Based in the East Bay Area of sunny California, Ben Monroe is a writer and communications consultant. He is interested in the ways that traditional storytelling methods can be used in advertising, corporate communications, and other non-traditional ways.

Thinking about fandom and canon and nerdrage....

Thinking about fandom and canon and nerdrage....

I was woking in the yard today. Trying to get the overgrowth of winter under control, or at least make the yard look a little less like a spider-haunted Mirkwood.

As tends to happen when I'm doing lengthy physical labor (especially labor that I don't want to be doing; I hate yard work) my mind wandered. It tends to begin thinking about things I actually want to be doing, in this case the novel on which I'm working. And I've been mulling over a lot of stuff about story structure, character and setting archetypes, etc. lately. 

This got me thinking about Jung's archetypes, more popularly referenced in Joseph Campbell's work. And then I suddenly remembered a passage I'd read years ago in "Jung on Mythology". 

There's a passage in this book that stuck with me over the years (and forgive my lack of scholarship that I can't recall the exact wording, nor now find the passage in the book). Simply, that humans -need- myths. We crave important stories to help us understand who we are. And Jung went on to say that if a person has no accepted mythology to hang on to, they'll create one of their own.

This popped into my head, and suddenly I had a revelation about why some people get so upset about "canon" in fandom, or new elements that they don't like, or differences in (EG) a film made from a favored book. And many will then fly into tirades about the new or changed elements as if the disruption of their fandom was a personal insult (EG: lots of the reaction to the SW prequels, or the Last Jedi, or the film adaptation of the Dark Tower).

And from this thinking, I inferred that in the modern world, where people have drawn more away from organized religion (anecdotally, especially in sci-fi fandom), there are those who for better or worse, have taken an entertainment property to heart. Embracing it as something of a personal mythology. And of course that means that any change to that mythology will be met by them with resistance, because on some level, they almost feel that their beliefs are being attacked.

It's an interesting thought. I freely admit that I've had my own moments of "toxic fandom" and become angry about things I didn't like in my entertainment. I've also looked on with confusion when confronted with people who hold grudges against creators for spinning tales off in directions they didn't like.

I hope in the future, I can maintain a better awareness of the importance these properties play to their fans. And to have a better understanding of why these fans get so upset when something about their fandom upsets them.

 

So, I'm writing a book...

So, I'm writing a book...

Blogging is hard...

Blogging is hard...