In reviewing my feeds this afternoon, I saw a headline that caught my eye: “Kevin Feige Finally Responds to Martin Scorsese”.
I must admit I rolled my eyes and sighed.
I’ve been meaning to write about pop culture and fandom and loving things for awhile now, and I guess there is no better time.
Scorsese has crafted many highly acclaimed films. Feige has helped to craft a universe of films that is only growing bigger. Scorsese criticized Feige’s films and thus we are here, inciting discussion and vitriol the world over.
The issue is larger than two filmmakers having words about the cinematic merit of the films they have had a part in bringing to the world.
This goes back to 2017 as many fans were incredibly vocal about their dislike of The Last Jedi. This itself was shades of 1999 when millions of fans were loudly disappointed in The Phantom Menace, the first Star Wars film since Return of the Jedi.
Perhaps this is much older than that. However, rather than divert into the history of culture critique, I’d rather make a simple point:
You are allowed, when it comes to pop culture, to love what you love and not love what you do not love.
Another person who isn’t into what you love does not threaten your enjoyment.
My words are not all that matter here, so I’d like to quote a few others that have insight into this discussion.
“I always tell people that conventions are so wonderful, because you’ll be surrounded by people who love the same things you love, the way you love them. But that’s not entirely correct. You’re also surrounded by people who love things you don’t even know about, but you love your respective things in the same way, so you get to love your thing enthusiastically, completely, unironically, without fear of judgement.
It’s not about what you love. it’s about how you love it.
There’s going to be a thing in your life that you love, and I don’t know what it’s going to be… It doesn’t matter what it is. The way you love it, and the way that you find other people who love it the way you do is what makes being a nerd being awesome.
Don’t ever let anybody tell you that that thing that you love, is a thing that you can’t love.
You find the things that you love, and you love them the most that you can.” – Wil Wheaton Star Trek
We all are going to love different things. We are different people, and what appeals to you may not appeal to me. I love Star Wars. I don’t really care for Final Fantasy. I love baseball. Basketball? Not so much.
“I personally think that everyone is a nerd. That’s kind of one of the things we’ve been trying to do…to me, “nerd” really just means passionate. You can be a sports nerd. You can be super into basketball. Well, guess what? You’re nerdy about basketball. You can be nerdy about cars. You can be nerdy about design. You can be nerdy about all kinds of different things.” – Zachary Levi Chuck, Shazam
Levi is right on. We are all nerdy about something. Doctor Who, engines, sports, Star Wars, crochet…whatever. That isn’t the important thing. What’s important is how you love it: with passion!
“Friendly reminder: we’re all here to have fun and talk about the stuff we love. Tempers can run high when we get passionate, but let’s all remember that at the end of the day, even when we disagree, we love stuff. That’s what makes us fans. Let’s try to be kind to one another.” – @letstalkgrayson on Twitter
We love stuff. We all do. So why not encourage each other in our lives, even if the what is different. I can encourage you to love basketball because I love baseball. I understand what it means to cheer on a team, to wear a jersey, to live and die by the scoreboard.
I can be excited hearing about how you enjoy Harry Potter and what House you are in, not because I am into Harry Potter, but because I know all about Star Wars and the Empire, the Jedi, the Wookiees and on and on.
And while we are here, it must be said: you do not own what you love. The creators do not owe you what you love. You can be disappointed in a thing you love, but don’t exercise that disappointment against those that create the thing.
That way leads to toxic fandom, in which some spew hate and negativity instead of encouragement and love. In which some seek to destroy what they loved and hinder others in their love. And that isn’t good for anyone.
Creators are simply doing their best to create what they would love to see in the world. Rian Johnson did not set out to create a controversial Star Wars film. Kevin Feige did not set out to create the best cinema of all time. They seek to entertain, to create, to play in a particular universe and add to it in a positive and unique way.
And that is ok.
I didn’t care for Spider-Man: Far From Home. I didn’t think it was perfect. But you know what? It doesn’t have to be.
“Stop expecting movies/TV to be perfect. Yes, sometimes you see a thing that checks all the boxes. But stop requiring that. Entertainment is meant to be entertaining, not solve all your issues.” – David Blue Stargate: Universe
When I go to see the latest Marvel film, or whatever, in my heart I simply want to be entertained. I want to escape my world and live in another for as long as it lasts. That is why I love pop culture to begin with. It gives me great stories to escape into. Anything else is just icing on the cake, and that is no lie.
Love what you love. Encourage others to enjoy what they enjoy. And don’t let it damage your calm if someone else has different tastes. It’s love that brings us together. Focus on that love.
And maybe, just maybe, we can make this a better world for all who live in it. This is our shared universe, so let’s make it the best we can.
So say we all!