To Fandom, With Love

Originally posted August 8, 2002:

this mini-pep-talk is in response to [info]ashkitty and her thoughts on the fandom.

I don't think this fandom is full of itself. Not at all. I've seen self-importance in fandoms and while I could point to a few corners of the fandom that seem to have their share of egos, I also realize that the ego in and of itself isn't bad, and I have yet to see a single instance of anybody's ego actually hurting anyone else around here.

I've been deeply involved in 2 fandoms over the last 3 years, this one more deeply than the first. I've seen a lot in all three major fandoms I've been in, and the politics and in-fighting are inevitable. Fandoms, more than any other phenomenon I've ever encountered are like a mini-scale replica of global politics. It's to be encountered and dealt with, because it's not going to go away. It's just how things operate.

I'll agree that lately the fandom has been a nasty place and I think it's touched us all. But I also agree with [info]altricial--the brunt of the fighting has been friends defending friends, not a mix of ideologies. And you can't continue to point fingers and shove blame around when everyone is essentially acting to help support the people they care about. Lines get crossed and feelings get hurt, but here, unlike the other fandoms I've seen, there's a much more tightly-knit feeling of true community, and a real, deep-seated feeling that everyone cares about each other in the end.

I really really wish that I could extend a huge hug to everybody who has been hurt in some way by the fandom in the last month. Every single one of us. I wish that I could patch wounds and heal sores and make things right. It's hard for me to accept that sometimes I just can't, and no matter how much I want to, no matter how much I *care* about the people who are being hurt, sometimes there is just nothing I can do but let it go and move on. This is maybe the hardest lesson I have had to learn so far, among others that I'm still learning.

But what has helped me in dealing, in being able to move on, and bear no ill will in the end, is knowing that deep down, the hearts of everybody i've met so far in the fandom are true and honest and good. I really firmly believe that *every* person I have met here, every single one of you, is an essentially good person who cares about their friends and wants to make the fandom a better place. So even though I can't get along with some of you, and probably will never be able to convince others of you that I'm not some kind of simpering fangirl who is only posting this to gain sympathy for herself, --it really helps me to believe that we're all here, we're all *committed to*, the same essentially good, innocent purpose--namely, to read and write fiction and explore characters and stories we care about.

Yes, feelings get hurt and people will feel stepped on, but more often than not, that starts between individuals, not factions. The factions come when people leap to the defense of those they care about. And nothing will change that--nothing but an awareness that you are all acting for good in your own ways. Maybe then the bitterness over what has passed can change into grace and mutual forgiveness, and we can all focus on what still holds us together. Because I for one believe that tie is still very strong.

And I honestly think everyone I know deserves to be proud of this fandom and what it does, and what they do in it. I mean, think about it. We have a fandom that is both huge AND diverse, and consists of people from every country in the world. We have done a remarkable thing so far in bringing together people of every religion, background, age, sexual orientation, political affilliation, ideology, and (gasp) Ship preference, throwing them all together, and watching them get along, for the most part. Hell, that's a huge accomplishment, especially when you consider all the publicity the Harry Potter fandom gets, all the attention paid to even its remote corners. I think we've all done a great job thus far of holding up under the strain of our own enormity, our own size-- and I have a feeling we'll continue to do so.

So be proud of yourselves and each other, because hey, whether or not you guys get along, you have to admit that together we all make and contribute to a pretty kickass fandom. If that's being full of ourselves, so be it, but I for one think that once in a while, especially in times like these, we deserve to sit back and congratulate ourselves on all the things we've done right. So, everyone--congratulations and much love.

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