Star Wars vs. Star Wars Or: Why Fandom Infighting is Ridiculous

Does anyone remember when different fandoms fought with each other over which fictional universe they’d dedicated their devotion to was better instead of fighting amongst themselves over what segment or opinion about a segment of the same fictional universe was better? (Fanboys is a terrific movie, by the way, if you haven’t seen it, please, by all means, stop reading this and go watch it right now…you’ll thank me.) I mean, I’m old school. I still hate Star Trek. I refuse to watch the J. J. Abrams reboot on principle even though everyone tells me it’s “Star Trek for Star Wars fans” (to which I reply, “well, it’s still *bleeping* Star Trek! – I have a potty mouth in real life…don’t tell my mom). Anyway, fans of the same IP (intellectual property, not internet protocol, you nerds) used to stick together. There used to be camaraderie…now it seems like everyone’s hunkered down in their own little sandboxes and only want to play with other kids that have the exact same sandbox…it’s ridiculous. Imagine you’re a hockey fan like me (which you should be, just saying), and your favorite team is the Penguins. Say your favorite player is Evgeni Malkin, but my favorite player is Sidney Crosby. Now, because of that, I decide not only that you’re stupid, but that I’m going to tell you you’re stupid for the simple reason that if you don’t think exactly the way I do, even though we’re both fans of the same team, you’re obviously an idiot who has no business being a fan in the first place…do you smell what I’m stepping in? For more on this subject, we now go live to our in-the-Force correspondent Obi-wan Kenobi, Obi:

“You’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”
Brilliant, Obi-wan, thank you. I shouldn’t really have to say more, but I’m going to anyway:  Let’s think for just a minute about what exactly Obi-wan is saying here…so, Luke’s just learned that Darth Vader is, in fact, his father, and that Obi-wan lied to him by telling him otherwise; however, Obi-wan’s rebuttal is that what he told him was true “from a certain point of view.” If you think about it, what Obi-wan is saying is, in his personal head-canon, the man that was his apprentice, friend, and brother, Anakin, is dead, forever replaced by someone else, i.e. Darth Vader. That is his point of view, or his opinion. And do Obi-wan and Luke then drone on for an hour about how what he thinks isn’t “true canon” so, therefore, it’s stupid and should be completely ignored and eradicated from memory? No. That would be dumb. Luke accepts it, and they move on. And that’s exactly what fans should do when they come to a crossroads in their Star Wars discussions:
Fan A:  “Empire is my favorite movie too, but I think my close second favorite is Revenge of the Sith, what about you?”
Fan B:  “Are you kidding?!?! The prequels are all terrible!”
Fan A:  “Haha, yeah, a lot of people feel that way, but I like them, especially Sith because the duel at the end is just so powerful.”
Now, here’s what should happen:
Fan B:  “Well, to each their own, I guess…so, what’s your favorite part of Empire?”
What, unfortunately, would probably happen (with several expletives that I’m going to leave out) is:
Fan B:  “You’re an idiot. The prequels are bad. There’s no other way to put it. You’re clearly a worthless trash human for thinking they have any value whatsoever. You should go kill yourself.”

And so on, and so forth…but do you see how easy it would be to bypass this vitriol and get back to discussing the common ground that binds us all as fans? So…why can’t we do that? Where did fans develop this notion that there’s such thing as a right and wrong opinion. They’re opinions, they can’t really be right or wrong…I mean, sure, if it’s your opinion that 2 + 2 = 16 then, yeah, you’re an idiot and your “opinion” is wrong, but, specifically, opinions about fictional universes can’t be wrong…there really is no right or wrong or true or false – it’s all made up. Don’t get me wrong, I like to know what’s “canon” and what isn’t, but that’s because I want to be able to follow along with the story as accurately as I can. It doesn’t mean that what’s not canon is now garbage, or that the Legends canon is the real canon and the “Disney canon” is an abomination. We need to kick all the soapboxes out from under everyone and get back to being fans for whatever our own reasons for being a fan are and quit worrying so much about everyone else’s reasons. Like what you like, hate what you hate, but don’t hate someone for not liking what you like or hating what you hate.

In closing, I just want to say:  can’t we all just get along? Really, though, Star Wars fans are all on the same team; sure, we might like different players, some of us might only watch if the team makes the playoffs, others might have rink-side tickets to every home game (I’m hitting the hockey references hard, sorry, it’s playoff time and I spent the majority of my day watching hockey), but we’re all fans. If you hate the prequels and happen to see someone walking down the street with a Jar Jar shirt on, say “hi” to them anyway. And, more importantly, if you’re online and come across a thread that you don’t like because it’s not at all in line with your point of view on Star Wars, take a piece of advice from my grandmother:  “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” So, c’mon Star Wars fans, let’s be positive role-models for other fandoms:  Legends fans, don’t hate on people that like the new content because it “killed” your beloved content; Legends still exists, enjoy what you have, and why not tap into the extensive fanfic network and create new Legends content that way? Prequel haters, don’t stop hating the prequels, hate them with as much gusto as you can muster! But don’t hate people that like the prequels, simply agree to disagree. Fellow fanboys & fangirls, don’t say that people aren’t fans just because they don’t go all-in on everything Star Wars like we do; we have it the easiest of all, since we like all aspects of Star Wars we can find common ground with any fan, so make it a point to do that and go from there. The bottom line is this:  be a fan your way, and respect other people’s right to be a fan their way…and if you do that, I can assure you the Force will be with you, always…

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