punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Revelation: The fannish laugh

For years I have been studying fans and fannish people, as indicated by all those panels I keep holding or attending. The sci-fi and anime community are an oddball lot, and I have to admit, a few of them I can barely tolerate (luckily, there are only a few, and they stand out because, well, most of fandom is pretty fuckin’ cool in comparison). One of the “annoying” ticks of some of fandom is this weird thing where they laugh at their own stories as they are telling it. I couldn’t pinpoint why this bothered me, and since I do laugh at some of my own stories, especially where I have been the fool, how does that make MY laughing any different? It bothered me because I felt it made me into a hypocrite. But somehow it *felt* different when I did it, and I’d sometimes listen to non-annoying friends to try and hash out why when THEY laughed at their own stories, how this was different.

I hit upon a key today during a very boring moment waiting in line for the restroom (why this moment? why not?). The KEY difference is how the storyteller perceives themselves. When most people tell a story where they laugh at the situation they are involved in, they usually laugh at themselves in a humble manner, like “Ha ha, so there I was, at the DMV, and getting all pissed off for silly reasons I am sure you could relate to. Hee.” Some fannish people laugh at the situation as a stark contrast to themselves, like “Ha ha, so there I was at the DMV, pissed off people people don’t know how important my needs are. I’m important! How ridiculous they don’t know that! Thuh...” The key difference, I feel, is how serious you are about yourself. So those that laugh at themselves seem more personable and sociably comfortable than those who laugh at others.

So in essence, they are not laughing at themselves, they are laughing at the others who did not take them seriously. Their humor comes from conflict they have with others who don’t understand them, not humor at how they didn’t relate with others. You also see this manifest when these people complain how stupid others are. This difference can really show in how some of these people are unable to cope with stress.

Maybe this was already common knowledge, but *I* sure feel better about this revelation.
Tags: fandom, laugh
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