The glorious and triumphant return of now-19 year old Blogger, the revival of a once-grand and dare I say influential webspace that produced daily content, and the crippling anxiety of a young woman who no longer has any time or motivation to write, and feels like any ability she had acquired in the past through repetition and sheer will alone is now slowly slipping out of her grasp. Brief history of the Blog and Blogger can be found here.

Here be personal journal entries, observations, slices of life, questions and conclusions, as well as exploration of social and political topics seen through the lens of a Malaysian Muslim, feminist, lesbian, Marxist, and horse enthusiast.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

In Which I'm A Pretentious Asshole (More So Than Usual)

Well, except for the fact in which it is a right. It is a privilege.

Harry Potter was the only thing for me when I needed something to hold onto. Just that, and nothing else, and I won't kid myself into thinking anyone I know even understands what that means.

It's a bit confusing, especially because I just look around me and everywhere I go, I see people excited, sure, but this is personal for me.

I like playing the high and mighty card, as loathe as I am to say so, because people can say things like it doesn't matter when you started liking it, it's how committed you are that matters but the thing is... is that I was just kind of there for most of it.

I am sorry, for whatever it's worth, for belittling anyone else's experiences, because I am not the pioneer of everything right in the fandom, nor am I a BNF. I claim no rights whatsoever to anything remarkable that happened in the fandom, in fact, I barely contributed. But it was more of the fact that I was there. More of the fact that I lived through it and breathed it and went through it everyday that it became routine, just part of my day to day life.

And during that, the trailer, and then the WB logo, I just couldn't help but think that I was part of it all.
It has come to my attention (via the supremely - if not equally - high and mighty Maze) that I was being unfair in, well, mostly all of the things I have said regarding the issue in the past and now I have to confront it, regardless of the fact that I don't want to. This has been a long sentence full of words. I once wrote the words "dire" and "procure" in an essay once and my English teacher underlined it in red with a question mark on top. Not trying to change the subject. Just thought that since I haven't found the time nor place to mention that in any of my other posts, I should just do it here. 

Anyways, this concept of "it's not how long you've liked it, it's how much you like it" has become a sensitive issue to some people. Mostly people who actually care about it. Harry Potter, being a worldwide phenomenon and all, is just as affected by this as any other fandom and since it's so darn huge, I would say it's affected a darn lot. Now, the common assumption is that this all ties back to the whole anti-conformist movement, in which certain people flat out refuse to like something that's being embraced by the majority and the reason people get pissed that other people are "raining" on their Harry Potter parade is because they are pissed that something sacred that they have been secretly enjoying all this while has been invaded by a bunch of assholes. Or, rather, "assholes". 

Primary example, I should think, would have to be Nisa, who refuses to like certain things because, and I (badly) quote, "other people like it too". Back to what I was saying about that assumption and coming to its conclusion: that is a false assumption, and I can't speak for the majority but I can definitely speak for myself when I say that that is not what it's about. I used to be sort of like that, back when I was just spreading my musical and untalented wings and leaving the world of Disney and Jonas Brothers behind but I don't put myself that high up anymore. I do not think that liking certain things makes you infinitely and incontestably better than the people who do. And my reasoning for even placing myself on a pedestal (or that proverbial horse) in the first place is far from that. 

I shall not name names (but I really, really want to) but I know quite a lot of Potter fans who go to my school. I do not talk to them about Harry Potter nor do I feel the particular want to do that. It's weird. Kind of tough to deal with. A hard knock life. Because back in my primary school days, I would jump in ecstasy whenever someone admitted to even reading the books and I somehow convinced Farhana and my cousins to like it as well but I think that's just because without it, we really would not have any common ground to stand on. But now it's different. Now I feel like taking a pencil and shoving it in her eye socket whenever Nisa so much as mentions anything Potter-related and I know the whole being 'bagus' thing has made its circles but I can't help but feeling that way. I don't know what changed between now and then. 

And I can only imagine how put out certain fans must feel when people like me go around belittling their love and passion for the books after I've found out that they've only started liking it recently. I can only imagine. Like with most sensitive issues, I try to place myself on both ends of it and it must suck a lot to be on that end. However, this is not just a sensitive issue for me. It's one that I'm actually passionate about and one wherein I find myself to be on the side that's perpetually accused of being in the wrong. The "high and mighty" side, if you may. 

So here's my reasoning for why I feel and say the things that I do and they might not sway your perceptions one bit. They might even make you hate me more. But whatever. Like it matters anyways because as the opposition so often puts it, "So what?"

First off, I don't actually in good conscience care how long you've been with the series, it's more a matter of how much you know. If you're in my face about how much you love the series, then it would certainly raise a few questions in me that I would like answers to. Most of the questions are boring questions, meaningless, nothing soul-baring, so I ask the more important questions. "What's the website you frequent the most?" "Do you read fanfiction?" "What's your favorite podcast?" "What's your favorite Wrock band?" It's because I've always been more invested in fandom compared to the books themselves (because in my eyes, the fandom is the books) that I ask these questions. And when you fail to answer even one of them satisfactorily, I automatically start to not consider you a fan. No, none of that "true fan" business. I stop considering you as a fan, full stop. 

It might be because unlike many of my peers (or rather, unlike the Potter fans that I know in real life today), I grew up with the fandom around me, surrounding myself in not just news of the books and the movies, but rather with the people, the forums and the fandom as a whole. It might be because of that when I think "fan", I automatically jump to "involved fan". Of course, most people don't see it that way. Most people just assume that liking something makes you a fan. But in this day and age, when the Internet's like the biggest distraction on the face of the planet, why should that be the definition of a fan? Isn't Googling the first thing you do when you like something? 

It could very well be that you are an involved fan. Or it could very well be that while you aren't, the series as a whole means something important to you. I wouldn't know and since I've given up on finding out nowadays, I might never ever know. So, yes, in that sense, that does make me a douche. But if you think about it, I mean, really, think about it, I spent hours. Days, every single night, months upon months of being a part of something that made me feel special and well, as cliche as this might be, made me feel cherished, and it has been the catalyst towards everything I hold near and dear today. Now, I'm diverging from the topic in question completely and only talking solely of my personal opinions. After all of that, after everything, someone else comes up to me to tells me that they "like Harry Potter too" and I just can't... process it. Because if you did, if you truly did, where were you during all those years?

Just late to the party, I should imagine, but even then, if you enjoy it so much now, why not take now? Why not start frequenting websites and forums and start being a part of fandom now because if your battle cry is "it's never too late" then it certainly should never be too late for you to participate.

Second, and this is another instance in which I am painted in a rather douchey light, I kind of value seniority. Those who know me in real life knows that this is something I take to heart. I'm big on the whole circle of life thing. So it's mostly about respect, I guess. I used to get it, some semblance of it, when I was known simply as that girl who liked Harry Potter way back when. But with time, that title has faded and I don't like not being known for the only thing I'm proud to be a part of. 

So I hate it when, after all of the time and effort I've put in, someone comes up to me with their "I like Harry Potter too"s and they expect us, the both of us, to be on equal footing and I just don't... feel like we should be? I know seniority in a fandom is a very stupid thing but I can't help but feel that way, just like some people can't help but feel hurt when they're called out on not being a "true fan". 

The whole "time versus devotion" thing has been done to death, I know, and this is not a conclusion on the matter, merely a continuation. Hanna says it's just because I don't like liking something that's too commercialized and it's part of the reason, sure, because how can I stand idly by and listen to all of these people who have to ask what Dumbledore's name is, who don't have a clue what they're talking about, trying to get me to discuss the movies with them, out of all things? How am I supposed to feel when after all that time and devotion relegated to the series, someone comes up to me and asks me whether I've watched Harry Potter or not? A week after it came out?!

They don't know, I tell myself, but the people at my primary school did. They never had to ask, never had to even wonder, because they knew. And I can't really, well, I shouldn't really begrudge anybody for not knowing what all the balls in Quidditch are called but it's really a testament to how long you've spent in the fandom, to how much effort you are putting in the fandom, that you know that and all of the Gryffindor Quidditch team players' names. (And all of the other house teams too.)

The only thing that should matter is that it matters to you. That Harry Potter's sacrifice, as well his mother's sacrifice, matter to you. That Snape's story matters to you. That the Deathly Hallows matter to you. That the entire seven-book eight-movies series matter to you. But to me, being raised the way I was with the things I was raised with, those aren't the only things that matter. So, no, I have no rights to judge anyone. I'm not God. I'm not even JK Rowling, Merlin's sake. Rightfully, I don't deserve to set any standards or qualifications at all for what makes a person a Harry Potter fan, much less a true fan. whatever that word means to you. 

And I can't say that everything I've said or written hasn't been condescending, hasn't been patronizing, hasn't been annoying at the very least, but I can't help it. I would apologize but frankly, my dear, I don't... well, sorry, whatever that's worth.

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