WINM Forums :: Everything Else KCR :: On fandom and the future

On fandom and the future
Anakin McFly
2018-12-18 14:59:22

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Hey everyone!

First off, I'm sorry for the somewhat neglect of this site - work and other commitments have been getting in the way, which is also one of the things that has led to me thinking about this site and where we go from here.

It's been almost 11 years now (!) since WINM was first launched and grew into an active and vibrant community. Many of you still drop by now and then, but it's easy to see that things are no longer like what they used to be, and haven't been for quite a few years. A lot of us have grown busy with our lives and moved on. Younger fans have mostly moved to social media where Keanu fanpages have hundreds of thousands of followers, and fandom has evolved to something different and more massive from the cosy fanclub atmosphere that we and other fansites used to have.

I still believe we had something valuable here, but this community has mostly dissipated except for a handful of regulars, and I don't know if things will (or can) ever go back to what they were. And to be honest - at this point, keeping this site updated has become more of a chore than the hobby it used to be. I was 18 when I built this site; I turn 30 next year. A lot has changed in my life since then, and I now have a full-time job and volunteer work that leaves me very little free time to myself. When this site was more active, it was still something I was happy to do, but at this point it often feels like no one is even reading, anyway.

This site won't be going down (not least because I've just paid for hosting until December 2020). But I've been considering an indefinite hiatus that will effectively freeze the archive as it is, save for the occasional significant interview now and then. It's more or less what's been happening for the past few months. The forums will remain open as long as the site is around.

In the wake of #metoo and all the revelations rocking Hollywood, I've also been struggling with celebrity fandom, in general, and the responsibilities that come with running a fansite for a celebrity who is ultimately just human. I don't presently believe (though of course I may be wrong) that Keanu is guilty of the accusations facing many others, but - apart from how many of those celebrities' fans never thought them capable of that either - I'm also certain that he's done and said unforgivable things at some point of his life, if for no reason other than we all have.

I don't believe in putting Keanu up on a pedestal. It's not fair to him to be held up to an unrealistic standard he cannot meet, it's not fair to us to be made to feel inferior in comparison, and it's not fair to the people in his life he may have hurt at some point to any degree. I never want my joy to be the cause of another person's pain. And all this would still be true even if he is in fact a truly exemplary human being whose greatest sin was fighting with his sisters over the final cookie.

At the same time, however, I still strongly believe in the value of fandom. It's where I found some of my closest friends, and I've always been moved by the creativity and passion and joy and care that I've experienced in the fandom communities I've been a part of. I also strongly believe in the value of having role models to look up to, even if they're not perfect, and I'm grateful for the way that Keanu in particular has inspired me in so many ways to become a better person. I've known thousands of people who have been touched by his life and his work, sometimes in life-changing ways - those inspired by him towards acting or music or charity, terminally ill fans who found joy and escapism in his movies in the last days of their lives, people going through all kinds of problems who could log into fandom and forget their troubles for a while, fans who because of him retained the hope that there were still good men in this world. There's value in that image, accurate or not.

I don't know how to reconcile these two things. But I've always believed fandom was about the fans, not the celebrities we are fans of. It's the bonds we build, the conversations we have, the stories we weave.

So I want to open this discussion to whoever of you are still around, either as long-time members or lurkers: Where do we go from here? What does Keanu fandom mean to you at this point in your life? What would you want this site to be?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts, and I wish you all a happy holiday season!

LucaM
2018-12-20 04:39:11


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... I'm just sending you an email with an article to be added to the archive...

don't know, Ani. it's true that fandom isn't what it used to be... but then...the only constant in life is change.
I'll do some thinking in the next days... but frankly... I vote for keeping the archive alive. It's how WINM started. by saving all the interviews when other sites crashed... the way I see it, it's what sets us apart from all the other sites that came and went over the years. it's not about the gushing, it's about the facts. or the fake interviews. we archived everything, and let the reader make their own d*mned mind about it...
nevermind the swat-ing, ever since the Sad Keanu there isn't much need for it. also, we've kinda grown out of it...
but in a world full of fake news, I need to know there's a place I can go check if 'did Keanu ever say that'
it's not a pedestal. it's gathering all interviews together. it's putting together pieces of the puzzle. defending Keanu, I can let go of. but I'll spend my whole life trying to decipher Reeves, and I need the archive for that...

I understand it's time consuming. Please teach me how to format the interviews and I'll send them to you processed, just to be uploaded in the archive, if it helps. But let's keep the archive alive.


What does Keanu fandom mean to you at this point in your life?

The WINM archive. Our friendship. The army of Johns. All the stories told until now, all the stories that will be told from now on...




Niki
2018-12-20 08:43:45


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Maybe people have stopped reading here since not many know about WINM.
It doesn’t seem to appear in the google search results when you search his name.
Anakin McFly
2018-12-20 11:11:45

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it's gathering all interviews together. it's putting together pieces of the puzzle.

:)
thanks.

It was easier for the earlier articles - back then almost every interview was unique, whereas now Keanu might do one interview and then it gets reported by several dozen other news outlets using different quotes and all doing their own spin on it, or he does those short interviews here and there.

I might consider changing the format for some of that, like compiling all those one-off quotes from a particular series of press interviews into one article. Or just being more discerning over what we include, and sticking to the original sources as much as possible, which is what I've been attempting for a while.

@Niki - it seems like we're still getting a steady flow of 200-300 visitors a day, many of them through search results. WINM tends to appear in results for specific queries about Keanu, rather than just his name. But those are probably visitors who just drop by to read an article or two and don't participate beyond that.

There are a lot more casual fans now and they're mostly on social media; like the KeanuBeingAwesome subreddit has 173k subscribers: https://www.reddit.com/r/KeanuBeingAwesome/

LucaM
2018-12-20 16:34:21


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Ani, THANK YOU !

Compiling the press junket snippets is a good idea; the archive can change format to keep with the times. I've also noticed that now most journos/bloggers tend to just upload videos and IG stories, and it's difficult to archive those... so yeah, we need to adapt, within the possibilities.

And the archive is used by many fans; I've seen at least two facebook groups constantly linking to WINM articles or referencing them. So it's useful :)


And I repeat, in a world of fake news, let us be the guardians of the truth.
Which truth?
The one we have access to, Neo. The published truth.
Unless you want to help ;)



Freya
2018-12-20 20:23:18


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'Archives' - yes, I convinced that it should be kept as it is because that's a great and valuable source of Keanu's related press (more or less reliable) however it does not deciphering Keanu. These are just some 'cuts', glimpses that we can see. And it is easy to find here information concerning a particular movie or a certain period of time (well designed site). I always believed that this site or any other fanpage is about Keanu and all these articles, photos, etc are the stories about the celebrity as a star and a private person.

This page is first of of all an archive although we have discussions from time to time however sometimes it is difficult to discuss movies without putting some spoilers. Personally I don't mind any spoilers but for many people it would spoil their joy of watching a movie. It was also an inspiration, for sure.

Indeed, a primary purpose to defend Keanu has changed a bit as internet is really more friendly for Keanu then it was before and there were a lot of things that made Keanu more likeable person (although he was already a star in 90-ies). But still much more can be achived: life is a work in progress ;) I don't think Keanu needs any award but it would be great if he could have a prize, maybe an Oscar.


To me, for all these years it was a kind of a play and a source of joy, then a hobby and a regularly checked news. It has also put me a bit in a position of Alice in Wonderland sometimes ;)

Anakin McFly
2018-12-21 09:54:23

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Thanks, Freya!

For movie discussions, you can also put '(Spoilers)' in the subject title, so that only people who are willing to see those spoilers can go to that thread.


I've also noticed that now most journos/bloggers tend to just upload videos and IG stories, and it's difficult to archive those...

I hate dealing with videos for that reason. :P We can just be a print archive; I think the videos usually get posted to the Facebook groups and all that, anyway. If you're in touch with any of the moderators, maybe ask them if they can do an archive? I know at least the Russian Keanu Club has been diligently archiving all the photos, so WINM can just be for the text.

Also re: videos - since those groups have thousands of members, maybe they can ask for volunteers to do brief transcripts of each video. They can just take one video each and be done pretty quickly. Likewise with podcasts (which I definitely don't have the time to handle). It might be something the subreddit might be willing to do, as well.


I've seen at least two facebook groups constantly linking to WINM articles or referencing them.

That's good to know. :)

Niki
2018-12-22 03:56:33


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People are more aware of promotional interviews as sometimes being scripted.
I would not be surprised if fans lose complete interest one day.
Fandom is just another part of the money-making machine after all.
MmeRenard
2018-12-30 06:46:14


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Thank you for all that you've done, Anakin. The archive is precious. A noble work.

I seriously doubt that Keanu has done "unforgivable things" - primarily because there has never been any credible evidence that he has. Things that he regrets? Things that arent noble? Of course. He's human, just like all of us. But "unforgivable"? No, that's the fat producer asshole. That's trumpy.

Please consider that Alex Winter remains his very close friend, and Alex has spoken often and in depth about his experience of "Me Too" and has specifically said that Keanu has helped him with that. I'm pretty concerned that anyone would assume that Keanu is guilty of abuse and harassment just because it's widespread in Hollywood. It's possible and I'd be disappointed, but I won't assume it.

Has fandom changed? Of course. That has nothing to do with Keanu's work or anyone's appreciation of it, or him. Is personal - but wholesome - admiration better? I think so. Fandom is, for better or worse, a machine, not much of a stretch to call it a Matrix.

I'm sad.

Anakin McFly
2019-01-04 10:16:53

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<3

I guess I'm using a much looser definition of 'unforgivable' - I wasn't thinking of sexual abuse or harassment, but things like saying/doing something deeply hurtful in a thoughtless or bad-tempered moment. Some of those things can be forgiven, but it also depends on the person on the other end.

Regarding #MeToo specifically, though, Keanu was acquainted with or had worked with some of the people who were later accused. There's a possibility he may have suspected or heard things and kept quiet - not out of any maliciousness, but because he's not a confrontational person, or because he himself was not in a position of sufficient power to do so without consequences to himself. Should anything emerge, it's more likely to be a situation like that.

But yes, what Alex Winter said also means a lot; thanks for reminding me of that. :)

I'm also generally trying to have less of my identity tied up with fandom and a specific celebrity, because that always carries a risk. A while back I got in touch with the webmaster of the main Kevin Spacey fansite. She had put 20 years of work into that website and was struggling with shutting it down and losing that work (in the meantime she's turned it into an archive), but in the meantime she was regularly getting hate mail. The whole close-knit community of fans was devastated by the revelations. When there's been so much deep personal investment, and so many friendships based upon a foundation that's suddenly corrupted, the impact is so much greater and lasting.

I don't want to risk that happening to me, even if the risk is very, very small. I need to be sure that I can psychologically cope and move on if I have to lose WINM for any reason. Right now there's still a lot of my identity tied up with Keanu and with this site, and it's not healthy, even if Keanu were an exceedingly moral person.

And then there was the accusation against George Takei, also outspoken about #MeToo, with a long record of speaking out against social injustice and exemplifying genuine compassion, kindness and generosity, and one of the last people anyone would have expected to be accused. I don't even know what happened to that claim; it just died out. And it's possible he was innocent, but also maybe not. People change over the years. A lot of good people did not start out that way.

Looking at Keanu today, I don't think he's capable of abuse or harassment. But as a teenager and young man... I simply don't know enough about who he was back then, and the average teenage boy generally isn't completely innocent of those things. I know of one guy who's an extremely caring, gentle person of outstanding character, and he revealed in a book that as a kid he once climbed a tree to try to get a peek of his neighbour while she was changing her clothes. So I do think there's a limit to how much of a person's history we can assume from their present character.

MmeRenard
2019-01-04 20:40:00


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I absolutely support your need to make a change for yourself, Anakin. I understand how you feel that this is taking more of your energy that you'd like. I feel - have felt for some time - that we don't need to defend Keanu, and deciphering him just feels strange. He's who he is. We don't know him personally, he's a private man, and I respect that.

However...

Would everyone in the room who's never done anything if which they are now ashamed, who's never hurt anyone else even unintentionally, please raise your hand?
Not me.
Not a living human that I've ever known.

I guess we all need forgiveness, even grace.

Fandom by its nature includes gossip. Gossip is bad. So, yeah, I'm all done with "fandom." I admire Keanu, I admire his work and creativity. That is all.

Niki
2019-01-05 13:37:06


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Maybe just think of yourself as just a reporter of Keanu’s news articles and interviews, Anakin. Reporters don’t tie their identity to the people they interview.
If anything negative ever surfaces people can’t or shouldn’t “shoot the messenger”. :)
You have a nice archive here, it’s too bad you are having second thoughts on your investment of this site.
Anakin McFly
2019-01-07 09:55:47

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Thanks, all. I have no regrets about the time I've put into this site so far. It's been an amazing experience, and this fandom gave me some of the best moments of my life. It also taught me web development and computer programming, and that's part of my job now. But it's been 11 years (almost exactly; we launched on 11 Jan 2008), and as I hit 30 this year I've been re-evaluating a lot of things and what I've been spending my time on, especially since my amount of free time has dropped drastically to about an hour or two a day since I started work. Updating this site (which can take a couple hours if there's a lot of news) has thus been left to the weekends, and some weekends I just want to do something mindless to relax instead of look at more words. I'm also not sure I'd still want to be running a fansite when I'm 40, or 50, because there are other things I want to do with my life and the limited time I have. I didn't even expect this site to last so long, haha.

Regardless, this archive and forums will continue to stay up for the indefinite future, and I'll continue to be part of this community. LucaM has also been transcribing some video interviews, so I'll be putting those up. :)

Niki
2019-01-07 22:57:37


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Thank you Anakin, for all your work on here, and thank you to LucaM, also. :)
MmeRenard
2019-01-08 02:27:49


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Friendly advice about fandom: don't be a moron.

1) have we mentioned that Keanu is not on social media, and if someone contacts you on,one claiming to be Keanu, it's not - and don't blame Keanu - if you believe that, you only have yourself to blame

2) Keanu has plenty of money and doesn't need yours

3) pretty sure that the "Arch (or, as the company always says "ARCH" - all caps) motorcycle membership club is BOGUS and HEINOUS.

Again, don't be a moron.




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