A facebook page asked the question of “what should we do” about “toxic fandom?” This will be short:

The concept of “angry fandom” is a mislead. It is a distraction. Don’t be fooled. The idea that fans (AKA the once built-in audience) is the problem makes no sense.

There are hardcore U2 fans for 30 years that can speak at length about why they don’t like the newer songs or which albums were the best. To be informed and deep dive into any brand is to also intimately know its flaws.

I’m a first generation Star Wars fan and I can still respect the Original Trilogy even if I don’t see much to respect in the follow-ups. I can love Terminator and T2 and be annoyed that Cameron decided to kill off the point of those earlier films. And that irritation is not something to shade with pathology.

If movies are a delivery device for clumsy social messaging, that shows a disrespect for all of the other elements that go into good storytelling. Toxic this and toxic this and man babies…. all part of a playbook for spin and misdirection. It is about big money movie studios with huge marketing budgets for tent pole projects punching down at the average potential moviegoer, sometimes with a dash of gas lighting to make a percentage of audience members afraid of speaking up against what is being pushed, the movie or the blind preemptive insults from actors, writers or directors who promote the myth of the truly racist, sexist, homophobic troll who is the only sort of person who would respond to Ghostbusters 2016 (sometimes marketed as Answer the Call, except in the movie itself where it is still just called Ghostbusters) or who would dare celebrate Jason Reitman reverting to the continuity of the 1980’s iteration that actually had a built in fan base, possibly Generation X but also built from decades of home video formats and releases and a cartoon series featuring the original characters.  It must be a horrible misanthrope who would dare prefer the pre-Disney novels of the Extended Universe, like Heir to the Empire, as opposed to an appropriation of Luke Skywalker that would creep up to his sleeping nephew to possibly kill him and then to opt out of any positive action he could contribute because now he believes all good actions will be greeted with an equally opposite reaction in a galaxy far, far away so why bother fighting the good fight.

The way to deal with “angry fans” is make note of their market feedback, and avoid characterizing them politically. Because some Coke fans hated New Coke, and some are knowledgeable enough to say the New Coke/ Coke Classic was a marketing genius strategy to disguise the switch from cane sugar to corn syrup. Right now we have entered the corn syrup age of cinema.

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jawsphobia

Filmmaker, from North Bay, Ontario, currently in Toronto. Graduated from Humber Film and TV Production in the Nineties. Made countless short films.

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