Entitlement: On the harassment of critics

It may not be the most recent of news in terms of how quickly these issues tend to pass through the public consciousness, but the news of several critics being threatened by a tirade of angry fans struck a nerve as far as I’m concerned. First and foremost, I would state unequivocally that I am a film fan primarily; ambitions of becoming a professional film critic are the result of a love of film. Therefore, as this film lover it dismays me to hear this news. Film is one of many quintessential tools for bringing us together; we can have many a discussion based around how we were affected and what our personal opinions were. It always belittles a medium when obsessed so-called fans act out in selfish, unintelligent, childish behaviour in response to someone criticising something they hold so dear. People claim occasionally that critics deserve, or at the very least should expect this behaviour, because they are involved in a business of criticising a way of life for certain individuals. My straightforward repost to this is that if you indeed involve yourself so much in a film, or series of films, then you should be able to respond to criticism in a manner that shows how much you care. From where I’m standing, not only does threatening and offensive harassment point out the insecurities of an individual, but it goes even further, for you are now risking the reputation of the film you’re so vehemently attempting to defend.

Nevertheless, there is content from certain individuals that shows intangible, offensive drivel. I suppose the real question is why some people feel entitled to spout off such nonsense. Just because someone loves something to the point of worship, this doesn’t give them any form of entitlement to defend it through aggressive, disparaging and occasionally threatening means. Christopher Nolan hinted at the idea that these film critics, such as Christy Lemire, should have been prepared for such a verbal barrage of nonsensical, one syllable word attacks because the very nature of their profession is sometimes professing to disliking a film that others idolise.

Naturally, these internet “trolls” had no basis for entitlement with a film such as The Dark Knight Rises due, in no small part to the quite amusing fact that the film hadn’t been released to the public yet. I could talk all day about the redundancy of complaining about something you haven’t seen, but it’s somewhat obvious to anyone other than these certain individuals. Instead, let’s assume that we have all seen the film and the response is the same. Does that permit similar behaviour, when we’ve seen and created our own opinions? Are we still entitled to write essentially unprovoked threatening messages in response to a negative review? Well, of course not. It’s an easy equation really. Your 1 and someone else’s 1 don’t necessarily add up to 2. There will always be differing views where film criticism is concerned because the evolution of the criticism and the critics themselves mean that there are varying importances that define the film for that particular person.

Act like a human being if you would. You have no sense of entitlement where threatening behaviour is concerned, because you’re not yourself entitled to force someone to become besotted with an idea.

To truly attempt to harass a professional for doing their job is dipped in desperation. More than that, it is a mockery of humanity to stoop so low. Perhaps instead of feeling entitled and trolling those well-written, deeply thought provoking reviews, deciding to write a concise, to the point response labelling all your reposts is more worthwhile.

No?

Well, I tried.

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