There’s been a small amount of Internet furor over an angry, dismissive negative review by Roger Ebert of the movie Fanboys: a review that can, at best, be described as an outright flame of fandom everywhere. The controversy isn’t over the film itself (which, admittedly, does not look very good), but that the ‘Bert claimed that Star Wars fanboys, and indeed, anyone who would consider sitting in line for a week waiting for a theater screening (Browncoats, Trekkies, you name it) are living an “idiotic lifestyle.”
This puts me in a weird position. Most of the work I’ve done for years is the critical equivalent of uppercutting fandom in the balls. I started by spending about five straight months writing essays about why Star Wars sucks and why Boba Fett is a phony. I’ve taken shots at Whovians, Battlestar fans, and of course, Squareheads (my term for Final Fantasy geeks). And yet, I feel directly insulted by Ebert’s remarks. I’ll be the first to admit hypocrisy in taking the fans’ side here, but I’m asking for a letter of marque on this one.
In an attempt to (weakly) justify myself, yes, I do enjoy tipping the sacred cows of fandom every once in a while. It’s fun watching fans get militant and flustered in impotent Internet rage, posting screaming, incoherent diatribes online in retaliation. Once again, I think it all comes back to my own unique blend of hypocrisy and my self-effacing nature. For every Star Wars slam I make, I expose an irrational worship of the old sci-fi show Sliders. Every time I issue an Internet bitchslap against people arguing who the best Doctor is, I’m embroiled in another argument about whether Deckard was a Replicant, and getting in my trillionth argument about AD&D alignments in another forum thread. I’m a fan. My crusade is against blind worship. I love a lot of weird stuff, but I can still admit that it’s flawed. I don’t care that you love Doctor Who, but don’t try to claim that it’s never sucked. It has. It does. But real fans can still love something in spite of– no, because of its flaws.
That’s me. I love you guys, and you’re a load of flawed, screwed-up weirdos. But that’s okay. I am your king, and you are not alone.
I’ve raged against furries and weird transgender moogle porn, but damn it, this is America! You want to jerk off to Filthy Multitasking Quistis, hell, throw that picture on the ground, huddle up, and I’ll put five bucks on whoever can bust a nut on her face first. You are not stupid for seeking people you identify with. You are not an idiot for finding friends and feeling like you have somewhere you belong. Your particular brand of happiness might be pretty fucked-up, but you’re not fucked-up for pursuing that happiness. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, wave that freak flag high.
Final Fantasy VIII may suck, and you may suck for liking it, but I’m the captain of this suck-filled leaking failboat, and I’m not going to have some jerkoff movie critic who’s never cracked a Player’s Handbook in his life call my homies STUPID.