So recently, I saw a few tweets from one of my favorite musicians, CHARLI XCX
and yes, it feels like one of those statements you might here from Jughead on CW's Riverdale, but then she added another great message
And that's when it really did hit me - about a decade ago, I was a real jerk to people on the internet, mostly because they were weird and I never understood why they like things, or liked things in a certain way.
But after growing up and maturing, I learned the people who love their things, no matter how weird they might be, don't bother you. It's really you that bothers them, and being a dick to them just kind of, well, sucks.
I get we all want to be that snarky asshole on the internet, because thats what comedy was, but what I found to be more helpful, is just enjoying what you enjoy and let others have their fun as long as it doesn't punch down others. (Because I know somebody would go "BUT MAYBE MY FUN IS BEING A DICK TO OTHERS" which, is by the way, really tragic. Not even like, crocheting or writing knock knock jokes?)
I enjoy game shows, I work sometimes in an industry on the thing I enjoy. From music package, to the set, to the hosting, to the rules - I break it down and try and figure out everything inside them, it fascinates me. The internet was a great place to find friends who like the industry, and a few rotten eggs.
The best part of this internet thing is knowing I have many friends in this industry and they all help each other out, and sometimes just want to play the games as friends, because it's all really silly and fun, and come on, it's a genre of television that celebrates winning toasters.
Then there are the bad eggs, the ones that are critical, negative, and just, in a polite way, assholes. They slam Drew Carey for hosting The Price is Right and the show changing forever because they use TV Monitors instead of those 1980s Eggcrates, or a different beep or boop. Where there is gatekeeping, you are "not a true fan" unless you like one thing, but dislike another.
But ultimately, in that umbrella, that's true to just about anything. As many people know, my favorite superhero is Nightwing. Dick Grayson is like, all-time favorite, not just as Robin, but as Nightwing. I actually helped write a book on it. The reason I enjoy him, is his characteristics, personality (and yes, he somewhat does look like me, complete with bangs) and the fun thing is seeing why some people enjoy him, or why they like him.
Some people it's because of his leadership in Teen Titans comics, which is admirable. Others, because they grew up with him on the Teen Titans cartoon or Young Justice. Others never read a comic or cartoon and think he's "cute I guess", and others just want to get kinky and have him with Batman (which, okay, that's your thing, we will save the incest and pedophilia undertones for a different time)
But one thing I remembered, is a few years back, somebody wanted to get into Nightwing and wanted to know where to start (This was when Forever Evil/Grayson was just starting) and while I suggested Grayson to them (because if you're going to start, at least start on an Issue 1, even though any comic could be someone's first comic) and continue from there.
Then it became an argument about New-52, and a scream fest about Battle for the Cowl, and then something about Tim Drake, and all I could think was "this person needs recommendations, and somehow it became a shout fest over who is and isn't a true fan)
It just reminds me,of the gatekeeping in the game show world, it reminds me of the countless youtube videos of people doing rants about somebody "screwing up" something they enjoy (Example - Ninja Theory with DmC: Devil May Cry, a great video game), but then on the flip-side, then you see the gatekeeping of people just harassing (and it is harassing) others for liking something a different way (Example - Sonic the Hedgehog fandom, and then taking the time to dust off your furry jokes from circa 1997 internet)
And we could do so much better, i understand creating content is tough, but we could do a whole lot better than "what's the deal with THESE people?" "what's the deal with people who actually LIKE mario kart?" "did you know people STILL enjoy Thomas and Friends?" "Can't believe these people like ANIME, are they PERVERTED?"
And to me, I think loving that stuff should be embraced more, (it shouldn't be your "identity" like "gamer") but it should be embraced.
If you love My Little Pony, celebrate your love. Yes, you will get detractors saying "isn't that a show for girls" and yes you will get weirdos making really disturbing videos (I mean, I suppose you are "showing your love of the product" by cumming on a figure) But as long as you can embrace the weird things you enjoy, good things will happen.
I am serious.
If you are lonely, or think "nobody will ever understand this", you will always be surprised. You will make a new friend, you will find somebody who understands.
We need less gatekeeping, we need more of people being fascinated by the things you enjoy.
I did a live show called "Guilty Pleasures", where I invite a guest on, and we spend an hour going through things they enjoy, from books, to movies, to television shows, to food. And so far, every time I have done it, it fascinates me.
From comedians who enjoy Lucha Libre, to writers who know Transformers lore, the way they explain their love of things, always fascinates me, and is always met with joy and appreciation, and above all else - love.
It's why I love doing it, and why I would love to try to do "Guilty Pleasures" more in 2018.
It was one of those rare "maybe I should podcast this?" things, but I want it to have an audience, I want people to share with me the things they love as well.
Made with Love.