I'm all for spending one's time and money on frivolous pursuits. For real! I love it when people spend hours making tributes to things that they love and then share it on the internet. But two recent nerd internet endeavors have made me wince, for very similar reasons:
1. A Kickstarter campaign to build a statue of Robocop in Detroit is currently at $61,071. This is comparatively little money, I understand, but couldn't Detroit use a whole lot of stuff before a Robocop statue? $61,000 would more than pay a school teacher's annual salary in Detroit. Wouldn't it be more in keeping with the...uh...spirit of Robocop or whatever if the fans actually donated money to something that would help make Detroit a better place? A Robocop Memorial Endowment for Education would be just as silly, but it would actually help people in need.
This is way more egregious, as far as I'm concerned: When Firefly
actor Nathan Fillion told Entertainment Weekly
"“If I got $300 million from the California Lottery, the first thing I would do is buy the rights to Firefly
, make it on my own, and distribute it on the Internet,” his fans took him seriously
. They started HelpNathanBuyFirefly.com
and are taking pledges to buy the rights of the TV show from Fox. Even if Fox was willing to sell the property, it would cost somewhere in the millions (probably tens of millions) of dollars. I can think of hundreds of things that need tens of millions of dollars right now, and buying the rights to a cancelled TV show based on the off-handed suggestion of an actor is right at the bottom of the list. (And I say this as someone who is [completely coincidentally] re-watching Firefly
on Netflix Watch Instantly right now. Just last night, I was thinking it's a shame that one of the upstart cable networks wasn't doing their thing back in the day; Firefly
was just as good as Breaking Bad
or Mad Men
, and it probably could've done just as well, if not better than those shows.)
And, look: I know this is an argument that has been made and debunked many times before. If I really cared so much about making a difference in the world, why don't I leave my job as a glorified typist and go help starving children somewhere? But you've gotta draw a line somewhere, and I feel justified in drawing my line when it comes to serious conversation about creating a multimillion-dollar nonprofit organization dedicated to buying the rights to a TV show. The show's been off the air for almost a decade; you'll never get it back the way you had it. Write fan-fiction. Hell, start a letter-writing campaign. But this is too much.