By G.P. Avants
There has been a great disturbance in the Force and the Star Wars franchise. Have you felt it? The tight knit fandom family feels like it’s unraveling a bit. One thing that I have always loved about the nerd and geek culture has been their united diversity. Visit any con event and you get blown away about the vast array of fandom present. What you also see is that different factions and realities find ways to get along despite their differences.
We can’t lose that attribute that defines nerd and geek fandom like nothing else.
I don’t think it’s a coincident that during this same time another world-wide battlefield is featured in the news. My good friend and biking brother, Joe, tutored me on the finer points of the World Cup. Joe explained, “Soccer is a sport played around the world and that little black and white ball brings the big blue ball together like nothing else.” Every country participating puts aside their politics, ethnic issues, and arguments to enjoy the sport they love. Fans can cheer for teams that think, act, or look nothing like them at all. Talk about something that connects the people of the world! There is definitely a wakeup call to we in fandom to take a page from that playbook.
As I told my God Among Geeks brothers as I see more and more negativity rise up in fandom something has been stirring in my heart and mind. We who love Star Wars, imperfections and all, don’t want to see our galaxy far, far away go supernova. Yes, things are changing in all aspects of life even in the favorite franchise. We can either try and keep finding the good in it or add fuel to the fire. I think it’s a good time to look at what fandom does well and keep that in perspective. It’s time for those who love Star Wars to speak up.
We will not always agree on every aspect of a feature, take the The Last Jedi for example. For a number of people this movie was where a lot of the unhappiness and unrest started. Even our own blogging staff did not agree on the direction the film took. However, we didn’t let that issue divide us, cause us go after Disney, or start slamming the actors who played those fictional characters. There are too many other more life-threatening things to face then a direction a fictional movie took. We are fans, we must remember that. We are fans that like different things in fandom with various levels of love and commitment. Will it kill us to agree that we don’t have to like the same things at the same intensity level? And that’s okay?
As you may or may not know, a few months ago God Among Geeks branched off into the world of podcasting with Neekology 101: The Study of the Nerd& Geek in their natural habitat. One thing that we have noticed with many fandom franchises is that what was once solely a nerdy thing has become part of pop-culture. That is a great thing because more people are enjoying the things we do. The problem is that with more people come more problems. This might come as a shock to my fellow nerds and geeks( we dub neeks),but the people packed into the theatre next to you aren’t typical nerds. Some of the issues of pop-culture are spilling over into our fandom ocean. When these once opposing waters mix there are going to be ripples. They can come in the form of social media or texts instead of face-to-face conversations. With neeks, popular fandom stars have always been honored, not belittled down with fan-hate. They are just people who love what they do and love their fans. Shouldn’t neeks be the ones to lead the way to handle pop-culture challenges? Neeks should use their brains to find solutions to counter the negative fan-hate instead of adding to the problem?
Nerd fandom is an international phenomenon. We have the same loyal unity as the fans of the World Cup. With so many “family” groups experiencing separation anxiety, we need to keep doing right by doing what’s right. So, I am going to commit myself to keeping fandom free forever. I guess you could call it a promise or pledge to do my part. Maybe something in a poetic form might make my point a little more eloquently.
Avoid political issues
That tend to divide.
Keep the nerd & geek
Agree to disagree
But find some commonality.
Listen to different opinions
Be your own critique,
Actors are real people
Just playing a fictional parts.
Keep an open mind to change
While still loving your favorite
I am in on this, are you? Let us know, by following our blog and podcast, and joining in the conversation. Please share and #freefandomforever if you share or create your own content or want to share great things going on in your favorite fandom. You will start seeing our Free Fandom logo and other graphics in our blogs and website. We want you to know we are committed to sharing good positive content no matter what fandom experiences. You can do your part by being a positive influence when negative social media comes around. Find ways to apply the Free Fandom Forever pledge. Let’s see where this goes.
Tell us your story. We are listening.