The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 49.0°F | Light Rain
Article Tools

Those who know me well will know that it is impossible for me to be only vaguely interested in something. The moment I get excited about anything; be it a video game, television show, movie, or music group; I go directly into “fanboy mode.” I become almost unhealthily obsessed, becoming as fervent a fan as is physically possible, short of getting logos tattooed on my face. I quote from film and television constantly. I annoy all of my friends, trying to convert them to whatever new cause I’ve adopted. I create relevant costumes for Halloween parties and, in a recent and potentially unsettling development, conventions.

What can I say? I like wearing red ties and domino masks. Luckily for me that double-sided tape isn’t as permanent as it advertises, and the pain of peeling off the top half of my face is worth it to achieve the right superhero effect.

Fanboyism is a state of irrational fervor and/or obsession of sufficient intensity to overwhelm objectivity and reason. Every comic book hero in existence is bound to have at least one such fan, even the underrated Aquaman, who people seem to forget is much more than just the Fish Whisperer. It takes guts to cut off his own hand (no sushi jokes, please) to save a life, and replacing it with a retractable hook is just awesome. So what if he’s weakened by dehydration? So is everybody else, except maybe the Human Torch. Green Lantern’s weakness is the color yellow, but he never seems to catch any flak for that.

Ahem… those who value political correctness may not care for the gender-specific term “fanboy,” but considering that it’s generally applied towards the whiny and illogical, I suppose it’s only fair. One’s initial inclination might be to assume that fanboyism is limited to the nerd and geek demographics, and although it is true that the word finds greatest use among we strange and peculiar folk, I’m prepared to wager that the phenomenon is universal, a fundament of human nature.

Clearly, the concept of the fanboy can’t be foreign to anyone who has had contact with the Internet in the past ten years or with other human beings in the past four hundred. 17th century Puritan oppression? Total fanboyism. Ninjas vs. Pirates? Fanboyism. N’Sync vs. Backstreet Boys? Fanboyism, and a bloody example of it, at that. Charlie Chaplin vs. Buster Keaton? Fanboyism. Politics? Ohh, boy.

I don’t think I could give any rational explanation for why I get so fixated. It isn’t as if I’m incapable of apathy or ambivalence. There are plenty of things I don’t care about, but virtually none that I only sort-of care about. Maybe some evil government laboratory cut up my brain and stripped my amygdala, leaving me emotionally unchecked, like a fictional character from yet another of my various obsessions. Perhaps I’m permanently cursed with the inability to merely dip my toes in new experiential puddles. It’s either a full-bodied, two-footed stomp, or avoiding getting my feet wet altogether. It is my gift. It is my curse… well, you know the rest.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some deck tweaking to do. I just picked up a new collectible card game a few weeks ago, and you know how I get about these things.