Friday, May 8, 2015

Some Recent, Personal Thoughts on Fandoms...


I don't know about you, but I've been a bit bitter about something lately...

Fandoms.

Now, like any person out there, am I a fan of something. My biggest passions are Disney and animation, second to that are things like music, collecting stuff, film, art, and autos, among other things...

But yet lately, I've been thinking about my "place" of sorts as a "fan" of something...

As I've matured over the years, I've seen how fandoms can be. Even in my post-high school life, I learn more and more about fandoms and how to look at them...

I've come down to a possible conclusion that fandoms can really be treehouses...

What do I mean by treehouses?

Well, when you're a kid and there's a treehouse, the other kids who are inside will only let you into the treehouse if you are "cool" enough or to their liking.

A lot of fandoms, from my experience, are like that too. It can hurt at first, being excluded or ignored or even spited by members of a fandom - if not people who make the very things that the fandom is based around...

But why do they do this... Is the bigger question? Why do people, for instance, dislike a fellow fan for embracing something a way that's different from his or her own? Why do fans dog on fans who may not like a certain thing that a creator/person makes/does? Why do some fans act rudely towards other fans just for existing?

And also... Who are fans to call someone else an "untrue" fan of something?

If someone doesn't know as much about a certain thing as you do, they can certainly still be a fan. They just have to learn things they didn't know before, that's all. Why be condescending to those types? Also, why disrespect their opinion and them? Even worse, if you make the things a fandom loves, why act like that? I think you should know better...

I'm no saint. I used to rag on certain kinds of Disney fans, but I was mostly aiming that venom towards their views... But I stepped back after getting similar flack and I realized... "Hey! They're people too! They just happen to embrace something differently..."

Then I look at other fandoms, I got the idea. Now I try not to get on people for having different views on things I love... It takes all kinds to make a world...

So... I don't want to be part of a treehouse. I don't need to "belong" to a group that deems me acceptable or cool or worthy. I love what I love, know so much about it, and am eager to find out new things about said thing... I think that makes me a fan of something, no? I think it does, and I think it makes you a fan too. So love what you love, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Treehouses, aside from ones adults build for fun/personal pleasure, are for little kids who don't know what the real world is like, why would you want to join some "cool" people club? Kids do that, adults - I feel - should know that they don't need to "belong" to something in order to validate themselves or their love for something...

Next time a fan of something or even a creator knocks you down for your take on something you love, keep loving it. You are not a bad person...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hypocrisy and... You Are Not Alone

Does anyone else out there get the sense that at least one person they've come across dislikes them for no reason whilst being nice to others and acting like a humble, all-around good person? I've had that, and I'm sure others out there have it too...

For a while, this sort of thing had bothered me. Let's just say that there are some people who don't really know me for who I am, that don't want to get to know me, or judge me based on one little thing or two, and wrote me off just like that. Meanwhile, said person is nice to pretty much everyone else he or she comes across, even people they aren't close with. And some of them even have the gall to talk about how people should be nice or better to others.

I can't be alone on this, right people?

Well, I thought I was until I saw someone who was... Well... Not very polite to a friend of mine in the past, and then later on proved how much of a hypocrite he was.

This friend of mine is an animation fanatic and believes that you shouldn't judge a film until it opens, following what another animation fanatic we both know likes to believe. Let's call this person J, and we'll call the other person - the not-so-polite person - the jerk. I don't want to drop names. The jerk also happens to be something of a well-known and well-liked YouTube celebrity of sorts, he's known for a webseries that a lot of people happen to like.

Back in early 2014, Disney announced that they were going to make a live-action reimagining of Dumbo. Of course, that was revolting news to damn near everyone in the film community. I certainly have no interest in it, and I will gladly skip it when it comes out, like I've done with the post-Alice in Wonderland Disney remakes. I also feel that remaking the film in live-action with a human side-story is ultimately an insult to Walt Disney's masterpiece. I really don't want it, plain and simple.

Anyways, the jerk tweets a few things on why Disney doing a live-action remake of Dumbo pains him. Okay, that's fine. It pained me in many ways too, as an artist, art-lover, animation lover, and aspiring animation writer/director...

Then my friend - J - tweeted to him. It was something along the lines of, "Yeah, go ahead and judge a movie that hasn't even been made yet." Keep in mind that J is a fan of Jerk's series on YouTube...

What he said wasn't criminal, because really, it's not all that fair to judge anyway. I understand I'm probably being a hypocrite myself by declaring the project an insult to Walt's classic, but I feel that is so, that doesn't mean that it is so. All subjective.

Moving on...

Then the jerk responds with venom, so much venom a black mamba would cower. He belted 4-5 "FUCK YOU"s in all-caps at him and blocked him. Nice guy, right? All because someone said "Don't judge it"? If someone told me that, I'd either ignore the person or be a civil about it.

J simply tweeted back to him, "You can block me if you want to", and then did a series of tweets on how he'll still watch the Jerk's show (tagging him in the tweets, no less) and how the response he got didn't bother him too much. Good thing he doesn't take those kinds of things to heart. I probably would've flipped!

Anyways, just recently, the Jerk tweets something on how you shouldn't judge films before they come out. A rather long-winded, passionate sounding one too. You would think this guy was completely against being judgmental about art!

Now does that sound right to you?

I certainly hope not.

That's like, to sort of paraphrase a great animation historian, a man throwing lit matches into a forest and then later becoming chief of the local fire department. I'm sorry, but in my book, a person like that is a... Well, I want to be as eloquent as possible... Okay, a jerk. And I've encountered similar people, and if you encounter those kinds of people, just take away this after reading what I had to say: You are not alone.

Don't beat yourself up, don't assume you are some inadequate loser, some people out there can be pretty terrible and dickish. I'm just glad my friend isn't the type of person who would fall into a deep depression or do something worse if he were to get bullied like that. He doesn't seem affected, so I give him massive kudos. I never had any personal contact with the jerk, but I don't think I'd want to.

It's also possible that the jerk realized his error and tweeted what he recently tweeted because he wanted to issue an apology of sorts to anyone he may have ripped apart for challenging his opinions. Either that, or he forgot that he ripped my friend apart. Either way, I feel he should be ashamed of himself. Even worse, he's an adult... What he did was something a dumbass 14-year-old would do. Inexcusable if you ask me.

So if this sort of thing has ever happened to you, don't feel bad. Maybe that person is a jerk or a hypocrite after all...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Going Too Far


To start this off, I will admit that I don't watch My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I don't really have any interest in watching it either, it just doesn't appeal to me. That being said, I don't deny that it probably is a good quality show. Obviously it is to a lot of people, it's getting great reception from animation fandoms and critics alike. It's said to be one of the better kid-family cartoons in the last 5 years or so, and also, it's a passion project by none other than Lauren Faust. It's got to be good, right? Or at least decent?

My theory is that many male millennials around my age (21) see something in the show that really appeals to them. It hits the right beats, it strikes a chord with them. That's totally okay, it can come from any form of entertainment be it a reboot of an 80s kids cartoon that was seen as "girly" to a blow-em-up action film that has little to no substance. I can relate to it: I will flat out admit that 21-year-old me still gets a kick out of classic Thomas the Tank Engine episodes from the first two seasons from the 1980s, it must be because of the auto/train nut in me (I love trains like Walt Disney did), maybe a dash of nostalgia, the way the early seasons were done. Ringo Starr's narration, also. I'm an animation fanatic through-and-through, and how they filmed this show is quite unique. And also, it's probably the show's accuracy of British railways during the 40s and 50s and British railway history in general... It was adapted from books by a railway enthusiast after all that were inspired by real-life British railway events, but at the end of the day, it was a show aimed at children and railway enthusiasts. It's probably not for young adults, but I still like it for all those reasons, I am not afraid to admit that.

This, for me, explains the Brony phenomenon. A quest for an answer to why it entertains these people is not rocket science to me, something in the show clicks with these viewers. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic speaks to these people in a way, and that's totally okay. It's not like it's something harmful to anyone's mind, it's a cute, colorful show about ponies. What's wrong with liking that?

On a side note, I praise the elementary school-aged kid who proudly admitted to liking MLP. The idiotic school administration told him that wearing an MLP backpack made him a target of bullying, because a lot of schools sadly can't be bothered with the task of combating bullying. I know this because I went through it myself...

Anyways, a group of individuals created an MLP mural that was later vandalized. I don't know where exactly, but I'm assuming it was in a big city. The person who vandalized it spray painted "Highest form of autism" over the artwork, signing it with an anonymous signature.

Sickening... Really sickening...

First of all, "autism" is now used as an insult. It's the new "retard", unfortunately. This has been going on for years, actually. "Retarded" was the insult that was "in" when I was in middle school and high school, and it's always used to describe something absurd, silly or stupid. A lot use the word not knowing what it really means or don't mean it against people with disabilities, but it's still a word that needs to be retired. Why was the word "retard" - which really means to pull back something or delay it - ever even used to describe people with disabilities to begin with? What mind thought of using that word to describe a group of people?

It's just really sad how "autism" is now being used like this. This is not a word that meant something else, this a word for a particular disability. It's even more insulting when people go as far as using that to degrade someone or a group of people who happen to have an interest in something that they don't get. Let's say you're a 15-20 year old who looks at something like MLP and sees "girly show for 4-year-olds". Years ago, the worst thing you could probably say to someone who likes the show is "You like a girly show! You're weird!" or "You're gay!" or "You're a manchild! Grow up!"

But now, in the year 2014, people say things like, "People who like that show must be autistic or something."

Just look at this... It was taken from 4chan. The image of the vandalized mural was posted there, and this individual wrote this:

"... bronies are seriously pushing the envelope in the being pathetic department. Even the smelliest, greasiest, most socially-impaired D&D, Magic, video game etc. nerd does something that’s male-oriented, skill-based and competitive to some degree. Bronies just took everything that’s the worst about geeky interests and synthesized it into 100% pure autism. Imagine a more embarrassing fandom."

Seriously? First of all, male-oriented? Why does something have to be male-oriented or female-oriented to begin with? Can't someone like anything? Sexist much? You're obviously a macho man who thinks men shouldn't like things that are considered "girly".

Thinking the Brony fandom is not nerdy enough or inferior or whatever is one thing (i.e. saying something like "that's not a true fandom"), but when you say something like "synthesized it into 100% pure autism", you are the one with the problem. Not the people in the fandom that you dislike, or people with disabilities.

Yes, it's from 4chan, I get it. But if this is what people are saying about fandoms or whatever, it should be known. Yes, this kind of ignorance actually exists. It's not a "they're retarded" when they really mean "stupid", no, it's this... Not even on Internet message boards anymore, but in public. On a mural people can see!

So, let's do a comparison.

Person A likes My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. He's a good, well-meaning person who is nice to others, does something he enjoys and that's that. He sounds like a person that's okay, right?


Person B doesn't understand why My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is popular with young adult males. Said person doesn't even think for a second about looking that up for a simple answer, no his reaction is simply "What a pathetic weirdo" or "That guy needs help."

Who is the one with the problem, now? It's really that simple...

If anything, the writer of that post on 4chan is "pushing the envelope in the being pathetic department". First of all, he's writing his schlock on the Internet and is not saying it to someone in person. He probably is too much of a coward to do so. Second, he sounds absolutely miserable. This person clearly has a hatred for bronies, he's going as far as saying that they are an insult to various geekdoms that he considers "true geekdoms" and goes as far as saying the "smelliest, greasiest, most socially-impaired" geeks who like things like D&D (again, "true geekdoms") are doing something that requires skill or is male-oriented or competitive.

Whoa hold up there... That's kind of contradictory.

So I'm guessing that if you don't play video games, Magic the Gathering or Dungeons & Dragons, you are not doing something competitive? What if I'm a huge fan of something like a TV show or movie series? Am I not doing something skill-based? Obviously not, I'm not playing a game - I'm loving a TV show that I watch. What's wrong with that? The post doesn't make sense now, thanks to the poster's angry disposition getting in the way of decent writing skills. If you're going to insult another fandom, at least do it right with a statement that's at least easy to read and is not contradictory.

But then, this poster goes as far as saying that the brony fandom takes the worst aspects of these geekdoms and processes it all into "100% pure autism"... On top of not making sense, it's an absolute insult to a completely different group of people who suffer.

The post is written by someone who is truly pathetic. If he's wasting all that energy into immensely disliking a group of people that he doesn't understand, then he's the one who needs help, not the bronies he likes to bully. I'm not saying this to insult the person, I actually feel bad for this person. No one should ever have to have such mean and ignorant feelings like that towards someone else in the brains. That, to me, is true suffering.

Being ignorant is much worse than having a disability or having an interest in something harmless.

Did a brony beat him up in an alleyway? Did a brony cause harm to him once? If one did, that's still no excuse to write something like that about bronies. A violent brony who beats others up is just one brony.

There will always be bullies, but insults like this are just... It's tragic, really. Words can really hurt, they really really can. The fact that people even go this far to rip apart a fandom they don't understand, or a group of people they don't want to get to know just goes to show that the Internet has unintentionally amplified different kinds of bullying. The Internet, as people have said many times before, has really opened up areas for people like this to say things they otherwise would not have outright said in a world without the Internet.

I wanted to share this because I want you to know that this kind of bullying is out there, and it's showing how people with autism and Asperger's and any disability are now a target of this kind of verbal cruelty more so than ever before, and it seems like it'll just get worse.

I shouldn't have to feel bad for having a disability or an interest in something that's not hurting anyone, neither should anyone else with a disability and/or a love for something that isn't badly affecting anybody else's life. Gone are the days of insults like "you're weird for liking that", it's now even more personal and hurtful. Destructive, even.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Being Idiotic While Trying to Avoid Being an Idiot

This is a question I'd like to ask to a lot of people… This one is particularly hard to explain, because it is both embarrassing and confusing. Even for me to some extent…

Okay, here it goes…

Have you ever been in a situation where you have to do something in public, but multiple factors are making you worry for different reasons? And those said factors are pretty much "you problems"?

I get this sometimes, and I sometimes wonder… Why am I even where I am these days?

Today, I had scheduled a meeting with my advisor for picking classes for next semester. My advisor had told me in an email that I had to go to her office door and look at a sheet with dates on it, and pencil in a meeting. Sounds simple, right? In the email, she listed times and told me to let her know if I couldn't meet at any of those times. Also simple, right?

So I decided to wait by the classroom she teaches in, as I heard that she comes in at 2:00 pm. So I wait there at roughly 1:45-ish, I have no idea whether she's in her office or not. Her office is inside the classroom, and there were students in there. Usually in these situations, I don't like entering classrooms and interrupting classes that are in session. It's a weird habit of mine that I've had for years that I just really need to kick…

I really should've just went in, not focus on the students at all and just find the entrance to her office where the paper was.

But then I thought, "Why would she have a piece of paper on her door? Wouldn't you just contact her and schedule an appointment?" Also, I have this unusual fear of distracting/disrupting people. If it was on her door, open or closed, when she was having a meeting with another student, I'd feel awkward. Like, "Hey I'm walking up to your door while you're having a meeting!"

I worry too much, and it's to the point where I make a stupid decision.

So a faculty member walks by, I ask her if she knows that if my advisor came in today - just so I know that she in fact in the building. She was nice at first, but then I later explained to her about the email, as I wasn't sure about the whole "paper" idea thing. Again, such a simple thing that a damn 3-year-old can process. Then I got this for a response after I was told to, ya know, just go in and look for the paper on the door.

"Your level of skill is way above that" in an almost snarky tone of voice. To me that translates to, "You're a big boy." Why should 21-year-old me have to be told that? Why is 21-year-old me doing things that make me look like a 5-year-old?

This person must think I'm the biggest idiot. Because I was being one, quite successfully. This is like a little kid saying, "Should I go in there?" What the hell… Why do I fear walking into classrooms that have people in them? I made myself look like a bigger idiot, I should've just walked in. Heck, I would not have made myself look like an idiot at all. By avoiding a scenario that I thought would make me look like a big fool, I made myself look like an idiot in the process.

This isn't a pity party post, I'm sharing this because I ask… Have you been in a situation similar to this where you had no clue about something so simple that was pretty much right in front of you? Or where you made yourself look like an idiot this massive?

I had about three thoughts on my mind earlier today…

- "I hope I get a meeting before classes go up. I don't want to jeopardize my next semester!"
- "There's people in there. I don't want to walk in and distract them, look like the big idiot walking into the room." [imagines a derpy-looking thing walking into the room]
- "What if she's having a meeting and I distract it by coming to her door? I don't want to create a bad impression on my advisor!"

The faculty member didn't know this, and how would she? You can't read minds, you just go by what you see. To her, I was probably some really dumbass kid who should've been capable of doing something so simple. I really should have been capable… I mean, this is my 4th year in college and I'm acting like this???

I feel bad for that faculty member now.

Then it just makes me wonder… Why do I hit these lows? Or am I being too hard on myself? Do other people do such things? Am I alone? Is it wrong of me to ask in case it's actually a common thing?

I am confused, but it's why I ask. If you've actually done this sort of thing, please be open about it. I'd love to hear your story…

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Schadenfreude?

Last night, a particular individual who I will simply refer to as "Marcy" tweeted something about "adults without kids who quote Disney movies". Next to her tweet were the hashtags #nope, #stopit, and #creepy…

Some people had seen the tweet and had taken offense to it. Of course, we Disney freaks know that Disney is intended for everyone of any age, so to be called "creepy" is quite mean-spirited. Now to be fair, none of us really knew this individual. But here's my question… Why the hell would you put that out there? You're asking for it when you do.

Add to the fact that some Disney people I know follow and communicated with this person before, so why does she feel the way she does about Disney and fans who quote their films? Or better yet, is she living under a rock? Ever since the Second Golden Age of Animation, it's been okay to like animated features that are aimed at family audiences.

So someone came up with the idea of sending this individual Disney quotes. #SendMarcyADisneyQuote

I did this, and so did many others last night. We weren't trying to be mean, we were simply having fun and screwing around. We were hoping our quotes would combat her ignorance and she'd realize that it wasn't quite nice to call us "creepy". A little punishment of sorts. As a good friend of mine put it, it was meant to be playful. We weren't telling this woman to go fuck herself or to eat shit. We didn't call her names, we just quoted Disney films.

This morning, some people voiced their concerns; they disapproved of our actions.

One side said it was pointless and stupid to rag on a random individual for saying something about Disney. Okay, there is some truth to it, but I'll get to my reasoning in a second.

The other side said we were mean-spirited, rude, we harassed her, yadda yadda yadda. Sending her quotes in that manner was not harassment in my eyes; calling her names and telling her to go fuck herself is harassment. I think people on that side are too sensitive.

Back to the first side, and that the whole "it was stupid to rag on this person" thing. Was it stupid? Maybe, maybe not. Why's that? Because I went through something similar for posting something stupid and foolish not too long ago.

I won't elaborate on what it was that I posted (I'm trying to put this episode behind me, I'm still upset at what I did), I'll just say this: It was unintentionally ignorant and a bit insulting. I didn't realize it until a group of animation fanatics happen to see it and were understandably ticked off. The discussion wasn't pretty; and in some cases, a few commenters went a little over the top in my eyes (one said something like "I guess this guy and I wouldn't be friends" or "I wouldn't want to be friends with this guy")… This was all over a blog post that didn't set out to demean anybody. I was criticizing someone for what he had said about something, I didn't name-call. I just said that I felt he was doing something wrong.

So what did I do upon reading these comments? I was horrified, how could I have been so foolish and ignorant? I deleted the post and apologized to the group upon seeing them. I got an "it's ok" from one of the commenters, and those who said those things about me liked the apology post. I simply, like an adult, owned up to my mistake and as a result, I have learned something. I'm careful when I write rants on my main blog now, you never know who will come across it! Also, those commenters did not know who I was. We didn't know who Marcy was.

In fact, I even went as far as re-reading what that person I criticized had said and understood his article a lot more clearly, and I wrote a response that didn't criticize him, this time I supported him and his argument.

This woman didn't own up. She instead said to someone who was defending her, "Well they proved my point." Obviously she doesn't care that she singlehandedly insulted a group of people who have done nothing to her. It might've been a mindless insult that we all should've taken with a grain of salt, but damn it, it is mean and she put it out there on social media for people to see, not to mention she was friends with some Disney-loving people in the first place. Of course she was going to get heat!

That would be like me putting on Twitter "Sports fans are idiots" or whatever, while knowing that a lot of sports fans follow me and I follow a lot of sports fans. You just don't do that, no matter what you think of that person's interests. (For the record, I have nothing against sports fans.) Don't understand why childless adults quote Disney? Don't think about them then, don't put it out there that adults doing something you don't understand bothers you so greatly. Don't insinuate that it's wrong, maybe Google "Who do adults like Disney" first. Not that hard.

Back to the responses/supposed "bullying"… Was it right of those people in that animation group to voice their frustrations about my blog post and my foolishness? Was it right for some of those commenters to say things like "I wouldn't want to be that guy's friend"?

Was it right of us to send Marcy some harmless Disney quotes in attempt to make her realize what she said about us was foolish?

I have no answer for this. People, especially on the Internet, react to something that upsets or offends them personally. I'm sure you would at something that upsets you, we all pretty much do. If you don't, then kudos to you, I respect that. I wish I could feel that way too! I guess I'm too emotionally weak and stupid to do so.

But again, I experienced a similar issue and I said that night upon reading those comments, "You know what? I brought this on myself." I didn't yell, "Poor me! Everyone's bullying me over an honest mistake I made!" No one really came to my defense, nor did I want anyone to do so. No, I should not have made that mistake in the first place so I sought to smooth the ruffled feathers. Marcy should have known better, and that's why we got on her. Plus, her tweet was pretty offensive to some of us, not to mention ignorant. Worse, she didn't own up to it. She instead insulted us again in a childish way, "See? I'm right, you're all wrong!" *blows raspberry*

Those commenters could've just looked at my post that night and said, "Eh, stupid guy, stupid blog post. Moving on!" But they didn't.

So was it wrong or right? I don't know, but having gone through something like that myself, I believe what we did to Ms. Marcy wasn't particularly bad nor was it particularly good. It was a consequence happening. I'm not proud of it now, but I'm not ashamed either. Next time someone says something shitty or mean, I'll just be like "Whatever floats your boat." I guess retaliating or criticizing someone is not okay to some people out there, and I respect that. Sorry if I offended y'all, but it's what I felt was right even if it might not have been. I won't next time, as I discovered today, some friends of mine just don't approve of that.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Disney Animated Features and Beach Boys Analogies?


Fitting because Brian Wilson did an album of Disney covers, and the band also has an excellent song called 'Disney Girls (1957)'… Plus the Beach Boys sang with Annette Funicello for the song for the studio's 1965 live action comedy 'The Monkey's Uncle'…

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Reminiscing: Animation News in 2004


I've been a huge animation fan since I was roughly seven or eight years old. My love for the medium flourished around the year 2000, as I began watching the Disney films I hadn't had in rotation at the time. Correction, I liked/loved Disney in some form or another before 2000. I saw Hercules, MulanTarzan and Dinosaur in theaters (in addition to Pixar's A Bug's Life and Toy Story 2), I had numerous Disney somethings (films, TV show episode compilations, etc.) on videocassette, I watched a lot of the Disney Afternoon shows when they were being rerun on Toon Disney. That's where I got my DuckTales-Chip N' Dale Rescue Rangers-Goof Troop-etc. fix.