Are You A “Real” Fan?

It gets tiresome, and has since I first encountered organized fandom. “Only real fans like…” The worst offenders are the Star Wars fans upset with how the sequels have gone. The Trek fans went at it for a while, but most of the grumbling has been reduced to “looks too new to be set ten years before Shatner” and “I have to buy another streaming service?” Those I can live with, particularly since the Captain Pike storyline has been awesome this year.

But it goes back to my misspent youth. Did you read the right novels tied into our favorite shared franchise? If you like the new movies, you’re not a fan. You’re not a fan if you like so-and-so playing this character. Then there’s my personal pet peeve. It’s not really a peeve. It’s a rage trigger point.

The word “fanboi,” a monumentally stupid word used as a slur by idiots who seem to forget their teens are at least a decade in the rearview mirror. I see that word, and I immediately deduct 75 IQ points from my estimate of their intelligence. It should be a red flag in job interviews, credit applications, and background checks. “I’m sorry, sir, but you called everyone who liked the Red Dwarf reboot on Reddit a fanboi. We cannot hire you.”

Listen, I get the passion for a franchise. That’s why they create them. It’s kind of disingenuous to say, “Oh, well, it’s all just wringing money out of people.” Believe me, there’s a lot of other ways to take people’s money, and a lot easier than trying to get actors to sign on for another installment. But some of the abuse heaped by disappointed fans exceeds how badly they are wronged. You’re all upset that Luke Skywalker turned into a bitter old man and didn’t fit your pet theory. Well, I took my mother-in-law to the hospital for pneumonia two weeks ago. Guess which one of us looks stupid for being upset.

Back in the early 1990s, some fans were so vocal in their opinions of Star Trek: The Next Generation that people asked me, in all serious, “Am I allowed to like both shows?” I, in my immaturity back then, said, “Yes, and anyone who says otherwise should be punched in the face. Hard.”

I don’t care if you don’t like something. I don’t care if you even say you don’t like something. But if you’re going to be outraged by it, you really need to get your priorities straight.