Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Consider This A Warmup

    Okay. Tony Harris said something dumb on Facebook, and as I don't want to be accused of quoting selectively, here's the post:

    I pass over the random capitalization, the appalling avoidance of the enter key and the all caps that goes on for about three lines. It also doesn't help his argument when he uses phrases like "CON-HOT" and "GREAT Boobies." (Punctuation his.)

    He also sounds blustery and defensive when he starts calling the women/girls/etc liars. It makes him look pathetic and it's lashing out against the audience. Not the way to go.

    There's three parts to this. The shortest one first, which is the poser part, the second one, which is the unspoken assumptions implicit in his Facebook post, and the third, much thornier one, the parts that have to do with gender.


    The posers he's talking about are simply people who are excited but since they're new to the media needs to learn more. Be kind, man! It doesn't hurt you! You want to help posers, because no one, yourself included, came out of the womb with a deep and abiding love for things Jack Kirby drew. You learned about it because people clued you into what was special and exciting that was by and large unknown.


    His Facebook post does absolutely nothing for comics fans male or female that's positive. It paints men at cons as stunted, overgrown children and females dressing up as emotional vampires, dressing scantily because they desire attention that they can't get in the world outside of conventions.

    And, as a micro thing, does that go on? It must. There are simply too many humans converging on a place for it not to happen anywhere and in my time going to conventions, I have to imagine I've run across at least one attractive cosplayer who wants attention and at least one person who is badly equipped emotionally. No question.

    But that being the rule seems unlikely and insults everyone who attends conventions. It assumes a cynical, lazy view of people and one which demeans their integrity before an exchange of ideas even begins.



    But back to the aggrieved party here, which is the women dressing up at conventions.

    What they actually need are more people creating and writing female characters trying to keep in mind how their wives, daughters and friends would feel dressed up like that. It's a rabbit hole that better people than me have leaped into already.

    We pause, briefly, to note that most of the people who created those female characters those 100% no bullshit geeks look up to were men and they created those characters without thinking about how their wives or daughters or friends would feel dressed like that and THAT is the issue that we're all trying to be better about now.

    And here's the weird bit: I know people like the ones Mr. Harris is talking about and I know people like the ones he is painting with the same brush. On my way back from a Halloween party, I was reading Grant Morrison's Marvel Boy on the bus, when one of the most attractive women I've seen this year asked me if I knew the character was coming back in Young Avengers in January.

    I said yes, and we had a very nice conversation about it, once I got over my surprise. She went off with her friends to the train and I continued on my way back home because I had to work in the morning. She's legit and she's super attractive. That this exists isn't impossible and more damningly for Mr. Harris, fairly common. She also doesn't need anyone external, male or otherwise to validate her geek cred.

    The idea that there needs to be some kind of external validation for being "geek enough" is also disappointing, but that's a story for another day.

    In speaking too broadly, Mr. Harris does himself a disservice and comics fans even worse. To his point that he was consciously trying to make: Bad people are bad. We agree. It's not something that needs to be put on blast. I look forward to whatever he's drawing next.


     Hi guys. It's been a while. Sorry. It's been gone, but it's for a good cause. I've been listening to Self Defense Family a lot. This song is one of my favorites that they've done.

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