Have you ever been fandom shamed? Have you ever fandom shamed someone?

This topic has been on my mind for weeks. I know I wrote a poem based on that subject. Yes, I know there are worse issues going on right now in the world and this isn’t me ignoring them. Something about the concept of fandom shaming has grabbed my attention with how it affected me years ago. I’ve been fandom shamed for liking anime, independent music (sometimes for specific bands or singers), and even superheroes at one point like how I used to play HeroClix during my teens. I had the toughest time making counterarguments to the people who insulted me. Maybe this was me taking the high road or maybe I was so stupid and naive to have a comeback towards those fools. It also frustrated me when other people like other things, but never get insulted. I’m not just talking about “acceptable” fandoms like sports, shoes, cars, etc., but for certain bands/singers, movies, or games out there.

I have some questions for you because I feel like I’m the only person in the world who gets fandom shamed.

Have you ever been fandom shamed? If so, what was it for?

Have you ever fandom shamed someone? If so, what was it that the other person liked?

How do you deal with being fandom shamed if it happened to you?

Fandom Shaming Poem

Liking anything is difficult in this day and age
Sincerity dies by tweets and statuses
God forbid anyone is a fan of anything (that isn’t a sport, cars, or shoes)
Backhanded compliments
To overt insults
Are the name of the game
To be detrimental to another person

“What you like is worthless!”
“Only an idiot would like this.”
“You have such crappy taste.”

They all say that to one’s face or through an avatar
Especially when they want to want the fan’s world burn via burner accounts
Fandoms become factions willing to fight for their loves

A cycle could happen
As one gets burned far too many times
“Oh, you’re allowed to make fun of what I like?”
Says the scorned fan
“Now I’m going to reflect your verbal assaults.”
The shaming begins on the other sides
When first stones were thrown due to one’s affinity
Does it truly serve them right even if they were the aggressors?

Were my issues against Disney fans stemmed with jealousy and not just hypocrisy from them?

Here’s a break from my poetry and other posts. I am aware about the serious issues going on from this week alone, so this isn’t me ignoring what’s going on around the world. This kind of started after listening to James Humphrey and Imo Emah’s podcast series where they critique some Disney movies of all things which were quite interesting. I’m glad they weren’t sycophants covering all these movies which was a huge plus. Going with that as well as still self-analyzing all the psychological damage I received in my life, I really got to thinking about how I was made fun of for what I liked as well as what I didn’t liked.

Before I get into these thoughts, I will promise you that I’m not going to beat a dead horse about that freaking 90s franchise that some of my regular readers know I love to bash on here and my film review blog. It’s much bigger than that.

Did I ever like Disney movies when I was a kid? Of course. I wouldn’t lie about that. I stopped watching them when I was in my teens mainly because I really got into anime as well as starting to check out international movies. What really ticked me off during my high school and college years was being a target of bullying for what I liked. Anime and some superhero stuff (I used to play HeroClix back in the day) more so during my teens while I was insulted for liking independent music during my time at university. While I was bullied for worse things like my heritage which I won’t deny, I was also made fun of at college for NOT liking Disney stuff. I thought that was weird because I thought it was too childish even though I never voiced it out loud to anyone. Yet at the same time even to this day, I see adults rocking merch from the House of Mouse and NO ONE says anything. I’m not just talking about people in their 20s or 30s, I mean people old enough to be my parents and even grandparents. Is liking Disney in America one of those “bully-proof” or “acceptable” hobbies like sports, shoes, cars, or premium cable TV shows (think about the stuff on HBO, AMC, FXX, or Showtime) where no one can make fun of you? I’ve wondered about that.

I absolutely hated how that fandom would be treated with Mickey Mouse gloves while I was a laughingstock for watching Gankutsuou or listening to Starflyer 59 among other examples. How was it that other people could watch “kiddie” movies and shows with no pushback? I’ve wondered that for years and I was furious on the inside. For years, I wanted to find ways where I can figure out people before I would insult them for what they liked if they had issues with me, but I never had the opportunity to do so. There were ideas of bashing the movies they watched, how they have bad animated role models, or how formulaic the plots are. As I got older, I got more rhetorical ammunition against that fandom with the racism, sexism, or malevolent corporate stuff I’ve learned about with the house that Walt built. If I knew about these issues then like I know now, I would give them all the riot act and try to verbally break their self-esteem as retaliation for all the insults I’ve received from them by dropping all these facts in their faces. There’s still vitriol against other fans that was compounded as I put up with petty insults as well as severe verbal attacks in different topics. It’s a miracle I didn’t blow up on bloggers who like the works from that company especially when it comes to multiple movie examples I’ve openly criticized including the one example I don’t need to bring up again at this time (trust me, I would’ve made some people look like hardcore bigots just with that one example if I knew all that baggage back then). Sometimes, I wonder how I can even read reviews from bloggers I enjoy that happen to cover movies from the Mouse and not have a conniption fit in the process. Yes, I still have anger about this subject with various fandoms being treated better than the topics I enjoy. No wonder I like other things like history, geography, and avant-garde stuff even though I also enjoy lesser topics.

As I continued this self-realization, I knew this was hypocrisy on them. I still hate how I get bashed for liking certain things while no one insults them or at the very least I don’t see them. Part of me wonders of there were other intersections about me that made me a target like race, my personality, mental health, etc. Part of it was jealousy. Even to this day, I struggle with sometimes caring too much about what others think. It’s really tough when I get demonized for standing up for myself even when I’m not doing or saying anything wrong. I even thought that if I had my way back then, I’d make sure people would be forced to respect my hobbies and interests while also having all the right rhetorical arguments to bash someone’s hobbies if they dared try to insult what I like. Look, I’m not Jesus here. I’m not trying to be some perfect individual or some flawless moral guardian. I don’t want to lie about some of the thoughts I had even when it comes to jealousy and sorting out my psychological baggage. There was jealously in wishing that I was never hurt by anyone no matter how petty or severe the attacks are against me. I was also angry how I felt like not many people were criticizing them or worse, extolling the bad things that have been documented. While I still get angry at people giving those movies and that company a pass for everything, part of that anger stems from jealousy and not just doing my best to call out evil in this world.

I know this isn’t some mind-enriching post, but I just feel like I have to get this off my chest as I’m still trying to make sense of my mental state.

Was My Worth Tied Into Being a Critic?

They say every one is a critic

I certainly wouldn’t deny it

My silvery-platinum eyes were spectacles for others

These opinions mattered more in multiple contexts

While proud of these observations

My pride in my own originality faded harder than vintage denim

So many fires, so many embers

Only a few would become pyrotechnics, though I wouldn’t want them to be altars

Other creative works would be on display

There was a joy in bringing light to the obscure from all around the world

No, Japan wasn’t my only destination even though a section of this part of the net appreciated those shiny pennies from the Rising Sun

While I’m versatile, I didn’t want to be confined

Much less ashamed of having fandoms at all

I prayed I wasn’t a failure in all my endeavors

As I’ve thought for most of my life

Concerts Are Necrotized

I certainly dodged a bullet

When I threw in the towel as a live musician

Steams flow in digital portals

Siphoning all potential means to live

Phones in front of people’s faces

Apathy reigning over the live singer

Then there were 19 degrees of isolation

As festivals disappeared and possibly on life support until further notice

If I have shed my “music man” identity, then this was the perfect time to do so

I’d rather be known by my other artistic endeavors, writings, or my positive actions

All those who bullied me in the past for being a music fan deserve to shut the Tartaros up

Barking First and Loudest

A platoon of pointing fingers arrive with a wall of megaphones

They sound like several packs of dogs to me

Psychologically scalded by jeremiads and chastisements

I’ve been on the receiving end of those accusations

Regardless if I had a halo or horns in those situations

How short-sighted of them

I never tried to be a god as their pettiness is on full display

I couldn’t always fight back, but for most of my life I hid onto this resentment

The same things they’ve accused me of are the reasons why they barked in the first place

That or they defend those who don’t deserve such rhetorical bulwarks

Keep barking, your vices and those you stan(d) for are all too obvious.

Representation Matters Pt. III: My thoughts on anime (How I got into Japanese animation, what I think about it, and how it could be better in regards to representation)

Welcome back to my Representation Matters series! For those who are new to my blog or only occasionally read my posts, you can check out the first one here and my second one about me creating my own characters here. Now we’re going to get into part three.

This is no secret, but I have an appreciation for Japanese animation. I’ve talked about that subject a few times on this blog and I have a whole separate blog called Iridium Eye Reviews where I critique that form of animation in addition to obscure movies, short films, and documentaries from all over the world. My first exposure to it was when I was very young and saw Teknoman (the English-dubbed edited version of Tekkaman Blade) on UPN. I thought the show looked really cool and wondered what that kind of a cartoon it was. I watched more of the stuff that was on TV back then and when I was in high school, I got into renting and owning various DVDs of certain series. What I liked about some of the anime that didn’t get played on Toonami or the other channels was the uniqueness of the stories, finding pieces of animation with actual artistry, and finding different stories I would never get from Western animation. If you think all anime is just DBZ, Pokemon, Naruto, or god forbid anything that’s hentai, then please slap yourself. There’s so much more than what the mainstream talks about.

One thought that I had during my teens was that some anime was a bit of a consolation prize of sorts for me. Because these series were made by nonwhite animators and featured characters who would be considered POCs in different contexts, I subconsciously settled for this despite not being of Japanese descent let alone Asian. It’s probably no wonder I was a Japanophile during my high school years not just because of some shows I thought (some I still think are) were legitimately good, but it even got to the point where I took Japanese classes at a community college during my last two years of high school. I can still remember numerous words or phrases to this day and would technically be my “2nd best” language next to English. Sure, I didn’t always think “Most of these characters aren’t white, so I can find them to be more relatable!” all the time, but I can’t lie to you that it was something in the corner of my mind at times during that point of my life. That interest faded out later in college and I had a hiatus of sorts until not long before I started Iridium Eye a couple of years ago.

While I still like certain anime series and movies, the Japanese animation industry has been marred with racist aspects, too. As much as I give a ton of crap to Disney and other American media companies for their bigotry and they deserve to be called out on those things, I can’t pretend that even the Japanese companies don’t do anything like that. Sure, they’re not going to do racist things against their compatriots or even other Asian ethnic groups most of the time, but they’ve had very questionable things go on. There’s obvious examples like Mr. Popo from the Dragon Ball franchise, Jynx from Pokemon, or even Pyunma/008 from Cyborg 009. The backlash got so big that the creators eventually changed their character designs by changing skin colors for the first two and for 008 shedding the sambo imagery into a more realistic African man (okay, I think the Call of Justice version looks like an anime version of Childish Gambino/Donald Glover, but I digress). This problem hasn’t gone away. There’s a more recent anime called The Promised Neverland which did look like it had an interesting plot, but I couldn’t bring myself to watch it when I saw pictures of one of the characters called Sister Krone.

Image result for sister krone

I felt legitimately uncomfortable and that’s one of the less offensive images. She’s shown as this unstable psychopath while at the same time being subservient to a white woman who’s one of the villains in the show. Her character design is much worse in the original manga. This anime came out in 2019 and there is no excuse for this. If you don’t see what’s wrong with this kind of imagery, then let me remind you of this.

Those would be mammy figurines from the Jim Crow museum. This is the same kind of garbage that permeated the imagery of black women being servants, stupid, and being undesirable. That imagery has been around since even before the Emancipation Proclamation, and this is the same kind of stuff that people bash a certain Tom & Jerry supporting character or Gone With The Wind for. I know the creators of The Promised Neverland know better than this and they would NEVER write a white or Asian woman that way.

Here’s how anime can do better. They can write characters who aren’t Asian or Caucasian into characters one can take seriously across the board. They need to consult other ethnic groups for making certain characters. Don’t make race their only defining characteristic. They can also ask themselves this question: How would they feel if someone incorporated Japanese stereotypes in a character?

I know there are some anime series that are better at positive representation than others which I do appreciate, but I’d be lying if I said there was no bigotry in Japan. I’m not into anime as much as I used to even though I still review it. I think it can be sad that I do a better job at positive representation of multiple ethnic groups compared to animators on both sides of the Pacific at large.

All photos are under “fair use”.

The photo of Sister Krone is from The Promised Neverland and is property of Aniplex of America.

The photo of the mammy figurines is from Wikipedia.

 

Disney Double Standards in a nutshell.

For starters, I would like to thank K at the Movies for the term that inspired this mini-rant.

If someone likes Disney movies as an adult that’s okay, but if I tell people I like anime, I get made fun of.

If someone old enough to be my parents or grandparents rocks Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, etc on a short or jacket, no one says anything. I wear a shirt with Kimba the White Lion, then I’m supposedly weird.

Whenever the creators say or do bad things, they are easily forgiven. When I point out any unfortunate implications in these movies, then I’m over-analyzing or even called a racist or hateful for pointing them out.

Whenever Disney buys out a major company, it’s supposedly star spangled awesome. Any other conglomerate, then they are the evil empire.

Whenever Disney makes a new animated movie, it’s instantly awesome no matter what. When it’s any other company, it’s automatically garbage.

Whenever someone else uses princesses or fairy tales, they get called rip offs, but if you point out that Disney has plagiarized things (see: Kimba or Nadia: Secret of Blue Water), then it’s just coincidence or “everyone rips off something”.

Whenever someone says they hate Don Bluth or Dreamworks, it’s cool. When someone doesn’t like Disney, they are seen as villains!

Whenever Disney gives lip service to nonwhite ethnic groups, it’s progressive. When someone gets racebent, then it’s instantly Armageddon (See: the #NotMyAriel backlash).

Watch any cartoon with lots of anthropomorphic animal characters, and you get called a furry. Watch a Disney movie or cartoon with the same kinds of characters, and supposedly that’s exempt.

When an IP has a bunch of sequels or remakes, and that’s franchise milking. Disney does the same thing (especially their remakes currently), and that’s okay.

When some artist does horrible things, then they get shunned and blacklisted. When a Disney employee does horrible things, then they separate the art from the artist because their childhoods and fandom mean more than justice.

Those are examples I can think of at the moment. Anything of more double standards?

Why do you care so much about originality and rip-offs?

I’m sure there have been people thinking that question whenever they talk to me especially in this blogosphere. It certainly doesn’t help that I have a full-length concept album coming out in late December that involves innovators in numerous fields. Some of them were unfortunately plagiarized by more popular people and organizations which is quite unfortunate. I have certainly made an opinion post about it earlier this year if memory serves me correctly. Feel free to check that post whenever you can.

I don’t want to repeat too much about what I’ve said in previous posts or to namedrop certain examples especially certain film controversies you all should know about by now. Originality is something I cherish and I know people can really try to make something truly unique. I just shake my head when I hear people say that nothing’s original anymore. Those same people haven’t even tried in their lives. Even in my film review blog, I will even award an extra point or two for originality or at the very least something I’ve personally never seen before. It’s a virtue for me and that upcoming album Dear Innovare is an homage to several people.

Now, I have an issue with rip-offs which you may know. I don’t throw around that term flippantly unless I can back it up with facts and obvious similarities. What I may not have mentioned was that I’ve been made fun of for some of my tastes allegedly being clones. Back in college, I got into a band called La Dispute. They are an experimental hardcore band that incorporates spoken word vocals for most of their songs. They were one of the first bands I ever saw at a basement show in my life when some friends and I saw them, Touche Amore, Into It. Over It., Tension Generation, and Former Thieves in someone’s home in Chicago. It’s weird to think some of those bands would get signed to bigger labels. Anyways, there was a (now ex-) friend of mine who have me crap for liking them because he thought they were a rip-off of mewithoutYou. I liked both bands then, and I disagree with that. Yes, both bands incorporate spoken word elements, but musically, they don’t sound alike. Besides, mewithoutYou isn’t the first rock band to use spoken word elements. Just look at Envy who’ve been around years longer and did post-rock elements before Aaron Weiss and company would do so. Even listening to Gil Scott-Heron or more recently The Last Poets really opened the floodgates wide. I can’t picture mewithoutYou or even La Dispute fans getting into The Last Poets and would be too scared to do so if you know anything about their lyrical content. This infuriated me because I never got my official comeback against this person. One time on Facebook, he admitted to watching the Never Say Never documentary. Yes, I’m talking about the Justin Bieber one and he said he liked it. I verbally thrashed him online telling him he had no right to make fun of me for liking La Dispute if he was a Belieber. What shocked me was the lack of insulting towards him. If I said something like that, I’d be clowned for weeks! Why does he get a free pass?

Part of that lingering resentment still exists with me today. Do you know how many times I’ve been severely tempted to insult bloggers for what they like if I know if something is a rip-off or problematic? Doing that would be like an abstract revenge for being made fun of for liking La Dispute back in the day despite my musical tastes changing since then. It’s like I would be doing unto others what was done to me as I would dish out that verbal barrage. However, I’m not good at insulting people and I feel like I behave in a respectful manner even when I rant. The anger I feel more often than not is towards other bloggers, so it does put me in check that way. With that being said, if someone calls something a rip-off, yet gives a free pass to something that genuinely is, then I will call that person out. No, I don’t need to name examples as to when I would have that kind of talk with someone. I guess originality and striving to be original was an attempt to be taken seriously despite upholding that virtue or a way to prevent myself from being bullied. I’ve certainly been bullied and/or mistreated for far worse reasons, so don’t get me wrong. Toxicity breeds toxicity as I’ve thought about shaming people if they liked something that was a clone whether I declared it to be so or not.

As I’ve said before…liking things is really hard.