Adam yells about people on the internet, knowing full well the futility of it.
It’s been a while since my last meandering, unfocussed rant hasn’t it? I had the idea for one vaguely themed on what I’ll release the vitriol tap onto a couple of months ago, but when I found the the opportunity to write it didn’t seem timely enough, and more elegant and intelligent things had already been said on the subject. That absolutely is not to say that what I’m about to embark upon will be elegant or intelligent, far from it in fact. It does not mean it isn’t something worth discussing. I’m going to be talking about The Walking Dead TV show, and will make reference to the comic series too, but nothing will be serious spoiler territory.
Two weeks ago The Walking Dead ended with the introduction of Aaron, a representative from a community known as Alexandria, who approached Maggie and Sasha and asked to talk to their leader Rick. In the following episode, Aaron leads Rick and his crazy gang of survivors to the Alexandria stronghold. There are trust issues. as per usual in TWD, and somehow the group gets split up. Team Daryl hook up with Eric, Aaron’s partner in the field and also actual partner, who has been injured. When Team Rick meet back up with them, Aaron is overjoyed to see Eric alive, rushing over to embrace and kiss him. As people who are fond of each other tend to do.
Cue pointless controversy.
The reactions I’ve seen from people across the internet, in particular knee jerk reactions on Twitter, have been egregious to say the least. I would hope that all those that had a problem with Aaron and Eric sharing a kiss are in the minority, but over 13 million viewers of the episode in the US alone, those that took to their keyboards and phones to voice their disgust must represent a minority of a size that I’m not particularly comfortable with. That size being more than zero. Fucking hell people, it is 2015. If we feel the need to complain about two adults showing that they love each other in a basic way, in a story set in a US state where same-sex marriage is actually legal, then there is a serious problem here. Not to mention the fact that this story is set during the fucking zombie apocalypse, civilisation has crumbled around everyone as they struggle to survive, avoid the shuffling dead and rebuild the world. But dudes kissing dudes? Nah bro. Not cool. Why the hell should anyone be allowed to glimpse a single moment of happiness in such a terrible world, regardless of their sexual orientation?
I’ll quote a few of the responses I’ve seen, and address them with the fury with which they deserve. I was slightly heartened to see that some of these people have received a summary dressing down by ‘non-arseholes’, and some have either deleted the original message or their accounts all together. Defences used by those that haven’t revolve around it only being an opinion, or a right to free speech. “Get this faggot ass shit off the walking dead” doesn’t sound like much of an opinion to me, it sounds like hate speech. Blatant and painful discrimination in my book doesn’t really factor in as an opinion, and with how indelible and permanent the internet is it baffles me that people don’t keep this shit to themselves. As for freedom of speech, everyone absolutely should have the freedom to express themselves and opinions, as long as they are happy to have whatever shit they’ve said heavily scrutinised by others exercising their right to free speech by calling them out for being a cunt. I don’t believe that the internet should be censored or heavily policed, and I think people should only be prosecuted for what they say on the internet if they are genuine threats of whatever form they may be, like rape or death threats, doxxing or terrorism. Saying awful shit merely identifies you as part of the dregs of society that hopefully one day will just fuck off, but will probably stick around inexplicably like cancer or the concept of inequality.
Lets start with an oldie but a goodie. “I’m not a homophobic but that gay couple just ruined The Walking Dead“. If you have to start any sentence with ‘I’m not a (blank) but…’, news flash – you are that thing. In the same way that someone will always preface something vaguely insulting or offensive with “no offense, but…”. So putting aside that the start of the statement is basically the same as admitting that the person is a “homophobic”, the rest of the message isn’t exactly brimming with reason or perspective. No single thing can ruin The Walking Dead. Season 2 nearly ruined The Walking Dead. The weird peaks and troughs of quality sometimes threaten The Walking Dead, until they pull some ridiculously good episode out of the bag like the recent ‘What Happened and What’s Going On’. Two men kissing each other can not and will not ruin a whole TV show. The show was staying true to the source material, but even if it wasn’t and had just introduced two brand new gay characters, who the fuck cares? They weren’t forced on the viewer, it wasn’t forwarding some imagined pro-gay liberal agenda, there were just two characters who cared for each other, were happy to see each other and expressed that as any loving couple would. It wasn’t over the top or graphic. It just was. If that is all it takes to ruin a show for you, I feel very sorry for you. But I still want you to fuck off.
With the insane popularity of The Walking Dead, the viewership it pulls in is huge and way more than I would have ever expected. I’m always glad when something inherently nerdy, part of the culture I love, does well and more people are exposed to whatever it is. I like our nerd culture to be inclusive, accepting of everyone’s interest whether they just watch a show about a comic book, or use that show as a diving board into a larger world of comics, games, sci-fi and fantasy. But I have no interest in anyone that discriminates or spouts hateful shit like this.
Next up is “I don’t like that the walking dead got faggot shit on here now. Is Nothing Sacred !???” I get that someone was upset by seeing something they don’t like. If it bothers you so much, stop watching. But don’t throw stuff like “faggot shit” on the internet. It is so fucking unnecessary. Also, what is supposed to be “Sacred” in a TV show that is set during a zombie apocalypse? Everyone is completely godless, barely surviving day to day and certainly not giving a single shit about anyone else’s sexual orientation. Even the preacher struggles with his faith. But even the shambling corpses, the bad guys who try to kill our heroes, or even when the good guys flat out murder people that may or may not be a threat, they still all manage to display more basic fucking humanity and tolerance than the dicks that watch the show.
Possibly my favourite two messages cover basically the same line of idiocy, so I’ll finish up with them. “I have been watching the walking dead for years with my kids, then with no warning u throw gays in there, I’m disappointed” and “I don’t discriminate against gay people. Plenty of my co-workers are gay. I just rather not have young children exposed to that BS on TV“. The Walking Dead is an 18-rated show in the UK. In America it is rated TV-MA, meaning not suitable for anyone under 17 years old. Watching the show with your kids seems insane to me, but I’d probably end up doing the same. So if you decide to allow your kids to watch an intensely violent and graphic TV show, disregarding age-rating advice (which I feel is your choice) and exposing them to more adult themes at an earlier age, you have no fucking right to complain about whatever kids are “exposed to”. And what is that? The 21st century? Is it such a bad thing that kids see this as a totally normal thing, so they don’t perpetuate your backward-ass thinking into the next generation? Take some responsibility and keep your prejudices away from your kids, maybe they’ll be lucky and turn out nothing like you. And what sort of warning were you expecting? WARNING! SOMETHING THAT ACTUALLY OCCURS IN THE REAL WORLD IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN.
Needless to say, The Walking Dead didn’t end. This week’s episode continued without the show being ruined, the world didn’t end (any more than it already has) and the viewers didn’t drop off like they said they would. I don’t really know why I continue to be shocked by how some people react to anything even slightly outside of their world view. All I know is that there are so many better reasons to hate people than their sexual orientation, their race, their gender or religious leanings. Like the fact that they have a terrible personality. Or they are a homophobe. But I’ll bring this incredibly unfocused rant to a close. A rant that can basically be summed up by ‘thing happens, people over react, man can’t understand over reaction and swears about people’.
And anyway, the biggest controversy in The Walking Dead this season should be the fact that Rick shaved off his beard this week. A travesty. AMC, you just ruined The Walking Dead. You have just lost millions of viewers.
What I’m playing – Rogue Legacy (PS4), Transistor (PS4)
What I’m reading (Books) – The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
What I’m reading (Comics) – Gotham Central: Book One by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka & Michael Lark
What I’m listening to – Transgender Dysmorphia Blues by Against Me!, Time and Trauma by 36 Crazyfists
What I’m watching – Tokyo Ghoul & Better Call Saul