Monday, January 07, 2008

My Little Crumb Of Power, Let me Show You It

Colleen Doran had recently wrote a blog entry in reference to my post, Comic Books Will Destroy You, that questions if the following quote --

“I don’t hate the man. But he was an alcoholic and bi-polar and he made the lives of everyone around him miserable. And yeah, I guess I hated him.”

-- isn't unfair to the "wrong people" who might be hurt by it.

I have to wonder if the "wrong person" who has also developed a reputation for making the lives of others miserable (and hence is mistaken for the quoted party) is somebody that I need to lose sleep about.

I've never heard about someone in the comic book industry being fired or demoted for a reputation of consistently treating people like crap. I seen these people yell at others until they made them cry in front of them, systematically pick on people until they had to go on blood pressure medication, attempt to ruin their careers by setting up intentional blacklists, have sudden "bipolar" mood swings and take it out on those around them, suddenly end a person's tenure on a book without warning or justifiable reason or proper notice, and a whole host of other stuff that would be redundant to repeat on this blog.

The real culprits, I find, are not the individuals themselves but those around them who tolerate the behavior or refuse to discuss it because it's uncomfortable or a conflict of interest to do so. Such a mindset not only hurts the people who find themselves victims of such an unstable person's rage but hurts the perpetrator himself or herself. It's a message that "it's okay to act like this."

And, truthfully, I've been put in the situation numerous times of talking to someone who is working for X or Y and not telling them about X or Y's shitty behavior because I didn't want to put that person in a conflict of interest. I've held my tongue PLENTY. I've held my tongue so often I'm wondering if I'm doing it truly for unselfish reasons or am I just masochistic and self-effacing.

But, as I said before, I've never heard of such an individual get truly sanctioned, much less fired, for that uncivil behavior. And so these little "blind" reminiscences are an outlet, a release-valve -- not just for me, but for others. It's the stuff we're not allowed to talk about because "nice" people don't do things like that. But are we even really being allowed to talk about it? Not really, because we can't name names. But it's nice to pretend. It's nice to pretend we have some crumb of power.

If there is anything I DO feel bad about, is that the individual described in that quote -- assuming the speaker of the quote was accurate in his assessment, which might be, since I knew of who he spoke -- might never get the help he needs. Because it's impolite to to even bring up he has a problem. That's the only thing I feel bad or sad about regarding this.

And, just to clarify, I have indeed heard every quote I listed on that list, and listed on this blog. Yes, everything.

And I've pulled an entire book of memoirs from publication because the only way to do it justice would have been to print it with names intact. I tried rewriting it as a roman a clef, I tried putting in fake names and I tried the "blind item" approach. And the only way that it would have really been good was to go the "real name" route. And, assuming I was able to deal with it legally, it still would have been "impolite" to be so bold.

So this blog is my little crumb of power, my outlet. And I'm glad I wrote that post.


  1. if you rewrote the whole thing to be all "Nanny Diaries" or one of those horrid beach books, but about comics? Holy crap that would RULE.

  2. Um, I just read over my entire article again, and absolutely nowhere does my comment that "innocent people can get hurt by them" get referenced directly to your post.


    It does, however, specifically state that I personally had written a blind item on my site that DID hurt a person it was not directed at.

    I felt very badly about that, and said so.

    I specifically stated I had no idea who you were writing about on your blog, but also went on to agree with Elayne Riggs in the comments section that I had no problem with whistleblowers. Which is, apparently, what you are doing.

    Nowhere in any part of my post did I direct criticism at you.

    I have absolutely no idea who any of your posts were about, and have very little interaction with the comics industry. I'm not doubting your word in the least.

    My stating that I might be uncomfortable knowing who you were talking about has more to do with my hypothetical reaction to some bad news about people I might know.

    Good luck.

  3. "Um, I just read over my entire article again, and absolutely nowhere does my comment that "innocent people can get hurt by them" get referenced directly to your post."

    quoted from your blog:

    "but over here at Occasional Superheroine, the intrepid blogger has a list and checks it twice for blind item quotes she heard around the water cooler. "


    "Blind items can be interesting and they give you a chance to discuss things you want to discuss without ruining the target’s whole day, but at the same time, innocent people can get hurt by them."

  4. You quote directly the opening post, and then take a quote from the conclusion of my post hundreds of words down, after I wrote about my own experience with a blind item.

    I can clarify on my post that I wasn't directing that at you. No problem.

    If you have never had a personal experience with a friend taking offense at a blind item, then that is your experience. But my experience is equally valid.

  5. Colleen just has to realize that someone out there could be hurt by her blog posts, lol.

  6. Okay, I get it, Val.

    But I still don't get why we now have the pink background! Come on, give us a classic white or black! Now it looks like Ami Angelwings' blog! And while I like her blog, I'd prefer this one have a unique look to it!