This past weekend, fans from around the world got together in San Diego to celebrate their love for nerdy things. As has been the growing trend in San Diego Comic Con, the major studios used this opportunity to make major announcements about upcoming projects, including but not limited to the release of exclusive pictures/footage and casting announcements. In times past, these announcements would be met with great enthusiasm. Sure, there’d be the few people complaining about something or another, but the general feeling was happy. This year, I wasn’t getting that so much.
What’s going on?
I don’t know if it’s always been like this or I’ve just been paying a bit more attention lately, but people just seem grumpy about what was announced at SDCC. From the complaints about the new Wonder Woman costume (okay, I get it, the heels are still a terrible choice) to grumbling about Marvel not releasing enough information about their upcoming projects, there were complaints everywhere. It seemed as though every announcement was met with some bitter reaction like how the new Mad Max movie just wasn’t mad enough.
Seriously, folks? Seriously?
I get that many people wait a whole year, looking forward to whatever is going to be announced at the convention. Weeks, even months, ahead of the convention, the internet is all abuzz with the latest gossip. Whispers turn into murmurs and murmurs turn into excited shouts. With all of that build-up to the convention, you’d think that people would embrace the announcements with some measure of jubilation. It’s happened that way in the past.
For some reason, though, things just didn’t happen that way this year. It seemed like the immediate reaction to most of the news coming out of SDCC was complaining that it wasn’t what the fans had expected. They didn’t go far enough or show enough. It’s been something that I’ve noticed happening more frequently within the past couple of years ago, not just at SDCC. It seems that the reaction to any nerd news these days is usually some form of, “They did this thing? Ugh. That’s terrible.” I know I’ve been on podcasts where we’ve talked about this. Sometimes, that reaction makes sense. Sometimes, not so much.
Why are we doing this to ourselves?
Remember when I blogged last week about negative thinking turning into a vicious cycle? I feel like we’re getting into that in the geek community. With the growth of social media, our ability to snark and complain and commiserate with our fellow fans has reached unprecedented, global levels. With that level of power comes a greater responsibility to be mindful of our criticisms.
We’re all guilty of building up the image of a perfect movie or show in our head and then complaining when the creative teams can’t read our minds and give us exactly what we want. While it’s perfectly valid to think that you could have done something better, sometimes holding onto that ideal shuts you off from enjoying what the work has become. It’s one thing to criticize a property for ignoring its source material and ripping out the heart and soul of what inspired it. It’s quite another thing to criticize a thing based on the fact that it didn’t meet the exact criteria of the standards you’ve set in your head.
Before you want to start complaining about a thing, take a moment to think about it. Step back from the computer to analyze why you might have problems with it. Don’t let a knee-jerk reaction cover up the potential beauty of a thing. All things considered, I kind of like the Wonder Woman costume. My problem with the image is just how dark it is. It’s getting grim and, seriously, folks, DC doesn’t need to cling to grim like a security blanket. There is beauty and light to be found in its universe, but that’s something else I can blog about later.
Long story short, though, stop fueling the belief that nerds will complain no matter what a studio does. They could provide us with exactly what we’ve been clamoring for, but there will still be a segment of the geek population that will remain vocally unsatisfied. Don’t be That Guy. This is supposed to be entertainment they’re providing us. Look at the bigger picture and don’t waste your complaint energies on the smaller things like the size of the ears on Batman’s cowl. Criticize the fact that the growth rate of diversity in media is still sluggish.
Beyond all of that, just try to have fun. Try to enjoy what’s out there. Don’t get stuck in the nitpicky details. Tell them what they’re doing right. Encourage them to make things better. Don’t just complain when things go wrong.