Posted By Kathleen David on July 30, 2009
For every form of fandom there are the extreme fans. From the sports fans who act like they own the team to the tv series fan who thinks they own the series to the comic book or book fan who thinks they own or are owed what they want by the creators of the series. Peter once said quite seriously, in his CGB column I think, that all that is owed to the fan is to do the best job that he can do and for him it is to tell the best stories he can.
Recently a couple of creators have been taking some serious flak from fans about comments that they might or might not have said or said and they were taken out of context. There is howling for heads and that they better “fix” this or else. And there are campaigns to get their point of view heard to the PTB (powers that be) so that they will know how upset they are. It’s the fans way or the highway.
Sure those extreme fans can save a show by rallying the troops, I’m not saying that all they do is destructive or counter-productive. Jerico and the 3rd season of Star Trek are both held up as fans who managed to get something done. But there comes a time that these fans need to back off and take a look at how their actions are actually detrimental to their cause.
They want to be heard but swearing at and declaring that if A doesn’t happen or if A does happen, they aren’t going to watch/read/play anymore isn’t going to win points with the PTB. In fact they tend to write off those fans as well fanatics that wouldn’t be happy if they were given everything they want with a big red bow tied around it. The PTB listen to the more reasonable fan who expresses displeasure without seeming to foam at the mouth. But even in listening, the PTB has all the cards and all the power. They decide what is and what isn’t.
I know I am preaching to the part of fandom that already understands this but I felt it needed to be said. I feel for the creators who are taking a beating at the hands of extreme fandom. And since extreme fandom is the most vocal, how can even you wonder why some creators and actors are very reluctant to engage fandom in an exchange of ideas? They are d’mned if they do and d’mned if they don’t . So they set out to do the best they can. Maybe fandom should set out to do the same.
I am grateful for the regular fans who have a love for their genre and talk about passionately but not to an uncomfortable extreme.