God knows, fans are fucking scary. And lots of film reviewers have been bombarded with stupid hatemail from idiotic LOTR and Harry Potter fans when they write a bad review. But this guy’s experience of Joss Whedon fans takes the proverbial:
I’m starting to get seriously freaked out by how cultish this particular fanbase is becoming. Let’s look at the evidence:
[li]The presence of a charismatic, Messianic leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment[/li][li]An obsession with recruiting new members – ‘you must watch the Firefly DVD! You only watched three episodes and didn’t like it? You have to watch the whole lot!’[/li][li]An obscure, allusive, slightly dodgy-sounding name: ‘browncoats’[/li][li]Getting members to make money for the cult – by telling them that ‘Serenity’ will only succeed if they keep on going back for more viewings, and getting their friends to come along as well[/li][li]A ‘them and us’ mentality – ‘Fox wanted Firefly to fail – we must fight against the mainstream!’[/li][li]A sense of superiority – ‘you don’t like Firefly? You don’t get it!’[/li][/ul]
I know that not all Whedon fans are like this, but, man, it’s enough to turn my stomach every time the guy’s mentioned.
Well, I’m no Whedonite: while I quite like Firefly/Serenity I can’t stand Buffy or Angel.
But a couple of your pieces of evidence are pretty spurious. Firefly DID fail because it was jerked around by Fox. Whether it would have failed on its own terms is academic: if you had shown the Simpsons at a poor time, constantly pre-empting episodes in its first season it would have failed too. If it was dependant on being seen in order, the fact that it was shown without a pilot and with a few eps missing wouldn’t have been too healthy either.
If Serenity makes enough money there’s hope for a sequel (or even better, a new series) so it’s not as bad as just filling the pockets of the evil Overwhedon.
Other than that though overzealous members of any fandom make everyone look bad.
This is the second time you’ve said this, and it’s getting pretty old.
Not because I’m such a fan of the Joss (which I am), but because you obviously have no clue what the defining characteristics of an actual cult are. And since I must assume you’re not joking (no joke threads allowed in the pit), I will have to attempt to fight your ignorance.
The only one of your fine bullet points that could possibly be construed as cultish is wanting other people to enjoy our fetish. So be it.
Heh, glad you noticed. I’m a bit one-note today, it’s true.
And duh, of course I was joking about the cult thing.
But these types remind of the early Christians; small, beleaguered, and very very very eager to SPREAD THE WORD. ‘Serenity has to have a sequel. So Serenity has to make money. So we need to get as many people watching it as possible. And then they will love it, and want a sequel too!’
For some reasons this kind of freaky evangelising shilling is what I find particularly scary.
I wouldn’t mind if it was just the fans. But now Whedon is sounding a tiny bit obsessive:
If George Lucas is a bit like the OT God (distant and mainly benevolent, apart from the occasional flood) and Chris Carter is Beelzebub, then Whedon SO is L Ron Hubbard.
Wow! I’ve never been in a cult before. Let’s see…I have posters of cult items in my classroom (OMWF and Serenity one-sheets), so I am attempting to convert the innocent young. Check. I met my wife through the cult. Check. I have icons of cult figures. Check. (What can I say? The Oz figurine was a gift from aforementioned cult-wife.) I spread the word about my cult’s goodness and wonderfulness to everyone I meet. Check. (I was about to say “…and light,” but this is Joss “The King of Pain” Whedon we are talking about here.)
Yep. I’m a Jossie. Instead of handing out flowers and pamphlets, we hand out DVD sets. Time to get that tat of Inara on my butt.
Oh come on, you guys have never been harrassed by a Whedonite.
It happened to me. A guy my friends and I knew in high school re-established contact with us. To celebrate, we had a little get-together. Throughout this get together, they guy insisted on talking about Firefly- mostly comparing it unfavorably to everyone else’s favorte things. When he found out that nobody was intersted in it, he went out to his car and got the box set. People played along as he played an episode, but one episode turned into two and then to three and then to four. When they finally managed to turn the party around, the guy said he’d give them the box set. They kindly rejected his offer. So he hid the box set in their house on his way out.
Now, this guy was a bit of a boor, but I know he isn’t the only example.
The big thing that bugs me about the Whedon-people is that they don’t seem to understand that movies arn’t funded according to what they “deserve.” Movie companies pay a lot of money to analyze what the market is for a movie, and they fund it according to that market. Funding isn’t a value judgement. I know the Whedon people don’t see themselves as targetted consumers, but that is exactly what they are. A market. Nothing more. And no audience has every been anything but. The Firefly fans are painting it like a big conspiracy by the studios against them and Whedon. In the world of the real, things are going pretty much how they planned- they got as much as they could out of a dedicated fanbase and a few scraggler.
And yet people talk about going to multiple showings as if it is some big grassroots movement. It’s not folks. It’s money in their pocket. It’s exactly what they want. Grassroots movements don’t happen through consumption. Surprise hits, maybe. But thats somethng you just can’t will in to existance.
It also kind of creeps me out that Whedon himself refers to his fans as Browncoats, and implies strongly that they are part of some long noble battle. He doesn’t need to be cultivating delusions.
That’s me. The show initially sounded very silly (and not in a fun, intentionally campy way such as “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer”), but I came across a complimentary comment Whedon sent its way, so I got a hold of the first season and watched the first two episodes. It’s very good.
I liked Firefly, and tolerate Buffy and Angel. But listen to a Whedon acolyte sometime explain how the Buffybot and the puppet episode of Angel weren’t mind-numbingly stupid ideas, and only then will you truly understand the mania.