Pretend to Be Nice

I don’t care if you watch Duck Dynasty. I really don’t. I never enjoyed the show, the times I’ve seen it, so it’s not for me. Of course, a lot of shows aren’t for me. Well. No, I do care, in that I care that this is what the TV Moguls feel is ‘entertainment’ these days.

I don’t care that the patriarch of the family is anti-gay. He’s totally allowed to have his own opinions, and to express them, and to face the consequences there of. If we all agreed, the world would be dead boring. Well… No, I do care, in that I am sad that he’s hurting people with his words.

I don’t care that you hate the current direction of a scripted TV show. See my first remark. Not all shows are written for you any more than they’re written for me, and you don’t have to agree with the creative direction of a show all the time. Well… No. I do care, and this is the meat of this post.

What I care about is how you act.

I’m frustrated and depressed to see people bully TV shows.

Look, I was one of the people who sent cards and Mars bars and peanuts and crap like that to a TV show to beg for it’s life. I believe firmly in a controlled, reasonable, response. One that shows respect for the work someone has done, but also that one disagrees with a choice or a direction. In the case of protesting a show’s cancellation, it’s an attempt to prove there is monetary value in a product.

But when these things devolve into death threats, mailing suspicious packages, abuse, and outright harassment, then I want nothing to do with you.

It’s like these people forget there are two sides to a story, or that the other guys have feelings. It’s possible to disagree without being mean. It’s possible to be nice and explain to someone “I really don’t like the direction of this character.” or even “There’s very little good that happens to the Snow Queen. It’d be nice if she could have some happy once in a while.”

No, I don’t even watch “Once Upon a Time” but even I’ve seen the outright nasty that people throw at ABC about it.

Don’t think I feel that the networks and shows should be absolved of everything. They certainly can be ‘wrong’ or at least not my version of right, and I don’t have to like everything they do. But that doesn’t give me a license to be mean to them. That doesn’t mean I should ignore their feelings and emotions.

The argument I hear is “But we’re invested in the show! We care about the show! Obviously they don’t!”

Bull. Shit.

Have you every written/created something? Something you envisioned and saw through, start to finish? A story, a script, a bit of code? A hand-turkey? And if you have, which most of us have, has there ever been one person who said “That’s not very good” to you?

We’ve all heard that, and I’m willing to be every single one of you, for at least one split-second, felt like you’d been punched in the gut. It HURTS. It feels terrible. It’s like they took your self-worth, your pride, and kicked it as hard as they could.

And the funny thing is, they probably didn’t even mean for it to feel that way. But you, being so absolutely close to the situation, lack the perspective to see it that way. You can’t see anything but “This is MY art!” That’s why so many people cry on reality shows when the judges are critiquing their work. That level of criticism, no matter if it’s meant with the best intentions, is painful to hear.

And that is the problem I have with most people who complain about TV shows.

Look, I will never, ever, ever, tell you that you don’t have a right to say what you want. But you, and Duck Dynasty, have to remember the hard lesson that what you say and how you say it totally matters.

I recently had a not-great experience at an event… No, I had a bad experience, one I patently did not agree with. I know I’m angry, and I know I’m upset, and I know that means I have to read and re-read what I say and how I say it, because while I am all those things, I still feel great passion towards those things, good passion, the kind where you want to change the world passion. And I don’t want them to lose their passion. But I still want them to understand why I’m upset and that it matters.

When I emailed them about it, I cut down on what I said (yeah, that was the short version). I sent a longer rant to my friends, to rant, and then in public I’ve been circumspect about what I’ve said because what I say has weight, it matters, and it can really hurt someone.

That’s my responsibility as a human being, and it’s yours too.

So if you could just maybe pretend to be nicer to people when you rip their hearts out for the work they’ve done, that’d be great.

TV peeps? That goes for you too, though. We’d like that.