To set oneself up in the midst of a vast field as arbiter of purity, staking out a tiny territory of comfortable ground and claiming it as the true-and-pure whole of a universe, erecting a single narrow gate and standing before it, feet wide, arms folded across chest, stoic and stern, fully prepared to defend beloved ground …
“Your Starfleet uniform has the wrong number of pips.”
“You can’t merely glue brass gears onto your tophat and call yourself a Steampunk.”
“You may not wear a bowtie or a fez while carrying that older model of sonic screwdriver.”
“A true Stark bannerman would never be named Aeryn Lionheart.”
“River Tam would never wear a brown coat.”
“There is no such thing as a chartreuse lightsaber.”
“Heimdall can not be played by a black guy.”
“Lear’s Fool would never have actually uttered any such word as ‘Fuckstockings’.”
… and all the while, the growing mass of Joyful Ones dance past, ignoring the gate, barely aware of the meticulously staked-out ground. They laugh, they imagine, they dream. They commune, they converse, they explore new ground. They create, they embellish, they nurture joy and share it freely. They revel in the special sort of community that only genre fandom can birth.
But the Gatekeeper will have none of it. The Gatekeeper stands solid and stern before the gate.
And misses almost all of the fun.