So I’m scrolling through my Facebook feed and I see a post on my Star Trek fan group. A female fan says that another fan told her that because she is not a fan of “The Original Series” that she is not a “true fan.” The Fan Police strike again!
What are Fan Police you may ask? These are fans, or “fans”, who set themselves as judge, jury and executioner over who are true fans and who are not. I have seen them on my sci fi groups but they can be applied to any fandom. For the purposes of this post I will be speaking about three franchises: Star Trek, Star Wars and Doctor Who. And I will be breaking down the different types of Fan Police (FP) into three categories. Let’s get to it:
#1 The Knowledge Snob
Every now and again in a fan group someone would ask a question seeking to clarify something. Most people would answer them helpfully and inform them of what they wanted to know. But there’s always some FP officer who has to come down on them for not knowing what they (the FP officer) feel they should know. You don’t know what were the different races that formed the Federation? How dare you!
Star Trek and other massive franchises have such a plethora of information it is really difficult to know and remember everything. If you are a fan with more knowledge than another you should be willing to share that knowledge, not make the other person feel stupid or less of a fan. That is snobbery and we should be better than that.
#2 The Completionists
I have seen this version of FP a lot with Doctor Who. The more than 50 year-old series is divided into the Classic Era (1963-1989 and 1996) and the NuWho era (2005-). The majority of Doctor Who fans would be those who are familiar with the NuWho era. On many an occasion I have seen people bashed for not having seen the Classic episodes and denounced as “not a true fan” because of it.
Now I watched NuWho first and then went back to watch all of Classic Who. It took me all of two years but I enjoyed it and I would recommend them. But I find it highly arrogant to want to cast away a fan just because they do not want to go back and watch the Classics. Even if they have not watched all of NuWho I would still consider them a fan. If you have seen any Who and you like it then you are a Whovian (the Doctor Who equivalent of a Trekkie).
#3 The Ultimate Defenders
Our final FP type is the ultimate defender. These are the fans who insist that everything about their franchise is perfect and attacks anyone who criticises anything. And I don’t mean people who say “Star Wars sucks” or “Star Trek is crap.” I’m talking about statements like “I am not a fan of the prequels” or “I don’t like the JJ Abrams Trek movies.” Like a robotic sentry these fans immediately activate in response to these statements and start blasting away. They will disintegrate you for hating Jar Jar Binks. Mesa scared!
Listen people. News flash. None of our franchises are perfect. They are all great but none of them are sacrosanct. For Star Wars personally I love Revenge of the Sith but I don’t care for Attack of the Clones and even less for The Phantom Menace. Am I not a true Star Wars fan? Well you need to take several seats. A whole auditorium. For Star Trek and the Abramsverse (officially the Kelvin timeline) of reboot movies I found them entertaining and I was glad they helped revive interest in Trek, but I prefer the TV series. And even with that I remain one of the biggest Trekkies you will ever meet.
Can we not all be free to like and dislike different aspects of our franchises? Why do we feel the need to attack each other and bring each other down? Why do we need to be a FP officer? Growing up liking sci fi you may have been called a “geek” and even bullied. Now we are bullying each other? That can’t be right. This type of behaviour can only turn off people completely from the very same franchises the FP officer claims to love. We should be recruiting people to our franchises not chasing them away with snobbish, conceited behaviour. Let us all celebrate our fandoms, share with each other, accept each other, debate but do not disrespect, and agree to disagree.
So what is your take on Fan Police? Feel free to comment below.
For my view on rape scenes in Game of Thrones and Westworld you can click here.