what your favorite franchise says about you
I had something different planned for today but decided to go with something lighter.
It’s sometimes a dark world out there, especially lately, so, uh, I wrote something else. Especially because I’m prone to lean into dark things. But, you know, sometimes it’s nice to just be jolly.
A few things:
I broke my third toe, which means only seven left.
Mounting a TV sucks! This is related to my toe.
Had a story come out this weekend. Wrote it in 2013 or thereabouts. It’s about death and art, like everything. Click this link.
I also have some other stuff to announce soonishly.
Watch F is for Fake if you never have before. Watch it especially if you have seen it before. This may be important in a few weeks or months.
What your favorite movie franchise says about you
You dreamed a dream once. You dreamt it so hard that it became solid, draped itself over your whole life. You believed in that dream more than anything else, even when the new dreams seemed designed to tarnish that first dream.
You believe still, though the years have been unkind and only getting unkinder. You’re too far gone now. You’ve dressed your children in the dream, showed them that old dream to make them believe in it too.
But you can never go back. Your dream is still there, beautiful and bold, but the weight of each subsequent dream has tarnished your love.
You may grow bitter as you grow old. Because you grew old. Because you outgrew the dream, watched others take ownership of it, and now you hate those who love that old dream.
But remember: the dream is not a company. It’s not a franchise. It’s a moment in time when you were young and all your life lay ahead of you and you believed that a boy from nowhere could actually be a man from somewhere, that honor and love and friendship would be enough.
You liked math and science growing up but weren’t good enough at either to do much of anything with them. You leaned into media that made you feel special for being a dork. You wore that media like an identity.
The moment you say you love Star Trek, everyone knows exactly which series is your favorite just by glancing at you, even though everyone knows which series is actually the best.
You hate JJ Abrams even more than Star Wars fans. Unlike Star Wars fans, though, your love of Star Trek led you past Gene Roddenberry’s borders. For one thing, you’ve read books outside of this specific franchise.
You maybe haven’t even tried watching any of the new Star Trek series because you understand and know that that series you love more than the other ones is still there in all its glory.
You’re a nihilist. A boring one.
Your mind erupted in 1999 and you never looked back. You sought mindbending media, which led you to movies like Primer and Solaris and maybe, if you’re lucky, Jean Cocteau. You started reading Neal Stephenson and William Gibson because someone offhandedly described The Matrix as cyberpunk. You discovered John Woo and Hong Kong and the perfection of fight choreography that American movies have still never figured out.
For a moment, you were really into leather and maybe even tried going to a rave one time, but it ended awkwardly with you hyperventilating on drugs some guy wearing goggles handed you.
Alternatively, you didn’t understand the movie you watched with your own dumb eyes and now you keep bringing up George Soros for totally normal reasons.
Lord of the Rings
You tell yourself that you’ll leave the city someday. And, no, you won’t move to the suburbs. You’ll move farther out. Get some land. Live out in the country and live a life of simplicity.
You never truly grew up in that you never lost your imagination.
You still cry when you think of Sam and being so far from home. You definitely own the Extended Edition but also know that the Theatrical Version is the best version of The Fellowship of the Rings.
You are the purest, most beautiful kind of fool. You love giant monsters, but even more than that, you love stories that are just so bonkersly thrown together that they don’t even try to make sense.
You prefer practical effects in your movies, even when it looks kind of bad. Or rather, you love it because it looks bad. Stupid. It’s why Doctor Who makes you shriek with laughter but also makes you cry when you think of Rose and the Doctor separated by the thinnest membrane of universes.
Also, you screamed like a maniac through half of Pacific Rim and got into at least one loud fight about its quality while you were drunk.
When you first picked up the book, you were Harry’s age. When the first movie came out, you were also still Harry’s age. Every time a new movie came out, you were always Harry’s age. Every time you watch it, no matter how often, you’re Harry’s age.
You’re still Harry’s age. That Harry trapped in time, making you permanently an adolescent who never understood anything about the life you keep living.
In recent years, you’ve watched all that was once beautiful decay and wither in your little corner of the broader spectrum of freaks defined by the umbrella FANDOM.
And I want to tell you that the series has always had a troubling view of agency and democracy, and when you say that politicians are like Dumbledore or Snape, you’re probably not understanding what that analogy really says about these politicians that you presumably think of as The Good Guys.
But every year, you watch these movies again. They cover you like a blanket. And you are forever a child under the stairs dreaming of magic.
I don’t know, man. You’re probably real weird.
This is your favorite franchise? You like this? What happened to you, huh? What happened in your life to make you enjoy watching people get tortured? Did 9/11 colonize the American mind? Are we forever caught up in the brutality of the real world? Are we so captured by violence that even the worlds we invent are brutal and cold and deranged?
I mean, like whatever you want. But even you know you’re a bit fucked up. And not in a fun way.
You are perfect.