Why So Negative?

In general, I enjoy fandom. I like having that part of my life in which I don’t have to hide my geek side. And, usually, it’s a safe place where I can be myself.Usually, but not always.I’ve been in and out of many fandoms over the years, and the almost universal constant are the people who look for and are able to find something negative in anything.A little while ago, I was looking for reviews of a particular comic. I had enjoyed it, and was hoping to find other people to discuss it with. What I found were fans that seemed to take enjoyment from ripping the story apart, because events didn’t happen in the same way as they had before the DC reboot. So because it is part of the DC New 52, does that mean it’s okay to not review the story on its own? Does every review have to compare it to the way events happened prior to the reboot?And comics aren’t the only place I’ve encountered rampant negativity. Recently I’ve talked to people who hope that television shows and movies fail, before they’ve even begun; fans who don’t want “their fandom” invaded by new fans; even people who think that if one movie is good, another must be not good, regardless of actual quality.I’m a generally positive person, and I like to believe I’m good at finding the positives in things, even when it’s hard. But harder than finding positives is staying positive when the people you thought shared your love turn on you for your opinions.

Am I a bad Batman fan for adoring The Dark Knight Rises? I don’t think so. I thought it was an incredibly awesome movie, despite some problems. I didn’t feel the need to compare it to The Avengers, even though both are comic book films. Yet I’ve been told, over and over, that I have to like one more than the other.

If I admit to liking the television show Arrow, and I do, am I not a fan of the Green Arrow comic?

Does liking one particular portrayal of the Doctor more than another mean I’m a bad Doctor Who fan?

I’ve heard all of those, plus many more.

After Torchwood: Children of Earth, I learned very quickly that I shouldn’t admit to having liked it. “Real” fans of Torchwood could never like something that killed their favourite character.

Even as far back as my Lord of the Rings days, I remember there being a disproportionate number of negative responses. Movie adaptations of books are just that, adaptations; they don’t have to (and shouldn’t) copy the book word for word. And even if you disagree, there is no need to berate the fans who might have enjoyed the trilogy.

Why? Why do people who claim to love a book/tv show/movie/comic/etc feel the need to seek out the negative aspects of it?

I always believed that fans were fans because they loved the material. But maybe not. Maybe I’m the strange one, the fan who looks for the good, even when the rest of the world can’t.

I wish I could come up with a theory on why fans are negative about things they claim to love. But I can’t. If you want to give it a go, please do. I’ve accepted that I can’t change it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still bother me.

Agree, disagree? Thoughts, opinions, anything?

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One response to “Why So Negative?

  • Tammy Lynn Garrison

    Some people derive their enjoyment of a thing by hating on that which they claim to love. Some people like drama. Sometimes people just won’t leave parts of fandom alone. They act like they’re better than that other part, and start Westside Story-esq rumbles with them. Some people like shitting on other people’s wheaties. I personally have rage more toward the behavior of fandom and the behavior of creators than the thing itself. But fans complain that nothing new is happening. Or they complain that it isn’t like it was before. Or they ignore the problematic elements and refuse to discuss them. Or they ignore the good elements and only focus on the problematic bits, and you wonder why they’re even fans of the thing. It’s weird and complicated, and gen Xers tend to pat themselves and each other on the back for being the most jaded and negative about a thing.

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