Toxic Tuesdays

For those of us who reside in the USA, it goes without saying that we are bombarded with some damn serious toxicity every day.  TV.  Film. Music. Social media.  They all feature a lot of pissed off people who seriously want to Punch Nazis or Trebuchet SJWs.  And while I wish I could say SFF fandom has been immune from this plague, it hasn’t been.

From the Rabid Puppies to the WorldCon scandal to author’s calling their fans names on social media, we have had our own fair share of discord and drama running rampant for a while now.  Non-fandom issues permeating the once hallowed halls of fun entertainment, fragmenting the fans, turning what was once a place of acceptance into yet another place to fight over socio-political issues.

When I complain to friends that the toxicity in SFF is causing me to loose my interest in many of my favorite authors and favorite franchises, they always tell me to ignore it all, focus on the art not the artist.  And I admit that sounds like great advice.

There is only one problem with ignoring the vitrol constantly coming from everyone?  How can I do so when many of the new SFF offerings are basically depressing social commentaries I could just as easily find if I turned on CNN or Fox News.  (Both tv stations I refuse to watch for those who want to know.)

Yeah, yeah, I know SFF has always had its share of social commentary stories.  And I’m sure many authors have always had their difference of opinion with their fans over politic and social issues, but there was one major difference between the past and now: NO SOCIAL MEDIA.  Which was actually a damn good thing in hindsight.

The reason I say that is because too many people (SFF authors included) spend far too much time online, on social media in particular, screaming out their disagreement, frustration, hatred, and death wishes for different groups.  Not only is it souring many current readers, but it is running away new fans.

How can I assert this?  Well, other than the sales numbers which are fairly negative, I’d say it is because I have teenage children.

My kids are the tech suave generation; the one where social media is a normal part of their everyday life; and I’ve watched first hand as their adoration and respect for different creators have evaporated once they followed them on social media.  The vitrol their once favorite writers, artists, or actors constantly spew toward their race, their religion, their political leanings, or sexual orientation causing them to totally loose all respect for their former heroes.

It’s sad really.  Who would have ever thought that SFF would come to this?  A fandom which once embraced everyone no matter your geekiness, race, religion, sexual orientation, or political affiliation now has writers, artists, directors, publishers, actors, and many, many more professionals actively insulting, demonizing, and hating their own fan base on social media.

I mean, does anyone truly think it’s a good idea to tell your fans not to buy your book/watch your tv show or film because they might be a different race, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or take a different position on a political issue?

Just so you know: If you answered “Yes, it is a good idea to act like an asshole to your fans“, then please understand you probably are part of the problem, not part of the solution, and so I’m worried nothing I type will change your mind — though I hope I’m wrong about that.

For those of you who answered “No, we need to find a way to stop this madness” I have a bit of common sense advice: LESS ACTIVISM, MORE LOVE.

Yes, we should treat everyone (even those we disagree with) in the fandom with respect and love.  Sure, we might not agree with them about this issue or that, but we do have one major thing in common: we love SFF fandom and do not want it to be destroyed.  And if the hatred doesn’t stop soon, I’m afraid it is going to seriously damage not only my personal love for SFF but its future.

If that sounds a bit naive, corny, or whatever, I’m sorry.  My religion teaches acceptance of responsibility, forgiveness, and to love your enemies.  Plus, I am old enough to recall when the hippies around my hometown would always tell me the answer to all the world’s problems could be found in a simple song.  And, yeah, I did believe them because they held up a peace sign at me instead of trying to punch me.

all you need is love


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21 Responses to TOXIC TUESDAY

  1. H.P. says:

    I largely stopped follower authors on Twitter. A lot of jerkish behavior and high school drama, and very little bookish content.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Social media really brings out the worst in humanity at times. Those times are 12am-11pm. Even rage-fueled ranting needs a nap.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well said brother! I stick to mostly dead authors now, they can’t ruin my opinion of them by being A-holes online. There are still the toxic in the fandoms of these authors, but I don’t care. I have my opinions and I just read their books and I am fine. Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bookstooge says:

    So, what are YOU going to do?


    • Bookwraiths says:

      I’ll keep attempting to read books by all authors and overlook their online jerkish behavior, but there will be times an author has went so far that I just can’t support his/her work anymore. Plus, I’ll keep praying respect and courtesy return to the society we live in.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bookstooge says:

        Oh, I thought maybe you’d stop using twitter and facebook 😉
        Or at least stop following authors in real life 😀

        And this post is a great example of just why authors shouldn’t be “people” to their fans. They should just be a name on a cover. I suspect you and I differ on that subject though 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bookwraiths says:

        I’m minimizing twitter and facebook, fighting the desire to take a look at authors twitter, and I do agree that things were better when authors were just a name on a book cover.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. A lot of what you’ve posted here might seem like common sense, but I’ve found that a lot authors aren’t self-aware at all and don’t realize how much hate they’re spewing while thinking they’re preaching tolerance. Yeah, I don’t follow many authors on social media on my personal account for all the reasons you’ve listed here. And it does annoy me when I see it seep into books.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. C.T. Phipps says:

    Great post and I wrote something similar:

    I have the view that the best form of politizing in books are when they are the values woven into the story. When I write my I WAS A TEENAGE WEREDEER books, I write them with prejudice and social injustice plus rural issues (drug use, mob justice, corruption, and hidden crimes) written into
    the work. I don’t attempt to lecture the reader but the work is informed by it.

    If you don’t like it, you don’t like it.

    If you do, more power to you.

    It’s an entertaining story first or tries to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookwraiths says:

      I think most readers aren’t adverse to social issues appearing in a story, but honestly, there have been more than a few books I’ve tried the last couple years where social commentary was the only plot point, which made the stories come across as heavy handed proselytizing, not entertainment.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. The problem with social media is that it offers a “safe” medium for venting, safe because people don’t need to… put their faces where their words are (if you will forgive me the mangled quote): I saw this in its infancy when I followed a few Usenet groups, and the proliferation of social media has turned the phenomenon into an avalanche. Add to that the manic focus many people have on just themselves, to the exclusion of the rest of the world, and you have a quite explosive mixture.
    I wish that striving to be kind to one another would be the antidote, and there is no harm in trying, but I’m somewhat skeptical about the success of of such an attempt… (((sigh)))

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookwraiths says:

      It truly is far too easy to be rude and obnoxious to one another these days. Too many people viewing their bad behavior as some sort of badge of honor in their crusade. Hence the reason I said we need less activism, because I’m beginning to see a bad trend of violent behavior being glorified because it is all for the cause.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Back in the Good Old Days 😀 of the Usenet groups, the most common recommendation was “don’t feed the trolls”, because replying to their provocation made them happy and launched them on a collision course with everyone. I guess that rule is still valid today, indeed: without a reply of any kind, even the more aggressive troublemakers and troubleseekers end up losing steam… And purpose (((evil grin)))

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for this post. It cheers me to know others think and might act in this way. There are times when one fears to ask another questions in case it results in vitriol. I have an enquiringly mind, I note, accept, and then ignore differences as I meet and converse with people about that which interests us both. It’s a shame some people feel the the need to define themselves by who or what they hate rather than love.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on Archer's Aim and commented:
    Wow! Very thoughtful post from Bookwraiths about the state of SFF. Personally, I read for the entertainment so if I run across something heavy-handed it turns me off. When I write, I try to keep it entertaining and avoid devolving into agenda-based proselytizing. I always want to keep it professional at all times. I think it’s important to keep focused on SFF being entertainment and fun rather than everyday issues. I read and write to get away from issues of the day though such topics can be woven into the plot when necessary (and only that). Everything else just becomes disingenuous to readers. Well said, BW!

    Liked by 1 person

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