FAREWELL THREAD

my DMs will remain open for anyone who wants to say hello, but I'm not going to be reading or interacting with my TL anymore. Before I go, though, I'd like to share some observations & things I've learned along the way about social media, criticism & trolling
I'm not gonna reiterate every "big take" I've ever had; I've said all that stuff already - I'll be leaving behind a pinned tweet of my "greatest hits" anyways - in fact b4 you read those, just read johnkstuff.blogspot.com if u haven't already b4 it's gone

A year ago I started this account as a joke, to have fun making fun of modern animation trends & their online fandoms. I was very rude & abrasive at the beginning, feeling for the first time the freedom of anonymity to not pull any punches. I may have gone too far in a few places
The name John K respecter was, to me, an obvious jokey provocation - John had recently been exposed & disgraced & I'd seen the moniker "respecter" in usernames to connote self-aware ironic fanaticism. the Ren-in-Straightjacket avi made this clear, but many refused to get the joke
I'll admit to playing up the "edgy" factor in the first few months, but still trying 2 be too ridiculous 2 take seriously - u may have noticed I'm a Johnny Ryan fan - however, I did get a DM from someone who'd actually been harassed by John, who asked me to tone it down, so I did
the core of authenticity in my name, tho, was & is the importance of The Ren & Stimpy Show which even more than Roger Rabbit or The Simpsons was what jump-started the "90s renaissance" & brought TV cartoons out of the Dark Ages - turned out most Zoomers have NO knowledge of this!
"Why not just call yourself The Ren & Stimpy Show Respecter"? well, because at his best John K wasn't just the creator of the show, he was a truly revolutionary figure in the biz - he HAD to be, to get it made in the first place - & that revolutionary spirit is missing these days
I wanted to do a "hot takes" account that was just as provocative & merciless about the shortcomings of the industry & industry history as John was in interviews over the years, & on his once widely-read-by-up-and-coming-cartoonists johnkstuff.blogspot.com blog in the 2000s
my name wasn't just about being a provocation & a troll but also a filter for who I wanted to reach. Sometimes it's good to "separate the art from the artist" but trickier is when the artist is also a revolutionary figure - I wanted to cultivate a readership who could handle that
when it comes to "hot takes" & criticism, there's really 2 kinds: those who are advocating for good art, and shills. The former critiques industry & tries to use historical context to hold art to higher standards. The shill wants to be popular w/ fans & be friends w/ the industry
in film criticism, compare Roger Ebert to Armond White. the former was a friend of the movie industry in Hollywood. the latter is a critic whose idiosyncratic takes enraged shills - "he probably doesn't even mean it! he's just a contrarian!" - No. he was & is sincere and unafraid
but Ebert & Armond are both paid pros - so why do ppl spend time shilling corporate entertainment product on Twitter, for free? well, there's the dopamine of attention - and the parasocial narcissism of feeling you're part of fandom "communities" - Animation is for Everyone haha
why do ppl take this stuff so seriously? well, a lot more ppl than ever are lonely, alienated, and totally lacking any sense of community irl, so they gravitate towards online scenes & thanks to Social Media / cellular tech, you can be online all the time - more real than reality
I came here to make fun of dumb corporate entertainment and cultural trends - I quickly found out just how many ppl see these as one & the same, and I found myself taking Toon Twitter more seriously, in turn. It's addictive - you start believing any of this actually matters
a creepy moment for me, early on in this whole experience, was when I took a couple weeks away from my account & it felt like a whole month had gone by - time simultaneously flies by, and slows down on Twitter because of how fast it moves. It's the crack cocaine of social media
some of my haters were calling me a "Grifter" early on - I don't think they know what that means - many ppl on social media ARE jockeying for the position of "PRO critic" though, trying to build an audience for their YouTube channel. Like, subscribe, check out the Patreon link!
partly the reason I knew I had 2 end this eventually was that if I were going to justify continuing to spend as much of my free time as I have, I would've had to actually become a Grifter - screw that. Besides, how many ways can I keep making fun of the same dumb industry trends?
I also soon realized that being a REAL critic of modern animation meant identifying & criticizing the weird, parasocial derangement of ppl making children's cartoons (or YA cartoons) their personalities, sexualizing them, etc - I would've always had such ppl coming after me!
It was flattering when ppl suggested that I should start a YouTube channel because they liked my takes, but do I really want to make it my JOB to keep making fun of Woke Beanmouths? also, some of my haters are truly deranged and would 100% try to dox me & come after my family
One startling thing I learned from a year of doing this was how easy it is to form a cult of personality just by having a slightly exaggerated online persona & generating controversy around yourself- I get now why ppl become addicted to the attention & try to become "influencers"
I can't deny that sparring with nitwits helped build my following - attention is power and controversy generates attention - but ultimately, I really did care more about having interesting takes & criticism which is why I stopped trolling & went private, after finding an audience
I will also admit that when trolling & blocking ppl, I was out of line sometimes - but I really wasn't trying to be mean to anyone who wasn't being mean themselves, first. I hate bullies - no, really! - and social media mobs are nothing if not online gangs of bullies / mean girls
The obvious (but ignored) truth of Twitter is it runs on CONFLICT not consensus, which is why feel-good hashtags never generate as much attention as fighting- the character-limited tweet format is perfectly constructed to encourage being as bluntly cutting & snarky as possible
invariably my most popular tweets & threads were never what I considered my well-thought-out critiques or in-depth threads but just snarky insults tossed off the top of my head - okay, the doge meme took a little time to make - but mostly, Twitter just thrives on gut level roasts
I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing that this platform made for conflict, bec. obviously for someone like me who wants to make harsh criticisms it works perfectly- but ppl's brains get broken when they don't realize it's more the Thunderdome than the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
Twitter is a microcosm of the problem of SCALE on the modern Internet. Web 1.0 was a "wild west," yes, but that also meant there were fewer ppl - and they were more spread out, across niche website forums - not like "Social Media" where the platform extends to the whole world
the ongoing normie conquest of the Internet, the rise of social justice / wokeness, the proliferation of idpol narcissims re: gender & "neurodivergence" - these are best understood, like all revolutions, as primarily technological- the big 2010s revolution was Social Media itself
Corporate America & Governments love the idea of Social Media because if everyone is online in the same 3 or 4 places, everyone is easier to monitor - and in every large group of ppl are those who happily "do it for free" & inform to the cops - or police the discourse themselves
our corporate oligarchy's preferred format of Social Media, which we're pretty close to now, is one where Allowable Opinion / "Discourse" is narrowly limited to the circulation & celebration of corporate press releases - or government press releases, in the case of "journalism"
a similar process has played out on YouTube, which started as a very free & open forum for art & ideas by independent creators - now Big Tech & Big Biz are working very closely together to make sure that any controversial or "dangerous" content is suspended in favor of dog videos
the re-centralization of information & opinion flow, after it was democratized by the Internet, is the oligarchs' goal - Social Media is best understood as a tool for this - it's why there's such powerful pressure to conform to & amplify "correct" opinions & gang up on dissenters
This is all to say, in the past decade Social Media has gone from being another way to disseminate non-mainstream ideas on the Internet, to becoming its most censored & restrictive aspect - the 2010s rise of Wokeness happened bec. of Social Media's virtue-signaling feedback loops
My most controversial tweet, by far, had nothing to do with cartoons per se but with making fun of pronouns - or more specifically, pronoun / gender narcissism - the efficacy of Social Media as Panopticon is it enables mass numbers of insecure ppl to feel power & become bullies
The post-social media normie colonization & conquest of the Internet has been, for the younger among you, simply something you've grown up with - but it's going to continue to have consequences that you should prepare for, depending on how you use the Internet & for what purpose
the oligarchs who rule us actually have a lot invested in everyone being permanently online, now - corona / covid lockdowns have been a great boon to Amazon & Big Tech bec. 1) more ppl are shopping online / consooming streaming entertainment product, and 2) living on social media
as the first generation to grow up with Social Media, Zoomers were encouraged eliminate the division between one's irl & "online" self by displaying their real names & faces - creating a sense of over-socialized, hyper self-aware anxiety that craves constant approval & conformity
the events of the past year have merely accelerated trends already planned & set in place by our government & corporate oligarchs: elimination of public life in favor of an "always-online" existence of consooming w/ as much commerce & socialization as possible becoming digital
Generally speaking, we should all get offline more. it's Boomer advice and hard for me to say when I've enjoyed meeting so many of you thru Twitter, but it's true. The bigger problem is that Big Tech has tricked u into conflating "Social Media" platforms & "Online Community" as 1
"Online Communities" can be great things when they're SMALL spaces, like in the Web 1.0-2.0 message board days - these globalized social media platforms are simply too big & the scale drives ppl crazy; the sense that potentially the entire world sees whatever they tweet / post
Discord has taken off in popularity because it's allowed Zoomers who never experienced the early, unregulated and more PRIVATE internet to create their own smaller, enclosed communities - connecting w/ new ppl online can be GREAT but Social Media is mostly the toxic version of it
my broad advice, esp. for young ppl is: the Internet is over-socialized but it doesn't HAVE to be - DECENTRALIZE, use Discord, find message boards, remember yer friends & invite them to join private communities based on common interests - small is beautiful & GATEKEEPING IS GOOD
and if yer an aspiring Cartoonist? well, recently Ya Boi Zack advised total abandonment of Twitter & I can't say I don't see his logic- basically if you have any controversial (aka unwoke) opinions, sjws WILL comb thru your trails on major social media for cancel-able screenshots
...I do think independent artists need all the self-promotion resources they can get, which includes Twitter, but Zack & others have boosted Instagram as perhaps a better platform for Cartoonists - it's visually based, after all, and the comments format doesn't encourage "takes"
I also have to assume that many of you Cartoonists who're currently collaborating with each other on animation projects probably met each other through this platform, so while I'm not gonna recommend TOTAL rejection of Twitter u may wanna consider mostly posting ART and not TAKES
if you're a cartoonist & u become targeted for cancellation for yer opinions or just liking the wrong tweets (ie. mine) my advice is to ignore it - these ppl have the attention span of gnats & if you don't engage by groveling - or even fighting w/ them - they'll find a new target
Best insurance against "cancelation" for artists (besides regarding Social Media & esp. Twitter as the Woke Minefields they are) is simply to GIT GUD - your skill is something no one can take away from you - & good artists can grow their own fanbases online, outside the Toon Biz
I think it's hard for ppl who've grown up with the Internet to appreciate the fact that you don't need to appeal to the maximum # of ppl to have a career as an artist anymore, just a few thousand fans - in the big picture that's not very many & is def attainable for good creators
likewise, on the matter of Scaling Down Social Media - even though I had over a thousand followers went I went priv, there's only a few dozen I've interacted with on a regular basis - and doing so gave me far greater pleasure than insulting & blocking all those dozens of others
online "community" is not every single person on your TL who's talking about your subject of interest, or hobby - it's the ppl you interact w/ regularly, DM, collaborate with, bring into your private groups. there IS NO Mass-Scale online "Community," except to grifters and shills
I'm not saying that relocating to Discord or smaller forums means escape from Drama - that's been part of online life since BBS - but it does remove the "world stage" psychosis driving strangers to monitor & cancel you for clout, & maybe someday their Social (Media) Credit Score
re: Gitting GUD - for Cartoonists the tricky balance on the Internet is that while it lets you find an audience independently, it can still be a terrible time suck - Beanmouth Style happened bec. of oversocialized anxiety about skill level, on the SOCIAL MEDIA platform of Tumblr
I did some tweets about this upon realizing the dread Beanmouth Blob style arose when so many aspiring Cartoonists grew up on Social Media / Tumblr and, experiencing competition anxiety w/ so many others, promoted a "style" that was attainable to everyone - egalitarian mediocrity
in 1974 Marshal McLuhan said the following while addressing a university classroom: “The reason that most of you in this room find it difficult to imagine a GOAL in life is simply that you’re living in an ELECTRIC WORLD where EVERYTHING HAPPENS AT ONCE..."
McLuhan, con't: "...It’s hard to have a fixed point of view where EVERYTHING is HAPPENING SIMULTANEOUSLY. It is hard to have an OBJECTIVE in a world that is CHANGING FASTER than you can imagine the objective being fulfilled”

THIS is the anxiety that Social Media gives to artists
most problems in modern society ARE problems of Scale & if you’re engaged with Social Media, you need constant validation or just attention - everything in modern culture is geared around that - & to Git Gud not only takes time, but time on your own - study is a private practice
so for you Cartoonists my advice to spend less time on Social Media goes double or even triple- not just for your mental health, but because you need that time to study & work on your craft. Connect w/ cartoon fans & other artists, yes, & post your work when it's done - but WORK!
Online discourse itself- not just social media - is addictive because it simulates & tricks your brain w/ feelings of BATTLE & ADVENTURE- like Vidya - but here & even outside of the Big Social Media Platforms, that sense of activity you're feeling is always within virtual reality
the real "horseshoe theory" about Woke SJWs and the Online Right is that for the majority of both camps, this is merely "content" they consume off their computer screens- there's nothing to do but radicalize each other- a feedback loop of escalating towards a bigger mental high
besides polarized factionalism on social media there's also just the echo chamber effect on self-radicalizing, and this applies to fandoms as well, when it's how ppl define themselves - the race to have the most virtue signaling tags in your bio - tankies, bronies, what's the dif
the illusion that caring about politics A LOT on social media makes a difference in the system isn't different from the illusion that similar interactions with fandoms changes anything - outside of chatting w/ friends, you're just generating free advertising for these industries
the idea of a "global forum" is anathema to thoughtful discussion, good faith debate, constructive criticism & even one's sanity- at its best Twitter is for dunking on ppl & things you hate - even the "positive" ppl on here show this bec. they clearly love dunking on "the haters"
Twitter's innately contentious nature has 1 good quality: not the ability to argue w/ strangers but direct access to tell professionals in politics or entertainment that they SUCK- something which completely flips them out bc these hack frauds live in a world of self-satisfied bs
there's a kernel of truth in the clichés about Comedy "speaking truth to power" & how good comedy "punches upwards" - nowhere has this been more possible than on Twitter, actually - the "Toxic Positivity" phenom might be the blowback to this - ppl identifying themselves w/ fandom
Fandom on social media (again, as opposed to smaller & saner groups that happen to form online) tends to be taken too seriously as a result of disconnection from real culture & community - also can't discount how many ppl on these platforms are hoping to get industry jobs someday
the right / left feedback loop may not continue to play itself out in the future as it has so far, bec. Social Media is being censored more, but even as Online Fandoms go, my point is the same: Don't just complain & argue endlessly on computer screens - step back & live your life
for the Cartoonist, a life well-lived can mean drawing the kind of Cartoons you want to see, that the Toon Biz is failing to produce- and for Cartoon Fans, instead of settling for (or complaining about) new cultural product? Cartoon History is a treasure trove to discover & enjoy
while much Entertainment is, after all, just entertainment - it CAN be artful & it IS important for arts & entertainment to have meaning - that's why it's sad to see modern cartoon fans trying to divine greater meaning from such shallow cultural product - their souls are starving
Mass-produced commercial art can be just as amazing as small, independent & personal art, but corporate conglomeration and cultural homogenization have made the former very difficult in the 21st century & especially in this past decade of social media over-socialization brainrot
The Industry is not The Medium & indy animators are in a much better position to create great work on their own terms than indy live-action filmmakers who still have to raise big $$ to make films competitive w/ big studios - none of this home animation tech existed until recently
Furthermore, the modern Toon Biz doesn't OWN Cartoon History - if you stop waiting for the modern biz to stop sucking & just appreciate all the wonders of the past, you'll never run out of hidden gems - & unlike in the past, you can now virtually pull it all up online with ease
think of it like literature- there's endless literary history to explore & appreciate & learn from if you're an aspiring writer or just love reading- why waste time arguing w/ fans of modern YA crap when u could be happy talking to other literati - fellow readers, writers or both
the future looks bleak, so while it's fun to mock stupid things don't just wallow in negativity - share cool stuff, and form private friend groups. Big Tech & Government want u to think Social Media IS the Internet, but you still have freedom of association on the small scale
I've made my complaints about the state of the modern Toon Biz - I can't just go on complaining forever - I have no desire to grift for money & no delusions that my "hot takes" will change anything - complaining about things on Social Media really doesn't do anything & never has!
the idea that "Revolution" happens in anything, from politics to entertainment, as a spontaneous uprising from "the people" is a myth- it's always ever been the result of plans & actions from small groups of dedicated, motivated ppl- "Social Media Revolution" is a placebo at best
I have, at last, come full circle to the kind of positivity that characterizes Toon Twitter - but instead of the "toxic positivity" of Nerd Crew corporate boosterism (both from paid shills & unpaid simps) I'm only suggesting u celebrate the canon of classics instead - & draw more
I'm pinning a list of favorite tweets & threads for your enjoyment - DMs will remain open for staying in touch. & @lotus__point, if u ever need an enthusiastic guest for a Ren & Stimpy ep of TPN, who won’t balk at any John K related discussion - I’ll wear any perfume u want, boss
It's been incredibly flattering getting to share my thoughts w/ such a receptive crowd, and getting to talk Cartoons w/ so many of you guys who are so talented & really care about celebrating cartoons & making great work of your own- promoting accts for #FF has been a privilege
Thank you all for listening 2 what I had to say this past year, I hope I gave you some good laughs & pls feel free to stay in touch. In these days of social atomization & civilizational collapse I do dearly wish that you manage to form genuine human connections to ease the burden
Oh - and don't JUST read comics / watch animation ALL the time, either.

Don’t you know cartoons will ruin your mind?

/account

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More from @spumdonor

21 Feb
for like 40 years CalArts was "The Disney School" & "CalArts Style" just meant Disney clichés - this is what John was referring to back in the 2000s on his blog. When the Internet starting calling Beanmouth "CalArts" style it was because they noticed that many if not most of...
...the 2010s Beanmouth showrunners had graduated from there. But Genndy & McCracken went to CalArts too so what's the deal? well in the 90s CalArts became as influenced by Ren & Stimpy as everyone else & the parameters for "industry pro quality" animation styles became broader...
...so when CN gave Genndy & McCracken their shots, Dexter & PPG were so influential that "retro flat thick line" (or w/e) became the big trendy look in animation, & started getting taught at CalArts. see how it works? CalArts just teaches w/e they think is "industry quality"...
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