- We gotta ditch spoiler culture. Seriously, it’s a fucking disaster. A culture terrified of spoilers is a culture terrified of in-depth analysis. Look, I’m sorry, but spoilers just aren’t real, or at least they aren’t in the vast majority of cases people freak out over, and ultimately tiptoeing endlessly and desperately around spoilers makes it impossible for reviewers to address oppressive dynamics within media, or to warn people of potential actual triggers.
- Alongside this, we need to ditch this idea that creators know the “optimal” way for their stuff to be read. I could pick a really obvious example here and talk about the fan reconstruction of George RR Martin’s A Dance of Dragons and A Feast for Crows into a combined single book--that certainly challenges the idea that there’s one “right” way to read a thing!--but instead I’ll reference the absolutely ridiculous case recently where a toy “”””spoiled”””” an apparently major part of the new Star Wars movie: namely, that the main character gets a lightsaber. Yes, the main character… of a Star Wars movie… gets a lightsaber.
Disney filed a DMCA takedown of the image of the fucking toy, it was ludicrous.
Anyway, it’s this environment in which Jroth and others were able to manipulate, lie to, and exploit The 100’s queer fanbase. All this enabling shit, all this “mystery box” twee nonsense, has gotta go.
- We might need to start thinking about whether or not the whole idea of supermassive fanbases is viable anymore if we want there to be an equitable relationship between creators and fans. This is tough for me because, like, covering stuff like the Marvel Cinematic Universe is literally my job. I’m paying fucking taxes this year on my Patreon income, this is serious now, and I do, functionally, have to keep writing about super popular shit if I want to make bank. But I think maybe it’s worth considering whether we might, as fans, focus on forming smaller groups around smaller works, where the layers of insulation between creators and fans aren’t so thick.
- On that note, moving towards a distributed model for fandoms seems like a pretty good idea. I know that’s going to be a tough, long term series of experiments but the most positive fandoms seem to be ones where the boundary line between fan and creator is blurry and fans feed into the production not of the promotional material for a thing, but the production of the media object itself.
- The fifth thing I want to note here is a little bit more nebulous but I’ll try to explain by example. After Lincoln’s death on The 100 I looked at fan reactions, and one of the things I quickly noticed was a whole lot of black and white slow motion shots of this black man getting graphically shot through the head. And that was kind of sickening to me, because it represented a kind of aestheticization of a very real, very present and contemporary trauma. Challenging the aestheticization of trauma is something I think maybe fans need to do a little more, whether it be this event, or the defenses of extreme violence against women in Game of Thrones as part of the show’s “daring” or whatever. Let’s… I don’t know, let’s at least be a little bit more self-reflexive about this stuff maybe?
- And on that note, let’s stop being such simpering fucking suckups, let’s stop treating showrunners like golden gods blessing us with their presence on this mortal plane. I mean, I’m sorry, but like this article for example? This isn’t journalism. Protip for all the obsequious little hacks out there: if you talk about how there’s “no winning on twitter” it’s really obvious that all you give a shit about is your own byline. It’s time we called this behavior out, both when professional journalists do it, and when fan communities make rules (No non-official sources! It’s junk!) that enshrine this creator hero worship.
- If there’s anyone we should be treating well, it’s the marginalized members of our communities. If we see marginalized people being treated like shit then yeah, I do think that it’s important for us to speak out and even walk out. Look, no one’s saying you can’t watch The 100. The Pirate Bay still exists last time I checked, folks. Enjoy whatever you like, but if a major part of the fanbase says “this narrative and these showrunners have personally victimized me,” don’t keep giving the show your money, your ratings, and ultimately your labor power.
COMING SOON: NEIGHQUIEM FOR A DREAM! A COLLECTION OF ESSAYS ON MY LITTLE PONY