Broom Kid said:
Videos like the one above are helpful because they point out the grifting being done in the name of “fandom” at its ugliest, they point out that people can amass huge audiences in a fandom, and profit off those audiences, without ever having proved they even like the thing they’re dedicating all their time to. They can be seen as a very useful wake-up call for people wondering why they devote so much of who they are to these pursuits, when it doesn’t seem to make them like a thing more than the millions upon millions of other people who have never once even thought to join a forum or tweet about Star Wars, much less build a whole persona around it. In fact it seems to make them angrier and more frustrated way more often.
But for all the useful information in that video, it neglects the basic fact that “fandom” itself is a grift, selling people the lie that obsessing over fictional things whose creation is completely out of your control is a positive, healthy way to live. Fandom is grass-roots marketing at its purest, the belief that opting to be walking commercials for someone else’s art can be spiritually rewarding. That you can build meaningful, healthy relationships out of that shared obsession, and that the world can be made a better, more manageable, more interesting place by simply mixing consumerism with love and letting the two impulses inform one another.
Being a fan of things makes sense, is understandable, and mostly harmless. But there’s a problem with toxic fandom because the societal construct that is modern fandom is, itself, toxic.
Anyway, I like Star Wars, I like talking about it with people, and I like talking about it with people in small, quiet places, because talking about it with people in larger ones is an exercise in harvesting anger and frustration pretty much 100% of the time.
I love this post, thanks for posting it! The only thing I would add is that the video (I assume you’re referring to the Major Lee clip) is a perfect example of the problem - not the solution. I think a few folks here might be swayed by the fact that he’s supposedly on ‘our’ side of the argument, but he’s no better than the people he’s opposing. More tellingly, he debated a popular Youtuber named Mauler on a stream called EFAP and basically fell apart when it came to matters of plot, lore, characters etc etc regarding TLJ. I suspect this clip is his revenge.
For my part I love talking about Star Wars in exhausting geeky detail because not only is it a wonderful escape from the everyday, but this is something 11 year-old me could only have dreamed of back in the day (ie debating Rogue One plotholes with other manbabies!).