Monday, July 26, 2010

All Hail the Fans

by Kathleen Bradean

I have a confession. I suck at fandom. If life were University degree, I’d have a bunch of survey courses and still no major. I like certain music groups, but I have no idea who the members of the band are, where they came from, or who they date. I go to at least three Galaxy (Major league soccer) games a year and watch more on TV, but I couldn’t name half of the line-up. I can’t think of a single television show where I’ve seen every episode.

When I see people with a consuming passion for something, I’m envious. How do you make old cars, a basketball team, knitting, Lady Gaga, renaissance life, science fiction, or basset hounds the focus of your life? How do you connect so deeply to a team’s accomplishments that you’re elated by their victories and destroyed by their losses? (Sure, I was elated when Spain won the World Cup, but that’s because I had money riding on them. That doesn’t count. I didn’t pick Spain out of love. I read a bunch of reports and determined that they were statistically my best bet.)

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy a lot of things. As I mentioned, sort of the survey course approach to life. That leaves me free to immerse as deeply as I care to and then move on to the next shiny thing, but I wonder if I’m missing something by not giving my all to one thing. Fans have community where they share with other fans. With the internet, now they get to reach far beyond their cities and meet people from around the world who share their passion. And thank goodness they do, because it’s their fandom that keeps all the genres of music, television shows, books, and sports teams alive, so that I can flit by and enjoy them.


  1. What you are a fan of, if I may be so bold as to presuppose, is the mostly lonely and un-social activity of writing.

    You know more about it than most people, you engage in it more often than most people, and when it comes time to pick something to do, I will wager that it's high on your list much of the time.

    That, to me, counts as being a fan.

    You might even have to tear yourself away from writing in order to read.

    I don't think you have a problem... or at least if you do, I have the same one.

  2. Hello, Kathleen,

    I was surprised by your post. Since this was your topic, I expected you to reveal new insights about your secret passions.

    Come on, 'fess up. You really are into furries, right?

    (Anyway, I had to think really hard to come up with the topic of my post!)


  3. Nobilis - I'm passionate about writing, so maybe that counts.

    Lisibet - Comic Con just closed, and Anime Expo was a few weeks ago, and World Cup just ended, so fandom has been very much on my mind. I haven't been to Comic Con, but I've been to Anime Expo several times and I've been to Women's World Cup. Ardent fans fascinate me. When I see them, I feel as if I'm missing out on something, so I wanted to hear about fandom from the inside.

  4. Popping in again to share this wonderful post by Thomas Roche that is highly relevant to the topic of fandom:


  5. Lisabet,
    Thomas' post is incredibly relevant to me right now. Not so much for this topic, but because I'm writing a series with tons of sexual tension between two leads, but as of the end of the first book, no sex. It's funny that he should mention Moonlighting, because I too remember the exquisite sexual tension between Dave and Maddie that died when they had sex. I watched the series again to see how it was done so right in the beginning and how they ruined it. My conclusion was that it wasn't the sex that destroyed the series. The writers changed the characters from smart and sexy to stupid and sappy. That could kill anything.

  6. Kathleen,

    I agree. Fandom is great for some people. But I can't devote my life to learning Klingon or memorising every move made by a football team.

    However, being able to draw on the experience of fans can be very helpful.

    Great post.


  7. Ash - I've been to a Klingon wedding. It was conducted entirely in Klingon. I was the only non-fluent guest (I can scowl and growl "Mock-tar," but have no clue if that's gibberish or actual Klingon) so I had no idea what was happening. I was mightily drunk (a few Klingon blood ales and I'm on my ass), so I had a great time.


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