When I was a teenager, but like thirteen, I used to love the adjective “fucking love.” Sometimes I’d screw it up and say, “love fucking.” My younger sister had to correct me on it multiple times, which was embarrassing. Being a privileged teen white male, I responded to that embarrassment by doubling down on my mistakes. Luckily, by the time I took a writing class at Columbia College, I had the cursing in prose out of my system. One of the most inevitable slang phrases is for being a fan of someone. Or adjectives to describe that person. Rick Astley is off the hook, for instance. Rick Astley was never off the hook, by the way. All right—confession time: I liked “Together Forever” when I was nine. I am that white. Anyway, back to the future. 2016 has sucked. One of the sucky moments was “Captain America has been a Hydra [Nazi] agent all along.” Specifically how crappy comic book fans and even comic book creators attacked this new breed of comics fan. One who’s interested in it without the nostalgia. The girls have basically arrived at the comic book store and everyone—creators included—are reacting like William Dickey. It’s awful. It being 2016 and all, I have a vague social media-based relationship with a comics creator who was asking about it. I blew up in my first Internet forum (Facebook, but still) post in what must be eight years—I know I crap-mouthed Iron Man 1 over at First Showing. I implored this creator to look at the civilians—not the comics elite and pseudo-elite and just plain fans—were feeling about it. I told him I “adored” him, which was a difficult adjective to decide on. The Internet, like it or not, has very much changed how people relate to one another. Facebook caught on because it wasn’t pretending to be AOL and because MySpace was a visual nightmare. There’s something active in adoration—the subject being adored has to be ambitious on multiple levels and succeeding on them. They have to be impressive and surprising, but not surprising because they’re impressive. There’s also a possible condescending read to it, but it’s what makes adore such a strange compliment. It requires the recipient of the compliment to acknowledge their accomplishments and that responsibility for them. There’s a whole lot more here—especially since this topic came to mind because I’m hoping there’s a new episode of the Rocket podcast for my run.

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