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Jeremy
This entry is an expansion on a post about how the ethnicity change of Tiger Lily is not equal to the ethnicity change of the Human Torch. It's a good rant, but I think he lets folks off easy.

When a historically straight white male character is changed to be more representative in a new telling of a tale, and the straight white male audience complains that they can no longer relate to the character because of the change, then they are proving WHY it is so very important. It’s often said that a variety of representation is necessary to give minority people characters with whom they can relate, but that is false. Minority people have been relating to characters not like them for forever, because that’s all the choices they’ve had. Minority people ALREADY KNOW that people can empathize with others that aren’t like them, the people that REALLY need to learn this lesson are the straight white males that have been shown time and again that their perspective is the only valid one by virtue of how much entertainment is told from that point of view. (Yes, some straight white males get this, but every time the ethnicity of a white character is changed to something else there is a disturbingly huge number of comments along the lines of not being able to relate to or respect the character any longer said with such oblivious sincerity that it demonstrates just how deeply ingrained the racism is, as well as the shocking inability to empathize with anyone else’s viewpoint.)

The reason that a variety of representation is necessary is NOT to give minorities their own characters JUST for them. We’re NOT endeavoring to keep things separate which is the implication of that line of reasoning. No, the reason that a variety or representation is necessary is to validate the experiences of those minorities, in their own eyes and in the eyes of the straight white male audience that has not been pushed to see any other experience. Let’s take bisexuality as an example. It’s invisible because it’s not something that you know about people when you only know them casually. Hell, you can know someone pretty well and they may never reveal this because of a fear of being judged. So without representation in media it becomes a “secret” classification, the general populace of heterosexuals and even homosexuals think that bisexuality isn’t real. People that start having bisexual feelings are often confused; they feel like they have to make a choice between being heterosexual or homosexual and that they are mutually exclusive. These people struggle with something that shouldn’t actually be a big deal whatsoever because they feel the need to choose one based on how society and people are portrayed in the media. Just imagine how worse it gets when the only available portrayals are negative or dismissive. Being bisexual doesn’t mean someone is a ravenous predator lustfully looking at everyone as a potential fuck, nor is it just a phase that they’ll get over once they find the right person, but that’s what the media tells everyone. And so someone that is just realizing that they feel this way is pushed to make that arbitrary choice between heterosexuality or homosexuality, not even realizing that there is actually a complex spectrum of options available for people to explore of which bisexuality is just one valid option.

But it’s more than just sexuality, it’s every single minority. As a member of any minority, when you are FINALLY lucky enough to see a character like you portrayed and they are just secondary characters AT BEST, but are typically comedic roles, villains, or just faces in a crowd, then you feel unimportant. Because no one tells tales about someone like you, you feel like your existence and therefore your whole self is not as valid, as real, or as worthwhile as those that are being told onscreen or in the books you read. You can still enjoy the works, you can feel for the characters, you can love them even though their life viewpoint is so much different than yours. But when you look at yourself you feel like nothing that you do will ever matter. The insidious thing again is that it’s not just the minority peoples that feel like this, it’s also the straight white males that begin to think that all those other viewpoints are less important than their own. And that’s what we see again and again in comments and message boards, and don’t forget politics, where straight white men can’t even conceive of another life experience or viewpoint different from their own as being something worthwhile to even acknowledge let alone accept or celebrate.

All of this is why it's OK to change a historically white male character to something else, but it's not OK to change a minority character to white.
 
 
Jeremy
11 January 2013 @ 12:09 pm
“Intellectual” doesn’t just mean “educated,” it also means someone that values thought. Anti-intellectualism is a movement against thought and is one of the primary tools of fascists and totalitarian dictators. Anti-intellectual individuals primarily fall into two camps; they are either people out to control others or they are idiots. Sometimes they’re both. The point is that in order to determine into which camp they fall anti-intellectuals need to be questioned more forcibly on precisely why they don’t want people to think.

The argument, exemplified recently by Samuel Wurzelbacher, a.k.a. “Joe the Plumber,” that gun control led to the Holocaust and other government sponsored atrocities would be amusingly ironic if it wasn’t so frighteningly prevalent. The anti-intellectualism that brought him to fame is a significantly greater factor of how those things occurred than is any measure of gun control.

People are asked for identification when buying decongestants, but no one fears that the government is going to take them away from people that aren’t abusing them. Owning and operating automobiles requires licensing and insurance, but no one is afraid that the government is going to come along and take cars away from people that have not shown themselves to be a danger to others. But even the slightest bit of regulation, monitoring, or accountability in regards to guns, which by definition are WEAPONS and serve no other purpose than to shoot things, is met with howls that everyone’s guns are going to be taken away. No one, except some extremists on the left which are being completely and utterly ignored, is advocating taking away every single gun. That option hasn’t been seriously discussed within my lifetime, it’s not part of the so-called “liberal agenda,” and the only people that think it is are the ones that are truly out of touch.

Taking a step back from that level of extremist reaction, we see that the same people that claim any sort of gun regulation is harmful to lawful guns owners are often the same ones against government provided financial aid to individuals because some people abuse it. The cognitive dissonance at play here is staggering. On one hand they claim the government can’t in any way regulate an elective item because it makes things marginally more difficult for people that want to obtain them, while on the other hand they don’t want to provide aid to anyone that genuinely needs it because some people have abused it. Boiled down further, in one instance they are against inconveniencing the innocent despite the real and present dangers that creates, but in another case they are in support of hurting the innocent to keep the unscrupulous from possibly benefiting.

There is no reasoning with people that are able to so passionately hold onto such incongruous thought patterns. It’s no longer a question of anti-intellectualism but actual non-intellectualism. These people are refusing to think about their own thoughts, and that’s as scary as things get.
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Jeremy
New Mexico Gov. Requires Women Seeking Childcare Assistance To Prove They Were ‘Forcibly Raped’

The GOP is getting so self-justified that they are being more obvious about things I've been saying for years. From the same side that is fighting for no abortions under any circumstance comes more and more stringent restrictions for people to get help supporting raising the child. It should be apparent by this point that they are just punishing people for having sex. They are imposing their own religious-based sense of morals on others and it is oppression.

Sure, after the article went out the wording of the proposal was changed, but the fact that it got out like that goes to show their overdeveloped sense of righteousness. The blatant hypocrisy of wanting to give corporations (i.e. folks with money) more freedom while fighting for more and more restrictions on the rights of individuals (i.e. folks without money) should be getting to the point that anyone can recognize it.
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Jeremy
All right, let me preface this with the fact that a couple of months ago DC lowered the price on their regular, ongoing titles to $2.99 with heavy advertising of the self aggrandizing catchphrase of "Holding the line at $2.99." People assumed that DC had figured out something that was going over the heads of the folks at Marvel, that the fanbase couldn't handle $4 for a single comic and were cutting back.

Then came Flashpoint, DC's next big event crossover, to put the lie to this idea. The tentpole is a 5 issue miniseries at $3.99. Fine, a lot of minis are still at $3.99. And Booster Gold, an ongoing series I already collect, is also going to tie in to it.

So, for the month of May they list Flashpoint #1 and Booster Gold #44. Not bad.

Then we get to June - Flashpoint #2, Booster Gold #45, and then 20 brand new titles. Let me restate that, TWENTY new comics on top of what is already regularly coming out. And 16 are first issues of three issue miniseries while only four are one shots. At least they are all at $2.99. Still, for the month of June someone wanting to follow the entirety of Flashpoint would be spending $66.78 on top of what they are already buying. Seriously? Ridiculous. Seriously ridiculous.

This is all because some people cry about the series they follow being interrupted by company wide crossovers, so the companies have started putting out some crossovers as separate miniseries. The problem is that the people that enjoy crossovers end up having to buy double, the regular series and the tie-in miniseries. Of course, the companies like that and that's why it has gotten more and more prevalent. But 16 tie-in miniseries at once goes way beyond excessive, it's in fucking bat country.

I hope this crashes in their face. Unfortunately if this does burn them it will probably hurt comic book stores more.

If a crossover isn't so over the top I might go for most or even all of it. But with this much I'm not even going to try. No thanks. I'm picking up three of the miniseries, two that are written by Abnett & Lanning and one written by Peter Milligan featuring Shade, The Changing Man. At this point I might not even pick up the main miniseries which would make it the first major event from the big two that I've ignored in, crap, I can't even remember. Fifteen years? Twenty? Once I got serious with my collecting I always picked up the events so I was on top of what was going on.

Marvel's current crossover, Fear Itself, isn't a tiny affair either. But so far it is fairly evenly balanced between having its tie-ins within regular titles versus miniseries and one-shots. I'm not collecting all of it, but with a couple a titles I already collect having tie-in issues I'll be getting a greater proportion of it than I will of Flashpoint.
 
 
 
Jeremy
Yeah, so it seems my ability to communicate in an articulate manner has been fucked over. I look back on anything longer than a couple of sentences and see error after error. I'm stumbling along like a runner in shoes that are too big. I've got the wrong verb tense, extra words, missing words, and incomplete ideas. And I'm not just throwing these things up there without rereading them. Hell, some things have been written over the course of a couple days and still end up making me look like a complete idiot. I used to pride myself on my ability to communicate with the written word and express what I wanted to express.

But, hell, again, I just had to double check the dictionary to make sure "express" was the word I wanted and my brain wasn't feeding me more shite. Yes, I meant "shite" with an e.

I used to be proud of my photography skills as well, but that's been nothing but crap lately too.

Is there too much shit in my head pushing everything out? Maybe I should try wringing out my pillows to see if I leaked some smarts in my sleep.

Now this added anxiety over my ability to write clearly and intelligently, and my frustration with myself, is just making it all worse.

Fucking Fuck McFuck just fucked the fuck with his fuck.

Fuck!!!!!
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Jeremy
House votes to block all funding to Planned Parenthood.

This has long been the hypocrisy of the so-called "Pro-Life" movement that just hurts my brain. More accurately they should be called the "Anti-Choice" movement. They don't want people to have abortions, but they won't inform on or help people with how to not get unwanted pregnancies outside of the useless celibacy talks. They claim their concern is about the children, but their concern ends as soon as it's born. If this statement wasn't true, then they would be helping programs that help families with unplanned children. No, they want to block those as well because they don't care anymore. They don't care that these families will struggle for the rest of their lives and that these children will be resented by their parents.

They don't want to give people knowledge, and then they want to penalize them (i.e. not help them at all) when they inevitably make a mistake due to ignorance. I blame the Bible. Seriously, I fucking do. Fuck you Bible and the fucking lessons about how to be an asshole contained within it.

Book of Genesis.

God leaves Adam and Eve ignorant.

They do something wrong owing to this ignorance.

He punishes them for it. His actions caused them to do it, but he punishes them.

And he's all-good, because we're told he is but never actually shown that he is, so this must be a valid way to act.

It's not. It's fucking not. It is the direct opposite way of how anyone with any decent sense of morals should act. And that is just one of the pieces from the Bible that made me say that even if this asshole does exist, I'm not fucking following him, because he's an asshole and doesn't deserve it.

(The story of Job is another one. I really think that was the one that did it for me. So God will put a faithful follower through Hell to prove a point to some fucking douche he doesn't even fucking respect? If a friend of mine screwed me over to prove a point to someone they didn't like or respect I would punch the motherfucker in the face and never look back.)

Back on topic-
Of course, the poor suffer the most. Because this isn't just about sex ed and birth control, or welfare programs, it's also about low-cost healthcare for women. The rich or even middle class aren't going to be affected as much by this because they have other options and have better education.

These activists have something against poor women. That's the only explanation that makes any sense to me. They hate poor women, want to punish them for the simple fact of being poor women, and want to do all in their power to keep them that way so that they can keep punishing them. It's a disgustingly abusive relationship.



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Well, I kind of ended up losing my temper through there. This is why I tend to stay out of political or religious discourse. The cognitive dissonance so often on display is something I have trouble dealing with. It is so far outside my thought processes that it causes my rationality to freeze and I go all Hulk smash!
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Jeremy

Grrr, I can't wait until it comes up in the rotation, I must complain now. The final issue of the Thor: For Asgard miniseries came it... and it pissed me off. The more I think back on it the angrier I get.

It was a six issue series with beautiful art but the story wandered around and spun its wheels a lot. A whole lot. It was just poorly written. But I kept with it figuring there would at least be a conclusion since this was a miniseries... and there wasn't. Seriously, the characters that died throughout it are resurrected but even one of them is smart enough to remark that the cause of the problems is still unknown and out there.

Fuck them.

They took six damn issues to do fuck all.

This whole thing should have been condensed to two issues, somebody should have done lay-outs for the artist because, while Simone Bianchi does great looking art the storytelling can be somewhat lacking, and they should have completed the damn story in the miniseries because there isn't enough substance to drag it out this long. I am certainly not getting the next one, and will be weary in the future of things written by Robert Rodi. I had been enjoying Astonishing Thor so far but now I'm worried.

So, what's the difference between this and, say, Batman: Widening Gyre by Kevin Smith and Walter Flanagan, which also ended a miniseries on a major cliff-hanger? Widening Gyre is awesome. Every issue was exceptionally, compellingly entertaining and I am trully looking forward to more.  For Asgard was OK at best, but more often tedious. The lack of a pay-off at the end just made it worthless.
 
 
Jeremy
19 August 2009 @ 12:27 pm

Kat Rocha does a very nice essay on why she thinks there aren't more women in the comics business - and she blames 60s feminists.

I'm sure that not everyone would agree with her, but I think there is a lot of truth to it that applies to more than just women, more than just feminists, and more than just comics.

There is a prevalent sense of entitlement amongst the general American populace, anyone in customer service knows this intimately, that quickly turns to anger and resentment if all whims are not immediately satisfied.

Tyler Durden put it best - "You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else."

We all have to grow up.

 
 
Jeremy
My brain is still not my own, and is continuing to annoy me. The stress of moving is only adding to my general anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed, as well as my inability to concentrate on a single thing at once.

Bah!

I figured out, I believe, why some fans react so loudly to the movie adaptation of their favorite thing -- it's because movies are what the average person knows. For the most part, and for most things, the average person is more familiar with the movie version of something than they are with the novel, comic, or video game upon which it is based. Therefore, some fans will loudly protest the thing when it doesn't match to what they like, so that they are not misjudged for it.

Admittedly, some fans are just raving idiots that will complain for the sake of complaining if any detail is changed from the original because they don't have anything better to do. Plus, they're raving idiots.

But take for instance, oh, Transformers 2. I think everybody that knows me knows I'm a big fan of Transformers, and have been since I saw the very first episode when it first aired in 1984. I take every chance I can get to insult Michael Bay and the crap that he has put to screen... because I don't want people to think Transformers is all about shallow characterization, sexist and racist portrayals, crude frat-boy style humor, and giant explosions. I don't want people to think that that is what I like and feel so fanatical about.

One of the hallmarks of Transformers is that every character gets a well thought-out bio, that there is a large variety of different characters with different motivations, and they themselves often have cross-motivations which cause personal conflict. You have characters like Grimlock, who ends up on the good guy side not because he believes in protecting the weak, he actually despises anything he sees as weak, but because he despises anyone that abuses the weak even more. So he's a "good guy" because of how much he loathes the bad guys. You have characters like Thundercracker who is on the bad guy side because that's where his friends went, and though he does believe in some tenets of the Decepticon way, he finds the wholesale destruction and slaughter of beings that have no fighting chance as a stain on all Decepticons' honor. You have characters that struggle with their roles as a protector and a warrior. You have hero characters that are haughty and arrogant. You have characters on both sides that consider themselves artists and scientists, and are just waiting for the conflict to end so they can get back to their "real" lives. Transformers is a rich tapestry of interesting characters... and the average person has no idea of this because of how poorly written these films are.

Also, Transformers has a history of equal treatment. In the very beginning was a Transformer that talked "black" - the original Jazz was voiced by Scatman Crothers. And he was never the butt of any jokes. On the contrary, he was very respected, he was very capable, and he was Prime's go-to guy for important missions. The real Jazz was a far cry from the crude and ineffective version shown in the first Bay film, and nothing like the ghetto-bot twins of the second film. Aditionally, in the Beast Wars series, there was Tigatron, voiced by Blu Mankuma (sounds similar to James Earl Jones), who was also respected and on the same level as everybody else. There are a number of other Transformers characters that were voiced by black voice actors, and they were consistently treated no differently than the rest.

(OK, yes, there were some racist stereotypes in the eighties series. Casey Kasem left the series due to the highly overblown portrayal of the character Abdul Fakkadi, dictator of the made-up Arab state Carbombya (pronounced car-bomb-ee-ah, get it?). I'm going to blame the Reagan administration. The series, and the rest of Transformers in cartoons and comics throughout the years, have more examples of positive portrayals then they do of negative ones.)

The Transformers also has a history of featuring female Transformers, though how a robot can be either male of female escapes just about everybody. Still, these characters were continually shown to be the equals of the ones voiced by male actors. And though the most famous of them, Arcee, was in an insulting pink color, she never once screamed like a girl. The Beast Wars series, where the Transformers were actually techno-organic in nature, is a more logical place to find female Transformers. And there we have Airazor and Blackarachnia, two characters that were again treated as equals to the rest. Hell, Blackarachnia not only had a bad-ass battle rep, but she also got a high share of story time and a significant arc of characterization over the course of the series.

On second thought, I'll accept the "giant explosions" of the Bay-experience as part of the Transformers mythos --- at 1:10 is an image that is forever seared into my brain as one of the coolest fucking things ever put to film.
 
 
Jeremy
26 May 2009 @ 09:40 pm
So, the previous week the issue of Wolverine I got was #73. The issue I had picked up prior to that one was #71. I assumed the shop had skipped again like they had with Cable #13. Nope, Marvel pulled a McFarlane and skipped the issue. What's really, exceptionally stupid is that issues 73 and 74 were already scheduled as fill-ins that were breaking up the horrendously delayed "Old Man Logan" story line. Since they were already going to interrupt the story, they should have just changed the number on 73 and 74 to 72 and 73, and made the now even later than it originally was #72 into #74. Yes, I know it's confusing, and, yes, I realize that #72 is supposed to come out this week, and, yes, I realize that renumbering things probably would have delayed them, and, hey, since #72 is supposed to come out this week, and number #73 came out two weeks ago, maybe they should have just held onto #73 until #72 was ready. But, nope, all for the dough, nothing for the know. McFarlane should be proud, the big boys are acting just like him.

MARVEL
Agents of Atlas #5 - great stuff

Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #3 of 5 - Still better than the regular series

Fantastic Four #566 - The Master of Doom? Uh-uh, the Master of Dumb

Hulk #12 - still overpriced. Next issue, the anniversary issue, is it.

Planet Skaar Prologue one-shot - good stuff 

Punisher #5 - best dig at One More Day that I've read. Punisher is presented the offer: if he quits his crusade his family will be brought back from the dead for him. His response - "Maria wouldn't like me making deals with devils on her account." That's right, folks, when something is too reprehensible for the Punisher, you know it is some fucked up, stupid-ass shit. And that's what One More Day is. 

Skrull Kill Krew #2 of 5 - better than it deserves to be

Uncanny X-Men #510 - freight train of fun

Wolverine Noir #2 of 4 - solid

Wolverine: Weapon X #2 - decent

X-Men Forever Alpha - reprints X-Men (1991) #1-3 by Claremont and Jim Lee to prepare for the new series that pretends that nothing since X-Men #3 has happened. I see a train wreck. The few preview pages already contain some glaringly awful inconsistencies (like Rogue's full name, which was finally revealed more than a decade later).


DC
The Brave and the Bold #23 - Booster Gold and Magog by Dan "Booster Gold" Jurgens. As solid a read as the Booster Gold series itself, and I foresee this tying into it eventually.


IDW PRESS
G.I.Joe #5 - The plot had better start moving along, or I'm going to start giving it a "meh"

Transformers: All Hail Megatron #11 of 12 - sweet

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Official Movie Adaptation #1 of 4 - weak


back-issue buy in a $2.98 two-pack at Toys R Us
Nomad #16 (1993) - featuring Gambit
Weird Wonder Tales #22 (1977) - featuring Dr Druid (more accurately, it's reprints of pre-Marvel Lee & Kirby tales of a character named Dr Droom who, after the advent of Marvel and a certain Dr Doom, was renamed Dr Druid)