When Protection Becomes Something Else

For the last week, I’ve been sick with the flu. This is my second bout in the last month. It seems I didn’t take the first bout seriously, so it came back to make a believer out of me. Oh, I’m such a believer. I don’t think I’ve ever been this sick. If someone told me I won the lottery, I would probably just roll over and go back to sleep.

But for the moment, which is about 2am, I’m awake and thinking about something that came to my attention recently. No, that’s not entirely accurate. I’ve known some about this for a few years, and my response has been to laugh it off, and mostly because it’s seemed absurd and not important enough for me to get my knickers in a twist. To get so worked up over fandom has seemed a great waste of energy, and for some of us (waves hand vigorously), that’s precious energy.

I feel a letter coming on:

Dear Richard,

I hope you don’t mind if I share an experience with you.

When I had been living as a vicar’s wife for about four or five years, I came out of a local hardware store one day, and a young woman I knew was getting out of her car. She saw me and came over to greet me. As she approached, she had a coy smile on her face.

I was about to say something and then she said almost frantically, “I’m so glad to see you!”

Before I replied, I looked at her closely and then said, “Are you okay?”

“Yes, I’m okay,” and then she hugged me hard. This was someone who was normally very controlled and the last person I would think would give someone a spontaneous bear hug on the street.

As she pulled back, I sort of smiled, laughed and looked at her again as if to say, “What was that for?”

Seeming to hear my thinking, she replied, “I just wanted to do that.”

It felt a little weird even though I did appreciate the hug. But then I noticed her rubbing her eyes as if there were tears in them, and I said, “There is something wrong.”

“No, really, it’s okay. I was upset, but I’m getting over it now.”

“Well, I’m glad it’s passing, but if you ever want to talk, you can.”

That offer was predicated on caring about this young woman and also on one of the first things I learned as a vicar’s wife. People in pain have a great need to talk and especially to someone safe about their thoughts or situations with “safe” being someone who will listen, not condemn and never betray a confidence. I had expected that desire from people to manifest only toward my SO. But it became apparent very quickly that people sometimes selected me to listen, whether I wanted them to or not, because they looked at me as an extension of SO.

When I made the offer to the young woman, I was hinting at discussion for a later date if she needed it. The tubing under my basement bathroom sink had sprung a leak that morning and flooded part of the basement, which was still in a mess, and I really didn’t have time or inclination to listen to anyone at that moment. But the young woman decided to talk right there in the parking lot.

“I don’t understand people. I really don’t.” I was obviously in the dark but waited for her to finish. She said, “I’ve just come from the Annual _________ Luncheon, and…, I’m glad you never go to those things.” I was intrigued, and she continued, “I am never going back. I’m sick of it,” and then she looked at me intently.

This luncheon she had come from is a county wide women’s thing to raise money for a good cause, and it’s considered to be an important event where I live. I had been invited every year I had lived here but had always politely sent my regrets. It’s held in May, and when you’re a parent with kids in school in the U.S., May is crazy. It’s simply the worst time to plan something for women who have school aged children. I had three in school at the time. But I sent the charity group money and volunteers, since I did support their cause.

I will also admit these kinds of functions are not my bag. I had been to enough women’s things to last me a couple of lifetimes by the time I got to this town, and I would be damned if I was going to miss my kids’ events for something like that, and I was damned. The young woman breathed out as if she were exasperated and said, “I love you and [SO], and I feel like I’ve gotten to know you over the last few years. It was hard to listen to you being reamed out.”

I remember thinking, “Wow these ladies take this luncheon attendance really seriously,” and I remember laughing at the thought.

As I stood there chuckling and thinking, the young woman looked miffed at me and asked in a huff, “I’m sorry I told you that, but seriously, why do people do things like that?! Maybe there’s something I don’t know, but you don’t even know these people that well, haven’t done anything to them. I could not believe it!”

I was still laughing at the absurdity of this, and then I noticed a brutal look out of her eyes and it sobered me to respond, “I’m not sure why these women did what they did. Maybe they’re offended I’ve always declined their invitations. Mostly I think they did it because they’re bored,” and then I looked at her directly and said very pointedly, “People do all sorts of things because they’re bored.”

I quickly said goodbye and that I would talk to her later, and I’ve never forgotten the look on her face. Dare I say it was almost an evil look, a look that said I had thwarted something, and later this was confirmed by a pattern she exhibited of creating tensions between people where she could be a kind of savior, and I had refused to let her be my savior that day in front of the hardware store.

This incident made me sad. Sad that her life was so empty that in order to make it meaningful, she had to resort to creating problems. But this seems to happen often when people are bored and unhappy.

So my point for this long winded note is this is how I often see the drama that occurs sometimes in your fandom. Not that it’s peculiar to this group of fans. I’m sure you know it’s just indicative of groups in general. Get enough people together and someone in the group who is bored and unhappy is naturally given to facilitating tensions. I’ve wondered on occasion what that must be like from your perspective. As someone who appears very sensitive, that has got to be hard on you. Yeah, man, I feel for you. But it’s my hope you can just ignore it or ignore it as much as possible.

Signed,
A Crazy Fan who is here for the fun and never for the drama and hoping everyone can soon move past it

edit: I’ve stripped out the bottom half of this post because the post was just too long, and really, this above makes my point about drama in the fandom. Now I want to go back to what I enjoy doing, which is mostly cutting up and laughing.

27 Comments

  1. I never comment, but it does take me back to something that happened to me a couple of years ago after Comic-Con in 2012. Coming after someones personal life is WRONG and a form of harassment…the end. It is someone who is unhappy and bored with their own life that wants to create misery for others. Sad. With that said I hope you feel better! Sorry you have been feeling so poorly with the flu! *hugs*

  2. Slow clap.

  3. I’m very puzzled. If you are referring to the imdb incident to which I think you are referring, the person in question actually tried to prevent this week’s threats of harm to a fellow blogger and objected vigorously to the actions which others were threatening..

    I assume then that the threats this past week were made by another party, or parties.

    I also understand that quite a lot of misinformation is going around about the now mostly vanished blog, including a kind of tarring of everyone who ever commented there, for good or ill. And also some who didn’t ever comment, but are not part of a certain clique are getting named.

    Things are bad enough without incorrect information being spread.

  4. Cill, I don’t think we’re talking about the same incident or person.

  5. I’m not tarring anyone who commented there I don’t even know who commented there

  6. Yes I read a couple of pieces on the blog back in December but I don’t remember who the commenters were at all

  7. Then I’m lost. And I’m not sure I want to know.

  8. I wasn’t referring to “tarring” here or in anything you said, Frenz. I’m sorry I gave that impression. It’s just stuff that I’ve seen at a couple of other blogs (but which is now deleted).

  9. It’s understandable that you’re confused because you came in about 3+ years after all of this started.

  10. The things I know about are bad enough. I weep for RA fandom right now.

  11. Yes, I was wondering about that because the threats are being made by a group of people – not one person and not the person Cill and I thought you meant, I am happy to say. As far as I know the bloggers, they say ” & Co.” are the ones leading this. Anyway, the rest of what you’re trying to say, I agree with to some extent. I understand and appreciate that talking about things like this fuels the fire and probably offers gratification to instigators. On the other,sometimes you have to speak out. I spoke out and the reason I did was not to advertise the threat, but to comment on and question the reaction to it, which I found disappointing and the solutions offered, which I think are going to be ineffective. Although since then, I have been told that people just didn’t know.

    I thought you were writing about the person/people making these threats, but I am guessing you know more about who they are, or who one of them is, than i do.

    As far as the law goes, among other problems, the intended victim has offered evidence to suggest that the required injury is not there.

  12. I think when people are engaged in something somewhat emotional there’s a propensity for tempers to flare. But it goes too far when there is intent to do harm. And from where I’m sitting, there has mostly been one source of this intent in the fandom in the last few years.

  13. Sorry I missed your comment earlier, Heather

  14. I’m in the car now when I get home I’ll comment further

  15. Don’t know don’t want to know.

  16. Agree,Frenz ! :)
    I think this individuals have also big (bruised) ego .

  17. Kitty,

    Nothing wrong with that. LOL!

  18. Joanna,

    I think you’re right. :D

  19. It is my wish to never post a blog piece on this subject again hence the edit I’ve added this morning.

    I just wish whoever is pissed off at Servetus would just ignore her and stop this nonsense on their site. All it’s done is make Servetus a victim and turn off some people from participation in the fandom. In fact, that is the chief reason I posted something in the first place. People have been sending me notes since I think October or whenever that site started, and their chief message to me is how they’re done and don’t want to participate because of what they’re seeing, or if they do, it will be very limited. Those notes increased over the months, and with the announcement on Monday, I got a flood of them.

  20. That should have said ‘flood of them.” Gone to change.

  21. All that I know is that some people who participated in the blog are being held responsible for things in which others participated equally ( if not more) and accusations are being hurled around at people who were (as Perry noted somewhere) victims themselves first, but who can now be conveniently re-cast as villains. (I say ‘conveniently’ because they aren’t old-timers or bnfs and it’s easy to jack their reputations).
    That’s the present, and it sucks. And it sucked before the blog came up, too. I nearly left the fandom entirely a couple of times in the first few months I was in it, but that was because of one person’s behaviour.
    The past of RAfandom BM (Before Me) has some bad episodes, and I’m more aware of some of them than the majority of fandom noobs would be (I’ve read some inaccurate summations somewhere and the topix threads too as far back as 2007 but I’ve also seen some interesting screencaps which show that there’s more than one fan in this fandom threatening people with outing).

  22. I have been so overwhelmed with work since the beginning of this year that I have had almost no time to catch up with any of the blogs. Apparently I am so out of the loop that whatever happened has gone unnoticed by me and I have to admit that this post left me puzzled until I read Frenzy’s last comment.
    I can only gather that a “fan” or a group of fans has been upset by one or several of Servetus’ blog posts and has launched some sort of verbal attack?
    As Servetus’ blog was the first I followed when I ‘joined’ this fandom in 2010 I would like to say that it has been her rather academic analysis of RA’s work that attracted me to the fandom (apart from RA’s acting itself of course) and it has kept me here until today.I think yours was the second blog I started reading, It was the sense of humour whith which you approach the fangirling that has kept me here.
    My motto has always been – to live and let live. I think all bloggers have a right to write about what interests them most. If the readers are interested in it, they are free to read and comment. If they agree or disagree with a statement or an analysis they may say so in a polite way. It always has been beyond me why people who feel deeply upset by a blog don’t just stop reading it.
    I am here to share the joy I feel about RA’s acting and to have fun “fangirling” every once in a while. I don’t care for people who attack others or even try to silence them but I would like to add that I don’t know whether that is what happened.
    I’m sure my comment doesn’t add anything new to the discussion. I just wanted to make a (sort of) public statement because I care both for Servetus’ blog and for yours and for both of you ladies even though we don’t know each other in “real life”. In the virtual reality of the internet it is all too easily forgotten that there are real people with feelings behind the written words and that those people can be truly hurt long after the couple of minutes it takes to write or read a vicious comment…

  23. Suse, it may not be a new sentiment, but it bore repeating. And I appreciate the kind remarks about this place and hope to get back to it shortly.

    What’s happened is that there are people who truly became offended more by Servetus herself than by her content. I know a little of what happened but not tons. Anyway, this anger about it manifested in the website I referenced. The problem is that the website has done the exact opposite of what it was intended to do and now made Servetus a victim and more important than she was previously. Hey, anytime you have a site devoted to someone — negative, positive, doesn’t matter — it sends the message they are important enough to well, have an entire site devoted to them. LOL!

  24. BTW, I am moving on and hope that somehow other people can do whatever they need to do to put this behind them. Others who may want to comment about it here, including others who are directly or indirectly involved in this situation are welcome to do it here. Just know that I have to approve all comments, and sometimes I get tied up and don’t do that super quickly.

    Off to work on the fun thing I have planned for next month. Catch you all later.

  25. I did say I don’t know and don’t want to know. Reading all this affirms my blissful ignorance.

  26. Yep! ignorance can be bliss. And now I’m going back to what I’ve done for months despite the notes I’ve received, which is to ignore the whole thing. I am leaving my post, but I’ve edited it with the point I wanted to make without all the other crap, and honestly, I don’t know who runs the site and don’t give a damn. I do hope they stop, but hey, it’s their choice. I’m moving on.

  27. I’m glad it was a reference to me and, I appreciate you making that clear.


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