Famous people will often watch — or worse, dog whistle — 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 at once co-director Daniel Kwan got wind to be fans were outraged at critics disapproving the movie in the list of best movies, he decided he wouldn’t stand for that.
In case you can’t quite make it out, here’s what Kwan’s image macro says:
Be nice, especially if you see a critic or publication exclude your favorite movie from their “best of the year” list and it feels like a personal attack on your identity and you really feel the need to put others down in a moment of weakness, even though you know better than that
It’s the whole package: he recognizes why his fans do this, respects their identities, empathizes with their good intentions and treats them as smart individuals who know better – while still drawing a clear line in the sand.
Fans are shaping the world now, partly because commentary on culture creates culture, and partly because ridiculous piles of cash await anyone who can successfully harness the powers of nostalgia and identity to create hit products like modern Marvel and Star Wars. You have to hire fans to satisfy fans.
But fandom can also get pretty toxic pretty quickly if left unchecked — and even if famous people don’t count on that toxicity to satisfy their cravings, a lot of them don’t bother to to own and stop get out of hand.
Clearly there is a better way.