Fans nowadays are angry. Oh, are they angry. And director James Mangold is worried about the effect it’ll have on the culture industry.
Taking to Twitter, Mangold (who always has interesting, if not uncontroversial, thoughts on pop culture media) shared his thoughts about the direction fandom has taken in 2018 and what the results of that will be.
In a series of tweets, Mangold outlines his concern that fandom outrage, and the fear of upsetting an eager mob of commenters, Tweeters, YouTubers, and other variations of online fan, will drive smart, creative people out of wanting anything to do with big franchises. He likens it to a religious fervor: say or do the wrong thing, and you might be seen as a blasphemer.
At io9, we’ve already talked about how fandom can have a detrimental effect on the industry when it gets nasty. Loving something is fine and good, but when it turns into trolling and harassment it does real material harm to the people involved in creating those things. And Mangold is right: people will leave. And people most vulnerable to this sort of treatment, women, and people of color and marginalized folk of all sorts, are going to be the ones who are driven out most quickly and easily.
It’s refreshing to see a prominent creator point out this fact, which a lot of people in lower rungs in the culture industry are already well aware of. If we want a world of genre fiction that’s diverse, exciting, and relevant, it’s important to oppose and stamp out hateful, harassing behavior. And we need creators like Mangold to help.