Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bad Behavior: The Internet is Not an Excuse

We’re pausing today to discuss a trend in behavior by fans whether it’s fans of authors, movies, music or television. Fans are passionate about what they like and what they don’t like. Unfortunately, the anonymous nature of the Internet means that fans can spew every thought they have without filter or regard for whom will read it. Recently, Joseph Mallozzi, executive producer, writer and all around interesting guy involved in the Stargate franchise particularly Stargate:Universe posted a blog about the SG:U fans that are going too far.

Rude is Never Right

It seems many fans dislike the direction of the show or the intensity or the fact that it is so radically different from Stargate:SG-1 or Stargate:Atlantis. They are up in arms over the sex scenes, which were lacking in the earlier projects and rather than intense and bloody violence, we have intense, dark and scripted moments of survival against an environment, that while not hostile, is definitely not warm and fuzzy.

The vitriol posted by some fans goes over the line to calling for the death of characters, calling some whores and more. You can read Mallozzi’s blogs for the explicit details. The point is, there is a fine line between being a fan, being critical and just being downright rude. Rude is never right, no matter what your opinion is.

There are some shows and some authors and even some genres that I just can’t stand. But I have a choice to vote with my feet or to sit here and needlessly bash the hard work of others. Now, seriously, what would the point of the latter be? It won’t change the existence of the work or the fact that I don’t like it. The creators behind the work are not going to sit up and go, hey, you know that blogger has a point, I should just change my entire vision to suit her.



Entertainment is About Being Different

If every author, television producer and movie script writer catered exclusively to my tastes, well the rest of you would probably be pretty bored and sooner or later, so would I. The confluence of different ideas, different writing styles and even the evolution of some characters, are what we – and I do mean we – authors and writers and creators want to do. The goal is to nurture an idea until it takes on a life of its own.

I have loved series that I ended up hating because they went in a direction I didn’t like. Now I could post until I’m blue in the face, bashing the author, but why? It’s his or her creative vision. He or she has followed it down the rabbit hole on the magical journey to see where it goes. I’ve been highly skeptical about other shows or books, because the idea of it sounded – too different – too changed – too unfamiliar.

But when I gave them the chance, some truly startled me by how much I enjoyed them. I enjoyed the fact that they were different and radically unlike anything I would have done. Now, arguably, I haven’t liked everything, but I can vote with my feet. I don’t have to watch it. I don’t have to read it. No one forces me too.

Vote with Your Feet

As a soap opera fan for going on three decades, I have the power to turn it off when I don’t like it. The writers, they are doing their job. They are creating their vision. The actors, they are doing their job and playing a part. They are not responsible for whether you tune in or tune out. So don’t take your frustrations out on them.

Or as my grandmother used to say, if you don’t have anything constructive to say, then don’t say it. You can discuss, intelligently, what you don’t like without resorting to name calling and hair pulling. Authors, writers, creative types of all ilk – we like to hear what you’re thinking. We want that feedback. What we don’t want is to be attacked, vilified or made to feel horrible. I don’t expect that every word I’ve written will be enjoyed by all. Heck, my mother couldn’t finish my first book, bless her heart, she tried three times and has never been able to get through it. My sister-in-law can’t stand the genre and didn’t bother to try.

But neither one tried to make me feel bad for writing it even if they didn’t like it. So whether you love something or you hate it or you just can’t get into it – be respectful and be polite. The more vitriol you spill, the less likely anyone is to take you seriously – but present an intelligent, compelling and well-thought out dissent and you just might make your point.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I'm a big believer that you can disagree with something, but you can choose to not watch, read, etc.

    Thanks for putting it into such nice words!