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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Fandom As Movement?

1 comment:

AndrewSshi said...

A lot of this I think comes down to some genuine weaknesses of what passes for a left in America. There's a sense that the One Big Moment will change everything--and the inevitable disappointment that follows. And it's a bit disturbing because in many ways it tends to cult of personality. So in 2008, lots of people tricked themselves into believing that Obama was an anti-interventionist social democrat (by studiously avoiding reading any of his platform), while Mark Morford was saying that he was a Light Worker. People swooned at his speeches, and at his election, people rejoiced that they were going to Change America for good. And then, he turned out to be a bog-standard Democrat, everyone lost interest or got all huffy, and the GOP rode to power in a historic wave election in 2010.

And honestly, even without the cult of personality/fandom, there's still a sense that really, you need to have a big march and that'll change things. My suspicion of why this belief persists and thus leads to disappointment is that a lot of lefties have internalized the American myth of Vietnam that Hippies Stopped the War. And because they don't realize that the withdrawal from Vietnam was the rational decision made by a bunch of middle-aged guys with Byrlcreem, they figure that The Hippies did it with their protests. (Boomer self-aggrandizement and right-wing ressentiment together feed into this faulty historical memory.)

But the combination of believing that a Man of Destiny or one-time spectacle can change things means that there's a constant disappointment and befuddlement as to why Team R (which does the boring, unsexy legwork of building local organizations throughout the country) constantly punches above its weight.