Fan Flattering

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

You're so much better and you're so different,
you don't believe in what they do.
I know you are one of us.

Blutengel, "Angels of the Dark"

This is about a work making a claim that its fans are better than other people. It's beside the point whether the author actually believes this, whether the author actually expects the fans to believe it, and whether the fans actually believe it: These three issues are separate from this trope as well as from one another. When the author doesn't believe the message but chose to do it anyway, it sometimes takes the form of an ironic Backhanded Compliment.

Examples of Fan Flattering include:

Comic Books

  • Chick Tracts: Those who read the tracts and agree with them go to heaven. All Christians who disagree with the tracts (most Christians), as well as all non-Christians, go to hell.
  • Stan Lee often plays with this in his addresses to Marvel Comics readers as "True Believers!"



  • One of the best examples of the Bubblegum Pop era is one the Backstreet Boys' most well-known earworms, "Larger Than Life"; despite the video having been some trippy space opera theme, the song itself is nothing more than one gigantic Shout-Out to their fans. For example, this is the chorus... in its entirety: All you people can't you see, can't you see / How your love's affecting our reality / Every time we're down / You can make it right / And that makes you larger than life. The opening verse even all but apologizes for being completely terrified when girls went screaming after them.
  • Lady Gaga arguably has a bit of this in "Born This Way"; possibly a bit of a Justified Trope in that case though, as the song is about accepting yourself for who you are instead of trying to conform to society's restrictive ideals. Definitely Played Straight in her Monster Ball tour though, and probably genuinely meant, when she declared the event was to be a celebration of, basically, all of them being freaks together.
  • Manowar: Several lyrics claim that Man O War fans are better than other people, more metal than other people. Wimps and posers, leave the hall.
  • Blutengel: Our goths are better, obviously. See page quote.
  • X Japan: The Shout-Out to fans in the band's song "X", "You know you are the best!"

Tabletop RPG

  • Hackmaster 4th Edition. In the introduction to the Player's Handbook, it said of Hackmaster players, "We're not ordinary -- we're Extraordinary. The introduction to the Game Master's Guide praises the reader's "spirit, drive and determination to rise to the challenge."
  • Dangerous Journeys/Mythus system, Journeys magazine issue 2. Gary Gygax wrote the following in an article:

What is in this column, however, is in one sense privileged. It is assumed that the readers are all special, more knowledgeable, in some measure because they are readers.

Video Games

Western Animation

  • The Simpsons has an in-universe example, as everybody suddenly start their own newspaper. At least two of them highlight a reader (the only reader?) as the greatest person in the world.