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!

 

 

 

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.

screenshot-11_8_2016-7_47_51-am 

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.

 

 

Being Thankful

thankful-620x280

So once again, there is angst and drama in the Outlander Clandom. The culprit this time is a deleted scene from S2 revolving around the death of Faith. Once again, my biggest frustration is that SOME of the ‘fans’ rather than being thankful went into full bitch mode.

I am working to accept the fact that there is a small contingency of people out there that are going to be nasty. Nothing I or anyone else can say or do is going to get them to realize that there is indeed a difference between critiquing something and criticizing it. These people are going to be loud, rude and nasty no matter what just because they feel entitled to. I can’t imagine how some of the fans who follow thousands of people and see this nastiness on a regular basis deal with that much negativity in their life. I have cut my SM time to bare minimum with only a specific list I’m following on Twitter until after the elections because I was upset and angry all the time.

Beth Wesson did an absolutely fabulous blog about all this with links to two really interesting articles about fandoms and some of the issues that are coming out with social media playing such a role in the arena now. Please click here to read FANS & CREATORS…DRAWING A LINE OF DECENCY IN THE SAND.

 

Another recent blog that I really liked can be found here: A RESPECTFUL NOTE TO YOU, RON, ABOUT JAMIE. The author let her readers know her frustration without being at all disrespectful, whiny or nasty. It was a wonderful read.

Instead of duplicating the efforts of other writers better than myself, I thought with Thanksgiving coming up (Canada having already had theirs) I’d list off some stuff I’m thankful for rather than grousing (too much) about stuff that is frustrating me. So here goes.

I’m thankful that the last job I had allowed me to spend my days around books. Being in a second hand store that processed and resold donations, I was exposed to a huge variety of tomes I might not have looked at otherwise. I had to have a good enough feel for the book to know where to shelve it, and so I found many authors I fell in love with while ‘working’. This is how I found Diana Gabaldon and Outlander.

I am thankful that a ‘movie’ was never made of Outlander. Huge parts of the book had to be left out with 16 hours to work with – a 2-3 hour movie wouldn’t have come close to doing it justice.

I’m thankful that Ronald D. Moore saw something gripping in the pages of these books and was willing to put in the effort to get it made right and on a channel that would allow the grittiness, sex and violence that is part of the story be told properly without having to water it down for viewers.

I’m supremely thankful that Ron and his team work with Diana to keep (usually) the story on track. I’ve seen many stories where the original author is cut out of the process completely.

I am thankful for a solid group of extremely talented actors who get the essence of these extremely layered and complex characters. Actors who work very hard to bring that to the screen. People who give up a lot of privacy to make, promote and give this story to the fans. While they get paid for their time, it has to get old to so constantly be in the spotlight with no life to call your own. I appreciate their willingness to interact with the fans and hope they won’t feel compelled to cease that because of a small minority that insist on being nasty.

  • I am thankful to ALL the people behind the scenes that work so hard to make Outlander such a great show.
  • Ron, the producers, writers and casting crew that give the show its frame and characters.
  • Jon and the production team that give the production its base and background.
  • Terry and her whole team that dress it up.
  • The dedicated drivers who get everyone where they need to be when they need to be there.
  • The directors who put those elements together for a compelling hour of drama.
  • Specialists like Àdhamh and Claire who make sure the unusual/special things are ‘right’.
  • All the support people that work hard to make it all happen.
  • Basically for every warm body that makes this show happen as I’m sure I missed some above.

I am thankful for all those people above that take the time and energy to interact with the show’s fans on social media and (so far) haven’t shut them all down due to the inability of a few to express themselves in a grown-up, dignified manner.

I am thankful that this team shoots way more footage than they will use in the hour so they have options to make each episode the best it can be. This also means that we get to see extra footage when the DVD’s come out that make it that much richer. These are the extra bits that keep us going through Droughtlander and give us special moments.

Mostly, I am thankful that the responsibility for deciding what goes into each episode to be aired is not my responsibility. I may not love every minute of every episode – but it is a series that has done a damn fine job of portraying good drama. Not just a love story – though that is a huge part of it; not just a history – though that is its base. An excellent story brought out in a difficult medium with gobs of competition and doing well enough that it is getting to be ‘known’.

For the scene that many seem upset about – I’m thankful it was filmed at all and we got to see it. We as fans do NOT have a clue what all goes into these decisions. Yes it was a wonderful, well-acted scene that I enjoyed very much – but I didn’t miss it at the time the show aired. Expressing disappointment that it wasn’t included in the actual episode isn’t and never will be the problem I have with the fandom; the problem is a few, very vocal ‘entitled fans’ crucifying on social media the people that work so hard to bring us this show. There are days I honestly shake my head in wonder that Ron and the team don’t throw up their hands in disgust at being attacked yet again and say “fine – since we can’t make everyone happy we just won’t do the show at all.”

I’m very, very thankful that the cast, crew and all the wonderful folks who bring us Outlander are all sane, sensible people who are too professional to let immaturity from others dictate their actions.

 

Differing Opinions: Books vs TV Series

I have said many times and will keep saying it: I love discussion. Differing opinions and asking questions is what helps us all come to better understanding of any given topic. Being able to grasp another’s point of view gives us new insight and expands our thinking. This is good.

What I get frustrated with is complaining/whining/griping/bashing. There is a big difference and it’s all in how it’s presented and, going forward, discussed. A topic came up on social media today that really brought this into focus for me. It’s happened before but I managed to catch this one from the beginning and, for a change, am not mulling it for days before writing. The idea came easily how to present this so here I am.

Now, I am not saying what branch of social media this came on, nor will I name any names as I’m not trying to get people in trouble or start a war. If they want to make themselves known that is their prerogative. 

cuts-of-remembrance

This is what the discussion was about. The fact that ‘The Team’ chose not to include this scene in the television production. What sort of set me back was the original post which I will quote here:

“Still irritated they did not cut there initials _ rather Claire gives Jamie a big amber rock instead”

My first thought was, “Why STILL irritated?” The decision was made, filmed and it’s long passed. It can’t be changed, why complain about it now? And – to me – making the statement this way IS a complaint. There is no question trying to understand why this decision was made, no discussion for options; just irritation. My alternative to this might be. “Too bad they felt this couldn’t be filmed. Perhaps it could be incorporated in the future. Fans love it!” 

Please understand, like most fans of the books this is a favorite segment of mine! It’s something I might do myself and it comes across as so raw and real. This is also something that comes up over and over in through the life of the story. It’s a poetic and beautiful thing woven into the fabric of Jamie & Claire’s love story.

However, I can also look at it from the perspective of it being a great enhancement, a special touch whenever it comes up, it is not a critical piece to move the story forward. Given the time constraints of the series versus the books, I can easily understand the decision to leave this bit aside. Here are my thoughts on why the decision went as it did. Maybe. I have no inside info, just experience in theatre and my own thinking with some common sense.

The initial filming would have taken a great deal of time. Camera angles, how to make sure the ‘cuts’ are consistent over multiple takes. How to do the blood to be consistent and not mess anything up between times. If I remember right (and I may not) filming was already going long because of weather issues.

It also would have been time consuming as the series progresses due to make-up issues. If they had decided to do this scene, it would be two more scars that need to be consistently applied any time they ‘might’ be in the camera view. They would be on the actors’ hands, which tend to be on camera a lot and noticed. They would have to be consistent in each scene. Hands are not the easiest place to ‘stick’ something and have it stay where you want it due to movement and constantly touching/brushing against things.

The argument was made that, these were small cuts and not often visible so they wouldn’t have to keep doing them. Yet, if they had chosen to do this scene with all the implications, there would be fans furious if they didn’t continue to see these scars on camera. It’s a no win in the long run.

I would imagine, because – while a wonderful enhancement to the story – the scars aren’t a driving component, ‘The Team’ chose to leave this out allowing time (both in front of and behind the camera) for other things.

In listening to / watching many interviews and panels, something that Ron Moore has said many times really resonates with me. He, and ‘The Team’ are trying to make the best TELEVISION they can. It isn’t a book – it has completely different constraints and driving points. Ron likes the material, but ‘sees’ it differently than anyone else because he is using a different set of eyes. He is looking as someone who has worked – very successfully – in making television shows for many years. Producing / show-running good stories that play well on screen and will last. So far, he and ‘The Team’ have done a damn fine job! IMHO

Have I been disappointed in some things with the show?    YES

Have I wished something could have been added that wasn’t?    YES

Were there things the show did that made me say WTF?!     YES

Have I had some interesting, stimulating discussions about all these things? Some – unfortunately on SM it tends to dissolve into argument and I don’t enjoy that.

I’ll probably get bashed for this post by people saying they have every right to disagree and ‘discuss’ opinions about the show. I totally agree. What gets old is the ‘angry’ people that bash and complain; that get ‘irritated’ by a difference and slam the show and Ron and whoever else rather than actually discussing the idea and why it went as it did on screen. I feel sorry for them. Discussing means listening to the POV of others and weighing that against your own ideas.

A last thought…..I can guarantee that there will be X number of people that love something with an equal number that hated it. Every ‘fan’ has their own special things that absolutely should have been on screen – there is simply no way to accomplish that with the time they have. Every single fan is right – for themselves. In the end, ‘The Team’ does the best they can to make good TELEVISION (not a reproduction of a book on screen) and Ron works to keep it faithful to the overall story, while appealing to a television audience.

Let’s be courteous to each other when voicing opinions, asking questions and having discussions. We all have our special bits from the books that are important to us, but we all view the story differently from our own perspectives, history and experience. I really enjoy ^most^ of the differences as it gives me a different view/perspective of the story and so makes it bigger and more rounded for me.

OH! And this discussion today did stay courteous and was indeed a ‘discussion’ as it progressed! The exchange just gave me a clear idea of how I wanted to explain this.

Cheers!

 

Outlander: The Series

The last blog gave readers a chance to find out a little bit about me and my background. The idea was to let people in my head a bit for why I say some of the stuff I do. Of course, there is a lot more to it all – how I was raised, by whom, when, life experiences. All this figures in to how every person views things, makes decisions about them, likes them or not. What I like, others might not and that is ok. That is great in fact because, if we all liked the same things it would be a very boring place.

Anything I write – like any other writer out there – comes from a compound of all we do and know. Taking all the bits we’ve learned from infancy to now; school, reading, meeting people, listening to the news, deeper research into something that is of more keen interest and, in more recent years, surfing the web. No one dictates to me what I do or don’t like – including my life-mate. I don’t want to be (but likely will be) called a kiss ass, suck up, puppet or anything else suggesting my opinion is not my own. I also don’t want to be called bad names if I point out something I don’t like. My opinion is my own, not dictated to me by someone else to be regurgitated. I think for myself and write what I think. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it……………………though reading differing opinions can stimulate interesting discussion.

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With that thought in mind, this is what I think of the series Outlander adapted from the books by Diana Gabaldon.

 Bloody brilliant!!!!!!!!

 I could stop there – but just a short explanation.

Ronald D. Moore, the writers, Maril and the other producers, the entire crew (Jon Gary Steele and his team, Terry D and her team, set dressers, animal handlers, the people that have to schlep gear all over the Scottish countryside, and all those I’m missing)…henceforth known as “THE TEAM” – these people are taking a huge, many layered, rich, profound story of history, love, intrigue, politics plus much more and trying to cram it into being a television show. TV – generally speaking – isn’t all that deep. There are some great stories out there, and things that are fun to watch, but television is entertainment first and foremost. There is no way to cram thirty nine hours of book (audio book time is 39 hours 6 minutes for DiA) into just under twelve hours of television and make everyone happy.

Diana Gabaldon has woven so many enchanting, laugh inducing, tear spilling scenes into her books that are wonderful to read and enrich the story – but aren’t necessarily fundamental to the plot. These very scenes are often fan favorites that would be great to see, but there simply isn’t time to have them all.

For instance: the scene of Jamie avoiding some nasty guys intent to do him harm where he grabs a rather large, hard sausage as a weapon and ends up ducking into a brothel to avoid detection. Sam would have made this an absolute treat to watch and I would have loved seeing it – but I totally understand why it wasn’t in the show. The scene simply did not advance the story in any meaningful way and so the space was given to other things that did.

There are fans that say some of the scenes don’t have anything to do with the books and why are they there…they are a waste of time! This other ‘junk’ is taking away from Jamie & Claire and their ‘relationship’ (a note on that in a minute). It may not have anything to do with the BOOKS, but it may have a great deal to do with the STORY that is being told on screen that we as viewers don’t KNOW yet. Have patience. Have a little faith.

There have been many complaints about J & C not getting enough screen time for their ‘relationship’ (SEX). I disagree. I see a much deeper connection between them now than when they were burning up the screen. The intimacy is definitely there and sex isn’t necessary to drive the overall story right now – there are other things that need to be seen. I enjoy a good sex scene as  much as the next person, and while Sam & Caitriona are beautiful people that have explosive chemistry on screen making such scenes a joy to watch, I think it would have been distracting given the complexity and gravity of the time and place they find themselves and how compacted the storyline needs to be to get through the entire book. It’s obvious they ARE intimate – every look, touch, interaction lets you see that. It isn’t necessary to play it out on the screen. Of course – that is just MY opinion and I doubt it will be a popular one.

Overall, I love what THE TEAM is doing and will continue to watch and support the series however I can. Does this mean I totally agree with EVERY decision they make? Nope. But I trust that they are making a great television show based on some favorite novels. I like the differences, the points of view contrasting my own to give me new and broader perspective on the story as a whole. What would be the point of keeping it exactly the same? If I wanted exactly the same story, I’d turn off the TV and curl back up with the books.

Please share with all involved doing the show as I know I’ll miss people when I do my tweet! THANKS!!!

Cheers!

Heeeeeeeeer’s Bree!

It’s one of those days that I wonder if it’s worth the effort to be part of a ‘fandom’. So many good things can be going on which can be so quickly overshadowed by negativity. I once heard that it actually takes 10 positive comments to balance out 1 negative comment. Now, this was talking about individuals and self-esteem, but I imagine the formula holds pretty true. We as human beings tend to be very quick to latch onto the negative rather than embracing the positive.

Today, we were (finally) introduced to the very lovely young lady that will be playing Brianna Randall/Fraser. Almost immediately came the:

She has brown eyes! That’s impossible if both parents have blue! How could they DO this?! WAAAAA (it’s not actually but won’t get into that)

She is too short!  WAAAAAA

She’s a Brit so her accent will be all wrong!!! WAAAAA

She looks nothing like I pictured Brianna! I’m SO disappointed!!! WAAAAAA

 

You all get the picture.

Italian mother.png(BTW – for me it would be a German mamma – but the idea is the same and thank you to @CandidKathryn for this meme!)

A few points here. All the negative nellies get to have their say – it’s their RIGHT by god to disagree whenever and however they please. Ok….that means I get to have my say too.

First, The Outlander books are some of the very best I have EVER read! They catch you up and wrap you into the story and you can see it all in your head. The thing I really REALLY wish people would keep in mind is – we all see it differently. How I picture Jamie is how I picture Jamie (or Claire or Bree or pick a character). MY interpretation of the words DG has put together to create the Outlander universe. It will be different from anyone else’s vision because no one else in the world has my exact background. To me, Diana created this world so SHE has final say. She can’t be ‘wrong’ because for Outlander she is ‘god’. (NOTE!!! I am not being disrespectful or blasphemous here…note the use of the lower case ‘g’. I am merely saying that as this world’s creator, she is the just that).

 

Second, while Jamie and the other characters are very real to each of us in different ways and for different reasons THEY ARE FICTIONAL CHARACTERS. They don’t exist in the real world….hence….there is no one that is going to look exactly like them physically. This is just something everyone needs to except as fact. Might there have been some actors closer in physical likeness to the different characters – perhaps. Could the ‘team’ have found anyone better to embody these characters? Not bloody likely.

I remember the hub-bub when Sam was first cast. People literally flipping out because Sam looked NOTHING like their beloved Jaimie! There is no possible way this guy could pull it off and the whole thing was ruined without a second of film having been shot. Yet, look now and no one can imagine anyone else doing such a fantastic job. Still see gripes about hair color –   *sigh*

 

Third, so far the casting of Outlander has been SPOT ON. The actors may not look exactly as the characters were described in the book (please refer to the second point above) but they have embodied the essence of the characters and totally brought them to life! Since the ‘Team’ has done such a fabulous job so far getting the right actor for the right part, I’m going to trust them on this one too! Sophie Skelton is a lovely lass who has some solid credentials behind her. For a short time acting she has a lot of credits behind her already. She also has some smarts it seems like and is willing to jump into the Twitter fray as it were. Sam tweeted that she “SMASHED IT”…… that says to me that she fits right in and will do a stellar job as Brianna. Also, as a relative ‘unknown’ she doesn’t bring any baggage from previous work – or not much. The other cast members seem pretty excited about this choice – so I hope everyone settles back and doesn’t ruin it for themselves with their own expectations.

 

None of the actors are going to exactly match the physical characteristics of the characters because the characters are creations of an (extremely talented) author. This will only be a problem if you LET it be.

Not every scene/nuance/line that is critical to you from the book is going to be in the series. It just is not possible. You are not going to agree with how the ‘Team’ does everything, accept that. If you want to discuss what you would have liked to see done differently, that’s great – but show some respect for the process and the people who do this for a living. It often isn’t what is said that is the issue – it’s how it is presented.

 

I’m going to ask what I always do. Common sense and courtesy. To each other as fans, to Diana as the author, to the actors busting ass to bring you the best show they can, to Ron and the ‘Team’ who are working hard behind the camera to do the same. Discuss – don’t malign. To others like me that are really enjoying the show – please say so! Don’t try to silence others opinions, give some balance out there on social media! Thank all involved for their hard work and dedication. They may be ‘celebrities’ – but they are still people with feelings that appreciate a sincere compliment/thank you as much as anyone else!

I’m tickled to say that, while I’ve been writing this and doing some other things, I’ve kept a watch on Twitter and FB and as things have progressed the positive comments are starting to balance the negative! This is great! I so hope the trend continues because, as I said above, it’s a 10-1 ratio for balance.

 

Let’s give the newest member of the family a warm welcome and trust that she is exactly right to bring this character to life for the series.

 

 

THANK YOU STARZ

Note to STARZ

 

First – I apologize. This is long again but it’s what I felt I needed to say.

 

I have made no secret of my thoughts about this show and the fandom surrounding it. Most of my blog posts have been observations about the Outlander fandom as it is the first and pretty much only fandom I’m really involved with. This fandom can and does do EPIC shit! The money that has been raised for extremely worthy charities, the hundreds of people that have gotten healthier thanks not only to Sam and his Peak Challenge in conjunction with Bear Strength – but the care and support of the fans for each other to strive to reach their fitness goals, support each other in times of trial, rejoice with each other in triumph. This is an amazing group of people and I feel blessed to be part of it – most of the time.

There is, however, a disturbing trend in this group to whine. Nothing, it seems, is ever quite good enough and simply must be complained about. When all this started – everyone was SO excited to just be finally getting it on the screen…..but then….Sam looked nothing like Jamie, Caitriona was too skinny, wrong eyes, Duncan should have hair, those are not the proper knits for the time period and on and on and on. I think for the most part people have settled with those early decisions and have moved on to other ‘issues’.

There is still a lot of ‘discussion’ _ahem_ about all that was done ‘wrong’ in Season 1 – even though all the complaining in the world won’t change it. I have suggested several times that people start discussions about Voyager – aka Season 3 – as that is not set yet. No one seems interested in this idea which is too bad, but if the value of expressing what the fans WANT to see in season 3 before it’s set can’t be grasped I’m not going to waste my time or energy trying to make people ‘get it’.

Today I saw slams against STARZ PR – they aren’t doing enough to promote the show. Over the last few months there have been load of complaints that WE (meaning Outlander) isn’t getting enough attention/press/episodes/hype/or giving the fans enough pictures or information.

Sorry, but I have to stand up and say STOP!

First, STARZ PR has been AWESOME to the fans of Outlander and, like it or not, OL is not their only popular show. All the giveaways they did in December weren’t for the fans?!. I happened to win a set of the posters. I was expecting little 8X10 promotional pictures and would have been perfectly happy with that but…..NO….these are full theatre size, high quality, absolutely awesome posters! Signed by Tobias, Catriona and Sam as appropriate.

STARZ PR got the show spotlighted at Comic Con and the PaleyFest when the show was barely going – amazing! The premiers that they have done are way above and beyond what they have done for other shows and we, as fans, have a lot of access to both the team and the stars. They did THREE premiers for the second half of the first season: LA, New York and the UK. That’s huge and bloody expensive I’m sure. No, not all fans can get to these events, but this is way more than what fans for other shows get.

Doing a bit of research, I picked five other STARZ shows and looked them up. These are shows that even I have heard about and they seem to be fairly popular. Here is what I found.

DaVinci’s Demons: Season 1 had 8 episodes / S2 = 10 Eps / S3 = 10 Eps

Ash vs Evil Dead: S1 = 10 Eps / S2 = 10 Eps

Survivor’s Remorse: S1 = 6 Eps / S2 = 10 Eps / S3 = 3 Eps?!

Torchwood: S1 = 13 Eps / S2 = 13 Eps / S3 = 5 Eps / S4 = 10 Eps (older series)

Black Sails: another favorite of mine and a fairly popular show that doesn’t get anywhere near the PR shine that OL does from what I’ve seen: S1 = 8 Eps / S2 = 10 Eps / S3 =10 Eps

So, realistically in comparison…for its very first, untried season Outlander was given two seasons worth of episodes! Other series get 10 episodes for their second season and OL / the fans got 13! Yet all the fans seem to do is complain that we are getting ripped off! I’m sure that is not how everyone feels, but this is the opinion that seems to be the most vocal – I’m really hoping the positive feelings will be expressed more prominently as time goes on.

STARZ put together an amazing team. Ron Moore has been in this business a long time and is very successful in it. So are the members of his team. They have a vision and know way better than we do the constraints they have to work under to bring in a good show under a contract. We as fans are NOT THERE. We don’t sit in on all the meetings with the accountants and suits and have to please both the fans and the guys that sign the checks. My perspectives are different and while I may not LIKE the way some specific thing was done – I can appreciate the difference in vision and wait to see where it goes. I trust them to do what is right for the series to make it a long-term deal. I’m not qualified to judge or make comments about Ron’s job because I have never done anything close to it! Same for Matt Roberts and the exceptional team of writers, Bear McCreary with his haunting/beautiful music and Jon Gary Steele and all those other marvelous people that give us such a fabulous show – including the PR staff!

I have acted a little and done some production work. I have done some costume work and I am in absolute awe of Terry Dresbach! If I could afford the trip I’d go work for her for free for a season just to learn a tiny bit of what she knows. None of this ‘experience’ makes me even remotely qualified to judge what any of these people do and have done on a daily basis for years. There is no way I would have the temerity to say they are ‘wrong’ about any decision they make for this or any other show they work on.

I’m sure I have a few people fairly steamed right now so let me qualify and clarify. No one is going to ‘like’ every single thing done on the OL show. (ah…I imagine that includes the people working on it). There is absolutely nothing wrong with expressing that opinion and why you would have liked to have seen something different. I encourage this – I always have. What I don’t like and wish people would stop doing is judging something they are not qualified to judge (i.e. STARZ PR is not capitalizing on the GG buzz enough, wasting opportunities…etc) and doing it in such a way as to be all negative. Unless you WORK or have worked in a particular field – you simply do not have enough information to ‘judge’ it. We as civilians to that have no idea what all STARZ is doing to promote the show – I’m pretty sure it isn’t all just what you see as an ad on TV/cable. This is true of any aspect of production.

STARZ has been really great to the fans of Outlander – in my opinion. Yes I won the posters which is cool but it is very unusual for me to win stuff. They have done lots of giveaways, lots of promotion, lots of ‘fan events’ – so many things that other shows aren’t getting and yet what I see most often is negative thrown at them. Why should they keep doing all they do if all they get is crap in return.

There is an idea being generated right now about kindness. Being kind to each other as fans; being kind to the actors to that work so hard to bring these characters to life; being kind to all the production team that does so much to make OL the great show that it is. Let’s include STARZ in that and be kind and grateful for all they have given us.

There is an old saying that you get more flies with honey than vinegar. People are perfectly within their rights to express disappointment with something – but it can still be done in a positive way. I hope more and more fans start expressing, loudly, all that we like and appreciate about this great show and the marvelous people that get it on the screen for us.

A final tidbit to mull over. If the loudest expressions about the show on social media are negative (this was wrong, that was wrong, hated this or that, Ron/writers/STARZ is ruining the story, etc.) why would anyone checking the show out want to watch it? I encourage all fans to start tweeting, facebooking, tumblering (whatever your preferred SM platform is) all the stuff you love about the show. Counter a negative/judgmental comment with something positive. DO NOT attack the person! DO NOT attack the opinion – simply balance it with something positive.