OTW Fannews: Criticizing Fandom

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  • Entertainment Weekly kicked off a new pop-culture-related column with a look at TV show finales and cited former OTW board member Francesca Coppa. “Mentally, it is difficult to imagine someone from the 50s declaring themselves a ‘fan’ of a TV show the way someone self-identifies as a ‘Fan’ of Walking Dead or Vampire Diaries or Firefly or, hell, NCIS: LA. This is partly because we inaccurately agree that TV wasn’t as good in the ’50s and partly because we assume people in the ’50s had better things to do…But modern fandom has roots in that time period. Francesca Coppa’s fascinating essay ‘A Brief History of Media Fandom’ (available in the Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet) traces our contemporary idea of media fandom — fan clubs, fanfiction, fan conventions — to a pair of TV shows from the 1960s: Star Trek and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
  • As a possible example of the fan complaints cited in the EW piece, Hypable jumped on the criticism by Once Upon a Time fandom about poor marketing efforts by its network. “ABC has had to pull back the Once Upon a Time season 3 cast photos due to unexpected fandom backlash. Once Upon a Time fans love their show and its characters, and have reportedly responded so negatively to the season 3 cast photoset that ABC has pulled the photographs from their press site.”
  • The EW piece was not flattering to fandom, but writing in Flavor Wire Jason Diamond dismisses Jillian Cantor’s Margot as fanfiction, as if that were equivalent with poor taste. “Shalom Auslander, in 2012′s Hope: A Tragedy, wrote a book that I consider in even poorer taste, placing a still-alive Anne Frank in the modern-day attic of somebody’s house, trying to squeeze humor from this Philip Rothian plot device. Like Cantor, and unlike Mangum’s album or Quentin Tarantino’s fictional Jewish revenge film Inglourious Basterds, his book upset me because it trivialized, rather than made moving art in tribute to, the real lives of Holocaust victims.”
  • Perhaps this negativity explains why, in this ABC piece Cafe Tacvba Fans Downplay Their Fandom, though the reporter concludes otherwise. “Eager to collect fandom statements on what makes a Cafeta fan a real, super, ultimate fan, I flew into New York City from Miami to attend its Monday night concert. Being a fan for the past 15 years and this probably being my 25th time going to a Cafe Tacvba show, I thought I was a super fan. But after talking to folks, I wonder if I’m committed enough to call myself one. There, I was not able to find anyone who would even self-identify as a “super fan”…Turns out Cafe Tacvba fans are so devoted to them, they believe they are not worthy of their fandom. They downplay their devotion, because proclaiming they are Cafe Tacvba super fans would entail great responsibility.”

What fandom criticisms have you seen? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.