I hope nothing bad happened. If he's moved on from the Board, that's okay. I do miss his input on lots of things. It'd be nice if he was here.
I've made discreet inquiries. He's fine.
It's almost like people who were fans of a show that went off the air 20 years ago have gravitated toward other interests and use of their time!
Nah... that can't be it.
I think Informant is displeased that Sliders.TV would not be his echo chamber for men's rights activists, birthers, neo-Nazis, scam artists and alt-right white supremacists -- oh, I'm sorry, Informant, I mean "free-thinkers" and "Libertarians." That was a typo.
Informant is not a men's rights activist or a neo-Nazi or a white supremacist or a birther or a scam artist. Informant's a really good guy -- but he has particular views and those are the 'experts' he turns to in order to support his personal perspectives.
The final straw for him, I suspect, was when he posted anti-abortion conspiracy theories parroting mostly false claims that Ralph Northam had said infanticide was legal in order to express Informant's anti-abortion views. Informant later declared this anti-abortion view to be the default view of the Sliders.TV community.
(Northam himself is a moderately convoluted issue due to Northam's inarticulate incoherence, please see https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump … n-execute/ for a full summary.)
I edited Informant's post to add a paragraph in bold containing a message from me saying that Informant in no way spoke for the community and that he was (probably) joking (about that part). After that, I think he got fed up.
Do we miss Informant? I don't know, I don't speak for this community. Do I miss Informant? I miss the good he brought to this community. I don't miss the bad.
ARTURO: "I favour the good things in life. I oppose the bad things in life."
QUINN: "Way to go out on a limb, Professor."
I miss Informant's storytelling skill and analytical ability when it comes to plot, characterization, structure and execution. The SLIDERS fan community is a huge part of how I went from troubled teenager who cowered in the face of any and all criticism to someone who could laugh and agree when Nigel Mitchell (or you, Transmodiar) called my writing indecipherable and unworkable. Informant offered a different approach to criticism when commenting on my SLIDERS writing process where I was nervous about having the sliders defeat the Season 3 monsters with non-violent MACGYVER-esque tactics.
Informant said that all fiction has specific goals on the author's part where authors decide what kind of story they want to tell and achieving those goals can mean accepting that other objectives won't be met. A story where Rembrandt defeats the animal human hybrids and with a bag of peanuts may be funny, earnest and show a triumph of imagination over mental illness and horror -- but it might not be totally rational and plausible. A story where the sliders run a fast food operation specializing in mini-hamburgers may be a delightful joke -- but it might not be sensible and logical.
But, Informant pointed out, if the author wants whimsical lunacy over tightly plotted rigour and realism, then it's alright to accept flaws in favour of acquiring specific strengths.
Informant always advised me and other creators to tell our stories our way. To welcome and embrace criticisms always and mine them for what they're worth. (TRANSMODIAR: "You can't have the rock star vampires defeated by high intensity soundwaves. They're ROCK STAR vampires.") But to also make sure to distinguish between advice that helps our stories and advice that instead tells other people's stories. (TRANSMODIAR: "Quinn has a secondary backup personality in his brain and that personality is Mallory?! That is ridiculous. Go back and re-read what you just wrote!")
I've read every single book Informant has ever written and they're all really good. They are not the stories I would write, they aren't necessarily the stories I would want to read, but they are extremely well-written and are fundamentally opposed to fascism, inequality, racism, prejudice and cruelty and indicate strong moral principles and great compassion for the weak. I follow Informant on Twitter (which is how I know he's alive).
Which brings us to what I do not miss about Informant: he has specific political and sociological views which aren't even the issue here. Transmodiar's politics are not ireactions' politics. Temporal Flux's politics are not ireactions' politics. Both Transmodiar and TF are a massive part of my philosophical foundations and yet, we're not remotely aligned. I cannot stress enough in the name of Quinn's brown jacket and Rembrandt's train-track-creased boots that ireactions' views do not represent the views of Sliders.TV.
MRS. TWEAK: "How do you feel about the war?"
QUINN: "We don't follow it much. We have no opinion."
MRS. TWEAK: " I see... so you'd have me believe you're real non-politico types, eh? I won't allow any sympathizing with The Outback Cong under my roof, understood? This fight ain't just about the damn Aussies! If South Australia falls, it's just a hop, skip and jump to our shores."
QUINN: "We can't have that -- boomerangs and kangaroos everywhere, what a nightmare!"
When writing the SLIDERS script where Quinn meets Donald Trump, I asked Transmodiar to create Quinn's political opinions for me and Quinn/Transmodiar's views were decidedly not my own. My criticism of Informant isn't that I disagree with Informant on The Issues; my criticism is that he never seems quite content to let his personal opinions be his own but insists that his incredibly idiosyncratic worldview is universally objective.
I find this insistence on a singular viewpoint to be benign when dealing with fiction but upsetting in real-world situations. Benign examples: Informant is clearly a devout Christian with a fairly traditional view of God. When the character of Chuck appeared on SUPERNATURAL and revealed himself to be (a) a cynical slacker without much faith in humanity and (b) God himself, Informant's reaction was enlightening.
Informant declared that Chuck was clearly pretending to be depressed and downbeat in order to manipulate the other cast members into taking action. Informant's perspective on Chuck was completely detached from the actual TV series, but rather than accept that a TV show might present a different vision of God, Informant declared his God to be SUPERNATURAL's God and ignored what was actually onscreen because it didn't suit his preferred thinking.
When discussing the DC and Marvel superhero films, Informant declared that CIVIL WAR (an adaptation of a 2006 storyline where Iron Man fights Captain America) was an attempt to rip off BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN (2016). Informant backed off that one but then continually insisted that MAN OF STEEL, BVS and JUSTICE LEAGUE are strong successes despite the fact that the people making them being demoted and/or fired and DC fleeing the shared universe market. It wasn't enough for Informant to say that he liked the DC films more; he had to declare them objectively superior to Marvel by way of financial earnings (because BVS earning 874 million with two iconic characters somehow triumphed over CIVIL WAR and its two B-list heroes earning 1.153 billion).
And when it comes to immigration, health care, feminism, racism, cops executing black men, rape, abortion, electoral fraud and birtherism, Informant is not content to simply hold his own views and share them. He then seeks out questionable secondary sources to bolster his views. These sources include men's rights activist Paul Elam, a man who said that women who dress revealingly and go to bars deserve to get raped -- whom Informant offers up as an expert in debunking feminism. James O'Keefe, a noted scam artist who creates deceptively edited videos and made false and disproven accusations of human trafficking against a charity, a man who has been completely discredited as a liar -- whom Informant declares to be a rational investigator into electoral fraud.
Informant also seems to have a peculiar but guarded fixation on white supremacist Richard Spencer (who was espousing neo-Nazi rhetoric and then punched in the face). Informant protested CRISIS ON EARTH X featuring Nazi villains and Nazi villains being punched and complained that the real world keeps smearing anyone with Informant's views as being advocates of the Third Reich, an interesting chicken-or-egg conundrum as Informant's views of race, health care, immigration, economics and elections are often espoused by neo-Nazi groups and individuals.
QUINN: "It's barbaric."
ARTURO: "On the contrary, my boy. In many ways it's eminently more enlightened than our own society."
QUINN: "They kill people to limit the population!"
ARTURO: "They kill volunteers, painlessly. In our world, people die of famine, disease and war in large part because we are incapable of limiting our population. You may find their methods abhorrent -- as do I -- but as a scientist you cannot discount the result. The current conditions on this world are vastly preferable to our own."
QUINN: "Speak for yourself."
What it comes down to, I think, is that Informant has certain political positions that are held sincerely by Informant but often espoused by those who use such positions as a facade of legitimacy over racism, hatred, cruelty, savagery, white supremacy, protecting the wealthy over the underprivileged and silencing the marginalized and powerless.
Informant proceeds to defend these men's rights activists, white supremacists and disgraced 'journalists' and conflate that with defending his own views. To the outside observer, it looks like Informant has a not-so-secret love affair with Nazis. To a friend inclined to think well of him (and I am very inclined to always think the best of Informant), it looks like he's insecure in his opinions being merely his opinions and seeks outside affirmation and is less than discerning about where that support comes from.
There is a certain irony to this because everyone on this forum loves a TV show that the vast majority of the population rightly and sensibly considers to be utter crap. Even the hallowed first season is, as the Think of a Roulette blog observes, full of holes and problems and misjudgements and that's even by the standards of 1995.
Annie Fish wrote:
This show is flawed. It’s entirely a product of the time it was created. Its concept is great, but it never decided how it wanted to follow through with it. At the end of it all, when we carve away the things that make the show terrible, we’re left with Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo.
These four people struck on a chemistry that was frankly magical. It was warm and loving but never alienating. You could be friends with them if you wanted. And we are friends with them in a way. We care about them, and we want to stay with them through thick and thin whether that refers to what’s going on in the show or behind it.
Loving SLIDERS is a personal view, a highly individual choice -- much like writing ten SLIDERS screenplays and treating Seasons 1 - 5 as a vast and infinite and coherent and sensible mythology of science fiction fantasy. I don't need anyone else to validate this extremely peculiar and bizarre perspective and Informant does not need anyone to validate his political views or his preference for DC movies over Marvel movies -- but he feels the need to find support in some troubling places and that I find annoying.
The most aggravating thing Informant did recently, I felt, was his insistence on presenting the Midnight's Edge video channel as a reliable news source on STAR TREK. This would be the YouTube channel insisting that DISCOVERY is actually set in the rebootquel STAR TREK universe and that DISCOVERY's continuity discrepancies are part of a master plan to purloin the TREK rights from CBS and take them to Paramount.
This is a painful misunderstanding of how the STAR TREK rights are held (CBS owns STAR TREK lock, stock and barrel and is in the business of TV shows; Paramount has the film license and the infrastructure to make and market films. Even if CBS inadvertently made a rebootquel continuity show, CBS would still own the show). Despite this obviously uninformed and incorrect view, Informant continued to present Midnight's Edge as a reliable news outlet when the only thing Midnight's Edge had going for it is that they don't like DISCOVERY and Informant doesn't like DISCOVERY.
It wasn't enough for Informant to just have his opinion, he had to fall in with liars and scam artists and white supremacists to feel more secure in his opinion. And that's the part of Informant I won't miss.
But having typed all this, I conclude that on the whole, Informant had a lot of important and positive and vital contributions here and he will be missed and it's a shame to lose him even if I could do without the other stuff.
I think the other stuff stresses me out more than other posters because I have rebuilt this message board more times than Chuck has rebuilt Castiel. I am to a degree responsible for whatever is on this forum and if Informant supports people who engage in hate speech on this forum or shares their views, I feel honour-bound to post a brief response. Not an argument exactly -- I never want to tell anyone they're not entitled to their beliefs or views. But to say that those beliefs and views don't represent this community. That Informant's opinions are his own.
I guess I'd just want to reiterate definitively and totally that I know Informant is not a fascist, not a neo-Nazi, not racist, not a misogynist and not a white supremacist. I know this because I've read all of his books and I believe that while autobiographies can lie, fiction reveals all.
I love Informant. I will always be grateful for what he shared with this community and with me and be glad for the positive role he played in my life.
ARTURO: "I favour the good things in life. I oppose the bad things in life."
QUINN: "Way to go out on a limb, Professor."