Positive Cynicism – Fan entitlement

Aaron Davis

Aaron R. Davis

I first opened my email account in the year 1998. I started regularly shopping and cruising for movie news on the Internet in 1999. I joined fan groups and started writing professionally for websites in the year 2000. Also in the year 2000: I pulled out of every fan group I was in and vowed never to ever join another one. And I never have.

And the reason? Entitlement. I hate fans who are entitled. I hate fans who nitpick over pointless surface details instead of getting involved in stories. I hate fans who have reached that point where loving a show or a movie or a comic book is no longer enough, and instead their involvement in those things reaches the level of oblivious lecturing and emotional hurt. I hate fans who are devoted in a quasi-religious way, who both worship and have to imagine themselves as friends with the people who make the entertainment that was once something they enjoyed, but is now something that affects them on such a deep level that enjoyment and critical thinking have flown out the window, and now it’s just someone getting a sad fix that wears off faster every time. I hate fans for whom loving something means despising it.

Entitlement is generally the default setting now for much of the Internet, particularly on social networks.

Entitlement is why I can’t enjoy a trailer for the new Star Trek movie months in advance without a bunch of dicks speculating on every single facet of the plot based on seconds-long scenes and tiny bits of dialogue as if they were forensic accountants, trying to find the one clue to deciphering the whole story, because they can’t wait a couple of goddamn months before watching the thing unfold before their eyes. The pleasure of discovering a story isn’t good enough anymore.

Entitlement is also why I can’t talk online about being excited about the new Star Trek movie without a bunch of even sadder dicks imposing their disappointment with the new J.J. Abrams series on me, as if it’s just so profound and interesting that they “can’t … just can’t” bring themselves to like something that’s not the same as it’s always been, apparently not realizing that they could just not see something if they don’t want to. But then, of course, what would they have to complain about? (Answer: everything else they see.)

Entitlement is why I still can’t talk about how much I love The Phantom Menace, because some entitled ass is going to unload his entitled disappointment all over me, as if being unable to get over not liking a movie after 14 years is somehow normal behavior, an old war wound to dwell on, and not just some entitled dick who didn’t like something. It wasn’t interesting then, and it’s not interesting now, and my liking it has no effect on your life. You not liking it has no effect on your life!

Entitlement is what causes people to stop watching Lost because the mystery is too much for them to handle and they want it all revealed riiiiiiiight noooooooow.

Entitlement is what causes every single geek news site to dismiss the new Superman movie over and over again, simply because they don’t like Superman’s costume, Lois’ red hair, Jimmy Olsen being a girl, Perry White being a black man, half a line of Kevin Costner’s dialogue or the possible fact that Krypton might still be around, as though any of this fundamentally changes a single aspect of a story they haven’t even seen yet. Do entitled fans really think we need any more examples of how they care far more about the trappings of a story than they do about the story itself? “But if Superman can go to his home planet whenever he wants, that changes EVERY SINGLE ASPECT OF THE CHARACTER FOREVER.” Really? You don’t think Superman being a refugee from a violent civil war might not be somewhat relevant to the world we live in today? Oh, I forgot, being entitled means you have no idea what’s going on outside of yourself. My mistake.

Entitlement is what creates these fan community arguments about who’s the bigger fan of an actress or a writer, as though the reward for being the biggest fan and running the bestest blog is a lifetime of friendship with these people, because being friends with a famous person automatically fixes everything that’s wrong with your life.

Entitlement is what causes these asinine arguments every time a superhero movie casts an actor of color as a character who is traditionally white, like the news that Michael B. Jordan (a talented young actor who was great on Friday Night Lights) might be cast as the Human Torch in the new Fantastic Four reboot. Immediately, we get a racist outpouring, followed by those same racists being annoyed that their racism is cited as the racism it is, followed by the spectacle of those racists trying to justify their racism as not really being racism, and then the weird accusations of how the “oversensitive” people who notice racism are the real racists, because the idea of a black superhero is totally offensive to them. Oh, not because he’s black, though, but because the character’s been white in comic books for fifty years, so it’s just not right casting, you see. I mean, this is about racial purity, but not racial purity. It’s not like they’re coming out and saying that they can’t imagine the exact same qualities of a white person existing in a black person, but they’re also not explaining it in a way that makes it not sound exactly like that.

It’s all the snobby “I know better than the creators and writers of the characters I like exactly what those characters would do” entitlement and ridiculous “the Green Goblin’s armor doesn’t look exactly right so that’s a tremendous storytelling flaw” nitpicking of fanboys, combined with the tiresome, bizarre, weirdly casual bigotry that’s so prevalent on the Internet now. These are often the same people who think that electing an African-American president somehow made it okay to be more openly racist than ever.

It’s not okay. It’s still racism.

And it’s entitlement.

And it’s tiresome.

Shut up.

I’m sorry you can’t enjoy anything anymore, but it’s not my problem. Stop bothering me with it.

Shut the fuck up.

Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at samuraifrog@yahoo.com.

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