It’s turning into a rough week for fanboys. Simon Pegg worried about the “dumbing down” of culture thanks to the obsessive seriousness with which comic book movies and the like are treated (he also expanded more eloquently on those thoughts later). And now, a longtime target of fanboy rage, Damon Lindelof, is arguing that the community has become so cynical — which he sees as some kind of cred traded among geeks — they won’t be able to actually admit they enjoyed his upcoming “Tomorrowland” (read our review).
“There’s this great thing in all of us where we want to hope, we want to believe. But then what happens? We saw that hope with Obama’s first election … and then, with the second election, the cynicism sets in. We all want to be activated, but…it’s so easy to default back to cynicism,” he explained to Vulture. “Which isn’t to say that you have to love everything — obviously, we have to open ourselves up to some level of criticism. But when we all took this on, people were saying, ‘You can’t make an original movie anymore, and you certainly can’t make an interesting Disney movie. If you make a Disney movie named Tomorrowland, it’s gotta have Space Mountain, and you basically have to sell tickets to the amusement park.’ ”
“Now, I don’t want to start a war, but as a self-identified fanboy, I think that with this movie, it’s gonna be really hard for fanboys to say, ‘I really enjoyed this movie. It made me feel good,’ ” Lindelof continued. “God forbid you tweeted something like that! What would happen to you? You’d lose your readership! ‘You sold out!’ “
And “Tomorrowland” star George Clooney agrees with Lindelof that the trend of being mean has taken hold. “Listen, we’re at sort of a cynical time in society,” he said. “Don’t ever read comments on anything! People can live anonymously, and I honestly think that when they were talking about freedom of speech in 1787, the theory was that you had to own your speech. It had to belong to you, and you actually had to take some responsibility for it. Now you can just sit alone and say horrible things, and it becomes fashionable to be shitty to people.”
It’s perhaps easy to understand Lindelof’s own cynicism, given that he probably saw the worst of fanboy culture when he was on Twitter. But that said, it should be noted that geeks and fans are the first to champion something, very loudly, when they see something they like (see the frothing adoration for “Mad Max: Fury Road”). But what do you think? Is the culture so caught up in finding fault they can’t dare to recognize something of value? Let us know below. “Tomorrowland” arrives on Friday.