The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

He's Misstra Know-It-All

I’ve been in several ‘fandoms’ over the years, and irrespective of whatever-it-is the fans are fans of, the same personality types tend to be present. There’s Mr (or Ms) Relentlessly Negative. There’s Mr (or Ms) Relentlessly Positive And On Message. There’s Mr (or Ms) I Was Here First And Have Spent More Money Than You, So My Opinion Counts For More Than Yours. All well-intentioned types, in their own way.

But then there’s another type of fan, Mr (or Ms) I Know Something You Don’t. He (or she – but let’s assume maleness for simplicity) is the fan who claims to be In The Know. Who has Access To Future Plans. Who knows all the Scandalous Secrets.

Now, you may think I am talking about someone specific. Well, yes, I am probably talking about exactly the person you’re thinking of, but I’m also talking about a dozen or so others too.

Talking of being specific – that’s something Mr IKSYD would never do. Because, after all, knowing something that people other people don’t is no fun if you tell them whatever-it-is you know; then you would no longer no something that other people don’t. No, you have to crow. You have to gloat. And most of all, you have to hint.

Hints can come in many forms. They’re all smug and annoying. Generally, it’s a way of saying, ‘Oh, I know something about that’ without ever revealing what you know. The ellipsis is the friend of Mr IKSYD, he uses it at the end of every sentence. ‘Oh, I think you’ll find there’s more to Kalid than meets the eye...’ ‘Oh, I think you’ll find there will be an unexpected surprise for fans at the concert...’

Why aren’t they more specific? Two reasons. Neither of which are because they wish to protect their source. No. Firstly, the pleasure of gloating is all in the sadism of teasing, and secondly, because Mr IKSYD is often utterly wrong. So he needs to cover himself for that – extremely likely and frequent – eventuality. Secure in the knowledge that people will only remember the few morsels that he got right.

It’s pathetic. It’s a grown-up still playing that game you play when you’re five, the game of ‘I know a secret’. Where someone asks you ‘What is your secret?’ and you say ‘Guess... and I’ll tell you when you’ve got it right!’. The game being, the person with the secret doesn’t even need to have a secret at all. Oh, grow the F up!

But I’m confusing the issue – because there are two distinct types of Mr IKSYD, the Munchausens who are simply bullshitting like they’re back in the playground, and Mr IKSYD, the Deep Throats who actually do know stuff. Because, you know, it’s not difficult to find stuff out. It’s actually very straightforward; all it takes it a certain type of obsessive, calculating, mendacious persistence.

That said, they’re both equally pathetic. How tragically atrophied their genitals must be if getting one-up on their fellow fans is the only way in which they can feel significant. ‘Oh, I managed to steal a script from a bin and post it online... so from now on I wish to be known as The Shadow!’

The ones who drop hint though, the ones who do the dot-dot-dot, they’re the worst. Why? Because they don’t think they giving away spoilers. But – and this is a crucial but – when a story is constructed, it’s a carefully-planned trail of exposition and misdirection, where the author has chosen what to hint, what to conceal. And even the smallest hint can destroy all that hard work. Just tell someone to ‘pay close attention at the scene where Bruce Willis is shot...’ and you’ll see what I mean.

The irony being, of course, that fans who are genuinely In The Know tend to shut up about it, because they would be horrified at the idea of ‘spoilering’ the enjoyment of others.


  1. My least favourite Mr IKSYD is the one who says, self-satisfiedly: "Oh, you're just going to LOVE it!"

    Because, then, I almost certainly know I'm not going to. Just because they now expect me to.

  2. I'm another kind of Mr IKSYD entirely - the bulshitter.

    I occasionally make up some complete bollocks to amuse my dwindling circle of frenz.

    My best one was convincing them that Lalla Ward was going to star in Die Another Day as Blofeld's daughter, out for revenge (hence DAD...)

    I can't believe they fell for that, or perhaps they were bluffing, and I am the fool.

    But have you heard the rumour about the Doctor singing a song at some point during every story of the upcoming season of Who? And there'll be an album in the summer, "Geronimo! Matt Smith Croons Who."

    Well it's about as credible as a Torchwood musical.