Thursday, 7 September 2017

My Daughter Doesn't Care About Your Bullshit

-mantis nine nines

My daughter is 8, the same age I was when Transformers launched, so she is too young to know of the online fandom. And her life is better for it. I know, it sounds very hypocritical coming from a blogging YouTuber, but the truth is the truth. Here’s the thing, I get so much joy out of the TF/nerd internet community that I forget the dark depths and lunacy waiting just around every corner. We all know the saying DON’T READ THE COMMENTS but we do it anyway with a sinking feeling in our stomachs. One day that will be my kids too, but until that day it allows me to see some truths about the way society caretakes things behind the scenes. 

Which leads me back to the title. See, my daughter doesn’t care about your bullshit. Windblade is her favorite character right now, and she is stoked to get the Titans Return version. When I see fans still arguing, years after the fact, that Windblade is a BS product Hasbro pushes just because of those damn SJWs blah blah it makes me realize how impotent and out of touch this rage is. It’s from people who despite being often much younger than me have become relics and they don’t even know it. Much as I didn’t realize how wrong and dumb I was to rage against the Beast Era, then the Unicron era, then the Bayformers, and so on. Just about the time a person feels the entitlement swell in their chest, leading them to decry and attack the new and different, they no longer matter anyway. The kids have taken over, and they are all that matters.

The angry arguments these days are usually over gender, sexuality, morality, race, more relevant social issues than in the past. In my time it was Trukk not Munky! How can a robot be an animal?!?! Blergh! No matter what the central debate is though, the truth remains the same, we are never more out of touch with our childhood than when we seek to quantify and control it. My taste and experience with Transformers is that diecast, real world vehicles, and nice blocky bots are what was cool and necessary about the property. 90's kids disagreed and found something in Beastformers I was blind to. Then both sides of that argument saw the blatant Pokemon ripoff happening in Armada and screamed to the heavens. This of course failed to change anything, and these days I know fans for whom Hot Shot is a favorite character. They didn't care then that he was supposed to be "Bumblebee" if not for legal issues, and they don't care now. My rage never reached them and what did they care what a 20 year-old thought about TFs? Each time the franchise changes hands it changes shape, re adapting to be what it needs to be to survive another permutation of the fandom.

So if you want to have any real influence, stop wasting your energy yelling at the clouds and get creative! That’s what the people who currently drive the brand did. Not just the artists, actors, special effects wizards and authors, but the investors and financiers as well. The reason we see increased diversity in our favorite properties is not a vast conspiracy, its simple math. Diversity reflects the buying public, so even the most regressive mind realizes investment must be made or risk falling behind those that do.

When I look at the work of Mairghread Scott, Sarah Stone, Sara Pitre-Durocher, Kei Zama, Joanna Lafuente, and many others, its excellence stands for itself, regardless of gender. Yet there was still backlash in the beginning, so much wasted energy blasted forth in message boards and social media. People unable to understand that they are seeing these things not because someone is trying to change the status quo, but because they are representing it.

We all want our voice heard, we all have ideas for the way our favorite properties and storylines should be handled. Those with the passion, commitment and talent to do so will make their vision a reality and help shape the future. Every story you have ever read, every toy you have played with, every video game you love, was created by one or more people who spent more hours than they intended thinking through and seriously contemplating every aspect. This has led to our current world, one in which an 8 year-old girl has characters that she can relate to in all the cool nerd stuff she is aware of. It doesn't matter what you think of Rey, or Windblade, or Strongarm, or any other character that offends your sensibilities. 

Because my daughter cares about #refined and cool characters, not your bullshit.

Follow Dan on Twitter @mantisninenines

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