fidesquaerens (marta_bee) wrote,

a quick (ETA: not-so-quick, apparently!) question for the non-Americans

The Sherlock fandom, at least my corner of it, is all abuzz over some death threats Amanda Abbington received after defending Steven Moffat against some Twitter abuse. I usually research these things better before passing them along, but this time for some reason I just assumed it was a recent thing or even working out what the cause of the ruckus was. I think because there was some suggestion it had been started by some Johnlock fans who went way overboard, for reasons that are spoilerish but you could probably piece it together if you look at iMDB's cast list and know your Doyle canon. Or, you know, if you use Google.

Anyway, this whole thing got me thinking about the way different people interpret language. Americans tend to say really violent things against people we disagree with or are angry with, but that doesn't usually mean we literally want them dead, let alone plan to do anything about it. (Several good examples of this trend here, re: the recent government shutdown.) This isn't okay, it's dangerous and certainly not a good way to promote respectful dialogue with people we disagree with. But I wonder if this isn't a uniquely American fault? So someone not from America might be excused for reading tweets along the lines of "I can't believe you said that, someone should just shoot you dead" or whatever was actually said as being more aggressive than it might be meant by an American who said it?

To be clear -

1) I adore Amanda Abbington. She's a dear, has a wonderful sense of humor, and is great at engaging with Sherlock fans. I hate that anyone would get lashed at by fans, but her particularly.
2) Even if she wasn't, there's a line between disliking a certain character that upsets your interpretation and being a bit vicious to the actress hired to play her. Or getting bound up in an idea that Moffat writes LGBT characters, or women, or people of color, etc. badly --an idea that is at least arguable-- and lashing out at someone defending a coworker who's facing a bit of a pile-on. That crosses the line in a major way.
3) I am not excusing this violent language. As a pacifist, I hate it quite intensely. I'm not trying to say the fact that this is increasingly common stateside doesn't make it okay.

Still, I find myself wondering: how common are violent threats not meant to really threaten violence in other places? Brits, I'm particularly interested in your experience, if you have any (since both Amanda and Moffat are British), but anyone with an opinion, I'd be interested.

On a related note: Amanda and Martin Freeman are longterm romantic partners. They live together and have kids together. But to my knowledge they're not actually married. I think you got the same thing with Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens in New Zealand, and even Johnny Depp and that model (sorry, I'm blanking on the name) in France. To an American this seems wonderfully hippie-ish, an intentional slam against the institution of marriage or maybe people who just lack a certain degree of commitment. But I get the impression this is actually accepted around the world, at least more accepted than it is in America. Is that true?

Any thoughts on any of this would be appreciated.
Tags: cultural differences, language, sherlock, twitter

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