2018: The Year Toxic Fanboys Made Contact

Commentary by Eric Renderking Fisk | December 16th, 2018

It was the best year for toxic fanboys and The Great Fanboy Collective. They made a lot of headlines and their accomplishments made it to the front pages of many sites like Fox News and CNN and even bragged on social media about how they accomplished “something” beyond making fools of themselves. Toxic fanboys were actually able to get celebrities, directors and producers, and studio executives to talk about them in interviews and confront them on Facebook and Twitter after they bullied some of their colleagues. Toxic fanboys ruined something that used to be fun, but then again all good things must come to an end.

Late last year I was going to write a review for “The Last Jedi,” but I didn’t.

Earlier this year I was going to write a review of “Solo: A Star Wars Story” but I didn’t bother.

There were a couple of reviews that I was going to write about a couple of other movies that I saw this year like the Marvel movies such as “Infinity War” and “Deadpool” but there was a point when I shrugged my shoulders and moved on to writing commentary about other topics that I thought were more important for Fedora Chronicles readers.

Why bother? The Great Fanboy Collective has spoken! All the minion nerds, geeks, dorks and other fanboy twinks have already downloaded and assimilated their opinions from the Grand Masters of Geekdom and there’s little to no chance to convince anyone that my opinion– my opinion – has any place on the internet. Everyone’s mind has been made up on these films by other more “knowledgeable” superfans and thus The Great Fanboy Collective hive-mind is settled.

Opinions that are counter to the conclusions made The Great Fanboy Collective are now being crushed by The Nerd Gestapo. For example, the mere mention that “Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull” isn’t nearly as bad people say it is will cause the army of jackbooted keyboard warriors to descend upon that opinion holder and force geeks who are starved for attention and be included in The Great Fanboy Collective to relent.

You must say all of those movies are great, and all of those movies “sucked”, or you will not be viewed as a “legitimate fanboy.” That is about as stupid as it sounds. Dorks seeking relevancy from other dorks for something so trivial.

Perfect example came when one 'tribly wearing neck beard' in particular went to see “The Last Jedi,” and said they loved it for what it was… it’s a mere Star Wars movie with some weak moments but over all it was pretty good. Especially some of the call backs to earlier movies in the franchise and the tributes to Carrie Fisher in the end credits, it was also a real tear jerker.

… Until that specific 'tribly wearing neck beard' read on Reddit what all the other dorks said about the movie! Now this geek recanted his thoughts and feelings on movie; and now claims that he hated the movie. All the great things he said about the movie he denied ever saying.

That’s pretty bad, but you couple that with the comments made about the movie’s writer and director, Rian Johnson, and the death threats he received. We’ve crossed the line it’s not just about “opinions” anymore. For some it’s about ruining or literally ending the lives of people who create content.

And there was the entire episode with the racist comments towards Kelly Marie Tran that caused her to quit social media. Who knew there were so many damn racists in our midst? And who would have thought that I had so many friends who defended the attacks against her because they disliked the movie and her character so much?

I feel horrible because I feel this reflects upon me somehow. Fandom as sunk to a new low, even for me.

As some articles published elsewhere have already stated; Star Wars fans have finally ruined Star Wars. Just like Star Trek, fans of this franchise have finally had its huge Barbara Adams moment. The behavior of a few rabid fanboys and their collective hive-mind have made such an embarrassing spectacle of themselves that it’s no longer cool to be a fan any more.

I’ll admit that there are those movies out there that I really hated; “Howard The Duck” comes to mind immediately but there are a couple of movies and movie franchises that I just don’t like. I don’t believe that I’ve gone out of my way and spent so many calories hunting those fans down and gone on some nerd jihad to ruin it for everyone else. If I have, I’m embarrassed by my behavior and I’m sorry.

As I stated before when talking about Trekkies (or as Harlan Ellison referred to them as “Trekoids.”) and the “Harry Knowles Effect” (to prove you really are a legitimate hard-core aficionado of anything nerdy, you have to denounce the new and reiterate over and over again how awesome the original content was so much ‘better.’) too many fans have either forgotten the point or never got the point to begin with.

With Trekoids; if you’re more consumed with how many “Giga-Cochrane’s” a starships warp engine can produce or the in-universe explanation of why The Klingon’s look so different in The Original Series versus the movies, versus the new “Discovery” series on CBS All-Access, you’re missing the damn point of the stories in the first place.

With Star Wars fans now… those of who have jumped on the “Let’s lynch Rian Johnson!” bandwagon and actually made excuses for racist behavior have crossed the line and forgot what the movies were supposed to about beyond just “Space Battle” entertainment. Toxic Star Wars fans forgot that these Star Wars movies were about more than just boffo big box office, selling some toys and other collectibles; but a sense of unity in fighting evil and tyranny.

In both cases of Star Trek and Star Wars, the message is pretty clear that if we hope to accomplish anything beyond the confines of our own home planet we’re going to have to cooperate with people who aren’t just like us while at the same time we’re going to have to confront the greatest evil we have ever known – and that evil is not in the form of some alien menace. That evil is the dark side of the human heart. Judging on how people here on Earth react and over-react over the minutia of cinema and pop culture it’s clear that at the very least fanboys should remain here planet-bound with the industrial polluters, used car salesmen, bogus pastors, and the rest of the genuine dregs of society.

Toxic fanboys killed fandom for me for this year, at least.

In 2019 I’ll do more to dig down deep and explore classic films and obscure period films and try and explain why I enjoyed them and why I think you might enjoy them, too. Until then this rant is going to be my last one that I’ll write about new releases in pop culture. In the meantime, I think I’m past due for pruning my social media accounts of specific accounts and groups that produce little more that vitriol and bile. Some of these folks are taking this way too seriously and have let the worst part of their wounded inner adolescent show through.

The goal of The Great Fanboy Collective is to force all other nerds, dorks, geeks and so on to submit and conform to their way of thinking. Submit and conform? What does that sound like to you?

I don’t want any part of that, I want to be able to push some boundaries and say what I thought about a film and say somethings that are controversial. I don’t want to self-edit and second-guess myself while I’m writing an article or review and cut something out that I think is profound because I might lose followers or become the next target of a cyber-witch hunt and be "deplatformed." I would like to say what I have to say, write what I want to write, have whatever debate that comes from it for a while. And after the debate is over maybe we’ll learn something about each other and discover that we have more in common than we thought we did before.

And then, move on with my life because… guess what! I have one.