“I’ve been a fan before anyone even knew what/who _____ was. I’ve been listening to, playing it, doing it longer than you have. So you’re not a true fan because you only starting liking it after it got popular!”
Has anyone else heard or read this before? Yeah, thought so.
We are so quick to judge other people, to categorize them, to stomp on their delicate budding intrigue before it has a chance to bloom. Why? Because we don’t think they deserve to be interested.
Too many times I hear that if you haven’t been fan since the beginning, then you’re not really a fan. If you haven’t been reading the books, playing the games, listening to the music since the origin of time then you’re not qualified to be a true fan of said subject. I’m calling it.. Bullshit! Loads of it, in fact.
“Oh, you’re a Mario fan because you occasionally play Mario on the Wii? Pfft, then you’re not a real fan. I’ve been playing Mario since the original on NES. “ It’s as if that simple fact makes them more of a fan than the person who occasionally plays newer Mario’s? No, it doesn’t! Just because that person does not know as much or hasn’t played as many games, does not mean that they don’t enjoy Mario just as much as the old school gamers do!
It’s that thought process that causes long time fans to bully the newer or more casual fans, and sometimes it bullies them right out of being fans. Shame on them! Seriously. They want to isolate themselves with the others they deem worthy when all they’re truly doing is shutting people off from enjoying, liking, even loving the subjects they love. And why wouldn’t they want others to love the things that they love? That means having more people to talk to it about, more people to relate to, more people to fuel purchasing around that subject.
Mull it over with me.. The more popular a subject is, the more profitable, and the more you see it. You see more of that product, more of its merchandise, and more things similar to it.
I.E.: Star Wars – Do you really think that if Star Wars hadn’t gotten the ever evolving and constantly growing fandom that it’s had and has that they would still be producing Star Wars movies? NO. They wouldn’t. It’s thanks to old and new fans that you will continue to see Star Wars movies, t-shirts, video games, ect.
What is my advice to those that continue to look down on the new or casual fans? Quit it. Not only are you bullying people, but you’re doing a disservice to yourself and an injustice to your passions. You should be relating to these new and casual fans; encouraging them even. If not for their involvement in your interests, you may see less and less of the things you love.
Instead of glaring at the girl who wears the Pikachu shirt simply for the fact that she thinks it’s cute, you should compliment her on having an awesome shirt. Who cares if she didn’t/doesn’t really play Pokemon? Who cares as to what level of extremity her interest in Pokemon is? She is a fan. You are a fan. It’s time to accept that simply as it is.
Of course, this doesn’t just apply to the subjects that are considered geeky like video games and books. Simply put: Someone isn’t more deserving of being a fan than someone else!
Just because I didn’t read the Harry Potter books as they were being released from the beginning doesn’t mean that I don’t love them as much as the people that did. It took me years to finally pick up the series. Why can’t a fan be a new fan?
Just because I don’t play video games every day doesn’t mean that I’m not a gamer girl. I love video games. Always have, always will. Why can’t a fan be a casual fan?
Just because I can’t explain to you the founding of the FC Barcelona team and I don’t watch each and every game doesn’t mean that I’m not a FCB fan! Why can’t a fan be both casual and new?
I think it’s due time that we as geeks stop categorizing fandom and just be a fan who respects other fans. Sure, I might be 100% more obsessed with Final Fantasy than the young guy who’s only played the newest game, but we are both fans. And hey, I’m down with that!
PS: Part 2 coming soon!