Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Fan campaigns are gross

It always Star Trek's fault. It usually is. After two moderately successful seasons in the late 1960s, the show was done, until a small legion of fans, led by the indomitable Bjo Trimble, wrote in and demanded a third season. And they got it, and it objectively had many of the worst episodes of the entire series in it.

There's no actual concrete evidence that the letter campaign actually saved the show - these kinds of decisions are always, always, always about money, not fan feelings - but it became the creation myth for fan campaigns in modern pop culture, and it's only got bigger, gross and more entitled over the years.

So then there was HEAT in the 1990s, where people with an emotional attachment to Hal freakin' Jordan shat their pants when he went bad and blew up Oa, and demanded that he return to replace the upstart Kyle Rayner. They raised money and took out advertisements and it was a big deal in the earliest, dorkiest day of online discourse about comic books.

Most people, including DC Comics, ignored them and got on with life. They still got what they wanted in the end, but it may have taken a lot longer than they expected. The decision to bring back Hal Jordan in the 21st century might have been slightly influenced by that obvious devotion, but was far more about certain writers and editors' fondness for Jordan, (even though he kept getting zonked on the head).

Now there's outcries to redo and recut and remake everything, and it's all really, really boring. Demanding bigger versions of Suicide Squad or Batman Forever isn't going to make those films any better, it's just more of the fucking same, and the inevitable disappointment when it turns out they're not the Greatest Thing Ever.

I don't have that kin of attachment to my entertainments, and I'm fairly sure the vast majority of people feel the same way. The product that film directors, writers and producers give us are sometimes a bit shit, and everyone moves on. They don't need a petition to vent some rage, because there is no rage to vent. Who really gets that worked up about a film made by the guy who made Sabotage?

Directors can recut films as much as they fucking want - Michael Mann is never happy, and each new version of Last of the Mohicans or Thief is fascinating  - because they're the creator. Zack Snyder does seem awfully eager to get stuck back into Justice League, and it's hard to fault that genuine enthusiasm.

But telling people with massive entitlement issues that they're right all the time is fucked up, because nobody wins that. There is nothing to be gained by giving in to these kind of demands, you're never going to satisfy those who want everything they like bent to their whims, and you're just going to piss off those who don't want to be associated with that kind of foolishness. When the entitled mob wins, we all fucking lose.

So maybe there's a chance that the new Justice League cut is the most amazing thing ever, but it will probably just be more dopey superhero shit. Which is fine - I like dopey superhero shit as much has the next idiot - but it's not that big a deal. There are far, far better hills to die on.

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