In the past few days, the corner of the Internet that I feel most at home in has been in turmoil about the actions of one of its biggest icons. In fact, as I am writing this, the matter still hasn’t settled down entirely.If you are familiar with the scene, you know who I am talking about. Only that I don’t really want to talk about him or what happened at all. Hell knows there’s been just about enough talk about him right now. I won’t even mention his name and get those tag-related views in. That’s not what this post is about, and if you’re looking for more drama, you can close this page right now.
What I want to talk about is what the events of the past few days mean to me. Personally.
For the past few years - I think it’s been three - I’ve followed this man’s works rather enthusiastically. He’s not my favorite active person on the scene (that pedestal firmly belongs to a certain person in Northern Ireland who likes to wear purple coats), but he has always been one of my favorites. And why shouldn’t he be? His production values were good, and he has steadily been very charismatic and entertaining to listen to. But more than that, what drew me towards his work and even moreso the off-the-cuff vlog posts was that I could relate to him. His presence filled a hole in my life that neither my family nor my friends could fill. None of them could at all relate to the way I would get worked up about things like movies, TV and games. They could not understand how I could pour so much genuine, burning hatred into those things, how it could upset me so much that those things were stupid, insulting, or culturally insensitive. Many times, it’s been pointed out as a symptom of this diseased mind that I have.
But I never felt that they had a point. I never felt wrong about the way I felt. And at least to myself, I could point to that man’s work and personal opinions and say: “There is nothing wrong with me. He’s the same way, and he’s fine”.
That was then.
Now, as events unfolded, and even before some others have started airing out dirty laundry, his own actions have shown that he is not fine. In fact, this seemingly-reasonable, level-headed, successful entertainer is turning out to be a raging, uncaring egomaniac who is toxic and ruthless not only to the people with whom he works, but also to the fans that made him who he is. A man who does not own up to his mistakes. A man who rather burns the bridge that he stands on than to take a single step in a direction that doesn’t suit his whims.
It’s not like I had never seen the cracks in his persona. There have always been hints. Remarks that I didn’t agree with. Questionable opinions. A really odd inability to let go of some things. But I ignored those cracks. Filed them under “different opinions” and reminded myself that no two people in the world will ever agree on everything, and that people are different. Because this was a person I really did not want to dislike. Because I needed him. As a verification. As the guy to whom I could point and say “He’s the same way and he’s fine.”
Only that he is not.
And if he is not fine, what does that say about me?
As ridiculous as it may sound, this blow-up of an internet celebrity has forced me to go into a state of personal reflection.I feel like the captain of a ship (Let’s call it the USS Me) traveling the seven seas in stormy waters when realizing that one of his navigational instruments has been pointing the wrong way for years. I thought that I had this figured out. I thought I knew that it is okay to spend hours raging and ranting about bad media, that it was okay to get this upset over something that is so trivial to others. I thought that it was acceptable to be this ball of burning rage. If not for society at large, at least inside the circles I cared about. And for me.
And now, I face the possibility that I have been wrong, and that everybody else has been right. Maybe I am too angry. Too volatile. Maybe it is a sign of a diseased mind to get so worked up over this stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I have known for a long time that there is plenty wrong with me, but this is the one I didn’t see coming.
This is not just about movies and TV and games and whatever media may come my way. This is about my general attitude, my outlook on the world. The self-righteous indignation, the ignorance and megalomania that I see coming from that stranger on the internet… How much of that is reflected in me? How insufferable, how unfair and self-righteous have I been to everyone around me? I don’t know. I will have to spend a lot of time thinking about it, and even more time than I already do observing myself.
All I know is that I don’t want to end up being like that.
And I won’t let it happen.