The State of Fandom as Expressed by Ordell and Louis in Jackie Brown

Not a long one today.

Laying unintended meta reads into a film is one of the joys of the modern age. Everyone is a sometime-philosopher as the moon waxes and wanes, and thanks to the miracle of the Internet we can blurt our random musings into the night sky. Occasionally they will be heard by an equally-unintended audience.

To paint it with my own metaphor, I think that fandom is akin to Ordell and Louis from the inestimable masterpiece Jackie Brown.

We’re all friends on the surface tied by a thin bond, ready to turn and accuse each other of treachery. Fans turn on each other, and attack for a large number of nonsensical reasons. My favorite is probably when they rush to attack/defend on behalf of an artist or performer, only to turn on them for their own dysfunctional reasons.

Fans turn on the stars they love over the most minor (perceived) heterodoxy. Fans have turned on the creators of their content in a heartbeat. Like hungry dogs, their only desire is for fresh meat.

This isn’t a new phenomenon, either. Alan Dean Foster himself lamented “toxic fans” after having a cup of vomit thrown on him. Harlan Ellison wrote a powerful essay called “Xenogenesis” about the monsters that fans can be. The stories of fans, regardless of political affiliation, acting like completely entitled children are not new. They are eternal.

Don’t blame social media. All it’s done is allowed people to shine a giant spotlight on their behavior. It’s also allowed some creators and franchise employees to reveal themselves as monsters on their own, but that’s a post for a different day.

In the interim, watch Jackie Brown and let me what you think of the comparison.

Ordell and Louis in Jackie Brown
Or, you know, just watch Jackie Brown. Everyone should.