abandoned, atlas shrugged, ayn rand, blue ranger, dagny, david yost, domonique, fandoms, fountainhead, howard roark, john galt, kelfki, left, might morphin power rangers, objectivism, pokemon, pokerap, power rangers, TFW, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Top 5 Wednesday
Before I get thigh-deep in this Top 5 Wednesday, I want to note that I still like most of these things. I just don’t love them the way I used to. I’m still a fan, I’m just not a passionate member of the fandom. Does that make sense? Well, whatever. Onward!
This movie is the whole reason I wrote the caveat at the top of this post; I still love it. Jack and Sally’s love still makes me cry. And I still think the stop-motion animation is stunning and impressive. But when I was in high school I listened to the soundtrack pretty much every day. I hummed Oogie Boogie’s song while getting ready for school or peeing at a public urinal. I owned essentially the entirety of the Nightmare Before Christmas swag sold at Hot Topic. I spent hours planning out a stage version (and hours more sketching the costumes and planning the stage magic).
But since then, I’ve gotten a little burnt out on Tim Burton’s style. His point of view, which at one point felt so fresh and new, has had an effect on the society around it. Antiheroes, dark and creepy imagery and re-imagined twists on traditional fairy and folk tales are all super common today. But Burton’s art direction didn’t evolve after it catalyzed, which means that his work now feels stale. I mean, did you see Alice in Wonderland or Corpse Bride? Meh.
My very first viewing of RHPS was interrupted only thirty minutes in: my mom came home. Horrified, she shut off the VCR. Granted, I was only ten. But that thirty minutes was enough to open my eyes to the beautiful freaks all around me and make me part of this fandom for years. RHPS has never been about sexuality, as such, for me. It is about difference, odd beauty, and weird obsession. And I love it for that. Plus, obviously, there are queer characters. And memorable performances. Well, actually…everything about this movie is perfect for me.
But I’m not in the fandom anymore because I made the mistake of attending a midnight viewing in college. The local movie theater that was putting it on did it once a month, I think, and it was a big event for a certain subset of students at my school (theater kids, gender rebels, weirdos: my people). I got in drag and took a few shots of very cheap gin with my friends, excited to finally experience the freedom and weirdness that the movie promised me exists all around me in the world.
But, even before the movie started, I started to feel uncomfortable. The men who worked the theatre (they were all men, at least that night) were handsy, beardy and douchey. They weren’t frat boy douches. They were mouth-breathing, World of Warcraft douches. They ignored me (even though I looked amazing!!?) but were gross with all my female friends. When they brought everyone up for the virgin hazing right before the move began, they had the boys “do a funny dance” that lasted two seconds, while the girls all went through a long sexualized ritual involving balloons and spanking and lipstick drawing.
I guess what I’m saying is that the midnight viewing I attended took all the queer freedom out of the fandom and replaced it with gross sexually-frustrated boy-ness. Which is all well and good, but if those guys can so easily and naturally co-opt Rocky Horror Picture Show, I’d just as soon watch it at home and pretend they’re not part of the fandom at all.
Do you know why I’m no longer in the Power Rangers fandom?
They believed he couldn’t be a superhero because he is gay.
They called him a fag. Even more humiliating, they pulled his costars into private meetings to question them about his sexuality. After he left the show (mid-season), he attempted gay conversion therapy, which of course did not work. The failed conversion therapy led to a nervous breakdown and five weeks in a mental institution.This makes me so sad and leaves the worst of bad tastes in my mouth. I refuse to support this franchise in any way, even though I know it’s possible that the creatives have evolved since then.
I spent untold hours playing Power Rangers as a kid. I usually pretended to be the Red Ranger. I was so naive and sweet then. I didn’t realize that someone like me wouldn’t be accepted as a Power Ranger, or as a superhero, or even as an actor on the set.
I used to tell friends I was busy after elementary school so I could run home and watch Pokemon. Well, I guess some things never change – I’m still a misanthropic loser nerd.
But I cannot handle 802 separate Pokemon. I mean really. There was a time when I (and all my friends) could sing the Pokerap apropos of nothing. Trying to sing the equivalent today is a recipe for madness.
Also, this asshole exists now:
Y’all: I’m done.
Okay. Okay. Okay. Don’t judge me. Riddle me this, first: how many of Ayn Rand’s books have you read? I’m not getting defensive. I’m just really asking. Because I’ve noticed that most the people who convulsively roll their eyes at Ayn Rand haven’t actually finished any of her books.
Not that I’ve read them all! I enjoy her fiction (Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, Anthem, We the Living, in that order). But her works of philosophy are too dense for me. I will say that her biographical works and collected letters/etc., are pretty fascinating because Rand straddled Russia and America, philosopher and cult leader, future and past, free-thinker and social conservative.
Anyway, I used to really buy into Rand’s ideas. I’ve seen the weak, simply by force of numbers, destroy the strong, talented and brilliant. I know it’s possible and I believe it’s evil, so one of the main tenets of Rand’s Objectivism rings very true. Plus, Rand consistently penned productive and creative genius-heroes who shoulder almost unimaginable responsibility and battle with crystalline resolve the cumulative disapproval of society. I find each of them extremely inspiring.
Ooooh and the villains are SO villainous and icky and horrible. If you know who Ellsworth Toohey is, you know what I’m talking about. YUCK ICK.
But yeah, I always skip the long speeches and diatribes too. And no, I don’t believe that charity is evil (though, to be fair, Rand didn’t believe that either and her characters are actually hugely charitable…ask me why!). And no, I’m not socially conservative (Rand was really homophobic, which is something I just have to accept and forgive). I’ve realized since first joining her fandom that her portraits of good and evil are too neat and that her philosophy is seductive but overreaching. Sometimes her works border on propaganda. They enchant you.
So yeah: I’m not in the fandom anymore. But I still reread Ayn Rand’s books every few years. Eddie Willers, Dagny Taggart, John Galt and Howard Roark people my imagination. I wanted to be Domonique Francon when I was 19. And I’ve had a sex dream about Francisco d’Anconia. But who hasn’t!?