Hypocritical Hyperbole

The Abomination of Obama's Nation

Iron Man 3 May 6, 2013

Filed under: Movies — Micah Griffin @ 08:38
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I don’t have time to do a bigger review of it and if I wait I’ll forget too much stuff. So here we go.

So, this movie does this really gross thing where it uses physically disabled people as literal weapons. The plot of the movie centers around a series of explosions that no one can explain or stop.

We find out that these explosions are people who are missing limbs. The program can grow limbs back but it might explode you if you can’t figure it out. They also turn you into a super soldier. But if you can’t accept the treatment or get fixed you will explode in a way that leaves nuclear shadows like in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Seriously. They did that.

None of these bomb people are characters. They are literally all nameless thugs (except for the end boss). Who wasn’t missing any limbs, just couldn’t walk well.

Oh. Quick side note. Tony Stark exhibits signs of PTSD centering around the events of the warp hole in the Avengers. Did they do anything cool with that? No. Not at all. He just freaks out twice. That’s it. He fixes his social anxiety by blowing up all of his iron man suits. So now he’s fine. I’m taking bets on whether or not when he becomes iron man again if he’ll have his anxiety back. I’ll give you my Ultimate Iron Man toy if he does.

Okay. So the next thing is that Tony makes everyone in his life dependent on him. No one can do anything without Tony. Pepper is totally dependent on tony, Rhodes is to a lesser extent dependent on tony to be a super hero near the end of the movie. He refers to her as an object. She’s the thing that’s most important to him. He also refers to fixing her. Like he fixes other stuff in his life. But she isn’t a thing, she’s a person, and you don’t fix people. Pepper gets to wear the iron man suit only to save tony and then tony just kind of takes it from her without knowing if she’s safe or not. It’s a little thing, but annoying. The other female character is really confusing and ends up being shot for absolutely no reason. She’s just not well fleshed out.

So this brings us to the thing that so many people like and I just do not understand in the slightest. Ra’s Al Ghul.

Or the Mandarin. Similar issue. Much worse here though. So they set up Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin, a vaguely ethnic bin laden esque character. He’s a brown terrorist taking pictures with loving brown people and small brown kids talking about how evil america is and how it’s going to have justice done upon it. This, of course, causes America to send Don Chedle to attack a bunch of poor brown people (at least he doesn’t actually attack anyone. He just kind of talks to people awkwardly). Anyway, turns out to no one’s surprise that The Mandarin is an actor.

People are applauding this. It just makes me sick. So they movie spends all this time building up this Islamaphobia situation and then, as it turns out, it’s just a rich white dude pulling the strings of people of color (as tends to happen in these super hero movies). So here we are where brown people have no agency and get to take the blame for the evil actions of white men, and this is in no way examined. They just leave it out there. I’m just so confused as to why people are so excited, like “I’m so happy that the brown people were just pawns and there’s going to be no end of political fallout from this and inside this country there aren’t going to be untold number of brown people who are harassed and killed as a response to this bogey man brown person! YAY!”

Remember just a few weeks back when Reddit falsely identified random brown person as the dude who planted bombs at the marathon? Remember what happened? Remember the brown dude who was running away from the bomb and the white people tackled him and detained him until the police could detain and interrogate him even though he had nothing to do with anything because we just assumed because he was brown that he had something to do with it? Remember when that white dude shot up a Sikh temple last year? Remember all the rhetoric spouted about how we have to take away rights from any Muslims and spy in their mosques and tap their phones and all that? How easily we forget. So when, in Iron Man 3, they set up fake brown terrorist as the fall guy for their weapons (which let’s not forget, are people. Not people with bombs strapped to them. But they are people, who were previously missing limbs, and then they explode. They’re objects) misfiring.  That’s it. It’s not smart commentary. It’s trafficking in the same racism people claim they’re satirizing or whatever. They didn’t flip anything on any heads anywhere.

They turn physically disabled people into bombs with no agency of their own. Pepper Potts needs to be locked in stark’s place to be protected. She gets weak kneed at white guy villain being totally creepy and going sexual harassment at her. Then when she doesn’t need protection any more Tony has to fix her. And fictional brown terrorist just shows that brown people can really only get roles as terrorist. Oh, I love the scene where all the girls in the generic middle eastern clothes plant are soo greatful to the american robot for freeing them. The fact that the person in charge was blonde explodey girl doesn’t make anything better at all, because recycling the image of poor brown girls being thankful for american militaries coming in to destroy their worlds is still disgusting.

So yeah, I hated Iron Man 3. A lot. And I’m not fighting with you about this.

 

I Like Rap Music May 31, 2012

Filed under: Music,Social Commentary,Social Justice — Micah Griffin @ 19:50
Tags: , , , , ,

I like it. Does it have problems on the whole? Yeah. Go find me a genre that’s remotely close to as popular as rap music is that doesn’t have any problems.

I’ll wait.

Okay. Here’s the deal. Do I agree with a lot of what goes on? Nope. Do I agree with a lot of what goes on? Absolutely. It’s complicated. There are issues of misogyny and the general idea that women are pokemon, trading cards, and other collectible doodads on which you (as a man) measure your personal success. The interesting thing is how so many of our more popular rappers seem to completely understand complex theories of societal racism and have heavily examined them and the impact they have on black life in america, yet how few of those same ones look at societal sexism in anything near the same light. Same with homophobia for that matter.

That said, rap music is still about time and place and a social consciousness. It confronts social issues (whether positively or negatively) way more than pretty much any other genre of music. So many songs are just one person spilling out their feelings in a long dialogue with the listener. This means you get all the fucked up shit that goes through people’s minds. All the good and bad that goes with it, all the internalized struggles, and most importantly, you get to see growth in thought process. There’s a good song by Big K.R.I.T. that talks about pimping and misogyny and how get got to be where he is and the use of the words ‘bitch’ and ‘ho’ and how he knows it’s bad but that’s the world he’s in and all of the everyday stuff that comes with being in that world. It’s something you don’t get to see in a lot of music.

Know why the misogyny and homophobia is hit on so hard? Because the rest of it is too positive and critical for white folks to handle. Listen to stuff like Killer Mike’s “Reagan” or “Pressure.” Those tracks bring absolute heat and knowledge about police brutality, private prisons, the birth of the welfare queen myth and a bunch of other societal racism problems. There’s songs about how the drug game is an easier path to take than going to college. One of those things requires money and privilege you never had and can’t get, the other require you just to be fast, smart, and strong. One of those leads to a $25k a year job and the other has the potential to lead to big money and big cars. When you’re likely to end up in jail for whistling at a white woman or looking a white man in the eye why not sell drugs?

The rappers with the problems I’ve stated above don’t make up all rap music. In fact, they make up less and less of it. They’re the most popular ones, but that has less to do with rap music and more to do the people who promote rap music, the record labels, the radio stations, and a bunch of people outside the creation of rap music.

Ask yourself what’s worse; A man writing a song that has issues of misogyny all by himself and producing that song unilaterally, or a team of producers and an entire band doing a song about misogyny and how awesome it is? Not that either is good, but I find it odd when society stands on the roof tops and decries rap music while lauding Nickelback for some unknown reason. There is so much misogyny is mainstream pop and rock music that goes ignored in favor of trying to destroy an art form dominated by black people.

Here’s the secret. Even in the misogyny laden rap tracks, there’s more uplifting verses about black women and how awesome they are than you’ll ever get anywhere else. There’s this weird culture around it, but a lot of these dudes seem to love black women. Not just as sex objects, but as pillars of the community, mothers, sisters, daughters, role models, freedom fighters, drug runners, business people, drivers, snipers, organizers, and a bunch of other roles. Once you survive being denigrated for the first thirty years of your life you become a GOD. I am actually going to examine that and write about it later.

The other secret, once you leave traditional record labels the entire thing flips upside down. There’s an entire world of non problematic rap music. Shit is great. But white people don’t want to listen to it. White people are far more comfortable with Lil Wayne. It fits their image of black masculinity and black people in general a lot better. There’s also a lot of black women rappers out there too. There are even queer people of color doing rap music. It’s fucking WILD.

Basically, I say a bunch of that to say this.

Lay off. When you get ready to criticize the entire genre of rap music think about how many times you’ve criticized every other genre of popular music. Think about why you hear so much about the misogyny in rap music and not in other types of music. Think about how little you hear about the positives of rap music. Think about the number of white people directly profiting off the things you hate so much and how instead of going after them you’re going after black people who would be doing a large number of things if they weren’t told by life and society that this is how you can get out of your bad situation. Booty Butt Cheeks sells records. Think about why that is.

Once you’ve done all that, shut up. Cause I don’t want to hear it.

And to whoever said that the Beastie Boys made you feel like rap music loved you back? FUCK YOU. Seriously. You’re acting in racist ignorant buffoonery. Black people made plenty of awesome rap music before they showed up. Black people made plenty of anti sexism songs. In fact, a great many of those black people were women. Those black women whom made it possible for the beastie boys to sell records. But you didn’t feel  loved until some white frat boys showed up acting like regular old white ass holes. Gotcha.

 

A Memorial Day For My fallen Heroes May 30, 2012

So memorial day happened and I did the thing I do where I try to remind people that the U.S. military is only protecting the freedoms of certain people. But those ideas get shouted down and destroyed because we live in a society where this busted idea of patriotism means any sort of disparaging remark about America (and this especially means it’s military) means you’re a traitor eligible for death. I was going to write a long involved post about this, but decided against it cause I was tired and sick and this summer isn’t going quite how I originally imagined and so forth.

But today I read this quote and decided I would come back to the topic.

“I’ve seen a ton on the facebooks about “thanking veterans for their service.” As a veteran let me just be very straightforward and honest with you. We didn’t “serve our country”; we don’t actually serve our brothers/sisters or our neighbors. We serve the interests of Capital. We never risked our lives or spent months on deployment away from our family and friends so they can have this abstract concept called “freedom”. We served big oil; big coal; Coca-Cola; Kellogg, Brown, and Root and all the other big Capital interests who don’t know a fucking thing about sacrifice. These people will never have to deal with the loss of a loved one or the physical and/or psychological scars that those who “serve”, and their families, have to deal with for the rest of their lives. The most patriotic thing someone can do is to tell truth to power and dedicate yourself to building power to overthrow these sociopathic assholes. I served with some of the most real and genuine people I’ve ever met. You’ll never see solidarity like the kind of solidarity you experience when your life depends on the person next to you. But most of us didn’t join for that; we joined because we were fucking poor and didn’t have many other options.”

An anti-capitalist veteran (via elitc)

Yay this guy. I catch so much flack for saying the military isn’t out here protecting my freedoms because the state is busy steadily trying to take them away from me. The military is fighting against some vague idea of terror or something to make sure that the cops can kill black people with no fear of reprisal? That’s something to stand up and cheer. The military was out there fighting Hitler so those same white soldiers could come home and join lynch mobs? So that same greatest generation of soldiers could come and burn down homes and churches and try to dismantle black communities? So they could rape Native American women and laugh about how nothing will be done? They went to fight in Vietnam so that land and property could continue to be stripped from Native peoples? We’re currently in Iraq so that black women can be sentenced to 20 years in jail for firing a warning shot in self defense? Our military went out to kill Osama Bin Laden so that a trans woman of color could be charged with murder and the white people who instigated the event can walk away without any charges? So trans people can be attacked and killed every day and our criminal justice system can ignore the perpetrators? Our soldiers are out there fighting to keep the private prison industry awash in young black bodies? So we can continue this war on drugs (read: war on poor black people).

These people aren’t heroes just because they signed up for the military. Dying in action is a blower, but so is dying because some racist ass hole follows you around and decides your blackness is a plague on this earth that needs to be wiped out. I’m not in the business of praising people who aren’t actually doing anything worthy of praise. Yeah, they’re out killing a bunch of other brown people with different political ideas than America has.

News flash. I’m a brown person with different political ideas than the rest of America. So pardon me when I don’t jump up and down that our brave sons and daughters kill a bunch of people not too dissimilar to me. Not when they’re coming home to this country that is so fucked up and feels so hopeless most days. They’re not protecting my freedoms. I don’t have a whole lot of them to begin with, and the ones I do have are protected by the brave men and women who are dying on American soil. The ones being beaten and killed by cops in the name of our war on drugs. Those are the people I choose to memorialize. Those are who I pay homage to.

So here’s to the people who can’t see their families because going to visit them would mean not being able to even come back into this country. Here’s to the little kids taken away from their parents because the bill of goods about building a better life doesn’t actually apply to them. Here’s to the women who die in pregnancy because their fetus was more important than them.  To all the people stuck in generational poverty. Here’s to my siblings detained and questioned on the sole grounds of belonging to a particularly thriving mosque. To all the people who don’t live life according to an arbitrary gender binary. To all the people who started living homeless since becoming high school dropouts when their parents found out they were some kind of queer and booted them out. To all the kids who commit suicide because our society says they’re not valuable humans. To the people who choose to love as many people as they please in whatever manner they please, and those who choose not to love anyone. To the people who are told how their anger is unwarranted and to get over the hardships of their personal lives because no one is actually discriminating against you. To everyone who is raped and then told that it’s their fault, that they had it coming, that it wasn’t really rape, that they asked for it, that they’re a bad person for not cheering for the person who raped them at a high school basketball game.

These people and so many more are who I memorialize. No one is fighting for us. The military isn’t protecting our freedoms. This isn’t unpatriotic. It’s just a statement of fact. None of the terrible shit happening in our lives would actually get worse if the U.S. was involved in a few less conflicts.

 

DC Comics: Where feminists are man hating succubi sluts. March 21, 2012

Yeah. That’s a bummer.
So here’s basically what happened. In the Past Amazons were good women who lived on their island and played bullets and bracelets a lot. Then ten or so years ago they became these angry women who went to war at the drop of a hat, usually for having emotions (see: Amazon’s Attack). This is because someone figured that the idea that this island of women liking peace and so forth was dumb and they had to be brutal man hating warriors. Because of their super irrational stance on hating men they had to go to do castrations to show how mad they were. Colin (at Too Busy Thinking About My Comics) wrote some good words on exactly why that particular situation was super fucked up. So that was bad, but DC says it’s an alternate universe, don’t worry about it.

So we have our new Universe at DC and Wonder Woman is a good book. It’s still mostly a good book. Strong woman with the subtle thing about not needing men and all that. Except for they (and specifically Wonder Woman who for a long time has been a feminist symbol and directly tied to feminist ideas) definitely do need a man. Apparently this has something to do with why they hate men. That’s stupid. Any reason you give for why this NEEDED (read that word) to happen is a lie. Being made from clay is kinda awesome, and how she goes from clay baby to champion of Love and Peace in the world is super awesome. Sue at DC Women Kicking Ass wrote something cool about why that change is a stinker a while back, but tumblr search is in the pit of hell and I’m not good at navigating that.

So that was whatever, it’s not great, but what can you do, the greater whole of mainstream super hero books are dumb right now. Then issue 7 happened, and that was just too much. There’s a lot we can get into about how the Amazons are portrayed in general and how much they line up with feminism, but just take that for granted right now. Let’s kick to the real world (and let’s just stay within the past month or two) and look at how feminists are portrayed at large. And more than femenists, because that label comes with a lot of trail mix that’s hard to navigate. Let’s look at how women who don’t fit into the extremely narrow middle to upper class, white, straight, cis gendered, able bodied, super conservative, right wing, christian barely half a step moved from victorian ideals of what women are supposed to be are treated.

It’s not good. Like having sex? You’re a slut and a whore (and these are bad things in our society). Want to control what happens to YOUR body? Still a slut, and you’re fucking irresponsible (for being responsible?). Get raped? Your fault because it just is. Like having sex by yourself? WTF? You need a man to satisfy you. duh. Like having sex with women? You have used a dildo at some point so you really want a penis. Or, you’re doing it for attention. Walk down the street? Get harassed. Say you don’t like that harassment? You just need to take a compliment, sugar tits.

See. Cause. Know What? This is just bullshit.

It goes on and on. There are stories of each of these incidents and many more if you just care to take a look. It boils down to generally bad things. So when what happens in issue 7 happens I don’t actually have to work to connect not so phantom dots. The narrative around feminists and other yay women groups  is that they’re angry for no reason, they’re sluts, they’re stupid, they’re ugly and can’t get a man and that’s why they’re angry, they just need put in their place. Then there are the tropes that come out of this. One of the biggest ones being the succubus thing. I think it’s probably best stated here. It’s the idea that goes hand in hand with so many other sexist and super misogynistic notions about women relying on sex appeal to trap men into whatever they want. It goes with the false idea that women control stereotypical households because they control sex when in reality women in those situations don’t control much of anything in their lives. It’s the idea that because men are stupid and cannot control their sexual urges (note how a lot of times when something happens with men having sex with women in societally inappropriate ways we talk about the man in infantile terms because men are helpless around women when they’re just throwing sex in the air) and women, who have no other useful skills, use sex to take advantage of men in power to gain some level of power for themselves. They either use sex to get a job, or to keep a job they don’t deserve, or to get a raise, or to get favors, or anything that’s good that happens to them has to be because of sex as opposed to any competence on their part (y’know outside of being able to competently snare that man).

I know, I know. What happened in issue 7 is this. The Amazons were turned into just about everything society says feminists and women who don’t know their place are. Know where the baby Amazons come from? Well, all  the big Amazons go off every three years and secretly seduce sailors out on the open seas. These sailors have no control of themselves and fuck the shit out of these Amazons. All these Amazons want are babies (probably so they can get some sort of child support from the government). Then to make things even better, all the boy babies are kicked out. They only want women babies on this man hating island of awful slut succubi.

Yup. That happened.

And that’s about it. It’s just unfortunate. For actual phantom dots you can relate this to Editorial’s ideas about women in comics (either as characters, creators, or fans). The way some of them have responded to questions is deplorable at best. The dismissive attitude they have towards fans who want to have respectful dialogues about gender and sex in comics comes into play when you read this issue. It’s hard not to think about the “take this shit on our terms or get the fuck out” mentality of mainstream books these days when you read something like this. It’s hard not to look at the portrayal of women in cape comics and the defense of the shallow portrayals and the cavalierly sexist way certain characters are talked about by writers and think that that sort of mentality makes it so that no one there can see the problem with this.

It’s the same attitude and thinking that let’s them put out artwork that says Africa is ape controlled, then defend it with the boring old “you’re racists!” comments.

I mean, it’s similar to what Marvel did with Black Panther in letting all the readers know that this previously all powerful and undefeatable empire of strong black people actually could be toppled whenever by a white dude with some robots. Because there is nowhere that is safe for you.

It’s a good lesson to learn. There is no where safe for you. Not walking down the street in America minding your own business (In case you’re super dense, this is a comment about Trayvon Martin. To date, his murderer still  hasn’t been arrested or charged with anything. Because killing a black kid in cold blood is self defense. It keeps the world safer by getting one more potentially white woman raping negro off the streets). It’s not safe in your comic books. Because this symbol of powerful women being kick ass all by themselves? Just a bunch of man hating sluts.

 

 

Fuck Your Friend Zone February 5, 2012

Filed under: Social Commentary — Micah Griffin @ 09:28
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I wrote this in addendum to this which is just another in a long line of good posts from people about how stupid the friend zone thing really is.

I particularly enjoy the term “martyr” for these “nice guys.” It’s exactly what they want to be. They preform a routine that has no variation to it. They do this act and pay no heed to who they’re preforming it on. They’ll preform it to every woman they know. They skulk and seek out women they can try to identify as having low self-esteem. (This comes with nothing but a lot of other societal bullshit and stereotyping). They police those women’s relationships and talk about how bad they are at making decisions and that ALL of their problems would be solved if they just went with a good person instead of all those ass holes they date. Then, as a nice guy would, they work on destroying that woman’s self esteem further each time they choose to confide in them. (note how he only passively makes suggestions that HE should be the one she’s with instead of coming out two years ago and saying “Hi I’d like to date” or whatever. Being lead on, not by her, but by his stagnant routine).So when inevitably everything comes to a head and this woman eventually makes it super evident that she has no interest in him, he goes on to lament his position and how woeful it is to be SUCH a NICE GUY and how stupid she is for not wanting all that he has to offer (which she has seen over the course of the relationship and has responded accordingly). When she goes to someone else she’s now a stupid slut who doesn’t know what’s good for her while he is stuck in this awful friend zone. And now he can go back to policing her relationships and sexuality. Delusional, misogynistic, martyr. Forgetting (like so many modern christian martyrs. y’know the ones that threaten young queer kids with violence and claim to be persecuted when someone tells them to stop because they’re committing hate crimes?? those guys) that he is completely responsible for his behavior and that he should stay as far away as he can from policing other people’s lives.

 

P.S. There is no argument against this. Are there some women who lead men along? Absolutely, but this goes both ways, and society has no term for that. There’s no great hatred of men who choose to not have sex with certain women they’re only interested in being friends with. There’s no societal hatred of men who have sex with a lot of women. There’s not a stigma associated with men owning their own sexuality. So every time you invoke your martyr card you’re just playing into outrageously misogynistic tropes. Get over yourself.

 

Shadowland: Power-Man (Where Spidey is Kinda Sexist) January 12, 2012

Filed under: comics,Social Commentary — Micah Griffin @ 22:18
Tags: , , , , ,

So I pick up this book from the library cause I heard it wasn’t completely deplorable. Know what? It’s not completely deplorable. In fact, it handles some issues (mainly race and the politics of growing up and out of your neighborhood and the reaction of the people left behind) better than pretty much any other main stream super hero books I’ve read in the past year or so. Honestly though, none of that holds up past the end of the first issue. Well, that stuff holds up, it’s just all completely undone. And it’s undone by something stupid, that has no call for being there.

Soft. LIKE A WOMAN.

What added benefit do we get from spidey’s sexism here? None. It has nothing to do with the rest of the story. Any number of spidey quips would’ve worked there, and he has millions. Sexism just isn’t called for. This is what doesn’t happen now. You don’t get to go “it’s a joke.” That’s not a good excuse. That’s just something people in privilege like to say so as to police and invalidate the responses that the people they’re offending. It’s lazy. This writing, though, isn’t lazy. Nothing else in this book leads me to believe that the writer is lazy with anything involved here.

So here’s what could’ve happened. I could be missing the secret sarcasm font and this is poking fun at casual sexism. The problem with that is that there are no indications that this isn’t playing off the old notion that women have naturally softer mental dispositions than men. There’s nothing that comes before or after that says to me Spidey(Fred Van Lente) knows this is ridiculous and that other characters around know this is ridiculous. The line before is fine, and from there the joke could’ve gone to so many places. Soft like a pillow. Soft like cuddly bunnies. Soft like Drake. All of these acceptable. He’s actually a writer so Fred could have come up with a billion better lines than I can, but he used woman.

So the other option I’m forced to think about is that we’re supposed to laugh that spider-man is soft like a women. Because women are soft. And we all know that women are soft. So it’s funny. Because spider-man is a man, and therefor not soft. He’s not supposed to be or allowed to be soft. Because he’s spider-man, not spider-woman. Who is soft? because women are soft. Like goose down and marshmallows.

The thing is, I love this book. I’m a fan. This was just a misstep that didn’t need to happen at all. I’m not saying this book shouldn’t exist or Fred Van Lente shouldn’t ever write again. I’m just saying he shouldn’t do stupid things like subtle sexism in his books and that would make them all the better.

 

Why DC Cape Comic fans and I probably can’t be friends. (My thoughts on this whole reboot deal) October 2, 2011

Filed under: comics,Social Commentary — Micah Griffin @ 13:52
Tags: , , , ,

My apologies, this is long. I think it gets away from me a little bit here or there, but overall the point is sound.

I’ve been working on this post for a couple of days now and I just haven’t been able to scoop up the right words. I realized that I’ve been approaching this from the wrong hallway. Instead of trying to talk around conversations and creep into the things I want to talk about. See, this whole DC relaunch has really re-emphasized a problem I’ve been having for a while now but just wasn’t able to quite articulate in the way I wanted.  I’ve stated the problem a few times, but only in a trite one sentence kind of way. Now I have paragraphs of it.

DC Comics relaunch has really been designed to do one thing. It’s partly about gaining new readers, it’s partly about boosting it’s marketshare. Some of it is about showing a more marketable front for WB to make more properties out of. Really though, this entire DC relaunch has been about building a wall. When DC said it wanted new readers what it meant was it wanted the exact same type of reader it always had, just more of them. When DC talked about marketshare and having the “iconic” more marketable characters for WB to snatch up and make movies out of what they’re saying is “we want the characters that the people we want buying our comics want to see.” It’s complete and total.

They said out of their mouths that they want 18-34 year old males. (That’s ME!) They said with their actions they want a specific type of 18-34 year old male. (Not me at all). But what they’ve done that’s absolutely brilliant, is that they’ve hit their core demographic SO HARD that anyone that doesn’t fall in the boys club is kicked super far out. Before the relaunch the marketing voice for DC comics was a bit scattered. They still marketed at the same type of person, but they weren’t stroking that person’s ego as well. Now they’re giving full on hand jobs. I could sit on the fringe before and talk about stuff. I’d still get shut out if I brought up race or gender issues, but it was a lower case stfu.

DC has now built themselves a Universe with a big fence around it. Manning that fence are the hardest of hard fanboys. They’re loaded up with ammo and you can’t get through them. You even sigh with too much of a social justice sound to it and you’re dead. The fans aren’t just not going to sit down to talk to you about the problems you have, but now they’re coming for blood. DC has built a defense system that revels in being insular and awful. Instead of being fifty or sixty thousand people there’s over a hundred thousand in this first month that are ready to fight. More numbers makes them louder and angrier. Now they have like minded brethren to commiserate with. Now they can be persecuted together and talk about how everyone who complains about the depiction of women in these books are just out to martyr them.

This is the part where I used to get derailed. This is where I have to talk about exceptions and such. This is where I say there are women and black people and queers that love all the changes and are a part of the boys club. I know. I know. I’m not getting mired in tangents about margins and the “exceptional” arc types and the people who think this is the way it has to be so they just live with it and people who don’t care and people who don’t see the world the way I do. Bah to it. If you’re in that camp I’m probably not talking to you anyway.

Here’s a thing that happens. I’m in the shop with a bunch of other people. I read a book and something about it irks me. I try and capitulate and talk about how overall I like some stuff and am not saying this is the worst book of all time, but the use of words like “girly or princess” as a derogatory offends me. I say this. What I get is yelled at. Before someone would’ve been like “you’re dumb” now there are four or five people in the shop who are angry at me for even suggesting something like that. Someone asks me what I thought about the red hood book cause it’s known that I’m a big fan of Jason Todd. I say I found the portrayal of Kori really problematic. Those were my words. “Really problematic.” You would have thought that I talked about castrating them and their fathers and sons. I was stunned.

I understand that in the world of Super Hero comics I’m in the minority. I look at things, not in the vacuum of their individual issue (even though looking at books like Catwoman and Red Hood you don’t need to look at the larger picture to understand the problems) but in relation to all the other issues that are put out and have been put out. Not just that, but in the type of images we get in all types of media. I also know American History better than most. Not days and dates, but all that stuff that comes from being a history nerd and reading those boring biographies and academic accounts of what really happened instead of the super whitewashed version of history we’re spoon fed throughout grade school. I know and can tell you why spending most of our time with Voodoo taking her clothes off for white men in that first issue is a problem. I can tell you why slimming down and unbuttoning Amanda Waller’s blouse is an issue. I can talk to you about how often female characters are shown without heads, just tits and ass and why it’s a problem. I can discuss how often female characters are shown in sexually subservient (which is different from submissive) and the message that sends out. We can go on about the number and types of black women there are in comics, the portrayal of lesbians in these books, the purveyance of big black dudes and the little white chicks they hit on, the number of families of color shown together, how the comic book market reacts to these things. I can inform you on the historical and cultural differences that has allowed a number of Hispanic and Asian artists into the industry where there are less of them writing and how almost none of them are women and what that has to do with the almost complete lack of Black writers, especially Black women. (yes, this is that time where I talk about how I’m smarter than you).

I want to have those conversations. I don’t want to ruin your books, I want them to be better. This is the same thing with all areas of life. If we can’t even have this discussion then we can’t be friends. I don’t have any non black friends that aren’t comfortable talking about race. If you want to ignore the biggest part of my life we can’t talk. I don’t have friends that I can’t talk openly with about trans issues or homophobia and such. Be civilized or we can’t talk. Believe what you want, but I don’t bring this stuff up all the time. Shit happens and I talk about it. If when shit happens you clam up, we really can’t be friends. What DC has done is create a solidified group of these people. There’s this larger legion now of people that I probably can’t be in the same room as. The way I see the world is entirely different from them.

This isn’t me saying they’re bad people. Sometimes people don’t want to look at things. Sometimes people don’t notice them. I don’t notice everything. I don’t think I’m a bad person. I also don’t think someone is trying to discredit me when they point out that something I like has problems. They’re just pointing out problems, and from there we can talk.

Saying this also isn’t saying that every book is bad. There are some that I think are just wonderful and fantastic. I think most of the books are just whatever. Some aren’t for me. Some I can see are pretty good, I’m just not interested in them. Others are bad, but not offensive, just not well written or well drawn books. Then there’s some books that are offensively bad, and it’s in that small of categories where we find our problems. That conversation about these small number of awful books sets the tone for the conversation about all the books. Really it’s a shame.