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Old 02-22-2020, 08:36 AM
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Least pathetic fanbase


Not sure if this thread belongs here or in IMHO, but I was talking with a colleague about fandom this week, and we seemed to come to the conclusion that (context of fictional works in books, film, TV) every fanbase we can think of, is in some way quite worthy of (gentle) mockery and scorn, or so people outside of the fanbase will generally tend to think. Their dressing up and behaving is a pale shadow of the work which they dearly love. Fans are a bit pathetic, is what we think we resolved.

So the question is: Which fanbase is the least pathetic? I think in order to answer this, you can't be part of that fanbase, or else you can't be sure you're not just rationalising and making excuses. Is there a fiction fanbase that is generally respected and looked up to by outsiders?

Last edited by Mangetout; 02-22-2020 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 02-22-2020, 08:47 AM
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Is there a fiction fanbase that is generally respected and looked up to by outsiders?
No.
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Old 02-22-2020, 08:52 AM
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What about Shakespeare fans who put on amdram performances for fun?
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Old 02-22-2020, 08:52 AM
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Maybe French Impressionist painters or something classy like that.
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Old 02-22-2020, 09:07 AM
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The fanbase of The Godfather and The Sopranos can be pretty scary.
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Old 02-22-2020, 09:08 AM
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The fanbase of The Godfather and The Sopranos can be pretty scary.
do they whack people?
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Old 02-22-2020, 09:16 AM
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Does it require a certain critical mass to become pathetic? I suspect there are lots of relatively obscure bands, authors, etc. with non-pathetic fanbases that you just never hear about.
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Old 02-22-2020, 09:22 AM
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I guess we're taking as an a priori given that sports fanbases are too pathetic to qualify for this thread?
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Old 02-22-2020, 09:25 AM
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I guess we're taking as an a priori given that sports fanbases are too pathetic to qualify for this thread?
You might not like them, but alas sports aren't fiction.
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Old 02-22-2020, 09:38 AM
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I consider myself a Gormenghast fanboy, for which fandom seems to include just me and literary critic Harold Bloom. He died a couple months ago, so that leaves me looking kind of pathetic.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gormenghast_(series)
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Old 02-22-2020, 10:15 AM
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Never heard anything mocking about fans of Samuel Clemens.
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Old 02-22-2020, 10:20 AM
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Never heard anything mocking about fans of Samuel Clemens.
Think again, Riverboat Boy. Pudd’nhead Wilson was a complete load of bollocks!
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Old 02-22-2020, 10:48 AM
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do they whack people?
Some of them, yes. Sammy "The Bull" Gravano (who confessed to 19 murders) was a huge fan of The Godfather.

As ‘The Godfather’ Turns 45, Film Has Become Staple for Real-Life Mobsters

Tony, Silvio, Paulie Walnuts, and the rest of the crew were big fans. Now they were fictional, but I don't think that's too far off the mark.

I grew up in an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx. Even if they weren't connected, you wouldn't want to mess with most of the Godfather fans in the neighborhood.

Last edited by Colibri; 02-22-2020 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 02-22-2020, 11:30 AM
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I don't see much mocking of the Baker Street Irregulars.
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Old 02-22-2020, 11:37 AM
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I don't see much mocking of the Baker Street Irregulars.
Then you're not looking in the right places. Lots of folks mock them for trying to make the fictional world "real" and paint over the contradictions, errors, etc. Asmiov commented negatively on their mindset a few times. And he also wrote mysteries and hung out with other such writers.

Regarding the size of a fanbase. If the fanbase is size one, then it is intrinsically pathetic but perhaps not in the same sense as the OP.
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Old 02-22-2020, 11:56 AM
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While some of the recent pearl-clutching around the BBC Night Watch series contradicts this, I've generally found Discworld's fandom a lot less cringe-inducing than most. I think it's because there's sort of a general agreement that the books are very good but not flawless, that it's okay to disagree and discuss what their best and worst aspects are, and that the morality of being thoughtful, attentive, compassionate, and bold bled out of Pratchett's pen directly into many of his readers.

The stuff that puts me off of "fandoms," like the weird sense of ownership/entitlement that the fans have over the source material, the heavy focus on shipping characters, the obsessive / objectifying fan art, or unhealthy levels of self-association with characters or organizations, seems pretty minimal.
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Old 02-22-2020, 12:44 PM
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I think there are two things that make big fans of one thing look 'pathetic' or 'weird' to people who are not big fans of that thing. First one is the stop-liking-a-thing-I-don't-like mentality a whole lot of people have. It spills over into why do you love this thing that I find 'meh' at best so much? You're pathetic!

The other thing is, if you gather a group of over, say, 20 people-- there are gonna be weirdos. At least someone who other people think is weird.
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Old 02-22-2020, 12:54 PM
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I think it was in Sammy Gravano's book where he said all real life mobsters love the Godfather movies. Or maybe it was in Wiseguy book about Henry Hill which became the movie Goodfellas. BTW , they changed the name for the movie because there was a TV show at the time called Wiseguy.
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Old 02-22-2020, 01:08 PM
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Monty Python fans, maybe. Some are rabid, no doubt, but I’m unaware of any of them creating a whole lifestyle out of it.
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Old 02-22-2020, 01:15 PM
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BTW , they changed the name for the movie because there was a TV show at the time called Wiseguy.
Also the Brian De Palma movie Wise Guys (1986).

It's a shame because I like the Wise Guy title better.
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Old 02-22-2020, 01:17 PM
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I know of a family who were rabid Clemson FB fans. Their house was filled with all kinds of Clemson stuff. Their daughter did not get into Clemson so they threw a tantrum and got rid of all the Clemson stuff. Don't know what they do now for college FB.
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Old 02-22-2020, 01:37 PM
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I don't think The Expanse fanbase is that pathetic, yet. Maybe I am wrong.

I agree with Chronos that is hard to beat hardcore sports fans for gushy patheticness.

Last edited by by-tor; 02-22-2020 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 02-22-2020, 01:41 PM
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In the deep south there are women who are really into joining a specific sorority at schools like Ole Miss, Alabama, LSU, etc. They even have their mothers stay in town to help them get ready. If they don't get into the sorority they want they get very upset and sometimes transfer to another school to find another sorority
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Old 02-22-2020, 03:03 PM
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While some of the recent pearl-clutching around the BBC Night Watch series contradicts this, I've generally found Discworld's fandom a lot less cringe-inducing than most.
This is not my experience (and I'm a massive fan of the books).

For one thing, a lot of the Pratchett fans I know IRL are also way into Wicca as a serious activity, which is just hilariously missing the plot...
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Old 02-22-2020, 03:18 PM
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Having thought about it more, I regret participating in this thread. To each their own. Find whatever joy and passion you can, as long it doesn't hurt anyone or break the law. Who cares what other people think of you and your rabid fandom? Just be aware that what is awesome to you may be a complete bore to whoever you are talking to.

Yeah, those are all obvious thoughts and I apologize if they are not in the spirit of this thread.
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Old 02-22-2020, 04:27 PM
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How about Tom Clancy fans? They may have an obsession with military minutiae, but in general they’re not all over social media whining about a mistake on the missile type or something.
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Old 02-22-2020, 05:17 PM
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Monty Python fans, maybe. Some are rabid, no doubt, but I’m unaware of any of them creating a whole lifestyle out of it.
I would bet that given calls to cancel Gilliam (and Cleese before him) that if such a hardcore fanbase exists there may be a schism there.

And all that stuff about a current BBC exec who said he would never "Greenlight a show with an all white male upper class cast."

(Shrug)

Allthat said....what do we mean by "Pathetic"?? Cause theatre or DnD nerds going off on a Python quote rant is an abomination
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Old 02-22-2020, 06:07 PM
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I guess this submission wont count since I'ma part of the group, but I belong to a Neil degasse Tyson fan club on Facebook.

Everyone there is really nice. And when people ask "stupid" questions no one in the group feels the need to snark on them.
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Old 02-22-2020, 07:42 PM
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I don't think you're going to find any group in existence that is mockery free, because miserable people will always hate people who are enjoying themselves.
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Old 02-22-2020, 08:44 PM
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Ham radio enthusiasts aren't pathetic.

Vegan radio enthusiasts, though....
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Old 02-22-2020, 10:17 PM
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I agree with Chronos that is hard to beat hardcore sports fans for gushy patheticness.
At least sports fans aren't known to crucify people.

Being a superfan of Shakespeare usually means you're an academic, and so above being considered pathetic because Shakespeare's art, innit? People into him are cultured and can therefore look down on anyone who isn't a Shakespeare superfan, innit? Ditto being a superfan of Classical Mythology or other dead religions. It's hard to say someone's pathetic when they have tenure or an endowed chair or similar and come out looking like the adult in the room.

In fact, that's a fairly good definition of The Canon (now that Bloom's been mentioned): It's the stuff you get respected for being a superfan of.
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Old 02-22-2020, 10:28 PM
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Parrotheads?

(AKA Jimmy Buffet fans?)
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Old 02-23-2020, 05:43 AM
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I've been a Browns fan since January 1986. I bring this up just to suggest that there's a difference between people regarding you as pathetic, and people just feeling sorry for you. Sympathy is key.

Thanks in advance.

j
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Old 02-23-2020, 02:22 PM
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I've been a Browns fan since January 1986. I bring this up just to suggest that there's a difference between people regarding you as pathetic, and people just feeling sorry for you. Sympathy is key.

Thanks in advance.

j
My brother had been a Browns fan since the 50s. He even had a ball from some Big Game and some seats in his apartment from the original Browns stadium.

And he hadn't even lived in Cleveland since the early 60s.

Pathetic.
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Old 02-23-2020, 02:36 PM
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Ham radio enthusiasts aren't pathetic.
You obviously haven't seen them in their native environment. Have you ever been to a ham fest?

I wanted to buy some CB radio stuff and the guy selling it mocked my choice of hobby! WTF, dude?
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Old 02-23-2020, 02:50 PM
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Parrotheads?

(AKA Jimmy Buffet fans?)
Well, there’s been times I’ve been stuck in bars with a bunch of them. A bunch of 60 plus year olds drunk and singing along to the jukebox they’ve monopolised isn’t exactly fun, but aside from that they’re fine. And I do try to avoid finding myself in those places.
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Old 02-23-2020, 04:39 PM
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I've been a Parrothead since the days of "Fingers" Taylor being the mono-Reefer and believe me, we're pathetic.
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Old 02-23-2020, 09:46 PM
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Mythbusters. And there is a growing fanbase following the DIY videos of Adam Savage. They can get a bit OCD arguing things like tool shed organization schemes. But overall, these are folks who can do really cool projects.

I agree with Elmer that Monty Python fans tend to be just in it for a good laugh.

And of course, there's this guy Cecil Adams with a BUNCH of insanely cool fans. . .
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Old 02-24-2020, 10:17 AM
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Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans (MSTies) perhaps, because they tend to not take the show to seriously. It's in the show's theme song, after all.
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Old 02-24-2020, 10:52 AM
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Maybe not looked up to, but the Browncoats (Firefly) are one of the least pathetic TV/Movie fanbases.

Last edited by Dark Sponge; 02-24-2020 at 10:55 AM.
  #41  
Old 02-24-2020, 06:37 PM
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Maybe not looked up to, but the Browncoats (Firefly) are one of the least pathetic TV/Movie fanbases.
I guess this is a case of YMMV. Or maybe they've mellowed over the last 20 years.
But the Browncoats I had the misfortune to know about 20 years ago were pretty high on the pathetic scale. In their worldview, the only reason Firefly/Serenity aren't bigger than Star Wars/Star Trek/Marvel/DC/Titanic/Tolkien combined was the vast Fox-wing conspiracy to suppress St. Whedon.

First Fox deliberately sabotaged the show by showing the episodes out of order. (Why a network would massively hype an upcoming show, then intentionally tank it, is left unexplained. But "Fox execs are boneheads and just made bad decisions" doesn't play with that crowd).
Then they got a second chance with the Serenity movie, which failed to set the box office on fire. Why? Because Fox intentionally sabotaged the marketing. (Why a studio would spend tens of millions of dollars to make a move and then try to make it flop is also left unexplained).

Seriously, given my tastes, this was a show that probably would have appealed to me, but the hardcore fans managed to turn me off even giving it a shot, despite receiving numerous offers to borrow their DVDs.

Last edited by ChockFullOfHeadyGoodness; 02-24-2020 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 02-24-2020, 07:21 PM
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Monty Python fans, maybe. Some are rabid, no doubt, but I’m unaware of any of them creating a whole lifestyle out of it.
Except that - at least in Britain - there's the strain of Python fan notorious for their humourless ability to just word-for-word parrot the sketches. They're locally the very epitome of a pathetic fanbase.
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:05 PM
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Except that - at least in Britain - there's the strain of Python fan notorious for their humourless ability to just word-for-word parrot the sketches. They're locally the very epitome of a pathetic fanbase.
There were drunken college-age Python fans in the US who were noted for doing the same--this would have been in the 80s and early 90s. I am not sure if Python is a thing among college student today though.
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Old 02-25-2020, 10:48 AM
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Except that - at least in Britain - there's the strain of Python fan notorious for their humourless ability to just word-for-word parrot the sketches. They're locally the very epitome of a pathetic fanbase.
No, they're here, too. I went to a showing of Holy Grail hosted by John Cleese and there were a couple bozos shouting the punchlines before the actors got to them. Yes, yes, you're so smart, you know the movie better than the rest of us Python fans.

Pathetic.
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Old 02-25-2020, 11:06 AM
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Except that - at least in Britain - there's the strain of Python fan notorious for their humourless ability to just word-for-word parrot the sketches. They're locally the very epitome of a pathetic fanbase.
When I visited Tintagel Castle in Cornwall I looked up at the Camelot Castle Hotel which was up on a hill high above and said, of course, "It's only a model." Sighs and head shaking from those within earshot. Same trip I could be seen trotting around Doune Castle (site of most Holy Grail filming) banging two coconut halves together. At least I borrowed the coconuts halves from the gift shop, I didn't bring my own. That would have been pathetic.
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Old 02-25-2020, 03:59 PM
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I don't think The Expanse fanbase is that pathetic, yet. Maybe I am wrong.

I agree with Chronos that is hard to beat hardcore sports fans for gushy patheticness.
It always gives me a quiet chuckle to hear some sports fan, who can list the on-base percentage of the 1927 Yankees starting lineup, and who holds the NFL record for yards-after-catch by a slot receiver, deride Trekkies or GoT fans as trivia-obsessed nerds.

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My brother had been a Browns fan since the 50s. He even had a ball from some Big Game and some seats in his apartment from the original Browns stadium.

And he hadn't even lived in Cleveland since the early 60s.

Pathetic.
Hey! I left Cleveland as a 14 year-old, and have only been back twice in the nearly forty years since then, but I still have Browns jerseys, hoodies, and hats that I regularly wear. Despite only seeing one game in all that time.

That’s not “pathetic”, that’s loyal.

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(snip)

And of course, there's this guy Cecil Adams with a BUNCH of insanely cool fans. . .
"Plus a few total dipsticks."
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  #47  
Old 02-25-2020, 11:51 PM
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HP Lovecraft/Cthulhu Mythos fans generally don't seem terrible.
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Old 02-26-2020, 12:13 AM
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HP Lovecraft/Cthulhu Mythos fans generally don't seem terrible.
I think the terrible is already baked in. Because Lovecraft.
  #49  
Old 02-26-2020, 02:11 AM
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I guess this is a case of YMMV. Or maybe they've mellowed over the last 20 years.
But the Browncoats I had the misfortune to know about 20 years ago were pretty high on the pathetic scale. In their worldview, the only reason Firefly/Serenity aren't bigger than Star Wars/Star Trek/Marvel/DC/Titanic/Tolkien combined was the vast Fox-wing conspiracy to suppress St. Whedon.

First Fox deliberately sabotaged the show by showing the episodes out of order. (Why a network would massively hype an upcoming show, then intentionally tank it, is left unexplained. But "Fox execs are boneheads and just made bad decisions" doesn't play with that crowd).
Then they got a second chance with the Serenity movie, which failed to set the box office on fire. Why? Because Fox intentionally sabotaged the marketing. (Why a studio would spend tens of millions of dollars to make a move and then try to make it flop is also left unexplained).

Seriously, given my tastes, this was a show that probably would have appealed to me, but the hardcore fans managed to turn me off even giving it a shot, despite receiving numerous offers to borrow their DVDs.
Totally agreed, and was the first "pathetic fandom" I thought of when seeing the thread title. The browncoats turned me off of watching Firefly for around 10 years. When I finally saw it I liked it; I even currently have the DVDs for the show ($3 at goodwill) and Serenity ($0.49 at swapadvd) in my DVD collection.

On the one hand, I kind of wish there were more episodes. On the other hand, I'm glad there aren't because fuck those annoying browncoats.
  #50  
Old 02-26-2020, 09:49 AM
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I think the terrible is already baked in. Because Lovecraft.
That's just it... the fandom acknowledges that Lovecraft was a racist jackass even by the standards of his own time, while simultaneously acknowledging the rather outsized impact he has truly had on pop culture.
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