Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Week the Second: Fandoms

 It's Wednesday, time for another vintage topic on the old Introvert Social Hour.

 Fandoms, huh? This topic is both easy and hard for me. It's easy because I like lots of things but hard because I like so many things that few of them stand out from the crowd. This will be interesting.

I grew up in a home where we were exposed to many different things. We were seriously poor, but my parents worked hard, did a lot of bartering, and spent a lot of time at thrift stores, flea markets, and auctions to provide us with a diverse, interesting lifestyle. We didn't watch a lot of tv -- it's not really a convenient hobby when you only get 4 channels, and that only from 6 am to midnight -- but we did watch a few select shows. We had friends who owned a drive in theatre so we saw a lot of movies from all sorts of genres. Our house was filled with books and every single person in my family is a voracious reader. We always had music in our house and it was almost every kind of music you can imagine. We traveled literally all over the United States -- I've been to almost every state -- and saw as much as my parents could possibly provide a way for us to see. I say all of this to explain that I was raised to appreciate a wide array of things and not particularly fixate on one specific area. Therefore, it took me a while to develop an enthusiasm for something that could be considered a fandom.

I guess one of my first fandoms was Billy Joel. I discovered him when my cousin loaned me a cassette of his 52nd Street album in 1979 and I was a goner almost from the very first note. Since then, I've bought pretty much everything he's ever done and accumulated probably years of time listening to his music. For nearly thirty years I dreamed of seeing him in concert and I finally lived that dream in 2008. I can't even tell you how happy that made me. I paid a lot of money to get very, very good seats, and just seeing him right there in front of me brought tears to my eyes. I know how dumb that sounds, but it's true. His voice isn't perfect but something in it resonates with me, and his lyrics say almost perfectly what I feel. I just love him.

The next thing that I remember catching my eye in a big way is Star Trek: The Next Generation. I had seen some of the original series but only bits and pieces because we didn't watch it when it was in its first run. But when TNG started I did watch it and loved it. After that I started watching TOS at every opportunity and I've now seen most of the episodes. I watched a good bit of Deep Space Nine as well, but never finished that series. I've seen all of the films except the most recent one and I'll see that one as soon as I can. People always talk about Star Trek vs. Star Wars and, while I like the Star Wars series a lot, I must admit that I'm a Star Trek girl at heart and TNG is my favorite of all. (On a related note, Galaxy Quest is one of my favorite movies and I always say that it's the best Star Trek movie ever made. If you haven't seen it, you really should. It's great!)

Maybe/maybe not the BEST Doctor, but definitely the PRETTIEST <3

From there I suppose the next thing would be Doctor Who. I was aware of Doctor Who as a kid and had watched it some, but at that time I wasn't as interested in science fiction as I would be later so it didn't stick with me. Then, shortly after the new series started I met a person who had been a huge fan since he was a small child in the '70s. He's an American but he had seen every available episode by the time I met him. We became good friends and one of the first things he asked was whether I watched Doctor Who. I said that I had seen the old series but not the new and he said "Oh man, you have to see it!" Shortly after that he started catching me up on the new series as well as showing me old episodes every chance he got. I was hooked almost from the first moment and I've watched every episode from that time on, and I can't talk about Doctor Who without mentioning my niece and nephew who are also huge fans. Like many people, I've been disappointed in the past few seasons, but I keep holding on to my hope that it will eventually bounce back. Oh please oh please oh please...

The next thing that comes to mind is, collectively, the AMC Sunday night lineup. It started quietly with Mad Men, exploded with Breaking Bad, and has slithered over into The Walking Dead. TWD is easily my least favorite of the three but I do enjoy it very much. Mad Men and Breaking Bad, on the other hand... that would be like choosing between your two children.
 They're both amazing and compelling and I can't tear myself away from them and I don't want to! I love them SO MUCH. Every Sunday night that one of those three shows is on, I spend the hour from 9 pm to 10 pm Central Time almost not even breathing.  If you watch them, I don't have to explain the tension, and if you don't, I don't know how to explain it. If all tv were as well made and gripping as MM and BB are, I don't think I'd ever turn the tv off. They're just. That. Good.

I'm not sure whether my last two count as fandoms, but they're things that I love so I'm including them. First is DFTBA Records. I don't love all of their products but I love a large percentage of them, and I own a large percentage of those. And I want to own the rest. I love it also as a business model. I don't think it's a fit for every artist but I think they provide a great service for those who do want to operate independently but need a good distributor to take that burden off their hands. I'm so glad it's a thing that exists in the world. Some day I'm going to be independently wealthy and buy one of everything.

And finally, a thing that has been a lifelong fandom but I didn't want to mention it at the beginning lest anyone be under the misconception that it has faded. You may all hate me for it and think I'm stupid or childish, but I don't care. Here is my secret: I love Mr. Rogers. I loved him as a child, I loved him as a teenager, I loved him as a young adult, I cried many tears when he died, and I love him still today. I think he was one of the most quietly influential human beings who has ever lived. I was fortunate enough to have a happy childhood in a family where I felt safe and loved, and even with those advantages it meant a lot to me when Mr. Rogers said that I was special and he liked me just the way I was. And as an adult I think about that and I think if it meant that much to me -- a happy, loved, well-adjusted kid -- just imagine what it must have meant to kids who didn't feel that kind of love in their lives every day. I regret that I never wrote to him, but my brother did once and Mr. Rogers responded with a very personal letter, responding to specific things my brother had said. That made a deep impression on me. He is the person that I want to be when I grow up. Every video I see of him, every story I read about him just confirms over and over that the world will be very lucky if it ever sees another person like Mr. Rogers. And if it does, I hope with all my heart that I'm there to see it.

I think that's about it. I apologize for posting so late but it's been a crazy, crazy day and I didn't even get to sit down at my desk until a little over an hour ago. I'll try hard to do better in the future.

In the meantime, if you have questions or comments please feel free to leave them below. I'd love to hear from you! And if you're interested in such things you can also find me on Twitter.

Thanks again for reading! If you've somehow landed here from some other source and haven't seen the videos that go along with this post, they are: 

Jill, Kristina, Frieda & Amy 

And that's it from me on this Wednesday. Best wishes! <3

No comments:

Post a Comment