Sunday, February 18, 2018

Toxic and Troubling Fandoms: A Discussion with John Kenneth Muir

Jeff Fountain of Geek Chic Elite interviewed me recently for a fascinating discussion about toxic and troubling fandoms (particularly as applied to Star Wars, The X-Files, and Star Trek: Discovery).

Here's a snippet:

"People are failing to understand how you use a story and how you use drama as a social vehicle and it’s getting scary to me, as someone who regularly views these things, that a portion of the audience is getting so dumb that you can’t see it. It’s like if you raise the issue of xenophobia, that’s not the same as being xenophobic. If you raise the issue of sexual harassment and Me Too -- of course, that was an underlying part of My Struggle III -- it was commenting on that, it’s of its time, but they don’t understand the difference between commenting on it and being the thing it’s commenting on. It’s really scary to me, it’s like we’re losing the capacity to realize that art has a responsibility, a legacy of commenting on social issues and just because those issues are raised, that doesn’t mean they’re endorsing the issues for heaven’s sake, they’re exploring them. It’s horrifying to me to read these comments on Facebook and Twitter, people just don’t get it."


  1. Anonymous2:00 PM

    The anger on line reflects what's going on in society at large. Violent protests to stop speakers at universities. Guests on news channels regularly equating a President with Nazi war criminals. Is there an over reaction to yesterdy's offenses? Probably, but for so long, some minorities only saw the most negative depictions of themselves in entertainment (Muslims, homosexuals, etc.). There is a very toxic atmosphere today, but I don't think it was better before when some groups weren't even allowed into the discussion.

    If people don't like a show, they have the option of NOT watching it. I'm not particularly thrilled with Discovery. It's not the 'Next Generation I grew up with, but that's no reason to hate it. On the other hand, critics hated "The Orville"... hating on it for being too much like 'Next Generation.

  2. Great interview. I also find it deeply troubling that new, different or challenging approaches to narratives get instant hate online. Those people seem to believe that they have to get exactly delivered what they wanted (whatever that may be) - and if the filmmaker go a different way they don't even try to think about it.

    It´s everybody's right to dislike something, absolutely. But is it necessary then to pour scorn and make snarky comments on a piece of art, just to score some cheap laughs or support? The internet has become a bully's playground, and instead of arguing and offering many opinions to stand side by side there is too often this "either you're with us or you're against us"-attitude.

    But art is not sports. There is no winning or losing team. Unfortunately, this is what the internet bullies want it to be.

  3. People have the right to dislike what they want.

    People have the right to express their dislike.

    People DO NOT have the right to attack, harass, and drive off those that express those dislikes.


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