leave your fanboy at the door

Here’s one thing I’ve learned in life so far, and it’s something that I don’t think a lot of people think about. I’ve told several people this, about one thing or another, and I don’t know if it’s ever sunk in.

If you are a member of any “fan community” for something, be it a forum or a Facebook page or whatever, you’ll notice that feedback for a given thing tends to rise and fall. People that were raving about a show last year will be saying that this season sucks, and that they should go back to this or that, and that it’s just not the same. It’s universal, it always happens.

What is happening here? I noticed it in myself when I was a sad lonely post-high school teenager, and was a “fan” of a radio show. I was a regular on the forums, where myself and other fans discussed the show and other things (at a 1:20 show to otherthings ratio). After a while, you run out of things to talk about, and you start analyzing harder. You listen closer. You become more critical. Eventually, you find enough things you don’t like that you start to think that everything you liked about the show is gone, and you point this out, and other people start to analyze harder, and it starts what Dwarf Fortress would call a tantrum spiral.

In reality, in most cases, the show’s probably not worse, just different. Think back to the old days, when you first started enjoying this form of entertainment, be it a band, a TV show, a radio show… whatever. You turned it on and enjoyed. That’s it. Now what are you doing? Be conscious of it. Really inspect your own actions as you “enjoy” this form of entertainment that you’re growing to despise.

Chances are you’re overanalyzing, and romanticizing the past. You’re not just enjoying the entertainment anymore.

The solution? Keep an eye on yourself, and back off. If you’re a nerd like myself, obsessive fanboyism comes with the territory, but don’t let it ruin your enjoyment of great entertainment. I’ve listened to new episodes of the show I used to enjoy, and find that I like it just as much, even though it’s changed massively in the few years since I last listened, because my critical eye has been glued shut.

It’s why critics of all kinds are such assholes, especially those that get paid for it. They pay close attention for things they don’t like, rather than the things they do. They pay more attention to the bad than the good, it just hops out at them and it’s all they see.

It’s a survival mechanism you’re going to have to learn to develop, if you want to just enjoy the things you enjoy and not end up a bitter old fuck bitching about some TV show on the internet, wondering how so many idiots could still like this thing that was “so much better” when you first found it.

For extra credit: apply it to everything and find out that it works in all aspects of life, from jobs to relationships to your car.

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