Grand unified theory of fandoms

space-princess

So I designed a space princess. It was only a matter of time, really. I don’t have a name for her yet, but now I have become part of a long tradition going all the way back to Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars, and forward all the way to (in some interpretations) My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:

canterlot_castle_luna

Which makes this into a sort of multiple-fandom milestone for me. Which got me thinking about fandoms in general.

The difference between someone who enjoys something and someone who is a fan is easily noticed, but not always defined. I enjoy Star Wars, for instance, but I wouldn’t consider myself a Star Wars fan (and, as an aside, I wonder if my ability to enjoy The Force Awakens is linked to it). Being a fan involves a degree of self-identification and devotion that goes beyond normal media consumption. Basically if you’re willing to use “fan of [x]” as an adjective to describe you, then you’re a fan. And it’s an identification with a particular social group, even if your actual interaction with the fandom at large is virtually nonexistent.

It’s interesting to ask why some, but not other things can have a fandom. An uncountable amount of people feel a devotion and attachment to the works of Beethoven, and yet it doesn’t quite seem right to speak of a Beethoven fandom. By contrast, Wagner’s following much more closely resembles a fandom.

But anyway, the reasons for why one is sucked into a fandom are often quite personal and peculiar.

john-carter-a-princess-of-mars_1

My sci-fi dorkiness was sealed when 2001: A Space Odyssey fried my brain as an impressionable pre-teen. And as a Canadian I’m perhaps more comfortable with the idea of monarchy than the Americans who make up some 90% of this blog’s readership. Furthermore, in the course of my sci-fi researches I’ve come to recognize that the best kind of royalty is the kind that comes from another planet.

I’m an introvert by nature, and overcoming my shyness was a pretty big deal growing up. In spite of that, I was also attracted to theatricality and performance from a pretty young age, and was involved in drama clubs and classes all through to the end of high school. It somehow managed to short-circuit my shyness to provide the sort of cathartic thrill that’s unique to making a spectacle of yourself.

That side of me never developed into any sort of professional ambitions. Which is probably for the best, as I’m not the greatest actor. But it’s never really left me either.

Which is, in a weird way, where a lot of the furry stuff is coming from. The real glory of the furry fandom is how it has somehow managed to not be about any show, movie or book in particular, and so the majority of the media consumed by the fandom is also produced by it. So there’s a much stronger drive towards creating your own characters and material. This does make it a much tougher sell, since at the very least with the brony fandom you can argue the merits of MLP:FiM as a show.

Still, I can get down with the whole fursona schtick because it taps into that weirdly theatrical side of me. When it comes to cartoons, we often think of the acting in terms of the person behind the mic, but the person drawing the character is as much a part of the performance, if not more. Creating a cartoon rabbit persona has a lot of the same appeal for me as dressing up like Captain Hook before an audience did, except that I can do it from the comfort of my own home, so it’s win-win all around.

josh-chauser

Or maybe there’s some deeper psychodrama being worked out here. Incidentally this is probably as close to a selfie as you guys will get from me.

But it took a while for me to connect the two in my head. A lot of the research that went behind my classic Disney posts on here helped unintentionally pave the way in that respect.

(and, incidentally, made me realize that a lot of the depressing pervy stuff out there isn’t entirely the fault of the internet: I was kinda shocked to find out that the first people to draw Disney-inspired pornography were, in fact, overworked and stressed out Disney animators, thus making Rule 34 into a sort of dark legacy of the house of mouse. Although the internet certainly amplified it).

I realize at this point I’m just thinking out loud, and that this post turned out to be a lot less structured than I anticipated. But SPACE LAGOMORPHS, I guess.

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About Josh W

A Catholic. Likes to write stuff and draw pictures.
This entry was posted in pop culture and its discontents, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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