Famous people will often stand by — or worse, dogwhistle — as armies of fans wage war on their behalf. Whether you’re a pop star or a tech bro, it’s part of the playbook. But when Everything Everywhere All At Once co-director Daniel Kwan got wind his fans were raging against critics who snubbed the film in Best Movie lists, he decided he wasn’t going to stand for that.
In case you can’t quite make it out, here’s what Kwan’s image macro says:
Be kind, especially when you see a critic or publication exclude your favorite movie from their ‘best of year’ list and it feels like a personal attack on your identity and you really feel the need to knock down others in a moment of weakness, even though you know better than that
It’s the whole package: he acknowledges why his fans might be doing this, respects their identity, empathizes with their good intentions, and treats them as smart individuals who know better — while still drawing a clear line in the sand.
Fans shape the world now, partly because commenting on culture is creating culture, and partly because there are ridiculous stacks of cash waiting for anyone that can successfully harness the forces of nostalgia and identity to create hit products like modern Marvel and Star Wars. You’ve gotta hire fans to satisfy fans.
But fandom can also get pretty toxic pretty quickly if left unchecked — and even if famous folks aren’t counting on that toxicity to satisfy their desires, a lot of them don’t bother to own it and stop it from getting out of hand.
Clearly, there’s a better way.