On a lark, I just visited a few of the anti-Axanar Facebook groups. I was curious because I hadn’t really given them any serious attention up till now, and I was wondering how they were responding to the legal response Axanar had just filed.
After a few minutes of reading their comments, I began to feel physically ill. But it wasn’t simply that they were dissing my beloved Axanar project or calling us “Axanads”. I could have handled all of that without the nausea.
No, what sickened me on a visceral level was the immersive atmosphere of ire, vitriol, and hatred that permeated almost every comment posted. These unfortunate people are living in a toxic environment of overwhelming negativity where civil norms of respect for others (or any kind of basic pleasantry) seem to have been checked at the door before entering.
As I read comment after snarky comment, gleefully reveling in wishing the worst upon others, my mind momentarily recalled the comment of the Companion from the TOS episode “Metamorphosis” when she says to Cochrane: “Oh, what a bitter thing. Oh, Zefram, it’s so sad. How do you bear it…?”
Oh course, the Companion was talking about loneliness, and perhaps all the Axahaters have some amount of that going on in their lives. But it’s deeper and darker than that. Their anger is leading to hatred, and that hatred has led them to the Dark Side. That eerie feeling that Luke got from the cave on Dagobah…I felt it in those groups like a palpable thing as I entered…like walking into a hot and humid day after leaving a comfortable, air conditioned house. These venomous people are living in dark places, they’re soaking in a pool of negativity, and I doubt they even realize it because it’s the very air that they’re breathing right now.
They’re not nice to us, to be sure, but strangely enough (or maybe not so strangely!) they aren’t nice to each other, either. It’s almost like “Day of the Dove” when the entity makes everybody on the Enterprise hate each other. At first, it’s the humans battling the Klingons. But on the bridge with no Klingons around, Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Scotty begin to turn on each other. Maybe the there’s an Axahater energy entity out there, turning otherwise thoughtful, polite, and reasonable Star Trek fans into raging and immature ejaculators of nastiness and hatred. Of course, you’d think that such an evil entity would use its power to pervert both sides of the Axanar phenomenon…
But then I look at all the love that pervades the Axanar fan groups. Sure, we have the occasional cranky Chris or ornery Oscar, but our “default setting” here is friendship, support, camaraderie, and optimism.
As I hit the BACK arrow on my browser a few times to return to the Axanar Fan Page from where I’d launched into my dark expedition–and as I read the newest comments that had been posted there this morning by the Axanar fans–it was like emerging from a smelly and oppressive sewer into fresh air and sunlight.
Sure, among the flood of “I stand with Axanar” and “Go Get ‘Em, Alec!” messages of loyal support were still a few critical comments or observations of a “reality check” that the war is far from having been won. A few (including me) have even argued some points for the CBS/Paramount side of the lawsuit. But the default setting here is to interact with those commentators intelligently and with respect and civility. I recently responded to one myself whom I didn’t agree with, and I didn’t use the words “idiot,” “asshole,” or “bastard.” There was no need to…and I doubt even the hint of such a desire would enter any of our heads. We’re just nice people here.
Now, maybe it’s a credit to Terry McIntosh and Alec Peters for keeping the group free of rabble rousers, but I can’t believe it’s only that. There’s just too many voices that are singing together in our chorus rather than shouting and hurling insults at both others and themselves.
And so, having been thoroughly nauseated by the overwhelming cesspool of negativity I felt from simply making a short ten-minute visit to “the other side,” I just wanted to give a virtual hug to the people who remind me why I love this project so much. It’s not simply that I want to see a cool Star Trek movie about the Four Years War with Richard Hatch and Gary Graham and JG Hertzler, and it’s not just because I’m so excited to see Tobias Richter’s visual FX or hear the amazing music or see the wonderful sets or just find out what the heck happened at Axanar.
No, it’s something far more special than that. I’ve found a home with this project and these people…and it’s a warm and welcoming home. You don’t even need to do anything to be a part of it. Sure, if you want to donate some money or time, that’s happily accepted. But it’s never been a requirement that you give money or take some kind of loyalty oath before coming to the Axanar side of the Force. All are welcome. You’re even invited to be critical and not drink the KoolAid if you don’t want to. Even over the past couple of days since Axanar‘s legal response to CBS/Paramount, not every comment on the fan group has towed the Axanar line. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion. Just don’t be a dick about it–that’s the only real rule we have here.
And that’s why I love being an Axanerd so much!