Fandom's been important to me, off and on, since I was pre-teen. Only I didn't know to call it fandom. I didn't know about secretive fiction magazines and snail-mail exchanges and the like. I missed it, but am nonetheless glad of its existence, and that it grew. Then the internet came, and the separate legs of fandom kicked and struggled, sprung up new, grew or died. Maybe not died, exactly--the thing about fandoms is they can be revived years later--a DVD gets first release, new fans come online... I've not seen a fandom flourish once it's slowed, but the fans trickling in afterward add to the narrative.
Weren't we all told to get our head out of the TV at some point? As if the places our brains go to after having seen an inspiring TV show or movie, or after having read a book, isn't important. Keeping your imagination alive in the face of all the mundane bullshit in our ordinary lives is more than important. It's imperative.
Anything creative has to be important, isn't it? Stories we tell each other, things we've pieced together that come from inspiration of all kinds: art, folktales, fairytales, pop culture, all of it brightness that leads our brains to imagine so many paths and struggles and solutions and loves. Of course, stories and art come from other places, too--from surviving very bad things. We work it out on paper and screen and canvas.
Or it comes from both places, or other places. It's about our journeys.
People who don't get into fandom point at us, and they don't understand, but they can't make it unimportant.