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The Need To Denigrate

Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Nov. 17, 2018
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Lately there has been this pattern that I've noticed in both social media and mainstream comics/cartoons outlets that is very saddening: the use of denigration and belittlement as a promotional tactic, or as an argument.

More and more I seem to notice that new series, reboots, retellings or sequels are being promoted via a strategy of attacking, belittling and generally denigrating the source material, the original version, the previous installment and then providing a comparison whereupon the newest thing is declared by far superior in every, absolutely every, way. As a final masterstroke, fans of the previous material that may not also be fans of the new material (or may dislike the new material) are summarily dismissed with a not-so-vast array of horrid labels that shouldn't be utilized for one's opinion of an art piece, even if that someone is vocal and loud.

To be honest, I'm rather appalled as to the huge proportion this whole M.O. has been blown out of. It is starting to feel a lot like a kind of thought police or taste police; if you don't like something, or if you like something that isn't what you're told, then you face repercussions. That goes for both ‘sides’ in every such situation, of course- because sadly both sides use the same tactics, and even if one side may start off a defensive position, that soon becomes irrelevant in the constant cultural tug-of-war.

And all this has made me wonder, why?

Granted, I don't like, for example, the new She-Ra but I won't be bothered to go attack with ad hominems the people who do. And if I like something new and others don't, claiming it's a terrible travesty of the original, I won't be bothered (or even be tempted, really) to go hurl more ad hominems to those people telling them they're in effect monsters.

So why isn't this ‘live and let live’ approach acceptable anymore? Why has the need to denigrate reached such heights that now, to keep the She-Ra example, the fans of the new version virtually claim those that don't like it and only like the original are soft porn lovers (effectively claiming that the original She-Ra was marginally pornographic)?

What I suspect is a lack of confidence, that the new version won't appeal, won't stand on its own and shine independently next to the old, original one. Hence the old one needs to be artificially tainted for the new one to have a chance- or so it's assumed. It may also be because when retconning old popular characters, backlash from faithful fans is expected (since they quite likely won't accept changes that alter their characters beyond a certain extent) and marketing teams attempt to pre-emptively gag that part of the audience and its feedback, or make it possible for the negative feedback to be dismissed as bigotry, sexism, homophibia and a score of orther things.

It sounds to me a bit like an (unsuccessful) attempt of having a cake and eating it- using a brand that already has an audience, without adhering to that brand's main framework, and yet trying to still milk the fandom by strongarming people to like it lest they be called all sorts of things. Of course, that isn't the way it works. It only makes the fandom defensive and/or divided into two camps, those that force the narrative and those that buck it. And I personally do see (and often sympathize) with the ‘old camp’ and its defensiveness, these clashes in social media soon become so toxic and extreme that neither side is defensible no matter the original intent.

And in the end, everyone suffers- the fans, the creators and the art itself.

What do you think?

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Kou the Mad at 1:33PM, Nov. 19, 2018

A Captain Planet Reboot might actually work well in the right hands. Honestly, I just want someone to 'Reboot' 'Does the airquotes hand gestures.' Megas XLR to save it from Limbo. And by someone I mean Netflix.

Amelius at 12:37PM, Nov. 19, 2018

*snicker* yes, usedbooks! (and referring to your earlier post, I too get annoyed by having to preamble "the original" on things due to lackluster remakes!) Also, the whole affair has me wondering this... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32FB-gYr49Y

usedbooks at 12:02PM, Nov. 19, 2018

@Amelius I was thinking that too. Lol. Let's have a Captain Planet reboot! I just want to see where the internet bickering and conspiracy theorists takes that one.

Amelius at 11:35AM, Nov. 19, 2018

Hahaa, everyone complaining about the "agenda!" here needs to watch the classic ones again, I think you MISSED SOMETHING!! (That said, the new one I just couldn't get into despite giving it the benefit of doubt. It was too rushed yet too slow, bland personalities, everyone acts like an idiot... it wasn't that high of a bar to meet but somehow fell short of it anyway)

JaymonRising at 8:46AM, Nov. 19, 2018

@irrevenant Well yeah, no, absolutely. It's just that there's changes like removing the giant squid for the Watchmen movie, and then there are changes like THIS but without the irony: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-PgTjhx1VLw

irrevenant at 3:27AM, Nov. 19, 2018

I think it's entirely natural for a modern remake of a series to reflect a modern perspective. That's not a matter of "inserting a deliberate agenda" into things, it's just an automatic consequence of changing times, IMO. And imagine how dated and clunky a series would look if creators just tried to ape what it was like 20 or 30 years ago without bringing a modern perspective to it. Totally agree that the story is the most important thing. I don't think that's separate to perspective though. A progressive viewpoint isn't something that's crowbarred in - it's part of the world we live in and thus naturally part of the story. When done well, anyway.

JaymonRising at 12:52AM, Nov. 19, 2018

OH! Before I forget: a spot-on example of someone who lets their own personal insecurities/feelings get in the way of even properly criticizing a specific show/cartoon/etc., taken to darkly comical extremes, is "Computer Book" by Jollyjack. But WARNING: if you didn't like that...gruesome sketch from Monty Python's 'The Meaning of Life' with Eric Idle emerging from the fridge and singing at the end (or Happy Tree Friends) then you might want to pass on it.

Kou the Mad at 5:08PM, Nov. 18, 2018

Also that, at the end of the day you have to have a good story, if you don't it doesn't matter if the reboot is faithful or not.

superzentredi at 2:54PM, Nov. 18, 2018

My honest opinion: Social Justice ruins everything lol. My biggest problem with modern reboots is the forceful attempt to insert deliberate agenda into them. Usually in the form of progressive politics. Don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with morality plays or inserting modern social commentary but it has to be a GOOD story first. I think people just don't like to be preached to when they're trying to enjoy entertainment.

Kou the Mad at 1:46PM, Nov. 18, 2018

The point is, rebooting an old IP for new audiences only and expecting them to know what that is is a very bizarre tactic that will succeed or fail in spite of the IP, not because of it. Voltron is a good show not JUST because it's a reboot of Voltron, but because it doesn't insult anyone and keeps in the spirit of the original, fans old and new enjoy it, same with Duck Tales. This tactic of just insulting people who love the IP is baffling given they are in this to make money. What other industry insults their customers directly (Outside of the Video Game Industry I guess, although that's another can of worms.).

Kou the Mad at 1:41PM, Nov. 18, 2018

And to elaborate a xailenrath said, The new target audience, modern era kids, don't give a crap about these IPs beyond the fact they might have heard someone talk about it. And there in lies the BIGGEST problem at all, You reboot these old shows for kids who don't really care. It's not like the various Sitcoms getting Revivals like Murphy Brown or Roseanne/The Conners, As those were targeted towards the entire family, usually adults to begin with, ergo they actually ARE focused towards the old fans and is far enough removed via timeskips for new fans (I didn't watch Murphy Brown before the reboot (Didn't know it existed prior to the ads for the new one.), but I'm enjoying the new episodes anyway.). There's the thing, These shows work because they are targeting both old and new fans, and THAT is why they are working. It's a lesson the animated reboots could probably take from those shows.

Kou the Mad at 1:32PM, Nov. 18, 2018

So the Question I have is this. Why, in a medium about entertaining people (Which is how the product makes it's money I might add.) would you go out of your way to antagonize the fans of the original, who could have made you money later on. All you gotta do in this scenario is go "Ok, we hear you, we will take your criticism into account in future seasons." You don't even have to mean it (But you should.), Because that's gonna cause less damage and make you look WAAAAAAAAAAAY better than insulting the original fanbse would. It just feels alot of writers and executives these days don't know what they are doing.

Kou the Mad at 1:30PM, Nov. 18, 2018

I think it's the people wanting to reboot something (Because everyone in Hollywood seems to be running out of ideas, probably in no small part because they keep canceling shows too early before they could find an audience, and as a result they now only have any confidence in older IPs that were successful.), but having no idea why those IPs were successful in the first place. So then they change it too much, usually in a way that takes said reasons of success out without realizing it, and when fans call them out, rather than take criticism they just insult them because of pride, arrogance, ignorance, or some combination of the 3 or other possibilities. Note how the successful reboots (Duck Tales for example.) reboot the franchise without taking the aspects that worked out (Which is usually done because the people in charge of the reboot don't like certain aspects of the show, which begs the question why they were put in charge of the reboot in the first place?).

irrevenant at 3:56AM, Nov. 18, 2018

BTW, is the original post actually referring to something specific where it says "are being promoted via a strategy of attacking, belittling and generally denigrating the source material, the original version"? Were there ads, or promotional material from Netflix ragging on the old She-Ra?

irrevenant at 3:53AM, Nov. 18, 2018

As far as I can tell, a vocal minority have seized on She-Ra as just the latest example of how SJWs ruin all they touch (despite the fact the series actually seems to be moderately popular). Seems to me like just the latest example of the divisiveness and overreaction that seems so popular right now. Different people like different things, and if someone brings out something that you don't personally like, it's not an attack on all you hold dear. Everyone's just seeing everything through a political lens right now. (Bonus one I encountered the other day: Doctor Who not having a Christmas special this year is "SJW virtue signalling by the BBC". 'cos yep.)

xailenrath at 3:28AM, Nov. 18, 2018

The reboot thing is tricky, overall. The Showbiz folks are trying to capitalize on a brand, but, marketing to a fanbase that may not be familiar with said brand. All the 80s nostalgia from She-Ra & Ghostbusters to the Robocop and Fright Night movies from a few years ago to the Star Wars & Star Trek movies and (especially in MY case) the Michael Bay Transformers & Ninja Turtles movies: Studios are saying that these are OLD properties 'reimagined' for a NEW generation, but, aside from a number of opinionated Millennial Internet A-holes, this "new generation" doesn't really GIVE a crap about these properties. They are BELOVED by those who experienced them when they were new. The generation that loves them, HATES the changes. The generation that they are being SOLD to doesn't CARE. It's kind of a no-win sitch for all involved. But, as the original theme of this thread points out, there's a lot of negativity surrounding ALL of this, and I think that this is where that negativity comes from.

xailenrath at 3:08AM, Nov. 18, 2018

A recurring problem is that Nerd Culture's 'Main Demographic' can't seem to accept the fact that, though they ARE the MAIN Demographic - straight white males - they're not the ONLY demographic and not EVERY SINGLE PROPERTY is actually FOR them! When something is made that doesn't aim at them as the main or ONLY demographic, that's when the insults and such come in. Particularly if they can't find a way to MAKE it about them. So, keeping with the She-Ra example, when a reboot of a "girl's cartoon" is actually AIMED at GIRLS by way of a female heroine who isn't an adult, isn't sexualized & hangs out with mostly other teen females, the Main Demographic feels left out. That, I think is where all the hostility comes from. It's the 'fandom' version of not getting a party invite and loudly yelling "WELL, I DIDN'T WANNA GO TO YOUR DUMB OL' PARTY, ANYHOW! SO THERE!"

xailenrath at 2:58AM, Nov. 18, 2018

Not to add more fuel to this particular fire, but, my two cents is that most of the folks bitching about She-Ra, Thundercats & reboots of any 80s properties in general seem to mostly be Millennials who weren't even BORN when the source material was around. Of most of us who lived through those times, boys (and many of the tomboyish girls who wanted more from their playthings than the brushing of synthetic hair) didn't give a damn about She-Ra one way or another. Most of the detractors I've talked to IRL and/or tried to discuss things with online tend to be folks born AFTER 1986 for whom OG She-Ra would have not even been reruns when they were even old enough to even pronounce "She-Ra". This, too, shall pass, and there will be another thing for vociferous so-called "fans" to hate on for whatever reasons they choose, and likely very soon, as reboots seem to be all the rage in Nerd Culture Entertainment, these days.

usedbooks at 1:56PM, Nov. 17, 2018

Tbh, I approach a reboot exactly the same way as I do an original series/movie. Regardless of whether it has a source material I liked or didn't, if the new creation holds no interest for me, I won't watch it. If it seems interesting, I'll try it. I loved many series/ movies/books whose remakes and new takes hold no interest to me. I am not spiteful that someone made something new from something I liked. I just am not interested in it for what it is on its own. (Although, I do get mildly annoyed that when I reference the thing I like, I now have to say, "the original" or "the 1980s/1950's/whatever" one.) It works the other way around too. The "original" Little Shop of Horrors and the "original" The Producers are terrible movies, imo.

JaymonRising at 1:37PM, Nov. 17, 2018

Dont get me wrong, if someone wants to make something "loosely based" on something I like , even if it's not canon or flat out hate-art, then they have the freedom to do it and I won't stop them. I just don't know what sort of chip they have inside their mind which deactivates their common sense from thinking I even HAVE to pay attention to them. There's mature debating and then there's just bullying in denial.

JaymonRising at 12:06PM, Nov. 17, 2018

Well in MY case there's no beating around the bush: someone hated FoxTrot and C&H because they hated me (and weren't even fans), so now...I have exiled myself from the only rule on the internet people truly know well enough. -_-

bravo1102 at 11:51AM, Nov. 17, 2018

@used books: I love that idea. A poster and pitch for a reboot as far off from the original to make it more PC and saleable. :D!!

usedbooks at 11:28AM, Nov. 17, 2018

The devilish side of me wants a community project called "Bad Reboot" where artists draw sample scenes of reboots for each other's stories that are as untrue to source material as possible or just in one aspect that is designed to,be "bad." (Like, for Used Books, turning the cat into a wise-cracking kid and removing one of the main characters altogether.)

usedbooks at 11:23AM, Nov. 17, 2018

Like it or don't like it. Or like it for an entirely different reason than the older thing. But let other people like stuff too.

usedbooks at 11:19AM, Nov. 17, 2018

Much of it is the modern addiction to conflict. Some people love to fight. I think it also stems from how precious nostalgia is. A fan of a bygone franchise has spent years imagining new plots and scenarios and always somewhat mourning the end of something that helped make them. So they get excited to see it "revived." But will almost always be disappointed. Because memory and imagination will always be superior to reality. They will cast blame for exploiting their beloved icons. But creators of reboots are themselves fans of the originals. They have a vision of their own. And creating new doesn't destroy old. It's terrible that fans of new push back. Like both cannot exist. Like all things are two sides and at war. He'll, it even happens with fan art -- something created as an homage and for fun. Fandom can be brutal, and it's a dann shame, a travesty, to discourage creativity even if it puts your nostalgic world into a spin you yourself wouldn't imagine.


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