Scene: It’s the first day of classes/an internship/a job/a new living situation and I’m dipping my toes in the water. I smile. I nod. I hold back the reins on my personality. After all, there’s no reason for these people to realize this quickly how nerdy/dry/off-beat I can be, right?
Then, like manna from heaven, someone says something. The cue can be casual or random like “I’ve made a huge mistake” or “Blerg.” To a normal person such an outburst has little meaning. I, however, do a double take, smile widely, and silently note the existence of a pop culture kindred spirit in the room.
I couldn't make the Rally to Restore Sanity/Keep Fear Alive, so I asked my friend to make a "Bartlet for America" sign. She did. It was awesome.
My graduation robes were used twice. First, to actually graduate. Second, to dress up for a themed party.
So, I might not follow whichever B-list star is competitively dancing/singing/skating on any given week, but I am a loyal fan of several select (and in my opinion, awesome) entertainment phenomenons like The West Wing, Arrested Development, 30 Rock, Harry Potter, The Office and Mad Men. It also doesn’t help that I’m an auditory learner and, as a result, can easily pick up and quote phrases at the drop of a hat. This inevitably results in random daily inserts like, “I want to go to there” and “If you are a racist, I will attack you with the north.” As you can imagine, this amuses me greatly and confuses others to no end.
I’d like to take a moment to defend fellow fans. I acknowledge that we’re a nerdy bunch that do irrational things like watch movies at midnight or dress up on festive occasions. Still, I believe fan culture in general to be a good thing because…
1. It creates communities
Have you heard of the Harry Potter Alliance? With a somewhat cheesey tag line “The only weapon we have is love,” they are an interesting network of fan communities that apply the rebellious, justice-seeking attitude from the Harry Potter series to the real world. Chapters of this group adopt causes in their communities to fight for (think Dumbledore’s Army). I know this sounds weird, but they’re putting their grassroots fanbase to good use.
2. It spices up our everyday reality.
Recently, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont spouted out an epic, long-winded speech (not technically a filibuster, but it saluted to the concept). I watched it in real time because my Twitter feed notified me of the political drama. You want to know one of the most interesting bits about his verbal idealism and determination? A parallel was immediantly drawn between the real life senator and a fictional one form The West Wing, Howard Stackhouse. As a West Wing fan, I immediently jumped on the bandwagon of hyperrealism. Though Senator Sanders did not break the record of Stackhouse’s similarly charged fictional filibuster, his was…well….real. Also, anyone else who has followed this show knows that the series ended with an interesting presidential election between a young, minority democrat campaigning for change and a older maverick republican. Guess who won?
Is Aaron Sorkin writing our lives?!
3. It sparks creativity
If you haven’t seen this, you should. It’s pure genius. Surprising what can come from a group of determined, talented college students, uh?
And yes, that’s the kid from Glee. Clearly, he is a fan just like me.*
So ends my defense of fandom. Just beware…there are more out there like me and many are far crazier.** If you remain unconverted and are still laughing at me because of the above pictures, then so be it. I am at peace with my life.
*He’s also half filipino like me, just fyi.
** For instance, some of them actually like Twilight