I am reminded that sometimes good things happen when you least expect them…Outlander fans

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“Good Lord…no they…yep…they did” was my reaction to the action on Social Media several times this week. Some truly awful stuff has been said in this fandom. I really wish I could figure out an effective way to call people on their shite that didn’t involve then becoming the target of every angry frustrated person anonymously sitting behind a keyboard spewing hate or then finding yourself caught up in a fight you never wanted in the first place!

If you have ever been the target of this mean-spirited “stuff” you know the struggle. Do you strike back or stay silent?  If you strike back how do you stop yourself from sliding down that slippery slope of bad behavior?  You’ve all seen it happen.  One comment leads to two and then three and then the name-calling begins and the next thing you know you’re crawling around in the mud with the others.  Staying silent.  Not sure that solves anything either.  It seems wrong somehow to let some of this outrageousness go unchallenged.  Is silence the same as encouragement?  I’m not sure I know the answer, but I’m trying very hard to follow my own advice.  I’ve always told my children to pick their battles carefully. So, I ask myself how important is this person’s opinion really?  If I can recognize the ludicrous, I’m sure others can too.  Words can hurt, but I try to let it go because holding a grudge or withholding forgiveness always hurts me more.

There is an old saying that “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good” and despite the petty intentions of the name-calling, shaming, and judging ill wind in this fandom something good happened as a result.  This morning I learned that a a fellow fan, a mother who lost her baby to a drunk driver, was moved by listening to other fans talk about forgiveness. The same anonymity that allows others to say vile things they would never say to someone’s face allowed her to ask questions and discuss something she has struggled with for 30 years…forgiveness.  I can just hear someone minimizing and questioning how talking about the trolling and attacking in this fandom could possibly have made a difference.  I don’t know why and quite frankly, I don’t care because this woman was able to share her grief and celebrate her child’s life this morning.

This morning, I’m grateful because the good has out weighed the bad and encouragement, friendship and kindness has won the day.  I learned again that our words do have power and the act of simply allowing folks a safe forum to explore ideas is more valuable than we know.  I was reminded once again that we are all connected by the human experiences we’ve navigated; grief, loneliness, joy, perseverance, and…forgiveness.

God bless Mary and all the women who mourn a child. God bless those folks who are open enough to listen without judging and discuss without condemnation.

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21 thoughts on “I am reminded that sometimes good things happen when you least expect them…Outlander fans

  1. Ellyn

    You’re right as always, Beth. I dropped out of the Outlander online madness because of the regular tides of ugliness although I still follow you and enjoy the books and show.

  2. Cathy

    I’m doing the MyPeakChallenge and have found the most amazing people offering encouragement, support to people they don’t even know. It’s through a private Facebook group.
    Thankful that I’ve never seen negative comments via Twitter regarding Outlander stuff. Probably not following enough. People.
    I’ve never understood the nastiness on-line through any social media. Well maybe I do…it’s easy because it’s anonymous. I’ve decided that if I see/hear negative, nastiness attacking another person I will call them on it and move on.
    As always, thank you for your insight.

  3. thistle1745 - jen

    I have chosen to move on – though I cannot point to a single incident that caused me to make that decision. I just hit me one day. You cannot have an original thought on this subject without someone coming along and saying all manner of nasty things. Never intending to discuss anything – just nasty. So, I’ve taken my opinions, my writing and myself out of Outlander. I’m done and frankly, the whole experience has tarnished Outlander itself for me. Before there was this television show, Outlander was a group of intelligent, thoughtful and highly engaging fellow fans. They were not always the easiest group to break into, but they were always willing to discuss – actually discuss without all the BS that happens now. The fellow fans and their willingness to discuss and explore was the thing that attracted me – even more than the books themselves. I miss that – and it’s never coming back.

    I am glad to see that, once in a while, there is a glimmer of hope for what this fandom has become.

    • I was sorry to read in your own journal that you were leaving the fandom. I haven’t had a problem with anyone at any site, but I’ve gotten a bit burned out. The only people whose writings re Outlander that I still read are Beth’s, Candida’s, Diana’s and Terry’s. I visit the official Outlander site, but that’s all. It’s so sad when a few rotten apples can spoil the whole barrel. 😦

  4. I am stunned at the ugliness that people can do and be…it always amazes me. I thank you, Beth for posting this. I feel so sad for those who attack and for those who get attacked.

    Linda

  5. Kara

    Again Beth I’m blown away by your words Thank you for this today😊. I have so far been Blessed to not be involved with nasty words and comments , so far I have only been involved with encouragement , love and friendship. Mary today brought out a lot of beautiful people with hope and love and forgiveness 😍.Thank you again Beth you are Awesome

  6. Jane moskevitz

    I always catch the tail end of something but don’t understand enough of the conversation to add anything – this whole outlander thing has been an answer to prayer for me! I wanted a “book club” and couldn’t find one around me – then George RR Martin suggested DG s books while all of us wait for his next book … I fell in love. Met lots of different ppl online and am going to an outlandish gathering in GA in Oct. it’s been a vehicle to meet like minded people who are intelligent – after all they read – ha ha – I can not for the life of me figure out what there is to argue or be nasty about???! It’s. All. Good !

  7. Jan Remling

    I must be blind as I am not seeing the bad behavior you are referring to. Once in awhile I see a comment that borders on the edge of snarkiness, but have not seen any actual meanness.
    Maybe it is removed by admin. It’s too bad though if some are being attacked and that should not be allowed. Overall the fans are lovely and feel like friends I’ve known for years, just a few bad apples and that you will see in all walks of life. Twitter is a bit different because it seems more competitive; fans are vying for a response from the actors. I’m sorry if you were hurt; it is so unfair as you give so much of your time and talent to us. Believe me you are loved and appreciated. ❤

  8. susannequine

    Several of “my” groups on Face Book promote a specific breed of dog, and there is some ill-will between the groups (!). Recently, one of my comments was misconstrued; someone mentioned it in another group, saying my comment troubled her. She chose not to reveal my name; I suppose she wanted to vent, and perhaps be validated. Or maybe she’s just a shit-stirrer. The thread continued, with my totally imagined actions becoming more egregious with every posting. I watched, amused, and reminded of the childhood game called “gossip.” Within SIX postings, I was being accused of animal abuse and my FB name was requested so that they could inform law enforcement. I had to step in then.
    A dear friend used to counsel me to practice “restraint of tongue and pen,” I feel that should be taught along with “please” and “thank you.” People seem to lose all their social restraints when they’re online, maybe because it feels like you’re shouting into the void.
    I didn’t see the hurtful comment(s) either, Beth, but your presence and stature on the internet make you a public figure. If you stand out, you’re likely to attract attention from all types, good and bad. Trolls really do exist!
    Take the high road. Step in when private information is being requested, or threats are made. Intercede with bullies if you must, but do not take anything said personally; they do not know you!
    Last time I read you, you’d said you were retiring. Please don’t stop…

  9. Wonderful, wonderful article! Talk about the power of words! I was privileged to have taken a very small part of this conversation, I think but “pulled up the chair” a little late, then didn’t see Mary’s tweet you showef herr, How great this teeet was!

  10. Staci

    Outlander has given me a lot of things. Mainly it allowed me a “safe entrance” to finally remember and deal with the unexpected death of my little baby daughter. When she died, I was a young mother with 3 other tiny children and no experience or time to grieve. I was heartbroken and really had no one to talk to other than my husband. I carefully and painfully tucked everything away thinking I would figure it out later. The pain was always there. So real and raw. It wasn’t until 2 years ago when my first 2 grandchildren were on the way that I realized how terrified I was to be around babies again. I panicked. Trying to fill my mind up with other thoughts I turned to Outlander, one of my favorite books, and when the miscarriage happened, in the book (the circumstances very different than mine however) the thoughts and feelings written were my own. I felt as though I were reading my own life story. I cried and cried and it all came pouring out. Sometimes, I think, it is enough for a story to just be…to just let the precious moment become me. Or us. I feel like we need to find our way to deal with the madness of Social Media. It is a monster at times. But Outlander is beautiful to so many of us. The books and the show. I treasure it and have had the most beautiful year because of it. My husband I went to Scotland in the Fall and it was everything !!!! Thank you for being caring and careful on this site. Kindness is so easy. 💕

  11. Thanks for the refocus, Beth! This fandom is such a wide spectrum isn’t it! So many awfully amazing people and some amazingly awful people! While only ever very slightly “targeted” for something I’ve posted, I see plenty that makes my heart plummet. While I haven’t abandoned the fandom, I’ve definitely scaled way back and just pop in from time to time to see what my very small corner of the universe is up to. Maybe that will pick up when the show is back on, maybe it won’t (I do get immensely tired of people bellyaching about departure from canon and S2 is set to be RIFE with it), What I do know is the ONLY thing I can control is what comes out of MY mouth, pen or keyboard. Someone posted on Instagram this morning that “The way you make people feel is your reputation” and I am keeping those words close. Pretty apropos, I’d say. I will continue practice restraint and as SusanneQuine posted above, will engage with the awful contingent only if private information is involved or threats are made. Otherwise, I will continue to enjoy and celebrate the “good things” when they happen!

  12. TES

    Beth, Because of you many of us have had a safe place, filled with compassionate people, which has allowed us to share our life experiences; no matter how painful. It is Outlander that has brought all of us together; that is so incredible when you think of it!! As for these “difficult” people on twitter you speak about…it reminded me of a saying someone shared with me a long while ago, “Taste your words before you spit them out” because once they’re released it is difficult to repair the damage they have caused. I hope Mary found peace in sharing…..I will think of her this evening as someone on this blog did for me…..

  13. Beth – love your post as usual and grace does indeed come from odd places sometimes.

    I’ll keep writing….or get back to it. Like Jen (who I miss a lot) I just got fed up and stopped because I didn’t see a point. The point is…I must write. It’s almost an addiction for me so I must. I’ll still write about things that tick me off and things that amaze me and all things in between. I’ll write and people can say or react as they will. Am I going to get hurt in this? Yep. Will I be incredibly blessed? Absolutely. I don’t have near the following you do and I tend to ruffle feathers when you don’t, but if I can make a positive difference for even one person with any post then…it’s worth it.

    Thanks again for the great, positive perspective!
    Cheers!

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