You may be like, “Heather, you are using a lot of words to say something you never talk about for a reason. Why are we discussing this?”
Well, because at the end of last month I actually went to the 51st BRK annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska (don’t be jealous because your dad doesn’t take you cool places).
Though it was essentially a big business meeting with a trade show, the BRK meeting was just Comic Con for people in the BRK fandom. You could buy overpriced goods of all kinds! Food, kitchenware, chocolate, encyclopedias… There was a moving trade, big models of airplanes, and a house—yes, a house. After the merchandise, though, there was the most interesting part: the panel. Just like at Comic Con, they get the big names to sit down and answer the questions that matter to the fans.
Of course, at Comic Con you get people like Tom Hiddleston and Jensen Ackles whereas at the BRK meeting we got Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger.
Fandoms have influence. People are looking at Marvel right now because they’ve neglected the Asian representation in their movies. It’s a social issue many people care about. Likewise, BRK has an economic influence that pushes into the social realm. They have a say in how you eat, live, learn, insure, play… It’s a company that has a say in people’s lives whether they realize it or not.
(BTW: BRK is a multi-national company so you aren’t exempt just because you don’t live in the States.)
Fandoms are personal. We can all name a book or movie that literally changed our lives. BRK can change my life, too, or at least matter to it. My dad’s work’s main client is a BRK company. I can’t walk into a restaurant and fail to find Coca-Cola products. We’ve shopped at Wal-Mart. I buy ice cream from Dairy Queen. They ship my Amazon orders. BRK lives in the background of my life, and though I can ignore it, it matters to how I live.
Fandoms speak to norms. Art has the power to change the way things are. Just look at a show like Star Trek, that offered a place to explore diversity in our world by watching theirs. They even had one of the first interracial kisses on TV. The places we put our money (and companies put theirs) also have powerful effects. BRK invests a lot in Coca-Cola and it is Warren Buffett’s favorite drink, so someone asked about the morality of investing in the company. Whatever Buffett’s personal experiences with the drink, sugary drinks can kill people. And as long as people are willing to put their money in coke, it looks like it will stay.
And, you know, some things matter even if we don’t care. The CEOs of BRK’s companies are mostly old white guys (with some white ladies sprinkled in there), and they hold the power over some of the things in my life. That’s why I should pay attention to the BRK fandom even though I’m not in it.
That’s why I should pay attention to a lot of other fandoms out there even though I’m not in them. Just because I don’t watch the show doesn’t mean it won’t change me.
- Want to watch a commercial about zombies? Here, free zombies.
- Check out this seven-minute article on Warren Buffett and his importance as the head of this fandom.
- The zombies are important, by the way, because BRK owns that company. FYI.