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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Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Nov. 17, 2018
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