George R. R. Martin, the creative genius behind the iconic Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon series, has expressed his disillusionment with the current state of discussions surrounding books, movies, and TV. He points the finger at social media for fostering an environment where negativity thrives, effectively quashing any room for healthy debate.
On his blog, Martin shared his nostalgia for a time when “rational discourse” was the norm, a stark contrast to today’s climate where the joy of engaging with fictional worlds is overshadowed by a tendency to highlight and revel in their shortcomings rather than celebrate their successes. The celebrated author reminisces about how immersing himself in the imaginative realms of literature and screen used to be a refuge from the harsh realities of life. This sentiment seems increasingly difficult to maintain in the face of pervasive online criticism.
“Well, I take solace where I can,” Martin said. “In books. In films and television shows… though even there, toxicity is growing. It used to be fun talking about our favorite books and films, and having spirited debates with fans who saw things different… but somehow in this age of social media, it is no longer enough to say ‘I did not like book X or film Y, and here’s why.’ Now social media is ruled by anti-fans who would rather talk about the stuff they hate than the stuff they love, and delight in dancing on the graves of anyone whose film has flopped.”
I wholeheartedly agree with George. There’s a lot of currency to be had in negativity, and sadly, it’s escaped the YouTube bubble and is now rife on Twitter (yes, I know it’s called X, but I don’t care) and other forums.