The Crushing Disappointment of Fandom

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A long time ago, in a WIRED office far, far away, a colleague said, “There are a million and a way to be a nerd.” In a newsroom full of obsessed people (science, movies, gadgets, math, etc.) the meaning was clear. Everyone is a fan of something. Part of this fandom is commitment. When we truly, truly admire someone, whether it’s Avenger or Anthony Fauci, they tend to imitate their personality, or even morality. Media theorists call these ties “parasocial relations”; Parents of the kids who have too many Star Wars posters (probably) call it “on top”. But the people in it, those who write fiction and spend days cosplaying before the next convention, call it part of their identity, the fabric of who they are.

Until not. Earlier this week, actress Gina Carano lost her job while playing Cara Dune. Mandalorian. The former MMA fighter has been criticized for months for being anti-science. opinions about wearing a mask, mocking transgender sensitive pronouns and tweets about voter fraud. Then it’s Wednesday after that shared an Instagram story The hashtag #FireGinaCarano, which argued that having different political views was like being Jewish during the Holocaust, started trending on Twitter. That night Lucasfilm made the following statement: “Gina Carano is not currently employed by Lucasfilm and there are no plans for it to happen in the future. Yet social media posts that humiliate people with their cultural and religious identity are disgusting and unacceptable. ”

Carano’s comments are detrimental for many reasons, but seem to carry additional weight for fans. Cara Dune was a hero who fought for humans, a tough, competent heroine in a genre often dominated by men. Fans respected Cara and, in addition, Carano, but the actor’s comments on social media made it more difficult for him to do one of these. “Those who admired his character the most suffered,” wrote Anthony Breznican. Vanity Fair“Including those who disguised as Cara Dune and hoped that the spirit of the hero would match the emotions of the person who performed it.” Others, meanwhile, supported Carano’s remarks and launched a rival hashtag called #CancelDisneyPlus as the news this week started to spread.

Conflicts about these emotions live in the hearts of fans everywhere. If having a one-sided relationship with a character, an actor, a director or a writer means embracing a part of their moral code or seeing a part of your own morality in their work, then what happens? doesn’t align anymore? When will it happen a the hero is no longer your hero?

You may think I’m on the fast track to cancel the culture. This is understandable. But that’s not exactly the point. Canceling someone or something was a strong reaction to something that person or organization said or did. When they made a racist statement or supported a transphobic purpose, it became difficult for fans to enjoy their work, so they stopped doing it as if their show was off air. It was then misinterpreted as an attempt to silence people throughout 2020. Even if people talked on national television with masks that read “Censored”, people could not understand that canceling someone does not mean they cannot speak, it just means everyone has the right to choose whether they want to listen or not. Watch recordings or movies.

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