The Pronouns of Fandom

February 8, 2018

Written by Capt McNeely

Georgia Division ZADF Twitter: @ZADF_ORG

Disclaimer: Sports, film, music, and art will do more to unite a nation than politics. All of these, collectively known as “entertainment” allow people a sense of belonging, identity and sharing. They can represent the best of us as a species. All can inspire, amaze and make us and make us better people.

Notice I left out any reference to “ownership.”
Grammar Nazis love to focus on the improper use of “You’re” and “Your” and “They’re and There.” I suggest they look into the misuse of certain pronouns.
Fans of any medium don’t seem to understand “Us” and “Them” or “We” and “They.”

A sports example: The Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl 52. The players, coach, the staff that worked on a daily basis to make the machine run–THEY won the Super Bowl.
YOU reading this did not.
To see “We did it!” type posts online is another example of a spectator world that confuses viewing with doing. To be proud of the victory because you’re from Philly or Pennsylvania or just as a sports fan is part of the fun and community. To destroy, disparage and embrace poor sportsmanship is wrong.
To be “pissed” to the point of not talking to one’s friends, family, spouse, whatever because “your” team lost, is ridiculous.
The fad of posting children crying, having meltdowns over sports teams or players failing expectations was nothing short of child abuse. I covered this in my piece on George Lucas, rabid “fandom” is akin to mental illness, as the word “fanatic” implies. Read HERE
A fantatical devotion to anything is unhealthy. Enjoy the game, each other and the comraderie it brings. To riot, burn, vandalize, threaten others or physically harm others is ridiculous and the antithesis of what a love of sports is to engender. If you think I am out of line, observe your average little leagfue game with a focus on the parents and you’ll see what I mean.
It’s not just sports. The show Toddlers and Tiaras also shows what happens when fanaticism and failed dreams replace common sense and good parenting.

Let’s look at the world of film, which has its own brand of fanaticism that has made recent headlines.
When a favorite film wins, do film fans procalim “We did it! We won!” A film fan has no more ownership of a movie than a sports fan. You bought your ticket, DVD, product and a service was provided. That’s the transaction. Buying a film ticket does not give ownership over the movie or the right to have any kind of say in its production or distribution.

Consequently, movie fans have zero owenership or entitlement over celebrities or the studios. You bought an autograph at a convention? Good for you. It doesn’t give you carte blanche to say whatever you feel to a celebrity at their table. While you may have the right to freedom of speech, you also have the responsibility to speak wisely. Your patronage does not give you ownership. Life is not a giant crowd funder that offers you some “producer title” as a perk.
When did this start? Could the roots be around the time of the Star Trek TV series with fan petitions to renew the series that led to the eventual feature film? Granted, Star Wars was as much an impetus for Star Trek as fan demand, but did studios start to give power then?
Only days after the release of The Last Jedi there was a call by “fans” to repeal the film for what comes down to “upset fanboys.” You see, they didn’t approve of the film for a variety of reasons. You can read here:
Who do these people think they are and consequently, who told them their opinion matters?
Where did the delusion begin that to demand a major studio to bend to their hurt feelings and disappointed expectations or resentments?
Now I have to go chase some kids off my lawn.

Move past Star Wars to the upcoming Black Panther

The “fanboys” are at it again. This time they plan to go past the Last Jedi petition phase. Is it a DC vs marvel issue? Because Black Panther is largely an all-black film, is it a race issue?
The planned offensive against the upcoming Black Panther is to flood review aggregate page, Rotten Tomatoes, with negative reviews. The goal is to create an aura of failure for the film and impact ticket sales. This is alleged “revenge” for the low scores the DC films (namely Batman vs. Superman and more recently,  Justice League) receieved.
These “fans” see their effort as an answer to perceieved “review rigging” for The Last Jedi, which came from Disney/Marvel as well. These “fans” insist there is a major discrepancy against the high review number for Jedi vs. the audience score which at the time of this writing, was half.
All of this seems to point toward a perceieved bias toward Disney/Marvel and against the DC universe.
This kind of stuff perpetuates the image of William Shatner’s famous Saturday Night Live fan scorn:

“Get a life, will you people? For crying out loud, it’s just a TV show. Look at how you’re dressed. You’ve turned a job I did as a lark into a collossal waste of time. I mean, how old are you people? What have you done with yourselves? You…you’re amost thirty, have you ever kissed a girl?”

I can’t say that The Last Jedi was my favorite of the Star Wars films. It ran too long, pandered to political correctness, had a laugh out loud silly Supergirl moment involving Carrie Fisher flying through space, a totally useless casino subplot for the benefit of justifying Benecio Del Toro’s cameo and I could go on about its pacing, useless script points and so forth.I paid to see it and that’s it.
Moving on.
I feel that the three prequels did damage to the series. I did not protest, did not demand they be stricken from canon. Buyer beware.

As a boy I remember feeling ripped off as a movie-goer after seeing Jaws 3-D. A few years later Jaws The Revenge showed it could get worse. As sad as it is that these two films are considered part of the Jaws universe, the simplest answer is: ignore them. They just didn’t count. It’s a shame, but that’s how it is.
We are seeing something similar as Blumhouse looks to erase a history of shoddy sequels to the original classic, Halloween (Halloween III exempted). However, there are fans of some of those sequels and this will not curb them from enjoying the film of their choice.

To Be Or Not To Be Rotten

The hype on Black Panther is already full throttle. Part of the hype is that it’s the first major feature film to feature a black super hero. It is if you don’t count Blade, Spawn, Hancock, Meteor Man, Blankman, Steel or arguably, Catwoman. Before the comments start flying, yes, most of these films are hardly the quality of what Black Panther is alleged to be. Their cultural impact is minimal and no one is calling Catwoman or Spawn classics. The other argument would be they are not true “heroes” but rather most are anti-heroes.
Case in point, Salon published this, whatever it means:

Let’s look at the fan point of view for a moment in one regard: the seeming importance of sites like Rotten Tomatoes. If scores can be so easliy manipulated then why is there a need for such a thing? Shouldn’t it be like it once was and have people be allowed to make up their own minds?
What good is a review site if its own creators can slant the results OR anyone can just manipulate with their own agendas? How does this refelct an accurate assessment of the product? I discuss this in my previous Cynema piece here:
With so many people screaming about manipulation in the electoral process, why is it acceptable to manipulate the film review process?
In other words, aggregate sites mean nothing and should not carry the weight they do. The same goes for IMDb “comments/reviews” or even Amazon comments. These are not comments from people posting an objective assessment with critical thinking backing it up. They are mostly uniformed, knee-jerk reactions by people displacing their anger, outrage or ignorance.
In the case of Black Panther, an agenda is pushed.

My own film, Death House is releasing this month on Feb. 23rd. The same thing can happen here. Die-hard horror fans can flood Rotten Tomatoes with positive or negative comments, just to do it. The film wasn’t the monster mashup Freddy vs. Jason-style film you wanted? Just go give it a shitty score on the aggregate sites. Don’t consider we took a different turn, tried for something higher to transcend our lower budget. Don’t look at the respect it has for the genre or the quality with which it was made.
Of course you can apply that to almost any film, budget withstanding.
For me, someone who does have a true vestment in Death House, I did direct the movie. I wrote the movie. “We” means the cast and crew and everyone involved in the making of this motion picture. We hope “they” the audience, enjoy it. The movie was made for “them” to enjoy.
What does that mean to “you?”
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