Monday, 14 July 2014

Weekly Rant - The Cult of Personality and Patreon.

Look. I know the world is changing and for the most part I am failing heroically to keep up with it. The dawn of the internet age has been the biggest revolution since industrialisation and possibly bigger than that.

Everything is a short lived triumph. Everything is something. I mean that perhaps in a less esoteric way than you might imagine. Everything is lauded. I saw someone referred to as a hero the other day for getting a book published. I saw someone else being called a hero because they are good at cycling. This is not what makes a hero. But we as a society buy into it. We buy into the cult of the personality. The number or Tumblr/Twitter/Instagram/Tindr followers you have makes you someone to applaud (apparently).

Remember when you didn't know what a singer looked like or an author? You weren't worried that they were 'bi polar' or that they had a new fucking bracelet. People actually become rich because they are stupid! Genuinely. Every country has some kind of Jersey Shore/The Only Way is Essex numbskull who has got rich by saying stupid things.

We pay these people to be themselves. Literally.

The cult of personality isn't something new in comics. It's been there since Stan became a showman. We all know that. We all know of the writer who knows that he'll sell more books if he creates a persona that the fan can believe in. That myth that makes him more interesting and a little bit mysterious. I'm not going to point any fingers but at a comics event only last Friday I saw a reasonably well known creator turn up brashly with a small entourage wearing what can only be described as an outfit a bullfighter might wear after a big performance.

Don't worry. This rant has a point. And that point is the new internet sensation called Patreon. For the blissfully unaware this is a newish website that you can basically pay a monthly amount to an individual and depending on the level at which you pay get an insight into them or their work.

Firstly. Most of these people (as far as I can see) are all over social networking anyway. Some of them can't take a shit without telling everyone. So sitting there as a self imagined 'personality' holding out a rattling cup seems like another shoot for desperation and lack of credibility. For every coin that hits their cup a little bit of their creative soul is chipped away ( in my humble opinion anyway.)

Secondly. Get over yourself. You write/draw/comment upon comics! You are not the second coming. There are a lot of sad individuals who do pay you money - that is plainly obvious. They want you to be more than the name on the comic or podcast. They want you to be their friend. I heard a creator recently complaining that a fan of theirs was paying them way too much attention (sending them daily messages). They were even complaining that this fan was sending them cash. Everyone on that message board were 'oh, the poor soul, just let them down easily'.

Next thing you know the said creator had created a Patreon page! In my opinion there is absolutely no difference.

Ok. I hear some of you out there comparing it to a fan club. I myself was a member of FOOM as a child. I got some stickers and a poster that went on my wall. I didn't get promises to see into the soul of that individual (so to speak). And let's face it there have been a lot of dodgy money grabbing fan clubs over the years (a certain New Romantic band of the 1980s I am looking at you).

So. What did I decide. As with most things I ain't got a clue. But I would definitely rather give my hard earned spare cash to The Dogs Trust than someone who posts lots of photos of themselves in designer clothes and at parties.

Thanks as always for reading.

Incidentally, if you do fancy giving some money to The Dogs Trust here is their website they are most definitely worth your money. This fella was saved by them!


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