Marc Guggenheim has been something of a controversial figure of late.
That’s what happens, after all, when you’re Executive Producer of… a pretty controversial program. While it’s unfair to say that Arrow is universally hated, there are definitely quite passionate detractors of the program. It’s felt, by many viewers, that Arrow has had something of a decline in recent years - a lot of these people have in turn attributed this perceived drop in quality to the work of Marc Guggenheim.
I’m one such fan; though I used to love Arrow, I’ve been far from impressed recently. An article I wrote on the subject of Felicity gained a little traction lately; I’m in the process of drafting up a couple more, because Arrow is, if nothing else, certainly inspiring me to write. (Critically, admittedly, but it’s writing all the same.)
A lot of what I dislike about the show’s direction, at present, can largely be attributed to Marc Guggenheim; after all, he is in charge of the program. Even the aspects that don’t come directly from him have, at some stage or another, had his influence and input upon them.
I feel that this warrants criticism. Hence my writing! I think the fridging of Laurel Lance was an appalling, even offensive story choice. I feel like the character arcs have been severely mishandled across season 4. I seriously, seriously question the reasoning behind a lot of what he does.
What this does not warrant, however, is abuse.
Guggenheim has come under a lot of flack recently, and a worryingly large amount of it is distinctly personal. Rather than critiquing the writing, many have stooped to simply attacking the writer.
This isn’t the refrain of any one website; individuals on twitter, reddit and tumblr are guilty of this. It’s inaccurate to comment on any one group, because to homogenise the users like that is to ignore a lot of nuance. More to the point, though, I’m not trying to start a witch hunt - to single out blame for reddit or tumblr or twitter is to miss what really matters.
On a fundamental level, it’s just cruel. Nothing excuses a personal attack on a writer - it doesn’t matter what you think of “Olicity”. We all need to have a degree of decency in our interactions with people; just because these interactions are happening online doesn’t mean you’re free to be horrible.
As well as that, though, it lowers the standard of debate. It doesn’t matter how many intelligent and insightful critiques there are, because the hatred drowns those voices out. No one will ever listen to criticisms of Marc Guggenheim’s writing if the impression they get is of a bunch of angry internet trolls who are just spreading hatred. No one will ever listen to criticisms of Olicity if they come across as misogynistic whining.
We, collectively, have to be better than that. If we want Arrow to change, then the standard of our criticism has to be robust. Call Marc Guggenheim out for his fridging of Laurel; don’t call him names.
To save Arrow, we have to be something else. Someone else.
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