Book lovers often say, “I envy you because you’re experiencing that book for the first time. I wish I could do that.” That didn’t make sense to me until recently because nostalgia and empathy don’t really compute for me, so neither did “nostalgia +empathy =secondhand nostalgia.”
I knew that reviews and reactions were a big part of the Internet, but they seemed pretty silly. Regular updates on the lives of random strangers (aka vlogging) is one thing, but watching the facial expressions of random strangers as they consume media? Come on. Then I discovered the exceptions. For every dozen boring reactors there are a handful of nerds that I enjoy watching. On YouTube, their comment sections turn into friendly communities.
One of my nerd passions is other nerds and geeks. I nerd out about watching a fellow nerd geek out about things. My brother doesn’t get my interest because he thinks I’m re-watching something I’ve already seen. He doesn’t get that that’s not what I’m paying attention to.
Now I get the concept of watching someone else enjoy a beloved book for the first time. When a reactor says “I ship it” or “I like this guy” or “Oh no, is such and such going to happen?” I smirk knowingly and wait for them to reach a certain point in the show. It’s fun.
Storytime: my brother and I were introduced to Doctor Who by a group of friends. One of them had reached “The Fires of Pompeii,” so that became our first episode. That’s actually a pretty good episode to start with. My brother and I were hooked, so we spent the next two years catching up just in time for the 50th Anniversary special.
Partway through, we introduced our cousin to the show. We showed him a few of our favorite episodes to get him started, and then we decided to show him the one we were on, like our friends had done. So thanks to us, the fifth episode our cousin watched was “Love and Monsters.”
So sometimes the “watch your friends watch things for the first time” thing doesn’t work out like you hoped. And like I said, most reactions are cheap, silly, and dull. But when it works, it works really well.
I’ve never introduced someone to faith in Jesus, but I imagine it would be a similar feeling.
Do you have stories of sharing a fandom or faith with someone? Let’s Connect!