The old Scale Modeler Magazine was my lifeline. At the age of 14, I would have considered suicide if I’d had a phone smart enough to suggest it. As it was, with the only phone we had being a rotary dial, wire-in-the-wall product of Western Electric made for Bell Telephone with an IQ of zero–I had to improvise my life choices and so I chose life.
Scale models. And Scale Modeler was my drug of choice. And they knew how to cheerlead–at least as good as Karen Habermann and that other foxy girl whose name was something like Karen Habermann.
Scale Modeler was an endless tsunami of positivity. Every kit was “finely detailed” and the most cro-magnon example from our friends at Airfix was “well engineered.” Japanese kits were “superbly engineered” and “featured exceptional detailing.”
Yeah baby. When I saw that Otto Kuni (or whatever) cover art in the copy down at Blind George’s Newstand in Grants Pass I’d flip. Just flip.
Recently, I compared the rhetoric from an old Scale Modeler with the language from a newer magazine. The new one contained an article on the Academy Catalina, and the author pointed out that the only good thing you could say about the interior of the Academy kit was that it had one.
“At least” it had one. Unquote.
Today’s model kit magazines are full of nasty, “mean girl” snark. It’s not that I merely became a mean and snarly old man as the years rolled past; the media assisted this transformation by becoming mean and snarly as well. It was a feedback mechanism.
Online forums simply put the final polish on it. Even the relatively mild “Airfix Tribute Forum” harbors “that guy” who always posts “a nice clean model,” when he means “it looks like a toy.” Or maybe “Nice job. Hard to believe it’s 1/72 scale.” Or perhaps “Nice finish, for brush painting.”
You get the idea. Forums are snarky places even when well-moderated and dedicated to being “no snark zones”–it’s still snark city.
But I can’t really blame the unfortunates who are caught up in this cycle of snark, neurotic perfectionism, more snark, more neurotic perfectionism–because they are products of a terrible system that just grew up like a mushroom. The air, it seems, is full of hostility and contempt and testosterone-fueled envy and competitiveness. So much so that I’m finding that I’m having to de-toxify myself.
I can’t build models for the fun of it unless I “un-learn” what I’ve absorbed from the last twenty or thirty years of ever-increasing nastiness. I have to go back to Source–back to my old copies of Scale Modeler and re-learn how to have fun. I have to let go of ALL of the crap I’ve accumulated from years of mis-guided forums and publications and the evil that men do…
I’ll try, so help me I’ll try, to be more aware of this and just let go of the negativity.
Like I said. I’ll try…