Sunday 29 – Monday 30 December 2013
In order to illustrate this post, I’m going to start by referencing a TV show that I’ve followed since I was a child, and of which I consider myself a long time fan. You can pretty much insert the name of any TV show, movie, writer, musician, artist, sportsperson/team, phone manufacturer, etc. in place of the show that I reference, because this is something that isn’t just applicable to TV shows. It’s about the difference between enjoyment and obsession.
Let me begin . . .
For those of us who are Doctor Who fans, we’ve just witnessed a piece of Who history with the departure of the Matt Smith, and the introduction of Peter Capaldi. As with any Time Lord regeneration, viewers are falling into three categories: those who love the new incarnation, those who don’t, and those who are reserving their thoughts until they’ve seen enough full length episodes to form a solid opinion. But, whatever your opinion thus far, forums, Social Media, blogs, you name it, are all burning with fervent conversation. And I use ‘fervent’ loosely because it’s more like rampant or rabid conversation. Yes, rabid is probably a much better descriptor.
There are rabid discussions about who is considered the best Doctor, about the Ponds, about the usefulness of Clara, about how River Song might fit into the new series. It goes on and on. And this is where I’m left dumbfounded. I like Doctor Who . . . a lot. I have books, mini figures, a t-shirt, and some sonic screwdrivers. I’m a fan. However, these people go nuts about defending their opinions of a TV show. And when I say ‘nuts’ I mean the kinda nuts that means sending death threats to people who run fan pages for the show because they don’t agree with the opinions being expressed by the admin of the page. NUTS nuts.
The thing is, this level of fan interest isn’t only reserved for Whovians. Think about the fans of a certain boy band, or solo boy singer, or group of young pranksters, or sparkly vampire movies, or fruity tech company. You know what I’m talking about, right? It’s not simply an interest that these people have, it’s an obsession, and I don’t think it’s necessarily a particularly healthy one either. Not when you’re sending death threats to others because you don’t agree with an opinion that they expressed. That’s just plain ol’, garden-variety insanity.
This is what our society is coming to – people who have no apparent sense of real life. They’re so wrapped up in their favourite TV show/movie/band/singer/sports team/tech company/etc. that they become one-eyed and mental. Yes, mental. I said it. And if they’re not wrapped up in obsessing over a celebrity, they’re living life online . . . but that’s a different post.
Today I happened upon a post on G+ where someone had constructed a rather spiffy graphic to illustrate the evolution of The Doctor. They listed each actor by name and photograph, which Doctor he played, and which regeneration he was. It clearly took some time to construct, and it looked quite professional. Then, as I normally do, I perused the comments attached to the graphic, and it didn’t take very long before the nastiness and hostility appeared. Name calling, bullying, insults – all because one person in the circle believed that the graphic creator was wrong regarding some of the information. How is this normal? What was wrong with simply patting the creator on the back and saying ‘Nice job, buddy’? Or, if you so vehemently disagree with the information, address what you perceive as the issue in a civilised manner. Failing that, if you can’t help yourself, and you’re going to belittle the creator of the graphic, perhaps keep your big, fat trap shut.
I return to the question I posed in the above paragraph: how is this behaviour normal? Well, I don’t believe that it is. For goodness sake, there are more pressing issues in this world to get passionate about than the ins and outs of a TV show. And yes, I realise that by writing a post about the issue, I’ve kinda put myself in the same category of focussing on something that’s not terribly important. So why have I done it?
Because I believe that we are creating generations of people who fail to see the real issues in the world from the irrelevant and unimportant. And I don’t know about you, but that bothers the hell outta me. I don’t want to be old and in a nursing home where my carers are more interested in what someone said about a boy band than making sure that I’ve had my medication. I don’t want to be in need of a lawyer, and stuck with someone who thinks the best form of defence is to issue a death threat because the prosecutor disagrees with something in my case. I want common sense to reign supreme. I want future generations to care about the environment. I want compassion to flourish in the world. I want people to care about the bigger picture.
That may be asking a lot, but I live in hope.