This concerns both my own feelings towards my inner anger and the sense of entitlement “famous” people tend to have.
Or, alternatively, let me turn an internet molehill into an introspective mountain.
Been a while since I’ve posted something like this. Anymore, I’m writing RPG crap, trying more prose fiction, or working on comics stuff. Oh, and being crippled at home with a shit-ton of health issues.
Right now, my sons sit near me watching some Clone Wars— which is a great show– while I mull over my life, recent events, and the non-events which seem to occur with more frequency every day. Sure, I’m used to these sorts of things. You don’t get to be me without learning to accept that life is drama and weird drama at that.
Here’s but one example. This comes from today. And I must stress that it bothers me more than I care to admit, but I’m not enraged over it. I’ll try to keep the details as minimal as possible, in order to hide any shameful parties.
Well, other than the shameful party of myself, of course!
So, there’s this Amazing Creator of stuff, and someone very close to him is having serious health issues. Another creator of stuff exclaims via social media his outrage over some random berk swooping in on said amazing creator’s social media site and making an extremely racist and nasty remark. Obvious troll is obvious, and Outraged Creator is justifiably angry and is trying hard to get that post removed before Amazing Creator sees it.
This is an admirable thing to do. Outraged Creator should be commended.
Where it starts to veer into a terrible episode of Tales from the Darkside is when I notice people calling for Racist Troll to be shamed. Contact his work, post on his work’s Facebook page, et cetera. We all know how it goes. I did my part, too, by making a couple witty comments about beating people through the internet and such. You know, classic me. Anyhow, after seeing the people comment about ruining Racist Troll’s life, I make the polite observation that maybe it wasn’t he who posted it. This does tend to happen, where people’s social media profiles are jacked and used to spread mayhem. You ever get contacted to be told you’ve been email spamming people? I have. It sucks. It’s not even complicated or hard to do to someone, which could make this digress into a dissertation on how it’s a miracle we’ve gotten anything done and haven’t devolved into utter barbarity as an entire species. And then there’s another rant about how we are a barbaric species, but those are words for another time, perhaps.
Outraged Creator gets upset with me when I point out the mere notion that going in for the kill on someone without any knowledge as to who they are or whatever, and just reporting the comment to the Social Media Overlords and otherwise giving the Troll the benefit of the doubt– I mean, why would anyone post such a nasty comment under their own name in the first place? When you think about it, the mind sort of boggles.
But people do stupid shit under their own names all the time. So, there’s that.
Outraged Creator then feels I am targeting him, and turns his outrage onto me. That sucked, because I like the guy. But he does have a bit of a reputation for being volatile, so I smile and nod and politely tell him I’m not arguing and that we’re all friends and such.
Nope. Cue immediate Social Shun.
Right, so that’s not what really bothers me. So some guy who has been riding well-deserved fame for a good property for years has decided to be a dick to me. That’s cool. I know one guy who desperately wants to be a Famous Gamer Geek who claims I am a horrible person which was the result of a petty Big Bang Theory argument. Humans, myself included, do all kinds of shitty things to each other– usually to strangers. And, truth be told, I am still pretty much a stranger to Outraged Creator. We’ve talked before, shared laughs; I looked at pictures of his pets and said “awww”, but in reality we’re not actually friends and are barely beyond the acquaintanceship stage. And this can lead to very weird situations.
Like being flushed in under two minutes.
Sidebar example: There’s a guy locally who thinks I’m pro-Nazi and that I hate Jews. Now, why the fuck would anyone ever think that of me? Because at one party I went to I was talking all deep about German military equipment and then the Holocaust. He, being Jewish, caught only bits and pieces of it and so now and forever I’m that “Nazi Steve guy from America” because I… guess he’s had a lot of terrible experiences with anti-Semites and their talk of WWII? I feel for that guy, actually. What I’m saying is that oftentimes we simply cannot help certain impressions. These impressions can also happen later on. These impressions are like robots made of slightly broken and different robots more often than not. These impressions almost always fit a biased mold for internal emotional manufacture and production.
Sidebar of sidebar: If more people were upfront about this sort of thing, we’d have less conflict in the world.
“I’m only catching bits and pieces, but are you saying you support the Nazis?”
“Dear God, no.”
“Oh, I must have been hearing that wrong. I meant no offence.”
“None taken! I’m sorry if you thought that, as it’s quite terrible.”
“Let us drink beer and talk of Robotech, sir.”
Outraged Creator also made it a point to publicly point out that he shunned me, so I have no issues in saying all this shit. I find it saddening that he’d be like that, what with me thinking that maybe we both as fellow creators could give each other the benefit of the doubt. But I’m just another fan.
More meat for the ego grinder.
Sounds bitter, eh? Well, I’ve known this guy a long time, and at one point in my “career” it was my job to know all about him. Like all of us, he can be a really shitty person– but he doesn’t want to be. No one wants to be, but this guy REALLY doesn’t want to be. Hey, I can relate, Outraged Creator!
In the end, a lot of folks cheered on the shunning of yet another asshole (me) or scratched their heads at a completely silly reaction (his). I am aware of the aftermath because people took it upon themselves to contact me. Not that I want to fuel anyone’s paranoia. Paranoid yet? I am! Wait, what was I talking about? Oh, yeah.
Ultimately, I relayed my sincere apologies for setting him off, because come on, that was in no way my intention. It still happened and I feel bad it did. Wires cross and there is no tone on the intardnets– I get it. Had this all been in person, it would have never, ever happened.
But then I started thinking about it.
All of it.
The licence self-styled famous people have is actually rather impressive. They will come up with all manner of excuses to justify their behavior, even if they know they’re in the wrong. Really, this becomes less about Outraged Creator and more about how I feel about people in general and how I categorize them. In the end I know who the most famous person of all is…
See, my entire reality is based on my own and only my own outlook, and how my outlook is influenced by events, others, and other factors. This then lends to an extreme sense of entitlement. In the case outlined above, the Outraged Creator may be really bothered by all of this. Or, most probably, he isn’t. He has tens of thousands of fans who love his work. I’m not as famous as him. But a part of me felt violated by his response because 1) “That’s a dick move, sir”, and 2) “HOW DARE HE THINK HE’S RIGHT”. This makes me every bit the prima donna he is. Indeed, this entire post is about me and my feelings, so that means I’m probably an even bigger prima donna.
Probably? Hell, definitely.
Unfortunately, if he gets mad at the prima donna remark, well, that makes him a prima donna. I should apologize for that crappy catch-22 stuff. If he doesn’t want to think of himself like that, that’s okay. I don’t want my points bogged down by ego semantics.
The upside to all of this is it has made me think. A lot. It also ruined the D&D session I was gonna have with my sons because I simply cannot focus on running a game right now. I sit here and seethe about trying not to seethe. It’s tough.
In my heart of hearts, I am not angry at Outraged Creator. I should thank him for the thinking fodder. My apology to him was actually very sincere and I want him to know that. But in the past, I have let these kinds of slights turn into brutal emotional slogs between people… because I will achieve victory at all costs. And that’s bullshit. So what if another bio-electrically powered meatbag is upset with me, wrong or right? It’s not like they’re coming over for dinner. Right?
Though this could prove awkward at a convention in the future. Not because I’m going to lay anyone out or anything, but because I confront conflict and resolve it. And, um, I would be lying if that guy was all, like, “Is this the convention Steve Saunders walks up to me and starts cheerfully asking me why I’m a dick? What if I don’t know who he is? What if he tricks me like he’s done to so many other people and I’m signing something and I ask ‘to whom?’ and he’s all like ‘ah-ha!’??” and I said the thought of it didn’t amuse me.
Relax. I’m not some asshole like that. Well, not anymore. But I do like confronting issues– I just prefer to do it in a positive and fun way, without anyone crying unless it’s from laughter. This has more to do with me getting over myself and my emotional foibles.
I would love nothing more than everyone to learn something from this, let egos slide, and let vengeance crumble into the useless dust it already is.
There are a few things I would like to directly say to Outraged Creator: It’s cool. We’re cool if you’ll allow it. Please be cool.
Is this a way of me trying to achieve victory?
It’s funny how even the best of intentions can spiral into whole new messes.