ago for this exact reason. There’s maybe one or two left that I still visit, and even one of those may soon get the axe.

Beyond the extreme stuff, even the more commonplace and accepted geek community behaviors are starting to get my goat. For example, I’m tired of every fandom’s news/blog sites having become 90% snark with 10% actual news content thrown in seemingly as an afterthought. I know they’re just trying to get page hits and act holier-than-thou as part of the “geek chic” culture, but I don’t care. I want useful information and to discuss my hobbies with like-minded individuals who actually enjoy them, not deal with all of that hipster snobbery.

Furthermore, stereotypical fans seem to be rapidly becoming typical fans, and that annoys the shit out of me. I’ve written at length on this blog about how stereotypical fans of anything are irritating, and I’d wager that most other people feel the same way. (Especially towards those who don’t goddamned bathe.) For crying out loud, just look at the constant bitching and complaining about the upcoming Batman/Superman movie. We’ve seen nothing but a few test shots and logo, yet nerds just won’t stop whining like it’s the worst thing on Earth. Their complaints have zero merit, not to mention being hypocritical as similar comic book films seem to automatically get a pass. The fact that it’s Ben Affleck (who’s not a terrible actor) and Superman (who is a very trendy target) is enough for these dorks. At least wait until a trailer, or you know, the actual movie is released. Then you might have a leg to stand on. And even if the movie sucks…who cares? It’s just a movie. Get on with your lives.

Let me tell you another story. I help out at my local comic book shop for Free Comic Book Day. Now, it’s a given that an insanely busy day like that — easily the busiest day of the year — is going to draw every type of fan out of the woodwork. The highlight of the day is that we get a lot of older fans bringing their kids to the comics shop, often for the first time. They offer nothing but wild-eyed enthusiasm, and they don’t give a shit about which character or publisher is better. Y’know, the way it should be for all of us.

But, in too many cases than should exist, it was like a real-life message board in there. This year, it never got to the point where people were loudly arguing with each other over trivial comic book bullshit (though it has happened before!), but I saw every stereotype on display. It wasn’t too hot or humid of a day, but it got a little stinky in there. Later on, when I was explaining where manga was located, I used the common Americanized pronunciation “mang-ga” instead of the original Japanese “mon-ga.” Right after I got the word out…a thirtysomething fanboy immediately piped up to “correct” me, complete with the standard arrogant catchphrase: “Actually, it’s pronounced mon-ga.” It would’ve been annoying, but his voice sounded like a little flute. (Or Jeremy Freedman.) It took a lot of self control not to laugh.

Don’t get me wrong, FCBD was by no means a horrible experience. But these weird fans are seemingly increasing in number. Maybe as I’ve grown older, my tolerance for nerds has just been decreasing. I know I was bad when I was younger, but I also knew when to shut it off, so to speak. Plus, I’ve grown up since then, and thus learned from my mistakes. Some of these people are my age or older; what’s their excuse?

As such, I’ve discovered that I enjoy my hobbies a lot more on my own. Considering that I do not share most of my interests with most of my close friends, this isn’t too much of a leap. Sure, I figured maybe I was at fault at first, given my apparent inability to get along with most normal people. But then I realized that people as a group just tend to argue and complain more than anything else, and with fanboys, it’s multiplied a hundredfold. I no longer consider myself a nerd, or geek, or whatever, and I don’t want any part of their communities. They can all just fuck off.

(Afterword: There is a bright spot amongst all of this. The only fan community I’ve found lately that’s been overwhelmingly positive and accepting is that of Gunpla. Which you wouldn’t expect, as anime fans are just as notorious as comic fans [if not more so] when it comes to bitching and complaining…but that seems to evaporate when it comes to model kits. I don’t understand it, and I’m certainly not used to anything remotely like this during my lifetime, but I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.)

3 comments to Community deorganizer

  • Tom

    I am fortunate to be part of an online anime fan community which is not only made up of mature adults for the most part, but also hosts a news site with actual information, rather than teeming with commentary and snark! Sure, the forum has a few of the usual suspects (the one whose word on anything is the only one that matters – and occasional backseat mod – being the most annoying example), but the moderation staff does a good job at keeping things focused and nipping nonsense in the bud before it spreads. Flame wars are grounds for banning after a stern warning! The childish fanboys who show up from time to time – who would fit right in in many places – stick out like a sore thumb there, and soon find that their brand of “fandom” doesn’t fly there. There are very few shenanigans on this forum, and I don’t feel out of place at all. This site and forum has been around in various forms for at least 15 years now, as far as I know.

    Plus, without that forum, I wouldn’t have discovered most of the anime and manga I’ve come to enjoy over the past decade or more!

  • Brendan

    Do you follow any of your hobbies on reddit?
    I find most of the comments on that site when it gets to specific interests to be pretty postive – at least when you sort by “best” which is what I typically do. I didn’t really like Godzilla – but when I was viewing the discussion for that movie after I saw it that vast majority of the comments were positive and people talking about what they liked as opposed to what they dislike.
    For the most part, negative comments and trolls seem to get downvoted.

    • Actually, I do! Reddit’s rather useful for the exact reason you mentioned; bad stuff gets downvoted quickly. I generally use it to ask dumb questions, and find other folks’ experiences with various products (especially in the model-building world).

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