March 20, 2015

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Weekend Pattering for March 20th, 2015-- the myth of "Faux Outrage"



** This week has kind of sucked, hasn't it.  There was Erik Larsen accusing Marvel and DC of placating a "vocal minority" with their recent (and actually kind of awesome) costume redesigns. If nothing else, Larsen's asinine comments should make us all glad that Eric Stephenson is the tastemaker at Image. And then there was DC's quite tonedeaf Joker variant cover for an issue of Batgirl.  It was a good drawing, just horribly inappropriate for that book. Just to keep the ball rolling even if it doesn't seem like this was picked up that much by the comic media, Ron Wimberly posted a comic on The Nib about when he was asked to lighten the skin tone of a dark skinned woman. I don't know if that story makes Marvel seem discriminatory or clueless. Finally, there was the whole Chris Sims/Valerie D'Orazio situation.  I was there for a lot of that and no one was too kind to Valerie.  Not all of them are getting a chance to write the X-Men but a lot of people should probably be apologizing.  We won't even go into the whole SPX table lottery situation.

In other words, it wasn't a good week. It was a week where the white maleness of comics just looked ugly.

And now towards the end of the week, people are trying to write this all off as some kind of false outrage, like it doesn't count because it doesn't affect them.

I don't know if I believe anymore that anything can be "faux outrage," a term that was briefly used on a podcast that I happen to love and respect.  This term was used to brush off any desire or responsibility to talk about these events while they dived normally into the comics that they read this week. These are issues that are affecting people emotionally and financially.  These are issues that show just how protected some people are while others are left high and dry.  These are issues that demonstrate injustices that still exist in the year 2015.  Heidi McDonald tried to explain what the late 2000s were like in the comics blogosphere and it sounds like she's writing about things that took place decades ago.  She was writing about events that took place only 6 or 7 years ago and in that time, things haven't gotten that much better around the lifestyle of comic fans or creators.  Woo hoo! Comics may be in some kind of reinvigorated golden age when we talk about content but when we talk about they way we treat each other, I don't know if we've learned anything at all.

But I guess as long as the latest issue of The Avengers was the bomb, we're all good.  Aren't we?

It wasn't just on the podcast.  I get the feeling from a lot of corners whenever any controversy erupts that we just want to write it off as "hater's gonna hate."  I've seen it on Twitter and Facebook.  And that probably isn't going to change anything.  As long as we accept the culture, this is going to be the culture we're going to have.

And I don't know if I want that.  In fact, I know I don't.

You don't have to have feelings or thoughts about every injustice that exists as it happens but brushing past it as something that's inconsequential or, even worse yet, something you just want to ignore just leaves the door open for things to be repeated.  At the same time, we've also got to accept the idea that people can change.  People can learn from their mistakes and that's what we want.  If we want to think that any outrage or discussion can lead to things getting better, we've got to accept that people can change and that they can become better.  If not, then we are living with false anger that's just yelling into the wind. If we want change, why aren't we willing to give people the benefit of the doubt and allow for the possibility that our anger and frustration can lead to growth and development.

Anger is good.  Outrage is good.  But so is forgiveness and acceptance and growth.

But what do I know?  Brian Wood is still getting work even if I can't read his stuff any more.  That whole situation just made all of his stuff (which I really enjoyed up to that point) just seem icky to me now.  Maybe someday I'll be able to practice what I preach.

** Next week, we'll be back to the usual link blogging here but I just don't feel like that this week.

** All the Pattering this week that was fit to Patter: