Well, it finally happened: the Oscar for best film went to the actual best film. After some head-scratchingly awful 21st century winners – Crash (!), The King’s Speech (come on!) and the Driving Miss Daisy reverse retread Green Book (yes, it really did beat Roma and The Favourite ), to name some of the most egregious examples – we finally got a best picture recipient in Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite that had voters, critics and the audience all nodding happily in agreement. Despite the frankly shameful fact that no non-English-language film had ever before won the best picture Oscar, it is heartening to know that plenty of people were happy to clamber over, to use Bong’s words, the “one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles” to really appreciate the subtle and not so subtle brilliance of Parasite . It’s a film I will grandiosely proclaim to be the first great piece of art to document the beginning of the middle of the beginning of the end of capitalism. Probably. OK, I’m hedging a little, but it’s a chilling insight into the inequality and class warfare that plagues modern societies. I’m not here to lavish more praise on Parasite – but if you haven’t already seen it, please do make an effort, the hype is real. I’m more interested in highlighting one of the many stories that came out of the awards campaign for the film, namely the phenomenon of the “Bong-hive”, or #BongHive as it is commonly written, living as it does on social media. Riffing off Beyoncé’s virulently loyal fandom, the Beyhive, and stan culture – that is, the culture of overly enthusiastically supporting someone online – the Bong-hive is a small but relentless fan club that has popped up around 50-year-old Bong. It helped Parasite remain in the conversation for awards despite being released all the way back in May, at last year’s Cannes Film Festival (where it won the Palme d’Or, natch). Find someone who looks at you the way Bong Joon-ho looks at an Oscar #oscars #parasite #bonghive https://t.co/gch1KhjdsC pic.twitter.com/Q61bOUy8BA — LAT Entertainment (@latimesent) February 10, 2020 Counting big-time directors, actors, critics and plain normies among its horde, the Bong-hive would assemble on Twitter and elsewhere to stan Bong, extolling the virtues of Parasite and meme-ing the hell out of the director. This introduced him and the film to new audiences and encouraged people to watch more non-English-language movies. What strikes me about an online phenomenon like the Bong-hive, beyond being kind of funny as Bong himself is an avowed social media refusenik, is that it proves not all Twitter- or Instagram-driven fandoms have to be toxic or just plain dumb. It might seem silly and earnest, but hooray for positivity, finally. It shouldn’t really be a surprise that stan culture tends to be unhinged, coming as it does from the Eminem song Stan , which is about a crazed fan. When it comes to toxic fandoms, we sadly have plenty to choose from. Many are linked as they are often populated by the same sort of jerks, but I always circle back to Star Wars . The fandom for Star Wars is the opposite of the Bong-hive and has now descended into outright farce, with grown men crying about things like racial and gender diversity in a made-up space fantasy world, and yielding so much influence they can, allegedly, scare the filmmakers into changing the story. It’s not real, lads, get over it. Even supposedly simple and pure fanship, such as following a football team or pop group, has become riven with the fake outrage and performative histrionics of superfans, who joylessly belch bile on Twitter and Instagram. As an Arsenal and Peter Gabriel fan, I love tribalism as much as anyone, but relentlessly abusing complete strangers online just seems bizarre and pointless, and something that would horrify the man who wrote Sledgehammer . And don’t get me started on the dumb fandoms! The world of fashion is riddled with this sort of stuff, almost like they’ve been invented by clever marketing people to separate stupid people from their money. Actually, scratch that, they have been invented by clever marketing people to separate stupid people from their money. Yes, I’m talking about the cultish followings for brands like Off-White and the supposedly skatewear-oriented Supreme, the latter of which has hoodwinked tragic hypebeasts into buying the most ludicrous accessories – bricks, nunchucks, boxing gloves, bolt cutters, air horns – for hundreds of dollars all because of that ubiquitous box logo. Seriously, am I missing something here? I feel like I’m taking Supreme-branded crazy pills. Of course, I’m not naive in thinking the Bong-hive will forever remain sweet in nature and a positive force; indeed, by next year it may become as scary in its ferocity as the Beyhive, Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters or BTS’ Army as all fandom inevitably gets taken over by the zealots. But for this brief moment in time, let’s celebrate the Bong-hive for showing us how to stan the right way and helping, in a small way, to make history at the Oscars.