With Christmas now over (I hope everyone had a merry one!) the time has come to start looking ahead to 2017. The general consensus is that 2016 was the pits, so I think everyone is ready for a brand new year to begin. For the first time in a few years, I actually have some new year’s resolutions and I hope I’m able to maintain them.
I think, however, what we all really want every year is happiness. I know I do. We can’t control life and its many up and downs, but we can control what makes us happy. For me, there are a lot of things that make me happy. I love blogging, I love hanging out with friends, and I love watching TV.
I also love the Internet and its various circles. The problem with the Internet is that it’s a very awful place. So much hate and rudeness and intolerance and unpleasantness. It really is unfortunate that when humans come together online, this is the result. Of course, there are some great sites and communities and if you’re careful, you can enjoy them all with no troubles. I know this and try my best to do this. But due to my love for TV, I often find myself in various fandom spaces. I’m not that active but I do spend probably too much time scrolling through Tumblr and Twitter and Wordpress tags.
You’d think that since people in fandoms are just made up fans of whatever thing, it’d be a happy place of community and love. It can be, but usually for every few positive people, there’s a negative one, and negativity always has more of an effect. I don’t get it. Fandoms are supposed to be happy places. It’s strangers coming together to enjoy a show or a movie or a band or whatever. So why is there so much negativity? Why do some people feel the need to voice their negativity and spend so much time involved in something they hate? How is that healthy?
This isn’t about free speech. This is about people going out of their way to ensure that people know just how much they hate something. And that’s what I’ll never comprehend. Do you know what I hate? I hate Birkenstocks. I think they’re the absolute ugliest and most dysfunctional footwear out there. But I don’t tell people that. I don’t go finding pictures on Instagram or Tumblr and start spewing hate. Why would I? That’s a waste of my time and at the end of the day, nothing comes out of it. At most, if I was really desperate to voice my opinion on such a random thing, I’ll tweet something like ‘I’ll never find Birkenstocks attractive’ but that’s it. Because the makers aren’t going to see my comments and be like ‘oh, someone hates our thing, let’s stop making them’.
If you don’t like a thing, maybe making that clear a few times is fine, especially if you were once known to like the thing, but then MOVE ON.
If you want an example, take the Agents Of SHIELD fandom. In Season 1, everyone got along. Everyone was happy. All good in the hood. Then in the last quarter of that season, a major character (Grant Ward) took a turn and was basically revealed to be a double agent. While everyone can agree that the twist was shocking and made for great TV, it was sad to be betrayed like that. And that’s when the split happened. There were then three groups of people: people who hated Grant Ward and wanted him dead, people who stood up for him and understood that his childhood/mentors were what led to his downfall, and people who didn’t care either way but still liked the show.
And at first, this split was interesting. Seeing such vast differences in opinions on the same character was neat, as both had legitimate arguments. But eventually it got so intense, and I got so fed up. A lot of the people who stood up for Ward were so upset at the show for not addressing what they want addressed (topics of victim abuse and blaming and redemption) that they tried boycotting the show, writing essays upon essays about why the show, showrunners, and Marvel is a sham, and just making things unpleasant. It even turned from fans vs showrunners to fans vs fans, which is even worse.
I understand that they’re not happy. I get it, and they are allowed to be unhappy. But when they spend months and months just actively revelling in their anger and hate in a place like Tumblr, it becomes frustrating. Are these people really content with what they’re doing? Do they genuinely like spreading hate? Do they feel accomplished or that it’s a good use of time? I don’t get it.
If a show is making you unhappy, and so violently so, don’t watch it. Don’t think about it. Just move on and don’t let it consume your life. And the same goes for any book or movie or whatever.
Like I said, maybe expressing your dislike in a polite way once or twice is fine. Goodness knows I’ve done it. Just last week I tweeted that I was displeased with the Fantastic Beasts screenplay. But then I moved on.
At the end of day, what really irks me is that it’s all fictional. These are fictional characters in a fictional world and the only people who can control this are the writers and producers. We viewers have no power, as I’ve addressed before. Maybe expressing such hate on real-world issues like poverty or racism can be beneficial, but wasting so much time being negative about things that aren’t even real boggles my mind.
We live in a world where there is so much sadness and anger. We have people and celebrities constantly telling us to keep our heads up and do what we love and be happy. Fandoms and the Internet was a place where I and many likeminded people are trying to do that. It’s a place where we all could enjoy something and face the fact that we’re all just bystanders to what we see on TV. So it’s very upsetting that I can’t be as positive as I should anymore because I’m too busy getting upset at other people.
This coming year, whether you’re active in a fandom or not, do your best to stay positive. Keep things happy and calm as possible. I know it can be hard because sometimes things are so dumb you can’t help but express a little anger, but try to remember the task of happiness. Clearly, if something like a TV show or movie or something equally insignificant is making you that angry, you should get it out of your life. But you don’t have to ruin it for others.
Peace, y’all. Please.