It just struck me today the reason why I’m so unsettled by anti-Moffat comments. I know in general I get annoyed with them because they’re inserted in places no one asked for them, and I don’t really give a shit about what you do or don’t like. But they actually disturb me; I automatically unfollow people who start getting bitchy about him, I rarely read comments on anything Doctor Who or Sherlock related, and I generally nope the fuck out of threads where his name comes up (seriously, you can’t even crack a Doctor Who joke without someone unleashing a Moffat rant).
It ties into my deep set fear of angry, irrational mobs of people. People are getting very intense and very scary (to use Neil Gaiman’s words) in how much they hate Steven Moffat, over a TV show. On top of that, he doesn’t do anything that’s actually wrong or evil. (Newsflash: he talks like a regular person, get over it.) From everything I’ve learned about the guy, he appears to have an appreciation for strong women, has deep levels of empathy and perspective-taking, works hard, is intelligent, is creative, an authentically enthusiastic nerdboy who wants to interact with fellow fans, has a wonderfully dry sense of humor, learned from mistakes in his life, responds to criticism, is easy to work with, and gets other people excited about what they’re doing. All around, Steven Moffat seems like a pretty cool guy.
Oh no I’m saying positive things about Moffat without qualifying it and liberally sprinkling in the word “problematic.”
But somehow, the angry mobs have created this… mythology (as illustrated by this parody blog) around the man, where he’s this horrible sexist, racist, homophobic, arrogant, egomaniacal, lazy prick bastard who hates the entirety of the fanbase and needs to eat shit and die yesterday. Seriously, I don’t know where the idea that Moffat is “full of himself” comes from—as opposed to St. Davies, who seemed to think he invented Doctor Who, told Old Who fans and writers to basically fuck off, and never listened to any criticism ever?
The scary thing is, “you are who people think you are.” I see people who are new to the fandom, or have only heard of Moffat but don’t know anything about him, regurgitate this bullshit—such as the infamous quote he never said, and I even once came across one loser who started watching Doctor Who during Moffat’s era, said as much, and then regurgitated the idea that he’s “ruining” the show! It’s creepy enough to independently come to an intense hatred for a stranger based on a TV show, but it’s downright disturbing to get there just because other people are doing it.
This is a guy who has always liked interacting with other Doctor Who fans—from mailing list posts in the 90s, to Doctor Who forums, to Twitter—and now he’s cut it off, and all he has to say of Tumblr is, “it seems to be a place where people who really want to kill me gather.” When people mistakenly thought Caitlin Blackwood—a child—was on Twitter, they sent her hate messages. Neil Gaiman received such “intense” and “scary” messages in response to answering a question about Doctor Who, that he outright declared he wouldn’t discuss the show anymore, because it’s no longer fun.
But that’s Tumblr in a nutshell, isn’t it? If it’s not frothing-at-the-mouth rage and libel (whether the target is famous, or an obscure Tumblr user talking like a regular person), then it’s relentless whining—even on my other Tumblr, I just follow art/comics blogs, and there’s constant whining there, too!
…I guess that’s just the sort of audience Tumblr attracts.