“Fandom Is A Strange Thing”

By Eric 'Renderking' Fisk - March 3rd, 2009    Bookmark and Share

I'm in the process of writing a handful of rants and reviews all at the same time, some of them are almost complete while others need to be reworked from the intro down. My ability to concentrate on these articles, the new features on the main page, new mail boxes for long time staff and forum members, and graphics for "a once in a life time" projects is hampered by the constant stream of complaints about "The Forum."

Not OUR forum. If there's something wrong with The Electric Speakeasy, then I could fix that. There were problems with our forum that I have fixed such as condensing and reorganizing. If there's another problem that I'm not aware of, let me know.

What I'm talking about is "The Forum." And the forum's name changes from day to day and alternated between four of them. All of these forums have major problems that tend to become MY problem. That was until today. I'm done. So to those people who want to continue to gripe with me about these other forums and how "dreadful" and "atrocious" they are, save yourself the time. I don't care any more. I genuinely can't be concerned about the faults of the other sites when I don't have enough time for the one I'm building.

Missed Steps

There was a moment that's clear in my mind as if it happened last night. I'm on an Instant Message with someone whom I've known since the early part of this decade, someone that I've sent books and software to in hopes that this person can become a better writer. And on this one night in particular she's crying about how a member on another forum is picking on her and making fun of her constantly. It's the cyber equivalent to school yard bullying or dipping pony tails in inkwells. Or maybe stalking might be more appropriate.

I'm giving this girl (not yet a woman yet well into her thirties) this advice -again- saying that she has to ignore him and focus on her writing... Work on what YOU'RE doing, focus on YOUR goals. Because, quite frankly the admin on that forum just doesn't like or respect her and they want her to go away. Far away. It's time to grow up and move on... I'm trying to consul someone who's heard this all before from me... her response is more questions: why don't people like me, I feel like killing myself because nobody wants to make me a staff member of their forum/website... blah blah blah...

At the same time in the next room, my wife is playing with my youngest son on the floor and she's yelling to me that he just took his first steps. My youngest son just took his first steps, and I missed it while trying to convince a someone else that she's really not a loser... no, people really like you, you're just imagining things! Over and over again...

My youngest son is not ever going to have any more "first steps" again. I missed it. I missed it because I was too busy stroking the ego of someone who's only goal is to suck up other people's energy and get attention. The problems with this girl just got worse from there. [How can you write a 6 page essay on how a fictional character and how he would make the ideal husband, but you can't write another six pages on a blood relative who served his country through all of World War II? It makes no sense!] This is the same person who misrepresented what happened later on when she needed some time off to focus on an article, twisting the situation for sympathy and to be treated like a martyr. "Oh, I'm devastated because Fisk gave me the tough love I asked for!"

There's proof that those people who complain to you about someone else is complaining about you to someone else, too. And this entire relationship for me proved something about my self, that I was too willing to sacrifice the important stuff for no good reason.

But that's not the end of it, that's just the beginning.

I've been reexamine my life and asking my self some fundamental questions as I rapidly approach 40 years of age. What is my life about? How am I making a difference in the grand scheme of things? If I were never alive or if I died when I was an infant from an affliction in my intestines that caused me to lose a foot and a half of it (my family joked I had too much guts and no glory) or didn't dodge all of those near misses. Or didn't dodge just one of those near misses. Would the world be better or worse with out me? Meanwhile I've been dealing with a difficult event in my life which I still can't discuss, but it made me wonder about the fragility of life and how I've taken it and those around me for granted.

All the while there's been this constant stream of whining from some non-Electric Speakeasy members who like to gripe about how awful four other forums are. The griping should have ebbed after the release of "Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull" on DVD, but it's only gotten worse. Since 2004 I've been hearing this constant buzzing about how BAD those other forums are and how I could do such a better job at running those forums, and commentary about why those other forums haven't made me a staff member yet and they respect me more because I'm so much more helpful that the official staff members are. At some point you believing your hype. If you know me at all, you can figure out which four those forums are.

Because people said I could do better then the founders and admin of these other forums, and the owner of one of them actually asked me and a friend of ours to take his main site over... I actually started to believing in every positive thing people were telling me. I'm great at vintage/retro Indy Style graphics, the look of my page is cleaner and more functional then the other pages. You know what, I started saying to myself that maybe I should use some of this respect I have with the members who's voices are being whispered in my ear. Couple that with what I've done for them in the past such as promoting and defending them on the mutual websites, I thought I was owed something.

My solution to every problem is this: If you have a problem with one of these other sites, then join my staff on The Fedora Chronicles and write better articles or essays. If you have a problem with those other forums, then join us on The Electric Speakeasy. All I've ever wanted was to offer other people an alternative.

Creating this website and this forum is one of the best things I've ever done for myself and some of our friends. I've learned so much about life, and my self - that I can actually do difficult things for the first time and channel the pressure into getting things done. The Fedora Chronicles and The Electric Speakeasy forced me to become a better person, I'm a more patient and well rounded human being...

But at the same time I've learned that the majority of people who complain don't want change or to fix things. They want their gripes to be validated and vent their frustration with someone else. And while these grippers are being disgruntled with you, they're being disgruntled about you to the same people they're gripping about with you. All of this became evident and obvious a week ago.

Most of the people who have been telling me I could do better didn't actually mean it. They don't want change somewhere else, they want change where they came while those who are running the show on these forums are happy with things just the way they are. These gripers wanted me to take the heat for them and dodge the suspension or banning bullet for them. After almost 10 years on these forums, you would think I would learn.

This is a very lengthy way of saying that if you're looking for someone to vent with about your problems on the four forums where we used to frequent... keep looking because I'm not interested any more. I've gotten into enough trouble in recent years. As your "mentor" and designated unofficial leader, I'll gladly resign and go back to being just "a fan" and focus my energy on what I can fix here and not what I fix elsewhere.

And as a fan, my enjoyment of the four films we've designated as our "favorites" aren't as enjoyable for me any more. If anything, the most recent one is actually MORE enjoyable for me because there hasn't been over 10 years of baggage and over-analyzation associated with it, (with the exception of the obvious over-speculation of the most recent "Crystal Skull"...) There are moments when I wish these movies were just part of my collection sitting on a shelf to enjoy as a special treat once in a while.

I adore most of you fellow fans, and there isn't anything I wouldn't do for any one of you... well, now "almost" anything. If you have articles you want hosted or projects you need help with, I'll gladly help you under my own name and banner of The Fedora Chronicles. I'll help you with graphics, page design and host avatars for you to use elsewhere. I'll publish papers you wrote for school about our favorite era, or tributes to your friends and family that served during that period, get in touch.  But I can't fix the problems of other forums or websites. I surly won't represent "you" by telling other admin about "your" problems and the "obvious" mistakes, selective enforcement of the rules or double/triple standards. We all know about their problems, they do to... just as I'm aware of what's wrong with our own site and forum.

Fandom is a strange thing, which has brought people together from all over the globe through a common interest. But at some point we need to stop acting like bickering children and act more like the heroes where trying to emulate. You don't like the way other forums are run, then leave. If you don't like the way I run The Electric Speakeasy, clue me in... But I'm not interested in your fan fiction and more interested in your trips to Machu Picchu, road trips to a national park and even trips to the corner store where someone commented on your retro-wear. I would be fascinated about theories on lost civilizations or stories about your own characters. It's about time you become a hero or storyteller in your own right.

Before I turn 40 I want to build The Fedora Chronicles into what I originally envisioned. You're help would be appreciated. 

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