The easiest trap for a film fan, especially a franchise fan, to fall into is the subconscious need to express their dominant awareness of minutiae in a property/film/work. It’s a difficult impulse to suppress, especially when it’s a lauded sign of fandom to be so deeply entrenched in it that you can recite without effort the obscure references buried within something.
To be clear, I’m trying to hold myself fully accountable for this. Hence, the blog.
Star Trek fans are the most ready example used in pop culture for this disorder of expressing “secret knowledge.” The fan base famously capable of reciting Neelix’s recipes or the inconsistencies of plot between a one-hour 1966 TV show and a 1980s film series based on it is a heady target.
It’s especially nice as a science fiction and fantasy fan who focuses elsewhere; by pointing out the splinter in my brother’s eye, I can continue to use the plank in mine as a weapon.
So I’ll gladly turn the focus on myself, as a paragon of Star Wars fandom and aware of the idiosyncracies it’s bred into my behaviors.
Recently, my good friend and occasional nemesis Tristan Riddell sent me two pictures highlighting “Easter Eggs” from the recent Star Wars film, Rogue One. (Also known as “Rouge One” to the bad spellers out there.) They are cute visual cues that would have been overlooked by most, ignored by many and keyed upon by a fan base indoctrinated with the thought that every single visual element needs to be examined like the Zapruder film.
What those little visual nods are is not important to the point of this piece. Suffice it to say that my reaction is what has spurred the introspection here.
My response to him was not, “Yeah, that’s neat.” It was “Here it comes: I caught it the first time.”
Even in my self-awareness of the ugliness I was about to commit (“Here it comes:”) I could not stop myself (“I caught it the first time.”).
Being a terribly unforgiving person, even in the Christmas season, he highlighted my rush to Informational Dominance and held up the mirror to me. I deserved it. I still deserve it.
The truest part is, it doesn’t matter who saw what first.
I promise, in the spirit of the season, to work harder to suppress this urge. What matters is a friend sharing something with another, that could have been a neat experience if only I’d replied, “So cool!” or “So cool, isn’t it?” The second version of the statement skirts the line, but it isn’t chock full of the dismissive acknowledgement of the simple “I know” or “I already knew that” expressed in my own response.
Let’s just share in the specialness and enjoy the moment, not rush to list off Galactus’ heralds in the Bronze Age of Comics to prove we know more. This is all about enjoyment, not dominance.
Besides, I’m pretty sure my friends have figured out I obsess over those tiny details anyway. No need to remind them.