Bullying?

I usually don’t post random blogs like this, but the geek/Star Wars world is in a rage because of a slide show released online by a local Floridian newspaper regarding CVI.  I’m not sure if the slide show will be taken down by the time I post this, but it’s a collection of photos of random fans at CVI with funny or mean (depending on a certain point of view) captions.  They range from mostly harmless to a little bit of overkill (six photos of the Mark Hamill line, going on an on about how no one knows who Mark Hamill is anymore) to suggesting that all the people dressed up are too geeky to have significant other’s.  (link for slide show: http://www.local10.com/news/-/1717324/16432154/-/j9qxcfz/-/index.html)

Now, I’m not so sure how I feel about all the rage that is taking place right now.  Ashley Eckstein writes that this is a form of bullying and we must take a stand to have Local10 remove this slide show immediately.  Tweets are pouring in about how disgusting and abusive this article is, and how originally it was posted on 8/30, taken down, and put back up today on 9/5.  How dare they?!

I actually kind of giggled when I read the captions.  I’m going to be honest – I didn’t think they were that bad.  I have seen a lot worse and have definitely endured a lot worse as far as geekiness/Star Wars bullying goes.  What interested me the most was that at the end of the slide show, the photographer takes a photo of his 3-day passes to the convention and confesses that he is a huge Star Wars fan.  The next two slides are generic slides of our universe with the captions going into depth about the 501st and Rebel Legion and how to get more information on them.

So is this ok to put online with snide comments but without the consent of those whose photographs were being taken?  Are the snide comments actually rude and is the photographer a bully or is he laughing from the inside because he is a genuine fan?  Is he possibly laughing at himself too?  You know how sometimes you can make a joke and it’s acceptable because you are in that crowd?  It’s like when I had an ex say something critical about one of my family members and I immediately jumped down his throat.  However, if my husband says something, I really don’t mind because he is part of our family now.

I haven’t found anything regarding the author and his reactions to this outrage, but my personal impression is that he didn’t mean the comments to get the reaction they did or to really hurt anyone.  Especially if he’s a big Star Wars fan himself.  I think it was one of those moments when you say a joke that sounds really funny in your head, but it comes out completely awkward and kind of offensive.  I’ve definitely been there…it’s a geek thing.

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