The Limits of Fandom

Are we more than the sum of the things we like? A May 30 essay by John Roderick, singer for The Long Winters, argued that the answer is yes — and that “the nerd liberation movement,” which allows us to build our identity around the media we consume, has been a bad thing (“Why I'm Not a Fan“).

Readers weren't buying it. Ekiesko writes, “Responding intensely to Wolverine, or Beyoncé, or Joe Strummer surely says something about a 'fan.' Having no preference between Jethro Tull and Jay Z? That also says something about you. I get that you're implying that your own creativity is satisfying unto itself — you're a fan of yourself! whoo! — but it comes off as vaguely autistic. Not sure what value that has for other readers.”

BeepBeepTinyCar agrees. “You are making this harder than it ever needed to be, dude. Just, like … enjoy things. You can just listen to a band or whatever. Most people know maybe two Daft Punk songs and can't name the members and it's not really a big deal. This whole thing is a ridiculous non-issue.”

Heli0tr0pe writes, “Interesting think piece. I hope writing it didn't make you go cross-eyed from looking down your nose at everyone around you. Maybe you should start a band called Holier Than Thou, which — God forbid! — might even attract a few more of those things you call 'fans.' (I, however, will not be among them.)”

Finally, snaggle_62629 weighs in: “Mr. Roderick sounds like the ultimate hipster poseur, striving to be too cool to admit that he likes anything that anybody else likes.

“I myself am a reasonably level-headed fan of various things, but I learned as a teenager to detest the maniacal fan of anything — especially when they use that to pass judgment on anybody. There's no real ethical difference between a jerk so enraptured with Mötley Crüe that he has to punch anybody that doesn't like them and a suicide bomber. It's just a matter of degree.”

Pay No Attention to the Man in the Bedsheet

Gene Maddaus' May 30 cover story about the Republicans running for governor (“A Ticket to the Circus“) drew raves. Ivan Minsloff's cover illustration? Not so much. We heard from a bevy of Tea Partiers who were livid about the wee man in a white hood, one of a half-dozen caricatures playing tug-of-war with a beleaguered-looking elephant.

Most of these responses were too long-winded and/or tedious to reproduce here (and yes, we are fully aware that the late senator Robert Byrd was once an “exalted cyclops” in the KKK — and a Democrat).

A thoughtful exception was a letter from Shawn Flanagan of Tujunga, who writes, “The facts are that over the last four years in this state, Republicans have nominated, campaigned and voted for two women (Whitman and Fiorina), a Mormon (Mitt Romney), a gay man (Kevin James for mayor) and now Neel Kashkari, a child of immigrants from India. Those are not exactly great voting credentials to be in the KKK.”

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