I don’t like fandoms. A community founded upon the idolization of any one thing is only as strong as it’s weakest link, and there are always weak links that drag the integrity of any fandom to unreasonable levels. The nature of such a community makes it incredibly hard to self-moderate; it’s instinctive for the members of a group to defend the whole.
However, by leaving the most rancid parts of their community unharmed, they allow the entirety of their community to grow putrid and rotten. Even if you don’t accept all aspects of your fandom, just being passive about the worst aspects of your fandom is inviting your community to die a long, slow, and painful death.
So I’m up late wracking my brain over the Homestuck thing. When it comes down to it, it’s the all-too-common human nature of hating what you don’t understand. However, my beef with Homestuck fans is they don’t really do a whole lot to explain themselves. More often than not, they are defensive yet incapable of quantifying what drives them to idolize what they do.
However, the most miserable shit I see is those people who try and talk down other fandoms in a desperate attempt to try and make their own look better.
Do you really think sweeping statements like ‘all fandoms are bad!’ or underhanded statements like ‘but so-and-so fans do even more disgusting things’ is supposed to bring you any more respect? It’s like claiming that sexism is worse than racism. Whether or not you think one is worse, the presence of one is not an excuse for the other to exist.
All fandoms are bad; I agree with that much. However, not all fandoms are as bad as others. Allow me to explain:
As an example, consider the Pokemon fandom. At it’s roots, it’s founded upon a video game about collecting monsters. Even someone who doesn’t like Pokemon can tell you that, and anyone can easily extrapolate and relate to the basic concepts from the various mediums it spans.
Alternatively, consider the Homestuck fandom. Despite how ridiculously pervasive it has become, I cannot even tell you what it’s about. I even tried reading a fair bit of it, and I still couldn’t understand it. I tried asking it’s fans to explain it, and they couldn’t. It is so self-referential and niche that intrinsically alienates people who are in the fandom from people who are not, and even people who are in the fandom from other people in the fandom.
But the biggest problem I’ve realized is that the Homestuck fandom has an ambiguous leadership if it has one at all. Where fandoms like Pokemon, Adventure Time, and even My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic have a central ownership that cares what the general public feels about their intellectual property. It sets a clear line between what is deemed sanctioned and acceptable and what is blasphemous to the original intent. If and when someone draws some ridiculous Adventure Time porn — which surely exists — the world can turn to the creators, who will quickly make it a point to distance themselves from it.
There is no such mechanism in the Homestuck fandom. As far as I can tell, the lack of moderation within the community has allowed anything and everything to be fair game in the community. That includes going to a public restaurant in costume and communally spitting in a bucket. You would hope that something would be done or said about such things before they happen, but outrage after-the-fact doesn’t do a lot to make the community look any better. Even so, I am sympathetic.
I cannot say much about the creator of Homestuck, but what I can say is that I know he offered direct influence of his intellectual property for lump sums of cash. While I’ve heard that Homestuck has origins that were heavily-influenced by the fans, I can’t help but feel that it’s long-outgrown such a process. With a fandom as large as Homestuck, there is no realistic personal connection between the creator and the fandom, and trying to appeal to everyone at this point would be pandering. If you pair it with the fact that he literally sold power over the story to people who, for some mind-numbing reason, had huge amounts of money laying around, and it seems like a cash-grab on top of everything else. Even as a joke, it’s preposterous.
This makes me feel as if the Homestuck community has no real foundation or center; no guidelines or principles to point to when the fandom faces criticism, making every member vulnerable to prejudice which they are not personally responsible for.
I know for a fact that there are many members of the Homestuck community who are good people. However, the nature of the fandom shows that it’s more of a testament to their personal character rather than the integrity of the community they belong to.
I suppose that some of the fans are quite content without rules or standards, but that level of anarchy — or apathy, as the case may be — is the stuff that makes communities decay. There are always going to be people who make what you love look bad. Where there isn’t a shepherd to keep the herd in-line, there has to be an active community.
And it’s much easier to have one person shoulder the burden than it is to organize every last person.
It raises the age old question of whether or not a movement can exist without leadership; a body without a head. Certainly they can exist, but all experiences seem to show that such movements lack an element that outsiders can relate to; an element necessary to bridge gaps.
It’s all very disappointing, and it literally hurts my brain. While I don’t like Homestuck, there are good people getting disenfranchised by association; just another shitty fandom where the feces from the bottom of the barrel comes so quick that it overflows. All the way to the top.
- Take the time to actively weed out the shit from your fandom lest you have to deal with being mistaken for shit for being in a community where dealing with shit means either embracing it or leaving it wherever it falls.
- If you’re going to actively fly your fandom banner and parade it everywhere you go, don’t be just be a flagrant bitch or suddenly go into hiding when someone criticizes you. If you don’t actually address what’s being said, you’re just going to make things worse.
- Most importantly, if something about your fandom makes you ashamed, it’s not your queue to apologize. It’s your queue to take the steps to fix whatever is shameful about your fandom so you don’t have to be ashamed of it anymore.
Good luck out there. It’s a big internet.