Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I’m not a snob, I’m just better than you.

It’s human nature to be a snob. That’s my conclusion based on what I see all around me on this here internet. I have several hobbies that I follow with moderate interest-comics, gaming, action figures, and pulp writing. I belong to forums and message boards that are dedicated to each hobby in general and a few specialized subsets. For instance, for pulp writing I belong to a group that specifically discusses the comic book adaptations of Robert E, Howard’s pulp stories.
On just about every single one of these different forums I find snobs. These snobs are people who feel their manner of fandom is the one true path, and everyone else is either woefully ignorant or just damn stubborn. The message boards start out with the best of intentions-they try to gather together as many people with similar interests as they can to network and gush about their favorite pastime whether it’s collecting vintage GI Joe’s or playing 2nd edition Dungeons and Dragons. But after awhile these small groups start to grow and eventually they run out of positive things to talk about and the bashing begins- the GI Joe guys start bitching that the market has changed and no one under the age of 35 knows or cares about the 12 inch GI Joe. The R.E. Howard fans start bitching that other writers have taken Howard’s Hyborian age and have trampled it underfoot with substandard “Pastiche” works. The gaming guys are some of the worst; they argue and complain so much it begins to look like self loathing.
I really started to notice it this week. I’ve been sick the last few days and really haven’t had the energy to post much online. So I just sat back, watched and read. The amount of negativity on some of these boards is surprising. A new action figure product comes out- it’s bashed. A new gaming system comes out-and is quickly trashed. A new creative effort is released-it’s reviled. Flame wars erupt. People quit the group in a huff vowing never to return (they still do though), and hurtful and hateful comments are slung about in a way that would never happen if we were all in the same room face to face.
I was watching the news with my son last night, the big story was the sectarian violence in the Middle East and I was explaining to him that the Sunni and Shiite’s were different factions of the same religion, despite the fact that some of them spend as much time blowing the shit out of each other as they do praying to God, which has been the way man, unfortunately, has handled religious differences throughout history. My way of worshipping is THE way and you are either to stubborn or stupid to understand that.
That’s basically what they are saying. And that’s basically what I’ve noticed is said on many of these hobby boards.