Sarah Z · @marysuewriter

21st Dec 2018 from TwitLonger

addressing some responses to the section of my video focusing on lily orchard

a few people have been commenting on my video and on breadtube that i’ve somehow misrepresented lily orchard’s arguments in the second half of my most recent video, so i thought i would briefly(?) address a couple of the common problems that people are discussing

#1: “lily didn’t claim the hiatuses were rebecca sugar’s fault, she just claimed sugar was at fault for not adapting to those hiatuses well enough”

i think the problem here is that i didn’t explain myself well enough. lily’s steven universe video has more than 1.5 million views, and i was sort of taking for granted that most of the people watching my video would have already seen lily’s video and would have already pulled the same conclusions from it as i did. it’s true that there is no one point where lily outright says “the hiatuses are rebecca sugar’s fault because she’s lazy”, but she does build that argument over the course of about 15 minutes.

beginning exactly a minute and a half into the video, lily claims that showrunner rebecca sugar is in “an endlessly losing battle with procrastination” because sugar takes too long to resolve massively significant plot arcs, such as there being several months between revealing the existence of the cluster and actually resolving it. however, at about 7:15, she points out that the reason those plot arcs take so long to resolve themselves is because of the hiatuses.

her words are “if you binge-watch the series now, everything seems fine… but when you put it into the context of people waiting six months after leaving that kid on a hostile alien planet, only to come back and not even bother giving it a passing glance for multiple weeks, people are going to get angry.”

here, she makes it pretty explicitly clear that if the episodes had a regular airing schedule, this wouldn’t be a problem; the problem is the hiatuses. like i said in my video, these hiatuses are completely out of the control of rebecca sugar or any of the other showrunners. not only that, but in my video at 19:13, i pointed to some tweets from the showrunners that demonstrated that not only do they have no control over when the hiatuses take place, they are also not informed of when the hiatuses will end or how long they will last.

given that sugar and the other showrunners are not given this relevant information, there’s really no way they could realistically adapt the ratio of plot episodes to filler episodes based on the length of any one particular hiatus. they literally are not told whether their show will be back on the air in three weeks or six months. in the former case, it would make sense to include the relevant ‘slice of life’ episodes to break up the barrage of plot-heavy ones, whereas it might frustrate some fans in the latter case*.

but, once again, they have no control over this. thus, the only way lily’s argument that sugar is “procrastinating” the resolution of important storylines makes any sense is if you conclude that she or the other showrunners hold some responsibility for or control over these hiatuses. she even explicitly says “if you believe that it’s all cartoon network’s doing for the constant hiatuses, /which i don’t/…” so yes, she clearly argues that sugar and the other showrunners hold some degree of responsibility for the hiatuses.

either way, my point stands that lily is uninformed about the process of creating an animated show, and is basing this criticism off of factually incorrect information.

*if your response to this is, “well, lily is saying there shouldn’t be any slice of life episodes at all no matter what!”, i think it’s worth mentioning that lily also doesn’t sufficiently back up the argument that the slice of life episodes are objectively bad or that it’s a given that fans prefer the plot-heavy ones. she takes for granted in her video that fans don’t want to see slice of life episodes and are only interested in the plot (“the filler episodes’ biggest problem in retrospect is just that they’re boring and most people would rather be told the cool story about space battles, not the boring story about some loudmouthed brat who doesn’t have any earlobes.”) this is really a case of her assuming everyone shares her opinions and not doing the work of backing them up with any evidence. also bad media criticism!!

#2: “lily never explicitly claimed rebecca sugar was a fascist sympathizer, so it’s not fair of you to claim that she called her one!”

true, lily never specifically utters the words “i think rebecca sugar is a fascist sympathizer”. but she repeatedly makes comments throughout the video that makes it obvious she wants her viewers to believe that rebecca is one. adding one small disclaimer that amounts to ‘*i* don’t personally think she’s a fascist sympathizer, but i totally understand how ANYONE would come to the conclusion that she is and i don’t blame them for that at all’ doesn’t change that.

in fact, i specifically decided to include the clip of lily saying that in my video because i figured it would be obvious to most viewers that this is really good evidence of how disingenuous she’s being. when you say someone ‘has a creepy fascination with redeeming space nazis’, and that, as a result, rebecca “tacitly teaches people that affection is shown through violence” and is “a piece of shit”, “fucking terrible”, and a “thoroughly loathsome person”, it’s obvious what conclusion you want your fans to draw from that.

#3: “lily didn’t say rebecca designed concrete, she just blames rebecca for including her in the steven universe sketchbook!”

yup, this was a mistake on my part. it’s true, lily does mention that rebecca sugar herself didn’t design concrete. the conclusion she draws (“rebecca sugar is the one responsible for racist designs related to the show”) is the same either way, but she gets to that conclusion by saying that rebecca is the one at fault for including concrete in the steven universe book.

i did make a mistake here, but to be honest, i think the truth of the matter just makes lily’s video look worse? claiming rebecca created a character design that she didn’t create, and then blaming rebecca for that design, could potentially be attributed to a mistake. we all make ‘em. i just did!

however, the fact that lily is explicitly *aware* of the fact that rebecca didn’t create the character, but continues to apply all of the blame in the situation to her, is really emblematic of the way she frames her personal dislike of sugar as objective, cold hard criticism. she doesn’t seem to have known who designed the character when she made the video, given that her response to a youtube comment telling her who did was a baffled “…HOW THE FUCK?!”. given that she didn’t even bother to look this up, it’s clear that her intention from the start was to blame the bulk of concrete’s existence on rebecca sugar. she quite literally doesn’t mention lamar abrams or hilary florido in her video even once (not that she should be directing personal attacks towards them either lol)

that’s not to say sugar should hold no responsibility for her oversight in including the character in the book, but the way lily chooses to focus essentially 100% of the blame and personal attacks in her video towards sugar is the exact kind of bad faith media criticism i’m talking about.


essentially, i could have made this video a lot longer if i pulled every direct quote from lily’s video that i thought was relevant, but i was taking for granted that most people watching my video would have already seen the video and would already be aware of her overarching arguments. i also wanted to keep the section talking about her video fairly short, because focusing on it in excruciating detail for too long might have given people the impression that i wanted to create a ‘take-down’ of steven universe is garbage and here’s why, rather than a discussion of problems in lily’s video that are also present in *other* videos, like factual inconsistencies and personal attacks.

my video was never really meant to be about lily, it was about overarching problems in “critical” communities using lily’s video as an example of those problems. if i wanted to make a ‘response video’ to lily, it would have been a lot different. i worry that even writing this whole thing will give people the impression that i was trying to make an ‘everything wrong with lily orchard’ style video. but i did feel like some of this needed to be addressed, partially because i did make some mistakes, and partially because i communicated some of my arguments poorly.

now to never talk about this again lmao

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