Fandom is a sickness

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Bandwagoning is the process of people becoming fans of something solely due to the fact that it's popular. While this does boost some works to new heights it also takes away the spotlight from a lot of potentially great pieces of art.

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Bandwagoning is the process of people becoming fans of something solely due to the fact that it’s popular. While this does boost some works to new heights it also takes away the spotlight from a lot of potentially great pieces of art.

Ethan Rees, Staff Writer

There are a lot of reasons people hate fandom. The art, the ships, the fanfics, the OCs. But none of these are really the main problem from my experience. The main problem is how toxic the fandom can be to those outside it.

People are free to do whatever they want with whatever series they want. Sure, it’s a bit weird to find a Spiderman x Lucina ship on the internet but it’s not inherently a bad thing. The problem becomes when either fandom finds it and starts bashing the creator for their art, criticizing their taste and whatnot.

I’ve had a lot of firsthand experience getting my taste criticized. My taste in music, my taste in anime, my taste in art. Why can’t people just leave me to my own devices? Why do they have to constantly remind me that what I love is bad?

And that’s the main reason why I think fandom is a sickness. People can’t keep their nose in their own business. They always have to peek over and push their own opinions onto you. They make you feel inferior to them and you feel you need to adjust to survive in this new environment.

Let me give you an example. I am a fan of Sword Art Online, one of the most infamously bad anime to ever come out. Sure, there’s been worse ones, but this one got the most spotlight and let down the most people. 

Personally, this show never really let me down. And yet, nowadays I have to tell people “Yeah, I know it’s bad, but it was my gateway anime so I can’t exactly hate it” just to get them off my back. 

I can’t talk about it in any way except ironically. Otherwise every anime fan within a mile radius will start ragging on me about how bad my taste is.

SAO is not without its faults. It has bad things about it, really bad things. But I don’t think that means it deserves to get hated on for five entire years since its release. Today it’s become a punching bag, a low-hanging fruit for people to make fun of as a scapegoat.

Most anime come and go. They get released, they get ragged on, and they’re forgotten about. But SAO has had this extremely consistent hatred and ridicule pointed at it and it’s fandom for five years. Just give the new series a bad review and get on with your life. Don’t constantly go back and remind the fandom that they’re stupid. How hard is that?

This sort of alienating process that a lot of fandoms tend to put people through is also seen in a very common trend nowadays. Bandwagoning.

If you aren’t familiar with the term, bandwagoning is essentially people joining a fandom just because everybody’s doing it. While I definitely don’t see this being as much of a problem as toxicity in fandom already is, it sort of takes away from the medium the fandom is a part of.

Say you found a new show you like on Netflix and you want to share it with your friends. You feel like it’s something they’ll genuinely enjoy. Then you finally get around to talking about it with them and they’re completely hooked on Schitt’s Creek.

Now that’s not to say Schitt’s Creek is a bad show. I’m in no real place to comment on that, as I haven’t watched it. But after seeing an article in FanSided, I think I can at least say this much: A lot of people are talking about Schitt’s Creek. 

The more people talk about a certain work the more other works fall out of the limelight, and that’s where the problem comes in. Because everybody’s talking about it, and because other, more niche shows are falling out of the limelight, people may feel the need to hop on the bandwagon just to stay in the conversation.

Again, this isn’t to say that Schitt’s Creek is a bad show. I’m sure it gained popularity for a reason, but that doesn’t mean that everybody will enjoy it. And, yet, if they watch anything else, they’ll likely have nobody to talk to on the matter.

Additionally, bandwagoning can have a serious effect on how the medium functions as a whole. If suddenly people really like this one show then other companies will work to pump out a show just like it. The medium becomes overrun with capitalism and there’s almost no sign of the passion projects that make up so many of the best works of art.

Neither of these problems can be easily solved. In fact, the easiest way I can think to solve it is by literally altering the way that people think. And that’s, y’know, impossible. The most we can do for now is just like what we like, listen to genuine criticism and accept it for all it is. If you can’t do that after you see the whole picture, that’s fine too. At the very least, don’t bash others for liking things just because you don’t.