Stupid things people say volume 276

People say stupid things.  They do it all the time.  I know, because I’ve done it.  I’ve been insenstive or inconsiderate and I’ve been slapped in the face with why what I said was wrong or bothersome.  Now, there’ve been a few times (someone trying to lecture me on sexworkers rights when she was actually talking about human trafficking, two very different things) where I’ve stood up and said that these are not things that I’m apologising for.  But those things are few and far between.  And if you speak in a public forum I don’t think it’s unreasonable for anyone to call you on what you say.  It’s their right to say why something bothered them, and expect you to listen.  Not to agree with them, necessarily, but to have the respect to listen to your audience and honestly consider what they’re saying.

Something interesting happened today that I want to talk about.  This is a very different post than it would have been five hours ago, since I had a sort-of conversation with the person who offended me.  Even still, it’s enough of an issue that I wanted to stop and talk about what I was thinking and just why I was offended.

Anyone who reads this blog or follows my twitter will know I’m a huge fan of both Gail Simone and Jimmy Palmiotti.  I think they’re two of the best writers in comics today, and I love both of their work.  I look at the what they write – character-driven, well-plotted stories – and I just eat it up. Beyond that, Gail is someone I call a friend, and I’m proud to do so.  Jimmy… Well, he’s someone I annoy with my constant twittering at him, but I’m sure he’ll manage.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of labels.  But when we come down to it, yes I am a feminist.  I will say I’m queer before I say I’m bisexual.  I’m outspoken, I believe in equality and I think it’s our responsibility to step up and say something and try an educate where we can.  Here’s the other thing: I’ve been a sex worker.  I like naked women (and men) and I am a sexual person, a sexuality that I own, rather than let me proscribed to me.  That doesn’t in any way conflict with being a feminist in my mind.  I like what I like, and I make no apologies for that.  I’m a woman who’s been into comics since I was 8 years old, and that’s a huge part of my makeup too.

So, consider how I felt, listening to a podcast with Jimmy on it, when I heard one of the questioners ask the following:

Now I got a question for you.  I think that everyone here could categorise you as one of those man’s man kinda guys and you said on your show — on your Listening to Jimmy — that you’re a big fan of Gail Simone and that you guys get along real well and she’s kinda a feminist – and a man’s man and feminist, I don’t understand how you guys co-mingle without destroying each other.

First of all, where to start with this?  Can I say that Jimmy answered the question with an amazing amount of grace, likely more than I could have ever managed.

I’ve since heard from the questioner that what he was intending was how two people with such divergent viewpoints could be friends.  In my opinion it was poorly phrased, poorly worded and a very bad attempt at humour.

Here’s the thing, though, I don’t honestly think Gail and Jimmy have divergent viewpoints.

1) Respect Women – Hells yes.  They both do this.  In fact, Jimmy has written some of the strongest women I’ve seen in comics, from Painkiller Jane to Time Bomb to Powergirl.  Gail, the same.  Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman, Scandal Savage or Jeanette from Secret Six.  They both write strong, well-developed female characters, and both put females into roles that men would often assume by default.

2) Sexuality – Yes, Jimmy has Happy Mondays (which I love, and please never stop).  But Gail has given me Thomas Blake’s (aka Catman) ass more time than I can count, a subtext-charged relationship between Black Canary and Oracle and hell, a lesbian with a stripper girlfriend.  On top of that, she’s tweeted that ‘for every drop of rain Jimmy has a topless girl’.  Not exactly a statement of derision

3) Sensitivity – I’ll admit this is one area they differ in, but it’s still not drastic.  Over and over I’ve seen tweets or heard Jimmy on his podcast saying how he won’t say mean things about people, he won’t beat people up over crap, and that if someone tells him he’s saying something offensive, he’ll at least listen.  Now Gail is a bit different in this.  She does more to actively find out what people are saying and thinking, and considers what she says.  However, I’ve seen her beaten up way more about what she writes than I ever have seen Jimmy.  Do the people who are her fans expect more?  Perhaps, but it could just be she’s writing to a different (and more sensitive to some of these issues) demographic.  But I’ve seen her raked over the coals for things I’d call nothing.  But they’re things she’s always treated with respect and patience and she’s a good woman for that.  The thing is?  I honestly believe if anyone did the same thing to Jimmy, he’d really listen.  He’s not out to offend people, and at the core you have two good people who both seem to believe the best in others.

Honestly, to ask that question in that tone, have you ever even read Gail’s twitter, or tumblr, or comics?  I mean, really?  She is the queen of innuendo, silly jokes, ribald humour.  She sneaks as much sex and sexuality into her books as she can get away with.

In the end, that’s why the question pissed me off.  Because it implied that to be manly there’s some sort of innate sexism, a sort of sexism that I don’t think exists in either of these people.  It used the word feminist as an insult, as a label to someone who wasn’t so cool with the world.  Spend a couple minutes listening to Jimmy talk about Amanda, or spend some time reading what Gail writes and you’ll see it doesn’t.  On the outside, yes, there’s a difference.  These are people who go about things in very different ways, but at the core both have a hell of a lot of respect for other humans.

In the end, there was an apology – though never to me.  Sadly, it was after I was told I was making a mountain out of a molehill and ONLY after they realised Gail Simone had actually been bothered by what they said.  The apology was also of the ‘well, if you’re offended, that wasn’t my intent’ type.  But, I’m happy they listened.  It took a lot but they listened.

To me, it just shows a very prevalent attitude that still exists in comics and geekdom.  That girls who don’t embrace the boys club 100% are somehow radical, and that the idea of feminism is offensive and to be derided.  And that makes me sad.

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About deense

Canastralian. Cosplayer. Comic book addict. Travel addict. Convention addict. ...I think that's a lot of addictions and I might need a 12 step program
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15 Responses to Stupid things people say volume 276

  1. Jock says:

    I totally have to side with you on this one Dee.

    Gail writes stuff JUST AS RACY as Jimmy. Hell, she just did some dick jokes on a kid’s show! XD

    I just don’t get where this mindset comes from. Is Jimmy some sort of notorious misogonyst that I’m unaware of? No. When Gail gets mad, she explodes, but I’ve never seen her be anything but friendly and chummy with Jim.

  2. Katherine says:

    ‘In the end, there was an apology – though never to me.’ I’m not sure I understand. He didn’t direct anything at you, why should he be expected to apologize to a miscellaneous someone who chose to listen to his show, a podcast nonetheless, which is by its very nature intended to be thronged with opinions of the podcaster.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am an avid fan of your blog and have been following for quite some time; I’m just not sure the way this was handled sits right with me. What the guy said was stupid, plain and simple. He didn’t think before he spoke, and what he said came out offensively. However, I think it’s fairly apparent he wasn’t trying to be offensive. Granted, this doesn’t alleviate the offense, I realize, but I honestly think he was ignorant to what connotation his comment actually had.

    My point is, you listened at your own risk and then started a twitter war based on a sideways comment not even directed at you. He owes an apology to Gail Simone on the basis that he called her a feminist without her permission. He should apologize to her for stating what her beliefs and opinions are, without really properly educating himself. He should apologize for making feminism sound like the antithesis of what makes comics cool. I’m just not sure why he should apologize to you, specifically.

    I’m a woman and I read comics, but I don’t expect him to apologize to me for his comment. Just to apologize for saying it, if he doesn’t actually feel that way. And if he does… well… he’s allowed to, he’s entitled to it. However, I’m subsequently allowed to/entitled to never listen to his show again.

    To paint this in a different light: as an overt liberal, were I to watch a conservative pundit on a psuedo-news program blather on about his supreme viewpoints and insultingly imply that everyone in my school of thought is a drooling idiot, I’m allowed to be offended. What I shouldn’t do though, is hold him to my own standards on his own program and expect him to give reparations for the damage done. I just won’t watch anymore.

    • pseudicide says:

      Hey this is a super quick response to let you know I am replying to this comment. Thanks, btw for a very well thought out argument. It just might take a few minutes as I’m at work.

    • pseudicide says:

      As soon as you put out your thoughts into the public forum, you’re going to get a reaction. In fact, you should expect a reaction. I actually kinda find it amusing it’s called a twitter war. I made a couple comments about being very unimpressed, as did some others. Scott jumped back on me, including using dismissive hashtags like #makingamountainoutofamolehill and #witchhunt and ignoring what I was trying to explain about why I found it offensive. Which was fine, that’s his prerogative. But just as he has a forum for saying what he thinks, I think that I do as well, which is this blog and in that case twitter.

      I don’t plan to listen to his show again. But in the end, he said something I found offensive. He went on to say insulting things to me. Yes, he owes an apology to Gail, but he also owes an apology to whomever else listened and was offended by it. Well, doesn’t owe one, as you’re right, he doesn’t if he doesn’t feel that way. But his dismissive and belittling behaviour after really had me hoping he might, but let me know that he wouldn’t.

  3. Chantaal says:

    I was wondering what this was all about. Jeez.

  4. Emmet says:

    It is a very unusual comment. Almost as if Palmiotti and Simone are unstable elements that combined will somehow explode!

    As to the degree of offensiveness, it seems to me to be an ignorant comment, but not a malicious one. He’s speaking in generalities, addressing the remark to an imaginary audience still bothered by ‘the whole women’s lib thing’, but not necessarily out of a desire to directly undermine feminism.

    He just doesn’t seem to entirely understand the meaning of what he is saying.

    • pseudicide says:

      I don’t think he was malicious, but sometimes it’s the not-malicious but very ingrained attitudes that are harder to get over. He doesn’t really get it, and sadly he didn’t seem to want to listen to any of the explanations that were given. That being said, I’ve had some extensive conversations with a coupleof the guys from Project Fanboy about these issues, and they’ve listened and responded to my thoughts in an adult and mature way. We exchanged thoughts and ideas, and I appreciate greatly the time they gave to me.

      I really wish Scott would just admit that while he never meant it, he did offend people, and take responsibility for that.

  5. As one of the idiots on the Fanboy Buzz, I want to thank Pseudicide for this great entry and her “conversation” (as much as 140 words a pop can BE a conversation) on Twitter.

    I had logged off before Jimmy came on, as I had to get up at ass o’clock the next day. Granted, I would not have been able to stop Scott from making a stupid comment, but hey.

    (And to be fair, I am the one who says a lot of stupid stuff. I am sure if Didio, Quesada, or Remender ever listened, they would despise me. But O.M.I.T and Frankencastle? They had it coming)

    After listening to FULL podcast, my views are:

    1) It was an attempt at humor. And it failed. Jimmy did his best to work with it, but it was busted from the start. Even he was a bit confused by it.

    2) I thought that Scott made the word “feminist” sound like a bad word. That bothered me some.

    3) The real stink, as you mentioned, was an apology couched in between “makingmountainoutofmolehill” and “witchhunt”. That was really dumb.

    I believe intent goes a LONG way in things. I have had good intentions that blew up in my face, so I know the pain of being misunderstood. I am grateful you took time to listen and for this great piece you did.

    Hopefully, if you like comics, you will give us a shot again. We do love comics, and have fun putting it together for people. if it helps, there was a long run where Scott was away and I was hosting. (If it helps) . I know that personally, I have shown Gail a lot of love on the podcast, as she is a FANTASTIC writer and a good person

    And I will defend Scott by saying that he is NOT a bad person, just a bit thick at times. And I am butting heads with him about this as we speak. He made a bad joke, and compounded it with a not-apology, then got defensive. He is well aware now of the furor and hopefully WHY.

    At any rate, loved this post and making your acquaintance!

  6. Matthew Martin says:

    And an update: I am no longer part of Fanboy Buzz.

    • pseudicide says:

      I have to say, the response to this whole thing and that blog post… Ergh.

      I wish you lots of luck in the future.

      • Matthew Martin says:

        If I had not decided to leave already, that blog post would have sealed the deal. The level of immaturity is depressing as hell. And I say that AS an immature person.

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