Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Cycle of Hatred

Let's be honest, as you read this there are already some people out there getting irritated. You're thinking that I should shut up and get back to mocking movies. But here's the thing, that attitude is a part of what inspired this. It's not all of the inspiration behind this though. Oh no, there's a lot more to this than a simple offhand thought a percentage of my readers have while I meander through my opening paragraph. No, this is about an alarming trend in this large community populated by the outcasts of society who have strong opinions about whether Civil War was a good idea for a movie. I had my reservations about it, especially considering how shitty that story was.

It's actually a little scary though, because this whole thing reminds me a lot of the coming election.

Mark Millar's bad writing aside, there is a problem in our community that scares me more than the prospect of Führer Trump's toupe gaining sentience and leading us headlong into the Fallout-style apocalypse, complete with giant mutant chameleons and cockroaches big than my feet. It's all the blind, seething, often unwarranted hatred that so many geeks have lobbed at one another. Whether it be something as simple as not shipping Marceline with Princess Bubblegum or something more involved, like admitting you like a reviled movie, it is a very real thing. Every single day I get on this computer and I read various things about our overarching community of various geeks. Sadly, more and more I find myself in awe of how terrible we can all be towards one another. Someone actually told another person to kill themselves because they didn't have problem with the Nat/Bruce thing in Age of Ultron.


"People got pissed off that we didn't fuck? Wow."
Now, sure, it's fine to disagree. We're all different people, our tastes will not always coincide exactly with one another. No harm, no foul. But then, shit like that happens and I think back to my childhood. Comics weren't accepted as widely as they now are. Superheroes were still seen as strictly for young children and guys who read comics were doomed to die alone. This was the way society saw things and, to a degree, still does. Same goes with video games, b-movies, and even things like books. Society programs everyone to think there's something wrong with liking things that aren't popular, because that means you're not "normal". Even as a comic fan, I was a bit on the fringe, sitting there with my Conan and Vampirella books while other geeky kids discussed their less violent comic selections.

Meanwhile, at home, I was letting my sister dress me up in a pretty dress and makeup, because I was so very pretty.
Now, in this climate where we all found ourselves often bullied and belittled for simply loving the things we love, we sought out others like ourselves. Other geeks to weather the storm, because it's better to have someone along for the ride. You carry the weight together. Though it seems as the internet became more and more of thing people easily had access to, something changed in many people who once had the backs of others. They were now quicker to snap at one another via their keyboards, to go on long tirades about how the groups of fans suck because of this reason or that, and then they'd feel secure because they had the shield of the internet to protect them from ever having to think of people as actual people. It was society programming us to become what we grew up running from rather than just being ourselves.

Because in reality we're all stereotypes that all live in basements and never go out into the light of day.
Then again though, maybe that's not a fair assessment. Maybe it's more apt to say that not all of us are really capable of being friendly and good to one another, despite not sharing the same view on a comic or movie. Some of us really are just assholes who seem to delight in the suffering of our peers. For an example of this, one need not look any further than the "fake geek girls" bollocks. In case you've been wandering the internet with blinders on for the last decade or so, the basic gist is that women cannot possibly be real geeks unless the dress and behave a very particular way. Along with this train of thought comes the idea that when attractive women dress up in a costume for a convention, they're only looking to get attention and don't really care about what they're dressing as.

Which has resulted in some "fanboys" embarrassing theirselves in spectacular fashion.
Look, the idea that someone needs to fit into some narrow standards just so they can be a member of this community is, quite frankly, idiotic. Those women spend time, effort, and money to dress up. They do this out of love, not because they desperately want to be added to anyone's spank-bank. Leering at them like they're meat isn't cool and neither is claiming that they're somehow not a real fan. The irony is that most of the assholes who whine about this never even attempt to make a costume to wear. They don't put in that dedication or sacrifice that time to show their love off. No, they go and stare at the people who do and then insult them online. They spout sexist remarks and even sometimes do things like grope them, because they believe a sexy costume justifies this behaviour. They tear at our community by being massive dickheads and it often feels like it never stops.

Then they go and whine about how we've got another female lead in a Star Wars movie, because of course they do.
Those of you who stop over at my Tumblr and Facebook might recall that not too long ago, following my almost review of BvS, something seemed to have happened to me personally. I withdrew a bit and took some time to myself. I didn't think I'd talk about it here, but I feel like I need to because it echoes my points. I had this friend that I met a few years back. We didn't agree on everything, but we got along well enough despite our differences. Then there was this thing about a sexist slogan on a t-shirt. It was a minor thing, nothing at all worth ending a friendship over...except when it turns into said friend using you as a symbol for their hatred of "PC culture" encroaching on their turf. After that, I dropped him as a friend, because I don't let personal attacks fly. We were still in groups together though, so I agreed to peacefully coexist. Then BvS happened, I defended the rights of critics to have an opinion, and he told me that my chosen career was meaningless.

Shockingly, I did not take that well.
I called him out for being a rather blatant hypocrite, what with him being a massive critic of the New 52. That was a part of how we got to know one another in the first place. He then accused me of writing hateful things about Christians and showed his ass on the BGAN Facebook page when I blocked him after he began spamming me. I defended my profession and the right of others to have a differing opinion, he turned it all into a massive personal attack against me. I won’t lie, having a former friend go out of their way to attack me in a personal manner really got to me. This was a guy who used to try and cheer me up when I was depressed, who invited me to his home, and just generally seemed like he had my back no matter our differences. This same guy turned around and told me that my career was unimportant, I had no value, and that I was “a simpering man-baby who’s literally a walking stereotype for men with vaginas“. That’s a direct quote.

Now personally, I have no problem at all with men who happen to have vaginas. Buck Angel seems pretty cool to me.
One of my closest friends attacked me multiple times, harassed me, and belittled me because I didn't bend to his will. This guy is literally the posterboy for bad fan behaviour. I never attacked him, ever made light of his faith or views, never insulted his goals. All I ever did was stand up to him and I was repaid with aggression and hatred. He lashed out at me as best he could to the point where I excised him completely from my life. We're not in the same groups anymore, there is no more coexistence, there is just a hairy writer talking about a stressful week he had to his readers because it is a great example of how far fans can fall into the much and mire. Nothing is going to change if we don't try. We need to acknowledge the problems and work towards being more tolerant as a community. Because I don't know about you, but I don't like being seen as a stereotype when I say I'm a geek. I want people to see that geeks are people first and not an abrasive group of potential bullies and leches.

"Howard, I think this guy just mentioned you on his blog."
 I'm not a victim...we all are. As long as we let shit like that slide, we're open to the repeating cycle of hatred that has gone on for some of us ever since our childhood. It's unacceptable to me that we as a community can't rely on one another for support when it becomes more and more obvious that society still wants to beat us up and push us down. We fight over sexist and racist creators who don't care about us and try to tear one another down in the exchange. We make excuses for big studios and directors when they make bad calls and then spew hate at anyone who challenges those excuses. I am not a naive man who thinks we'll erase these problems. I'm just a guy who is speaking his mind on something he cares about, hoping that maybe it will help even a little bit. If what I said means something to even a single person reading this, then I think it was worth it. Until next time, I'll be here, wishing you all a great week. Later days, bleeders.

I'll talk about a movie next time, probably.

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