There is an ugly trend happening across social media these days with regard to movies and pop culture criticism. A critic or blogger, most of the time with a blue check mark next to their Twitter name will tweet or post something that draws the ire of fans and fanboys almost immediately for whatever reason. Then in the midst of a litany of responses from those fans and fanboys expressing their distaste for what was said, the blogger or critic will do the following:
1 - Delete the inflammatory tweet AND/OR argue with those who attack it.
2 - Block the attackers or anyone that even supports an attacker in the conversation.
3 - Proclaim how horrible their lives are because the fanboys won't allow them to say what they want without incident.
That last one is my main problem here because I take it personally. I'm not an "attacker" of these bloggers, but I do voice my opinion for what they say if I disagree with it. That is called "discourse" and it is a cornerstone of social media and conversation among individuals in the first place. I'm also a blogger. I don't break news or claim to be a journalist, but I do voice my opinion, and just the same as these others with many more followers than I have to go with their verified status, I'm subject to fans and fanboys attacking my opinions too. I wrote a piece about why Zack Snyder is the best comic book movie director in the business and every once in a while someone will bash me for it. I once tweeted about the unfairness of praising Tom Holland's Spider-Man in just 15 minutes of performance while bashing Jared Leto's similar 15 minutes and a bunch of Tom Holland fans blasted me within the hour. I've had people call me every name in the book on social media, including the racist ones that I promptly reported. I know what it feels like to be in the cross hairs just for having an opinion about things.
What I DON'T do is play the victim about it. The only time I have ever deleted tweets is if I spelled something wrong and that's because I'm picky about spelling and grammar. If I share an opinion about something and people disagree with it, I stand by it and in some cases defend it vigorously. If I get a fact wrong, which I have because I'm a human being, I own up to it and apologize. Once I quoted a tweet in a blog post from someone that was being sarcastic but I didn't see it that way, and when he saw it he flipped out and contacted me about it. He actually called me "fake news" for a bit, until I contacted him myself, read the rest of what he was tweeting and saw where his sarcasm was. Then I told him "my bad" and removed the tweet from my post. It's not a big deal because mistakes happen. He understood that too.
The thing is, these other bloggers are not being contrite or even acknowledging how their opinions could affect others at all. What they are doing is posting their opinion, knowing full well that it could and likely would produce an angry response and then are acting like they did nothing to elicit that response at all. Then they call these angry people the "bad guys" that ruin their jobs and their lives on social media. That is simply ridiculous and childish on their part.
There are people on Twitter that think I'm a certifiable DC fanboy psychopath. They think that I hate Marvel and want nothing more than to be a pathetic troll to everyone that disagrees with me. Those people are either blocked from my Twitter account or they will be when I get tired of their attacks. That's how it works. Social media is not haven of decorum and class, it's a free-for-all. That's what happens when you use a platform that is open to everyone around the world and is privately owned and regulated. There's no "polite police" coming to stop people from disagreeing with you or insulting you. You have a recourse to report them if they cross the line, like threatening physical harm, death or using hate speech, but you can also block them and keep on moving. Playing the victim and acting as though you did nothing to elicit a response is irresponsible at best and downright reckless at worst.
I'm not saying that people have a right to threaten a blogger's life on social media or call them a racial slur. I'm saying that when you have an audience of thousands and Twitter verifies your account, you don't get to delete your inflammatory tweet and call everyone that attacks you complete idiots for disagreeing with you. If you have an opinion then stand by it and be ready to accept the consequences of saying it, even if it means people drag you through the mud. Plenty of those fans and others that attack you are open to the same attacks from others that defend you and many of them have also been treated the same way you don't want to be treated. The recourse is no different: Block them, report them if necessary and move on.
Take this latest incident from Sasha Perl-Raver for example. In the midst of what many have called a manufactured controversy over the marketing for the Wonder Woman movie, she decided to tweet about a poster for Pinkberry's new Wonder Woman inspired frozen yogurt flavor, Power Berry. Here is the poster itself:
And here is Perl-Raver's tweet about it:
As you might guess, some ardent DC Extended Universe fans were less than pleased with her suggestion that the marketing might be sexist. Now personally while I thought it was silly, I wasn't outraged over it. That's just me though. Others have a right to feel however they want, including Perl-Raver who clearly posited that this might be a derogatory piece of advertisement. There are surely others, including the person that tweeted it to her in the first place that disagree with her.
The disagreement isn't the issue. The fact that Perl-Raver tweeted her opinion about it isn't the issue. The issue is that she deleted the tweet and shamed those who called her out on it for being upset:
Really Sasha? You have over 15,000 followers, have tweeted more than 20,000 times and you had no idea that people might be a little sensitive about the Wonder Woman marketing? Let's say that you did and you still posted your tweet because you didn't care. No problem at all, you have every right to voice your opinion on it but why delete it and then call out the people that disagreed with you? I scrolled through the responses to it and I would agree that a number of them were completely classless, but are you going to let that stop you from standing by your opinion? Are you really playing the "I've been bullied" card considering the audience that you command and the attention that you receive? What if I did that every time someone called me an idiot for praising Zack Snyder as some of your "verified" compatriots have done in the past to me and others? I wouldn't have a blog if that was the case.
The ultimate point here is that if you are going to post your opinion on something, especially if it concerns a subject that is even remotely controversial in some form, don't delete your tweet and point the finger at others from your pulpit. No one is telling you that you can't have an opinion and no one is telling you that you can't tweet about DC. You can do both of those to your heart's content, but don't run and cry foul when people disagree with you about it, even if they get disrespectful. Again, that is what block and report is for, which I know you did because you tweeted that you did it.
Sasha Perl-Raver's recent actions are not specific to her, though. Many other bloggers and critics have played the same victim card when they have tweeted opinions that others attacked them for. The behavior even led John Campea of Collider to write a blog about "toxic DC fans." Just a few weeks ago when I engaged Hector Navarro about his comments on DC's Wonder Woman marketing, he got confrontational and blocked me when I thought we were having a decent conversation. He even liked one or two of my tweets on it. Drew McWeeny of Hitfix flat out went nuts on someone for being condescending, levied curses and epithets at him when the other person hadn't done the same, and then blocked me for trying to calm HIM down and have a conversation about it. I say all of this to say that assumptions are being made, lines are being drawn and people are being WAY too defensive about everything.
It's difficult for me to be on the side of Perl-Raver and these other bloggers when I am one myself and I don't act like my life or the world is worse because of how someone rudely disagreed with my opinion. I don't agree with Perl-Raver's opinion on the frozen yogurt ad, but I'm also not calling her opinion wrong, which she DID to others that disagreed with her when she deleted her tweet and called them out for disagreeing with it. There are better ways than that to handle such a situation. It would be nice if the bloggers actually handled these situations better. They might find that some, not all but some of the "attackers" would respect their opinion more if they didn't erase it and heap a pile of potentially hypocritical shame on others for it.