Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Fandom ponies up

From the vaults:
[Fandom] is well on the way to deserving as much societal respect as any organised religion - perhaps a tad more, since the dudes in the wookie costumes seem to have a rather firmer grasp of the difference between reality and fantasy than  the ones in cassocks and stoles ...

... If I wanted to play God's advocate for a moment, there is one thing that organised religions have* that gives them an edge over fandom - the collection plate. That is one positive aspect of the faith business - giving to good causes. It might not be the best way of helping others - 'Religion is a very inefficient route to charitable giving (imagine a charity with 90% overhead)' - but I reckon that it's only the lack of a modest bit of social philanthropy that stands in the way of Trekkies and Twilight fans seizing the moral and intellectual high ground from the clerics of various faiths.
There's a long history of media fandoms organizing fundraising campaigns, donating blood, and doing other charitable activities. However, even large and well-established groups such as Trekkies/ers and Star Wars fans usually work with established non-fannish charities like the Red Cross or Toys for Tots. Some may see them as a plague on the Internet, the Brony community has taken their charitable endeavors to the next level by going to the trouble of creating a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity. The Brony Thank You Fund received word from the IRS last week that, after nearly a year of work, they had been granted tax-exempt status. The Fund is currently raising donations to endow a permanent animation scholarship at CalArts, and is the same group that made news last year when they became the first fan group to purchase commercial time on national TV, for a 30 second spot praising My Little Pony and encouraging donations to Toys for Tots.
Slashdot, via

It is an omen. The age of religious exceptionalism is coming to an end. Behold the Four Ponies of the Apocalypse!

*typo/grammatical blooper in my original post corrected.