Is Your Fandom an Obligation?

 

Fandom is a great thing.  It builds a community around you.  I can inspire you.  It appeals to a huge tribal instinct deep inside us.

However, does your fandom constitute an obligation on your part?

At base level of course it does.

Let’s say you go to a friend’s house and watch a football game.  You meet a person who is decked out, head to toe, 100% in team attire.  Then they ask you how many points a team gets for a touchdown…

Is that person a fan?  I think we’d all agree no.

So, let’s say you go to comic book convention and see someone decked out in a $5,000 Batman costume.  Jokingly, you say “Uh oh…  Joker better look out!”  They reply,

“Joker, who’s that?”

You would shred that person’s fan card immediately!

So, yes at a base level your Fandom requires you to be knowledge about what you are a fan of.  There is an obligation.  So let’s take it a step further…

Let’s take our Batman fan.  Let’s say you grill them and ask them every question there is to ask about Batman.  They nail them all!  Congrats fanboy!

So then you ask, “Why do you love Batman so much!?”

“Well, Batman is the epitome of human perfection.  He’s honed his body and mind to perfection and has an iron will.”

Looking at your new friend you notice he’s really overweight.

Does this make him any less of a fan?

Is it intellectually honest to admire Batman and be Fat?

Shouldn’t our heroes compel us to be better?  Shouldn’t we try to emulate our heroes?

If we don’t emulate their better traits are we really fans?

 

We can’t be rich like Batman, but we can be disciplined like Batman.  We can train our mind and body like he does.  And if he admire these characteristics in him aren’t compelled to do so?  If we don’t doesn’t that diminish our fandom?

I think so.

 

But instead we have this…

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There are so many overweight comic book fans that this company advertises 4X and 5X shirts are now available.  They must have gotten that many requests for larger size that they felt the need to advertise the larger sizes.

Being overweight and a comic book fan goes hand in hand so much that it’s a stereotype.

There is something disingenuous about it.

 

What about other Heroes?

 

Captain America volunteered to put what little he had on the line to fight evil.

If you don’t volunteer your time to make the world better are you a real Captain America fan?

 

Wonder Woman left her comfortable life to change the world.

If you don’t try to make a difference are you a real Wonder Woman fan?

 

If your heroes don’t move you and they don’t change you then you maybe not be much of a fan.

At the end of the day these heroes are real but you are; if you are a fan there is an obligation to be more like your hero.

 

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Apathy Vs. Acceptance

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It was a surreal time.  Last year, mid election, mid terror attacks, mid everything in the world…  Transgender bathrooms became a hotly debated topic.  Really?

You know who really didn’t care?  Trans genders.  They didn’t want the attention, they didn’t want the spotlight.  For the most part they wanted to be left alone.  They wanted apathy.

Do you know what holds back social progress?  Acceptance.

When someone, probably angrily, tells everyone they need accept this new idea.

You know what?  They fucking don’t.  They really don’t.  And so the battle begins.

 

Change!

No!

Change!

No!

 

You know who suffers?  The people waiting for acceptance, when all they really want (for most part) is to be left alone.  Let’s be clear.  This isn’t the Civil Rights movement.  Ok?

 

We are not talking about Voting Rights.

We are not talking about diner counters, water fountains, and bus seats.

We are not talking about integrating schools.

 

We are talking about bathrooms.  For fuck’s sake most schools even have LGBTQ clubs.  At an age when schools used to tell kids “Wait to have sex.”  they now say “Try having sex with, try it all out…”

Honestly, Anyone who compares the Gay Rights struggle in the 2000’s with the Civil Rights struggle in the 1950’s and 1960’s owes black people an apology and free (gentle) knock upside the head.

 

If real “rights” were being denied, they we need acceptance.  What we are talking about is social perception.  (Side note: The Government is not designed to changed social perception with law, that’s just stupid)  When you want to change Social Perception you want apathy not acceptance.

 

What’s the difference?

 

Acceptance – A dramatic, long fought, court battle ends with a transgender person walking into a Target bathroom surrounded by applause.  The crowd goes silent… then a flushing sound…  Applause!  All ages and races approve and high five each other.

 

Apathy – A transgender person goes into a bathroom.  Uses the stall.  No one cares.  No one notices.  Life goes on.

 

See.  You can have apathy today!

 

Here’s the problem with acceptance…

 

  • You can’t, and shouldn’t, demand it. You don’t have the right.
  • It requires attention, or “awareness” in popular tongue, and it forces that attention on those who maybe don’t want it.

 

You don’t have that problem with apathy.  Apathy is also fair.  Your religion is yours to decide, your lifestyle is yours to decide, your political beliefs… on and on.  Your life is yours to live.

 

Think this through…

 

Acceptance

 

You go to buy a cake with two grooms on it.  The baker doesn’t want to do it.  You go to a government bureaucracy and say you were discriminated against.  Spend dozens of hours “fighting the good fight”.  Lawyers are involved.  The baker is fined out of existence.  A national dialogue is started.  Some people side with you.  Some people don’t.  Your wedding becomes a political flashpoint.

 

 

Apathy

 

You go to buy a cake with two grooms on it.  The baker doesn’t want to do it.  Find a baker who does.  The baker who refused doesn’t make money, the baker who does want to makes money.

No one cares.  You move on.  You get a cake.

 

 

Think about what the world would be like if more people, the government especially, stopped trying to affect social perception and just embraced apathy.

Again, I’m not talking about harm being done to people, I’m not talking about “real” rights being denied.  I’m talking about bathrooms and cakes.

Apathy beats Acceptance every time.

So go forth… don’t be an asshole… don’t demand people accept you… be happy if they just don’t care.

 

Can a Study of Axiology Save us?

 

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Lately things have been “bad”.  Why the quotations marks you ask?  Well, it’s hard to say if things are really bad.  The news would have you believe the world has “no hope”.  People are cruel and we’ve lost our way.

Others would tell you that things are not bad, in fact things are getting better, great even.

Why the difference?  Well, that’s easy.

 

Those who says things are bad do not have the same values as those that think things are getting better.

 

That’s it.  Good night.

 

Oh… you want more.  Ok.  Let’s unpack this a bit.

 

Let me introduce you to Axiology.  Axiology is a school of philosophy that came about oddly enough when the government fell and left people to govern themselves (Ancient Greece to be more precise).  Axiology is a disciplined way that we determine what we value.  Inherent in the study of Axiology is the study that the value of things is on a scale or spectrum.  Simply put…

Certain things are good.  Certain things are better.  Certain things are bad.

We should be discussing things along this spectrum:  Bad, Good, Better…

However, we more often fail to do so.  It is easier, and more pleasurable to see things along a much simpler spectrum:  Good or Bad.

Think about it.  That’s how we got this point in our political world.  Think of it like this…

 

Mr. X believes in 3 things

  1. Item A is good
  2. Item B is bad
  3. Item C is good

Ms. Y believes in 3 things

  1. Item A is good
  2. Item B is good
  3. Item C is bad

 

Well, both sides agree item A is good but disagree on the nature of Item B and C.  No matter how divided we get there is usually something we can agree on.  Normally Item A would be agreed on and move on.  The two sides would then try to reconcile their differences.  It would look something like this.

Mr. X

  1. Item A is good
  2. Item B is bad, Item B-2.0 would be better
  3. Item C is better, Item C-2.0 would be good

 

Ms. Y

  1. Item A is good
  2. Item B is better, Item B-2.0 would be good
  3. Item C is good, Item C-2.0 would be better

 

While this is oversimplified, the compromise is obvious.  That is what “Better” gets us.  As we’ve lost the ability to study what we value, we’ve lost the ability to see “Good” and “Better”.  That leaves us with “Good” and “Bad”.  This means that two opposing sides must forever oppose each other… driving each other further and further from compromise.

Let’s take an example…

  • Party X wants to stop illegal immigrants from coming into the country. It is a drain on resources, it’s dangerous to have an undocumented population inside your borders, and it can lead to security risks.
  • Party Y wants to allow illegal immigrants into the country. It provides a workforce that our country needs, diversifies our culture, and shows we have compassion for the less fortunate.

 

Now, the typical responses would be.

  • Party X is a xenophobic. They hate people different from them.  They are liars and are going to force people into camps.
  • Party Y hates this country. They have no respect for the rule of law.  They are trying to fix elections with a built in near slave class beholden to them.

 

What we should try to is something like this…  First we need to establish the Good.

 

Illegal Immigration is against the law (Good)

Illegal Immigrants use the nation’s resources (Good) and they contribute with their cheap labor (Good)

Illegal immigration can be dangerous for both the immigrant and the native population (Good)

Diversity in thought and experience is beneficial (Good)

 

 

If we can agree on this then we begin to develop the Better.

 

Legitimize all immigrants so we can destigmatize, identify, quantify and address the issue (Better)

 

We can also identify the Bad.

Xenophobia, the irrational hatred of people groups different from your own, is bad.

Breaking the law, or living in a society without regard for the law, is bad.

Harming another person is bad.

 

It seems simple, but it requires us to acknowledge that our opponents may have a good idea, even if we still believe we have a better idea.  In that world there is a space for compromise, growth, and understanding.

However, without that spectrum debate breaks down.

  • Everything, must either be good or bad. I want to be good so you must be bad.
  • We lose the ability to establish what is better since the threshold is lowered to Good = Not Bad
  • There is a massive divide. There is not ability to agree to with parts of both sides, so you must choose a side.

 

If you look for the devil everywhere you will find him.

Examine yourself and your thinking and see if you have abandoned the Good and the Better for the not Bad.