Dungeons and Dragons jokes, mocking people’s costumes, statements like: “Dateless men for as far as the eye can see.”, and “They’ve never seen a woman before.” are only a handful of the mean spirited and contemptuous comments from the still-anonymous producer over at WPLG Local 10.
He targeted children in costume saying: “Poor kids… they were never given a chance. Geekdom is in their genes”. He targeted the elderly saying “Someone got lost looking for the AARP convention”. He targeted both men and women. The list goes on. There were 45 of these “funny” slideshow captions. I still remember seeing a link to this in my Facebook feed early that morning and clicking through to read this slide show. I didn’t even finish it. I’ll admit, it struck a nerve with me. I thought to myself: “I wish every Star Wars fan-site in the world would call this guy out.” Little did I know… Fast forward to the next day when the slide show went down and back up several times and finally an apology was issued. No, not the final one you’re thinking of from David Boylan (the VP and General Manager WPLG Miami). No. The first apology read something like this:I love how Elvira from PinkSith put it:
That’s not really an apology. It was insincere and smacked of defiance. Like having to apologize because your mom made you do it, but having to say it in front of your buddies so you word it juuuust so. That way you save face with your cool bros and make mom happy too. Only Mom isn’t an idiot and reminds you that your apology was BS and calls you on it.
So what do you do?
Well you delete the apology of course! Yup. Only minutes after posting it, WPLG deleted it from their Facebook page. Brilliant! (not)
This is where Mr. Anonymous Producer really showed his true colors. (If he hadn’t already.) This fellow, in my opinion, is not a Star Wars fan. Sure, he may have enjoyed the movies when he was a kid. He may “like” Star Wars but he’s no “fan”. Although sadly, him being a “fan” seems the be WPLG’s main defence of the slide show. Even at the end of the original set of slides he ends with saying that:
“And in full disclosure… it should be said that the person who put this slideshow together, and wrote ALL the captions, attended Star Wars Celebration VI (their second Celebration event) as a full-paying fan and lover of all-things Star Wars.”
I believe this is what bothered me the most. This is what struck a nerve. I think he felt free to jab and jeer at Star Wars fans as long and he bandied about the statement that he was “one of us”. As Star Wars fans, we’ve all heard something that sounds like this before. Because we like the prequels, or the EU, or The Clone Wars, we’ve been ridiculed before by our “fellow” Star Wars fans.
This reminds me of the Red Letter Media prequel reviews. Mike Stoklasa’s ridicule and mockery of the Star Wars prequels and anyone who happens to like them is a sentiment that is not unlike this WPLG slide show. While the RLM reviews seemingly target three films, buried beneath all of the logical fallacies, rape jokes and suicide jokes is the same dismissive, superior, and contemptuous attitude towards not just Sci Fi fans, not just Star Wars fans, but men, women or children…
This is the kind of arrogant attitude that simply doesn’t see people as people. This attitude thinks that people are just vehicles for one’s entertainment. If they’re different than you, then something must be wrong with them. That is wrong. I’m so glad that Star Wars fans everywhere wouldn’t stand for it.
WPLG has since offered not one but two formal apologies. One on their website, and one to the 501st via their Facebook page. Let’s take this as a lesson to stand up for our fellow human beings, not just in the context of the Star Wars fan community, but anywhere. When you see someone mocking and ridiculing others, remember, they aren’t “just having some fun”, they’re robbing that person of their human dignity.
Thank for reading,
Host of the Star Wars Report podcast, Tech enthusiast, former CAP cadet. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of… well… other people.