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October 05 2005

Scary Whedon Fans? SF Chronicle critic who gave Serenity a rating of 100 is confused by the backlash...from Whedon fans.

Ummm. Wow.

That's downright embarrassing.

[ edited by Tiny Tabby on 2005-10-05 02:52 ]
I've come to realize that every group has its fringe elements, and that applies to us too, and those guys are making us look bad (prime example, the talkbackers at aintitcool). I do believe, however, that Whedonesque is home to the most rational, friendly fans. =)

[ edited by jam2 on 2005-10-05 02:33 ]
That's... not good...
This really isn't helping the anti-fan backlash blow over I think.

[ edited by eddy on 2005-10-05 02:38 ]
Is this anti-fan backlash ever going to blow over?

Maybe when the idiot extremist fans among us stop alienating reviewers who are actually our ALLIES?
Maybe we should send an apology... That's just not cool.
I just wrote him an email to tell him we're not all nuts, and to thank him for his review. As I think I squealed over the phone to Samantha when I initially read it, this Chronicle reader was thrilled with his review. The little man-standing-out-of-his-chair-clapping review is a much coveted honor here. :)
Yeah, I've never thought of emailling a reviewer before but I'm feeling compelled to write to this one an apologise for the abuse whilst thanking him for such a wonderful review. It makes me sad that such things can happen, just seems so pointless.
Yeah, it's become clear that the more extreme element of Firefly/Serenity fandom is causing a sizeable backlash out there.
I hoped this wouldn't happen but when Universal & Whedon enlisted the fans for publicity in such a major way, I was a little worried it might get out of hand like this. Fandom, like everything else, you gotta take the good with the bad.

[ edited by Unitas on 2005-10-05 02:46 ]
orphea, I sent him a note too. Sheesh. I'm glad I don't know any of those peeps.
orphea, I emailed him as well, thanking him for his review and apologizing for the negative responses he received. I also tried to assure him that that's a small minority. I think I was trying to reassure myself, too!
What's that saying? It takes one bad apple to spoil the entire bunch?
I also sent him an e-mail stating:

Unfortunately there are loonies in every fandom and they always seem to be the most vocal. As a Whedon fan and a fan of both Firefly and Serenity I'm embarrassed that another fan has acted like this. Most of us "Browncoats" really appreciated your wonderful review and know how helpful such a review can be to help get people into those theater seats. Please don't let the loonies scare you and please know that the majority of us Whedon fans are decent, sci-fi loving people!


But I hope his article doesn't turn away people from going to see the movie.
Every fanbase has it's extremist, who go a little too far with their love (or even scarier, their dissapointments.) It's unfortunate that this guy took much of it, but I've seen it a fair amount online, especially before the film came out. It's not uncommon to go online to a sci-fi fansite (especially Star Wars and Stargates) or whatever and see a Firefly fan taking a few bashes at that fandom and singing the praise for Firefly/Serenity. It creates ill-feelings, but it's not like we have especially bad ones. We're just a fanbase to a great failed show which suddenly has a movie that very very few people know about. It tends to bring fans to extremes.

I saw a lot worse from Farscape fans between the shows cancellation and the Peacekeeper wars announcement, especially aimed towards fans of the Stargates (I admit to being a pretty big (but not uber big) sci-fi fan.) It just happens... While it may affect the decision of certain fans to give Firefly/Serenity a try, I doubt it has a major effect either way.
Maybe instead of the Variety ad - we should put the money into an apology to him in his paper. :)
Oh fer cripe's sake.

These are the people that I avoid like the plague at any function that I've been to. These weird unwashed that have no life other than whatever show they've "adopted".

I can't stand these type folk. They embarrass us and make us all look like hypnotized freaks. They're loud, crass, and smelly. They're the ones that ask all those inappropriate questions of Joss and the actors at conventions. They make me long for another show to come along that they can latch onto, and leave us saner people alone.

Sorry if this offends any of you (uh, no, really not)... but even sorrier if my description fits you. Grow some couth, some decorum, then bring your gifts to the fandom.

Fleagh.
I wrote him a nice note as well... Gosh, sometimes I wish some fans would lighten up and stop with the embarrassing behaviors! The "little clapping man" made me so happy last Friday (I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area and I worship the "little Chronicle man," especially when he's as right as he was about Serenity)! ;-)

[ edited by Alanna_Wolff on 2005-10-05 03:05 ]
I also sent him a note. I don't know if it will be posted on the SFGate site so here's a copy what I wrote:

I was really dismayed to read that you've been getting "hate mail" from Serenity fan-atics. As a Serenity fan (a.k.a., Browncoat), I want to publicly denounce this fortunately very small (but unfortunately very vocal) percentage of the Serenity/Firefly fans.

Sadly, these fanatics are missing one of the key points of the movie -- that any government (or organization or individual) that tries to impose a certain way of thinking as the *only* way of thinking is something that should be fought against. That is exactly what the crew of Serenity did in the movie.

It bothers me that a few "uber-fans" could paint all Firefly/Serenity fans as zealots who are more extreme than even Michael Savage lovers/haters (is that even possible?). Please believe me when I say that the vast majority of "Browncoats" are normal, relatively well adjusted folks who happen to enjoy a TV series and movie that Joss Whedon created. We're not rabid or angry, and we "get" that, in the grand scheme of things, Serenity is just a movie (albeit a brilliant, thoroughly engaging and entertaining one) whose importance pales in comparison to natural disasters, abject poverty, political and religious oppression, and other concerns that are way more deserving of our time, money, and passion than whether a movie critic's review is glowing enough.
These are the people that I avoid like the plague at any function that I've been to.

I know what you mean....Just because someone is a fan of Joss' work too does not mean I'll always automatically like them. I've been defending the Browncoats from the flack their getting lately from the other fandoms, but this is the kind of crap that started that bad rap to begin with, and it's indefensible.

I still say it's not representative fo the majority, but as with all extremists, they unfortunately get noticed the most. Frikkin' embarrassing....I'm gonna drop this writer a note too. Just to let him know these basket cases do not represent us.
Yikes. I agree with everyone here... it only takes a few to sully the reputation of the many.
Serenity is a movie about having the RIGHT to have a WRONG opinion.

Was this journo wrong? No. He wrote a flippin' excellent review. However, even if he had HATED it, he's perfected entitled to think bad of it.

That's one of the core messages in the film. It's very hard to see fans not understanding this sort of thing.

It's not a big problem... but it is getting worse as it goes on.

I don't like football (soccer). I think it's stupid, and pointless. But would I hurl abuse at soccer fans? No. It's their thing, they understand it, I don't. I have the right to think it's stupid. And anybody knocking that right from afar...
Why would any one email back from that review? it was already a great review. Numbnuts. (Maybe it's a rogue agent from another fandom) :)
If I may suggest, nothing makes a point like the use of examples. Make sure to mention the DVDs to troops, the Coat Drive and all the other GOOD Browncoats have done!
As bad as the attacks by angry fans was (and I am appalled that people would be so rude to someone who gave a great review), I'm not sure that filling his e-mail with a huge number of apologies is that much better. It all seems a litte over-the-top to me.
Looks as if some of those on the fringe have even impacted Ain't it cool news site.

"Harry here... I temporarily shut down Talk Back registration while this whole Brown Coat nonsense blows over".

[ edited by RavenU on 2005-10-05 04:30 ]
Jeez. What can one say? This is just depressing.
Why the hell did people email him hate mail when he praised the movie, [deleted], are you trying to give us a bad image and get people to not watch the film

did people read the ridiculous comments the person sent!

[ edited by SoddingNancyTribe on 2005-10-05 06:52 ]
Oh for heaven's sake, this is getting down-right irritating. And I am not just talking about the appalling behavior of a handful of people who are out of touch with reality and call themselves Browncoats.

I admit: I have never been deeply involved in any fandom as much as I have this one, but I have floated on the fringes of some pretty big ones. I worked in comics/manga and anime for about 2 years, and our company owner was friends with most of the big names in anime and manga. So I have seen bad fan behavior. I've seen the inappropriate questions, smelled the B.O., seen the desperation of people who only had this one thing to hold onto in life. I imagine some of these same people would write hate letters to publishers of manga that "flipped" the pages [since the Japanese read things back-to-front, it used to be a practice for Western publishers to flip the pages to the way we Westerners read them] And oy! The debates about dub vs. sub! I am sure fistfights have occurred over that one.

My point is, bad fan behavior wasn't invented by these so-called Browncoats. In fact it is pretty typical of any fanbase to have these nuts voicing their delusional feelings.

I guess what I'm saying is that I am disappointed that those who make their living dealing with fans and fandoms are confusing the psychos with the sane folks, and letting the crazies paint the whole fandom.

[ edited by dizzy on 2005-10-05 07:12 ]
Um, if rabid fans sent hate mail to someone who wrote one of the most positive reviews out there, what did they send to those who wrote *negative* reviews??
At this point, i'm more worried about them than this guy, who at least understands fandom to an extent. Sending hate mail to any reviewer, even the ones you passionately disagree with, isn't OK in my book, and if a few browncoats are doing that it reflects badly on everyone.
I think the thing about AICN shutting down talkback was posted in an earlier thread a day or so ago - although I don't see the comment in the link posted here.

I wonder if it really is Browncoats, not that I doubt that we have our share of loonies because we do, but I'm also aware of an anti-Joss contingent and it wouldn't surprise me if they were behind some of this too.

At any rate, its all very silly and quite embarrassing. To quote Buffy: "What are you, twelve?"
See, here's how I feel: when other people act badly in the name of Browncoats, it shouldn't reflect on me. I don't feel the need to send the reviewer any consolatory letters, because I wasn’t the one foolish enough to send hate mail to someone who gave the movie a glorious review (not that I would send hate mail to anyone). On the whole, this fandom is smart, sane, and welcoming. Like I said in my earlier post, having an outsider-yet-close-up view of the comic and anime fandoms really gives me some perspective.

I am getting damn sick of a small handful of crazies making all of us look bad, and the sci-fi community buying into Browncoats as zealots and freaks. I mean, did anyone write any articles about how much money the SF Browncoats raised for charity a couple of months back? A dedicated group of people did something amazing, yet a couple of wacks email a reviewer, and that's the press we get. At a time when good press is vital to the success or failure of the movie, this is what is being written about.

[And in case I haven't made myself clear, I find it completely despicable that someone would send hate mail to anyone, for any reason. The behavior is disgusting, and I understand the reporter's reaction. But once again, I am frustrated that he cannot see this is a small part of our fandom. And I'm not placing any blame on him, because that rests with the bad fans... just disappointed his reaction seems to be condemnation of the entire fandom.]
Those are the fans that need to be fed to Reavers
Emotions are running high. However, we have a policy here - even if it's maintained mostly in the breach - of not attacking other boards and the way they do things. Comment on the linked piece at hand only, please.
Sorry, SNT. I thought it was related to the subject at hand, but I let my distaste for that particular site overrule my better judgement. I'll edit my post.
"Harry here... I temporarily shut down Talk Back registration while this whole Brown Coat nonsense blows over".

In society, genre fandoms are usually looked down upon and ridiculed many ways. Now the other genre fandoms are starting to look down on us thanks to the zealots. It's downright depressing. I don't feel responsible for what a minority of headcases do and say, but it still reflects on us. We're approaching a time where just saying you like Joss Whedon's work will get you a look.

(Yes even online you can get looks....)

I wrote the writer of the article a short note much like Flanatic. And it's not to apologise, it's just to let him know we're not all insane...
ED: I don't think it's that bad. Often times the other genre fans who look down upon us do so because they also belong to another fandom, the anti-Whedon club. At least this is the feel I get from reading the comments on non-Whedon boards. But still, I agree that it would be nice if we were the purest of fandoms.

Heh, maybe if enough people mail him we can outnumber those few that caused problems.
Edit: Caleb said it better, and said it with far fewer words then I. :)

[ edited by dizzy on 2005-10-05 07:49 ]
ED: I don't think it's that bad. Often times the other genre fans who look down upon us do so because they also belong to another fandom, the anti-Whedon club

Yeah there are indeed people who go out of their way to point out how much they hate Joss. I can never get in that mindset. I hate Charmed for example, but why on earth would I go to a Charmed board or thread just to tell people that?? I don't watch it and I don't look it up on the net. Very simple.

Man, things are just bumming me out here....

Heh, maybe if enough people mail him we can outnumber those few that caused problems.

Yeah that's what I was thinking. Gotta balance the scales a tad.
That's appalling behaviour, there's no excuse for that.
I agree Simon. I joined SFGate to add this comment. I have no idea if it'll get posted or not, but I'll post it here so you guys can see what I had said.

I'm so sorry to hear of this. I'm most definately a very vocal Browncoat BUT in saying that I hate the spamming of forums and nasty email sending. I would say to you that it is a minority that are doing this. And I can't equate those actions to any of the actual Browncoats I know and love, OR as the actions of a Browncoat.

There are always strangelings in every group. Also for the most part, the net can be fairly anonimous and easy to spit venom in any direction.

I just wish I had written to you as one of those who enjoyed your review.
luvs nix

I wrote too...
Remember - there's that 10% of the population who will react negatively to positive stimulus!

Seriously - the little guy falling out of his chair in the pink section (is it still pink?) made me jump out of my own chair. He says it all. Thanks so much for that great review.


After I wrote it, I realized I had compared the 'rogue geeks' to reavers. Oh well...

I like the caption under the picture - "best movie ever" - even if he is being sarcastic.
Yikes. That is very embarassing. Although I'm not sure that drowning the man in apology e-mails is gonna help all that much either ;-)
Could be much worse, sorry but saw this and I simply couldn’t resist. Maybe this will make you smile and cheer you up, certainly made me smile. From news24.com:

Potter fan 'threatens to kill'

Hanover - The stress of standing in line to buy the German edition of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince proved too much for a man in Germany, who ran amok and threatened to kill people unless he got a book, police said on Tuesday.

The unnamed 24-year-old man stormed into a book shop in the Hanover railway station and absconded with six copies of the German-language edition, which went on sale nationwide on Saturday.

Finding it hard to carry the books while running, he dashed into another shop on the railway concourse and pushed shoppers aside to demand a shopping bag from a sales clerk. He punched a customer in the face when admonished for being rude.

With police in hot pursuit, the Potter fan raced across a crowded train platform, threatening to kill anyone who got in his way. Officers finally tackled the man, who was unarmed aside from the six 900-page books.

"Suspect said he could not stand the suspense of not knowing who the half-blood prince was," a Hanover police spokesperson said.

"Suspect was informed that he will likely have plenty of time for reading long books in his jail cell."
Some weeks ago I read the talk back board on a linked item, I think it was at AICN. Unfortunately I don't have time to go back and search. Anyway, everything was very civilized at first, which surprised me because the earlier times I had read it there were always a few posters who would come on with the equivalent of "Whedon sucks and anyone who likes his work is a mindless..." Then there was a senseless post attacking a very positive poster for not being enthusiastic enough about Joss or his work. People started getting confused but it was stopped by a poster who accused him of being a troll he had seen on another board who would say nasty things to people while claiming to be a Whedon fan. Everyone ignored him and he went away after another halfhearted attempt. I seem to also remember a post that pretty much admitted that the other guy had pegged him, but that it had been fun.

I wonder if the Whedon haters found a new sport, pretending to be Browncoats and sending nasty letters and obnoxious posts. Taking that one step further, once someone comes up with a "cause" there will always be foolish people who will go along without realizing they are hurting the very thing they are trying to help.

Just a thought.
"I wonder if the Whedon haters found a new sport, pretending to be Browncoats and sending nasty letters and obnoxious posts. Taking that one step further, once someone comes up with a "cause" there will always be foolish people who will go along without realizing they are hurting the very thing they are trying to help."

Reminds me of some JM 'fans' who seemed to have a lot of time on their hands to do nothing but be nasty at JM and his fans, while claiming they themselves were also fans. I actually hope it's the same ones, then I know it's only a few and not a separate faction.

I think it's nice so many of you sent letters of apology on behalf of this type of behavior. It certainly must have made an impression that there was an entire piece on it, hopefully the apologies make MORE of an impression!

[ edited by Grace on 2005-10-05 14:18 ]
I don't think these are browncoats sending this kind of mail. I think it's trolls pretending to be browncoats.
There are unfortunately a small number of over zealous people in the fandom who are take things far too seriously for their own good. There's probably a certain amount of trolling going on but I would reckon it's the very hard core fans who take issue with the slightest thing.
Horrible, horrible behavior. I'm appalled. Get a life, crazy Browncoat fringe! Sheesh. Try getting worked up instead about, oh, I don't know, world hunger, disease, war, etc.

There are Whedon-haters and trolls out there, but I have no doubt that the people sending in such emails call themselves "Browncoats." The alternative - a conspiracy by Whedon-haters - is a little too paranoid-conspiracy for me. What a shame. I'm in favor of level-headed emailed apologies to the Chronicle reviewer.
It doesn't have to be a conspiracy. Acouple trolls having "fun" and using multiple identities can seem like a whole lot of people. Not to say that there are not lunatics out there who call themselves Browncoats and mean it. I'm sure there are, though luckily I have not run across any. I would say the same about every political group, religious group, fan group and...well...other group.

Interestingly enough the preview audience I went see Serenity with in June was particularly low key. Although some folks tryed to get some singing going they were swimming up stream and let it be after getting folks to sing Happy Birthday to Joss. Most people were pretty clear they were not into fannish displays though no one seemed hostile about it. Generally they were a polite, excited and enthusiastic yet rather laid-back group...and that is pretty unusual for New Jersey. ;-) This whole thing came out of left field for me.
I guess what I'm saying is that I am disappointed that those who make their living dealing with fans and fandoms are confusing the psychos with the sane folks, and letting the crazies paint the whole fandom.


Amen, dizzy! I realize how annoying these xi niu idiots can make people feel. But giving them attention just brings their bad behavior front and center. Why can't people just learn to ignore the trash talkers? Sure, it's wrong to badger a reviewer like this...but the reviewer is simply passing along the sin by making a sotry of it for all to see.

Harlan Ellison once wrote an essay that listed the horrible acts done to authors by so-called 'fans'. In it, he says, (and I paraphrase) "This excludes all the good guys". I submit that by focusing on the negative, you *are* excluding the good guys. The best way to handle terrible behavior like this is to ignore it, if you ask me.
This is SO sad... every day, more bashing against Browncoats in general.
I can't believe the "fame" we're getting, just for a few fans.
We all are not like them.

I'm agree, we should do anything. They need to see that Whedon fans are educated and respectful.
Internet is full of people insulting everyone and everything, but they aren't representative of an entire community.

[ edited by Angel TheVampire on 2005-10-05 21:55 ]
The problem is it only takes one jackass to "speak for" the rest of us who remain politely silent and respectful. So, whether it was the right thing to do or the wrong thing, I sent the Chronicle reviewer an email expressing my regret, thanking him for his balanced review and telling him that we're not all like that.

Not surprisingly, I haven't heard back.

Moral of the story is: Don't be a jackass. And if you can't help yourself, don't be a jackass to someone in the media or one of the BDH's.

Okay, someone help this old man down off his soap box...

Thanks,
Rhett
The critic has now posted a new blog entry correcting his earlier assessment of Whedon fans as "scary."
Looks like all those apologetic emails found their way to him :-)
Thanks acp.
Now that's something I'm proud of :D

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