Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Recently I linked to a Digby post, where he reported on a 5 year study on Fundamentalism. The neat kicker to this little thrill ride is that the researchers surmised that there isn't Islamic Funadamentalism, and then Christian Fundamentalism, etc., etc. There's just one, universal fundamentalist model, which is co-opted by various agendas. Like, a D20 system of intolerance.

(The excellent book I'm currently reading, Fundamentalist World by Stuart Sim, analyzes the rise of fundamentalism in various social aspects. It's a bit more about the "how" of fundamentalism than the "what makes it tick", but also worth your time.)

The (allegedly) universal agenda of fundamentalism consists of:
  1. Men are dominant, rule the joint and make the rules.
  2. All rules must apply to all people, no pluralism.
  3. The rules must be precisely communicated to the next generation.
  4. "they spurn the modern, and want to return to a nostalgic vision of a golden age that never really existed." (spiffy fascism/fundamentalism parallel made here)
  5. Fundamentalists deny history in a "radical and idiosyncratic way."
Here's where we get to the fun part of this whole blogging business. One of our new pals, 1031, noticed my completely unintentional mix of this link and the TRANSFORMERS riff. He jokingly asked if the 5 rules applied to genre fans ...

Holy smoking crap.

1.) Men dominate. -- Well, duh. Sure, there are more geek girls out there now than there used to be -- primarily because of Legolas' non-threatening sexuality, by the way. He's the boy-band of medieval fantasy heroism. Still, it's generally a strutting, macho joint in the hardcore fan bases.

2.) All rules must apply to all people, no pluralism -- we've all seen hundreds of these posts: "Anyone who doesn't agree with me that Kirk/Picard/Sisko was the best captain, is an IDIOT and ISN'T A REAL STAR TREK FAN!"

3.) The rules must be precisely communicated about the Next Generation -- Well, how much more specific ... wait ... oh, sorry. "to the next generation." Again, easy. How many "these are the great writers/books" retrospectives do Marvel and DC alone crank out in a year? Never mind the sci-fi "Seasons One through Four are great, Season Five is crap, Season Six has it's moments ..." conversations at each con.

4.) "they spurn the modern, and want to return to a nostalgic vision of a golden age that never really existed." Such the softball. Go back, reread the soul-shattering genius of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Seriously. Try. It's like a spastic chimp hitting my pineal gland with a sockful of pennies.

5.) Fundamentalists deny history in a "radical and idiosyncratic way." -- "I'm looking forward to Episode Three."

Game, set, match.

All this allows me, in my quest for buzzwords, to create a new one: Fandamentalists.

" ... (noun, pl.); fans who violently believe the only valid interpretation of any entertainment source is a dogmatic adherence to their favorite version of that source. Any change to the smallest detail is inherently unacceptable (see also "heresy") and met with frantic scorn. See also Hal Jordan and Klingons, bumpy vs, smooth.

Thanks for your attention. Sometime this week, I'll clarify what I meant by 4th Generation Media. And those words aren't strung together at random because they sound cool; I'm quite specifically pulling ideas from this paper and applying them to modern entertainment.


  1. I wasn't jokingly asking about the genre fundamentalists. I was serious. Those people scare me sometimes. :)

    I like Fandamentalist. Good word. I'll have to stick that up on my site once I get home from work. I shoulda thought of that one.

  2. Anonymous2:38 PM

    I like this term "Fandamentalism". It seems like it would be applicable in many different cases.

    In your search for buzzwords, I'm sure you'll end up coining "flogic" (flawed logic, but not 'flawgic', because that's just ugly). Anyway, I coined that term, feel free to use it if you like it.

  3. Anonymous2:46 PM


    You really need to do something about these purists. They're always yelling about everything that the movie has to do. In the past, they'd keep it to themselves, now they're orders are not just 'mental lists'. It seems like Transfandom has a whole new meaning, and the combination of it with the expectations have formed super Transfandamentalists.

    I tried to be too clever.

  4. Anonymous1:47 PM

    As a comics fan, *and* a girl, *and* someone who likes both Jason Todd *and* the post-ZH Legion... well, you're not wrong. I spend more time bickering with Marvel-obsessed, Wolverine-venerating lunkheads than any sane person should.

  5. Anonymous11:35 AM

    You sir have no idea what you're talking about. Your ideas lack coherence and substance.

    Especially the movie theatre post. People don't go to movies because it makes their pockets bleed.

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