The backlash against "The Last Jedi," the eighth movie in this particular series, turned inordinately vitriolic. While there are legitimate questions about how representative those voices are — and indeed, what role Russian trolls and political provocateurs played in dragging the comments into the sewer — the cacophony from social media has at times made it easier to simply tune out those voices rather than engage them.It's worth noting that this appraisal comes from someone who harbored plenty of misgivings about "The Last Jedi," in contrast to much of the critical establishment. Some of the reasoned complaints about the film and the choices made by writer-director Rian Johnson, to these ears, made perfect sense.The tone, however, became absurdly ugly, lashing out in ways that exhibited a loss of perspective — forgetting that this is a fantasy controlled by a major corporation, there to be enjoyed, debated or disappointed about as such, but one over which no fan can claim personal ownership, however much time, money and energy they invest in it.Johnson said then — and more recently in a GQ interview — that such voices represent a small subset of the overall pool. Still, writing in Esquire last year, Matt Miller lamented that a "loud section" of "Star Wars" fans have become "tragically synonymous" with hate and bigotry.A study by Morten Bay, a research fellow at USC's Annenberg School for Communication, examined social media and found "evidence of deliberate, organized political influence measures disguised as fan arguments" about "The Last Jedi," in much the way outside elements have sought to further polarize political discourse.That's troubling, to the extent it's true. But it only stokes the sense that abusive quadrants of fandom don't speak with one coherent voice, can't be mollified, and there's not much sense in trying.That hasn't been the prevailing mentality among movie studios and TV networks, which court fans, seeking to turn them into ambassadors who will fuel passion for their properties, translating into sales of tickets and merchandise.Disney has been especially adept in this regard, creating its own fan expo, D23, populated by talent from its movies and shows, mirroring massive gatherings devoted to all things pop culture at Comic-Con in San Diego and similar events.Maintaining a dialogue with fans is perceived as being a good business strategy. Talent, including actors and directors, also use platforms like Twitter to speak directly to fan bases, bypassing the traditional public-relations filters.That situation, however, has created problems for directors like Johnson and "Last Jedi" co-star Kelly Marie Tran, who was forced off social media by the misogynistic and hateful responses she received.Johnson attributes the ugliest elements to a few bad apples, defending the wider fan base and warning against generalizing based on that. "On social media Read More – Source


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