Okay, let’s spell it out here: Gamergate was obviously fresh in Flo’s and my minds when we put this scene together. However, Shanna doesn’t mention names for a reason: this is a more general social-media-based toxicity that the intervening years have not eliminated (I still think Xan’s got a point about that topic, but he was probably optimistic about the timeline). And I think it’s notable that it’s so bad that even these two, opposite as they are, acknowledge these things exist and are despicable. That’s basically why they can work together here in spite of everything. Unlike certain pols, they respect facts too much not to find common ground.

This was an interesting frame of mind for me, since that ol’ Fans series of mine had been pretty heavy on the geek-worship, with only original-flavor Shanna and some geek villains to provide a little nuance. The series had plenty of acknowledgment that individual fans could be awful (a high percentage of protagonists broke bad in some fashion), but tended to treat the larger community as lovable, with its problems mostly endearing quirks.

I worry about that every so often, when I hear about Steven Universe “fans” abusing some poor soul for drawing the wrong artwork or whatever. “You can’t like it if you’re cishet!” Ugh. I still believe that fandom-as-I-experienced-it-in-college exists and is worth defending, but it’s clearly not the only species of fandom out there. Guilded Age‘s fan characters chiefly represent that better species, but their morality is not treated as ubiquitous within the culture.