Tuesday, May 15, 2007

My Final Word On It

Hey, it's nice to have a cause to rally around, even if -- as in the case of the MJ Comiquette -- it's a little on the shallow side. If it makes you feel good, you just keep doing it. Keep looking at these issues as black-and-white cases of "evil patriarchy" vs. "defenders of right." The most popular opinions are knee-jerk & one-sided, because they're the easiest to comprehend and provide a ready outlet to pour out all one's righteous indignation. Thinking in shades of gray, trying to comprehend the other side's point of view -- it's not as satisfying. But that is what I'm trying to do in this blog, even if sometimes I fail.

My favorite commentators in the media are always the ones who take the annoying "third path," who don't tow the party line. Bill Maher, Tucker Carlson, Camille Paglia. Not exactly a beloved crew.

My problem with the comics blogosphere, or the blogosphere in general, is that it is very polarized. This should be the perfect medium to split hairs, to examine, to see all sides, but it's more often than not a dumping ground for one extreme view or another.

It's not enough to preach to the choir.

And real change involves seeing the other side's point of view and talking to them as if they are intelligent human beings and not slime on your shoe who bought a cheesecake statue.

I make fun of dirty keyword searches -- but as long as they don't involve minors or anybody who is going out cutting women's heads off, it's their prerogative. I'd rather talk to these people and find out why they have a need to see superheroine rape than cut them out of the dialogue. And I have. And you know what? Getting one man who likes that sort of pornography to say, "I always liked this stuff but I never questioned why until I read your blog and now I realize that I have issues to be worked out" will make more change than twenty pages of "bad bad bad patriarchy bad bad bad oppression bad bad bad."

Anyway, Dirk Deppey is a man who made it a point to include a "When Fangirls Attack" link on his blog every day. I don't know him very well, but he has been nice to me. Of course, what he wrote is polarizing, and most of whom it is directed to will immediately close up their ears and go "nonononononono." And that's the rhythm of a lot of the discourse on the internet. And then you give up trying to change things and go on BoingBoing to get pictures of beatniks or DIY instructions on how to build a magazine rack out of duct tape. And that's where I'm off to right now.


  1. In addition to the comment I left a few posts ago,

    Yes women are oppressed, like in Afghanistan.

    Gay people are beheaded.

    In America...

    [Straight] Women can get married.

    Wonder Woman is an empowered female, while North Star was murdered like 4 times in different realities in the same month.

    And they are two different causes, but women aren't the only ones who face that shit, and these Fangirls get so bent out of shape, when they should really focus on stuff that is more important, and put their activistic energy into something that is real, rather than exploding over a fucking statue.

  2. Oops, I wrote my other comment about BoingBoing before I quite read the bottom part of this post. Guess you might have noticed you can't get away from this debate, already!

  3. BoingBoing does sum it up nicely here - in case some readers missed it.

    The link also has a nice suprise :-)

  4. Wow.
    You've made a new reader out of me. I've been having a similar debate with my friend (we both post on my blog), and its nice to see that I'm not alone in taking the "third" approach. Thank you for your thoughtful and provocative take on all this, and for being bold enough to post your own opinion. I do think its sad when people who are about "empowerment" result to violent language and name-calling when you have offered your own opinion on the subject, in your own personal forum. Kudos, and keep on writing.

  5. There's a local joke in my neck of the woods about a popular evangelical politician who dies and gets to heaven, only to complain that it's a bit boring - to which God replies "well, it's only you and me here..."
    Jerry Falwell RIP.

    On a non-dead racist homophobic misogynist anti-union jerk note, I'm with the "people have a right to post angry opinions" side of the MJ arguement. Sure there's lots of worse stuff happening in the world, but, y'know, - picture it: you're sitting down with your morning coffee to read this website you normally visit to shoot the breeze with like-minded people of similar interests, and there's this post about this statue that looks a bit cheesey, and you're invited to offer an opinion on it via the wonderful medium of the future that is the internet. Sure, some people post a little vitriol, but it's not like it's the only thing that's got them pissed - it's just what they're talking about RIGHT NOW ON THIS WEBSITE. I dare say they've got a few opinions on other things - and not just statuettes with big jugs.

    My personal opinion is that the thing is a piece of objectification that doesn't help the image of comics at a time when female comic readership is supposedly expanding, but that doesn't stop me being slightly more pissed at the fact that American soldiers are being barred from writing blogs about their experiences in Iraq by a country whose rallying cry is supposedly a call to oppressed and huddled masses to value and actively seek freedom of expression. Two different issues, both worthy of comment, but the fact that I don't post the latter on a forum dedicated to comics and feminism is in no way a suggestion that it's an issue further from my mind. It seems rather odd that so many people readily accept that anger at the portrayal of a made-up person in statue form is the only thing going on in these people's lives and their awareness of the world at large.

    Loving the blog, btw. Keep it up.

  6. You seriously think Tucker Carlson doesn't tow the party line?