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June 24
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This is going to be a little bit of a longer read, and for that I apologize. There’s just a lot to discuss.

The Downside to Internet Fame
This has been a topic on my mind a lot lately, especially over the recent Phil Fish controversy. In a lot of ways I find myself in the same shoes as Phil. My “reputation” online is not a very good one, and it often precedes me. No matter what website I go to, if I make an account and comment anywhere on the internet... those that dislike me will find me and make their presence known.

Part of the problem with being “famous” on the internet is that if you want to have a semblance of a normal life again, you essentially have to give up EVERYTHING that everyone else online takes for granted. I essentially have to give up twitter, Facebook, tumblr, DA, Pinterest, SA, YouTube, and pretty much any other website where I’m allowed to have a presence.

If I comment on someone else’s art, I risk bringing the haters to their work and starting a fight with me just because I commented. Anything I say or do, no matter if I later regret it, or said something out of anger or gut reaction, will be recorded via screen caps and posted on hate blogs for “posterity.” Going to conventions means opening myself up to the possibility of being physically attacked, verbally abused, or to have my image photographed or recorded to be used in mocking “parody” responses. Doing livestream sessions where I draw tend to get hopelessly overrun with trolls in the chat sections. Even when I don’t try to interact with anyone at all, people go out of their way to send me links to hate blogs, parody art, and response videos about me.

I really can’t... DO anything online without expecting some sort of backlash, and I imagine that for a good majority of people who use the internet, these are not concerns that they have to worry about at all. To have a normal life again, I would essentially have to give up everything that makes life normal now for everyone else.

And it’s not like I’m TRYING to force myself into people’s homes. I have no PR help. I have no one else but me to account for. I primarily post on my journal here on DA, and occasionally make quips over on twitter. I post my comics on DA and on my websites, and to my Facebook pages... and that’s about it. I honestly don’t do anything else to promote myself. The vast majority of my “reputation” wasn’t earned through hard work or kick-ass artwork... but because some people disliked what I said or did and decided to bestow lavish amounts of hateful attention on me. I never asked for this sort of “fame.” It was never a goal for me.

The Upside of Internet Fame
All that said, however, there have been positives to being “famous.” I’ve met a lot of really amazing artists I normally wouldn’t have been able to meet. I’ve had the opportunity to work on collaborations with people I admire and respect. I was given the opportunity to travel to another country to promote my work. And while there is clearly a vocal minority of people who scream as loud as they can on my work, I have a very dedicated group of fans who support me silently from the sidelines and who sometimes send me lovely thoughtful notes and messages.

A lot of the times the messages I get are about how they were having a shitty day and seeing my comics pop up helped them cheer up and get through it. I’ve had a couple notes from people who said that they read my work because it makes them happy and it gives them hope that they too can make art and gain a following one day as well. 9 times out of 10 I’m so use to getting hateful messages that these genuinely positive ones take me back and I don’t know how to respond to them. They are the reasons I keep making artwork and sticking through the worse the internet has to offer.

On the Expectations of Being Famous
One of the things I dislike about being famous on the internet is the impossibly high level of expectations that people have of you. It can be downright frustrating at times being held back by these perceived ideas of who you “actually” are as a person. Any small slip-up can come back to haunt you, and I’m still facing repercussions for stupid things I did over a decade ago when I was less experienced and able to manage my temper. A bad word choice can be nitpicked to death and become the sole reason why you should “never be taken seriously” as a person. Likewise, the expectation that EVERYTHING you produce MUST be of a certain high-standard level of quality all the time. The belief being that your sole purpose is to produce high rates of FREE artwork for the criticism and benefit of everyone else around you. And so on...

But the truth of the matter is that I (and many others in my situation) am just a person. Prone to the same mistakes, hiccups, and brain-farts as everyone else. I make comics and art because I enjoy doing it. Sometimes I just wanna throw together some stupid doodles and post them, but I often refrain from doing so because I fear people will attack me for “not putting effort” into my artwork if I did.

Many of the expectations people have are an even higher level than most professionals actually working in the field... yet they tell me I’m clearly not a professional and am only an amateur. If I’m just an amateur, why hold me up to such lofty expectations? Why am I not allowed to have FUN making my art and posting shitty doodles and jokes whenever I want? Why must everything I produce be demanded to be at some absurd level of skill that I haven’t reached?

I’ve been pondering this over recently not only because a recent batch of comics with mere “suggestions” on things to do in comics has blown up into a hot topic kerfuffle, but because I’ve been seeing the way the internet reacts to internet personas “becoming famous.” John Green (the Fault in Our Stars) has a movie based on his book out in theaters now. Watching him go through the struggles of being a YouTube celebrity to a “mainstream” celebrity is fascinating... and a little scary. People are demanding he act and respond a certain way just because of a movie that he didn’t have any say on came out. He’s even mentioned several times that although he got paid for the movie rights, he was not paid a cent for the production of the movie, and he won’t be getting any of the ticket sales from the movie either. He is still the same person he was before the movie came out... but the internet is treating him a lot differently.

It kinda scares me to a degree. If that’s the sort of stuff one can expect to have to deal with just because they’re “famous” then I don’t want that responsibility. I don’t want to be in the public eye so much. I share about my life (and even then I censor what I share quite a LOT) because I think my fans would be interested in hearing what’s going on with me. I do not do it to “gain attention.” Frankly I don’t really WANT that sort of attention anyway. I make comics and talk about my political beliefs because I want my voice to be heard and I want things to change for the better.

More or Less
It’s times like this when I’m pondering about Internet Fame that I am reminded of this quote by the aforementioned John Green:

“What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.”
~ John Green


His book, Paper Towns, deals so much on how people project their own ideals and beliefs onto other people and how very dangerous that can be. Much like how people assume they know everything about Phil Fish’s personality from just watching a documentary. You’re only seeing a piece of a puzzle. One where the final piece that fits everything together is not accessible except to those closest to them. No matter how much I talk online about stuff, no one really knows me as a person except those whom I’ve allowed to get close and be my friends.

Some people deal with Internet Fame better than others. Some people are able to brush off negative comments and focus a lot on their fans. Others, like me, have a more difficult time doing so. Sometimes I just wish that I could just ignore the haters and not focus so much time and energy internalizing their hateful rhetoric. Maybe I’m too empathetic? Maybe it’s because I was bullied as a kid that I’ve developed a desire for people to listen to me and be taken seriously?

My experience with internet Fame hasn’t always been positive, but it has had it’s ups and downs. As the old song goes:

I'm inclined to believe
If we weren't so down
We'd up and leave
We'd up and fly if we had wings for flyin'
Can't you see the tears we're cryin'?
Can't there be some happiness for me?


Your Thoughts?
That’s pretty much all I have to say on the matter right now. Like I said, it’s been a topic that’s been on my mind for a while and with every rage-filled backlash flareup that I endure, I think about this subject a great deal. Weather it’s really worth the frustration or not.

What about all of you? What’re your thoughts on the subject of internet fame? Do you notice yourself or others treating other people differently if they start becoming more famous? Should famous people be upheld to high standards, even if they never anticipated being famous or wanted exposure? Please let me hear what y’all have to say on this subject, I’m curious.
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:iconalleycatgamer:
Alleycatgamer Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014
First, I'd like to say keep doing what you're doing. I'm proud to say that I enjoy your work greatly, even if I don't always agree with you. Your art brightens up my day.
Second, I can't say that I've felt this kind of pain to this extent. I've really only felt this in small, small doses. I understand that I'm extremely lucky that I haven't had to deal with many if any haters or trolls here on dA, but I've had a few run-ins with these kinds of people on other sites. I feel that I'm one of those who has an easier time ignoring what haters or trolls may say, but it can get to anyone after a while. I think the real trick is to remember that they don't have the aforementioned final piece of the puzzle to know who you really are. It hurts more to have a friend insult you rather than a stranger because that friend knows you a lot better than that stranger ever could.
To be honest, this kind of thing scares me a bit, especially since I hate being the center of attention. Getting hateful stuff at this extent would be enough to bring anyone down, so don't feel alone. I feel that the way you're handling it now seems to be just fine.
Sorry if I rambled on for a bit...
You have my support.
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:iconjadethestone:
jadethestone Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I feel bad that I can't really contribute to this converstion, mainly because I am not any type of famous - internet or otherwise.
What I can do is say that I'm certainly one of your fans even if I'm one of the quiet ones on the sidelines who just likes to read your comics.  I like their art and I love what they have to say.
I don't think people should be held up to higher standards if famous.  I definitely think that there is a difference in how one acts around a more famous person.  I mean, I'd probably act weird or be sort of tongue-tied if you even responded to this.  But I hope that I'm not one of those people who, even subconsciously, treat someone different just because of their fame.
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:iconshadowbunny616:
ShadowBunny616 Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014
fame? i dont even know who you are ;)
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:iconthe-golden-knight:
The-Golden-Knight Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Sorry for my delayed answer. I was super busy wrapped up in hunting for a good job.

Anyway, it's funny I've had a taste of backlash, which means I'm getting somewhere with my reputation. I sure hope so. Why? Because while people can hide behind their screens online, nobody would have the guts to tell me such garbage in-person to my 8-) face! That goes double when the day comes I can afford my armor. I've always dreamed about being a star, so being the center of attacks haven't really bothered me. Them trying to mess up my loving relationship with my lover did make me sick for a day, but I endured even that. All I know is, whenever hereafter comes, I will laugh from my  front-row seats in Valhalla to watch them roast in Hell (at least, ideally).

Why are expectations so high? Because when your reputation is larger than life, people (specifically commoners) expect your abilities and powers to reflect this. They think you're a master of masters, kind of like the "king of kings" thinking; best of the best! And there is a weight attached to being anything "best of the best". In essence, it's like being a God incarnate. That's what I hunger for. Anyway, no you are not an amateur. Anyone who's been doing this full-time for X amount of years (and for pay, no less) is by certain a professional. Expectations should be high, but they're only absurd because they're flattering you...adversely, unfortunately.

And people probably attack anyone high-profile because they are insecure about their infertility (those men have no balls and those women have no eggs) as well as their absence of life-meaning achievements,. which makes them insecure in general. Insecurity leads to bullying, which is something I hope to bring to light in the hazy future...

Anyway, a person can be more, or less. The value and definition of a "person" is far too variant, particularly too variable for your mentioned quote to hold too well. Some (actually most) are idiots. Some are brilliant. Some are super muscular, and others couldn't bench-press a bare metal bar to save their lives. But, ignoring the evil people is a good place to start. That's what I did with my previous scuffle. It's not just all I can do (unless the Bill of Rights die and I were allowed to unleash the full wrath of the government on their domains and/or actually kill them within legal legitimacy), but it's the cardinal offense to not acknowledge the existence of any given noun. The only way you could do better is to wipe them from memory and all documents, or "unperson" as the George Orwell term goes. But doing so would require an unholy tyranny, and even then, only the tyrant decides who that fate befalls onto. Why it's more potent is because you're not just ignoring the existence of a bad thing; you are actually, physically getting rid of its existence.

That means, the fact you even talk about their existence drives them to attack you further. Focus your journals and creations on the more mundane aspects of your life, and in time, they'll leave you alone. I think that's the lesson Phil Fish failed to see. If you seriously want to return to "normal", you just need to "act normal" (assuming a clean-cut and accurate definition of "normal" exists), which means not talking about how big and famous and awesome you are (such as you are here). Or, if you're like me (someone who boasts about being made of metal), don't let the bad people bug you, assuming they're bad at all (seriously, morality these days is too blurred to just label someone "evil'). Heck, there was a time I laughed every time someone wished ill of me, because I knew deep down, I strutted the road of the paladin. Ill fates only befall the corrupt and/or the weak, and as such, my morality, faith, and enthusiasm rendered me immune.

I'm sorry for this exhaustive chunk of thoughts, but to be fair, your journal is extensive in and of itself. I only hope you can find the time to reflect on my point of view, as well as those of your other dozens of friends and fans. In the meantime, please understand I am one of your many vocal loyalists. :salute:
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:iconrizathepenguin:
Rizathepenguin Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I don't often comment on your stuff, 'cause I figured that you have so much else going on that you probably don't have much time to do comments and replies and stuff, but I just wanted to say:

Dude, I respect you so much! You always try your best and stand up for what you believe in, and carry on doing the art that you want to do without caving to peer pressure! You're not perfect, but no one is! Please, keep doing the amazing things you do!
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:iconpsychedelic-doughnut:
I would say that applies to any kind of fame, really. Unless you make yourself famous especially for acting up or acting in a particular way.

For instance, I am a member of a youth organisation, and ofter hte years i've become rather well known in those circles. As a consequence, people will invite me to events to take upon certain roles and have massive expectations on my performance. I am stil the same person, but now I have a bunch of new people looking up to me because of my fame for excelling in certain aspects. So yeah, people hold me to different expectations.

And in a way, it's totally expectable and fair, although one may be reluctant to admit it at first. The moment you are recognised as a point of reference, you will have a bunch of people, a lot of whom you will never know personally, lookinf up to you and copying your methods. Thus, you become a role model in their eyes and at the same time other, more experienced people will expect you to keep a certain standard because of this newfound responsibility.

Because yes, the moment you have a bunch of people looking up to you, you automatically gain a new responsibility. You may say, "No I don't, these people should realise I am not a role model." But it doesn't matter, because whether you like it or not, that is what you become for them and they will still look up to you and all your mistakes and flaws as well... perhaps not even realising these flaws, if they are young and inexperienced enough. You are of course, perfectly free to say "I don't care" and go on acting like you always did, but that won't you from sending messages to these people. And htat is somethign you must be aware of.
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:icontheshadowempress:
TheShadowEmpress Featured By Owner Edited Jun 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I really don't follow that many famous people on the internet... But yeah, just because someone is famous doesn't mean they're perfect in any way. There is absolutely no connection between those things. I'm sorry to hear you've got so many haters (I hadn't realized you had THAT many and that they were so active). I can't imagine what being afraid to comment would be like. :/ Just try to ignore the haters (the classic advice which often doesn't work very well :P) and focus on your fans. Your cartoons are lovely, and it's nice to see you address problems that need to be fixed... But there shall always be stupid people on this planet. :( I really don't understand why people have to hate on things. If I don't like something, I sure as hell won't waste my time complaining about it. (Meaning art and stuff, not things like racism...) And frankly, it seems like you always have to explain everything for people who don't have brains, resulting in multiple comics of the same theme. Just because some people don't get your point. :sigh:

Just... keep on the good work. :hug: Remember, you do have fans. We just tend to be less loud. Sorry if my comment was a messy jumble of words. And I would like to see some sketches, too. :/ Maybe if you put them into the scrap folder...?
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:iconobsydianice:
ObsydianIce Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I watch you because I (mostly) enjoy reading your comics. I don't always agree with your message in them or how you go about doing it but I typically do nothing because I'm firmly against art!hate and all other sorts of hate. If people don't like what they're seeing, they can just close the page or click onto something else. That's generally their problem not the creator. Now if it's something extremely offensive... well.. like making fun of people with special needs then I would definitely jump on the hate wagon. But that's different. 

If people dislike you, they only dislike you because you address (in my opinion) controversial topics sometimes. And well, there's always going to be people like that. *cough (fundamentalists!) cough*

I'm a middle of the roader. I'm intelligent enough to listen to both sides and consider different points of view. 

Just remember, if you're ever in a slump because of an idiot, that for every naysayer and angry troll, there's an invisible sometimes-supporter. 

Keep on!
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:iconsugoime:
SugoiMe Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I don't spend too much time on the Internet, or at least I don't put myself out there and comment that often.  When I do comment, it's either on Facebook, or your journals or artwork.  As to Internet fame, I can't really provide a real opinion.  I treat people the same no matter what.  If it's something I don't agree with, I tend not to comment at all, especially if the content angers me beyond belief.

To answer your last question about whether or not people should be held to higher standards because of their Internet fame, the answer is no, they shouldn't.  Like you said, they're people, just like any other person, and are probably doing what they're doing, whether it be art, youtube videos or whatever, because they enjoy it.  Why should I spit out hate comments at someone for doing what they love to do?  If the content isn't that disrespectful, even if it states a strong opinion, isn't that okay?
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:iconrainbowdragon:
Rainbowdragon Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2014
For me Fame is a massive double-edged sword. 
On the one good edge, you meet people a lot more easily, it goes without saying that meeting people is easier if you have at least some level of fame. 
The other edge though goes hand-in-hand with the first. Because you meet people a lot more easily it's more likely for you to run into the dumb, close-minded haters and trolls who jump to conclusions really quickly without once even TRYING to get to know the person behind the fame. "

That was my two cents. Can anyone add onto this?
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