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FANDOM FLAMES: The Sacred Texts! (Of Fandom)

Fandom is going to be here long after we're all gone — let's study it.

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The Beat’s fearless leader, Heidi McDonald, approached me with the idea of a column about fandom issues and, for lack of a better word, drama. Fandom can be a very volatile space, with tastes changing from week to week, day to day…and even minute to minute. I jumped at the chance to explore fandom controversies every week or so.

I feel it’s best to start this column with a little exploration of my own journeys through fandom. I am a proud member of quite a lot of fandoms, although I would only consider myself active in a very few. By active, I mean that I actively create content, whether it be .gifs or photosets or fanfiction; I, sadly, cannot draw, so I rely on the talents of my fellow fanartists).

The idea for this column, in particular, came about when Tumblr released its top 100 fandoms, ships, and characters for the year, which were honestly kind of baffling to me. Was I in the wrong fandoms, the wrong corners of Tumblr? (Get your mind out of the gutter, porn hasn’t been allowed in years.) Of course, the answer to that question is no, I just happen to live in the niche-r corners of fandom. (And before you ask, we will not be going into specifics, to protect the innocent [me].)

Anyway, Reylo was the top ship of the year. Yes, even though The Rise of Skywalker was released approximately twenty years ago (or the end of last year, depending on how you see it), according to Tumblr’s appropriately named Fandommetrics, the controversial ship to end all controversial ships took the top slot. Somehow, Reddie (It) also made it to number 3 on the list even though It: Chapter Two was released last year. FinnPoe, or, more properly, StormPilot, only hit at the twenty-third placement. A truly bizarre crossover ship, a character from Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir and…Damian Wayne, of all people, nabbed the thirty-sixth placement.

Uh…none of my ships made it onto that list. Am I just getting old, or am I out of touch? I can be in the right fandoms and still be out of touch, right? As for those fandoms, here are a few: The Terror (a show which everyone should watch), The Expanse (read my recaps on this very site), RWBY (which did make some lists), Star Trek (which barely made any), The West Wing (a perfect comfort show), and Babylon 5 (props if you know what that is). I’ve had people call out at least one of my ships in one of the above fandoms (not naming which one, but…), and I’m fine with that. As far as the top shows, Schitt’s Creek made it to the number forty-one spot, so god bless that, but I literally just started watching it. Animation is still very popular on Tumblr, which makes sense — it’s a visual-based social media site, after all.

But you should know this about me — even if I’m out of touch, I tend to keep my eye on the big fandoms…the Star Warses, the MCUs, the Sherlocks…Tumblr might think I’m old and by its standards, I am, but I do tend to understand why fandoms can implode and explode the ways they do. When you’ve been doing this since you were fourteen, you tend to pick up some things. As well as existing in some dying, dead, and dormant fandoms.

I love fandom, but I also chide it. Sometimes, it’s overreactive, and sometimes, not enough. But one thing’s for sure: it’s been around since the dawn of the Internet, and beyond, and it’ll be here well after we’re all gone. (And everything I’ve ever made will live on in the archives of the Internet…that’s not terrifying.)

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