Wondering about community: some thoughts

I have been wondering about community (be it fandom, sff, things in between, etc) and how we might just be doing it wrong. Note: I am also processing some thoughts re: Sunday homily and I felt that our priest has made sense of what I have been feeling of late (all the while).

Not all of us like to be called out or told that we are wrong, that we have committed a mistake. Likewise, it is not easy to tell someone that they have made mistakes and should change/be corrected. Most of the time, we hate direct confrontation and resort to becoming anonymous or going to another person of authority to complain about the person who has made mistakes. Or we resort to passive-aggression to vent our anger. Nobody wants to behave like adults.

The genre community (and I hesitate to call it a ‘community’ as it is more a scene) is one such example. We all lack the courage and the feeling of fraternity to call out someone. We are basically strangers who may or may not have true intentions when we call out someone in genre. We become a concerted group of strangers, people who truly don’t know each other well, to mob a person. Social media makes it worse with the cacophony of strangers yelling and ripping at the person. Social media turns the person into a monster.

We are doing this without love, without friendship. Some of us might be doing this out of love and the hope that genre might change for the better. Yet, most are doing this, because the anonymity makes us braver and it’s easier to point fingers when we don’t know the person as a friend and nope, social media doesn’t automatically make your follower a ‘friend’. I believe that we are not at the stage where we can truly love and forgive. Even, as the priest has said, ousting a person from the community requires the community to do it out of love, for the sake of the person. However, the case is more of the community doing out of hate and pure dislike.

Humans are the hardest to change. We react with revulsion and dislike when it comes to harassers, bullies and despicable individuals. We often wonder if these people would ever change. Sometimes, they might. Sometimes, they won’t.

At the moment, genre is a mass of cliques and factions with a distinct lack of true fraternity. We would rather care about the clique of friends we are in. Or, we should simply leave everything alone since it’s another person’s business. In a true community, this kind of attitude will never occur, since everyone cares about one another. Likewise, do we care enough to get to know a person? True friends call out their friends because they love and care for the person. But are we true friends?

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