There are a lot of terrible jobs out there. At this very moment, some poor soul is hosing out a porta-john after a chili festival. Elsewhere, someone is struggling to maintain a smile while some rage-fueled diner demands a full refund because the steak they just ordered and consumed contained (gasp) meat.
But my vote for Worst Job of the Week goes to whomever administers the Facebook page for the new Ghostbusters movie.
(To read this in the large-print edition, click HERE.)
You guys and girls know me. I'm a hard-core Ghostbusters fan. I've built my own proton pack, cosplayed a steampunk Ghostbuster. I love the films, I own all the animated episodes, I watch the movies whenever I can.
I'll never forget how much fun I had watching Ghostbusters for the first time. It was the perfect blend of humor, science, comedy, and good storytelling. I knew it was a classic within the first three minutes. It was obvious that the right cast met the right script at the right time, and the fusion was sheer magic.
That was 1984. There was a second film, perhaps not as exciting as the first, but still quite good.
After the second movie, we fans endured years of silence, broken only by the occasional rumor that the fabled GB 3 might finally happen.
It didn't. The feud between Ramis and Murphy, changes in the industry, any number of factors doomed the continuation of the series.
So when I heard about an all-new Ghostbusters reboot, I was thrilled. When I later heard the leads were going to be an all-girl crew composed of SNL alums, I was ecstatic. Who better, I thought, to pick up the mantle and re-tell the story with a fresh new twist?
But this news of a female GB crew wasn't so well received by everyone.
The backlash on the net was immediate. Purists snarled. Hordes of naysayers emerged, quickly dismissing the film as an abomination before the first trailer aired.
It got ugly. Really ugly. YouTube comments section ugly. The ire spread to Twitter and Facebook and everywhere else, even following the actresses and the director and finally to Ghostbusters grand-master Dan Aykroyd himself, who was viciously attacked for daring to defend the new movie.
Now, most of the detractors will huff and puff and claim misogyny has nothing to do with their palpable hatred of a movie none of them have seen.
Riiiight. I've read the comments, and even the ones that are careful to avoid the appearance of misogyny can't avoid being tainted by its ugly stain.
Ghostbusters was a boys' club, and a very vocal segment of fandom isn't happy about letting girls in. Unless of course they serve as romantic interests or comic relief.
I'll probably get hate mail for even saying that. But it's okay, because I'll NEVER be forced to deal with the kind of nastiness I've seen directed at the movie via the Ghostbusters Facebook page.
If anyone posts anything enthusiastic or positive about the film, they are quickly shouted down by the detractors.
I can imagine the posts we don't see. The ones that have to be removed.
I truly feel sympathy for the person behind that page. The one who has to read all that hateful spew, all day every day.
It's got to be hard on the cast and crew as well. You pour your time and effort, your heart and soul, into a project that is, after all, meant to be fun. It's entertainment, but that doesn't make bringing it to life easier.`
So you do all that work, and instead of the usual friendly buzz and anticipation, you get a steaming bucket of hateful bile thrown in your face.
That's got to hurt -- and all because there are women in the lead roles?
What the hell is wrong with people lately?
I know, I know, it's just a movie. But I think sometimes this undercurrent of irrational rage is a symptom of something far worse, lurking just beneath society's surface like some hungry crocodile. The scary part is this -- we can't see under the water, and we don't know where the crocodile is going to strike next. Maybe it's a movie. Maybe it's a real person, or real people, somewhere. We've seen that too.
There's just too much hate in the air.
Maybe hate starts small. Maybe all those furious online rants are akin to a single miniscule droplet of water, part of a growing dark cloud.
But when enough of those tiny drops come together, we get storms.
Bad storms, that leave wreckage and horror in their wake.
Am I claiming that online nastiness directed at a movie is somehow a driving cause in mass murders?
No. Not directly. But I am offering up the proposition that our current environment of vicious online exchanges and the exercise of anonymous fury as the new normal is slowly -- or not so slowly -- desensitizing some people to violence.
It's just a thought. I'm sure someone will be quick to point out what a deeply flawed and wholly ridiculous thought it is. And it may well be.
But is there any real defense for such rampant outright mean-ness directed toward strangers on a continual, even relentless basis?
If there is, I don't see it.
Now, I know many of the people who read this blog. You're nice folks. You've been nothing but friendly and supportive to me, and I am deeply appreciative for that.
In fact, it's you guys who led me to try and say something positive somewhere online every chance I get. To bite my figurative tongue when I feel the urge to show off my sarcasm arm.
So I'd like to encourage all of you to do the same. Go say something nice to a stranger. Heck, go to the Ghostbuster's Facebook page and just tell them you liked a trailer.
Somewhere out there, you might make a weary admin smile. Better still, the dark clouds that hang over us now might shrink, just a tiny bit.