This weekend, I decided to take a break and go to the movies.
I just had LASIK done, and wanted to test out my new high-definition eyes with the silver screen, and decided to check out Ridley Scott’s new film “Robin Hood.”
Now, I’m a big Scott fan, and Russell Crowe was just amazing in “Gladiator,” so I almost tried to approach this film as a “Gladiator 2” since these two primary players were involved. Instead, I woke myself up 90 minutes in, and walked out of the theater. My friend who was with me was so happy I finally left, as she was ready to go after the first 20 minutes.
To me, the film is a disaster. It was slow, it was dull, and I didn’t care about any of the characters. In fact, I had to watch “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” just to put myself back on the same page again with the Robin Hood story, and I never thought I would call the Kevin Costner version of the film superior to anything else.
So when friends ask me what I thought of “Robin Hood,” I share my thoughts. When I went to our message boards, one of our longtime posters who loves to share his amazingly detailed movie reviews talked about how much he liked it, and I responded that I thought the film was “shit.” But then again, it’s my opinion, and it could very much end up the minority (as it did in that very thread).
I didn’t start a whole site complaining about how much I didn’t like the film. I didn’t open up new message boards, trying to attract like-minded people to make rude comments about Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe and others. I simply expressed my dislike, vowed to never buy the film on DVD, and moved on with my life.
It really wasn’t a hard thing to do.
Yet, for some, moving on is just impossible. And it’s come to a head with those who have decided to do nothing more than spew garbage onto the Internet, and not even attach their real names to it.
If someone wants to create an entire message board saying how much they dislike something, then no one is stopping you. Rip the episodes apart. Rip the concept apart. Talk about how much you preferred the previous outings of Stargate over the new show. Do it until you run out of words to say.
But why would anyone, and I mean anyone start making personal attacks against the actors and crew? In what world are such attacks acceptable?
I won’t name it, but some bitter fans decided to anonymously put together a message board where the only rules are that there are no rules. You can say whatever you want, attack whomever you want. It’s a free for all, that likely attracts people more because of its anarchic nature than the topic at hand. I’m sure if I opened a center in the middle of my town and said, “No laws here!” that place would be packed.
This message board, however, is so egregious in its approach to a single show, that the cowards who run it won’t even share their real name. They go after those who have identified themselves, and haven’t stopped at the actors and crew. They have even gone after the families of those actors and crew members, according to “Stargate: Universe” actor Brian J. Smith.
That is insane, and what we should’ve grown out of in kindergarten. I could only take a few pass-throughs on this site before my stomach turned enough that I had to leave. What I found there was absolutely disgusting.
The sad part is that this is completely unnecessary. This message board complains about censorship in other areas, but I haven’t seen any. I’ve been to Syfy’s message board, and I’ve been to GateWorld’s message board, and while there are rules to follow, I have found both positive and negative comments about SGU.
There is a way to express displeasure without having to be personal about it. And what’s worse, people think that they can hide behind some name or some avatar, and go to town.
When I started Airlock Alpha 12 years ago, I made it clear that we would always use real names on this site. That way anything we said about any person or any thing would be treated as if those we were talking about were sitting right across from us in the same room. It’s amazing what people will say about someone or something when they think no one can see or identify them.
For some reason, the Internet has thrown many social graces out the window.
Being a fan — especially one in an all-inclusive family like science-fiction — means being passionate about what you like, and sharing that passion with others. However, the people who participate in this monstrosity of a board are not fans. They are babies. Whining, immature babies, who need to be burped and have their diapers changed.
And the worst part is that these cowards give fandom a bad name. Real fans have the ability to express disagreement without making it personal. Real fans have the ability to tell others they don’t like something, and then move on to something else that they do like. It’s not hard … I do it all the time.
I guess I take this a bit personally. Airlock Alpha has always been about the fans. We have resisted becoming too commercial, too corporate, because we know that we are a site by the fans and for the fans. In the process, however, even I have taken some serious personal attacks over the year that have been completely unnecessary, and always by cowards who hide behind screennames and avatars. They don’t just attack what I like or don’t like. They attack my integrity, my sexuality, my weight, my family … whatever it is that gets them off. And it’s disgusting.
And I’m sorry, but people who are proud of the things they like — and even people like my good friend (and Smith’s mother) Sherry Harris, who is proud of the work her son has done — should not be treated so badly. Sherry should brag about her son. Sherry should share her opinions. And she has every bit of right to do that than any other person who knows how to log into the Internet.
I know this is only going to open yet another door for attacks against me. But I can take it. I look at coward attacks at exactly what they are: attacks by a bunch of infant-brained cowards. So go ahead. Give it your best shot. But someone has to stand up, and it can’t just be the actors themselves.
And don’t think you will win. Say what you want, but “Stargate: Universe,” and other shows people may like or not like, will live a life no matter how long, based on its own merits, not the vitriol of a few loudmouthed people.
We don’t need disgusting sites like this no-holds-barred site where hatred is the topic of every day, and sanity and maturity is checked at the door.
So do us a favor: Get a life.