Saturday, January 20, 2018

The No True Fan Fallacy or #NotAllFans

As social media continues to grow and develop, it's become harder and harder for fandoms to keep their bullshit under wraps (not that it seems like they're particularly committed to trying). However, it almost seems like it's a game of oneupsmanship sometimes with rival fandoms practically challenging each other to do more and more over the top shit to their faves in the name of TRU FANDOM. After all, how are you going to say you love oppa the most if you don't shave your head, dress like a boy, barge your way into the men's restroom, take a pic with your oppas on the shitter, and then post it to the internet with your custom watermark as proof?? How can you really say you're a fan of your oppas if you're not willing to write them a letter with your menstrual blood and post the bloody pad inkwell as proof??

Morally Outraged Hipster Seohyun takes offense to any accusations that she is no REAL fan.
It's become all too common for fellow fans to dismiss such individuals as "lone wolves" who "don't represent the fandom as a whole" or have "mental illnesses" (Rhetoric sound familiar? It's pretty much the same as the rhetoric used to dismiss white domestic terrorists, but we won't get into that here.) as if to distance themselves from association with said people. Do you know what the MOST absolutely bullshit reason to use in this situation is though?
"Well, that's not a REAL fan."                         
                 -President of the REAL Fan Fanclub of X-Group 
To begin dissecting why that's just hilarious bullshit, you need to know a few things about logical fallacies, specifically, the No True Scotsman.

From the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, we get the following:
a kind of Ad Hoc Rescue of one's generalization in which the reasoner re-characterizes the situation solely in order to escape refutation of the generalization
In layman's terms, it's basically just changing the parameters of your original statement to make sure your statement is still true. For example:
Fan  A: "ARMY is the best behaved fandom ever!!"
Random Observer B: "Didn't some BTS fans make the news the other day for rowdy behavior and disorderly conduct at a concert?
A: "Those girls weren't REAL ARMY/ARMYs/ARMIES/whateverthehellthepluralis!!"
Fan C: "Man, VIPs are so great at respecting our oppas' privacy and personal space!"
Random Observer D: "Hey, didn't TOP put y'all on blast on Instagram for saesaengs ringing his damn doorbell every night, all night long?" 
C: "Those must have been antis because everyone knows no TRUE VIP would do that kinda thing." 
It's an easy thing to move the goalposts and deflect from any criticism by ostensibly distancing oneself from anything offensive or reflecting poorly on the group. Some SONE(s) get caught on camera surrounding and practically inserting themselves into unnie's personal space for e x c l u s i v e footage/selcas? NO TRUE SONE WOULD DO THAT. Oppa's hands get torn the fuck up because fans are getting too touchyfeely? NO TRUE FAN WOULD DO THAT. When "big" events like this happen, the fandom police (aka some random fan/fans who self-proclaims themselves to represent the fandom as a whole) usually get off their metaphorical asses and start crafting narratives/pictures/appeals to the fandom at large to get their shit together.

As you can see, it's all just pointless posturing, revisionism, or even delusion just to keep up a pretense of a "good fandom image." For what though? Bragging rights? Some kind of moral superiority? It's probably just a deep seated primal instinct for humans to be part of something bigger. It's a herd mentality for sure. For a lot of the people who find themselves part of this niche (and yes, KPop is definitely still niche despite all the efforts of Korea and pressed fans to make it otherwise) subculture, they fit the typical archetype of someone who lets fan culture completely take over their identity:
  • young, insecure, or otherwise in the process of developing their own identity
  • self-esteem issues
  • highly emotional
  • introverted
  • hormonal
  • possesses a lot of free time
  • access to disposable income (whether self-earned or parental or otherwise)
If that sounds like your typical teenager, then wow! It's amazing how that overlaps. No one has ever made that connection before in the history of sociological study and development. 

These people have completely become mentally, emotionally, and often literally heavily invested in their fandom. Oftentimes, fandom is a form of escapism from their shitty personal lives or any perceived problems they may have in real life. Any attack on their fandom automatically becomes a personal attack. The kneejerk reaction to any personal attack? Defend yourself by all means. By extension, defend the herd by all means.

If someone doesn't like something you like, it's a personal indictment of your own taste in music and your own taste in music CAN'T POSSIBLY BE WRONG OR CRITICIZED EVER. Oppa can't be a bad singer because you think he's actually quite good and YOU HAVE FLAWLESS MUSICAL PITCH AND WHO DO THESE HATERS THINK THEY ARE, SOME KIND OF VOCAL EXPERT OR SOMETHING?  Those dance moves are totally original and awe-inspiring because oppa spent OVER 1000000 HOURS SLAVING AWAY AT DESIGNING THE CHOREO AND PRACTICING IT OVER AND OVER, I BET YOU COULDN'T DO THOSE MOVES YOURSELF?

It's the human sociological equivalent of elephants circling their young to fend off predators.

Pictured: EXO-Ls huddling together to fend off angry haters, colorized.
How many times have you seen something as simple as  "Man, I don't really like X-Group's latest song," escalate into a full-blown coordinated assassination of your mentions and inbox with slander like "Why can't you leave us alone" or "Why are your words so hurftul to me" or "Haha laugh the sadness of this deep personal attack on my interests away xD."

Again, if any of this sounds familiar to you and/or the first thing you think is, "Hey, #NOTALLFANS act like that!!" you're already in too deep. If you let other people's opinions on shit you like affect you in anyway, you're in too deep. If you need to make excuses for other internet strangers' behavior to avoid having those other internet strangers' behavior to not reflect poorly on yourself, you're in too deep. If you feel personally attacked by the meaningless interaction of highly upvoted/retweeted/liked oppositional (OPPAsitional hehe) commentary that differs from your own, you're in too deep.

ATTENTION. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with
fandumb, you may to be entitled to financial compensation.
So why does this all matter? Why should we care so much when a defensive fandom starts their NO TRUE FAN or #NOTALLFANS bullshit? Much like the #notallmen meme (and we're definitely not getting deep into that), it's problematic because:

  1. It immediately derails the conversation. How many times has a discussion on why fandoms are shitty get completely blown off track because it devolves into a series of cherrypicked examples of shittiness vs non-shittiness? It's not about the quiet nobodies who keep their head down and play music videos on Youtube a few times a day, it's about the insane people in the fandom who are consistently coming up in the news for bad behavior.
  2. It is not helpful at all. Obviously we know that the entire fandom is not LITERALLY all insane, delusional, and irrational individuals with deep-seated issues. Anyone with a brain and enough patience could probably find at least one person who's fairly normal and likes the group.
Instead of people identifying the bullshit and rightfully calling it out for what it is, we get stuck with these pointless fanwars and mounting escalations. No one gets to enjoy the groups when public appearances are cancelled due to bomb threats or when the security around idols get so paranoid they punch first and ask questions later.

However, I personally think the reason why this is all so pointless and stupid is because of one simple fact: The idols themselves have no way of knowing what kind of fan you are from a glance. You could be the most innocent, nice, sweet, unassuming person who is super respectful to your oppas, but no one could know for sure even if you wore a hat declaring the fact on your head. All these idols know about fans come from their personal interactions with them in person and online. When you're constantly bombarded in LITERALLY all 5 senses with obnoxious fans being extra, it's a little hard to stay unprejudiced against someone coming up to you out of nowhere. You don't know whether they just want to say hi, ask for a picture, or suddenly hug you and snip your hair for keepsakes. Idols quickly get jaded, numb, or even scared of their own fans when they have a history of bullshit shenanigans.

EXO Kyungsoo literally spooked by fans.
No amount of fandom policing or posturing can fix that.


  1. I will forever generalize ARMYs because they are all fucking nuts.

    1. I know this is a generalisation too, but I feel like 90% of crazy western fans are female.

  2. Honestly, it all boils down to your behavior as a person. A fanbase is still full of individuals.


  3. for meme purposes, I give you Hipster Nayeon:


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