What a vast, dangleberry-strewn arsehole.
Once I used to think of fandom as a virtual eden, where we could all skip and sniff the flowers, frolic among the butterflies, join hands and sing kumbaya and there would be free speech and rice pudding for all.
Naturally, the first flame war I was ever personally involved in cured me of that.
(I think Fisher Price's E-Division should start making My First Flame War™. Bells and whistles could go off the first time you get called "poohead" and you could hit one big red button to get the words "you're just like those mean toddlers who stole my teddy bear in kindergarten" to flash up on the screen)
These days I tend to think of fandom as a bit more like one big swimming pool. A giant Brockwell lido of the soul, if you will.
There are all kinds of people there. Not everyone is Kate Moss-like in their pulchritude, but then not everyone is a cokehead dimwit without the good sense that God gave a gnat either. I like to think we all have something to bring to the party.
Some people are doing the front crawl and some people are doing the back stroke. Some are even doing the butterfly. The flash bastards.
Some people are doggy-paddling but that's okay because they might learn to swim a bit better one day.
Some people dip a toe in then stay close to the edges, some people dive right in and make a splash. Different strokes for different folks, arf arf.
Some people are in the corner flashing and mooning at each other, giggling and fiddling with themselves. That's fine, I don't have to see it unless I swim over there, dive under the water and open my eyes. Not going to. Have fun, people! Don't go blind!
Over there, there's some poncey Esther Williams wannabe in an ugly cozzie yelling that she swims better than anyone else but no one ever thanks her for it, goddammit, and other people shouldn't be swimming in her way. Oh, and the non-swimmers support her in email. Whatever, Big Name Swimmer. Have fun in places where I am not.
The key to it all working properly is this: Under no circumstances should you wazz in the pool. And that's what these anonymous hate memes are. Effluent. It's like pissing in the swimming pool and smiling because no one knows it was you that did it.
Doing it might give you a warm tingly feeling about your nether portions and bring a rosy glow to the black coals of your heart but believe me when I say the warmth is only temporary.
Pretty soon we're all swimming in urine -- and if that happens, some nice, amusing people are going to pack up and go home. Where's the fun in paddling through effluent?
Now we all need to go for a wazz sometimes and anyone who reckons they don't is a saint or a lying liar.
All I am saying, people, is for the love of [your chosen deity], go to the [virtual] bathroom with a bunch of your friends in the manner of women everywhere since Eve and her daughters nipped behind the rose bushes for a quick bitch about how Adam was blaming them for the whole 'thrown-out-of-Eden' incident when he ate the bloody fruit as well, the fecking self-righteous pillock.
Bitch about stupidity in private. Mutter your nasty yet witty things to your friends over the cubicle walls. There is no moral high ground or classiness to being a snideyboots but you can at least minimise the hurt. I speak as a terrible snideyboots who is trying to be better.
Do not wazz in the public swimming pool.
(Would you look at that: not one smartalecky reference to a rubber ring in the whole post. I'm losin' me touch. )