IF I’VE LEARNED anything from my years spent interacting with folks online, it’s this: all fandoms are awful.
I’m not joking. Most are pretty bad.
JUST SAY THE WORDS “RUNNING ZOMBIES” IN A ROOM FULL OF GEORGE A. ROMERO FANS AND WAIT…
Take a look around the interwebs and you’ll see there’s a good reason why they invented the phrase TOXIC FANDOM.
NOT CALLING OUT RICK AND MORTY FANS EXCLUSIVELY (or this young man in the photo in particular), BUT THAT WHOLE MC DONALD’S MULAN DIPPING SAUCE THING WAS NOT THE FANDOM’S FINEST MOMENT…. Wubba Lubba Dub Dub
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that all fandoms are bad (although I just did).
Communing with others who share mutual interests is a good thing. More than half of
my Facebook friends are people I’ve “met” in Star Trek fan groups.
Yes. I’m still on Facebook.
Actually, Star Trek fans are pretty toxic, too.
JUST SAY THE NAME MICHAEL BURNHAM IN A STAR TREK FAN GROUP AND WAIT…
Trekkies, Little Monsters, Swifties, the KISS Army, the Beyhive, Beliebers — just a few
monikers of popular fandoms.
Question: Are Game of Thrones fans called anything? What about The Walking Dead
fans? What are they called?
THERE’S GOTTA BE A NAME FOR SOMEONE WHO DOES THIS TO THEIR CAT
Some fandoms’ fans are so devoted they’ve shot past being mere fans;
A“stan”, according to Urban Dictionary, is:
A crazed and or obsessed fan. The term comes from the song Stan by eminem. The term Stan is used to describe a fan who goes to great lengths to obsess over a celebrity.
These people are fans:
THIS guy is a stan.
I’m going to assume that most fans (and even most stans) are harmless, but there are
devoted fans out there.
Almost anything or anyone that’s popular has a fandom. Almost anything or anyone with
one notable exception: PHILOSOPHERS.
In all my years of mindless philosophizing I have never once heard of or seen a
I mean, Rule 34 of the internet says for every conceivable idea, there’s a porn of it. I’m
pretty sure that there’s a fandom corollary — for every thing in pop culture, there’s a
fandom of it. Sounds like a reasonable to assume, right?
…and it’s not like philosophy has never been popular. I mean, Socrates had his fans
ANY GROUP OF FOLLOWERS WHO’D SHOW UP TO WATCH A GUY KILL HIMSELF ARE A PRETTY DEVOTED BUNCH
Glaucon probably was a stan, tho.
I mean, think about it for a minute. Philosophy (well… Western philosophy, anyway) has
been around since at least the 6th century BCE, and is the mother of ALL disciplines, but
has there ever once been a PhilosophyCon? Do philosophy fans have clever fandom-
based nicknames? Socrateers, Aristotoholics, Hegelites…?
Is there philosophy cosplay?
Wait — there is philosophy cosplay. But it usually looks like this:
NOT KNOCKING THESE GUYS. THIS IS PRETTY GOOD PHILOSOPHY COSPLAY
What happens when you put a couple of devoted Kant fans in a room? Do they disagree?
Do Kantian disagreements ever turn violent? Probably not.
Oh wait, they have*
I guess at least Immanuel Kant has stans.
So… at least Immanuel Kant has a toxic fandom.
In Russia, anyway.
Ok…. Russian Kantian gun fighting stans aside, maybe the reason why philosophy
fandoms aren’t like Rick and Morty or Selena Gomez fans is because philosophy fans
aren’t like Rick and Morty or Selena Gomez fans. Philosophy fans, kantian Russians
aside, aren’t very enthusiastic people. They may feel passionate about philosophy, but
they aren’t very passionate about philosophers. And even when they’re passionate about
philosophy, philosophy fans are pretty subdued about it.
Russian Kant stans aside.
That Slavoj Žižek-Jordan Peterson debate was hyped to hell and back and it pretty much
just looked like this:
TWO BROS JUST CHATTIN’
Ok… I’m pretty convinced Mark Hamill has been doing Žižek cosplay for a few years…
Well… there is ONE thing Rick and Morty and philosophy fans have in common: but to
understand you gotta have a high I.Q.
You see, Tay Sway can shake if off
Most of the “popular” philosophers are…we… dead. Aristotle has been dead since 322
He’s not shaking much of anything.
…and shaking is what gets you fans.
Not every philosopher has the natural charisma of cigarette smoking Albert Camus.
ALBERT CAMUS, THE ZAC EFRON OF PHILOSOPHY
So what should philosophers do if we want fandoms?
THIS MIGHT HELP
For starters, philosophy seems to be doing a pretty good job sneaking philosophy into
pop culture with movies like The Matrix and tv shows like The Good Place. Lots of people
out there play Bioshock.
That’s a video game.
… and with the new Bill and Ted flick in production, maybe we’ll see the return of
Socrates, to introduce a whole new generation of youths to the teachings of the ancient
gadfly of Athens.
ALL WE ARE IS DUST IN THE WIND, DUDE
After all, we got all those Rick and Morty fans out there with their high I.Q.s (and all
those Star Trek fans who fancy themselves philosophical), isn’t it time philosophers
cultivate their own potentially toxic fanbase?
Kantian Russian firearm enthusiasts aside.
I say, it’s time for philosophers to claim their place in the pantheon of (potentially toxic)
fandoms. It’s time to stop wasting time yelling “Pickle Rick!” in public places and put our
high I.Q.s to some good use! Why let those nerdy Trekkers claim all the philosophy??? It’s
time philosophers get shakin’! It’s time for Diogenes cosplayin’ and PhilosophyCon. It’s
time for a tv show about a band of gun-totin’, philosophy-quotin’, kickass lovers of
wisdom and a Chris Hardwick aftershow.
Did you know Chris Hardwick majored in philosophy in college?
He did, you know.
It’s time to start dressing up our pets like our favorite French existentialist philosopher.
Why should The Walking Dead fans be the only fans who get to do this?
SERIOUSLY, WHO DOES THIS TO THEIR PET????