From the mind of the Editor ...
Hey there Park Journey readers, hope you are all well on this fine late Spring day. It's been awhile since we've done any opinion pieces on the site, and really, we don't usually do them unless there is something that's really weighing on us. Today's topic is something I've been playing around with in my head for awhile but a few recent events have urged me to put finger to keyboard this morning.
Written by Gregg Condon
We're all fans of things. If you're reading this you're probably a fan of Roller Coasters, Theme Parks, Disney, Universal, Von Roll Sky Rides. Maybe you've followed us since day 1, maybe you're relatively new to Park Journey. Maybe you found us through a park update, a YouTube video, coverage of Star Wars Celebration, Halloween stuff. Maybe we even tweeted from the wrong twitter account while at a Hockey game once (it's totally happened) and you thought, "hey, these guys seem cool".
The point is, something you are a fan of brought you to this website, and that's pretty amazing. And we thank you for that. =)
But what happens when your "fandom" takes a turn into "fanatic" and you end up taking it to a whole other level? That's the kind of thing that's brought us here today.
Specifically, what's happening right now in Star Wars fandom.
Let's take a journey back, the year is 1977, I'm only 2 years old, most of you reading this are probably not even born yet (although, we do have a pretty awesome old bear audience ... you know who you are). A new science fiction movie is taking the world by storm.
But this wasn't just a sci-fi movie like 2001 or Flash Gordon, this one was different. And from this spawned an entire universe of toys, shows, movies, books, comics, conventions, theme park rides, theme park lands and millions (billions) of fans.
So many fans that there is apparently a group of fans that feel they "own" Star Wars and if there is something they don't like they feel it is their mission to basically shit on the franchise, and on anybody who doesn't see things their way.
Look, it's ok to be a fan. Even to be fanatic about something. But when your fanaticism begins to impact the enjoyment of others who enjoy the same thing, something is very, VERY wrong.
And as we all know, this isn't just a problem in Star Wars fandom. We see it all the time with actual fights at sporting events. The DisneyTwitter hashtag isn't used as a term of endearment as it should be. There are factions of theme park fans.
Why? Isn't this supposed to be fun? Isn't something that brings joy to billions of people whether it be a movie, a ride, a theme park or a sport be something we should all embrace? If you don't like it, fine. You are totally free to state your opinion.
But sadly, sometimes not liking something turns ugly. As recently the amazing Kelly Marie Tran has had to delete her Instagram account. Not only was there a group of people who were so vitriolic about their hatred of The Last Jedi, it even went to the level of attacking Kelly's race and heritage.
This is when I look at my own fandom of something and wonder how I can love something so much that people with such hate apparently "love" too?
Personally, I'd love to sit down with Kelly Marie Tran, George Lucas, Mark Hamill, Ron Howard, Rian Johnson, JJ Abrams and tell them how much Star Wars means to me. How many rough times in my life the series got me through. How I put the movies on when I'm sick because I can close my eyes, listen to the movie and still see it as I'm watching.
How when I have family tragedy and I need a break I can put on any one of 10 movies and be instantly transported to another galaxy and have a respite.
How I wish I could sit with Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen and let them know that there were people who enjoyed the movies they were in. That the hatred that turned them both away from movies is not the way every fan feels.
But sadly, often times the loudest voices are the most angry.
In a world that's so filled with ugly politics and ugly war and ugliness in the way we treat each other, we should be looking to things like Star Wars, or Disney, or whatever makes you happy as our escape from these things.
The things we love shouldn't be a part of the bad of this world, the things we love should a part of the good of this world. And we should all remember that the good in this world FAR outweighs the bad.
Be good humans ...