What Happens When Fans Destroy The Thing They Love
The year is 2036 and the world economy is in ruins, and I want to tell you what I’ve learned about the fallout from the fan wars.
Today families are divided, friendships shatter on a daily basis, and the entertainment industry produces nothing substantial. Owners of Intellectual Property refuse to produce films or television shows, even authors have decided to stop publishing. Superhero films are all bootlegs and knockoff parody you have to stream online because all the movie theatres have shut down. The few television networks that remain survive on news broadcasts. The video game industry doesn’t exist, it is a wild-west of independent direct distributed games that are the modern equivalent of 1990’s rap battles.
This started around 2016 when an anonymous manifesto was published on a blog and began circulating on internet message boards. The initial result over the years was an increasing level of harassment of actors, writers, and directors. Over the years gatekeeping became a sport and the harassment spread to other fans, film production studios and publishers. For almost 10 years these instigators were simply labeled trolls, and everyone attempted to ignore them. It was easy to dismiss them because their primary grievance appeared to be that they demanded their escapism remain homogenous and unchanging. That art shouldn’t reflect reality or society. I have wondered how they could recognize reality, when they can’t even understand the concept of gender.
Desperate to understand how this began I managed to dig up the original manifesto. They called it “Fans Defend Art” after I read it, I couldn’t help but feel that it was once intended to be satirical.
The response was to begin producing multiple versions of each film. Authors began to publish multiple versions of their books. The most dramatic response came from comic book publishers. They began to publish dozens of variations of each title. It was an undeniably unsustainable model and only further widened the cultural divide, and lead to endless confusion keeping track of canon and continuity. There was a point where one comic book series lost track of character names, and storylines. The books were impossible to follow. Of course, this only enraged the very people they were trying to appease.
That was the first stage of failure. As the collapse of the entertainment industry ensued many other industries followed. With the subject of their ire in ruin, and the world economy rapidly crumbling the outrage brigade turn its attention to the governments of the world. The overthrow of the governments was surprisingly easy as most government leaders did not understand how to use the internet, so they were caught by surprise. When they discovered their email had been compromised and they had inadvertently surrendered via Tweet the US government pretended that was the plan all along. Then the US Department of Defense was entirely disabled by a denial of service attack on the only remaining internet service provider. The new President of the United States, MRAPOWNER69, issued a statement on YouTube disbanding the military and attempting to take over and nationalize a Disney.
Across the world armies disbanded and disorganized militias formed along the fuzzy lines of fandom. This period of time was called the Cosplay Wars. People were fighting in the streets dressed as superheroes, video game characters, and various science fiction and fantasy characters. There was a major battle in Iowa City between the Star Trek fans and the Original Trilogy Star Wars fans. The streets of Iowa City were littered with bodies in star fleet uniforms, stormtroopers, and 97 Boba Fetts. That battle spilled over into Chicago as the Original Trilogy Star Wars fans clashed with the Jedi fans, New Trilogy fans, and Prequel fans. After these and many other bloody battles that demonstrated that prop weapons were no match against real ones the fights turned virtual.
The primary battle field was now online, most skirmishes took place on social media and in comment sections. The battles were spectacularly unimpressive, but the effects were devastating. Not only was there a widespread epidemic of computer monitors and tablets getting shattered by rage filled fists, but anyone that wanted to avoid these attacks had no choice but to stay offline.
These battles reached a tipping point when a brilliant offensive was orchestrated by the east and west coast Browncoats. They coordinated a week of airdropping leaflets across California and New York to Washington DC. Billions of fliers were released into the sky to rain down on these cities. This strategy was brilliant because paper couldn’t be deleted or blocked, they went everywhere. This led to peace talks headed by the Mentat and Vulcan delegations, two largely passive think-tanks. The negotiations were initially successful, but the fragile peace was shattered when members of the Vulcan delegation attempted to initiate a celebratory pon farr.
This cold war must end before tensions erupt, the threat of mutually assured doxing will only continue to suffocate any chance for peace among fans. Today here are many of us desperate to find our way back. To show the world that it is possible to ignore the art you dislike and accept that which is different. Strength is a byproduct of diversity, not a homogenous monoculture.
About Kyle J. Steenblik
Kyle J. Steenblik is a resident of Davis County Utah, husband, and father of two children. A local film critic, author, and Podcaster (Utah Outcasts, The Nerd Dome Podcast), with a passion for comedy, fantasy, art, the natural world, science, and discovery, and road trips to various landmarks, and historical sites around the United States. Kyle has been a longtime activist in the hopes of leaving the world a better place for his children. Whether that is through standing up to inequality, injustice, or by adding a little laughter or a good story.
(Last Updated April 23, 2019 10:45 pm )