Monday, December 29, 2008

That Certain Something

Doing a quick survey of my blog content over the past two years, I've discovered that every 2-3 months, like clockwork, I will post something and it will start a massive flame war. Not a regular flame war, but the nuclear type of thing where I have person after person email me and comment in horror and apology at how vicious the reaction has been from certain circles.

Looking at these posts, I noted that some contained very little of what would be considered "controversy." Yet those posts produced as much of a rage as the ones with highly controversial content. For example, I'm sure it is obvious that child porn is a controversial topic. But nearly the same amount of controversy and rage erupted when I dared make an interpretation about a movie, or made a post on a topic that someone else had touched upon months previous. It's unpredictable. In fact, the only way to avoid it is to stop posting entirely.

Indeed, had I made a post defending Simpsons child porn, I have no doubt in my mind that the handful of haters would have made posts expressing their outrage. They would say: "She can't be the head of a woman's organization. She supports child porn!" I know this like I know the sun comes up in the morning.

Which is why I'm convinced that it really isn't the topic or my exact opinions that is really at issue.

I seem to have developed, over the past two years, a strange sort of charisma.* Through my written word, but also in person. This is baffling to me, especially the in-person part, because I take little-to-no-care in making myself sexy or appealing at all. I stopped wearing contact lenses and now wear glasses. I let my hair grow out. I wear comfortable pants, comfortable shoes. I have a little roll of fat around my middle. But I have more charisma now than I did when I was a size 2, blond, with my boobies hanging out.

I don't understand the charisma of this blog or myself -- but there is one thing I do now understand. As much as there is a positive charisma, there is also its opposite. As much as people seem to like what I write and want to speak to me in person, there are also people who have a deep and abiding hatred for me. And the more people like me, and the more high-profile I get, the more there will be these online hate-fests at my expense.

This charisma energy works both ways -- bad and good. And rather than try to come up with some pop-psychology explanation for it all, I'll come up with a pop-New Age one: it's just the natural flow of energy. Positive polarity, negative polarity. And it certainly won't get any better when my comic book is published, so I ought to just get used to it.

Now I know how Will Ferrell feels.

*This is all written by a person that had -150 charisma points for most of her life, and knows the difference. The last time I went to a speaking engagement, I missed the entire buffet because I had a continual line of about 25 people come up to me after my speech. All that was left was the cold snow peas. And I have gotten stopped in washrooms, in comic shops, in the middle of Manhattan, by people who recognize me on sight for this blog. Personally, I think I have the charisma of a leek. But this is the situation. Life is patently bizarre, and God apparently has a ginormous sense of humor.


  1. Val, Val, Val... you could look like ME (I wouldn't wish that on anyone) and I'd still luv ya.

    Best to you in '09! Can't wait to see your take on C&D. I really miss Leonardi's art from that series.

  2. And rather than try to come up with some pop-psychology explanation for it all, I'll come up with a pop-New Age one: it's just the natural flow of energy. Positive polarity, negative polarity.

    So it's pretty much "Bendis sux/Bendis rulz."

    It seems the Newsarama code of conduct has infected your blog. Oh dear.

  3. Honestly,

    I believe it is your reaction to the reaction sometimes (or at least in the last one). I do not believe anyone was flaming you to start. It wasn't until you expressed you shock and disappointment that people would think the Australian decision was a bad idea that people began to react hostilely. The response to your initial post was initially quite civil (at least toward you).

    When you indirectly chastise people for expressing an opinion on a topic, it can come across as a little insulting.

  4. As someone who *has* stopped you in the street, I hope that doesn't bother you too much.

    Think of it like David Lee Roth called it -- not just Charisma, but ChaRAZZma!

  5. "it's just the natural flow of energy. Positive polarity, negative polarity."
    I like that.
    Its much more comforting then some people thinking your wrong on the issue at hand and questioning your reasoning.
    However this is the net and your kinda famous so you could say the sky is blue and someone is going to call BS sooner or later.

  6. And fighting it or overalyzing it will only make your head Desiderata said there will always be greater and lesser people than yourself...some will smell like soup and others will smell like salad. Its all unavoidable - try to see it all as one long running serial complete with cliffhangers and that part of you that becomes animated when you fly and focus your energy on Cloak and Dagger where it should be. My Baba always said that doing something you love and doing it well is always the best revenge against the haters out there - and yes she was hip well into her eighties....Hate the game...not the player....Kal

  7. The charisma isn't a mystery to me. Believe it or not, many guys find intellect and a strong will to be very attractive.

    And with all due respect to your significant other, girls in glasses are sexy.