Thursday, January 29, 2009

You stupid fanboy!

Admittedly, sometimes I have to surpress my utter contempt for the unwashed masses because, well, it's just bad business not to. Nobody has any backbone anymore in an environment where the consumer is carefully controlled by pandering corporates to believe they are "king."

Fortunately my latest peeve is one married to an interesting observation of culture.

"Fanboy" is irrevocably attached to the world of comic books, where, at least in the modern age, it is believed to have stemmed. In it's origins, the contemptuous tones gamers associate with the phrase, denoting obsessive qualities, might very well have been there, but the vernacular did not end where it began.

In an industry divided between the two major companies and everything else, it's hardly surprising that a culture of obsessive loyalty to one brand, over the other, has been deeply ingrained in the psyche.
It's this type of mindless appreciation for one brand's content, and the converse disapproval and beratment of all other options, that seems to define the gamers "fanboy."

We have other names in comics, however. Ones that don't interrupt or disturb a sense of friendly fire and/or affection about the term, "fanboy." Particularly for the well adjusted among us, comics fanboys are brothers in arms. Chums with a taste for four-colour culture and all the positives that come with it.
Those other people. The ones who've bought X-Men for thirty years uninterrupted? Those are typically referred to as zombies, or any alternate insults that might come to mind. Wii owners, perhaps? (Haw!)

Comics fans can be as volatile and downright stupid as any other fanbase.
(Anyone coping with the indulgent superheroics of Final Crisis knows all too well about the latter!)
I wonder, however, why it is that the use of the term has diverged so specifically amongst gamers.

I suppose it's (de)evolution into an outright insult could simply be a product of the inherent competitive streak that exists vitally within any gamer. Comics fans butt heads, but probably aren't as specifically trained to be in competition with each other, the afforementioned collector zombies, not withstanding.

Next time you're about to baselessly accuse someone of having a blind bias for one brand, perhaps you might pause to consider the bigger picture. Video games and comics are all part of a rich pop culture tapestry, which, presumably, made the migration of the word so simple. So! Consider the possibility that we're all - each and every one of us, and you yourself - part of the fanboy melting pot.

That, and you might be the raving lunatic with the blindspot.
Because it's our word! Stupid fanboys!!! Yell

- Mike Haseloff
Fanboy of minimal celebrity

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