The Fanboy label is often thrown about the blogging world as if it were a Scarlet Letter. Movie critics say that film bloggers are nothing but a bunch of Fanboys, not really interested in serious criticism, but instead coveting and dissecting every morsel of information about movies like Cloverfield, Iron Man and Dark Knight. Even bloggers themselves use the word as an insult. One blogger commented that last year's Online Film Communities Top 100 Movies looked like "a list made up of a group of white Fanboys under the age of 30." I myself took offense to that comment because to me being called a Fanboy is like nails on the chalkboard. Plus I'm not 30. But I am white. Fish-belly white.
I took offense to it because it IS an insult or at least was meant to be. No one really walks around and proudly states that they are a Fanboy. Why? Because the word Fanboy is limiting. It says that you have no history. No context. It says that you don't really love film. You just love new. It says that you chew up the latest and greatest and then spit it out when there's something even more late and great. And say what you want about my taste in film or what I get excited about, but I'm not a Fanboy. Or at least I don't think so. But here I am getting all uppity about this word, this label, and I don't even know its formal definition. Is there even a formal definition for a word like Fanboy? Well, shows how much you guys know. There is. Mirriam-Webster has a definition and it goes like this:
a boy who is an enthusiastic devotee (as of comics or movies). It says that the first use of the word was in 1919.
Wikipedia has one as well and it goes like this:
Fanboy (sometimes spelled fanboi) is a term used to describe an individual who is devoted to a single subject in an emotional or fanatical manner, or to a single point of view within that subject, often to the point where it is considered an obsession.
In 1982, the term "Fanboy" became more mainstream when the word was featured on the cover of the "Official Underground and Newave Comix Price Guide". On the cover were some slovenly comic book geeks wearing t-shirts that read "Fanboys of America."
In 1990, the word caught fire even more as it was being used in popular music and science fiction circles as electronic entertainment became more popular. The term became used more in reference to computers and video game consoles.
Now the term is used to cover all sorts of obsessions from TV Shows to cars to even politics.
So now that I know the formal definition, I can once and for all decide if it applies to me. If I look specifically at Webster's definition, it only half applies. I am an enthusiastic devotee of movies, but I'm not a boy. But wait, I am somewhat immature at times. It's true that I am 37 years old, married with children and wear grown-up clothes sometimes with a tie. But I pride myself on being childlike with most everything.
If I look specifically at Wikipedia's definition, its even more confusing to me. It says that I can be "an individual who is devoted to a single subject in an emotional or fanatical manner." There is no reference to age and the emotional or fanatical manner is not limited just to movies. So under that definition, if I'm somewhat moved by certain things, that means I'm a Fanboy. I could be a Fanboy of classic movies. Or of Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn movies. Or movies made before 1998 but after 1953 that begin with the letters A, R, Q or Z. Suddenly the word Fanboy doesn't conjure up all these horrible images. Suddenly, Fanboy seems to apply to a lot of people, including me. Afterall, I'm a John Carpenter Fanboy. A Martin Scorsese Fanboy. A Brian DePalma Fanboy. A Frank Capra Fanboy. A pre-war Jean Renoir Fanboy. A Wes Anderson Fanboy. A horror Fanboy. A James Bond Fanboy. A Venture Brothers Fanboy. And while we're at it. I'm a soccer Fanboy. A baseball Fanboy. A Disney Fanboy. And the list goes on and on.
So there you have it. This should be the definitive post on what it takes to be a Fanboy. If you're wondering or not if you are a Fanboy, if you want to be a Fanboy, if you should be Fanboy, or what to do if you're approached by a group of Fanboys in a dark alley, then you've come to the right post. This should put any and all myths and theories comfortably in their beds for a good nights rest. I don't know about you, but I feel a little enlightened. So from here on out instead of saying "Screw Off, I'm No Fanboy" I'll be saying "Hellz Yeah, Where's The Next Fanboy Party Cuz I'm There And I'm Bringing Some Really Cool Appetizer That Everyone Will Be A Fanboy Of" or maybe something like that, but not as cumbersome, and with a tad more wit.
For the record, I wrote Fanboy 37 times. I guess I'm also a Fanboy of the word "Fanboy."