Someone who is obsessed with a particular tv show, book series, video game, or other mainstream entertainment -- typically of the sci-fi/fantasy genre -- to the point where they will collect every marketable product available related to the SBG (show/book/game) which they can afford. They will defend their obsession vigorously, even violently, against fans of other SBG's, or even against fans of the same SBG who ask them to even consider the remote possibility that the SBG has any kind of flaw whatsoever. Frequently seen in chat rooms or Internet message boards posting in incomplete sentences and swearing a lot.

Fangirls have been theorized to exist, but have never been seen in the wild.

A slang term for, usually, a rabid fan of comic books. Stereotypically, fanboys are the guys you see who wear comic book T-shirts, spend every last dime they have on new comics, are capable of arguing the finer points of comic book continuity for hours on end, and have more important things to do than bathe. The truth, of course, is much more complex: most of us shower every day.

I've sometimes heard the term used to describe everyone from roleplaying game fans to Trekkies to Linux geeks, but the default value seems to be comic book nuts...

While I could spend hours on here cataloguing the different types of fanboyism that I have encountered, be they Australian petrolheads, where much store is set by whether you're a Falcon chap or a Holden chap, or be they Mac users (WANKERS!) versus PC users (drones and dupes), or console gamers (potty-mouthed teenagers and fratboy date-rapists) versus PC gamers (elitist monied tossbags), or Twilight fans versus everyone else (actually, the everyone else might have a point), or headbangers (unwashed barbarian drunks) verses hipsters (sneering effete snobs), or, if you want to get really, really, sad, AMD Radeon users (underpowered, iffy board partners, no PhysX) versus Nvidia users (overpriced, shite at MSAA, rubbish above 1080p), to me, what's more interesting is the big question as to why fanboyism exists.

And I think I have an answer to this. And it's this - fanboyism is fuelled by the horrible, crawling fear that you might have made the wrong choice.

Which makes sense, because in my experience, the vociferousness of the fanboyism is proportional to the investment of time and money that one has spent on the object of the fanboying, and as such the blow to one's ego of being convinced, nay, being so much as mildly made to entertain the question, that that investment may be wasted, is really damaging. As such, fanboyism is an in-built psychological defence mechanism in that it avoids one having to face up to the crapness of your choice.

Take Mac users for example. There's a reason they're referred to as "Mac evangelists" by some people. They have chosen to spend hundreds of pounds more on their computing needs as an equivalently specced PC. As of this writeup: new 17" Macbook Pro currently £2,150.00; new 17" MSI GT70 currently £1,661.34, if you must know. (For the record, the lower specced Macbooks are also several hundred pounds, on average, more than their PC equivalents.) Similarly, in the desktop arena, you can spend upwards of £3,000.00 on a Mac and get a lesser machine than an equivalent PC desky (especially if you self-build). Yet you log onto one of the many web fora devoted to Steve Jobs's polished white kit and dare to aver, objectively, that those within might have spent a little bit too much money and your head will be bitten off, and if you do not have a head, one will be provided for you, oh yes. It just works! they'll say. Viruses up the kazoo! Windows is just copying it! You're just jealous you can't afford one! It looks nice! No bluescreens everywhere! You will then be banned, have all your posts excised, and accused of "trolling." I did just this and lasted exactly 34 minutes.

You don't get this as much on the PC-centric centre of the internets. And this is because, as I have said, a Mac is a big investment of money for your average chump. If you tell him that he's just wasted nearly two thousand pounds on an inferior kitted, proprietary, locked down, fashion accessory of a system he goes into fight or flight mode. The possibility that he might be wrong is something he doesn't want to even countenance, so he goes on the offensive, smearing you, hurling invective, and pointing to every last reason why the fruity option is the best option.

Then there are car fanboys. Especially a certain portion of car fanboys who are in the market for what are known as "hot hatches" in Britain. Often they're young, male, and spend lots of time in the back of Halfords buying "accessories" like neon lights, a colossal stereo system, uncomfortable racing seats, oversized wheels, daft spoilers, and dubious performance enhancements that, at best, might net you a couple of extra horsepowers but most of the time are abject woo. To a young chap in such a market segment, his wheels are very important. He spend thousands of his parents' pounds on his Peugeot 205 GTI 1.9, not to mention all the bits for it, insurance, tax, and fluffy dice. He's hoping that the local birds will be so impressed by it that he'll be able to take them up the layby and then take them up the... well, you get the idea. So if some rival in a VW Golf GTI or a Vauxhall Astra VXR starts going on about how much awesomer those cars are, Mr 205 GTI 1.9 will be distraught because his quim supply could potentially be at risk. So he starts quoting obscure statistics and factoids about how much better his chosen wheels are so as to avoid entertaining such a possibility in his mind. I mean, it's not like he's going to actually challenge Golf man to a race round the streets of Macclesfield, now is he, because he's frightened of getting nicked and then Mummy & Daddy will stop paying for his insurance. So his only outlet is Internet cockwaving.

(Of course, what neither of them realise is that if you turned up in a Rover SD1, you'd clean up crumpet-wise, because as anyone who's seen Rita, Sue, and Bob Too, the combination of a V8 and reclining seats in that car causes gals of a certain age to suddenly lose their Unterwasche.)

Thing is, though, in market segments where people often have lots of money, fanboying disappears. Real life Ferrari drivers don't log onto Lamborghini fora and troll them up, because they're probably well off enough to have both, and/or they probably went and did their homework beforehand. However - regardless of money spent, if you spend lots of time on the object of your affection, this can also lead to fanboying. A copy of Twilight and its sequelae costs probably about twenty quid, all in, yet some people lots of time reading and re-reading it and writing badly conceived Mary Sue-happy fan fiction. Similarly, someone might have logged six hours every day for the past year poopsocking at Battlefield 3, a copy of which costs about thirty five quid. Yet if someone comes along onto a web forum and starts crowing about how The Hunger Games or Modern Warfare is better, one's ego is similarly threatened by the realisation of wasted time just as much as wasted money. More so, even, since money can always be obtained to replace it, but time cannot. I know I fall into this at times; you tell me that heavy metal is a sausage fest and that if I got into urban or indie I'd pull crack every night, I might fall into a froth about how it's not about the possibility of scoring, it's about the music, and seeing large, hairy men using their tools masterfully, and drinking ale until you're insensible and how most urban or indie listeners are just fair-weather fans, and not real people, and similar.

And that's why fanboying exists, and why it can be so vociferous.

Finally, if you must know, my personal prejudices are that I have a PC, I've never owned a console, Twilight sucks a bag of dicks through a straw, heavy metal is made of win, and the AMD Radeon HD 7850 OC is the best value graphics card in terms of performance per pound on the market right now, and that its rival, the Nvidia Geforce GTX 660, might edge it slightly in performance, but costs significantly more, uses more power, and generates more heat, and even then its red-liveried rival thrashes it at multi-monitor setups. Just sayin'.

(IN1223/30)

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