I know I’ve talked about this to some degree in the past, but I’m really rather confused where people with realistic expectations and regular interests in various fannish subjects go to hang around together and talk. Wherever this mystical place is, I have yet to find it because every single forum, web site and blog I go to, I find nothing but fanatics.
Let me define my terms before I get too far into this. I have fun doing things that are fannish. I like watching sci-fi movies. I like reading comic books. I like collecting stamps. I like playing board games. However, I do not focus my life around those subjects, I think I have a healthy interest in them and I want to be around other people who have a healthy interest in them so we can discuss them casually.
However, everywhere I look online, I don’t find people who are casually interested in these subjects, but fanatically so. Not only are they completely fixated on these hobbies but they are apparently proud of it. You find people on board game forums who proclaim their addiction to buying board games, to the point that they have trouble eating sometimes. You have people on stamp forums who buy so many stamps they haven’t got a clue what they’ve purchased and may never lay hands on them again. You have people who buy so many books that their houses are nothing but haphazard stacks of books that may never be read. I’ve talked in the past about fanatical bird owners who have dedicated their lives to owning an absurd variety of birds that they claim nobody should ever actually own. You’ve got the people who lose their jobs because they can’t stop playing video games and think it’s the greatest thing in the world. Of course, who hasn’t seen the crazed sports fanatic who can give you any stat in the game and incessantly talks about sports and nothing but?
This isn’t something that exists only in fandom but it is no less disturbing elsewhere. There are the idiots who are so utterly fixated on a particular sports team that they tattoo it all over their body, who ruin their relationships with their sports focus and who are unable to talk about anything else. Those are the people I want to avoid. Although I have no interest in sports, to keep with the analogy, I’m more like the buy who sits on the couch on the weekend and watches a game every now and then and can stand around the water cooler and talk to other casual fans about the game. That’s the kind of people I want to hang around with, the ones who are conversant in a subject, but not fervently dedicated to it to the exclusion of all else. I want to be able to talk about Star Wars and not end up in a heated debate with someone dressed up as a Stormtrooper, arguing the minutia of Han shooting first.
So where are the normal people? Where are the people who have real lives, who go to work, go home, have a family and only do these things casually on the weekends? The people who might go to a convention or two a year, not who spend more time in a hotel room than their own house? Where are these people? Do they not want to talk to others who share their interests? I can’t be the only one, but I also know I can’t be the only one who hates the fanatics and wants to be around the healthy-minded and well-rounded either. Maybe the fanatics have chased all of the casual fans away? I don’t know.
If you know of any online forums, blogs or meeting places for people who like the kind of things I talk about on my blog, but are not crowded with the crazies, please let me know. I’d really love to be able to talk to people not dressed up like Gandalf once in a while.