Archive for the ‘darth fanboy’ Category

Essay On “Love, Hate, & Geek Culture”

June 29, 2016

Thomas Storai on Midichlorian Center posted an essay on the prequels and geek culture:

And so how do these people have to do anything with the Geek culture? It’s exactly those “fans” fueled geek culture with hate towards the Prequels, it’s those people dictated what to like and what not to like. The problem with geek culture is that people in there spend most of their time hating on something rather than focusing on what they love, they don’t listen to other’s opinions and state that their opinions is the rightful one and the only one that exists so discussion is not possible as they take the biggest space on the Internet trolling people who love things they hate.

Geekdom’s Frankenstein’s Monster

May 31, 2016

SWMegaFan linked me to three different recent articles on three different sites that appeal a lot to geek culture, all of which having to do with the idea that maybe fandom is getting out of hand. They talked about the crackpot reactions over the new “Ghostbusters” film, anger over Marvel’s “big surprise” re Captain America, hashtag campaigns, and so forth. They realize now that fandom is demanding content be made its way, that it’s not being seen as art but instead as products that need to please the fans/consumers and their sensibilities or else.

Gee, you think? Where have you guys all been lately? Oh, that’s right, some of you were right there encouraging the mobs as far back as the ‘90s when the target was George Lucas. Geek culture magazines, pop culture and movie web sites, and the infamous AICN talk back fed nerd rage over the Special Editions and the prequels. Devin “You’re A Fine One To Talk” Faraci compared today’s fans to Annie Wilkes from “Misery.” I’ve been using the Annie Wilkes comparison for 20 years! I used to joke that Lucas had better pray his car doesn’t break down in front of the homes of these “fans,” because some of them were that crazy. There were always fans who have not liked the direction their favorite shows/movies took and have long since grumbled about showrunners and creators. What changed with the SEs/PT is not only a bigger, more immediate platform for venting but also active encouragement from the media. No reaction was too extreme. The narrative was Lucas committed an unpardonable sin by letting his fans down and his fans were righteous in punishing him because they knew Star Wars better and cared about it more than he did. Since geek media depends on getting readers, egging on the hate with an untold amount of clickbait and open comment sections had become a staple ever since.

Studios and creatives on the production end have done their part to encourage fans gone wild too.  I’ve noticed a Comic Con-ization of popular culture, where it’s important to win over that crowd by telling them what they want to hear. It used to be when a show creator, writer, or actor thanked fans at a con for their support, it was genuine, because they were so doggone thrilled somebody cared about their work. Today it often seems like pandering and sadly, a lot of people can’t discern when it’s pandering or they simply don’t care so long as they get what they want.

But these self-appointed poohbahs of geekdom have always been short on self-awareness, as are their readers, judging by the comments to some of these pieces. It’s disingenuous to scratch your head over why a guy would make a video announcement that he is boycotting “Ghostbusters” when over a decade ago you were applauding and promoting “fan-cuts” of TPM or seven-hour long prequel-bashing videos. If you’re treating these rebellious fans as heroes don’t be surprised others are seeking that kind of attention and validation; you also can’t be surprised at how corporations are increasingly treating their films and shows as “product” when not too long ago, you were attacking an artist as a villain for offending the nerd hordes. It even went on just a few months ago with X-Files creator Chris Carter. You can’t be surprised at death threats getting lobbed at the guy who made Captain America a Hydra agent if you thought it was hi-larious when Patton Oswalt “joked” about beating Lucas to death with a shovel.  The Annie Wilkes crazy kind of fandom is their Frankenstein’s monster.


Guest Post: A Rebuttal To The Nerdist

December 10, 2015

The post below was submitted by Martin Hay in response to a piece on The Nerdist’s “rematch” of the prequels, specifically to AOTC. This is Hay’s opinion. (If you’re interested in The Nerdist piece, you can find it there but I won’t link to it.)

I’ll just add that I can’t stand these fakety-fake “geek” and “nerd” sites who gatekeep and tell people what they are supposed to think. The Nerdist’s motto is “Enjoy your burrito,” but if you’re a prequel fan they’ll poop in it.

What a terrible review. This guy’s “criticisms” are way off the mark. To begin with he whines about the special effects, complaining that they look “dated.” But he must realize the same can be said of almost any effects-heavy movie; even (shock horror!) the films in the original Star Wars trilogy. Does anyone really want to argue that the speeder bike chase or the rancor sequence in Return of the Jedi still look state of the art? Because they obviously do not. Yet it doesn’t matter because the point is that it all looked good at the time. And the same is true of the CGI and other special effects in Attack of the Clones. The three times I watched it on the big screen the effects looked amazing. And, to be honest, for the most part they still look great to me when I watch the movie at home on DVD.

Next he complains that “we’re told in A New Hope by Ben…that Anakin and he were good friends, but in none of the movies do we ever get to see them act as friends.” Either Mr. Anderson wasn’t paying attention to the warmer moments between Anakin and Obi Wan that take place in Revenge of the Sith or he’s downplaying them so that he can find something to moan about. Either way, those moments showing the friendship the two characters had built (e.g. when Obi Wan places his hand on Anakin’s shoulder and says “You are strong and wise, Anakin, and I am very proud of you. I have trained you since you were a small boy. I have taught you everything I know. And you have become a far greater Jedi than I could ever hope to be.”) are indeed there for all to see despite Anderson’s erroneous claims.

And then we get to one of the silliest, most pathetic excuses for a criticism I’ve yet encountered when Mr. Anderson says that it makes “no sense” for Padmé to use her status as a senator as a reason that she cannot get involved with Anakin. According to Anderson, “There’s no reason for her not to want to have a relationship; he’s the one who should be in conflict about his romantic feelings and the temptation of breaking his vows.” What planet is this guy on? Does he not think that an older senator becoming involved with a younger Jedi, who she knows full well is forbidden from such relationships, has the potential to be something of a political scandal? Of course it does! It doesn’t take a genius to see how something like that could be exploited by her political enemies.

Of course, Mr. Anderson (like all prequel bashing band wagoners) just has to take an obligatory swipe at the romantic dialogue. ~yawn~ I wish these guys would come up with some original arguments. But then I guess Mr. Anderson did at least try. Unfortunately for him, as I demonstrated above, his attempts just don’t bear scrutiny. Regardless, those who moan about the dialogue are only pointing out that George Lucas knew exactly what he was doing. You see, the director wasn’t shooting for realism as he himself explained: “…I wanted to tell the love story in a style that was extremely old-fashioned…In many ways, this was much more like a movie from the 1930s than any of the others had been, with a slightly over-the-top poetic style – and they just don’t do that in movies anymore.”

Finally we come to Mr. Anderson’s ill-informed gripe about the stunning and exhilarating lightsaber duel between Yoda and Count Dooku. Anderson maintains that such displays are not in keeping with Yoda’s character (as he perceived it) in The Empire Strikes Back. What he seems blissfully unaware of is that Lucas’s original first draft of Empire did, in fact, feature Yoda showing his lightsaber skills in a fencing match with the ghost of Obi Wan. So his battle with Dooku was actually very much in keeping with how he was originally conceived. And I have to admit that I found it more than a little ridiculous for Mr. Anderson to pretend that he somehow understood “the whole entire point of Yoda” better than Yoda’s creator. But then that arrogant, nonsensical attitude that somehow the “fans” know more about Star Wars than George Lucas is sadly present throughout much of the false criticism levelled at the prequels.

Lucas Says Backlash Drove Him From Star Wars; Hints Disney Wanted Fanservice

November 19, 2015

Yesterday Vanity Fair posted a short interview with George Lucas and Lucas revealed why he is pretty much done with Star Wars:

“You go to make a movie and all you do is get criticized,” is how George explains why he stepped away from the world-famous franchise he created. “And it’s not much fun. You can’t experiment.”

He also says Jar Jar is his favorite character, heh heh.

Today CBS revealed in an upcoming interview with Charlie Rose, Lucas reiterated what he told Vanity Fair and added this disheartening note about his original ideas for the sequel film(s), how they were discarded, and now Lucas has basically walked from the whole thing:

“The issue was, ultimately, they looked at the stories and they said we want to make something for the fans. So I said all I wanted to do was tell a story of what happened, you know it started here and went there. And it’s all about generations, the issues of fathers and sons and grandfathers, it’s a family soap opera. They call it a space opera, but people don’t realize it’s actually a soap opera, and it’s all about family problems and that kind of… it’s not about spaceships.

So they decided they didn’t want to use those stories, they decided they were going to go do their own thing, so I decided fine, basically I’m not going try to… they weren’t that keen on having me involved anyway, but at the same time I am not going to, if I get in there I am just going to cause trouble. Cause they’re not going to do what I want them to do, and I don’t have the control anymore to do that anymore and all I’ll do is just muck everything up. So I said I will go my way, and let them go their way.”

To be blunt, this sucks. Imagine J.K. Rowling being told her input isn’t needed or wanted anymore in the Harry Potter universe. Put two and two together…Lucas found the anti-prequel backlash from “fans” and from the media painful enough not to want to work on more films. When he sold Lucasfilm to Disney, Disney didn’t want Lucas’s cooties because it doesn’t want a similar backlash against their investment and instead wants a “mainstream” and “safe” Star Wars (dare I say dumbed-down?) with more whiz bang. The question is whether Abrams and Kasdan realize that Star Wars isn’t any more about sci-fi action than the Godfather films are just about organized crime, or if there’s anyone with enough power and influence at Lucasfilm to keep these new films as close to Lucas’s vision as possible. We won’t know that for another 27-29 days. But it certainly explains why the GFFA shown so far in TFA’s ads and trailers doesn’t have the same freshness.

Even if TFA is absolutely wonderful, this is no way things should end with Lucas and with the saga he created. It’s wrong. The really sad part is so many people who have benefited one way or another from his work or claim to be fans of it don’t seem to care. If what we get from now on are rehashes and generic sci-fi action crap that’s full of spectacle but no myth (or worse yet, warps it beyond recognition), “Star Wars fans” have no one but themselves to blame. That Lucas got exiled from his creation through a coup of fools is already their eternal shame.

Bigmouth Strikes Again And Fans Want To Strike Back

November 16, 2015

Since the celebrity whose name rhymes with Diamond Leg told the New York Daily News recently that he had no respect for anyone who liked the prequels, arrogantly said that Lucas didn’t understand his own movies, and perhaps most tasteless of all, referred to it as “infanticide” and compared Lucas to a child murderer, a petition has gone up on to have Pegg banned from “participating in Star Wars permanently.”

A few of you have posted about this petition on the FB page and in comments here. You can sign if you want but take these factors into consideration:

1. Petitions are often not effective. This one only has 156 “signatures” as of writing. Even the ones that garner thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of signatures usually don’t accomplish their goal.

2. Singling out a celebrity in a petition drive could attract what Pegg-y deep down wants and that is more publicity for him. Worse yet it could turn Pegg-y into a martyr for free speech. Does he deserve that? Hell no. That narrative doesn’t help us at all either.

Still I understand everyone’s frustration. I share it. If you’ve read SWPAS long enough I went into a two-day rant-a-thon over Pegg-y’s guest shot on Clone Wars a few years ago. It seems like no matter what he says or how he says it, he not only gets away with it, he gets rewarded for it! Even after this crap from the NY Daily Snooze, there were people who really should know better defending him! If you have any respect for George Lucas whatsoever, you should be appalled that anyone would compare him to a child murderer even if it was cheap hyperbole. It was douchey to act like you know the true meaning of Star Wars while the guy who created it doesn’t and he’s an a-hole for saying he doesn’t “respect” fans like us. But “infanticide” and “killing your own kids?” Indefensible.

Rebel Force Radio’s hosts are no fans of the Peggster either and in the Nov. 13 episode of the podcast, they had a glorious rant that pretty much encapsulates everything on Pegg-y. Start at around 43:52…it ends around 55:04:

They’re right. At Pegg-y’s core, he is a big fat phony. I believe he sincerely dislikes the prequels but I’m guessing he considers prequel bashing an important part of his brand. It helps give him cred to geeks in general and to the media, which of course invites this kind of thing every time they talk to him (see “Why The Media Hates The PT”). When he said he doesn’t respect anyone who thinks the prequels are good films, is he admitting he doesn’t respect Dave Filoni, whom he cheerfully worked with on that one episode of Clone Wars? Mark Hamill likes the prequels. Does Pegg-y not respect him anymore? How about if anyone else starring in TFA is a prequel fan? Or in any of his other films? How come nobody ever asks him those questions?

They’re also right that Pegg-y shouldn’t be part of anything official anymore. Wait, didn’t I just express skepticism over this petition? Here’s my point: Lucasfilm and Disney SHOULD have the common sense to keep Pegg-y away. We shouldn’t have to start a petition or do anything else to convince them. Especially since Lucasfilm has made David Prowse persona non grata at official events for the things he’s said to the media. (At least Prowse has not compared Lucas to a child murderer.) You don’t want somebody who antagonizes a large number of your customers AND attacks the guy who created your whole raison d’être like that to be the face of your brand. It would be like D23 inviting somebody who wrote a book accusing Walt Disney of being a Nazi and a cross-dresser.

Petitions aside, fans can take things into their own hands. You don’t have to plunk down $20 to see anything with the doofus in it. Don’t buy any of his films. Don’t watch anything with him in it on t.v.. If he gets invited to appear as a guest at a con, don’t go. And take heart…I don’t think the doofus is friends with Rian Johnson, whom he obviously must not respect.

Stuff To Read On “Akira” and Cutting The PT Hate

October 26, 2015

Bryan Young has an article as part of his “Cinema of Star Wars’ series on the influence of the animated film “Akira” has had on the prequels and Clone Wars.

And a guy on Coffee With Kenobi, while admittedly not a big prequels fan, has had it with prequel bashing.

The Fractured Fandom

October 7, 2015

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a long time and have held off on posting because honestly, I’m reluctant to bring up unpleasant topics. But it’s been my intent ever since last May the 4th when I got into an argument on Twitter with somebody. (Coming May 2016: Why I’m Done With May the 4th). Here’s a faux internet holiday meant to celebrate Star Wars and the celebrating I get to do is argue with a stranger, who naturally took advantage of the day to bash the stuff he didn’t like.

Such is one’s experience with Star Wars fandom and thus it has been for a long time. So here we are with a new movie looming closer, the first of a bunch of new cinematic offerings. There’s certainly excitement among fans but the divisions and dysfunction among active fans, especially online, have become deeper and more exacerbated. Some of this can be blamed on the tack being used to promote TFA. They could have chosen a campaign designed to bring everyone together. Instead we got a convention season campaign designed to appeal to prequel haters, critics, and nostalgics. Worse yet as a fan who loves all of the Star Wars movies, I felt like I was being asked to cynically shrug off throwing those movies and the people who worked on them under the bus for the sake of some Greater Good. If this was how TPM was promoted, I could 100% understand the backlash against the film. Maybe it wouldn’t have been fair but it would’ve been completely understandable.  Some of the rumors and trial balloons about Ep. VIII are showing a more conciliatory attitude toward the prequels and their fans but we’ll have to see if they pan out.  In any case, it’s going to stick in my craw for a long time.

A lot of this can be blamed on the media, which is going right along with the marketing tack because a lot of people in the media, especially the geek/comic book/movie/entertainment industrial complex, hate the prequels and/or use anti-PT sentiment as reliable clickbait. To Darth Media, it’s conventional wisdom the prequels were awful and the fans uniformly hated them. If I have to read one more condescending piece on how somebody has to “save” Star Wars or one more hack who makes the same lazy, uninformed assumptions, I’m going to barf. A pox on all of their pixels.

But the fundamental problem is the treatment of Star Wars as two competing trilogies that have nothing to do with each other, with competing, incompatible fan bases. Only one base can “win” and the other must “lose.” So the OT-only part of the base is declared real and legitimate and its favored trilogy is deemed the only real Star Wars. Those other movies are deemed illegitimate and the dopes who love them are frauds and pretenders. This attitude has been purchased wholesale. As a result, just about everyone has been looking the other way on or even celebrating some terrible behavior over the past several years. It’s not just one set of fans have an opinion that’s different from the opinion of another set of fans. This has been a vicious scorched earth campaign with trolling, bullying, flaming, threats, and harassment. Much of the anger was directed at Lucas and any accomplices working on the prequels.  But since there’s only so much you can do to Lucas, who has been wise enough to stay off of social media and the internet as a whole, the brunt of the ragefest was aimed at those attempting even the slightest defense of the movies. Those who embraced the prequels have been put on the defensive and viewed as outliers, outcasts, and worthy of contempt. That is if prequel fans aren’t outright ignored. I could write a book about some of the stuff I experienced: discussion threads trolled and derailed on other sites, nasty grams from strangers, a guy at a collector’s meeting loudly ripping the prequels even after he realized it was annoying me, getting called “stupid” or a “hate monger,” being told I don’t know anything about movies or that I’m not a real Star Wars fan, etc.. There was one guy who thought it was charming to post in the comments to a well-known fan news site a picture of the prequel DVDs on fire. If there’s anything that has taught me that People Suck, it’s been my experiences in this fandom.

Prequel fans have been pretty much kicked out of geek/nerd culture as a whole. Most geek sites only refer to those films in a disdainful way and you’ll get set upon by trolls if you don’t toe the line. Pro-prequel panels are rare at conventions. A panel at this year’s SDCC about different starships from different fandoms flat out refused to discuss anything from the prequels because “they don’t exist.” Those who sat through Celebration Anaheim’s streaming coverage had to put up with blatant and subtle digs at the prequels. And Lord help a writer who tries even the faintest attempt to defend the movies on any geek/comic book site.

In popular culture and the media, the prequels don’t get much of a break either. They get mocked by the faux geek hipsters on “The Big Bang Theory” or on TMZ. For some who worked on the films this behavior has driven them from social media and damaged careers. We were even debating here whether it had any influence on Jake Lloyd’s alleged struggles with mental illness. Somehow people found it acceptable to harass someone on the internet because they didn’t like what their target’s father had done with a movie. They found it okay to be a jerk to Ahmed Best or Hayden Christensen, even in person. Yet hardly anyone in fandom or in geekdom or the media has ever addressed this issue. You’re not supposed to talk about it much less show any sign of it bothering you. Worse yet, somebody like Patton Oswalt can say he wanted to beat George Lucas to death with a shovel and still get treated like a hero. Simon Pegg practically got to be creative consultant on TFA in spite of well, everything.

There seems to be very little patience and understanding for fans like us and at the same time, we’re expected to think of these bullies as “fellow fans” and “family.” I keep thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding.” I don’t want to waste any time with awful people who live only to make others miserable. Unfortunately if you venture anywhere near fandom, you’ll encounter them and sometimes they go out of their way to find you. Now that more prequel fans are finally finding a voice, the reaction is, “Shut up!” Over the past summer I’ve seen prequel fans called out for being “too negative.” That’s rich after what’s happened for the past several years! What really gets my goat is the insistence there’s actual parity between prequel fans defending what they love about Star Wars or themselves and the likes of calling for Lucas’s death by shovel, bullying a young actor, or issuing threats against fans and their kids. There isn’t. I’ll bet you money the knuckleheads who decided to troll Daisy Ridley’s Instagram the other day weren’t prequel fans.  And in any case, it’s what I call the Five Year Old’s Argument: “Mommy, he did it too!” Sorry fandom…prequel fans are NOT the problem. They never have been. We have every right to stick up for what we love about the saga as any other Star Wars fan. Somehow no one seems to understand this as though fandom isn’t about celebrating what you enjoy but about being constantly told you’re wrong for enjoying it. Who wants that?