On Fandoms and other Ramblings in Book Five: Working Through the Maze 2018

  • Dec. 7, 2018, 1:37 p.m.
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Wow. It didn’t take long for fandom as a thing to be turned into a weapon. This isn’t new and it isn’t news but the fact that it is becoming more and more THE STORY of fandom is a tragedy.

I was into Comic Books before every movie was a Comic Book story. I was into Star Wars when people actively tried to shame me for reading Star Wars Books. I was into Dr. Who before there ever was a Rose Tyler. I was watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer every week as it was released and told that “it’s a goth Dawson’s Creek.”

And yet enter the internet.

The Internet was supposed to be a wonderful place where fans could find each other and realize that, even if they were alone geographically, they weren’t alone in the fandom. Maybe you couldn’t personally find anyone else in your whole town that wanted to talk about Spawn… but on-line you had your pick of forums and webpages!!

But it’s all gone toxic now.

The Buffy Forum?
Unless you ship Spuffy (Spike & Buffy), you’re a homunculi. Unless you think Xander is a poster boy for Toxic Masculinity and “one of the show’s real monsters”… then you’re a privileged white male defending toxic masculinity itself. Say any negative things about Spike (a homicidal vampire that tried to murder and rape the protagonist) and they’ll jump on you for “not understanding the nuance of what Joss was trying to say!”
LISTEN UP, CHILDREN… when you ask for details about something that happened behind the scenes… I’m the guy that answers those questions. Why was there an episode of Angel where Wesley goes to visit his father? Alexis was on his honeymoon. Why was The Anointed so talked up only to be killed off in a lame manner? Over the summer break, the child actor hit a major growth spurt and looked totally different; as Vampires can’t do that, they had to cancel the character. So… maybe… just maybe… treating people like me like shit because we “prefer Buffy with Riley or Angel”… or because “Xander was actually a perfect example of what it was like to grow up as a male with mostly female friends in the late 90s”… maybe a really shitty thing to do.

Doctor Who?
Hold on to your butts! Apparently, a shape changing time traveling space alien who is several centuries old MUST BE A WHITE MALE or people lose their ever loving shit. What? And here’s the thing… I’m sometimes the guy that legitimately makes claims like that! If they rebooted the X-Men and turned Scott Summers into Scarlet Summers but kept everything the same as Scott (parentage, history, family, relationships, etc)… I’d be SUPER annoyed. Or if you decided to make the Human Torch black randomly (without changing his sister’s ethnicity or their back story)… I’d be SUPER annoyed. Because that isn’t an in-universe “story established” change. That is a desperate attempt to take a well-known well-historied character and switch something to “market diversity.” THAT ISN’T DIVERSITY. If Dwayne McDuffie were still alive, HE could teach you about positive and effective diversity inclusion in comics. But that ISN’T what happened in Dr. Who! Dr. Who established in previous seasons (1) Time Lords can change their form down to the atomic level; (2) Time Lord regeneration is semi-random in form selection and rarely predictable; (3) There are Time Lords of different skin colors and genders; (4) Time Lords can go between genders at each regeneration (man to woman to man to woman); (5) Though there are strict rules to regeneration, those rules can and are broken all the time. The Doctor can be a woman and Jodie Whitaker is a lovely actress. I think she’s doing very well. But so many people are shitting all over her and her debut season!! Like… guys… these are brand new show runners and a brand new doctor and brand new companions… they aren’t going to come out of the gate perfect… give them at least two seasons before you start acting like this is “The End of Dr. Who” for crying out loud!

And don’t even get me STARTED on Star Wars Bros. UGH! I remember when it was an inclusive and welcoming place. The cute chick at the other table knows the difference between a Y-Wing and a B-Wing? Invite her over to eat lunch with us, man! The Asian dude has an original Kenner Greedo figure? Holy shit, that is awesome! The black guy over there does an amazing Salacious Crumb impression, you need to hear it! But now?? Fuck… the actors themselves are getting the ever-loving shit bullied out of them and are fleeing Social Media spaces due to the abuse!

AND as I’ve always railed against… the popularization through movies and tv have created a separation where we need to spell fans different somehow.... ala Vampire vs Vampyre. NOT that fans of the movies and tv shows aren’t “real fans”… but it complicates and creates awkwardness where it shouldn’t be. If you tell me that your favorite Comic Book Character is Deadpool… I’m going to at least expect you to know about his complicated relationship with the character Lady Death. If you say, “No, dude. Like… the movies.” Then I’m going to feel annoyed because… you don’t like the Comic Book Character, you don’t know the Comic Book Character… you like the Movie Character. If you say that you like the X-Men and your favorite character is Alex Summers… I’m going to want to talk about Havoc’s streak of going from good guy to bad guy and back all over the comic books. If you stare at me blankly and say, “No. I mean Lucas Till.” I’m going to be annoyed. And do you know where (honestly) some of that annoyance comes from? You outed me. You tricked me into revealing something about myself that (at least at one time) was something that could cause me trouble were it to be known about. I’m saying upfront it is not to the same social or safety risk of being outed as gay. But in a small, teeny, tiny, minuscule way.... it feels like that. Like someone comes over to you and says, “Dude, look over there. Hot, right?” And you say, “Yeah! He hits the gym hard!” But the other person looks at you blankly and says, “I was talking about the chick.” There’s this fundamental feeling that, even though it was a misunderstanding… it is embarrassing and frustrating and annoying.
BUT ON THE OTHER HAND… we (fans) shouldn’t be dicks in those situations either. If someone says that they are excited for the Green Lantern Corps. movie, I would be acting rudely if I attacked them and said, “You’re not a real fan! Who is the Muslim Green Lantern? Don’t know. Yeah, thought not. Douche.” And there are people out there like that. (Simon Baz, by the way).

As silly as it may sound… all of this is one of the reasons why I kind of hope Nerds, Dorks, Geeks, and Fanatics go out of style again soon. Yeah, it can be lonely being the only person you know with a devoted love and encyclopedic knowledge of every student at UA High. But where there is passion, there will be people to share it with you (Cons are always going on somewhere!) I’d rather pare back to that rather than keep going as we are.
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In other news, but still fandom I suppose:

Mortal Kombat 11 has an official Announce Trailer and Release Date! I missed it and look forward to deep analysis later tonight when I get home but… I am excited.

In a weird way.

Many people I know that love fighting games can’t wait to get the game and play it on-line, beating down opponents from across the globe online! I… I am not that guy. I actually hate playing fighting games online against other people. Couch Battle? Sure! No problem at all. Online? Not my thing. We can analyze for days on that but I suspect it comes with the individual mono-a-mono feel on top of the “this is our only interaction” aspect. Maybe. ANYWAY… while people get hyped up about these games for that aspect… I’ve always loved the Mortal Kombat story and characters and gameplay. Which is saying something because there was no Story Mode in these games for a LONG time.

In Mortal Kombat 1, there were no “friendly” ways to finish a fight. But I knew the backstories of the characters and (say) I would never use a fatality from Johnny Cage when fighting Sonya Blade.
In Mortal Kombat 2, there was still no Story Mode… but they added Friendships and Babailities. Many fans thought these were stupid or juvenile. I loved them as I found them to be an important missing piece. MK2, the characters know each other better, are more familiar with each other’s stories and motivations. So, Liu Kang fighting Kung Lao… that’s not going to end with a fatality, we’ll do a Friendship. Shang Tsung fighting Reptile… he could kill him outright or he could turn the Assassin into a baby, raise him all over again, and make him a better assassin: Babality.
And yes… this is the kind of thing I was thinking as I was playing these games back in the early 1990s!
So as these games grew, developed, became larger, got better funding… it was fun and fascinating to see how the graphics improved, how story was refined, how the background mythology grew and changed. They added Story Mode, took bold choices (like killing Liu Kang and Shao Khan outright), then used Story Mode to literally go back in time (in the game, MK9) and re-write everything so that the future of the game could have a more concrete Story-Based beginning. And then the sequel to that game (MKX) did something even more risky for a seasoned franchise… instead of saying “We’re in the same time, roughly, and we’ll reuse our fighters in every game” they went the opposite direction. 20 years in the future. Old Characters have aged, died, or retired. New Characters including old characters’ children are introduced to the roster. Entire civilizations have changed, evolved, grown. After 10 games… they made the bold choice to change a shit ton of things and write a story they’d never written before. And that was the last game.

So I’m really excited to see what Mortal Kombat 11 has in store!!

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Trial List came out for January. The good news is that most of the cases aren’t mine. I have a few on the list. Some that I think I could absolutely slam dunk in court… some that I’m more shaky about. Who knows if anything will actually go, of course. I mean.... we have 4 pages of cases that should really be tried that day but our unfortunate pattern of late has been “One of you needs to confirm that you are ready to go. Okay Case A? Fine. Case B and C get ready, too, in case Case A pleads. All other cases, consider your pleas again and we’ll schedule you for next month.” And then… Case C takes a plea deal. And then Case B files a motion delaying. And at the last possible moment, Case A takes a plea. Meaning… yeah, we settled three more cases. But now there is a trial day we’re just… not using. Which we don’t like as that means we’re not using our trial dates wisely.

That being said… I’m looking forward to the weekend and simultaneously not. Like… SUPER excited to see my friend!! But… another weekend of no video games, no sex, and lots of sitting. Hopefully, I can convince MBFITWW to come explore the new city with Wife and I for a bit during lunch tomorrow. What would be really smart (though… not likely possible) would be to take MBFITWW to the bar on Saturday Night and see if he can meet somebody.

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Comfortably Numb December 07, 2018

Curious, what did you think of them casting Idris Elba as Roland in the The Dark Tower? Considering race was crucial to the Detta/Odetta/Susannah/ Roland storyline in the entire (book)series, did you find it disconcerting?

Park Row Fallout Comfortably Numb ⋅ December 07, 2018

I have to confess, I'm not familiar with the source material nor did I see the movie. So I can't really speak to that.

Catleesi December 11, 2018

To compare being outed as being gay and being outed as a comic book lover? Really?! That's some type of privilege right there.

Different people like various versions of characters. I might not like Tulip in the graphic novels but I love Ruth Negga's version of her, it really brought her character to life. In fact, a lot of people have picked up the source material in order to see where these characters originated from. I think it's kinda crappy to tell people how they need to love something, ie: the gamer gurl bs, and gatekeeping.

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