Friday, July 31, 2020

Blaugust Prompt-a-Palooza Day #1: I Don't Care for Fandoms

Well it's been a hot minute since I've updated this blog. So let's blow the dust off the cover and dive back in.

So what has happened in the past two weeks? Like for most, not much. While much of the civilized world is beginning to emerge from it's Covid-cave, blinking into bright sunlight of normal life, I'm stuck in the US where we are just now beginning to do anything useful at all.

Our state has finally issued a mandatory mask order, roughly four months after the fact. Thankfully, my small town seems to be cooperating without complaint. Trips to the grocery store have seen everyone 100% masked and not particularly grumpy about it. When even the grown men wearing denim coveralls are wearing their masks properly you know things are turning around.

But for now we continue our waiting game.

Belghast wisely deployed the annual blogging festival in April to minimize the community's sequestered flailing. He's now offered an additional, alternative blogging event to keep the doldrums of August at bay, a Blagust Promptapalooza. I'll be participating, my day in the hot summer sun coming on the 4th. I'll also give each prompt a shot, at least most days. Not every prompt is of interest to me and not every day is a good day for writing mentally.

Today's prompt for instance: If you could change anything about one of your core fandoms, what would it be?

Am I part of a fandom? I'm a fan of things, but I'm not entirely sure I'm part of a community that is a fan of any one thing. I'll exchange pleasantries at the beginning of a dungeon in an MMO. Or read through the Formula 1 subreddit after a particularly spicy race. But I don't particularly feel a part of a fandom.

In attempts past, I've found that throwing myself into a community usually just puts me off of said community, and eventually off the game/sport/book/etc. itself. Browsing the memes of the Formula 1 meme subreddit is a good old time, up until the discussion moves to the recent Black Lives Matter protests. Then the hot takes come out. I was surprised to learn this summer that Europe has no racism. It's apparently a uniquely American phenomenon. That a predominantly European sport would even bother printing t-shirts saying 'End Racism' is just a distraction. Apparently.

And this is where I disembark from the fandom train. And dumbasses with dumbass opinions are so omnipresent in these circles that I don't even bother getting on the train anymore. The powers that be in these communities are never in a hurry to cull these rotten fruit and are often as not the most rotten of the bunch. Even in the blogging community, we have no shortage of shitty people. For instance, Tobold is pretty sure that consequences against racists is the actual problem, not the racists themselves. We really ought to just be nice to them you know, talk it out. Because as we've seen from the Donald Trump camp, these people always approach the forum of debate with the most earnest of intentions; with open minds and a willingness to admit their mistakes and learn.

I grew up in a small town in rural America. I spent two years as the guy answering the phone/e-mails for a state senator in a very conservative district. I've heard enough terrible shit for one lifetime, thanks. I don't particularly feel the need to invite any more into my life. Throwing oneself into a fandom just invites the loudest and crudest voices into your mental home, and experience has shown me that eventually they'll just track mud through the place.

So what would I change about fandoms? I'd love to see more communities that actually acted like communities. Police those who act in bad faith. Trolling and ignorance are the same thing manifested in different ways. Viciously remove both. Disagreements are for the best DPS rotation, not for whether trans people deserve human rights. Invite newcomers with open arms, but let them know that their are standards of behavior, and that not even long time forum veterans are above them.

These islands of sanity exist. The Internet is too big for them not too, if not just by sheer luck. But they are few and far between. And if they exist within the hobbies I enjoy I seemed to have missed them.

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