PROFESSIONAL SHIT, MAN
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it’s “what is this flesh tube i seem to occupy and what does it have to do with me”
“what is body”
“what am i”
and it’s always interesting how survivors of trauma are always targeted and told “don’t hate the people who did this to you, hate is wrong”
but never are these policing fucks ever seen making posts about how it’s wrong to inflict that kind of trauma on someone
seriously, your moral compass is fucked if you think it’s worse for a survivor to hate someone that forced trauma on them, than it is for the person to inflict that trauma
I wanted to share this on my FB, but since this was posted via a friend of friend I wasn’t able to. However, this is the exact kinda bullshit that makes me want to punch dudes like Ben into the 3rd circle of hell.
Dude, don’t you know that Wonder Woman was originally created to be a positive role-model for girls since there weren’t really any other well-written/presented ones aimed at girls at the time, and thus, superhero comics had become more popular with boys? Even wikipedia says it: “Her depiction as a heroine fighting for justice, love, peace, and sexual equality has also led to Wonder Woman being widely considered a feminist icon.”
It’s only been since very recently (like, late 80s) that Wonder Woman and other Super Heroines became hyper-sexualized. And although the majority of the audience for Marvel/DC superhero stuff is men in their 30s, there are still a LOT of intelligent, young women who are into that stuff as well. I personally know a few women who are into mainstream superhero comics, considering I also have my foot in the mainstream comics industry door via my day job.
There’s so much more wrong with this dude’s argument that I’m not sure I have the energy to get into. It’s just further proof of how misogyny is so engrained into our culture (especially in the comics world) that people can spew inane shit like this and think they are totally in the right.
So, as one might expect, I feel super bad about pissing off a bunch of cartoonist peers and fucking up a couple friendships. I’ve certainly been vocal/passionate/unforgiving in my initial critiques and reactions to people regarding sexism in the alternative comics community, when I could have been far more polite and forgiving, and I apologize for hurting any feelings that did not deserve to get hurt. I’d also like to thank anyone who has engaged in a thoughtful, open dialogue with me, whether critical or positive, as it has helped me better understand my own prejudices.
A few things that I hope can be taken away from this whole ordeal, which I am trying to practice myself:
1. Systemic Oppression is bad, and it’s ok to call people out when they engage in it. Calling people out ≠ attacking them as a person
2. People often don’t realize that they are engaging in systemic oppression, and may not even know what it really means. It’s ok to be confrontational as a reaction, but not hostile. Try to open eyes and minds, but keep your own open as well.
3. Engaging in an open & articulate dialogue is positive. Not everyone is always going to agree with each other, and that’s ok. Try to be mature and respectful, hear each other out, and be willing to retract any wrongful statements.
4. Privilege is a tricky subject that can be learned about here and here and here. Saying that someone has a certain privilege over another, whether relating to class, race, gender, or sexuality, does not mean that person does not have the right to an opinion. It is simply asking that person to try to consider their privilege when expressing themselves, and to also try to listen to others who may not have that privilege. It does not mean either party is right or wrong, as we all have different kinds of privileges and they are not mutually exclusive.
5. In speaking about systemic oppression, no one is trying to deny an artist their freedom of expression. It would be nice if artists chose methods of expressions that were progressive rather than oppressive, and the goal here was to simply make some artists aware of that alternative path.
That’s it. All in all I’m exhausted from speaking. I honestly don’t really like throwing public hissy fits, and would have deeply regretted all this if it weren’t for the tons of private messages that I’ve been getting from women (queer and straight alike) to thank me for speaking up about the same things they’ve also felt, but have been holding back out of fear of retaliation. I do regret the way I worded my initial reactions, and wish I could take it back. I can only hope that this incident creates further positive discussion and open dialogue, so that the alternative comics community can grow and improve.
Respond to ONE more thing. (I swear i’ll stop after this and you’ll get your feed of kewl comix and art and stuff forever onward)
So. This is the kind of response to “offensive jokes” that i have a problem with:
I’m glad someone gets the joke. The more I see people getting up in arms about something obviously meant to be satirical the more I want to poke at their sensibilities of good taste.
I don’t sense any genuine maliciousness behind Josh’s work nor the avocation of agression towards cartoonists, women or any other group. This work is more of a reaction to the ridiculous nature of cartooning and how far fetched thugish behaviour is from the culture.
We all project our own realities onto what we are reading. I think Josh managed to touch a nerve for some sensitive people that are dealing with other issues than he is. However i don’t believe he should hold back for fear of upsetting people who are reading something into the work that is not meant to be there.
We should be more ok with making fun of each other and ourselves. Art is better when we have something to push against as I think people are better when they are challenged.
If the comic world wants to be relavent it won’t be comfortable.
You know what, I’m sooo so so so so sick of this trite argument. It’s like when that Daniel Tosh Rape Joke BS was going around and all these dudes were reacting to it like, “HEY THAT’S WHAT FREE SPEECH IS FOR” and “YOU’RE JUST BEING ‘TOO SENSITIVE’”. Here is the best response I came across from that whole debacle: http://austin.culturemap.com/news/life/07-12-12-14-37-the-best-response-weve-heard-to-daniel-toshs-misquoted-rape-jokes/
Now, moving on.
1. “Obviously, the joke of his comic touched a nerve for some “sensitive people” that are dealing with other issues than he is.”
Once upon a time, I too, was de-sensitized to offensive jokes, and even if I was the brunt of the joke, I brushed it off because I had a hard fucking shell and could deal and laugh with it, not like those stupid pussies who just totally did not “get it.”
Now, why was I so de-sensitized? Because I grew up in a culture where i (as a gender, as a race, as a class) was always the brunt of jokes, and to get upset every time my mixed race or heritage or gender or class was shit on, didn’t do me much good. You know what kids do when they get bullied? They either cry or they pretend like its No Big Deal, or they fight back. Alas, I was not quite confident enough to be the confrontational type (at least growing up), so I would just laugh bullies off and act like I was “with them” and I “got the joke”, therefore I was not the one being laughed at.
This mindset has very recently changed for me however, as I’ve become more informed about how our culture operates, and have since started listening to people who are regularly oppressed by these kind of seemingly harmless jokes, way moreso than I am (because as it stands, I do look mostly white, and I am also cis/straight, and that puts me in a position of power that many others do not have).
Point is, it is easy to make and laugh at these kinda jokes if you are not the brunt of the joke. why is this such a hard concept to grasp for so many people? oh yeah, because they’re … gah, should i say it? Privileged. Yup, that word every person-in-power hates because it hurts their feelings. You know what hurts my feelings? Rape jokes, anti-semitic jokes, jokes against autistics, jokes against queers, jokes against indigenous people, oh and so much more. You know why? Because these are still real issues that are very much out there, and that people are still dealing with and definitely not laughing about.
I mean, it’s true, humor is a great way to get through hard times. I use humor as a way to deal with really shitty things, as most of us do. But we all (should) know that racism and sexism and homophobia are still very much present in our culture, and for these jokes to come from people not in said oppressed groups makes me feel like they’re just trying to re-assert their position of power against them.
Does this make sense? Like, why would someone make a joke about someone they already have power over? Why not the opposite? You know, make fun of some rich asshole politicians or some pig policemen who can fuck you over at any time? Not some helpless person who you think you are better than because of what our society has deemed as “cool” and “uncool”.
2. “If the comic world wants to be relavent it won’t be comfortable.”
Hey, this is true. Hopefully though it won’t be comfortable for the oppressors-in-power rather than those who really have done nothing wrong.
3. “However i don’t believe he should hold back for fear of upsetting people who are reading something into the work that is not meant to be there.”
You’re right, don’t hold back. Do what you want. But do listen to and be respectful of articulate criticism. Sometimes it’s there for a reason.
some really uncomfortable conversations have popped up for me today… and finding out where some people stand (as in, ok with aggression against women disguised with a “light-hearted attitude”, not ok with aggression against perpetuators of such ‘humor’) really … really bums me out. i hope everyone can take a step back, and understand how their outlook on some things might not be the most progressive route, and taking such a stance can be really hurtful.
do you folks really not have a clue how much power and control you have over the rest of us? we already feel intimidated and helpless - even if we have a hard shell and appear “strong”, really, living in a society where you will always be deemed “less than” can shake you to the core. this doesn’t just apply to gender, it applies to sexuality and race and so much more. and hey, just because someone is a “good dude” doesn’t mean they’re not incapable of doing ‘bad’ things. i can totally get along with a person, and be really uncomfortable with the work they makes, because idk, i just like people, and calling someone out for their actions is a totally reasonable thing to do and doesn’t necessarily mean i want them to be punished forever?
Ok so I was feeling pretty heated last night, and although I still stand by what I said, I have to point out it was unfair to single out Josh and Retrofit Comics as a whole. To clarify, Josh has always been totally cool to me and he makes a lot of REALLY awesome work. We spoke a little through email and he told me he was working on improving, as he probably didn’t realize the work he was making was coming off the way it did, and he considers himself a feminist (and is trying to be a better one) and is shocked by this whole thing. So kudos to you Josh, I hope you continue to learn and improve to make the indie comics scene a better and safer place.
Also Retrofit is a powerhouse of Indie comics and have produced a lot of high-quality work, and obviously the publisher as a whole is not to be demonized, but rather I judge some of the individual work coming from them, and the general vibe that “anything goes” (usually against women) kinda upsets me. As Bidi so eloquently put it:
“It’s precisely that lack of awareness, that unintentional misogyny that’s particularly gross! as alex put it, misogyny is normative as fuck, as a member of a DIY community, one should try as best as possibly to be more aware of oppressive attitudes and encourage a cooperative, safe environment for all that want to partake. i think a good goal to come from this entire dialogue is for this person to become more aware of this attitude and move forward. and hopefully it will encourage others to be more aware as well!”
Again, these dudes are not “bad” dudes. I’m not trying to ruin anyone’s hard-earned career here! But even decent dudes can do shitty things and perpetuate shitty behavior, and it’s ok to call them out on it.
Thanks for your feedback so far on my commentary (both positive and critical), folks, and feel free to weigh in if you haven’t. I too, am still learning every day on how to be a better human. The world’s a messed up place.
I totally agree that the uneducated fetishization of other cultures, mindless appropriation, and romanticism of poverty is completely fucked.
But I also think, though misguided, it represents a search for something beyond the American identity are values that so many (white) middle class kids are raised with. Stupid reply won’t let me type out something long enough complete a thought!
i absolutely agree, alex! in fact i think that’s precisely what Bell Hooks was saying! i guess it’s just really unfortunate that “the primitive” becomes a casualty of this exploration of American identity. i think my main wish is for more people to be aware of the dangers of mindless cultural appropriation; that their actions lead to the continued marginalization, exploitation, and dehumanization of the Other.
Once a month something like this pops up in my email —
From: Joe Blow, Comix Sexpert
To: your inbox.
I deeply apologize for this mass email. You are my favorite cartoonist ever. I am starting an exciting new comics anthology/magazine. It will include my own work craftily…
instead of being a huge dick about it and posting it online for the world to see, why don’t you
a) ignore it
b) respond no
c) appreciate that people in the world appreciate you
d) FUCKING DELETE THIS POST
e) are you a brat? can men be brats?
i’m embarrassed that people actually resent their fans publicly
Hey Lizz! So I can’t speak for Dash, but since I was one of the people who reblogged his original post, I thought your comment on it was worth responding to.
My issue isn’t invitations to projects I’m not interested in. Obviously, as a deeply insecure cartoonist, I want nothing more than to feel wanted every single hour of the day, and to be invited to contribute to EVERYTHING. I think I end up contributing to more anthologies than most - partially because I have a problem saying “no” to people - and I’m grateful for the opportunities to. I’m thankful anyone would want to give me the space to print my work at all.
But I felt like Dash was referring to a certain type of invitation that I’ve personally been seeing more of lately - mass, impersonal e-mails, being sent out to 70 different artists with no regard as to how any of them will actually read together in a finished book - messages that don’t read like an editor has given any thought to the actual content of the book, but is just trolling around to fill up pages.
Additionally, they’re often projects whose scheduling and deadlines clearly show they were slapped together without any consideration to the contributing artists’ time. Over the past month, I’ve been invited to around five or six zines, books or art shows that have all required me to finish the work in a month or less. None of them pay, of course. They’re projects that only exist for the sake of existing - because the editor realized he or she was a month away from TCAF and felt like putting something new out, or whatever. Any editor, curator, or publisher who has that little regard for the time and effort artists put into their work obviously doesn’t actually give a shit about those artists.
As someone who has been on both sides of the “Hey, contribute to my thing” e-mail - for both paid and unpaid projects - I think there is a way to go about asking that is respectful, polite, thoughtful and gracious, and I think more often than not, the solicitations I’ve been getting lately haven’t been any of those. And I don’t think it’s just me, since it’s a trend a lot of my friends have been complaining about as well.
Anyway, I thought Dash’s post was really funny and concise, and my post here isn’t either of those things, but I guess I wrote it anyway.
^^reposting for michael’s commentary, which is very on point to me. i am 100% for community and sharing in the indie comics scene, but there has to be mutual respect involved, and sadly, sometimes the intent of an editor is not one of pure, respectful intentions. i mean like, it really sucks to work super hard on a comic only for the publication you did it for to end up hugely sucking, not because of editor inexperience (we all have learning curves) but because of total lack of respect or effort.
with that said, i do feel like an asshole for not having been able to pay artists for the first 3 installments of happiness, thus continuing the awful trend of not paying cartoonists for their HARD fucking work (this is why i at least vow to get the comic OUT THERE instead of creating, like, only 100 copies to forget to give to people). at least i’m finally at a point where i’m breaking even and almost profiting, so hopefully that pattern will change soon for me!
on a side note, i’ve known some artists who use the excuse of not getting paid to hand in work that they wiped their arse with, so yeah. mutual respect is the key. love the indie comics scene for being so community-oriented and mostly respectful <3 but sometimes jerks happen.
ugh yeah that is something fishyy… I feel similar about Afrodisiac, which is a critical take of blaxploitation comics, written/drawn by a white dude. More than anything, it’s really important to ask this stuff b/c comics industry is real messed.
huh i hadn’t heard of afrodisiac. is it good? i recently read “black images in the comics” (also published by Fantagraphics) which i felt was informative and well-presented (even though also written by a white guy, but he at least addresses that, and there’s a great intro by Charles Johnson). it shed light on some silver age comics written by african-americans in ‘the black press’ that i had never even heard about, and they’re just as amazing (like those by jackie ormes and tom feelings). it frustrates me that i can count the number of african american cartoonists i know on one hand… i wonder if i’m just really ignorant and not looking in the right places or if there are really very few independent black cartoonists in comparison to white ones (or of other races too). so if anyone can shed some light on some new paths for me to follow to find more diversity in alt comics, feel free to drop a line in my ask box!
So, with the release of Five Ghosts imminent, I figured I’d take a minute to shut up about it and get real:
Making comics is hard.
I don’t mean that it’s hard in the sense of “difficult to find a creative team,” or even “near impossible to break in.” I’m talking like soul crushingly, bank account draining, dark-night-of-the-soul-totally-bleak-reality-consuming hard….