Nobody Ever Admits They're a BNF

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Title: Nobody Ever Admits They're a BNF
Creator: Hope
Date(s): June 9, 2004
Medium: online
Topic: BNFs, fannish social status
External Links: Nobody Ever Admits They're a BNF, Archived version
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Nobody Ever Admits They're a BNF is an essay by Hope.

It is part of the Fanfic Symposium series.


Nobody ever admits they're a Big Name Fan. It's part incredulity, part modesty, and part self-preservation, usually in that order. The first time you hear somebody call you a BNF, it's ridiculous. I mean, come on- you're just some random schlub who writes stories/makes art/makes vids/talks about the show, BNF? Please! It's funny, too, because then you can have polls in your journal and ask for minions, because the notion of you being a BNF is so ridiculous it's mockable. Mockity, mock, mock!

Then, it's modesty. Because you're not stupid - you can look at your friends list and realize that 400 people is more than 50 people, and therefore, more people are reading what you say. (At least, in theory.) Still, 400 people reading what you say- that's hardly anything to get uppity about. Other people have bigger friends lists. Other people write more popular stories. You're still some random schlub writing stories, making art, making vids, talking about the show, you're just a random schlub that has more than your best friend listening.

Then, it's self-preservation, because there comes a point when denying your BNFness is, to choose the favoritest words of all fandom words used to describe a liar, disingenuous. Now, you're still a random schlub, because you always were a random schlub. But by this point, you are a random schlub whose name gets used as an example for various compare, contrast exercises and your behavior is part of the Neilsen Data for your particular fandom, along with the other BNFs'. Never mind that the statistical margin of error is like 90 percent, the rep of the fandom, that's on you. You know you're a BNF, but you know better than to admit it.

So, for those of you now joining me in the vaunted halls of BNFdom, becase like it or not, no matter how funny and incredible you find it right now, ladies, your names came up for a reason, let me initiate you into the Secret Cabal. There are lots of rules; you might want to take notes.

1) You are a robot. Be the robot. [snipped] 2) Feedback is a finite resource. [snipped] 3) You are not allowed to shape your fannish destiny.[snipped] 4) It does not matter who your friends are, everyone else knows better than you. [snipped]5) There are secret meeting rooms. [snipped] 6) You know everyone in fandom, and what they are doing. [snipped] 7) Don't try to give advice. [snipped] 8) Don't write essays on how hard it is to be a BNF. [snipped] 9) It doesn't all suck. [snipped] 10. You have absolutely no power, even if people think you do.