Yup, I’m kicking that hornet’s nest.
See, this is a thing that bugs the shit out of me. I get that it’s a symptom of the times, and the ease of access with which fans can interact with creators and performers. And I am not having a “You kids get off my lawn” moment here. I think it’s neat. The first time I got a retweet and reply from someone whose books I reviewed and loved, I floated for days. Gods, if Chris Evans or Sebastian Stan ever did that, I’d probably stroke out. I’d die happy, but man.
So, yes, we do have an unprecedented amount of access to creators and performers than ever before, as well as political figures, and everyone else.
The problem is that some of us don’t seem to understand how to handle that sort of access, and need a time out.
The other day someone mentioned Chris Evans’s twitter feed, and the fact that it gets awful harass-y. I was curious, so I went and looked.
Sweet Zombie Jesus! As I told the Best Girlfriend in the World, it’s like he’s a woman on the internet, the kind of harassment he was getting.
All right, listen to me, children. Forcing someone to deal with your bullshit “come-ons” is just that; bullshit. It is harassment plain and simple. If you wouldn’t say it in person in front of your own mother, don’t fucking tweet it, assholes. (Would I say this in front of my mom? Have done. No big.) People do not need or want to know what you fantasize about them, unless they specifically ask you for that information. And even then I’d think twice about telling them, because they probably have no idea what they’re in for.
But then again, I’ve never really gotten the entitlement of that mindset, and while I know that women are not exempt from being aggressive shitlords, an awful lot of that behavior comes from dudes who need to sit down and think about what they’ve done. Back to Chris Evans, a lot of the harassment on his twitter feed echoes the grosser of the come-ons my gay male friends used to get back in the day when we clubbed a lot. There’s a tone to the words and how they’re put together that makes me go, “Dude. Cis white gay dude.”
Onto another example of fan entitlement, demanding authors and other celebrities bless your fanfic OTPs (that’s One True Pairing).
Again the amount of entitlement it takes to say to the author of a work, “I need you to validate my fantasy match up.” JK Rowling got a massive amount of static for not writing Harry and Hermione as a couple. Really? You’re telling the author of the thing you love that she did it wrong and you fixed it for her?
Now, I see nothing wrong at all with having non-canon pairings in your fic. Sometimes the best authors are unaware of the subtext, even when they’ve written it. And yes, sometimes authors choose the worst possible pairing (not in Rowling’s case, but yes, sometimes they do). But you don’t go and tell that to the author. No, just no. Especially when, as several authors have done, they’ve said they don’t want to see, hear or even think about fanfic.
And trying to get someone who isn’t the creator of that thing you like, but is marginally connected, to bless your OTP is just weird.
And onto the last case of fan entitlement I want to talk about: Creators are not your monkeys. Is it great when they finish things before moving on to other things, or dying? Yes. But shit happens, idea wells run dry, and mortality is a bitch. As much as I am not a fan of Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin is a pretty nice guy who has been more than gracious about all the people who keep harassing him to finish GoT. The quickest way to get a creator to tune you out is to start a sentence with, “I think you should…” Look GRRM is going to finish GoT or not, and if so he’ll do it on his own schedule. He’s not hurting for cash anymore and could never write another word again and be perfectly fine financially. I doubt that’ll happen, because writers write because they have this weird compulsion, but he could.
It is important, in this age of unprecedented access, to behave with some fucking decorum. Don’t send gross come-ons to people, whether you know them or not unless you know, KNOW, they’re into that. Don’t tell creators they’re wrong because they didn’t pair up the characters you wanted to see paired up. And don’t tell creators that they have to create a certain thing on a certain time schedule because you said so.
Now, yes, there are some criticisms you can make regarding works. You can point out that in a world heavily influenced by Chinese language and culture, hardly ever seeing Chinese-looking people is a little weird. You can point out that it is odd that an author can imagine a world with dragons, but not black people or women’s equality. You can point out toxic tropes. Politely.
You can tell actors (regardless of gender) you find them attractive, you think their work is awesome or that you thought they’d be perfect for X role (as long as you don’t disparage the person who got it).
Just be polite for fuck’s sake.
In the next month or so I’ll be starting up a Patreon for Geek Girls Rule! with a couple goals in mind. A. It will help cover domain registration and bandwidth, and maybe let me pay a few people to tidy up around the site. B. I have some things on deck that could be fun.
Concrete goals of the Patreon:
1. If I hit $150 a month I will start a video blog called Mickey Counts Down. These will be lists of things that make me extremely happy or extremely angry. As with the podcast, it will be unscripted except for the list. There may be cameos by the housemates.
2. If I hit $300 a month, I will get my ass to WisCon and blog all about it for all of you. Until you are sick of hearing about the awesome time I had there. I need to make enough to cover airfare, hotel and reg.
If both of those happen, I’ll come up with new things, I guess.