The Battle Between Respect and Fanbases (Whats Going on with Steven Universe and Sausage Party?)
Note: The Opinions in this essay are not necessarily are the views of Toon Barn and its affiliates
There are more black marks in animation these days than most.
But right now, these black marks are turning into an abyss.
In the last several days, we have seen what a marketplace based on a “entities” biases towards content does to the producers of these works.
For years, Steven Universe has been used as symbol for progressive politics. In some ways – many in those same circles have called it the biggest series in recent memory.
But the fan base, mostly from the LBGT+ community, and some from other progressive movements – have bared their fangs on not only a fan artist Zamii – but as well one of the main artists of the show Lauren Zuke. Lauren left twitter after the shippers went on a war path.
The fan-base pretty much don’t care, as they continued on tumblr like nothing has happened.
Now over at the Movie Sausage Party, a interview with Nitrogen Studio’s Conrad Vernon and Greg Tieraian became more than just an interview – in the comments section (so much for getting rid of comments huh folks). Stories abound about bad plannings, nobody getting credits in the movie, lack of overtime pay and all the rest.
Those in power dont care, as long the headlines goes their way – and with Sony Pictures – it has happened yet again with this summer movie season.
I have mentioned these issues before with issues with fanbases, and issues with workers rights in animation. But never it has become apparent that not only the small studios/and fan-bases which large corporations like Time-WarnerTurner promote to – are now doing the worse type of behavior to artists.
No longer a Industry- with customers, employees, employers, infrastructure, concept of make goods, times when the big guns fade and the little guys win for a while, trade, discovery and of most import a keen eye for style… has been replaced by a market place, full of investors, trade-busting, disruption, pirating acceptance, questions about who censors who, a hatred for those who respected the past, a unwillingness to see the market it as is, and a acceptance of a culture who never cared about animation until it became acceptable to their identities and life markers. While there was a time were many shows that showed other experiences from many minority cultures – those shows were hindered by a political idea of uplift and saving children all based on faulty metrics and full on lies – they were good on their own merits and didn’t necessary need other things to push it forward. Today, that is no longer the case.
So what do we see? Artists have no control, no final say in their work. Those artists that have already sold out to those who propagandize on the new web-channels, snapchat, Instagram, and tumblr – selling products of lower quality, lower metrics – and everybody wonders why everything is not doing as well.
It has become a horrendous joke. VFX artists traveling from place to place looking for a steady job, While the market place makes money from the subsidies hand over fist, the VFX houses die out. Meanwhile – artists are being censored left and right for the sell out artists who are given and allowed to do anything as long as they say the “keywords”, and allowed to do all sorts of things that other artists arn’t allowed to in other mediums. And the fans making the fan art are with more in cahoots with the media corporations than they care to admit. Saying “Damn Capitalism” on one hand but using a iPhone with Instagram (the iPhone is around $660-$2,300 plus tax a year), promoting shipping that sounds like some sort of Sanskrit script unreadable, untouchable to normal human minds and eyes. And its good for the business of the new Capitalism, not based on work, or leadership – but on a concept of disruption, change agents, Venture Capitalist Unicorn finds, and pretty much – social censorship, not unlike the BSnP censorship – and now they work in tandem because of the political connections the sell out artists, many of the executives and the advertisers all follow and vote for (and in some cases they don’t have to vote for the same people or believe in the same things, but they have to have some aspect of the similar view of human beings as blank slates that haven’t heard “the good news”)
Years ago, John K mentioned the audience as Troglodytes when mentioning the concept of attitude and its overuse in the 1990’s. I say it today when it comes to these issues we see now. The audience has now accepted this form of entertainment – a myriad of tricks, metrics, fraud, piracy, political correctness, and political incorrectness as a form of communication and a form of separation and balkinazation of the animation audience in the west and in particular North America. Truly John K was a couple years too early.
I talked to a few folks on the other social media platforms. They ask simply to support Adult Animation and not give up on it. However, that isn’t really a solution. The audience doesn’t want “adult” animation – they want animation to talk about issues of the identity of themselves and how to relate to the world. The sad truth is that these audiences are erasing not only animation’s history on a nearly daily basis, they are placing themselves as the show runners of the newer franchises, and the major corporations – as long as the advertisers are happy are glad to throw artists who don’t want to play ball under the bus, and then send a twitter message calming the only groups of people blindly buying their products because it protects there identity from being challenged.
That is the audience. That is what these companies now aim for. And if you are shocked, stunned and surprised on the looks of these shows, and what their audience acts towards those that don’t fit their identity narrative, like they did with Zamii and now with a storyboard artist Lauren Zuke, they are thrown away and lumped with what they preserve with the fascists they say they fight against on a daily basis.
In a way, this is the result of the E/I laws that were passed in the 1990’s and its continuation in to the mid 2000’s. It was meant to limit ads, and promote social this that and the other, and education. It didn’t do any one of these things. It instead promoted even darker aspects of advertising – propaganda by government and certain social, regardless of which party, censorship of the highest order (at one point NBC censored Veggietales which was … outrageous) and what could be the biggest issue of the matter – is bankrupting the major networks (none of the Litton shows on three networks get anywhere near a 0.1, and despite all of the credits given to PBS over the last 25 years since the E/I was passed, Sesame Street is no longer in the hands of PBS – recently sold its TV rights to Time Warner’s HBO, and Time Warner fired 3 of the original cast members.), and caused the mass exodus of the audience to cable, and this would have GROWN larger…if it wasn’t for the 2008 crisis which screwed everybody over – but the audiences you now see existing now, who were born from conservative parents, still use their political truisms (truthiness = intersectinality theory) but are rebelling using concepts from the LBGT+ community to forms that the community never asked them to use and has been used to bait actual LGBT+ people in a form of a political purity test! The Old Soviet Union couldn’t come up with a perfect propaganda scheme.
So maybe we have to take some sort of action against these particular issues. Maybe if not Union, a Trade Organization? Maybe a education of consumer rights for not only artists but fans and how to treat people with respect, and artists to handle criticism in a fair manner? To give enough separation between customer and corporation, with government as the arbiter and not the supporter of either side unless something was done egregious to the customer/citizen.
Because while we have semblances of a republic, with rule of law and ideals, and reason… we have become a bit autocratic in our social interactions and our appeal to emotion, is leading us to ruin.
Its causing us to lose connection to our imagination.
And causing those who do have the skills, to leave us behind, over these “troglodytes” based on identity – when they have neither that identity or a soul.
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