Dec. 12th, 2012

lazypadawan: (Default)
Friday Dec. 14 is this year’s Wear Star Wars Day/Share Star Wars Day, which was started in 2010 in response to a little girl at school being told by her classmates that Star Wars wasn’t for girls. There was a huge outpouring of support for the tot and her mother has in the meantime written a book about bullying and hosted a panel on the topic at Celebration VI. Then after Celebration VI, the troops rallied again against a news site that posted a slideshow with disparaging remarks about cosplayers and attendees. I wouldn’t have called it bullying but many fans did and let the news site have it. The site was wrong and what it did was irresponsible journalism.

The irony is with this and with so much media attention on “bullying” is the total lack of self-awareness about the lousy way fans, geeks, or whatever you want to call them treat each other.

For all of the Free To Be Me flag waving, fandom hammers down the nails that stick up all of the time. Both fan-run and professional sites expect “us” to hate on this or hate on that and if we don’t, we’re going to be harassed, trolled, and get called every name in the book. Did this even come up at the Celebration VI panel on bullying? Somehow I doubt it. Bullying is what mundanes do to you, not what you do to other people. This is why I laugh at the occasional calls for “civility.” Where are those calls for civility when people are calling for Lucas’s murder? Where are those anti-bullying forces when the RLM cult starts attacking fans who defend the prequels? Would fans have rallied to this little girl’s cause had she been teased online for liking Jar Jar or the Ewoks? Call me skeptical. It wouldn’t even have merited attention.

A prime example of this lack of self-awareness is how this guy on i09 one day tried to claim without proof that Rick McCallum was fired by Disney, then a few days later was horrified at an anonymous fan being so bothered by a show of Star Wars philanthropy he had to tell Nikki Finke, who was also disgusted at guys helping to rebuild a house. Dude, you just tried to trash someone’s professional reputation and character. You and that hateboy share the same DNA. You’ve helped create and perpetrate a culture where ANYTHING in Star Wars is considered an affront and an outrage to the aggrieved fanbase and that justifies any reaction in response.

Sometimes on The Mary Sue or on some feminist type’s blog you’ll see outrage directed at some jerk’s sexist or demeaning comments about cosplayers, female gamers, female fans, and so forth. But so long as their politically correct sensibilities are not offended, they really don’t care about what else goes on.

Too often, fannish cruelty, harassment, trolling, and all-around dirtbag behavior are shrugged off as “passion” or “enthusiasm” or just expressing an opinion. Moderators are often too busy or too lazy to do anything about it and even if they aren’t, the rabble cries censorship. There’s a reason why online discussion is dominated by aggressive, hateful creeps. They chase off everybody else.

The goals behind Wear Star Wars/Share Star Wars Day are good ones but you can’t knock bullying as a problem in society if you’re ignoring it in your own backyard.

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