Monday, October 30, 2006

Science Fiction fans vs. Drama Fans

Someone else's take on Science Fiction fans similar to my view to which one of my readers reacted against:

The Strangeness of Fans

I'm probably most interested in the view that this writer takes about science fiction fans thinking that they're more intelligent and critical then the general population, but aren't.


Jason M. Robertson said...

Well, the writer is picking out a subset of SF fans, television fans. From this subset he is looking at fan reaction to one show, Battlestar Galactica. Within that community there is an exceedingly vocal and organized contigent of redneck geezers masturbating onto 8x10 glossies of Dirk Benedict with a speech balloon proclaiming: 'Lost in Castration? Never again!'

His entire empirical argument seems based in a rather particular situation. Is there a conservative faction in fandom overall? Damned straight. Do they spend a lot of time watching SG-1 (as noted by a commenter)? So it seems. In fact, it might be interesting to test how the number of seasons that one can give a damn about the 'Gates correlates to lack of neophilic tendencies.

All that behind us he compares two different message board cultures to make his point. One of which is a directly subject-specific forum, and the other is a harder-to-find community formed around a television site noted for its wit.

In the end, the folks this chap will identify as 'drama' fans are going to be older and smarter and more interesting because they've passed a greater barrier to entry to be commenting in the way that they are. The folks posting on forums dedicated to SF tv are younger, people posting because they are excited and having nothing else to do.

I don't see any way to define a 'natural kind' for sf and drama fans to use here that I wouldn't try to dispute. Passive polling is useless. An active system might return interesting results, but who is going to fund that?

The_Lex said...

Y'know, I have to admit. . .I acted somewhat irresponsibly with my "direct marketing" this post to you, Jason. I largely executed it to sate, as you put it about other people, "posting because they are excited and having nothing else to do."

Albeit, as an afterthought, I've had an interesting constructive thought or two about, say, making a parallel between the "video game intelligence" compared to conventional intelligence and the Great Books/narrative/novelty of appreciating literature compared to the continuity/ontological categorization of genre. I had another constructive inductive thought, but I forgot it.

But alas, I must take the blame for being somewhat irresponsible for my "direct marketing" of this post, mainly for stimulation. Nonetheless, Jason, I have to admit. . .you have given me some good food for thought. You generally always do.

Jason M. Robertson said...

I'm not sure I see any irresponsibility in the direct marketing. The entry was interesting, and it surely points to parts of our own community who we need to establish re-education camps for. Two week diversity-in-drama education camps sounds about right.

The_Lex said...

Heh heh. Apparently, I've overreacted.

Another interesting observation, though: the guy who wrote that entry is a TV writer, probably best known but necessarily well known for his writing on Charlie Jade. I'm an aspiring novelist. Neither of us have the willingness to really take fanfic seriously. I wonder if there's something to the differences in opinions of fans, in general, and the professional and aspiring creators of the genre. . .fans look to immerse themselves into (fan derived from fanatic) while writers have other things in mind (like getting their paycheck, coming up with new and innovative ideas and possibly looking to get their ideas taken seriously and respected rather than engaging in wish fulfillment or the such).

But similar to what you said about a survey into the 'natural' sci-fi or drama fan, I just don't have the personal resources to look more seriously into the topics I've brought to the table. I've become somewhat too specialized in my bachelors project exploring utopianism.

Dawn said...

I'd have to agree with Jason--the intelligence of the criticism and discussion you read on a message board (whether on SF, drama, or anything else) corollates to the acessibility of the board and the type of people it attracts. Back in the days of Compuserve and its forums (generally known only to geekdom--most of the populace wasn't online yet), we had a number of interesting discussions on various series (Star Wars, Star Trek, and Babylon 5 all had their own forums, if I recall correctly). These were TV shows (and assorted spinoffs into novels, comics, etc.) but overall the level of the discussion was high.

The_Lex said...

I think we might need Jason's survey to understand you anecdotal evidence more, Dawn. Interestingly enough, it possibly contradicts the conclusions of the guy who wrote that blog entry, but the geeks who had access to Compuserv then might be a different breed of geeks now.

Dang! Seriously. . .it certainly would make for an interesting survey. Maybe we could set up some kind of nonprofit to gather and compile the information.

Maybe after I finish my bachelors project. . ..