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Dept. of Gah, Who-style.

Reason to roll eyes at fandom, part 1.6 billion

Wow. I just dropped by an old internet haunt of mine to see how folks there reacted to "The Angels Take Manhattan." Not sure I should have.

Holy crap are there ever a lot of Moffat, Amy and River haters there. I mean, I knew, sorta, that there were a number of people on the site who were less than impressed with Moffat, but I had no idea it was quite as purse-lippedly vitriolic as it seemed to be in the episode thread I checked.

Look, I wasn't certain about Moffat back when he took over. And sometimes I'm less than thrilled with the way he occasionally handles women, or his tendency to build stories out of gorgeous concepts, but without much more than quicksilver wit to bolster them. But you know? The man's sheer intelligence and creativity, and the love he has for the franchise - in fact, the general love he holds in his wee scheming, lying heart for the human race, especially children  - won me over long since. I figure I can critique the man's work and still appreciate its strengths and various brilliances.

Same thing for Uncle Rusty. He brought back Who for me, and gave me Nine and Rose and Jack, introduced Martha even if he didn't do her justice in my eyes, introduced Donna, who is frakkin' awesome and got shafted by said Uncle, gave us the Time War and expanded the Whoniverse incredibly. I'll always love him for those things and more, even if I'm not nearly as impressed with him now as I used to be. Which means that I can - you guessed it - critique the man's work and still appreciate its strengths and various brilliances.

Funny how that goes.

As for characters ... I can't think of any character in Nu or Old Who who I've disliked enough to spend a great deal of time and emotional energy savaging in public. Other people apparently think that's a great way to spend the day. I mean, it's one thing to say one isn't fond of a character, another thing to speak of that character in terms roughly equivalent to DIAF.

To be utterly truthful, my bewilderment may be because I think the only character in DW with whom I truly had problems was Ten, and that was, if I'm forced to confess, probably a reaction to his more rabid acolytes rather than Ten himself.  (And perhaps I found him less physically attractive than many other people did Ahem.) Still, when I separate those things out, I quite liked the way Tennant - by all accounts a lovely man and a very talented actor  - played him. So perhaps I can't really speak to the issue of hating a character.

But wow, you know? Just ... wow.

It's a pity. I liked that site, and had wandered over with the thought of commenting. Now I'm not at all certain I want to dip my toes in the water. Reading the commentary there left a bad taste in my mouth.

 

This entry was originally posted at http://kaffyr.dreamwidth.org/235350.html?mode=reply, where there are currently comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there or here; I watch both.

Comments

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eve11
Oct. 2nd, 2012 03:01 am (UTC)
((hugs))

Haters gonna hate, and if they bring you down, it's not worth your time to engage them. :(
viomisehunt
Oct. 2nd, 2012 01:14 pm (UTC)
Ditto. I shrink in bewilderment at the River hate, but different strokes.
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earlgreytea68
Oct. 2nd, 2012 03:12 am (UTC)
There is an entire colony of people who are constantly prepared to believe the worst of Moffat in all things. I recently saw circulated that Moffat had deliberately made sure to wait to get rid of Amy until she had surpassed Rose in episode count by one episode. I don't know, maybe he is that way, but it just struck me as ridiculously to legitimately believe things like this, or to spend one's time coming up with these things to believe. I don't know. I stay out of it and let them hate, but yeah, the hate is *virulent.*
lyricwrites
Oct. 2nd, 2012 03:55 am (UTC)
To muddle things even further, this is exactly the sort of thing Moffat would joke about.
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ladymercury_10
Oct. 2nd, 2012 03:13 am (UTC)
People are getting angry about the finale? Really? Is it because--no, no, I don't want to know why it is. I am in my happy bubble of story arc closure and Ponds nostalgia and I am not coming out to think about it.

This is why I don't go to Doctor Who fora, and why I don't really hang around in discussion posts except on comms that intentionally keep things positive. I get that criticism is a fair thing for fans to have, but everyone gets so angry so fast, and I feel like so much is taken out of context. The more fanwank I overhear about this year, the more I hope that I didn't complain too much last year when I was in my somewhat crabby-with-Moffat phase. Because this show is like enough like an emotional rollercoaster without having to shout about it, and when it's doing things that make me happy, I just want to go into bubble mode.

P.S. Does this mean you saw the finale? What did you think?
kaffyr
Oct. 3rd, 2012 02:07 am (UTC)
no, no, I don't want to know why it is

You're a wise woman. I don't know why I put myself through it sometimes, other than for the joy of eventually retreating into civil society. The sad thing is that sometimes there are a lot of valid critiques, but either they're hidden amongst the "Stab the Evil Moff With a Fork, Oh yes I will!" comments, or, worse, they actually include a few of those themselves, making it hard to separate out the commenter's valid problems, and the knee-jerk anti-Moff responses.

everyone gets so angry so fast,

You've put your finger on it. I've been guilty of that myself, I'm afraid, in different circumstances. It's so human to let our ugly emotions flare, while the better angels of our nature (pun only partly intended) stay tightly tied down.

P.S. Does this mean you saw the finale? What did you think?

I've seen it twice, and I liked it. I think I more than liked it. I know it had me in tears both times I watched it. I see some definite flaws in plotting and writing, some enough to make me grit my teeth, but not enough to make me stop liking the episode. In a way, some of the gaps in make me happy, because a) they leave some wiggle room for Moff to turn around; b) they're tailor made for a fic-writer to fill and b) they make me remember that Moff, like the Doctor and River, lies about some things.

It's also prompted me to think about the ecology and psychology of angels, something I find fascinating. I'm trying not to think too hard about Amy and Rory being gone, because Moff did write a sense of finality and loss into the episode, and I'm still a little tender about losing those two.

And by "little" I mean "a boatload of hurt." I don't think I felt this bad when Rose left, and I love Rose. It's up there with the hurt I felt after Donna's exit, but with less anger.
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time_converges
Oct. 2nd, 2012 03:45 am (UTC)
Yeah, I've had to start staying away from places and avoid discussions because it was really affecting my enjoyment of the show. There's a difference between critique and vitriol.
kaffyr
Oct. 3rd, 2012 02:54 am (UTC)
... it was really affecting my enjoyment of the show.

Did it affect you by making you aware of shortcomings that you'd heretofore ignored, or was it a case of the general tone bringing you down because it just felt so negative? Or maybe a bit of both? I ask because those are the responses I've had to the overall hate. Both things lessen my enjoyment, although when it's a valid criticism, it feels a little different (perhaps harder to take, ahem) from hearing acid rantings.
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scarfman
Oct. 2nd, 2012 03:46 am (UTC)

I am always fascinated by these glimpses I get on my flists into the world of fannish drama, because I always seem to psychically choose my flists so that I never see the drama but second hand. However, I can tell you from thirty years' experience that the current Doctor Who showrunner is always hated. I'd bet it goes back even further than that to the founding of DWAS.

kerravonsen
Oct. 2nd, 2012 04:48 am (UTC)
I am always fascinated by these glimpses I get on my flists into the world of fannish drama, because I always seem to psychically choose my flists so that I never see the drama but second hand.

I, also. I'm just glad that I have sensible friends.
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lyricwrites
Oct. 2nd, 2012 03:51 am (UTC)
Yeah, this happens. Unfortunately.

Ironically, I think part of the backlash is because Moffat is good. He gets people emotionally invested. When you're really invested in a character and feel like the author has misused them, you don't think, meh, different strokes, it happens, you think NO THAT IS WRONG I WILL CUT YOU NOW.

But there's also a certain amount of rumor and what I think of as Real Person Fanon, where a number of people have decided that Moffat thinks or has said something about women and then proceed to pass it on and make it worse. Take his opinion that companions are likely to be young and rootless; I've seen that glossed as "Only young hot women can be companions" more times than I like to think about. And, y'know, I'd kind of like to have a discussion about rootless old people and what the key ingredient is (or whether there is one at all) and whether or not Moffat is missing something—but that's hard to do when a small segment of very loud people keep shouting, it's because Moffat thinks woman=nice tits, okay?

It just—to be honest, it bothers me enough that I strictly limit the fandom spaces that I visit. Because criticism is one thing (even if it isn't always my thing; I have moods where I just want to bask in squee), but hate—character hate, writer hate, whatever, it bugs me. A lot.

So, yeah. I agree with this post and know how you feel.
kaffyr
Oct. 3rd, 2012 01:01 pm (UTC)
Ironically, I think part of the backlash is because Moffat is good. He gets people emotionally invested.

You may have a point when it comes to one section of the "I WILL CUT YOU NOW" choir. That happened for me back when RTD eviscerated Donna. However, there are so many people who quite sincerely (I think) proclaim that nothing the Moff writes or has his writing stable write emotionally captures them - that his Who doesn't arouse their emotional responses - that we also have to look to other reasons for the raeg.

But there's also a certain amount of rumor and what I think of as Real Person Fanon, where a number of people have decided that Moffat thinks or has said something about women and then proceed to pass it on and make it worse.

You are so spot on with this that I can say nothing more, except shake my head at the Whisper Down the Lane gone wrongness of it.

a_phoenixdragon
Oct. 2nd, 2012 12:12 pm (UTC)
Stuffs like this is the reason I avoid most forums, discussion groups - and one of the top reasons I dropped doctorwho. That kind of hate isn't worth anyone's time and all it does it eat at you, even if you think yourself immune. UGH. Personally? I'd never go back. But maybe they were just having a bad week? O_o...

*HUGS*
kaffyr
Oct. 3rd, 2012 03:09 am (UTC)
It's funny ... I never read a lot on doctorwho, although I joined it; mostly just checked it sporadically for little bits of advance information, pictures, speculation, interesting ideas, etc. I can't remember actually dipping in to any of their episode discussion posts. There were one or two reviewers I knew pretty much hated this or that writer or what-have-you, but I quickly figured out who they were and stayed away from them. And I rarely, if ever, commented.

The particular forum that made me side-eye the participants has, sadly, trended a little anti-Moffat for a while now. Which is a shame.

*hugs back*
joking
Oct. 2nd, 2012 12:54 pm (UTC)
Also, there are some critiques of this finale I totally understand – the Angels were inconsistent, Rory didn't get to have his goodbye to the Doctor and River, etc. – but some critiques make me shake my head in bafflement. I just read someone in a forum complaining that Melody Malone's book seemed tacked on to the plot and did nothing but confuse her. But the book was the entire thematic centerpiece of the episode! The whole point was about the power of reading stories! It's like reading Crime and Punishment and saying you didn't get why Sonia forgave Raskolnikov and it just seemed tacked on to the plot. But that's not just part of the plot – it's the entire point!
eve11
Oct. 2nd, 2012 01:04 pm (UTC)
OMG the book! Of course the book was everything! All stories in the end, open books, closed books, flicking through lives as though pages pressed together in a book...

*baffles*
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lost_spook
Oct. 2nd, 2012 06:58 pm (UTC)
I know. It feels very odd especially when the show is so much about love at the moment to find violent hate in reaction - a jarring juxtaposition. But I think it's the things everyone has already said - and then maybe there is another factor, which is that this is the first time a mass of fans who joined the show during 2005-2009 have had to experience a real change of era. Even if you've watched Classic Who, that was safe and in the past - this is the show now; it's threatening to what you loved in a way that the past isn't. And people do seem to latch on to DW in a way that means something to them. And then it changes dramatically, and changes again. It's unique. I mean, I don't know, but I do wonder if that's part of why it is quite so violent this time. (And there have been some specific moments that have been a quiet but deliberate turning around of some elements of the previous era of DW, which must feel disconcerting if you preferred Nine and Ten.)

But I don't know. I find it hard to deal with because I watched Steven Moffat's first show Press Gang as a teenager (which I love and adore and still think is the best thing he's ever done). And every time people say "Of course, we all know Moffat can't write women..." my jaw just drops. I don't think he's perfect on that front by any means, but I can't stand around calling the person who created Lynda Day sexist, even aside from his other characters. She was one of my tiny handful of heroines that I wanted to grow up to be, for being so much fiercer than I was. (Ace was the other main one.)

And I love that he's still so grateful about PG that even now he puts PG refs in DW and Sherlock episodes. ♥

(Sorry, I didn't mean that to turn into a PG polemic, but Steven Moffat will forever be the man who wrote Press Gang and I'm so damn grateful to him that he did.)
kaffyr
Oct. 3rd, 2012 01:10 pm (UTC)
especially when the show is so much about love at the moment

Absolutely. Actually, I think love has been a continuous theme from 2005 through now, expressed differently, perhaps, because of being filtered through two showrunners' disparate personalities, but constant. It saddens me when people don't catch that.

this is the first time a mass of fans who joined the show during 2005-2009 have had to experience a real change of era.

This is also really accurate, and something I'm glad you reminded me of. The bit about changes in Old Who being safely in the past, even if one lived through them then, makes a great deal of sense.

I haven't seen Press Gang,or Jekyll, which condition I suppose I should remedy. The former might be interesting to me because of my job. I'm not sure I could bring myself to watched the latter; I hear it's pretty bloody, and blood and I don't mix well.
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promethia_tenk
Oct. 4th, 2012 01:28 am (UTC)
It's funny--I go through long phases where I quite enjoy reading the hate. Particularly in season five when I'd first gotten into the show I read massive amounts of criticism. But in the great Moff/Rusty divide of fandom, I am so far to the Moff side of things as to never feel like the criticisms of the other side are any sort of a threat. We live in different worlds, and I like to sightsee on their side and squint back at home and try to see what they're on about. The thing, I found, was to find the places where they congregate by themselves and rant together. It's the fighting I don't like.

I enjoyed reading River hate some much, I was quite put out after TIA/DotM when they seemed to disappear and were replaced by a bunch of sappy newbie fic writers. Actually, part of me is still put out, and I am always obliged to people who care to point me to a nice rant post.

I had to give it up as we got further and further into season six, though, and I started being uncomfortable with the show myself. Couldn't read episode reviews anymore, except for the people on my flist who were basically going through the same things. It's just with this last episode that I'm eyeing who_daily again and feeling the itch to take fandom's temperature.

Don't think I'll go poking my head in any forums, though. That's just asking for it : P
kaffyr
Oct. 5th, 2012 05:21 am (UTC)
But in the great Moff/Rusty divide of fandom, I am so far to the Moff side of things as to never feel like the criticisms of the other side are any sort of a threat. We live in different worlds, and I like to sightsee on their side and squint back at home and try to see what they're on about.

I rather like the imagery of this. Mind you, I'm not nearly so far away from the crevasse as you describe yourself, although I'm definitely in Moffland.

The thing, I found, was to find the places where they congregate by themselves and rant together. It's the fighting I don't like.

Whereas it seems to affect me differently; I don't like dropping in on the communities where no one ever challenges some of the more noticeably extreme attitudes or statements. Not that I'm quite brave enough to do it myself, oh, no. Heh.

and I started being uncomfortable with the show myself.

I need to go back and read many of your posts. I recall you being uncomfortable with S6, but can't recall why (forgive me; my brain has been forcibly eroded by a few RL things over the past six months. I trust it will regrow itself soon.) I'd love to figure out what it is about S6 that made me love it even more than S5, which I loved dearly, and to speculate on whether the things that made me love it were the things that made you uneasy about it. Hmmmmmmm.
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marence
Oct. 4th, 2012 02:32 pm (UTC)
The past two years, I've gotten into reading meta stuff about the series. Some was brilliant, some was well-written but logically flawed, some of it was just "we liked the other ones" vitriol. Skipping around the Web looking at this, I see what you're talking about.
And it bothers me.

See, I love River. I love the idea of River. I also understand, as an older and over-educated woman, that younger people might not get some of the things that make her so appealing to me. So I avoid commenting because I will get too personally involved and the debate becomes argument, which is pointless on the Internet.

I also love Moffat, the evil twisted genius. I don't see his writing as misogynistic; he may be dismissive of secondary characters for the spotlight to be on the Doctor and the plot/story arc, but that's 11, isn't it? Dismissive, but loving. (Makes one wonders about Moffat's childhood, but that's another story.)

My solution to overthinking Doctor Who is to watch a few Classic Who episodes. By comparison, the hand-waving in the new series is minimal.

And I'm enjoying the film references in series 7 so much that I forgive almost anything. I'm forgiving the entire mess of the end of "A Town Called Mercy" because of the recreation of scenes from my favorite spaghetti Westerns. I'm sure I will forgive nearly everything in "Angels Take Manhattan" eventually. I've only seen it once, and was so overjoyed by Melody Malone and the noir theme (and Angels! a favorite!) that I think I really didn't process the whole episode.
Well, I cried, but...
kaffyr
Oct. 5th, 2012 05:27 am (UTC)
debate becomes argument, which is pointless on the Internet.

I think you might be on to something here. Heh. (I'm recalling the XKCD cartoon of "Something is Wrong on the Internet!" with a smile on my face ....)

Dismissive, but loving.

... aaand a light goes on over kaffyr's head. Thank you!

watch a few Classic Who episodes. By comparison, the hand-waving in the new series is minimal.

Dear lord in heaven, yes. This, so much this this! I want to point New Who critics - of all stripes, mind - to this verity. I also want to remind the Old Who fans who conveniently forget monsters made of soap bubbles and tissue-thin plots, not to mention the complete unfamiliarity writers back then had with the very concept of continuity, of what the reality of our beloved show was prior to 2005, before they moan on about lack of continuity or silly plotlines in New Who.
apostle_of_eris
Oct. 4th, 2012 04:48 pm (UTC)
The smaller the stakes, the more savage the fighting.
Maybe we can switch the canonical example from academia to "fandoms".
kaffyr
Oct. 5th, 2012 05:14 am (UTC)
I'm sorry ... you say "switch from academia to 'fandoms'" and I see "switch from fandom to fandoms."

Wait. There's a difference?
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