Monday, February 4, 2008

Ownership, Obsession and Entitlement: Fans and Fandom of SG-1/SGA

Okay, my original "thinky" blog was supposed to be about autographs and the Cult of Personality, and I will get there, but as usual, the comments on Mr. Mallozzi's blog got me thinking. Thinking and I are on dangerous ground together!

First, who I am in the world of fans: Yes, I am a fan of Stargate, both flavors, moreso Sg-1, but that's Micheal Shank's fault. I do indulge my fangirlishness on the Scifi forums, and I've written some fanfic for my own entertainment. That's about it. Yes, I have the DVDs, one action figure based on each show, and a prop which hangs on the wall, plus a pin and a patch, but they're in with all my other pins and patches. So that's the inventory of the extent of my fandom. I don't visit Gateworld, and I limit my TV and computer time. I do read Joe Mallozzi's blog, as it is entertaining and I get to be eccentric in my comments, not primarily for news of the show and actors. Nope, I take the show as it comes, I don't always like the direction and there's developments I'd love to see and never will, but that's alright. I took King's Misery to heart, book and movie; if I ever get too obsessed, I can hear Kathy Bates's voice, "Nummm-ber One faaaaan....". Ooky.

Now, obviously I'm not the only fan out there, and wow, there's some rabid fans. I understand that any genre, be it music or sports or scifi, will attract fans who display great interest and intensity. I wouldn't judge what is normal or not, as our buddy Dr. Phil might say, "If it works for you ...". Well, endless fandom doesn't work for me. I can't quote lines from the shows unless they strike a chord with my a priori knowledge, I don't always know the names of the episodes, although I've been improving with names of actors. I don't have trivia at my fingertips, I don't analyze each episode for continuity and internal logic. Too much. I basically sit back and enjoy the ride. What will be, will be.

I have seen comments about how the fans should not be ignored. Hmmm, yes and no. No, because without fans, a show goes nowhere. However, basing decisions about character development, story arcs, even the look and feel of the show, one hundred percent No. No. If the fan input was taken the only way it would truly work, that would be by what passes for democratic voting, aka mob rule. And while some fans would be pleased, many of us would cringe and shiver in fear, wretch in disgust. I know I would, and I doubt I'm alone. Art by committee is a Bad Idea. It reduces concepts and creativity to the lowest common denominator, and yes, I am talking down about popular taste. Mine included, I watch Dancing with the Stars. So while the fans are important to a show, allowing the fans to have too much input would greatly degrade the overall quality, diminish the vision of the people who actually create the show and make it happen.

Are the fans being ignored? I think not, because I truly believe not everything which goes into a decision should be public knowledge. There's still privacy to consider in this increasingly transparent world.

I truly think it is good for fans to display a sense of ownership in the characters and plot of TV shows. Being able to relate increases interest. It also increases marketing opportunities, but let's not go there this round. Entitlement, well, there's an ugly word. "We're fans, we're entitled to what we want." Um, no. Again, art by committee. Bad, bad idea. Writers, directors and producers, everyone who has actual input, they must be trusted. Sure, not every fan will be pleased, that simply can't happen. Yes, ideas will be introduced which are not workable, *** disintegrates after three shots***, and sometimes a show can be run into the ground. Cough *** BSG *** cough. Fans are entitled to a decent effort and a quality product, they are not entitled to getting what they want. I'd have to hunt down the shippers and beat them with my snow shovel otherwise.

Obsession. Oh, baby. I don't really get into the private lives of actors, a little knowledge is good, like birthdays. Birthdays are fun. Pets and favorite colors, fun. Knowing an actor's shoe size and the name of their third grade teacher, not so much. Insisting that one's own interpretation of a character's motives and thoughts is the One True Vision, wrong. Relentlessly attacking others who do not share your enthusiasm and views, wrong, wrong. Endlessly discussing "real" science and "actual" military regs ... oh puh-leez, as long as there is some effort, give it a rest. I'd rather watch the History channel if I were looking for facts in my fiction. Treating the show as if it were Real Life, wrong, wrong, wrong.

I know that if a favorite character is killed that can hurt some fans deeply. The same goes for a character being ultimately evil, or cowardly, any trait not originally portrayed and widely accepted. Pull a mis-matched thread and the entire tapestry unravels. But from that unraveling, what can be rebuilt! Or rewoven! So, for those who say, "So-and-so is gone, I'm not going to watch this show anymore, I feel betrayed!", just do it. In addition, look to yourself for your feelings. No one is responsible but yourself for how you feel, it is fiction, deal with it. Don't hang around and tell us how much you hate the show now, turn off the computer and walk away. Quit picking endlessly at the scabs of disappointment, they'll never heal. The bitter fruit of disillusionment won't turn into sugarplums with your ceaseless carping. Shut up and write some fanfic with the outcomes you'd prefer. Begin a letter-writing campaign or sign petitions, that's proactive! But do not ram it down the throats of those who disagree, don't take it personally if I, and the rest of the universe, do not care. To be concise: say your piece, then Shut the Frell Up. Find some other alternate reality to obsess over. Blog it, you supposedly can say what you think in your very own blog. Sure. Right.

Good thing I don't frequent gateworld, I'd have a lynch mob down my neck, hmmm? As it is, this is the stuff I rein in on scifi, there's no flaming or controversy allowed. Wimps. Meet me in the Thunderdome! Yep, we have one over on eplaya. Buwhahahaha.

I'm not done thinking about this! I could write a freakin' book!

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