So I’ve been (fully) actively part of the Power Rangers fandom for almost a year now (See what I did there? Article throwback. lol). Since the time I posted the first “Trouble With Tommy” article, many things have transpired. Jason David Frank going to more and more conventions, more vocal on Twitter, Facebook, and, of course, Instagram is definitely among the front runners. With that increased exposure comes a few slip-ups here and there, of course. It happens to the best of us (“Why the Hell Are You in the Power Rangers Tag?”, anyone?). The thing is that with great fan base volume comes great responsibility.
Anyway, we should get on to the meat and potatoes of this entire post.
Remember in my first “The Trouble With Tommy” how I talked about those hypothetical situations of “If such-and-such Ranger faced So-and-So Ranger, who would win?” Well, they’re not so hypothetical anymore! With the introduction of the Morphin’ Madness contest, fans can vote for their favorite Power Rangers in a head-to-head bracket style tournament! The thing is, let’s just say that the “Madness” part isn’t too far off from the truth.
As of typing this post, we are currently in the third of four rounds. Jason David Frank has caught wind of the contest and has started urging his fans to vote for the Tommy Rangers that are currently still in the running, which are MMPR Green, MMPR White, and Dino Thunder Black. No big deal. Just an actor rallying his fans all in good fun, right? Apparently not, once he was notified that he was losing:
First of all, I think we all can tell that this contest isn’t rigged. First sign of poor sportsmanship is the implementation of excuses. Second, just because there are a number of us who don’t vote for any form of Tommy, it doesn’t give anyone the right to call us “haters”. Tommy isn’t the only Ranger in the franchise’s existence. Calling him “the best” is purely subjective, as you can ask five people and there will be at least three different opinions on the character.
Speaking of fans, I actually am reminded of a small paragraph I wrote in the last Tommy article:
“You also have the fans who argue inconsolably amongst themselves about which Tommy power is the greatest. This can often turn senseless, as it traditionally becomes a male reproductive organ-waving contest as to who has the better powers, why one power shouldn’t exist over another, and; at some point or another, the blatant attack of one’s intelligence for not agreeing.”
The only difference being that instead of internal altercations within the “Tommy Fandom” subsect, this attitude has been aimed outward towards others. If we’re meant to call each other friend, or fellow fan, we can’t have things like this. This is why we can’t have nice things, folks. Things like this:
(Eddie Gallardo is a fantastic person, by the way. And to insinuate otherwise is just low.)
Look, folks, if you call campaign posters cheating the system, then what do you call this?
Let’s not have the pot call the kettle black here, guys. This was all supposed to be in good fun, and it was taken WAY out of hand. I personally don’t take kindly to being called a “hater” for not voting for Tommy in any way, shape, or form. I don’t like being told that I can “vote the way I want” and then be the target of incessant whining because things aren’t going your way.
I’ve said this before and I will say it until my face turns blue: Tommy isn’t the only Ranger in the franchise. If you love Tommy and/or Jason David Frank and the earth he walks on, so be it. Don’t come down on others for thinking otherwise and do NOT use Morphin’ Madness as a vehicle for your self-imposed religion.
Voting is a symbol of democracy. Democracy is a symbol of FREEDOM. You know, that thing that allows us to do as we please within a certain realm of reason? Which means if we want to rally votes, we can. But when we start getting things like this:
Then we start getting off the beaten path a bit. I’m all for rallying votes. That’s called campaigning. And you know what we’re campaigning for? FUN. We are campaigning for fun. Stuff like this? That’s called bribery. You want to wave a finger at the fandom for “cheating the system”? Might want to have a look at this.
Look, folks. I looked up to Tommy when I was growing up. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers first aired while I was in Kindergarten. I was on the Green Ranger hype train for a long time. But, when I start seeing things like this. Such dirty talk from a person who I once looked up to, it breaks my heart, guys. To be called a hater for not voting a certain way, being shamed for not idolizing someone? That’s not how this fandom works. We’re supposed to respect and accept each other despite our differences. Not clique up and point fingers when things don’t go our way.
Tommy Fandom, if that’s the game you want to play, if you want to claim yourselves as your own country, so be it. But it’s definitely not a game the rest of us are going to play. The ship carrying the Power Rangers fandom’s tolerance for you has sailed, and with it, the tolerance for the JDF/Tommy hype train.
In closing, the “Trouble With Tommy”? Intolerance. The inability to accept another’s opinion unconditionally without resorting to shaming or disrespect. If we as a community are going to endure, that needs to change.