Fanboys are not always boys, and they’re not exclusively male. They are fanatical, deeply knowledgeable about their obsessions (sci-fi, video games, anime, comics), and when they talk shop, they do not suffer fools gladly. They are the warrior-elites of what is often called “geek culture,” which is not, in the end, all that different from the culture of opera-lovers.
And I find a few things that opera educators might envy about the more contentious, wild and vibrant world of fanboys:
I don’t hold up fanboy culture as an ideal. But there are two valuable beliefs innate to their world that seem to have leeched out of the opera world: they equate knowledge with participation and pleasure; and they don’t expect anyone to educate them. The professional opera world often seems devoted to the very opposite of these two propositions.
This leads to a discussion of how people “self-educate,” and whether opera educators might learn from existing patterns of self-education, rather than try to institute old educational models. You can find the whole thing here.