So nitwit TV personality Fern Britton made some wildly ignorant statements about science fiction in general — such as that it’s “always set in the future” — and Doctor Who in particular — she called the show “the most dreary thng on” (via The Independent). And then nitwit fans responded by being mean to her on Twitter about totally irrelvant things — such as, apparently, her looks — according to Andrew Blair at Den of Geek!:
The clear majority of tweets showed that the way to celebrate an enjoyment of genre fiction was to mock someone about their weight. Social networking allows people to hurl abuse at strangers, providing a hard copy of thoughtless cruelty that can spiral into a national news story that dominates the week.
The reaction to Britton saying ignorant things on television wasn’t a case of “And another reason sci-fi is brilliant is because…” but instead a series of fat jokes. Where previously only Fern Britton looked bad, now most geeks look like petty, vindictive, joyless hacks.
But it’s not just the reaction to Britton who makes fans look bad. Blair:
After the broadcast of A Good Man Goes To War, Steve Moffat, Doctor Who show-runner, tweeted the following:
“Only one death threat, two demands for my immediate resignation, and two for my suicide. IT’S A HIT!!”
From a few fans behaving badly, Blair extrapolates that fandom is the worst thing that ever happened to Doctor Who:
Maybe it’s the underlying bitterness within fandom of their precious show not staying the same, not remaining as it was during their childhood, which leads to sociopathic acts such as this being deemed laudable. The alternative is that some people are just miserable and can turn someone else’s positive into a negative.
I’m not sure who thinks boorish behavior by anyone is “laudable,” and I’m not sure how — in the quote above — a few idiots becomes “most geeks.” Blair’s essay — screed, really — comes across to me as a wild overreaction. I think it’s preposterous to suggest that fans are the worst thing to have happened to Doctor Who.
Does Blair make sense to you? Or does he rub you the wrong way, too?
(Thanks to Ken for the link. If you stumble across a cool Doctor Who thing, feel free to email me with a link.)