I know how this story ends

Posted: March 15, 2011 by alexthechick in Bipartisan FAIL, Hotassery, Moronosphere

In the other half of my internets life, I am (or was we’ll get to that) deeply involved in various fandoms, mostly writing fandoms focusing on music and tv shows. As the internets have grown and technology has advanced, fandom has changed a great deal. Anyone remember tape trees? You know, where people would religiously videotape a show/movie/whatever and then send it off to the next people on the list. This mutated into burning media onto cds/dvds and sending those off. Now? Well, there’s an expectation that anything, anything at all, will be available for download through legal or extralegal means within minutes of the show ending. The whole spoiler concept is flying out the window with twitter. Fandom has changed, I will admit it.

Some things, however, remain the same. Fandom tends to bring out the worst in people. Hell, those of us who are now bitter old fandom queens can tell you exactly how any new fandom will progress, no matter what it is. First, YAY SHINY NEW OMFG YOU GUUUUUYYYYSSSS THIS IS SOOOOOOOOOOOO AWESOME! Second, minor fights over what character is best. Third, stratification and accusations of elitism. Fourth, and the really really fun one, the ‘ship wars. (We’ll also get back to that) Fifth, Airing of Grievances and Recriminations Ahoy! Sixth, bitter old fandom queens roll their eyes and yawn because they’ve seen this all before. Seventh, parts of fandom storm off in a huff. Eighth, Mocking. Every fandom. Every time.

I bring this up because recently I’ve been struck more and more by the not at all original observation that the political blogosphere is now simply one big fandom. Really, it is. Sure, we can all dress it up as much as we want but much of what goes on at Ye Olde Blogs boils down to fannish behavior, pure and simple. It’s all the same, it really is. Yeah, important things may be discussed but the reaction and the group responses exhibit the same hallmarks. There’s the BNFs (Big Name Fans) who more or less rule the fandom. What they say and post drives the conversation. The responses to those posts are frequently less about the contents and more about who it is that’s writing the post. Think I’m wrong? I triple dog dare you to read the comments to anything Gabe puts up at the HQ. It doesn’t matter what he’s talking about, usually within about 50 comments the gay bashers will arrive to attack Gabe personally. There’s the stratification and the division between the old vanguard and the new whippersnappers (GET OFF MY LAWN) who don’t know or care about the social norms of the community. There’s the in jokes and the long running rivalries and the sucking up. There’s the inability of anyone (not me no I would never) to let go of certain slights. There’s the sniping and passive aggressiveness and every single thing that led me to tell fandom to go FOAD.

I mentioned above that I was deeply involved in fandom. I’m not now. I got sick of the drama and the teenage girlishness and the focus on disagreements and the general constant asshattery. I submit that is precisely what most of political blogging has become, particularly in comment sections. It’s just unpleasantness on parade.

This brings up to the ‘ship wars. Ship is short for relationship and refers to what pairing a person prefers in fandom. Hell hath no fury like fangirls fighting about Harry/Hermione vs. Ron/Hermione. Do not even get into the Team Edward v. Team Jacob thing. Guess what? There’s not a single bit of difference between ‘ship wars and the arguments about presidential candidates. The Palin arguments are the same thing. Exactly the same thing. No one is going to convince anyone of their position. No one is going to change anyone’s minds. It stopped being about Palin a long, long time ago. Now? Now it’s all about what side you’re on and who’s wrong and how awful and stupid and hateful and wrong and icky the other side is. Those of us who stand there going hey, there’s room here for all of us are ignored.

Look, there’s this big fight in fandom about how female fans hate female characters. I’ve grown sick of being accused of having my actual reasons why I don’t like a female character ignored. I do comprehend why those who don’t like Palin for actual reasons get blindly furious at being accused of having other reasons really driving it. The other side of that is that it’s really really infuriating to have valid comments about people hating for non-legitimate reasons be ignored. Yup, there are female fans who simply hate female characters. Yup, there are those who hate Palin for elitist reasons. Pretending that doesn’t exist is as invalid as pretending that legitimate reasons to not be a Palin fan exist.

From my lofty bitter old fandom queen position, I’m going to hand out this advice to both sides. Stop being bitches. Seriously, stop it. I know, I know, I’m the worst example of being the better person but do as I say and what not. If you the poster want to have an actual, reasonable discussion about a controversial topic, then act reasonably. If you start out being all but but whhhhyyy do you haaaaaatttteeee meeeeee, well, you’ll get comments providing you a handy detailed explanation. If you the commenter are being baited, ignore it. Seriously, ignore it. Starve the beast.

As for me, I’m going to sit back, eat popcorn and watch the fun. After all, I know how this story ends. Trust me, I lived through the Spike redemptionista wars in Buffydom. The Palinista thing? Pffffffft. Amateurs.

Now. Your reward for the tl;dr.

Comments
  1. Skylia Z Ember says:

    This is why I love your rants. They include hotassery.

  2. doubleplusundead says:

    May explain why I’ve been getting so burnt out on some of this.

  3. tangonine says:

    Alex,

    1) I forgive you for the NIGHTMARE WALL OF TEXT I had to wade through to get to your point

    2) I value you enough to wade through it

    3) Fuck ’em

    4) I’m not a woman, so, as a guy, I’m immune to the myriad undercurrents of subversiveness and treachery that you girls call “home.” We just fucking ignore it. Works for us!

    • alexthechick says:

      1) I forgive you for the NIGHTMARE WALL OF TEXT I had to wade through to get to your point

      Heh. The NIGHTMARE WALL OF TEXT is actually part of the joke, at least to me. If you’ve read the HQ today you’ll know why. Aww and thanks for the love, it means a lot.

  4. tangonine says:

    Oh, yes, and I ❤ you alex.

  5. doubleplusundead says:

    And Ace’s comments have really been a sewer for a long time, I don’t even try to read ’em.

  6. doubleplusundead says:

    And I don’t fault Ace and the cob-loggers for it, there’s no fucking way they can babysit like it requires.

  7. MCPO Airdale says:

    So, may I assume that an email will be forthcoming on my anticipated banishment?

  8. Mark E says:

    Good post.

    Brings into focus why some of my ‘favorite’ sites don’t get a visit anymore. After a while there is no new conversation, just repeats.

  9. HayZeus says:

    If I were the Puppy Blender, I’d link this with a “Heh. Indeed!” In normal times, the stakes might keep things a little more interesting but since we’re essentially talking about electing the next deck chair co-ordinator of the Titanic? Yeah, not so much.

  10. Tubal says:

    Ya know Alex, yer right. I was reading the comments on the Palin thing at Ace, and it was just Middle School clique shit. Bunch of hormonal assolescentry. All seriousness about the matter is slapped down.Yer pretty smart. Palin is the cool kid right now and the 7th and 8th graders just love her – OMG is she wonderful! She might be but after wading through the worship in the comments, I had to go for a puke bucket. It’s Ozero’s acolytes all over again.
    Anyway, thanks for the perspective, Alex.

  11. ian cormac says:

    I agree, a snarky tone is uncalled for, I save that for other blogs, but when actual facts are presented, and they respond with perceptions, what’s the proper answer.

  12. Goober says:

    Yeah, well FUCK YOU…

    …Oh, wait, what were we arguing about?

  13. xbradtc says:

    Shit. Spike or Angel? (notice nobody really gives a shit about Riley Finn?)

    How about Lucas and Peyton or Lucas and Brooke?

  14. Not that Greg says:

    Can we make “hotassery as palate cleanser” a rule for rants?

    The rant’s an interesting comparison. I generally don’t have the time or inclination to wade through dozens to hundreds of comments to a blog post, so I’m not really clued into the types of comments regularly seen at some places. (Honestly, who has the time to post 1,000 comments a week at one site?)

    Call me old school, but I prefer the usenet forum style of commenting, when you could see right away which topics to avoid reading the comments on. Any topic with over 20 comments/replies, and I feel safe skipping right on to the next topic.

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