Yup I have indeed met Steven Moffat! And you know what? He was absolutely lovely. Genuinely one of the most wonderful and humble people I have met - certainly the most inspiring and comfortable to be around writer I have ever met.
Just a bit of background, Moffat’s era of Who pretty much saved my life. No, not pretty much, it did. 100% saved it. I was living in a youth mental hospital at the time and I had actually overdosed on some painkillers I stole one time, which obviously failed in killing me, and was planning on trying again until I by chance reached ‘The Eleventh Hour’ in my Doctor Who marathon. Since ‘The Stolen Earth’ I was unfortunately kinda disillusioned about Doctor Who and Russel’s writing. Apart from the glorious ‘Waters of Mars’, the specials were frankly god awful - and I’m not directly saying that it had an impact on my suicide attempt, but it certainly wasn’t giving me something to keep me going. And ‘The Eleventh Hour’ gave me that. In bucket loads. It gave me that in the music, in the story, in the direction, in the tone, but most of all in the writing. In the dialogue. In the characters. And through watching Amelia Pond grow and learn from the very same issues I had, to become a kind beautiful compassionate woman literally saved me. Because if Amy can do it, so can I. Moffats Who gave me a reason to live. So naturally meeting him was going to be overwhelming - not least because it took me by surprise.
It was actually in a hotel corridor in London that I met him. He just walked past me while I was on my way to breakfast and honestly I nearly slammed into a wall. I ended up awkwardly calling his name and bolting towards him. It was super exciting and I was super nervous and bolty and I was terrified he’d think I was a nutter but he was so lovely I swear.
I told him that I was a fan of Doctor Who, that I loved his work and that his writing had had a massive impact on my life and had brought me joy at a time I didn’t think there could be joy in my life. He told me that it brought him joy to know that his version of Doctor Who had the same impact on me that the classic series had on him as a child. We actually then started talking a little bit about internet hate and things because from his response, I told him I was sorry that he was bullied as a child (because I could relate to the bullying situation so so well) to which he replied that he’s used to it even as an adult because of twitter and tumblr and the internet and their accusatory hate that goes with it I had to remind him that no matter what people think of him, he saved a girls life with his writing and that’s the important thing. He told me that I had made his week. (incidentally him saying that made my year. Yes I did tear up in front of him…) I then did the typical ‘asking for advice’ thing, because although I’m predominantly an artist, I would really love to write too, and he told me to write for yourself. First and foremost. Writing needs to be for you. It needs to be a story you want to hear, and if not write about yourself. Write about your life. Turn your life into a metaphor and turn those metaphors into metaphors and then some. idk I’m putting it a bit more poetically than he did and he said a lot more (specifically more personal stuff concerning my life that I won’t write here) but damn was he inspiring. And humble. And shy. And totally completely lovely.
That’s why I get so upset when people call him an arrogant cocky pretentious sexist douche-bag. Because he is just so so not. He is the antithesis to ‘arrogant’ like he is genuinely painfully humble its almost upsetting. He’s not sexist either. I don’t know him personally of course, but I’m sure I know him better than a majority of his haters on tumblr, and, in the space of five minutes, he managed to sub verse all of the disgusting attributes tumblr pins him down with. So seeing death threats and hate and vitriol, on a very personal level, angers me. More than that, it hurts me.
So yes Sal, you are correct in thinking that Steven Moffat is lovely. It absolutely pains me, to the point of tears, that tumblr is so judgmental and vehement in its mob mentality style hatred of him. Because he doesn’t deserve it. As a traumatically bullied child, not to mention a cyber-harassed, mocked and traumatically bullied adult, he simply doesn’t deserve it.
Steven Moffat was one of many reasons I didn’t kill myself. Not the only or most important but he was significant.
That doesn’t mean that he is perfect, that his work is perfect, or that people should not criticise him.
But you have to remember that most virulent criticism of “geek royalty” doesn’t just hurt the “geek royalty”. It doesn’t even primarily hurt them. It hurts people like OP and myself. People who aren’t that socially powerful, people who cling to problematic but beautiful art (yes, TV is art) to help us literally survive. Be angry at representation issues all you want but remember that this is not an excuse to harass people (even powerful people.) And it’s certainly not an excuse to harass fans (many of whom are LITERALLY CHILDREN, and who find the works they are fans of important to their literal survival.)
I will defend Steven Moffat, Joss Whedon, J.K. Rowling, John and Hank Green, and a host of problematic powerful dudes, not primarily for THEIR sake but for the sake of people like the OP. Incredibly lonely people finding solace in things, even if those things are flawed. People who are often very young. Who are often teenage girls (a group society shits on a lot.) There are members of fandom royalty people I have little to no regard for and don’t want to defend (Lady Gaga, Ryan Murphy, Russel T Davies, JJ Abrams, Martin Freeman, Tyler Oakley, Eric Kripke) but I still think it’s important that people are allowed to like them. Because liking things, even deeply flawed things, can literally keep people alive.
Criticism can be important and nourishing too. Sometimes. So I’m told. Personally I don’t find it helpful, but other people do. But people have a right to get angry about things if it helps. But when you descend to personal harassment of creators that’s not okay. And when you descend to making a mentally ill teenager feel guilty about loving a story that helped her stay alive, you need to look at your life and look at your choices REALLY FUCKING HARD.
People are personally offended that I like Moffat Who and have told me so, on anon and off it. People are personally offended that I used a story to help me cope with suicidal ideation. If you are one of those people, unfollow me now.
It’s about time that I reblogged this.