Geek Wars – Atlantic

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pop culture franchises such as Lord of the Rings and game of Thrones– Grow this year to include Amazon’s This Ring of Strength and HBO’s Dragon House, respectively – have recently started diversifying their cast. Some fans were unhappy with the development and struggled to voice their disapproval. I chatted with our staff writer Adam Serwer, who wrote about these “reactionary geeks” and their goals last week.

But first, here are three new stories atlantic organization.


final frontier

Isabelle Fattar: In your article, you explain why online controversies about non-white actors aren’t as “dumb and superficial” as observers think. Can you talk about some of the deeper consequences?

Adam Selwell: Depictions of blacks and Native Americans in American films are important in justifying the legal abuse of these groups, and conversely, these depictions are important in ending discrimination under the law. Movies shape the popular imagination, for better or worse. And I think the people who turned every casting decision into a culture war controversy recognized that and were looking to use that power for themselves.

Isabelle: Do these criticisms of non-white actors come from Trumpists or the MAGA internet community?

Adam: Many of the people complaining about it come from conservative media sites.As I write in this article, I think they see these reactionary backlashes as fertile political ground for finding converts, giving people a sense of well-established genre attributes such as actor decisions or political themes (such as star wars or Lord of the Rings.

This happens so often that it’s easy to forget how absurd it is to say, oh i’m pissed a black person was chosen as a genie. What people do here is: they try to draw energy from these controversies and say, If you vote for us, if you support this political movement, then we can stop things like this. They can’t because that’s not how these things really work. Markets don’t work that way. This is not how art works.

Isabelle: Do you see similarities between this movement and Gamergate, an anti-progressive backlash and harassment movement targeting women in the video game world?

Adam: there is a piece dead spin Kyle Wagner’s 2014 article on Gamergate titled “The Future of Culture Wars Is Here”. Few articles have been as prescient as that one in explaining how the online dynamics of these disputes work.

I don’t think putting black elves into it Lord of the Rings It’s actually that big, but there’s a way online to make a drip feel like a tsunami. If you go back and read Wagner’s article, you can think of it as a blueprint, not just for this particular controversy, but for many other incidents where online harassment has been used as a tool to silence or hunt down someone who thinks their art isn’t conservative enough or reactionary beliefs. People involved in these activities will deny that this is what they are doing. They’ll say they’re focused on other things, like artistic integrity. But it’s also part of the blueprint discussed by Wagner to make what is essentially a harassment campaign sound respectable. As the article states, Gamergate is a blueprint for how to leverage a certain influence on the Internet.

Isabelle: Part of the trend you’ve noticed is that “older audiences are used to seeing themselves as the protagonists of these stories,” but a lot of the backlash seems to come from younger internet fans as well, right?

Adam: I don’t think reactionary fandom is something exclusive to older people, although I’m addressing a particular kind of nostalgia that I understand because I return Feel it. I just turned 40 and I love this stuff. My contempt is not aimed at people who like genre fiction. It’s for those who feel attacked by the presence of female protagonists or people of color in genre fiction. I don’t think this is a reasonable or substantive complaint about the quality of the work.

Isabelle: You write that the nostalgia of older fans “is ultimately insatiable because they cannot view novel material with the same emotional intensity as children.” Do you fall into that category?

Adam: Well, of course.The first time you saw Luke Skywalker hit his speeder in the back of an AT-AT Walker The Empire Strikes Back Then cut a slit in its belly with his lightsaber and throw a bomb in it to get it off – it’s incredible when you first see it as a kid. You can never regain that childish sense of wonder. These reboots try to attract new fans and profit from the nostalgia of old fans. Sometimes older fans don’t understand that these things are also suitable for kids. We sometimes forget the stupidity inherent in some of these attributes because it feels so severe to us as children.

Isabelle: Did you have any responses to your stories that you found particularly interesting or useful?

Adam: My favorite answer is from someone who loves this stuff as much as I do, and they’re really sick of these grumpy people who explode whenever actors are cast and actors aren’t what people want them to look like look. Some critiques of the quality of the work are mixed in with these more biased complaints, and it’s not fair to those who actually make substantive critiques of art because some of these shows and movies aren’t good.

When you make so much material, it won’t be all gold. And I do think people are trying to use accusations of bias to deflect substantive criticism of this type of work.but I like Have these conversations about whether the show works and why. I don’t want to argue with people about whether black people can be in dragon shows or space movies.

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late reading
(Millennium Images/Gallery Stock)

Take it easy on your dog

Ulla Crowback

Three years ago, Valli Fraser-Celin adopted a blond husky hybrid puppy she named Husk. She said Fraser-Celin was quick to find ways to curb Husk’s “completely insane” behavior, which included stealing food from the kitchen counter and barking at strangers incessantly. Fraser-Celin started using an e-collar, or an e-collar, which caused a slight vibration when Husk misbehaved, on the advice of a YouTube trainer, but she said she was “disgusted” by it.

Fraser-Salin reconsidered her approach after hearing that a trainer had used only positive reinforcement when teaching grizzlies to cooperate with medical treatment. If this hulking animal can learn through hospitality and praise, she thought, why would a dog trainer use a pointed tip and a shock collar?

Read the full article.

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postscript

I asked Adam which new genre novel rebooted his heart. His choice: Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, the Paramount+ series that debuted this year. “It’s probably the most old show Star Trek The original series, in terms of its plot structure and lingering focus,” he said. “So it just shows you, you know, I’m not immune to nostalgia either. “

— Isabelle


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