Remember around the time the last Twilight movie came out, when everybody was all "Team Jacob or Team Edward?"
I wanted to get a T-shirt that said "Team Jacob" on it. I'm not a fan of Twilight. In fact, I have never read any of the books nor seen any of the movies, so it would be irresponsible of me to say anything for or against it. My idea was that I would wait ten years and, once nobody cared about Twilight, I would only then start wearing the shirt ironically.
I have had to discard that plan, however, in light of developments in this season of Lost. You see, there is a character on Lost named Jacob, who embodies one of two sides on that show. I don't follow the Lost fandom enough to know if anyone else has made this connection, but I fear that, even ten years from now, someone might see me wearing the shirt and correctly guess that I was a fan of Lost (and obviously not Twilight), but then incorrectly surmise that I was making some cute joke. The over-imagined future scenario continues with me slapping this person for getting the non-joke, then slapping myself for inadvertently making it.
I'm not ashamed to call myself a fan of Lost. Rather, I regularly feel shame for being enthusiastic about anything. That's what society has done to me, though perhaps not directly. When I hear people obsess over Twilight, I cannot help but cringe at the pathetic display of fanaticism over something fictional that I do not understand. I think, almost as bad as making the cute jokes is being "that guy," and so I promise myself that I'll never care that much about anything. The rational part of me bestowed with perspective, however, reaches for a mirror. What if I already am that guy?
One of the greatest dangers of being a fan of anything is that you risk exposure to fellow fans. Even if you are not fans of the same thing, the more another person cares, the less you want to recognize of yourself in their useless passion.
You might look over this blog and wonder, "But Henry, you readily admit to liking all manner of shameful stuff, so how can you be suffering from these feelings?"
Well, it takes a strong sense of self, a confidence in one's own ego, to overcome what is an unavoidable stage--but merely a stage--in becoming invested in any fiction. Some who can't make it to that peace might instead respond to these feelings by lashing out at the property and mocking its fans (especially if you yourself liked that thing prior to meeting other fans). Others might try to passive-aggressively ignore it, maybe by whistling loudly to themselves--a "two birds with one stone" approach that protects you from having to acknowledge it, while annoying the people who do care, so that they too are unable to enjoy it. Me, I still come up against these feelings every time I start talking about what I like, but I guess eventually I just like what I like.
Anyway, the Lost finale is tonight, and that is how I intend to spend my evening. You don't have to like it, but as Liz Lemon says, know to just shut your mouth when I'm watching.