TUP Wrestling Forum Homepage
Forum Home Forum Home > Wrestling > A Writer's Perspective
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - The Fanboy
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

The Fanboy

 Post Reply Post Reply
Author
Message
ihatethatmonkee View Drop Down
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
Avatar

Joined: 01/October/2009
Location: Birmingham, UK
Status: Offline
Points: 8460
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ihatethatmonkee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Fanboy
    Posted: 03/March/2013 at 20:01
or "How I Didn't Lose My Virginity"
 
We all love wrestling. Some of us even love Sports Entertainment. So we all know the narrow-minded and prejudiced atttitudes that such fandom get from friends/family/outsiders.  Even if we only follow sporadically, even when we state we know it is all pre-determined - not fake - even when it's not the be all and end all of our lives, we can be treated like freaks.  The way some people have looked at me when they hear i am a WWE fan, you can tell they'd rather lick the face of a leper than be in the same room as me.
 
However, i still consider myself to be "normal", whatever that may mean. I don't have shelf after shelf filled with videos, then DVDs and now Blu-Rays of WWF/WWE Pay-Per-Views and Superstar profiles/retrospectives. From where I'm currently sat, I can count 16 WWE DVDs, collected over the last 5 years. Admittedly, i did once have more, perhaps 20 additional titles to what i have now, again though, built up over a substancial period of time.
 
So, i consider myself a fan, but know i'm not a "fanboy".
 
Urban Dictionary has several "definitions" of what a fanboy is, but the following are the best for what i have always felt a fanboy is:
 
Quote
1.fanboy1906 up, 463 down
September 19, 2006 Urban Word of the Day
A passionate fan of various elements of geek culture (e.g. sci-fi, comics, Star Wars, video games, anime, hobbits, Magic: the Gathering, etc.), but who lets his passion override social graces.
5.fanboy393 up, 145 down
A person who loves something without question.
 
We all know a fanboy. Whether in real life, or via an online forum - as, for obvious reasons, this is where you're most likely to find a fanboy, as they really are just a subset of geeks - and they are very easy to spot if you don't yet know any.  Wrestling fandom is probably the only social subset that has it's own vernacular for a fanboy in it's purest sense; the Mark.
 
Again, for obvious reasons, fanboys aren't Smarks. From the examples given in definition one of Urban Dictionary, a Smark would argue over the capabilities of the Millenium Falcon, but bring in real life elements to their argument, because they will readily admit that the Falcon is not real while a Mark will sometimes bring in vehicles from other Sci-Fi universes to confirm their point, but will talk about those vehicles and universes as if they are real, ignoring or glossing over any contradictions that may arise from such comparisons, or any that are already evident in the Falcon analogy.
 
Maybe it is simply down to the amount of hours we as fans can spent watching the wrestling product. After all, if you are a WWE fan, you're watching at least five hours of programming a week, six if you count NXT, seven or eight if you search out Superstars online and Saturday Morning Slam, plus any other show. Even at the bare minimum there, if you are also a fan of TNA, you're watching an additional two hours, bringing your weekly viewing up to seven hours.
 
If you're in the US and watching ROH, that's another hour, so that's eight, but we'll add that for global fans, just to round the numbers up.
 
So, at least eight hours of programming a week, not counting Pay-Per-Views and specials - YouTube pre-shows, Before The Bell promos - which will add three to four hours to your viewing once a month, meaning in one week, you could be watching a minimum of eleven hours, twelve during WrestleMania.
 
These numbers are important for the comparison i am about to make. The same comparison many a wrestling fan has made over here in the UK.
 
Soap fans are normally the worst for pointing out that wrestling is "fake", rather than "scripted".  Even when they say it's scripted, it is that look you get, like you were probably dropped on your head more times than your parents are prepared to admit, even though you're now an adult. However, even if a soap fan watches every mainstream UK soap - which would be Emmerdale, Coronation Street, and EastEnders  - then they are, this week, watching a maximum of seven hours.
 
Soap fans are perhaps worse for taking a scripted product at face value. If any of you have ever been out with a soap fan when they see an actor/actress from one of the soaps, you will know that they only know the character name, and thus call that actor/actress that name. They will also verbally attack them if they are playing a "villianous" character, or offer genuine sympathy for "victims". Some have even spoken of being physically attacked for something their character has done, as if they are the character they play.
 
This was the wrestling landscape up until the mid-90s, when kayfabe started to fall by the wayside. Passionate fans would literally cry if they say Hogan, and shout abuse at noted heels of the time. Now, the majority of fans know that Dolph Ziggler is "played" by Nick Nemeth, that Phil Brooks may share some personality traits with CM Punk, but they are not exactly the same.
 
The fact that the majority of fans know this hasn't helped the stigma we all get tarred with for purely admitting we are wrestling fans. Yet, soap fans are treated as normal, sane people, even when they lose their shit in front of the actor/actress who they either love or hate, depending on what part that person is playing.
 
So, soap fans have far more in common with wrestling fanboys that even normal wrestling fans have; the inability to differentiate between the character on the screen, and the real person behind it, yet being a fanboy is wrong on so many levels in society.
 
Is it purely because fanboy has its basis in far-fetched fictions like wrestling and Sci-Fi? Since soaps are, on the whole, representations of actual real life - though going by the last episode of EastEnders i watched, if someone like Max Branning was getting as many women fighting over him and sleeping with him while having that mug, the representations of actual real life would really require him to be absolutely loaded, either to get the women chasing him, or for him to be able to afford not just the curb-crawling, but also the police fines for when he gets caught - does that make it more socially acceptable to "lose" yourself in the canon of these shows, than it does to lose yourself in the timelines of Indiana Jones, Luke Skywalker, James T Kirk or John Cena?
 
Maybe, because soaps in some way, encourage it's audience to be socially active beyond voting for a match on a Twitter account, but actually talk to people, it's not classed as anything akin to fanboydom. After all, most fanboys can only meet like-minded people at conventions. Wrestling fanboys at least also have live shows where they can meet people, so we're probably a step closer to being socially active than you're average Star Trek fanboy - and it's less awkward than being a Star Wars fanboy, who might still be in the dark about whether it's a boy or a girl under that Wookie outfit - but, at the same time, Sci-Fi fanboys at least seem to have a higher intelligence, and at least end up in jobs that can support their fanboydom.
 
That's not to say wrestling fans are stupid, i'm not Glenn Beck. However, a fan of Sci-Fi, who gets into it at a young enough age, is more likely to gain a degree in some discipline of science, and be able to work a good job. Fans of wrestling are, on the whole, lucky if they ever get a job within the industry, and are more likely to have to have at least one other job to have any hope of being able to live to even a basic standard.
 
At the same time, fanboys in all fields can come across as stupid. Whether it be comparing the "careers" of Kirk and Picard, or ignoring the steroid intake of a certain Paul Levesque - *nudgenudge winkwink* - that level of fanboydom has to be an issue.
 
It shows an inability to see the fiction, instead intrepreting it as fact, which does have social connotations. In some cases, these issues can be written off as some type of mental "disability", such as Aspergers', Autism, or some imbalance. However, these are the minority of cases.
 
Maybe it's just loneliness. After all, there are hundreds of millions of fans across the globe who are into the products that appeal to fanboys, meaning a number of forums and internet communities where these people can talk. If a fanboy enters the wrong forum, and either doesn't feel welcome, or isn't made to feel welcome, then there is always somewhere else for them to go. At the same time, the fanboy can actually take over the real person, so the person being made to feel unwelcome can be an online identity, rather than the real person behind it.
 
This brings up whether there is a difference between an internet fanboy, and a fanboy. An internet fanboy is at least afforded some anonymity; they don't have to put their real name, location, or age. They can be someone else entirely, whether that is someone they want to be, or just someone that's not "them". In real life, a fanboy can only really be themselves at said conventions and gatherings. If they are brave enough to be themselves at school, at work, or out in public, they will often find themselves ostracised by other members of society.
 
Let me be clear, we're not talking about people who simply wear the odd wrestling or Sci-Fi related t-shirt. I'm talking about people who will go out in their Star Trek uniform, their Jedi robes, or their Jeff Hardy stocking sleeves and facepaint.
 
At least online, what they look like doesn't matter. A responce to a post is a responce, a validation of whatever they have said. However strongly worded the reply, maybe they are just glad that the responce is directly related to the product they also love, and not a dismissive insult, a drink to the face, or any kind of physical reaction.
 
Perhaps we should all be nicer to fanboys. It may encourage them to actually come out of the shells they have created for themselves, and show us the real them. Or, at least, a realer them than they have shown before. After all, we're all wrestling fans here, and we all have our favourites who we'd get into an argument with protecting them. The challenge for fanboys has to be finding the balance between retaining that fandom without letting it override their entire existence.
Back to Top
Kondor View Drop Down
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
Avatar
Ticket Wars Founder

Joined: 02/June/2010
Location: Right here
Status: Offline
Points: 5996
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kondor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/March/2013 at 07:58
Originally posted by ihatethatmonkee ihatethatmonkee wrote:

The challenge for fanboys has to be finding the balance between retaining that fandom without letting it override their entire existence.

I have long thought that everyone has at least one thing that they are really into in their life. It could be any of the examples that you brought up, (Star Wars, Star Trek, wrestling); or it could be another sport, music, a love of history, a love of books or reading, the military, or any random thing such as a love of sailing; anything. But the key difference as you said is that some of these things can make a good profession; but other things, such as as you said with wrestling, it is a lot harder to make a career out of. And that largely determines how they are seen in society. A bookworm who digs himself into books for most of his time but has made a career as an author or a professor is likely to be looked upon as being somewhat esteemed. But one who spends hours in front of the TV watching wrestling or posting on the internet not so much. Sure, the argument can be made that the former is more useful to society than the latter; but both stem from passions nonetheless. 

However, I think that there are a few things to keep in mind.  #1, it's not that what you call fanboys need to keep their passions under control to avoid it overriding their entire existence; it's more so that in some cases what they are passionate about gives them life and defines their existence. Second, some of the most famous wrestlers out of the past several decades were fanboys who were obsessed with wrestling in their youth, such as Mick Foley, Edge, or Jeff Hardy. So there is the case where one of these "wrestling fanboys" actually pursues their dream and succeeds; and in some cases they are more apt to put their all into a match (their craft) and thus make it entertaining. To me these cases serve as an inspiration that people should go after what they want to do in life (and I'm not saying you didn't say that.) 

As for what I am, I have no idea. I grew up with wrestling posters on my wall, I have shelves of wrestling videos and DVDs, boxes of wrestling magazines and programs, other wrestling collectables, and I'm not afraid to wear a wrestling article of clothing around in public (in fact I've made friends that way.) As for how many hours of wrestling I watch per week, it depends. There is a lot. I try to catch either Raw or Smackdown and Impact (is it bad I still want to call Impact "Thunder"?) On Wednesdays I would like to watch Main Event; but I always have meetings and often miss it. Sometimes when I come home I am too exhausted to turn on the TV. Pay per views I try to see the important ones or the good ones. I'll watch old videos every now and then. And of course I get on TUP when I can. 






Thanks to Pac for the sig.
Back to Top
ihatethatmonkee View Drop Down
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
Avatar

Joined: 01/October/2009
Location: Birmingham, UK
Status: Offline
Points: 8460
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ihatethatmonkee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/March/2013 at 13:59
thank you, you've just reminded me i forgot to include Main Event in my list of prgramming...
 
i am, unashamedly, a geek. not so much a wrestling one, i put my love of Sci-Fi, fantasy and horror above my love of wrestling, but i wouldn't consider myself a fanboy of either. the examples you gave of fanboys who made it in wrestling as a career are more exceptions to the rule for me; there is simply not enough room for every fanboy, no matter how dedicated they may be, to make it in this business. to that list, you could add Jim Cornette, Bill Apter and others who didn't go for being an actual performer, but have made a career out of the industry some other way, but even then, while they may inspire people to try, the limited amount of promotions, publications and backstage positions means that the percentage of fanboys that may make it is much less than say the amount of people who go to college/university to study law and get a place at a solicitors/law firm.
 
i never said they need to control their passions; saying that and what i said about finding the balance are not the same thing. you can have a 40 hour a week job, that you love, then meet someone that you love equally. you then need to find the balance between work and your love life. when you have kids, you then need to find the balance between work, your love life, and your kids. your life can still be as full of the passion you have for your job, you do not have to sacrifice your love of your work, just simply find the level ground that allows you to indulge all your passions.
 
when i first signed on here, i had a house that was the pits, a partner who i did love, and a newborn daughter, and i was able to find that balance between everything i needed to do. i'd honestly never have gone away for any period of time if the laptop hadn't broken.
 
outside of wrestling fandom, i have managed to carry on friendships with those people i have met on Sci-Fi forums, got into shows that most others who were unable to find a balance have missed, build up quite a collection of DVDs and Blu-Rays, keep up to date on the music i love - though, admittedly, i still haven't been to see many of the acts i like live, and it's now been 6 years since i last went to a real gig - and all of this before me and my ex split.
 
it's not always easy to find that balance, but when you have it, you know you have it.
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 11.01
Copyright ©2001-2014 Web Wiz Ltd.

This page was generated in 0.297 seconds.