The Book is the Book & the Show is the Show

BookVsTV (2)

I’ve been hanging out on the CompuServe forums quite a bit lately, and have been seeing an interesting trend in the comments. My ‘take’ is that the majority of the forum are book lovers that watch the show based on their love of the books.

As a side note, this is a place where there are many opinions and much nit-picking, but done with courtesy and respect. It’s a nice breather from most of the social media out there.

What I see as a trend in the comments, all over social media, is the disappointment of the show cutting out wonderful bits of the story claiming there ‘just isn’t time’ yet inserting other things that are totally off book that take up time. If they can do that, why can’t they use the wonderful material provided for them right there in the books?!

Now, I don’t have a degree or even much study in TV production. I have read what was basically a text book about TV production (A book called “Inside Section One” about the making of the original La Femme Nikita series) which opened my eyes to many things about making a weekly TV show that would never have crossed my mind. In this post I am merely taking my minor experience with acting, doing theatre (both on stage and behind the curtain), having participated in a movie, reading that book and just my own thinking and formulating one possibility as to why the show is going the way it is. It is an opinion, nothing more – I have no idea if I am thinking correctly or not.

The Team has said from day one that this would be an adaptation that would adhere to the story of the books as closely as possible. They have also said, absolutely, that while they will do their best to satisfy the long-standing fans of the books, their first priority is to make good television.

The term ‘good television’ is, somewhat, subjective. I know some people that think good TV is 24/7 sports. Others, find good TV in blood/guts/gore. Some, think reality TV is the greatest. Comedy, drama, soaps and so on….everyone has their own idea of what is good or bad television. For the bean counters, it is a show that will include the biggest possible audience that will draw in advertisers and grow to keep making money. There is quite often a ‘target’ audience. I know with LFN the original ‘target’ was 18 – 35 year old males, hence Peta Wilson in the title role. However, as the show progressed, while the producers got that target audience, they were shocked to find their biggest most supportive audience was 18 to 65 year old women because of the lead male role of Michael played brilliantly by Roy Dupuis (who they didn’t want originally).

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I would say, JMHO, that for the particular show of Outlander, good television is meaning that it appeals to a fairly large audience (those interested in the books, Scotland, history, drama, and adventure with the added twist of time-travel). Good television has to capture an audience with EACH episode. One never knows when a viewer will stumble upon an episode having no idea the show exists or, never having watched it, and – lacking better options at that moment chooses to watch. So, there has to be tension, some comedy moments for relief, some conflict that can happen and be resolved in that timeframe while leaving a bigger thing hanging to draw viewers back to the next episode. A lot to balance.

Diana is a wordsmith of epic proportions – literally. Davina Porter reading the unabridged version of Voyager goes 42 hours and 50 minutes. The Team is trying to shoehorn this story into around 13 hours. Bloody YIKES!

Like all the Outlander books, Diana has woven a rich, thick, complicated tapestry of a story. Even many of the ‘secondary’ characters (Mr. Willoughby/Yi Tien Cho is a great example) have pages and pages dedicated to ‘their’ story. All these wonderful side bits and stories within stories that she can layer in because she has the time and space to do that – and while they are rich material, those bits might be far too complicated to get across in a one hour-ish episode with lots of other stuff going on.

So, here is my thinking. The team takes the important bits of the story that need to be kept in to keep cohesion (Jamie & Claire’s relationship, young Ian being kidnapped, going after Ian which takes them to Jamaica and beyond) and breaks those important elements into the 13 episodes they have been given to work with. Then they have to fill the time for those episodes in such a way to make it ‘good television’ (all the points I mentioned above) and keep the flow of the story. To me, this means inserting less complicated bits to hit all the notes they need to while keeping with the main push of the story and ending the episode in such a way people will want to come back.

I know many book people are disappointed with missing so much of the rich material that is in the books, but really, because it is so layered and nuanced, it is hard to give it any kind of justice in the time they have. Likely it is far easier to invent a simple bit of tension; the “Jonah” arc in “The Doldrums” episode rather than trying to actually explain the entire story behind Yi Tien Cho. It keeps to the overall story in plausibility without stripping a good piece of writing down to so little as to be meaningless and still be plausible within the frame of the original work.

I have truly never minded the differences because I started out on the journey of the series expecting them. I can embrace them because I like being shown a different facet of the same story – seeing it from a different perspective that challenges my own thinking. Also, the books will always be there to drown in and enjoy in a way, no matter how much you might like the series, simply has no comparison.

Again, this is only MY opinion and thoughts.

Cheers!

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“King of Men” – really?

As anyone who has read this blog for a while knows, I go a different direction from most of the Outlander blogs. There are several exceptional bloggers out there that recap and discuss the various episodes so well that I wasn’t even going to try. I have read some fabulous takes on Ep306 and many of the comments following them were enlightening as well.
Looking back at my various posts; I can get preachy. Sorry. That really isn’t my intention when I’m writing (well ok sometimes it is). I just see something I really like or really hate and spout off about it. It’s just my personal take on things meant to give people a different perspective. Should be interesting to see where this post lands.

306 A Malcolm tagged

Some people were disappointed with certain aspects of this episode. I can empathize with that, but not with how a few chose to express themselves about it. I already ranted about that – done – no worries. However, I saw and interesting comment on one of those many great blogs yesterday and it made me think, which prompted me to write something so here we go.

This brought some different perspective to me & helps me not hate the episode. But I still always get the feeling that the writers just don’t “get” Jamie & his larger than life personality as the “king of men”.

I paused over this for quite some time. First because I’m pretty sure it was in the writer’s room with RDM that this phrase first came into use. *Edit – I have had this confirmed by DG. Second – I’ve never seen Jamie that way.    *ducking*   Let me explain.
Part of what makes Jamie the ‘king of men’ is that he always says exactly the right thing (he doesn’t ALWAYS because he isn’t perfect, but way more often than not). He says all these ‘perfect’ things because he has an incredibly talented, witty and wise woman writing his lines for him. She also writes his actions and thoughts. The character may ‘talk’ to Diana – but it is still all in HER head.
Sam/Jamie has the same benefit with amazing writers and directors to help him out.

Jamie – contrary to often voiced opinion – is not perfect. He has a tendency to be arrogant. (Be honest with how full of himself he was taking over Lallybroch and how WAY out of his league he was). He can be a hot-head and not think through the possible repercussions of his actions; probably why it drives him so crazy when Claire does it. There is other smaller stuff, but those are the big things. I mean, some of what Jamie does – if it was anyone else (including your own partner for those that have one) you’d probably want to slap them silly.
Part of what made me fall in love with this story is that the characters were so ‘real’. They all have flaws, they screw up, they have moments of perfection and they slog their way through life like all mortals must. Perfect is plastic and very uninteresting.
Sam plays/portrays Jamie in a very physical – yet often subtle way. He so reminds me of one of my favorite actors – Roy Dupuis (I have a page dedicated to him here). Roy is a master at communicating a great deal with only his eyes and the tiniest of movements. If anyone has seen the original La Femme Nikita series and the character of Michael – you know exactly what I mean. Sam has a lot this same talent; the ability to let things just power out of his eyes and use of body language and movement to express things rather than words. The performances are all the more powerful for their subtleness. It also means when a line is delivered or big movement is used, they are that much more dramatic.
The actor and the character he/she portrays have a unique bond. Sam has made some choices in how Jamie acts and reacts based on the character that has been developed over the first two seasons and where he knows things are going. The ‘base’ of Jamie is the books – of course – but this Jamie is in the alternate reality of the TV series so, while still Jamie, there can and will be minor differences.
Maybe part of the reason I don’t get all wound up about the differences or even outright changes in the show from the book is I expect them. I’m not asking the show to be ‘perfect’ – I’m asking that it be good, well-done television that stays true to the characters and story (within the constraints episode numbers/time imposes). I believe ‘The Team’ has done this. The story – the important main artery of the story – is still there. The characters a still very real and relatable – not perfect.

I don’t feel Jamie is the ‘King of Men’ – I don’t like putting anyone on that much of a pedestal for them to fall from. I like him better being a good guy that still screws things up (people will understand, trying to be nice here to non-readers) yet is steadfast for his love, family and what he feels is right.

Well done.

Courtesy & Respect

     This is something I’ve written about several times coming at it from different directions. Two good examples are here Differing Opinions: Books vs TV Series and here But that’s not what’s in the books!!!!!!

6026e25d423223a8260663176fda9892     Discussion, asking questions, understanding the process – all these are GOOD things! Having differing opinions and viewpoints is great because discussing different perceptions help open up new facets to people seeing the same material.
     My huge frustration is with people who just bash and whine showing little to no courtesy or respect for the actors, all the behind the scenes people and the process that are vital to the making of this (Outlander) or any other creative endeavor. These are skilled professionals doing a damn fine job and as fans, we need to respect that.
     The Team (Ron, Maril, Gary, Terry, Matt, Toni, Anne, Ira and all the other writers, the directors, scouts and hundreds of others whose names/jobs we don’t even know) work their tails off to bring us the very best adaptation of Outlander they can. Their job isn’t to recreate the books, but to bring us (and their bosses) great television that will retain viewers and make the studio money. (They are doing a FABULOUS job IMO).
    These people work long hours, often in miserable conditions (night shoots+Scotland+winter) with little in the way of breaks between seasons. Knowing a fair few creative people, I imagine that even on their ‘down’ time from the show it is never far from their thoughts.
     The actors have been stellar – both in ability and their willingness to interact with the fans. STARZ has been wonderful doing multiple giveaways and exposure to keep the show going.
     So what do I mean about Courtesy and Respect? Here is an example. These are not actually ‘direct’ quotes from any one person, but close to things I’ve seen the last two days after the recent episode and through the entire life of the show.

“You all just ruined the absolute most important moment of the series! How could you?! What were you thinking? RDM is an idiot that should be fired for screwing up the story!”

Or

“Fans have been gypped again! Totally blew such a great scene! Jamie/Claire/Jenny/???? was supposed to be/do/act THIS way – not the stupid/wrong way you did it. WTF were you thinking?!”

Or

“I was so disappointed that this (pick something) was done differently from the books – it was a favorite bit. Could the writers/director/actor please explain why the decision was made to do it the way you did so I/we can understand?” Thanks!”

 Now…be honest if only in your own head…which of those questions shows respect for the people and the process? Which will promote discussion and add understanding? Which wind situations up in a bad way and make people feel defensive? Which is so discourteous it’s just plain rude?
     Express opinions, discuss different viewpoints, give the makers of the show feedback – but do it with the respect they are all due and gratitude that we have a series to watch.

 

    

Highlanders vs Vampires

2 August 2017

As anyone with any knowledge of me knows, I have a ‘thing’ for vampires. Long before they hit mainstream popularity – again – these creatures have intrigued me. They are compelling in their complexity while being simple predators. So many different directions an author can go with them by tweaking various points of vampire lore…….ok I’ll stop now because it really isn’t vampires per se I wish to discuss here.

I recently left my co-pirate and our boat to travel back to Washington State to help some friends with a major move. Vancouver, WA to Colorado Springs. Major because these people are not quite pack-rats but close and not very organized. They had been in the same house for years and are some of my oldest/dearest friends, so on a plane I hopped. They gave me an amazing deal on an extra vehicle they didn’t want to try to move which gave me transportation. With that, I went (between the moving packing due to my friends schedules) for a quick visit with my sister’s family and to help my dad do a yard / estate sale. All told, I was gone three months. Very glad to be home.

I tell you this because, while I was with my dad, he took me to a half-off book place. WOW! Not a safe place for me to hang out as I am addicted to the written word and being on a boat, hard copy books just don’t do well due to moisture and lack of space. However, they have pocket books on sale for 25¢ each on Tuesdays and I managed to get the Sookie Stackhouse books (2-8) by Charlaine Harris for that fantastic price. This is a series I had wanted to ‘try out’ for a long time but just hadn’t gotten around to it (so many books – never enough time). I tracked down book one and dug in. I had found and read all 13 books in the series twice within a few weeks. (I read through fast the first time for the story as a whole then go back for detail – yes….even with Diana’s books).

Why do I bring this little story here – to a predominately Outlander fan page? Well for those that don’t know, the Sookie Stackhouse novels became HBO’s series ‘True Blood’. After reading the books I commented on social media somewhere I would have to track down the series to watch. I was warned, several times, that the series deviates from the books – BIG TIME.

Once I got home, I tracked down Season 1 of True Blood and have watched it. Yes…it varies hugely from the book. Part way through S2 and there are bigger and wilder variations from the book. There is one story line I’m not fond of – not because it is SO far removed from its book elements, but because it is very dark and abusive.

Where Outlander has combined some minor characters for time / continuity or had a major character pick up some small thing to avoid bring in yet another character – True Blood has major characters going WAY off book (this is highlighted with Sookie’s brother Jason in S2 which we are part way through) doing things that book Jason wouldn’t dream of.

So, how do I feel as a book lover first seeing these huge departures from the story I fell for? Great! I mean….it’s the same characters with a different spin, two great stories in the same universe with the same characters. It’s interesting to see the differences and some of them, I actually like better. Now that one story line I’m not thrilled with…..so what. Overall the show is a good watch with great twists. I’m not going to bag the entire show for one storyline that I’m not thrilled with. If I felt I had to do that I’d never watch ANY series.

Ron Moore and the entire team that bring fans the Outlander series have done a phenomenal job of being true to the books. Yes…there are a few tweaks and changes. As has been discussed, ad nauseam it seems sometimes, television is a completely different medium than print with different constraints and structure. While some people would like to see 20+ episodes per season, it is just not going to happen. I already did a post on Outlander vs other cable series and how we are spoiled with our numbers. (THANK YOU STARZ) changes that have been made might bring out something book people feel is minor or tweak something so it flows better on screen. The always present combining of minor characters or having a major character ‘pick up’ something so another character doesn’t have to be introduced. This is all common practice when converting from book to screen.

My point here? The series CAN NOT – WILL NOT – SHOULD NOT follow the book verbatim. How boring would that be?! Embrace those changes as new facets and nuances on much beloved characters and story or make yourself miserable. Outlander fans have no grounds for griping about ‘changes’ IMO – after watching what was done with True Blood.

And please Outlander readers….if you truly can’t stand the series and the team’s vision of it – just stop watching and go back to curling up with the books. Don’t feel the need to dump your aggravation and disappointment on people that are enjoying the show for itself. I’m told there is actually a subculture of people out there that watch shows they hate simply so they can hate them via social media. What a sad, sad thing. Life is too short to embrace so much negativity.

Not everyone love the same things. I’m sure many reading this don’t like True Blood or even want to see/read it. That’s ok. Some people like all the super-hero shows out now while others are firmly entrenched in comedy. If you find you don’t like something – GREAT! One less thing to clutter up your life with. Find something you love and share that with the world. You never know, sharing your positive thoughts, love of new shows/books/music etc. may turn someone else onto it and make new friends.

Cheers!

Perception and Prejudice

Each person that reads or watches or experiences something, brings a lot of themselves into the process. How and where they were raised, their spiritual beliefs, education, the people they spend time with, the other books they read, movies they watch and things they study. All of these factors are mixed into to whatever an individual is currently ‘experiencing’ and colors it to their unique perception and prejudice.

So we can hope to come at this blog from a similar direction – here are some definitions:

 

Perception: a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression; intuitive understanding and insight

Selective Perception: Selectivity of information that is perceived. Process in which people tend to ignore information that conflicts with their values while accepting other information that agrees with their values.

Prejudice: preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience

 

When I write my fiction, I tend to go lean on details unless I need the reader to grasp something specific. For me, not having each thing spelled out for me (as a reader) allows me the fun of having my own view or perception of a scene. A field of wildflowers in a passage may give me a totally different image (coming from the Pacific Northwest) than someone reading the same passage that grew up in the mid-west or on the east coast or in Switzerland or New Zealand.

Take this bit from the book I’m currently working on:

            Jasmine felt as if she was being turned inside out then found herself swaying slightly in a well-appointed sitting or living room. It had a look and atmosphere of old-world grace and money, but she didn’t have time to study it. She turned quickly as the enemy placed her soul sister on a plush sofa.

 “There should be a blanket in the chest just there, why don’t you get one so we can cover her.” Nicholas watched this woman carefully if discretely. She was struggling – fighting a war within herself – and if she was who he suspected, he could only imagine how abhorrent this situation was for her.

            Jasmine flipped open the cedar chest and found a soft, light blanket. Cashmere? Quality, as everything seemed to be here, and stepped over to cover her friend. The temptation to just cover her face and kill this arrogant aristocrat was hard to resist, but she needed Sunny in her life almost like air or food. Since she had lost her brother, Sunny was the only thing that had kept her at least somewhat sane. She had to strike out somehow and since she had promised not to kill him – words were her only option.

 “Nice place, Vlad. Lots of color, very few cobwebs – I’m impressed.”

 

I have a very specific picture of this place in my head as the author. The furniture I picture, the colors, the fabrics, the trinkets or priceless pieces of art that may be present. I asked my partner what he pictured and it was similar but not identical to my thoughts. Not surprising since we have been mostly together for over 20 years and come from somewhat similar backgrounds growing up. But ask yourself what you pictured? How might your partner or best friend picture the same scene? None of the ‘visions’ is more right than any others, they are just different; colored and nuanced by each individuals myriad of experiences.

Prejudice, at least how I want to talk about it here, is a bit more complicated.

While where prejudice comes from holds true for all the same things as perception, it’s how it applies to reading a book or watching or movie or dealing with a different culture that I want to address. People tend to judge things, be prejudiced for or against them, based on their perceptions – but they often neglect to take into account the differences from where the thing is coming from.

 

Take the novel Outlander for example. People tend to judge/be prejudiced about the characters based on current time perceptions. You really can’t do that. To say something that was a cultural norm several hundred years ago was ‘wrong and/or out of character’ based on current ideas and perceptions robs the person experiencing the work of inherent lessons, insights or differences. While we as a modern society may not agree with something done in the 1700’s for a variety of reasons, you also can’t just dismiss them as wrong. Understand where that particular ‘norm’ came from and why. How was it important to THAT time and place? Embrace it for how it is different from current thinking and so expand your vision of things outside your own actual experiences.

This is true of almost any work set in times and places different from what we know and are comfortable with. While some readers may vehemently disagree with the scene in which Jamie thrashes Claire for her blatant disobedience and endangering of their party; others understood where/when it came from and, while they may have found it distasteful, didn’t let that one scene ruin the whole book for them. Some, not so willing to step outside their own perceptions and prejudices, put down the book at that point never to pick it up again.

Some people are very uncomfortable reading explicit sex scenes – this can be due to many factors. They can skip past such things or let it ruin the entire story. That is a choice. While I don’t judge people for their comfort levels, I take real issue with people that will go through library books and black out things THEY find offensive not giving others a chance to decide for themselves.

I guess what I hope to accomplish with this post is to get people to think a little bit. To, perhaps, listen to another’s viewpoint without judgment to maybe expand their own thinking and ideas. Even if it doesn’t change your mind, you’ve been exposed to other ideas and, hopefully, won’t berate another for their perceptions. You and they are coming to a specific experience from (possibly) vastly different directions and so your perceptions will not be the same.

I saw this during the recent upheaval with the political race and it is so appropriate.

perception1

Both people in this picture are right – they are also both wrong. It is a matter of perception.

My fervent wish with future posts is that people will keep this in mind while reading what I write. I come from my own unique place and so my ‘view’ will be different from anyone reading my thoughts. It may be only slightly different or a huge swing towards one side or another. It doesn’t make me right and anyone else wrong – it’s just a different perspective. My hope is that my own ideas and perspective might allow someone else to see the same scene or book or character in a slightly different way and so, expand that experience for them with a different facet to and already precious ‘gem’.

It is also my wish that – especially here – discussions are conducted in a respectful manner to expand each person’s experience rather than dismiss their perceptions as irrelevant.

Cheers!

 

 

 

I’m SO done!

For a few years I had a great job working in a second hand store in charge of the book department. This gave me wonderful opportunities to see and experience authors I might never have found otherwise. Several of the authors that are now favorites were found during this time: The Black Dagger Brotherhood books by J.R. Ward, The Dark Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon, The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher AND Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

In contemplating this particular post, I did some digging. Here are some interesting bits I came up with:

so-done-meme-4

Now, in that two year stretch I followed many people and had a few follow me. I never expected to have more than 100 or so people following me, so my current number is a bit humbling. Some of the people that have chosen to follow me humble me even further as, they are people I greatly respect both as human beings and artists (in several areas of creativity).

I remember how exciting those early days were for the series on social media. The thrill that someone as knowledgeable and well respected as RD Moore would be at the helm. That they were going to have Diana participating and giving suggestions. The very idea of seeing such a beloved story come to life and all the discussion that went into it. There were some negative comments early on about casting – understandable as these were long beloved characters that people wanted to see done right. And they most definitely were. The negative comments died down fairly quickly and everyone on Twitter just seemed to enjoy the process.

I remember voting early on. We had a united front to get our show out there so it could be seen. Introducing it through voting to people who had never heard of it. Being told over and over what a great fandom we had. How the Outlander fans were appalled by the nastiness and in-fighting going on in other fandoms. Well look at us now.

So here is my statement: so-done-step-2

To the anti’s….honest….Sam and Caitriona are grown people that can defend themselves or not as they wish. Defending the fandom and its integrity is great, but several have stooped to the same abhorrent methods the shippers used and became just as much of a problem.

Shippers – I am SO SO SO done defending your ‘right to fan as you wish’ because you just won’t. You won’t quietly fan/ship and leave the rest of us alone to fan as WE wish. You started this war by attacking people that dared to disagree with you and it has not stopped. There is proof and all know it. I’m sick of the ‘we are victims’ – and ‘how is it ok to hate us?!” WAAAAAAAAA I never directly attacked shippers but I’m done being nice. You want to ship? FINE go bloody do it elsewhere and leave the rest of the fans who don’t happen to agree with you, are tired of constantly seeing your crap about it and sick of being attacked for views that don’t match yours, alone. You keep attacking and being nasty….all I can say is karma can be a real bitch…expect it to come back and bite you in the ass. It’s too bad all shippers are being painted with the same brush now –  but then, they haven’t done anything to deal with the problem either.

Honestly, we can never get rid of the fringe – just like in politics. The real problem children will be there; ignoring them won’t make them go away it just gives them more room to maneuver and get a stronger hold and longer reach.

So my second statement is to the rest of the fandom.

 so-done-meme

For all the people who just said ‘ignore them, they will stop eventually’, that didn’t stand up for people being attacked, that didn’t work on ways to fix these problems, that know some of these ‘problem children’ and have done nothing, that went blissfully on ignoring the problems because it didn’t directly affect you. I’m disappointed. This fandom as done some truly wonderful, awesome things over the last few years – can we continue to do that with all the infighting? Shippers vs the world….Jamie fans that are rude to those that like Frank….hateful things said to actors because of the characters they play….most of all, attacking each other over a diffence of opinion. I don’t mean honest exchange and discussion, I mean nasty names and comments if one person doesn’t agree with another. We always said voting in those polls we would never be a toxic fandom like we were seeing there…and here we are.

Is the whole fandom doing the bad stuff? Of course not – but enough that it has been well noticed and documented outside the fandom. I have tried to speak out here on this blog (not very effectively it seems) and be nice while doing it. I’ve tried to be a voice of reason in tweets, but people have to be willing to listen to the other side. So…I’m done trying. The few of us trying just aren’t going to cut it – the majority of the fandom would need to get involved to make changes and, at this point, I just don’t see it happening.

My online presence won’t really change much. I still plan to enjoy the show, interact with individuals and follow people or not as my own sense dictates. I’ll still vote when I can (though not nearly as often) and promote the great things that come along. I will 100% support the cast and crew of this show – but I’m done getting involved with the politics. I’ve tried. If you look back at this blog I’ve spoken out over and over and over again about the negative things that have gone on. I had one person I thought of as a friend dump me, unfollow me and ‘slap’ me verbally for ‘just stirring up trouble so people would notice me’. Few listen, few read the blog (compared to the size of the fandom) and if I’m not making a positive change with all I have written, what is the point?

I’m using lists to look at Twitter mostly now rather than going through my main timeline. I’m going to miss posts. Missing all the political stuff is fine with me. It doesn’t seem like I’m following many compared to the ‘stars’ …. But even the number I have can keep me on social media far too long. I have a life away from social media and Outlander. Other shows to watch, other books to read (and write) and other actors to follow and support.

Studying the fandom has been fascinating to me. It really IS a microcosm of the larger population. The fringe left and right stirring up trouble, lying and misconstruing/twisting things to support their own agenda. The far (not fringe) left and right getting whipped up by what the fringe says and expanding the problems/issues rather than looking for a way to make things better and then all the middle people that wish the rest would get some sense so things could actually get done.

As always….comments are more than welcome – be respectful, be coherent and sign your name. I won’t support some lame ass that is too chicken to put their name on their own opinion.

I think my next post will be about Frank. (Rubbing hands gleefully).

Time to get to work!

First, there are going to be some reading this saying I’m causing more problems than I might fix and to stop stirring up shit that is bad enough already. Well you know, I’ve tried to keep everything really neutral and just be a calm voice with what I’m seeing, but after the last few days…..not so much. I still want to be someone that helps fix problems rather than create them, but that doesn’t mean all is bright light and sunshine; sometimes you have to take a hard, unpopular stand to accomplish the necessary goals. Second this is going to be a long post – I challenge you to read through till the end with an open mind.

In the Outlander fandom, I have referred to incidents in my other blogs without naming names because I wasn’t trying to get anyone attacked. I still don’t want that, but I’m not so much for protecting people that are out of line anymore. Be responsible with how you respond to things – don’t attack, work to fix.

I am fed up with the minority of this ‘fandom’ making the whole look like foul, foaming at the mouth idiots to the rest of the world. And gang, by ‘minority’ I mean small number – this has absolutely NOTHING to do with race, religion, sexual orientation or anything in that realm. If YOU make it about that, look in the mirror you are part of the problem.

On the far left, we have the super shippers. No matter what anyone says – including the people in question – Sam & Cait ARE a couple, secretly married or about to be and the gods help anyone who disagrees with this viewpoint. (it’s all about the ‘love’ right? – but best not disagree) It goes from that ‘absolute’ viewpoint that will be promoted and protected no matter who gets hurt, easing down to “they look fabulous together and make a great team. Could be something there but it doesn’t matter”. After that you move towards the center and the MAJORITY of the fandom that could care less who they are dating as long as they keep doing an amazing job of bringing Jamie & Claire to life and are happy. As you move right, you have the same gradient moving to the ‘absolute’ of super-truthers or anti’s. Same problems – they are right and the gods help anyone who offers an opposing view.

When I say extreme in their views and tactics – I mean just that. I very recently started doing screen captures because I’m tired of what has been done and being told to just ignore it. The fandom has ignored this cancer and it has grown steadily worse. There is a lot I do NOT see because

  • I don’t have ‘active’ IG and Tumbler accounts. Have them but don’t ‘get’ how to use them. I am not that SM savvy to be honest, but I get by.
  • Most of the people I have found that have me blocked are shippers so I can’t SEE / document what they are doing. Guess that is why I’m blocked though trying to document anything is a very new tactic for me.
  • I was very careful from the beginning of my SM experience (especially with Twitter) in who I followed. Part of it is just mental self-preservation with sheer volume, but the other part is looking at people to see if I will enjoy their posts. I do try to respond to anything I’m tagged in, but I don’t follow thousands of people.

These hard liners – on both sides – employ tactics that I for one think should be prosecutable. The name calling and general harassment, most people can deal with that. When it moves to comments like “You are obviously mentally defective, just go kill yourself already” (this IS a direct quote and was from a shipper), absolutely VILE name calling/language, doxing (leading to attacking people around the target including friends, family & jobs), actively trying to get the target fired or in legal trouble and death threats.

I have to tell you, I am sick of the hard core shippers whining about how they are constantly attacked and vilified and how some in the fandom are just out to make them look bad. (ah…likely exactly what they are saying about me – especially with this post.) They are the victims. I say BULLSHIT. Some shippers simply cannot understand how they attract so much negative attention. Here is an example – and this is MILD, very, very MILD to some of the language I have seen and been told about.

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To moderate shippers – can you see why you have a bad rep and many people almost instantly have an issue when you claim to be a “shipper”? Some of these hardliners bait and goad otherwise sensible people into an angry outburst, spending a great deal of time ‘digging’ at them until they get the response they want. After deleting their own nastiness that prompted the anger, they hold this response up to show how mean and nasty this person is and that the poor shipper is just a picked upon victim. I’ve seen it happen.

To be fair – hard core “truthers” or “antis” often do the same thing. The one difference I have found is that shippers are far more likely to go WAY beyond the pale with less cause and are far more willing to pull in collateral to do damage to. I could be wrong about that, but I haven’t seen or heard of it so much.

To be even a little more fair – hard core book purists aren’t much better. If you want the show EXACTLY like the books, go back and read the books! The whole point of a different medium is that it is DIFFERENT. It’s a different audience, a different overall demographic and different viewpoint behind the story. You are absolutely entitled to your thoughts and opinions! But please, PLEASE….pretty please with sugar and sprinkles – express them like the mature adult you simply must be to appreciate DG’s books in the first place! Stop whining to STARZ  and trying to get people fired just because the show isn’t exactly what you want or expected. If you honestly feel the show is horrid and not what you want to see STOP WATCHING and let the rest of us enjoy it. Really is that simple. You want to debate and discuss in a civilized manner – most will engage you; but ‘most’ are tired of being attacked and vilified as ‘arse-kissers’ for defending something we are truly enjoying. If you can’t or won’t do that, please do take your time and money to support a show you can ‘fan’ and enjoy. You can keep being a fan of the books without being a fan of the show. It’s allowed, honest.

This stuff is going on…..every day. I’d been wondering why KD had stopped covering Outlander. She was so great on the panels and so much fun to watch when interacting with the cast and creative minds behind the show. Then she just stopped. When I thought about it, she ‘disappeared’ right after she did the interview where she asked Sam & Cait point blank “ARE you a couple?” They both said NO….. shippers didn’t like that. I’ve heard whispers she, like some other ‘journalists’ and bloggers, were viciously attacked on SM and threatened.

All the above was to let the bulk of the fandom (not that I have that many people who actually read my blogs) become aware of what is going on. Don’t believe me? You can find it if you look. Till recently I tried to mostly ignore the worse of it hoping people would get some common sense. I’ve had brand new people to the fandom tell me ‘oh I’ve had people tell me to not follow this person or that person as they are nasty’. Really? You don’t think people have the intelligence to make up their own minds for who they do or do not want to follow?

Honestly, this post is NOT for the fringe hard-liners on either side. They won’t listen anyway. I am addressing the bulk of the fandom that just wants to enjoy the show and our stars and all the people that bring us Outlander. Stand up – take our fandom back.

When you see this kind of crap going on, say “This is NOT ok”. Report them. Shut them down. Make it so they don’t have a platform to spew their hate from. Absolutely do NOT EVER stoop to their level of hatred, threats and name calling. That doesn’t help. Be prepared – there will be backlash – but the longer we keep silent the worse it will get. Anyone who has been around this TV fandom from the beginning will almost have to agree this is true.

Shippers are GOING to ship. The only people that MIGHT be able to stop that are Sam & Caitriona – honestly it’s their lives so they are the only ones with the ‘right’ to tell them to stop. At this point, I doubt even them saying in clear, absolute language that they want it to STOP, no secret messages, NOT a couple or anything else will get the shippers to give up on shipping them. I had a shipper tell me one time “It’s all about the love! We love “love” and that is all we are promoting”……and then you harass, attack, threaten and dox people that disagree with you. As a fandom we can’t dictate how you ‘fan’ – but we sure as hell CAN work at stopping the hate. Truthers…..this goes for you too. STOP the nastiness. No derogatory names, threats, coercion or generally being vile just because you don’t like shipping. I don’t either, but I’ve never disrespected the PEOPLE – merely spoken against the PRACTICE.

We as a group need to stand up to the bullying. Don’t land on someone for shipping – they can fan as they want; land on them for attacking another member of the fandom when all they have done is exercise THEIR right to fan by say they think S & C are NOT a couple. Let ANYONE in the fandom that employs the tactics I described above know that such behavior is NOT ok and won’t be tolerated. The sort of messages I showed above are hateful and wrong.

There are steps to take in this sort of endeavor and you have to be careful not to give them a wider platform. If you want to step in and tell someone to stop bullying, take out tags that shouldn’t be in the conversation – especially the actors. This is true even if the original attack was directed at one of the actors. Leaving those tags in just perpetuates the message and allows a wider audience to see it.

Don’t fall to their level. Let the wrong-doer know the behavior is unacceptable without resorting to name calling, abusive language or threats. Simply state this is not ok, please stop or you will be reported. If you can engage them in a civil discourse – but all means. But don’t let it devolve. As soon as you realize they are just using it at a platform to spread more hate, walk away and report. Get others to report. Get screen captures of the bullying so there is proof. We can’t just ‘let this go’ anymore. Be strong against bullying, without being mean or vindictive.

Important note: look back at the thread to make sure you know what you are jumping into before you jump. Sam and WS had a great back and forth several days ago about a change in Toblerone chocolate. Some people saw it in the middle, assumed it was about the election and started spewing. Then they got all offended when WS (in his usual acerbic manner) corrected them. It was a prime example of not understanding the argument or even if there IS one before jumping in. Don’t assume on 1 or 2 tweets out of a bunch that you understand the discussion/argument.

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 Shippers will be screaming that they have the right to ship however they want and we can’t push them into a corner. Well…if you don’t want to be treated like petulant children being put in the corner, stop acting the part. Go ahead and ship – but be respectful. Don’t attack and bully people that don’t happen to agree with your take on things. Be civil and stop pushing YOUR agenda down people’s throats that don’t feel the same. You have every right to ‘fan’ as you wish? So does everyone else. You want people to stop getting mad at you and instantly going on the defensive when they find out you are a shipper? Stop attacking anyone with a differing opinion.

Anti’s…….please….don’t go trolling shippers timelines or tumbler accounts to FIND issues. That doesn’t help. People need to stand up if they get attacked and if they need to, ask for help. If you do see bullying – address it, but again, don’t sink to bullying yourself. If shippers want to ship on their own Tumbler deal or a blog page or a private FB group that most of us don’t HAVE to see – that’s fine. They attack on a public forum, Twitter, IG, FB (not a closed group) where lots of people can see and respond, by all means tell them that sort of language or abuse is not ok. Report this stuff. Have proof. Oh and go back in a thread as sometimes an outburst from someone is after a long run of harassment.

We are (or should be) a fairly intelligent fandom. This story is so much more than most of the things that are out there to fan about. Love and life and an enduring relationship of characters that are so easy to relate to and learn from. We have a group of people working on this show that have been very willing to participate in social media and engage the fans; don’t lose that for stupidity. Fan as you wish but respect everyone else’s right to do the same. Discuss things, get new perspectives, talk to others with differing opinions and viewpoints to gain an insight you hadn’t seen before – but be KIND to each other doing it. Don’t go out looking for trouble, but don’t back away from standing up for someone getting attacked either. Stand up for what is right and good in this fandom. Put out messages of hope and caring and understanding – don’t ‘promote’ hate and fear.

As always

Courtesy Oh….by the way….everything I just said above?
All that holds pretty true for the country and politics as well. Just saying.