So the third and final installment in the new Disney Star Wars trilogy is out. Personally, I haven't seen it yet, mainly because the mild curiosity I have can wait until the movie hits the streaming services.
Initially, it seemed like this final installment would be met with average reactions and a general discontent with its efforts to please everyone while pulling the story back on the initial track that The Last Jedi had supposedly derailed the plot from.
While the attempt itself is fascinating and warrants its own article from a purely story-construction angle, what I'd like to talk about today isn't its merits or problems (which I'd have to first have watched to properly analyzed).
What is troubling, in my opinion, is the phenomenon of toxicity, death threats, and outrage re-emerging, with the creators as targets, as well as others.
There are articles (and even the tweet poster) focusing on the fact that this time the death threats are coming from the ‘progressives’ ‘SJWs’ and ‘TLJ fans’ or ‘Reylo fans’. In any case, coming from the side that was gleefully dissing on the side that was vocal in hating TLJ and the new trilogy in general, calling them out for harassment and threats. A ‘shoe is on the other foot’ type of schadenfreude, if you like, relishing in the ‘you’re just like us' or worse.
Of course it only proves that unsavory people that don't know how or don't want to behave as balanced, decent human beings exist within every group and every ‘side’. Not really a shocker, in my opinion.
However, what's actually problematic is that the reactions themselves are there, no matter which side they are coming from. 2019 especially was a year of extreme reactions and verbal/ social media wars over movies, and almost no discussion and entertainment of the art itself with a view to improve for next time.
Extreme reactions over art are nothing new; and I do think they are at times warranted, if unpleasant, provided they remain within the realm of art feedback that may drive the creation of new art in the future. When reactions spill over to threats of violence and personal attacks (or ad hominems) on the creators, then we can safely talk on toxicity, rather than heated debate.
And what worries me is that this is a cultivated thing rather than a spontaneous one. It seems to me that industries are enabling this sort of thing, seeking to monetize it rather than encourage people to be civilized about the things they don't like.
The thing though with learned behaviors is that a pattern of reaction doesn't remain confined within the limits of where it was first learned- it spills over and is applied as a pattern of reaction to other situations in daily life. So when we teach young people (because they seem to be a demographic ranging from adolescents to young adults) to become murderous about trifles such as movies or TV series, we're essentially teaching them to react with extreme violence or the extreme violence ideation in general. This is a way to breed fanatics with binary thinking where it shouldn't be binary, but nuanced- or at least not focused on creating ‘enemies’ out of people that disagree.
One cannot fight fire with fire when it comes to fanatism and extremism. There are ways to be firm and disarming without stooping to the level of attacks and threats or efforts to silence or gag the other. While the ways to achieve this is content for another article, I hope that with 2020 rolling in, we consider what we are actually enabling, and how we present ourselves to the world when we are disgruntled or angry.
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Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Jan. 4, 2020
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