Watch this video. My first reaction was to laugh and take the piss, which is the sort or thing I do and did indeed did last night when Peter Capaldi was named as the new Doctor Who. Then I looked at the comments under this, and even for Youtube comments which tend to be appalling, and I realised I wasn’t actually watching someone who shouldn’t be abused as she is, and frankly I felt like a cunt, not to mention being quite ashamed of myself especially after writing this blog.
Thing is the reaction to that video sums up exactly the point I was trying to make. That girl is gutted it’s not someone she wanted to happen in a programme you can genuinely see she loves from the start of the video. Yes, she might be shallow and an idiot. Yes it is funny initially but she doesn’t need the venom being spat at her, because frankly, a bunch of fans calling her ‘fake’ and worse is essentially sexist bullying of the type common in SF/comic, genre fandom, as is the pompous sense of entitlement as we can see if you for example wade through the typically moronic comments on sites like IO9.
As I’ve said, I think Capaldi is a spectacular choice, and any Possil boy doing good is going to get my support, and given the right scripts he could consistently hit the heights the programme often fails to hit. However throwing your toys out the pram because you don’t fancy him, or if it’s a choice you disapprove of because he’s been on the programme in another role and this is canon now, or if he’s a bit old, or if he’s got too much baggage on his CV, or any of the hundreds of frankly annoyingly pompous reasons fans are wheeling out just makes you look like a bloody halfwit.
Most of these people were throwing the same toys out the pram when Matt Smith took over because he was too young, or wasn’t David Tennant, or they didn’t know who he was, or he was too white, or too weird, or had a big chin, or wasn’t (insert name of vaguely well known American actor here), and on and on.
It’s the eternal frustration of the man-children that make up large swathes of genre fandom. It’s not what they want so why should they accept it because they’re a real fan and not a fake like that girl who clearly isn’t a real fan because real fans wouldn’t act like that!
Take a note of the reaction to the news that Frank Miller is consulting on the Man of Steel sequel. You have people moaning that he’ll make it ‘too dark’, or that he ‘hates Superman’ and all manner of gubbins without realising that again, the studio went ”dark” because they listened to fucking fans moaning that Superman films weren’t dark enough. Forget the fact that casual viewers seemed turned off, the fans were happy because people were being hit on screen.
Look at the campaign to reinstate Hal Jordan as Green Lantern. It ended up succeeding and in return spawned a countless load of piss poor superhero comics because an executive decided to give the fans what they wanted because they scweamed and sceweamed til they were sick and in return DC realised they were stuck with a mess. But fans got what they wanted which ended up being a horrible, horrible mess.
I could go on but I’d not know where to stop, but the fact is people listening to fans, only fans, and especially the most vocal fans is a really, really bad idea. By all means fans should be considered, but something like Who is for everyone again, which it wasn’t for decades, and as pointed out in this rather funny Bleeding Cool piece, the programme has been full of this sort of pernickity shite since the early days but it’s got worse as the internet has amplified people’s stupidity, bigotry, misogyny and general hatred to a stupid degree.
There is nothing separating the comments under that Youtube video to those the likes of Mary Beard has been getting. I’ve no problem with taking the piss and mockery, especially those pompous enough to proclaim themselves ”real fans” of something just purely in order to essentially stop any progress. After all if everyone watches Doctor Who, it’s not the preserve of ‘real fans’, but those sill wee lassies who don’t know the history, or those people who don’t realise Hal Jordan is the ‘real’ Green Lantern, and on and on in order to make what they love a ghetto for them rather than everyone for reasons I frankly can’t get my fucking head around.
As said, take the piss out of wankers for being wankers, but not because it’s a teenage girl who’s been disappointed because something she loves hasn’t turned out how she wants. Separate the reaction from her gender. Drop the sense of entitlement. There are other people on the planet. Grow up.