As of this writing, “Doomcock” is trending on Twitter. This is occurring because there is a self-titled “supervillain who critiques popular culture” under the name of Dicktor Van Doomcock. He has a Youtube Channel called Overlord DVD. His latest video implies that there was a “showdown” between Bob Iger and Kathleen Kennedy, the bosses of Disney and Lucasfilm, respectively.
I don’t follow the guy on Twitter, nor subscribe to his YouTube channel, because this kind of Rabbit-Hole pseudo-samizdata critic rage is exhausting to even contemplate, let alone listen to. I can’t imagine actually putting it together. I’ve written before on how this is just the mirror image of the brainwashed dweebs who post reaction videos. It’s just content feeding on content like a cyberpunk ouroboros.
But I’m not ragging on the guy, either. He’s found a niche, and he fills it entertainingly, in the grand tradition of P.T. Barnum and gossip columnists of old. Anyone who puts on Renn Faire Garb and an MF Doom mask to say “Picard is garbage! Sing for me, Children of the Night!” is going to find an audience in Current Year.
The TV Show in question is Star Trek: Picard, and the third season thereof. While old-school Trekkies have been all-but universal in condemning the first two seasons of the show, there’s been a trend of “not that bad” applied to Season 3. Even Mike and Rich at Red Letter Media have been kind so far.
My opinion on the nature of Star Trek: Picard is known: it is, and only can be, Member-Berries. It cannot rise above the TNG nostalgia it is mining. It can be dreadful, or it can be mediocre. It cannot be good. It’s a franchise with seven seasons and four movies of lore being treated as a sandbox by hired geeks. The principal cast is terrifyingly old. It’s less a TV Show than an exercise in clickbait marketing. Why anyone would watch it is beyond me, and Doomcock is as much a sucker as anyone else for doing so. Talk about being trapped in the brand.
But when we’re comparing sane vs. insane responses to popular entertainment, I’m going to be on the side of the guy who’s having a good time spinning rumor and conjecture (which he has the honesty to label as such) to stick it to the Entertainment Oligarchs, and not with the some guy who thinks posting his Face on Twitter is some act of Distinguished Meritorious Service, and getting ANGRY at everyone who won’t.
Using a Pseudonym, a nom de plume, is an ancient tradition. Plato used one (We don’t actually know Plato’s real name). So did Alexander Hamilton. Removing one’s self from the message you want to send is a time-honored way to let the message persuade on it’s own. Anonymity also allows you to talk outside the boundaries of accepted discourse. Since the boundaries of accepted discourse are set by bureaucracies and oligarchs, they are wholly questionable. Indeed, anything set by a human is wholly questionable. That was the whole point of the Enlightenment, as I recall.
So while I think the world would be better served if people stopped hate-watching garbage, and started cheerleading scrappy indies making new good content, I’m not gonna make any demands on anyone. Doomcock is gonna be Doomcock. The Internet is entirely voluntary: you can kick people off of it for coloring outside the lines, but you cannot compel speech. That’s not how any of this works.
All of this tedious noise is a consequence of Fandom as an identity and guide to consuming entertainment. There’s no reason to poor through Kathleen Kennedy’s trash and read the tea-leaves of rumor to see when she gets ousted from her position. The solution to not liking Star Wars movies is to stop watching them, and watch something else instead. Criticism has merit as an explanation of aesthetic methods and results, and only secondarily as discussing people who make bad entertainment. The best argument against bad entertainment is good entertainment, so the best argument against Picard is better Star Trek. For that, check out FilmLadd, who is back, baby!
This is good criticism, because it talks about the aesthetics of TV/film production, and is not mired in playing “gotcha” games with lore. It talks about writing effective scenes vs. writing clunky declamation sessions, of blocking, business, and audience expectations. He has another video about how Wrath of Khan was an anti-Star Trek film, in the sense that it overturned all the tropes of Star Trek. I recommend you check it out, and subscribe to his channel.