I'm on the precipice. So much to do that effects what happens to me over the next few years. This week will be crucial. So allow me to procrastinate and briefly weigh into the controversy around Serenity
and the fanbase, alternately known as Browncoats and Reavers (the equivalent of Trekkers and Trekkies).
One of my favourite sites, CHUD
, weighed in with editorials
that have sent shockwaves around the world, that is if you understand "send shockwaves around the world" to mean "made a few nerds spurt Mountain Dew through their collective nostrils." And that, is my point. The ability of fanatic Firefly afficianados to alientate the general movie-going audience is limited by their sphere of influence. How exactly can they ruin a box office taking?
While CHUD has made very valid, accurate and neccessary points about the changing nature of fandom (this was done well by Land of the Dead
, clearly less successfully by Serenity
), I think they over-estimate the ability of forum banter to bleed into real-life decisions, like buying a movie ticket. Let's face it, non-geeks don't usually spend months anticipating this kind of release. It is not the marketing juggernaut of King Kong
(as CHUD pointed out). I think the pamphleting and suspiciously well-publicised fan initiatives (such as the fellow who allegedly bought US$3k of tickets) are more indicative of Universal's defective PR strategy, and Mutant Enemy's unfortunate devotion to a vocal section of a fanbase that thrives on reference to itself. Not, as CHUD seems to say, the cause for Serenty's malaise at the box office.
I'm a huge Joss Whedon fan. I thought Serenity
was one of the best sci-fi movies I've seen for years. I can recognise, however, that Buffy
degenerated when fans began to influence the output a little too much. It's crude, but I'm going to say it anyway: geeks have decomposed into stockholders in cultural corporations. Geekery seems to be more about supporting the franchise as a community wrapped in a commodity. On one level this is a more harmonious relationship with the money behind the production, but on another level it's the opposite of everything that I love about geeks. I think it's great when fans take something like Star Trek
and make it their own, interacting and commandeering in unexpected and often unprofitable ways. I'm not seeing that careful, critical eye from the Whedonites. Maybe it's Joss' ability to make flawed characters so likable that accounts for so many Whedon fans being scarily defensive. I'll also say something else a bit cringy and paraphrase Naomi Klein: the consumption of these commodities is now a cultural event. Having seen the latest film is cultural currency. I wish geeks could see past the marketing and back to the ideas.
The Browncoats/Reaver's mates at Universal once tried to shut down the kind of fan sites that bind the Firefly
community together. Now they just control them with tidbits like t-shirts and movie props. Fuck that shit. Serenity
was a watershed moment which should make fanboys and fangirls look at how they influence and are being influenced, but I doubt the Internet has the capacity for meaningful self-reflection. But, dammit, geeks need to be critical again.