Dear Fandom: Grow the Fuck Up

I’ve been in a state of apoplexy for the last 48 hours or so, because a) I’m still in recovery mode from Comic Con (short version: it was awesome and overwhelming, more later), and b) coming back from Comic Con has left me maybe hyperaware of all that’s both right and wrong about the entire media-consuming community.

Comic Con itself is an example of what’s right. 100,000+ people took over downtown San Diego for 5 days and there were no riots, nobody got shot, and while there was one unfortunate incident, for the most part things went remarkably well. SDCC felt kind of like Mardi Gras to me, with better costuming but sans vomit, piss, and those assholes who make “Girls Gone Wild” videos. (They might’ve been there, but if so they were on the downlow.)

Things wrong with mediadom, though, include this. And this, which happened at Readercon, same Bat-time but across the continent from SDCC. And holy crap, this, which has been happening for several days but I just found out about it yesterday. (Good linkspam here.)

I just… I don’t… no. No. Bad fandom. BAD! Were you all raised in barns? Did you receive no home training? Where in the lexicon of Acceptable Human Behavior does it say that it’s okay to stalk someone because you like them, or because you want to apologize to them, or because they don’t like something you like, or because they do but not the way you want them to like it? Why do we express ourselves in this way? What the… who the… GRAAAAH.

Look, I know how it feels to love something you’re consuming, or creating. I also know how it feels to hear that other people don’t love it. I’ve been on the receiving end of some really scathing reviews, and I’ve even given in to the urge to respond once or twice — mildly, and briefly. I’ve known how it feels to be the dominant group in a space, and to feel some ownership of a thing, and to feel threatened when “those other” people encroach on it. I really, honestly do get the spark of emotion that lurks at the heart of all these examples of rampant assholism. But.

I am not twelve years old. And thus I do not allow the spark of emotion to flare into a Burning Flame of Righteousness, and certainly I don’t pour gas on it so it’ll blaze into a Bonfire of Frothing Stupidity. Because I am not twelve years old.

If you are reading this, and you are legitimately twelve years old (or under) — GTFO, this is a blog for grownups, your parents should never have let you come here unsupervised. Everyone else, though? If you’ve ever done any of the things the people in these incidents are doing, to any degree? If you’ve thought about doing them? Stop, drop, and grow up.

And once again, I will point you at John Scalzi’s site, where he’s posted his policy on how readers should react to negative reviews of anything he’s affiliated with. Which mostly boils down to, “Don’t.” I feel like I shouldn’t need a policy like this; I feel like it’s stating the obvious. But maybe I do — so rather than reinvent the pixels, I’ll just say “what he said.”

Because, really.

9 thoughts on “Dear Fandom: Grow the Fuck Up”

  1. You’ve echoed my sentiments about this perfectly. Grow the f*ck up is what a lot of the rabid fans need to do.

    These incidents are why I’ve always been a little weary about going to any of the bigger cons. I’m heading to one in September for the first time but luckily I’ll have my husband and some good friends with me.

  2. Fantastic response. I’m a blogger – I review out of love for books and a desire to talk about books with others and the whole bullying incident – any type of bully, stalking, whatever, is really out-of-control right now.

    I’ve never attacked an author personally in a review, but I have written critical reviews of books that disappointed me … but now I’m scared to do even that because who knows what website will have my personal information put up there tomorrow as a result? Do I give in to that fear? No – but it’s scary nonetheless.

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  7. Re: evarything you just said

    I have never said this on a website, a forum, or a blog:
    I fucking love you.
    Seriously, should the occasion ever arise, I want to be you when I grow up. I am not likely to ever grow up, but, nonetheless, my statement stands.
    Hallelujah !!

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  9. Ms. Jemisin,

    I happen to have met you, very briefly, at WFC 2011 in San Diego. I was at your reading, which was brilliant, by the way, until it was somewhat rudely interrupted during the Q&A session (I’m sure you remember).

    As an aspiring author, and a relatively prolific blogger, I get the sentiment behind the STGRB website, I really do. But the methods I cannot abide by. I mean, as you state so well, who hasn’t felt the sting of rejection or a bad review, but any response at all to them is unnecessary, and the kind of response at that site is simply … well, irresponsible at the least.

    Anyway, yes, Scalzi said it very well, but it’s nice to see you spreading the truth as well.

    Thank you,


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