Oversensitive Idiot

Posted: November 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

Today I was called an ‘Oversensitive Idiot’, among other things.

I guess I have to claim at least part of that, since it bothers me. (Oddly enough, I feel less bothered my ‘get the rape stick out of your ass’ because I think a statement like that says a lot more about the speaker than the target.)

I am also not feeling that great this morning. We were tearing up carpet last night and my lungs are really paying for the dust etc. kicked up.

But let’s talk about the vehemence directed my way today.

First off, as of 8:30 this morning, I had 427 hits on my blog today. My highest before now was something like 74… and it is only 8:30 am.

This say more about the levels of readership at Bleeding Cool, who linked to my entry, rather them my blog, but c’est la vie.

Let’s talk a little bit about what I am angry about and how it seems that many people are missing the point.

I am mad that Chaykin made a rape joke in Avengers 1959 in such a casual and unneccesary fashion. This was NOT a major villain that needed some play in order to make him reprehensible. These were two throw away characters that only existed to be knocked out. There was no NEED to make them seem more ‘evil’ or whatever. They were in the way and they work for the enemy, therefore she was going to knock them out. The added rape joke served no purpose.

This is why I didn’t have the same reaction to the brutalization of Tigra in the main book. It served a narrative purpose. This is also why I am not fully in the ‘women in the refrigerator’ camp. Sometimes horrible things serve narraritve needs.

Whatever. I think some people aren’t listening. They have decided I am one of “Gail Simone’s oversensitive idiots” (how Gail Simone got involved I am unsure…) so listening to rational arguments is not quite in their wheelhouse.

That is why I am angry.

Now THIS is why I am sad…

I have recieved nothing but abuse. Look, I don’t need people to agree with me, but listening to people argue in DEFENSE of making rape jokes really bothers me. I had one guy say that I was upset because I didn’t ‘share the same sense of hunour’. In other words, it is OKAY to make jokes like that. I just don’t get it.

No, I am afraid YOU don’t get it.

I recently stood on stage after a talented young poet (Colleen Leafloor) did a poem about Jamie Hubley. When she was done I said to the audience that there is one thing we can ALL do to try and make things better. When you see something, say something. We were talking about people making homophobic comments, even casual ones, but that applies to racism, sexism, whatever. That is what I did. I was angry about something that I thought was unacceptable. Rather than keep quiet, I said something. In return I have recieved nothing but abuse.

Does that say something about the community that I am a part of? Does it say something about the readership of comics?

Or maybe it just says I am an oversensitive idiot.

  1. Hmm. This is nothing to do with oversensitivity, though I can see why people would use that label. It’s mostly to do with the ability to read a text. If reading the Bible doesn’t make me good, why does reading Howard Chaykin’s unpleasant characters make me or him a worse person? Help me out here, please.

    Do you really think that Chaykin supports rape because some evil characters in a comic he writes are indicated to be rapists? What about Alan Moore, whose comics I suggest you steer well clear of if imaginary people doing sexually violent things to one another is problematic for you? Or does Alan get a pass because he’s a beardy wizard, while Chaykin as a wiseass New Yorker with a thing for lingerie ‘is’ ‘clearly’ a misogynist?

    • rpriske says:

      I never said he supported rape. My contention is that making such a topic the object of a joke minimizes its serious nature. It is similar to those people who say things like “That is so gay.” to refer to something as ‘bad’. It isn’t that the person who said it is neccessarily homophobic, just that allowing such comments to go unchallenged leads to a hostile environment where the value of human beings is diminished.

      The ‘you can’t take a joke’ attitude is upsetting me more than the original transgression at this point.

      (And while I will cop to possibly going a bit far when asking for someone to be fired, that person wouldnt’ be Chaykin. He is writing a story. He wrote something that should have been altered at editorial request. It is the editor who is at fault here.)

  2. cs3ink says:

    Sorry you’re catching so much crap. People responding thusly are only negating their argument (IMO).

    I think it’s a testament to Chaykin’s writing that two “throw-away” characters were given any motivation at all. And, again, I content it was not a joke, but rather an illustration of the inhumanity of two characters who would approach the subject so casually.

    Were I to fault it at all, it would be because it’s a little over the top, but that too is pure Chaykin.

    • Rusty, I’m a fan of a lot of Chaykin’s work, and this is a very clear assessment of his characterization. The villains in his work have no redeeming values whatsoever and are completely despicable, whether they’re just featured in one panel or are a recurring character.

  3. crazygrrrl says:

    I read the post last night, and hadn’t decided whether I should weigh in, before this follow up post appeared.

    As a person who hadn’t read the comic in question, who doesn’t read comics generally, I wasn’t sure what I could contribute to the conversation.

    As a woman, as a survivor of gender based violence, I’m grateful to men who are willing to object to references like this, showing rape as a casual act, men who will stop and question whether the depiction was necessary …

    I agree that we shouldn’t sanitize our literature. But I also believe there are some things that should be addressed with thought, care, and responsibility. With SENSITIVITY, to the cultural issues at play and the messages being reinforced. And it doesn’t seem like this was the case here. It means a lot to me that you would challenge that, Rusty.

    • cs3ink says:

      crazygrrrl, the dialogue was not intended a joke, but rather to illustrate what buttmunchs the guards were. This scene does not contribute to a casual view of rape, but rather uses the natural repugnant reaction to it as a means for the reader to classify those about to be beaten upon as deserving of said thrashing. There is no joke here. The comments are not meant to be funny. This does not objectify women. Instead it is meant to point out how wrong it is to do so.

      • rpriske says:

        This is just wrong.

        This is someone who doesn’t understand how damaging using such things in an off-hand manner is. It did not advance the story in ANY way. There was NOTHING added to the story by including what was CLEARLY meant as a joke.

        (I don’t udnerstand the people arguing it was not meant as a joke. It was a joke between the two guards. What is unclear about that?)

      • crazygrrrl says:

        First, you are making some rather broad assumptions about the intentions and amount of thought the author/editors put in to just a couple of panels here. Also a rather wild interpretation of how the average reader will interpret said panels.

        Clearly you are a fluent and contemplative reader. It’s probably a mistake to assume the vast majority of the reading audience is.

  4. Pearl says:

    Ah, sorry to hear that people are name calling you over this, Rusty. What you said seemed a no-brainer to call writers on doing stupid things. the flack you got and your arguments being dismissed can fall into techniques to Derailing for Dummies. http://derailingfordummies.com/

  5. Nadine says:

    What I have to say about this is too much for a comment section. It’s time to blog…

  6. waynebeaton says:

    FWIW, I agree with the assertion that rape is wrong. Further, I agree with the assertion that we must stand up and say/do something when we observe something that isn’t right. I have some personal experience with the latter.

    I personally find the passage offensive in isolation. But I can’t honestly say that I’d find it offensive in the context of the comic (having not read the comic). Maybe, but maybe not. Context is funny like that.

    I respect that you’ve drawn the line. I also respect that you’re not insisting that the artist change their ways, but rather are taking personal responsibility for your own choices regarding the artist’s work. FWIW, I have taken similar actions myself with the local radio stations by informing them that I will change the station when certain songs/artists/commercials are played. Vote with your feet.

  7. Calvin says:

    I totally agree with you, Rusty.

  8. Tammy MacKenzie says:

    Rusty, for what it’s worth, I read your post last night and didn’t comment because it was late, but I want to say: I get it. Thank you.
    The distinction may be subtle, too subtle for some to get the point, and it is very regretable that poeple feel the need to indulge in knee-jerk responses and name calling.
    The fact that you caught and thought about the subtlety, took the time and effort to write to those who created it, and blogged about it, says far more about your character than any negative comment, or a 100 for that matter.
    I only wish there were a lot more men like you out there!
    Don’t stop doing what you do.
    Love and respect, Tammy

  9. […] see the harm in a little rape joke. And I’m just plain old fashioned MAD that anyone would call my friend names and insult his character, because he dared to speak out against a rape […]

  10. Daniel says:

    I have to chime in for one little piece about the people hurling insults towards you Rusty!

    “Does that say something about the community that I am a part of? Does it say something about the readership of comics?”

    It sort of does, sadly. I’m a geek. I have always been a geek. I shall always be a geek. I love other geeks to pieces.

    That said they are probably the largest bunch of socially awkward people on the face of the planet who have no idea how to handle sex. Pro-social skills (especially when it comes to sex) don’t really come very high in the world of comic reading, game playing, card flopping nerds. Women are interesting when they are sex objects, guys need to destroy things and be tough and manly, and let’s not get started on gays. Heck, you have some geek companies, one of which you are very intimately acquainted, which has a strict “no gays here” policy.

    Just remember who’s hurling insults at you, and remember that there are people out there who thought Cat Woman was a good movie because Halle Berry had a cat costume.

    Please note I am not in any way shape or form saying that all comic and gamer nerds are like this, but a really big number of them are.

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