Posts Tagged ‘journal9-10’

Journal 9-10

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

I think it might be naive to assume that science fiction, fantasy, or even “gamer” fans are unusually passionate. If there’s something the Internet should have taught us by now, it’s that there are fanatics for everything. Case in point: I used to be a member of a forum based around bandwidth testing.

Bandwidth testing.

That’s right. Welcome to me in the mid-2000s, on a bandwidth testing site called TestMy.Net. I used to be an active member of their community, discussing, well, bandwidth testing. I made a lot of friends and talked about a lot of other stuff, too, but still. That friendship was based around bandwidth testing.

So I’ll repeat: There are fanatics for everything. It doesn’t matter what you’re talking about–there is a group of people out there fiercely dedicated to it. Science fiction fans are no different. They may feel isolated, but that’s because they’re one of the most mainstream niche groups. That sounds like a contradiction, but think about it: Who’s the general populous more likely to make fun of? The sci-fi fans they’ve heard a fair amount about, or the bandwidth testers who they never would’ve even thought existed?

Honestly, I think phrasing the journal prompt the way it is rings of the self-victimisation that you see of so many of these niche groups. They’ve been told by society that they’re weird and deserve to be made fun of, so instead of just owning their identity with a grin and a sense of shameless pride, they slink into the shadows and hiss at the mainstreamers that walk by.

Being submerged in the “gamer” culture as much as I am means that I have a unique insight into this question. Asking if “gamers” are “the same, or worse” than sci-fi fans means, in essence, that both are bad. Why are either bad? Recently, in “gamer” culture, like “nerd” culture, there’s been a movement to just abandon all stigma and own the identity. Hardcore “gamers” don’t seem to care as much whether or not they’re labeled as such. At least fiscally, the video game industry is now bigger than the movie industry and bigger than the music industry. There’s no reason for “gamers” to feel ashamed. At all.

And why should sci-fi fans be ashamed? Star Wars is one of the most lucrative and well-known film franchises of all-time. Star Trek is one of the most lucrative and well-known TV shows of all-time. If sci-fi fans are so ashamed of their genre, maybe they should look into making it more appealing to the mainstream. The recent Star Trek reboot movie by J.J. Abrams did a fantastic job of making Star Trek “cool.” Identify the differences between the show and the movie, and see if there is anything to take away from why the movie succeeded with the mainstream where the show did not, and why, and whether or not that hurts the core of how “science fiction” it is.

Watching the “gamer” community rise up against the stereotype and the stigma associated with that label has proven to me that there’s no reason that the sci-fi (or fantasy, or bandwidth testing) community couldn’t do the same. Stop playing the victim and be proud of what you like. Otherwise you’re just cheapening it.