I was pointed to an interesting article by Jonathan Gray about why people hate things.
So why do I dislike Celine Dion? I usually say it’s because she perpetuates and sells a culture of junk romance that belittles women in the guise of “honoring” their feelings. But mantra aside, and truth be told, there are many singers who do this, so why dislike her in particular? A more honest answer would probably state that my anti-fandom works as a marker of national identity.
Nick Marx, in the comments section, wrote:
Parody as anti-fandom?
A provocative piece, Jonathan. I might suggest parody as an interesting case of anti-fandom, though I’m not quite thinking of affectionate, Mel Brooks-ian genre mash-ups. Rather, the venomous Trey Parker and Matt Stone provide examples of anti-fans that actively and consciously skirt issues of self-psychoanalysis in an attempt to reach the anti-fan in all of us (see recent “South Park” episodes “Cartoon Wars,” for example).
I don’t know that parody is necessarily anti-fandom: as Marx admits, the line between it and homage can be blurry at times.
In any case, I agree that identity has much to do with fandom – whether national identity, as in Mr. Gray’s case, or something less clearly defined. For instance, we might presently say the conventional wisdom is that Twilight is written for immature audiences, which implies that immature people like it. Thus people who identify themselves as “sophisticated” must either profess dislike for it or somehow otherwise rationalize it (perhaps as a “guilty pleasure,” as many articles have claimed.) This entire rationale is not about the actual merits of Twilight, but rather about what Twilight stands for.