When Hateful Fans Act Like Losers, Let's Call Them Losers
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When Hateful Fans Act Like Losers, Let's Call Them Losers

By Sarah Carlson | Miscellaneous | July 31, 2014 | Comments ()


The Village Voice Film Editor Alan Scherstuhl took a select rank of comic book fans to task yesterday in reaction to the hate-filled bile thrown the way of Film Critic Stephanie Zacharek for not only daring not to love Guardians of the Galaxy, but for being female at the same time. It is the verbal equivalent of shoving a nerd into a locker. And it is glorious.

He’s right — when you, you parasites of the Internet, “eschew argument and instead act like sexist pricks,” you “encourage all of the lonely-dude stereotypes that comics creators and fans have been working to shake for decades.” No one here thinks all comic book fans — or fans of anything science fiction, or fantasy, or you name it — is a loser just for liking what they like. Just look at our coverage of the way too many plethora of Marvel films and you see we have more than a few staff members who are excited about this genre. That’s great, and we’ll argue about the over-saturation of these movies in the marketplace some other day.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of comic books or their big-screen adaptations. Give me Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy any day; I prefer superheroes who act out of conscience, not because they have super powers. But I plan on seeing Guardians. It looks like a less genre-specific, more explosiony Serenity, and that’s not a bad way to beat the summer duldrums. But if I don’t love it and think it’s the best movie ever? If I find it a bit underwhelming, just like I found The Avengers? It’s not because I’m anti-comic books. And it’s not because I’m female. It will likely be a mixture of personal taste and not finding the movie as convicingly amazing as others. Remember: An adaptation is only great if it appeals to — fully explains the world it is presenting — fans of the source material and newcomers alike.

For a small subset of the fandom, however, that explanation wouldn’t be enough, and my gender would only make them disagree with me more. Some of the comments Zacharek received make that clear:


That’s just adorable. And as Sam Adams made clear over at Indiewire, this type of criticism deserves some “well-earned scorn” before we completely ignore (or ban) these trolls. Let’s also call a spade a spade here and refer to these people what they really are: Losers. That’s right. Losers.

If you scour the Internet for dissent against something you hold dear, and that something is a fictional story that involves a talking raccoon or, say, a time traveling nurse who gets it on in 18th century Scotland, and you attack the dissenter with hate, then oh sweetheart, you are such a loser. Like, the biggest loser. You’ve already lost the game of life — maturing, contributing to society, treating other humans with decency — and you probably aren’t too far into it. This isn’t coming from a stereotypical high school bully perspective; I’m not picking on you because you’re different. No. I’m shunning you from the lunch table of humanity because you have clearly proven you aren’t able to sit at it without vomiting putrid nonsense all over everyone’s food. Go eat your lunch in a bathroom stall, just as long as you don’t have an Internet connection there.


Sarah Carlson is Television Editor for Pajiba. She lives in San Antonio. You can find her on Twitter.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Carlos Fernandez 3

    Raccoon's certainly the right face for it. Or it just really captures how crazy fanboys can be.

  • People are going to respond to you when you express an opinion. As a webcomic artist I have had pages devoted to hating me and my work. I took it as positive traffic to my sites. I would suggest ignoring them or thanking them then moving on.

  • Jezzer

    I'm so glad we had this discussion and created a safe place where people can come out and just admit that Wes Anderson's head is full of rainbow-colored brain damage, and his movies are horribly overrated, steaming piles of pre-digested cotton candy.

    That was liberating.

  • dizzylucy

    Sarah, your 3rd paragraph could have come right from my brain.

  • Kris

    I wish I knew how to post images in comments. This calls for a Mean Girls Disney Princess "You Can't Sit With Us."

  • foolsage
  • Kris

    Thank you.

  • foolsage


    Incidentally, all you need to do is get the direct URL for whatever picture you want, and post that URL. So you can either right-click on a picture and select "Copy Image URL" or go to Google images (as I just did), find the pic you want, click on it, select "View Image", then copy and paste the URL.

    E.g. http:// media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736... .jpg

    I added spaces so the pic won't post again, but that's all I did above.

  • karen

    I would upvote this a thousand times. You young whipper snappers with your tech savvy!

  • foolsage

    I'm actually one of those older tech-savvy types. But thanks! ;)

  • Kris

    I feel silly for not knowing this.Time to experiment: http://static02.mediaite.com/t...

  • foolsage

    Don't feel silly. Nobody was born knowing this stuff.

  • Maddy

    Also why is it always when female critics don't like someone they get all of this bullahit. You are not helping your cause nerds

    This is like when I complain about something not making sense in a comic book movie and someone inevitably says 'well in the comic'. If I have to look up source material for something to make sense the movie failed. That's it.

  • Maddy

    What is wrong with people? If you love something that's great. If someone doesn't love it as much as you, why let that affect your enjoyment?

    I don't think the Dark Knight is the best movie ever or anything, I think those movies take themselves a bit too seriously but I don't begrudge other people who think that. This isn't that hard.

    I know people who think Game of a Thrones is better than the books. I disagree but I'm not going to start berating them that they are stupid and wrong (although I usually have to leave the room or just not talk to stop myself doing that). None of this is real. Chill the fuck out. And I realise that's slightly ironic coming from me bit whatever.

  • Emma

    "Duldrums". Haha. Sigh.

  • babykangarootribbiani

    i couldn;t agree more, i never understand why someone look for something or watch something that they don;t like just so they can talk about how bad it is. it;s like, i don;t like phoebe buffay on friends. i love friends, but i;m sorry, i think she;s just really mean, but she is a popular character so i don;t look for lists or boards about her to talk about how much i don;t like her, that just seems dumb (i also feel like i should;ve picked an example of something younger than 10 years old, but i digress).
    it;s like i;ve been trying to get myself to stop looking at buzzfeed because on here you guys tend to post really thoughtful intelligent lists whereas on buzzfeed they post narrow-minded judgmental lists, like "28 bands that should set off a red flag" as in if someone tells you they like one of those bands (or heaven forbid, that they like more than one type of music) then they must be a terrible person and you should cast them out immediately. my grandma says everyone has two things; an asshole and an opinion. And if someone else;s opinion bothers you that much because it doesn;t match yours, that should set off a red flag about you.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I wish I could believe in Hell and that there was a special place there
    for all the people who think that casting aspersions on woman's
    fuckappeal is a devastating set down.

  • I'm glad you referenced Joanna Robinson's much reviled article that failed to fawn appropriately over a freaking trailer to satisfy the mouth breathing dipshits. I have nothing against Outlander, it looks fluffy enough. I'm looking forward to Guardians despite knowing next to nothing about it and I kind of have the feeling I'm going to like it a lot but think it overly busy. Fanboys fanboying has been a black mark on the internet for years. Unfortunately it actually seems to be getting worse now that "geek culture" and "mass entertainment" are the same. It emboldens these creeps to lash out at someone simply for having the temerity to not recognize the genius of their niche interest. I almost wonder if it's a psychological reaction to the chaos of the world. Like those lunatics that bitch about Obama on every single thread on the CNN comments (don't read CNN comments EVER). They are so powerless in day to day life that when their fictional world is threatened then they feel threatened, and lash out like a rabid ferret backed in to a corner.

  • emmalita

    Just a question of clarification - do you think all fans of Outlander are mouth breathing dipshits, everyone who disliked Joanna's piece, or just the ones who attacked her personally?

  • Mrs. Julien

    Technically, I believe "asshole" is what anyone who makes personal attacks qualifies as.

  • emmalita

    Agreed. I'm just trying to figure out my place in the mouth breathing dipshit landscape.

  • Mouth Breathing Dipshits definition - Anyone that cares so much about a fictional piece of entertainment in any medium that would resort to insults, threats of physical harm, and personal attacks when someone dared to disagree with their opinion. I will also allow political commenters with the same level of zealotry to be included in this definition as well.

  • emmalita

    That's a good definition. Thanks!

  • mswas

    *sigh* I wish the trailer didn't make Outlander look so fluffy. That's all I'm sayin' (here.)

  • Mrs. Julien

    I HATE the song for the credits.

  • JoannaRobinson

    Which, really, was the thesis I was working with. That the credits didn't do the show/text/fanbase any favors. I've been mulling this over and here's may takeaway from Outlandergate 2014. What would I feel is an appropriate reaction if a someone wrote about something I loved passionately that they found rather silly? What if they offended me with, let's say, three or four phrases that I found flip or downright insulting? I might take to my own platform to write a response. I might write a reasoned response to them to let them know I disagreed with their stance (and took offense to their phrasing). But what I wouldn't do and where I think this article draws the line is harangue them on Twitter, insult them personally, try to get them fired, rally my fellow fan base to a frothing, roiling boil in order to make that person's life a misery.

    So if mswas or Mrs J or Emmalita cursed my name, kicked some rocks, wrote eloquently about how I was wrong or even tacked my face to a dart board at home, I have zero problem with that. Defend what you love. I applaud that. But they pretty much didn't bring the fight to my doorstep and that's the distinction. Right?

  • emmalita

    No one deserves to be personally attacked or harassed for their opinion on a piece of entertainment. You certainly did not for your piece on Outlander.

    You did get an eyeroll for me and I'd like to explain why. You are right, the title sequence is terrible and doesn't do the show any favors in appealing to a new audience of either gender. I was disappointed that you chose to link Outlander and it's readership (dear old mom) to Fifty Shades of Gray and it's readership. That's like comparing George RR Martin's books to the books some terrible but popular male writer because they are both men and appear to have large male readerships.

    You are usually a good and thoughtful writer. I've appreciated a lot of the writing you've done on pop culture and women in pop culture. Whether you meant to or not, your piece implies (because it is the common cultural assumption) that an enthusiastic female fan base is worth less than an enthusiastic male fan base. I don't think you think that when it comes to Sci-fi, fantasy, or superheroes. I do wonder if you are not looking beyond the romance label the publisher slapped on Outlander 20 years ago.

    You don't have to like Outlander and the tv show might be crap and/or a failure. But you are too good a writer to dismiss a piece of entertainment because it's been marketed primarily to women. There is a relationship between the cultural dismissiveness of female dominated genres and Marvel's lack of plans for a female led superhero movie.

    I'm going to continue to read what you write, because you are a good writer. I will never agree with everything you write, and that's ok with me. I hope after the experience you've had that this doesn't feel like a further attack. I don't mean it as one.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I wrote a long response but I'm not sure it really directly related to your comment, so here is the short version:

    CLEARLY no one is justified in attacking you. CLEARLY. No one rational denies this.

    I have the impression that because you know some folks here disagreed with you about Outlander and are making oblique reference to the disagreement, you think that I feel the way you were treated is justified. Of course, I don't think that, and I'm surprised and disappointed that I have to confirm that I am not that particular ilk of a-hole. I may be several other kinds of a-hole, but vicious is not one of them.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Or I did I misread everything?

  • JoannaRobinson

    It's the oblique nature of your references that made your position unclear. Thanks for the clarification.

  • Mrs. Julien

    (Yes, again.)

  • logan

    You're on a roll! A uphill roll I guess. : )

  • Mrs. Julien

    You have no idea.

  • mswas

    "If you scour the Internet for dissent against something you hold dear, and that something is a fictional story that involves a talking raccoon or, say, a time traveling nurse who gets it on in 18th century Scotland, and you attack the dissenter with hate, then oh sweetheart, you are such a loser. "

    Are there any fans who should be allowed to attack a dissenter with hate? I think not. You don't need to set a bar for fandoms that are deemed silly or unimportant to you. Obviously those people think highly of the content, that's why they're fans. Hateful attacks should be unacceptable, period, not just certain ones.

  • Bodhi

    Hear hear!

  • amberdragonfly


  • Miss Kate


  • lowercase_ryan

    On a larger scale, this reaction of tearing down those who don't agree with you is also exhibited by many on the right today. Seriously, is this not a Fox News reaction? If you're not with us then you're against us. It's a scary phenomenon and it's growing.

  • Some Guy

    And you'd conveniently notice that it also happens on networks like MSNBC and CNN, only they probably fit more into your opinion of things, no?

  • foolsage

    That's really not the case, objectively speaking. Compare the comments threads of Fox Nation and the Drudge Report to the comments thread of The Maddow Blog and Wonkette. The difference is night and day.

    I know a lot of people prefer the whole "a pox on both your houses" approaches to politics, and so they reflexively claim that both sides are always equally guilty of everything, but that really isn't the case at all.

    For instance, I just went to the Drudge Report and clicked on a link to this article from the top of the page:


    The first comment in that thread read as follows: "Mooshell and her negro friends can't wait for the evil white to contract Ebola."

    That wasn't cherry-picked; that was random sampling. Now let's do the same thing over at Rachel Maddow's site on MSNBC. I randomly picked an article a few from the top (the newest article didn't have any comments): http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-ma...

    Scanning the discussion there, I find dissent on both sides, but nothing remotely like the racist slurs and nonsensical fallacies from that Drudge Report article above. Even if I TRY to find something damning there I cannot.

    False equivalences are easy to make but really don't help things. Look into the topic a bit more and I think you might be very surprised by what you learn. I read comments threads on quite a few sites and there really, truly is a difference between how the right and the left approach discussion.

  • lowercase_ryan

    actually I disagree. I think the people on CNN and MSNBC are raging idiots to be sure. But, and I can't say I'm familiar with every anchor they have, aside from Nancy Grace I don't really think of them as the type to shout down their guests. I could be wrong though. Who on CNN and MSNBC makes it a habit of shouting down and rabidly tearing down guests that disagree with them?

  • JustOP

    I went ahead and had a look at the review and the comments section. The review itself was okay, although it felt like the same criticism was being repeated over and over again, and was also on the short end of the spectrum. The tone of the article came across a little smug - which was funny to me given a criticism leveled at the movie was that it's too pleased with itself.

    The comments section was almost complete trite. Even comments that weren't just offensive to the author appeared to have little intelligent thought put into them. This is pretty much the only article driven website I comment on - the rest is left between web-forums and imageboards and places like reddit. I find when the point of the website is discussion, and you're capable of hiding behind a username/anonymity, the level of discussion is more rewarding.

  • Dove of Doom

    It is pathetic that people who have nothing to do with a film, a book, or whatever take unflattering reviews personally. They seem to define themselves by what they consume, and if a critic has spoken ill of a thing they like, they take it as an attack on their own worth, so they respond with the most vile, crude ad hominem attacks they can muster. If you're that wrapped up in anything, you are definitely a loser. Here is a pack of cretins that are acting out over a movie, and most of them haven't even seen it yet. And those who actually have a basis to form an opinion should have engaged civilly on the merits of the specific criticisms layed out in the review. If you can't deal with a dissenting opinion, don't read it. If you're just looking for a reflection and a validation of your own preconceptions, why are you even reading reviews? The headline warning us to "Beware the Movie That's too Much Fun" (seriously?) convinced me I wasn't interested in that particular review, but the idea of personally attacking anyone for having that opinion is absolutely disgusting. People need to grow up.

  • emmalita

    I think there is a difference between an asshole reaction to someone not liking something you love, and legitimately criticizing a critic for bringing poorly examined biases to their review. I've dealt with too many people refusing to give something a chance because they don't like the genre. It's not reasonable to attack someone's worth because they don't like something you love, even if their dislike seems knee-jerk. I don't see a problem with pointing out that the critic seems to be basing their dislike of a work based on their disdain for the genre.

  • Eric Lingenfelter

    I think Brian Michael Bendis - current writer of the Guardians comic, as well as too many other Marvel books for me to recount here without making your eyes glaze over before I get to the point - said it pretty ding-dang well in a Vulture interview:

    "I think that a huge problem is people who read comics and don't understand the point of superheroes, which is to be the best version of yourself. You love Captain America? Well, you know what Captain America would never do? Go online anonymously and shit on a girl for having an opinion."

    Here's the rest of it, if you're interested:


  • LadyUncool

    The last question/sentence of that quote is the BEST thing ever.

  • Mrs. Julien


  • amberdragonfly

    Now I'm going to be wondering all day...

  • TK

    It is one of the Great, Sad Truths of my life that two of the mediums that I absolutely and totally love most -- comic books and video games -- spawn some of the absolute worst people in all of the internet.

    You're perfectly right, Sarah. Fucking losers. You are everything that is wrong and you ruin everything.

  • JustOP

    I can't think of a single worse comments section on the internet than the one I imagine when I think of the average 'videogame-related-comments-section'.

  • foolsage

    1) Find the forums for any active MMO.
    2) Read the comments on the patch notes. Any set of patch notes will do.
    3) Despair for humanity.

  • This tripe has no place in our discussion. We can disagree w/o the juvenile name-calling. Thank you for shining light on this. We need more of it. (the light-shining, not the spittle-flecked name-calling)

  • John W

    I don't know who's more annoying the idiots who run around complaining about "fake geek girls" or the idiots who get bent out of shape if one critic doesn't like a movie.

  • Billybob

    I suspect that the two groups overlap quite heavily.

  • seannyd

    It's bizarre that people are so limited in their scope that they not only need to feel that a person disagreeing with them is wrong, but they also must tear that person down in order to be secure in their own validation.

    This happens every single time a particularly critically adored movie has dissenters. And Rotten Tomatoes makes this so easy because you can just go to those green splats and start mouthing off. I'm pretty sure that's the main reason they removed comments from the individual blurbs on the site, is it not? Negative reviews were having the comments turn into a personal attack on the critic.

    It's insecurity plain and simple. I just want people to celebrate all the differences and weirdness and differences of opinion that exist out in this crazy world. Not these obscene idiots who want to build a new world in their own, dumb image.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    It's weird to me that people would even be so invested, not in a favorite movie, but in a favorite movie's score on a review aggregator.

  • Al Borland's Beard

    "She's just pissed b/c she lives in the Village full of gay men and no one wants her dried out pie."

    I'm guessing this guy would be all for her "pie" if he wasn't already in a committed relationship with Okiko, his Japanese pillow girlfriend.

  • Kris

    Hey, hey. There's no call for pillowphobic comments, dude. That's not cool.

  • The Internet has completely ruined my ability to tell whether or not you're serious.

  • Al Borland's Beard

    I'm not judging, I've dated my fair share of pillows. They're great at first, but eventually they wear thin and then you've got feathers everywhere.

  • John G.

    You shut up. Okiko is the only one who understands him.

  • Dulce et Banana

    I really don't know what his problem was. 320deg oven, 5min with a small ovenproof container of water beside it. BOOM, just like fresh baked.

  • Al Borland's Beard

    If only you'd been there before I had sex with that pie my neighbor forgot in the sun.

  • Dulce et Banana

    I was on the other side of town - there was a report of an unknown perp leaving a cake out in the rain. By the time I got there there was icing everywhere. My partner said "yeah, they'll never have THAT recipe again."

    Four hours later someone had offed him with a jelly filled doughnut, I was off the force and a P.I. career was born. Finding his killer would be my first case.

  • amonkeyaday

    I had heard about this "dried out pie" rejuvenation but didn't know the specifics; thank you for sharing the details

  • SamuraiShampoo

    It's sad how many people cannot disagree with something without resorting to personal attacks or trying to prove them wrong somehow.

  • What the fuck are you talking about, idiot?

  • Down side of the Internet is that it allows fans of anything and everything to congregate and become a singular voice. 30 years ago, if Rolling Stone gave a lukewarm review to Terminator 2, genre fans could start sending letters but, the number who did were few and far between. Even if you were typing it, the number of people who'd mail a letter full of missives at a critic were few. You had to mail it after all.

    Comments sections/e-mail/Twitter/Facebook allow for instant vitriol that's mostly anonymous. This leads to the worst kinds of behavior from people. Sadly.

  • Rotten Tomatoes shutting off comments because too many maladjusted nerds couldn't handle critics pointing about the absurdity of their childhood fantasy characters is one of the Great Moments in Internet History. And yes, this problem is almost solely limited to comic book losers and Nolan fanboys.

  • Similar vitriol in political blogs and don't even think of going on heavy metal comment sections. That's a dick-measuring content of epic proportions.


    1. YouTube Commenters
    2. Hot Take Political Commenters
    3. Hot Take Sports Fan Commenters
    4. Irrational Comic Book Fanboy Commenters
    5. Music Snob Commenters
    6. Adaptation Purist Commenters

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    Where is Yahoo?

  • F'mal DeHyde

    Yeah, I'd actually put Yahoo before Youtube but it's close.

  • John G.

    Hot Take?

  • Essentially a comment or post that's nothing but lazy, opinionated garbage designed to provoke a reaction. Recent Hot Sports Takez include:
    - "Soccer sucks no one cares"
    - "Why did Ray Rice get in trouble when the woman hit him first? Are they all for equality?"

  • John G.

    so hot take sounds like trolling, except trolling doesn't necessarily represent a view you hold, but you just want to elicit a reaction.

  • There's a trolling component. You basically have to boil a concept down to the most simplistic common denominator, then shout it in an ignorant, superior tone. The difference between trolling and HOT TAKEZ is that the latter group typically believes their position is correct.

  • That observation was limited to the people who bitch about movies.

  • Fair enough.

    Then again, is it that genre material draws the most ardent fans? Or is that they're the only ones who give a damn about criticisms of what they love?

    Put it this way: I don't see rom-com fans all up in arms over a negative review of The Other Woman.

  • "She's just pissed b/c she lives in the Village full of gay men and no one wants her dried out pie."

    Well, what kind of pie is it? More context would help me understand if I disagree, or disagree.


  • Kris

    On the other hand, when pie is allowed to get soggy, it goes from a glorious slice of happiness to a sad-trombone in pastry form.

  • Dulce et Banana

    Where I'm from, if someone's pies suffer from soggy bottoms, they can always fall back on a Blueberry Grunt - sweet dumplings cooked in blueberry sauce. (Grunt comes from the sound made by the sauce as it's cooking.)


    That recipe implies one can use ... ugh... frozen blueberries. Don't ... just don't.

  • Dulce et Banana

    I wonder if she tried plastic-wrap? My Mom, who made a blueberry pie that would make angels weep it was so good, never covered pie in the fridge and on apple pies, the open edge would get a little tough.

  • J.P.


  • Miss Kate

    Well said! Personally, I never understood the whole "if you don't love this then you are stupid" attitude. It's called an opinion, and everyone has a right to express it. Don't be a douche.

  • *Ahem*


    I don't necessarily think that was Dustin's position, but it can be misconstrued that way if one had the wish to see it that way.

  • mzblackwidow

    what was the word suggested? Loser?

  • Miss Kate

    Yeah, I chose to ignore that...

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