Blog #20: A Letter to Aaron Archer

For my readers (all five of you) who don’t know who Aaron Archer is, he is the Design Director of the Transformers Brand at Hasbro.  (If the title’s wrong, blame Wikipedia.)

Dear Aaron…may I call you Aaron?  I’m going to assume so.  Aaron, I want to talk to you about something, but first I want to point out three things.

First, I’ve been collecting Transformers since I was eight years old in 1984, have nearly 4000 toys and over 7000 other pieces of Transformers memorabilia, and I’ve been to all but four Botcon/OTFCC’s.  Why am I telling you this?  I just want you to know where I’m coming from.  I’ve been collecting TFs for a long time and plan to be for a long time to come.  I’m not some kid with nothing better to do.  I take my collection very seriously.

Second, I think you should know why you should listen to me: There’s not one damn reason for you to listen to me.  I’m nobody, just a guy with an opinion.  I happen to think my opinion is 100% right, which is probably what everyone thinks of their own opinions, or else why would we have them?  I’d like to think, if nothing else, you’ll think about my opinion, but for the record, I don’t actually expect you will (if you even by some chance happen to read this, which I seriously doubt).

Third, I just can’t help make a joke, so…yeah, there will be a lot of that.  If you can’t look past that at the point, well…I don’t really care.

Now on to the topic of this letter…I’m writing to you about something I feel very strongly about, something I like to call, the Erector Dysfunction.  🙂  When the voting began for the Hall of Fame a friend of mine called me.  He was all upset because fans were voting for Erector for the HoF.  He said that they were making the fandom look silly and people wouldn’t take us seriously.  I found this absolutely hysterical, and gave him two reasons why this wasn’t a big deal.

Reason Number 1: I’m 35 years old and collect toy robots.  Does anyone actually take me seriously?  Honestly, I don’t care if they do or not.  Do you know what they call fans who take their fandom way too seriously?  Twilight fans. 🙂  I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t want to be thought of in the same category as Twilight fans.  (Sorry, Twilight fans, no offense, but some of you are scary crazy, even you’ve got to admit that.)  I found the whole thing hysterical that a bunch of fans were having a laugh at nominating a penis joke to the Hall of Fame.  The HOF is a fandom event.  By definition, fandom should be fun, or at least that’s what I think.  I take my collection seriously, but my fandom fun (and my eggs scrambled).  I told my friend that I was going to vote for Erector for no other reason than it amused me to do so.

Reason Number 2: I said there was absolutely no chance that Hasbro would allow Erector to go on into the next round of voting.  Couldn’t happen.  Won’t happen.  Not in a million years.  Not possible.

Turned out I was only 50% right.  Aaron, what the hell were you people thinking?  It was a joke.  All you had to do is take the top vote getters without Erector and say that it was an executive decision.  That would have been the end of it.  The fans would have had their laugh, and the Erector Dysfunction would have been nothing more than something for them to chuckle about like the Botcon 96 tenth anniversary screening of Transformers the Movie.  (Which for the record, I think was far funnier.)

Instead, you heaped fuel on the fire by allowing Erector into the next round.  Hell, I saw the Botcon twitter tweeting pictures with Erector photoshopped into Optimus Prime’s death scene and others.  I still can’t believe that all actually happened.  Some fans were having a laugh and you let them turn your HOF voting into a mockery.  Aaron, Hasbro has no one to blame for that but themselves.  I voted for Erector, how could I resist.  I laughed as I did so.

Then of course, Erector didn’t win, and Waspinator (who I was sure would win all along) was elected, and now we get to the main focus of this letter.  It was over, done, finished.  Erector hadn’t been elected, the fans had a laugh, and that was all, but you just couldn’t leave at that, could you?  And of course, you didn’t just throw fuel on the fire, no, you walked into a gas filled room and pulled the pin from a live grenade.  You just had to scold the fandom for not taking the HOF voting seriously.

What the hell were you thinking, Aaron!?!?  Has ANY good ever come from scolding a fandom?  The last time I remember anyone scolding the Transformers fandom was in Chicago in 2004 and 75% of those in attendance wanted to burn the scolder in effigy and another 10% didn’t think effigy was good enough.  Now, obviously, these two events don’t have much in common.  I think you’re doing a wonderful job the with Transformers line, while the previously mentioned scolder had already heard the death knell of his “career”, but a scolding is a scolding, and you put yourself in the same category with him.

All you had to do is let it go.  Just ignore it.  It was a bunch of fans having a laugh and it was done.  I assume you know what’s going to happen next year.  You’ve essentially challenged the fandom to do it again, and I hope to god that is exactly what happens.  I for one can’t wait for the nominations to open. I already know who I’ll be nominating and have a great slogan picked out:

“Vote Windbreaker!  It’ll be a gas!”

Or maybe this:

“Vote Revenge of the Fallen Devastator!  He’s a candidate with balls!”

Or perhaps this:

“Vote Skids and Mudflap!  If you don’t, that’s because you’re a p*ssy!”

I could do these all day, but I think that is sufficient.  Oh hell, here’s one more:

“Vote Nexus Maximus!  Please Google for more information!”

I hope I’ve made my point.  Just let it go next time.  Nothing annoys me more than someone trying to take the fun out of fandom, and it can’t possibly make you look good.

One final note on the Hall of Fame.  How is it that after two years Chris Latta hasn’t been inducted?  If Peter Cullen and Frank Welker are Number 1 in voice acting importance (and I agree with that) then Chris Latta is number 2 (and I’d throw another deceased voice actor, Scatman Crothers, in there at number 2 also).  His daughter was even in attendance this year.  What would be more perfect than inducting him posthumously with his daughter there to accept on his behalf.  You missed the boat.  If you don’t induct him next year, the HOF is a joke anyway, and we may as well actually elect Erector.

Thanks for reading!

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About lmb3

I’m 36 years old, and I work in network tech support for a public school system. I am a huge fan of Star Trek, Transformers, Harry Potter, and Marvel Comics as well as numerous other fandoms. I’m a big sports fan, especially the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. I collect toys (mostly Transformers but other stuff too), comic books, and Red Sox baseball cards. I watch an obscene amount of television and love going to the movies. I am hopelessly addicted to Wizard Rock and I write Harry Potter Fanfiction, though these days I am working on a couple of different original YA novels.
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4 Responses to Blog #20: A Letter to Aaron Archer

  1. lmb3 says:

    @Armchair Warrior Yeah, I kind of thought you’d like it. 🙂

  2. lmb3 says:

    @Hal Jordan I read about it elsewhere, and it wasn’t described quite like that. Either way, I think my point still stands. They never should have acknowledged it or let it get beyond the nominations. You’re right about all fandoms being obsessive to some extent (I know I am), and I just think even acknowledging it was asking for it to happen again.

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. Armchair Warrior needs food badly says:

    By far, this was the Best Thing I read about Botcon 2011 🙂 Thank you for the laughs. It’s when people start putting themselves on a pedestal (or taking it too-seriously) that they become objects of ridicule. Rightfully so.

    If the fandom would have a longer memory, perhaps these folks would get their just desserts.

  4. Hal Jordan says:

    Was it this? (Botcon 2011 Hasbro Story Building Panel article from the TFW 2005 website)

    “Aaron did say he wants the Hall of Fame to be taken seriously. They enjoyed the joke and liked the laughs it gave them, but please keep it to the characters who changed the dynamic of the story. Aaron says tier C-E characters, not tier Z.”

    That seems fairly mild. I’m glad Waspinator won.

    Traditionally, Transfans and Trekkies are two of the most obsessed fan groups, although probably any fan group is obsessive to some point. Buffy fans, Smallville fans, Stargate fans, etc. Some fans just enjoy the shows for entertainment and others take them way too seriously.

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