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Bawden's Broad Brush

By Carlos Pedraza
AxaMonitor editor
April 5, 2016

AXANAR SPOKESMAN Mike Bawden has been very polite and respectful to people, one on one. Even jovial within the CBS/Paramount v. Axanar Facebook group. I’d definitely have a beer with him [insert drink of choice].

The trouble with his recent diatribe, “Rage Against the Machine,” was him zooming out and impugning the motives of an entire group of people with a broad brush, under the cover of delineating them under seven categories, making it seem like an entirely reasonable approach, certainly gentler than Axanar producer Alec Peters’ constant refrain against “haters.”

But the premise — that everyone in that group wants to “tear down” Axanar or “hates” Alec Peters — is inherently flawed, using his desired conclusion instead as his premise. Is there truth lodged within his seven categories? Indeed. I could myself point to individual examples illustrating each of his seven types of detractors. But the question is, do they all add up to those seven categories? Of course not. I could just as easily find people who don’t fit any of those categories.

Axanar spokesman’s diatribe against ‘detractors’ dismisses legitimate questions by impugning the character of the people who lodge criticism.

Moreover, his list doesn’t merely categorize behavior, it describes motivations which — unless he has ESP — Mike can’t really know. For each accurately described behavior he ascribes his theoretical motivation and applies it to every single person who behaves in that particular way, then finds a way to dismiss them.

I AM NO. 6 For myself, I can see that I must fall into his group number 6:

Axanar’s Mike Bawden

A select few of the “detractors” who have found their posts and claims about Axanar Productions, Alec and Rob drive traffic to their websites. Is there a commercial advantage to doing so? If there is one, I can’t believe it’s too much of one – the audience involved here is pretty small – but having the ability to drive people to your website gives one a sense of control that can be intoxicating.​

Since AxaMonitor carries no advertising, clearly no commercial advantage accrues to me. That leaves, of course, only one other motivation in Mike’s estimation. Surely, what drives me is “having the ability to drive people to [my] website,” offering me “a sense of control that can be intoxicating.” So I’m either a greedy bastard or a control freak drunk on power. Not a very broad spectrum of motivation Mike offers me: I can only be evil, or more evil.

KINDER, GENTLER In fact, he sums up all the detractors as either being people who feel they’ve been unfairly wronged and who can make appeals to a kinder, gentler Axanar, or being “bullies, harassers and conspiracy theorists.”

It appears more convenient to attack a straw man than one bearing facts, critical questions and a sincere desire to see fan productions survive this debacle.

There’s no room in the world he describes to Axanar’s supporters for anyone who simply wants to hold the production accountable to the standards of openness and transparency with which it touts itself, for anyone who cares about how the professional, commercial venture trading off CBS and Paramount’s property — the studios’ words, not mine — imperils all other fan films.

AT HIS WORD I take Mike at his word that he zealously represents his client because he cares about the project, that he wants to see Axanar made, that it embodies an idea of Star Trek that thousands of fans want to see brought to life. I don’t see why he can’t offer me the same courtesy, instead seeking to discredit what I’ve published about Axanar by impugning my motivations. Why not engage my critiques on their merits, with logic and facts and open discussion?

He has never once pointed to anything on AxaMonitor and said, “That’s wrong. That’s inaccurate. That’s unfair.” Despite the meticulous sourcing of each article, no objection of substance has ever been lodged that I haven’t answered. Instead, we see the setup of a straw man “detractor,” motivated by greed or narcissism or some intoxicating mixture of both, easily dismissed. It appears to be more convenient to attack that opponent than one bearing facts, critical questions and a sincere desire to see fan productions survive this debacle.