Over the past couple of weeks a series of posts have emerged, initially sparked by the surprise change of allegiance in the latest Captain America comic reboot, that represent a spectrum of perspectives on the current state of fan culture.
- Fandom is Broken
- Geek culture isn’t “broken”, but it does have a harassment problem
- Long Live Fandom: Fandom Isn’t Broken
Faraci’s initial polemic is useful as a springboard for discussion, but I think the pieces at The Daily Dot and The Mary Sue paint a more nuanced and hopeful picture of the way fandom is interacting with the creations that we adore. I agree that a sense of entitlement exists among some segments of the fan community (as Faraci rightly points out), and that it isn’t creators’ responsibility to cater to this in the least. But there’s a bright line between entitlement and valid criticism, and another between the creator’s canon and derivative fanworks.
I believe that on sum, active engagement of creators with fans (and vice versa) is enriching the medium and the cultural space we inhabit, and the more voices that are heard, the more we all benefit. Having a few strident bad apples caught up in the mix is a price worth paying if we must, because today’s most passionate fans are the ones who’ll be producing the transformative, genre-defining works of tomorrow.
(Also, slice-of-life fanfic where beloved characters get to lead normal, happy lives is pretty much the greatest.)