February 27, 2007

Michael Moore Killed Comics

Recently, I found myself watching Michael Moore Hates America, which is a conservative "version" of Michael Moore's films, often using similar techniques to critique Mr. Moore. Upon reflecting on the film, it struck me as interesting that Michael Moore's main fault - an almost narcissistic belief in the rightness of his own cause, often to the point of manipulating facts to serve his side - might be endemic not just of our national discourse (MMHA makes the point that our debate has been shrill in recent years), but also has seeped into the comics blogosphere.

(Warning - Yes, I live in a glass house, and I am throwing rocks. Plus, I am just as guilty of the faults that I am putting forth. Plus, here's the definition of "politically correct" - that way, if you need to accuse me of being PC, everyone knows what we're talking about).

In perusing multiple blogs, people who write blogs (especially when it comes to comics) seem to fall into one of several categories.
  • The Silver Ager - This is a person for whom comics stopped being fun at a certain time, resembling how I believe country music died in 1974 with the release of this song. Much like Mr. Peabody, the Silver Ager wishes to get into the Wayback machine and head to the past. Never mind that we live in the dawn of the 21st century - if our comics don't reflect good, old-fashioned values, then they're somehow evil. Plus, characters are considered sacrosanct - if Captain Wonderful had brown hair, you don't dare make him a blond.
  • The Hipper-Than-Thou Cynic - Whenever there's a problem, this is usually the person who says "it doesn't matter, so why bother?" Of course, it would be easy to stereotype this person as someone who listens exclusively to 8-tracks, who likes certain bands - until they become popular, and who enjoys "kitsch". However, one thing you notice is that, scratch beneath the cynicism, and there's an almost palpable contempt for comics, for the audience, for anyone who dares to like the medium.
  • The Snarky Cynic- this is probably the biggest crime that I am guilty of - basically, the hostility and contempt comes out in nasty ways. Flat-out disrespect of others' viewpoints, and/or open sarcasm. For this type of blogger, it's easy to make fun of others, because let's face it, they're right. Of course, it doesn't matter in the end, because - again - they're right. (Or I'm right - hey, I spot it, I got it).
  • The "Get-Over-It" Crowd - these are usually the people who, when a blogger attempts to discuss, say, racial and gender issues in comics, respond with "Shut up and get over it." (This is usually followed by accusations of being "politically correct", followed by some insult). As a result, there is no discussion, because all that needs to happen is for the one party to "shut up and get over it."
  • Everyone Else - Personally, I believe that 75% of the blogosphere falls into this category. It's people with their own perspective who treat others with respect, and who have a legitimate love of comics, pop culture, what have you. They want honest, open dialogues, and are the first to make sure that if there is conflict, they can handle it accordingly. (Hey, check out my blogroll for some examples of "everyone else")
I know what you're thinking: easy for you to say, tough guy, but what's the solution?. I don't know if there is a cut-and-dried solution, but here goes:
  1. Diversity is a good thing - if we have diversity of thoughts, opinions, gender, and race, it's not threatening. It only improves us, because we realize that maturity is the ability to accept the thoughts of those different from us.
  2. Cynicism is worthless, because you never have to prove it, or justify it, or even provide a rationale.
  3. If you don't like comics, don't buy them. If that means stopping mid-series, go for it. Do your mental health a favor.
  4. Also, if all you blog about is hating comics, or complaining about comics, consider taking up a new hobby. Or get a pet. I hear hamsters are nice.
  5. Realize that, behind the keyboard, is a human being, except for this blog, which is really done by Dax the Wonder Cat.
Well, I'm sure that I've stirred up some trouble, but please feel free to comment down below (or if Haloscan doesn't work for you, e-mail me at blogthispal (at) gmail (dot) com.) Unlike Michael Moore, I am willing to sit down and talk with people whose opinions differ from my own. I might even learn something, even if it is a reminder of my own pomposity.

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