Whovians: Fans versus “Fans”

“There is no cause so right that you will not find fools following it.” –Larry Niven

Thus it seems with fandoms. There is no story so good, so innocent, or so full of lessons worth passing on that you will not find even one fan prepared to stink it up.

I know that. It’s an unfortunate part of human nature; no matter how good something is, no matter how good most of the fans are, there are always a few out there who make the rest of us look bad.

There are children’s shows out there with those teachable moments for children, but some older “fans” insist on sexualizing everything. And being extremely public about it.
There are comics that have legal disputes among the creators themselves, leading to potential drama if a fanartist or fanfic writer so much as gives those creators credit where credit is due.

And there are long-term television shows, shows so old that it is impossible for anyone under the age of sixty to have watched everything, and yet many a fan of any age will insist you’re not a “real fan” if you haven’t had the opportunity to watch as much as they have.

This happens all too often, and the real fan, I think, is the one who looks past these “one per-centers” and enjoys the source material for what it is.

But this can be difficult, especially if you’re excited about that source material and want to share your experience, and some other “fan” out there insists on judging you or insulting you for not having the same experience they did.
This can especially be difficult for the youngest fans. If long-time fans insult you for being totally new to a fandom, how could that possibly make you feel about continuing to follow it?

I know this, because I’ve seen it myself. Not so much in the cartoons I watch or the comics I read (though I’ve seen fellow fans dealing with the aftermath), I just don’t do enough in those fandoms to really notice it for myself.

But I, and many people like me, have been judged and insulted by total strangers just because we enjoy Doctor Who. The problem is, these judgements and insults come from other people who enjoy Doctor Who. Heck, these insults pop up quite frequently on established fan pages.
Examples….. Oh, where do I begin?

I don’t understand this attitude. Why should someone get mad because someone else is unable to watch the Classics? More to the point, why get mad at the other fan? Instead of at, say, BBC for erasing those tapes, or assorted cable companies for not making the show available sooner?
Who cares why we haven’t seen the Classics? If it bothers you that much, find the episodes for us! (A link to my Amazon wishlist is at the bottom, by the way. Hint, hint.)

For the record, this is from a page I started following because they promised they didn’t have all that judgy “you’re not a real fan” drama. So much for that promise.

So some fans happen to think David is the best Doctor and think that he is “so hot.”
Big! Flippin’! Deal! Even if I did think David was the best only because he’s attractive–and I accept that the “only” was most likely meant, but please note the post doesn’t actually say that–in what way does that impair anybody else’s ability to enjoy the show?

Or one “fan” calling people lazy for not being able to watch all of the Classic series.

Um… try growing up a military brat, getting not a single channel that the show’s on until the end of David’s run (perhaps you, like me, have never even heard of the show until around Waters of Mars), living someplace that doesn’t have the show available to rent, pursuing four full-time college degrees, working full time to pay off the student loan incurred from those degrees as well as the dvds/cable/internet package necessary to watch the show, babysitting up to three kids full time when you’re not working, doing regular chores around the house, and working full time on your own writing career.
Yes, that’s a total of four different full-time jobs all at the same time. Or in my case, three full time jobs at the same time plus trying to find paid work, meaning the budget just isn’t there to watch much of the show.

Try doing all of that, and then you can call me lazy if you still manage to find time to watch all of the Classics at any pace faster than “when I get around to it.”

If, instead, you’re watching the Classics for free on YouTube using internet someone else has paid for, thereby not contributing to the creators at all… you have no right to call me lazy for refusing to do the same, no matter what the rest of your schedule might look like.

Or the people who claim you aren’t a “real fan” if all you know about the show is the reboot.
See my previous point. There was a time when all I knew was the reboot. That’s kind of what happens when you haven’t heard of the show until late.
If I was not a real fan, I would never have bothered trying to find out more about the show because I would not have cared enough about it to do so. But I did care enough to learn more, and I do know more now, precisely because I was a “real fan” back then, even when all I knew was the reboot.

Or the people who refuse to acknowledge the existence of certain episodes (Love and Monsters) or companions (Clara) and insult anybody who happens to like them.

Or the people who complain that many of us still like Rose:

From one of the comments:

People… GET! OVER! ROSE!

As I said, “sure, just as soon as everybody else gets over the fact that we want to see her again.”
I mean, really, telling me I’m not allowed to miss Rose is just going to remind me of her, make me think of her. Demanding I get over her is the one thing guaranteeing that I won’t. (Lesson to Moffat–what’s with all the early Matt Smith episodes telling us to get over David? Same problem.)

Plus, look at the comments off to the side of that one.
Excuse me…. homicides? For wanting this spin-off to be a thing? Death threats for liking certain characters? Characters who nobody would in any way possible be forced to watch, even if such a spinoff were a reality?
Way to convince people that the fandom is worth associating with.

Or the so-called “jokes” like when a girl pointed a gun at someone for not knowing about this one so-called “fan page.”

After which point the page admins continued to criticize people who didn’t appreciate their “jokes,” insisted that they’re not elitist or idiots because they’re not bashing New Who.

Uh, no, you’re elitist because you’re bashing people who are not familiar with Classic Who. Which is the exact same drama one of your admins promised your page didn’t get involved in.

And one of the very worst of all, not for the post itself, but again for one of the comments:

What comment could be so bad that I call it the “very worst?” Well, it’s similar to the so-called “joke” in that comic:

I was in the mall today and two girls were arguing. one said “Matt Smith is better” the other said “David tennant is better” I said “ladies, Tom baker is better” they both said “who” moral of the story is, the cops won’t find the bodies.

Even totally ignoring the legality of what he suggested, as well as the sheer tastelessness of the joke (or, admittedly, the legality and tastelessness of the response I gave him), he’s saying that the solution to a couple of fans not knowing who Tom Baker is, is to…. permanently ensure they never find out?
Need I repeat that point about how I started out knowing only the reboot?

Following these people’s logic to its natural conclusion, if you’re not a “real fan” if you only know about the reboot, then the biggest and best fans must be those who have not only seen some of the Classics, but have seen everything, and I do mean everything, since day one. And since there are all those early missing episodes….
Well, I guess you’re only allowed to call yourself a fan if you’re old enough to have seen the very beginning when it aired, not just caught up via repeats, and that you’re worm chow if you claim to like the show otherwise. So even many of the actors in the reboot, including David Tennant, John Barrowman, and Matt Smith, don’t have any right to claim to be fans according to these people.
Seems a bit odd, though, that this attitude is widely held even among the younger fans. I mean, their very age actively prevents them from being “real fans” according to their own logic…..

Can someone explain why death threats are supposed to be funny?
Why these people think saying “it was just a joke” justifies something so completely offensive? You know, the same sort of argument made by a bully, or by someone known to be abusive in real life?
How calling oneself a “real fan” makes this an acceptable way to treat our fellow human beings? If, of course, we can even call someone who behaves that way a “human being” in the first place. Or, for that matter, how this behavior is meant to encourage new fans to continue with the fandom.
As a Dalek would put it: Explain! Explain!
Pretty please?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a homework assignment to continue, several job applications to fill out, a video to finish editing, another chapter to add to my novel-in-progress, and, if I have time, a Matt Smith collection to catch up on, if I can persuade my three-year-old BluRay drive to play it.

What I don’t have on the agenda is Classic Who, simply because I don’t have the money to buy more at this time.
If that really, truly bothers you, then I have the perfect solution: Buy the DVDs for me.
I know my list is missing a good chunk of the series, and I haven’t even begun going through the Big Finish audios (plus I have a sensory problem that makes audiobooks harder to process), but I’ve watched up to Hartnell’s “Keys of Marinus,” and I appreciate any additions fellow fans would like to make to my collection.
But if it doesn’t bother you enough to buy the DVDs for me…. then it doesn’t bother you enough to complain, so shut up about it already and let me enjoy the show at my pace.

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