When does a joke become something more than just “in poor taste?” When does it call for magazine articles, angry tweets and a division in the fandom?
At the Supernatural convention in New Orleans, during the gold panel, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles were asked what their pick-up lines would be. (The question was prefaced with a reference to the animated Scooby Doo episode, as the questioner was cosplaying as Daphne – she said that one of the Winchester brothers would be hitting on Daphne, and that she wanted to get that out of the way.)
Jensen’s answer was, “Hey, let’s get this out of the way, because I can’t concentrate.”
Jared’s was, “Does this rag smell like chloroform to you?”
Jared’s joke is definitely not a new one. And if someone I didn’t know came up with that answer, then yes, I’d be offended. However, these are two actors that we know and love – two actors who have stood up for everything from bullying to depression, and it’s obvious that they don’t condone something as horrible as rape.
Was the joke in bad taste? Yes. But did it call for an overwhelming tidal wave of hate against the actors? At least one article in a well-known magazine about the situation? No.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand fans’ reaction to the joke. What gets me is the publications that take the opportunity to use attention-getting headlines just to get clicks. These are the publications that could care less about the good work that the actors do, but when they do anything even resembling something confrontational, they pounce on it.
Our actors do SO MUCH good – Jensen Ackles with Stronger than Storms, Jared Padalecki supports mental health with To Write Love on Her Arms and Attitudes in Reverse, and Misha Collins with Random Acts. There is so much negativity in the world, it’s time to start focusing on the positivity – time to start being optimists and lose the ‘snowflake’ syndrome that has affected so many people.
Sometimes people make a bad joke, and in the past, people would just groan and move on.
Supernatural is vastly different from many fandoms, just because of the sheer amount of support and time that we receive from our actors. These people – Jared, Jensen, Misha, and everyone else involved in the show – dedicate so much time and so much energy to not only filming the show, but to conventions; this year alone, Jared, Jensen and Misha have appeared at 18 conventions – with four more still to go. This is a lot of time spent away from their families, and I appreciate that.
As a fandom, we need to “Be the Clarence …” Be the good that we want to see in the world. Be kind.
For those that may not know who ‘Clarence’ is; Clarence is Meg’s nickname for Castiel — and “Be the Clarence” is Rachel Miner’s recent T-shirt campaign to raise money for Earthjustice. Rachel’s letter above says it perfectly, and it doesn’t just apply to Supernatural fans, but everyone.