Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Looking To The Stars - The Search For The Mythical Fanboy

Let me say this up-front: I’m not in the habit of reading USA Today. Journalistically, it is to real news what McDonalds is to gourmet cooking. But when you work in a library and one of your duties first thing in the morning is getting the newspapers ready, it’s hard not to read the occasional headline. And that is how this jumped out at me-

Who is Fanboy?

I’ll save you all some brain cells and sum it up. Basically, The Powers That Be In Hollywood are going ga-ga over the power that we of the geekier set apparently have to sink or swim movies based on our amazing powers over the Interwebs. They are now trying - and by their own admission failing - to figure out how to cater to “Fanboy”.

Well, geez… I could have told them that trying to pin down Fanboys into a simple clique is impossible. We aren’t as easily defined as groups such as The Elderly, The Religious Right or The People Who Will Pay Money To See A Horror Movie, Just To See Paris Hilton Get Killed.

Let me make this real simple for you. One sentence. Call it Morrison’s Dictum if you want to get fancy.

Morrison’s Dictum: There’s only one group of people that is more intolerant of a geeky interest than mainstream society and that is a group devoted to a similar, but separate, geeky interest.

Uniting all fanboys of all stripes under one banner is impossible for two simple reasons. First, every hobby has its’ fanboys and there’s a world of difference between them. There’s serious differences between a comic fanboy, a fantasy lit fanboy, a sci-fi lit fanboy, a film fanboy, a music fanboy, a gaming fanboy, a Renn Fest fanboy, a modeling fanboy, a cosplaying fanboy… and so on and so on. The other reason is that there’s too much bad blood between the various sects for there to ever be one Fanboy Banner.

It’s similar to how Protestant religions work. It doesn’t matter what few mechanical differences exist in the bureaucracy of their respective religious structures; there is no way to get a Southern Baptist and a Southern Methodist to sit in the same house of worship on a Sunday without a knife fight.

There’s Trekkies and then there’s Star Wars fans. There’s the Society for Creative Anachronism and there’s the people who go the Renn Faire in elf ears. There’s d20 players and there’s GURPS players. There’s PC Gamers and there’s Mac Users. There’s the French and the English, North Korea and South Korea, Ginger and Mary Ann, Dick York and Dick Sergeant. And never the twain shall meet.

Heck, we’re starting to regress back into the days of Marvel Guys and DC Guys after a relatively long stretch of time when the biggest conflict among comics’ fans came between the Indy Comics Geeks and the Mainstream Supporters.

My point is, you’ve got about as much chance in catering to one single mythic “Fanboy” as you do negotiating peace in the Middle East.

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