A polite retort to the Anti-Gatekeepers

by Bill Cable
on 2018-01-31, 08:00:34

Earlier this week, I came across a comic strip on social media, the author of which I'll bet thought was quite astute...

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The first few frames are relatively benign, with cheap shots against Disney and the Prequels/Sequels (or the people who complain about Disney and the Prequels/Sequels). But what caught my attention was the final frame, stating this:

"Vintage Collectors gatekeeping is the most toxic thing in Star Wars fandom and is killing the Collecting Community."

In this context, gatekeeping most likely references when respected, long-time collectors point out how certain collecting practices damage the hobby. There have been a number of scuffles on Facebook; one where some dude talks about selling reproductions of unproduced Droids animated figures, or any time somebody steps up to extol the virtues of U-Grading. And collectors who find such activities offensive chime in and attempt to educate the poster (and everyone who reads the thread) about best practices.

In better times - before today's hyper-partisan culture, such enlightenment would have been welcomed, even appreciated. But today, when the entitlement to be butt-hurt reigns supreme, these overtures are confronted with a ceaseless venom. The repro discussion in the Droids and Ewoks group, (a closed group you'll need to join to view, but the group is totally worth joining on its own merits) is particularly representative of this dynamic. You have two guys who claim to be expert collectors (neither of whom, incidentally, anybody I know has ever heard of) attack deeply respected collectors with alternating waves of disdain and envy, trying to justify their reasons for collecting fakes.

These sorts of arguments are what prompted the comic strip author to write. But does he blame the jealous, entitled jerks who can't just ignore, but must openly revolt against the wisdom of world-renowned collectors? No - he blames GATEKEEPING! Collectors attempting to ensure best practices are THE MOST TOXIC thing and KILLING the community! Talk about getting something bass-ackwards! I mean, consider for a moment that maybe there's a REASON that these gate-keeping collectors have published numerous Star Wars collecting books and web sites. Maybe the decision of Lucasfilm to selects from these collectors to run the Collecting Track at Star Wars Celebrations IS JUSTIFIED because they ARE EXPERTS. Maybe when they tell you a repro you buy for your personal collection could one day end up in an unsuspecting collector's hands thinking it's original, it's BECAUSE THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS.

You know what's really toxic, Mr. or Mrs. comic strip writer? It's when some ignorant fool spouts demonstrably incorrect information on social media, then demands it be acknowledged and respected as Gospel truth! And when he proceeds to defend the indefensible for hours of days or weeks, leaving no rebuttal unanswered. Rather than learn and grow, he decides he must prove he's right no matter what. THAT is what's really toxic.

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