Sunday, January 27, 2008

Well, At Least He Didn't Delete Everything Before I Could Copy It.

"I'm all for dreams. For my own part, I quest for a day when someone's dreams aren't considered an overt oppression of someone else in the real world."


It may even still be up.

Bless 'im, LurkerWithout tries to engage; he's made replies on my own blog twice so far this year, and both times in a manner you could describe as antagonistic, or at the very least, sarcastic. I'll assume he doesn't sympathize with my viewpoint, if he even understands what my viewpoint is.

You might think, by reading the last comment he made on my blog as well as the above link to his own blog, that he truly doesn't understand my position, you know, by the way he says he can't figure out what my point is. Depending on your outlook, you could chalk that up to me failing to properly explain things, but you could also just as easily say he's using a fork to eat his soup.

Upon discovering the post he made on his own LiveJournal, I started talking to Nenena in the comments section (as well as Zhinxy), but I recently went back to find the thread frozen. I'm not sure what the reason for that is; I could speculate a bit but who cares. Pity, because I thought I was making my points well. I'm also kind of fond of the moment where LurkerWithout tries to get cute with me and tell me what someone on my own blog said to me, but more to the point I think it's worthwhile to preserve one of my replies to Nenena, just in case you, too, gentle reader, had trouble following what I was getting at with my other post.

For context's sake, in case you can't be bothered to click: in posts previous, Nenena has informed me that I don't have much claim to tell gay men to not be offended by something, because I'm not myself gay, and that in cases of offense, it's the opinions of the depicted group that matters most. She's also said that recently there have been protests of yaoi comics by gay men (in contrast to my own impression that they were mostly indifferent to it, and also in contrast to Dryope's comment saying she knew gay men who enjoyed yaoi).

This is how I replied (following bolded text is verbatim quotes from Nenena's post):

It's not straight men that are depicted as unrealistically effeminate in yaoi.

My impression of yaoi (which, granted, isn't at all extensive) is that there are actually very few straight men depicted at all, if ever. So far, any straight male characters I've seen are ciphers and scenery, like a guy who runs a grocery store, or a relative of a main character. They aren't the object of the fantasy, they're just there to prop the fantasy up a bit. If one could point to any random yaoi comic and find a truly prominent character that wasn't gay and also not prettified, then I might give the gay/not-gay differentiation more weight.

But by the reasoning you're giving, if, say, there were a slew of more gratuitous cheesecake covers and comics of the new Batwoman, then straight women would have less ground to protest upon, unless they got the go-ahead from actual lesbians. If lesbians actually did approve of Gratuitous Batwoman, straight women couldn't complain much, since the character is a lesbian, and thus the depiction isn't actually any kind of affront to them or their sexuality.

It depends on your willingness to LISTEN TO the members of the group that you're attempting to ally yourself with.


Too many people use the phrase "listen to" when they actually mean things like "defer to" or "obey". It is quite possible to listen to someone and still not agree with their reasoning...

Anyway, if gay men are indeed protesting yaoi, then that only bolsters the whole point of bringing it up.

For one thing, it reinforces my contention that yaoi is primarily "for" women (although one commenter on my own blog said some gay men do read the stuff), and as such, even though it depicts gay activity, the main purpose of it is to titillate *heterosexual* women, just as some guys might find lesbians making out to be arousing.

It has been my impression that there's quite a few fangirls out there that get upset by, say, bodypainted Wonder Woman on Playboy, but at the same time they'll openly lust over some yaoi porn (or even gay subtext in mainstream comics) without seeing any inconsistency in that position. Regardless of the sexual preference of the characters depicted, if one example objectifies women, the other objectifies men, and to be consistent, one should either condemn both equally or let both pass.

If you (meaning anyone out there) do indeed treat both instances equally, then whether or not I agree with your stance, I'll respect your opinion more than if you condemn one but give the other a pass. That inconsistency, to me, reduces the weight of your words, and gives me the impression of an unthinking following of dogma and obedience to the outrage of others over any personal, deeply-felt belief in the inherent wrongness of one thing or another.

If Nenena intended to reply, that was preempted by the freezing of that comments thread.

I think I should point out that none of what I say is intended to actually condemn yaoi comics or any other kind of comics, nor do I think it's wrong for women to have fantasies about yaoi. If they do have such fantasies, though, I think it's only fair to keep that in mind when speaking out against male fantasies. And as I said to Zhinxy on that thread:

But lines can still be crossed. Being Pro Pr0n doesn't mean never having to say that it's sexist.

Sure, that's fair enough. I just think some people are willing to bend where they draw that line when it's something they like on the basis of just that they like it, not because of any inherent merit or lack thereof to whatever it is they're bending their standards for.

And then there's the question of what different people think is the proper method for dealing with things that do cross those lines...


Something's been nagging at me ever since Nenena corrected me about what she said, and I think I've finally figured it out. She says:
Correction: I said that you didn't have much claim to tell gay men to not be offended by something, because you're not gay.
If you believe that, fine... though I think that suggestion loses validity in certain situations. If an offended group is offended by something ridiculous, I don't think it's inappropriate to say "I think that you and your group are getting worked up over nothing". There just have to be reasonable limiters to where someone's outrage must be heeded.

But that aside, what's had me scratching my head is that I don't believe anything I've written so far about yaoi and its problematic nature as regards feminist protests has suggested that gay men should not be outraged by it.

Sure, it's been my impression that gay men in general are not concerned about it, and I went on at length about how I myself, as a man, did not consider to unrealistic male depictions in yaoi to be "co-opting" my male sexuality, but I don't see where I up and said, "and any of you gay guys having a fit over this, well, you shouldn't".

I am a little interested about the inputs I've received about whether gay men do get offended by yaoi: While Nenena points out instances of protest by gay men, Dryope says she knows gay men who read and enjoy it, and in light of Nenena's claims that the depicted group's opinion trumps that of those not depicted, I have to wonder which is the majority view, pro-yaoi-gays or anti-yaoi-gays?

Wouldn't it be amusing if gays were more or less split down the middle on the issue? With no clear majority opinion, which side holds precedence? Who would "gay allies" listen to...?

Ah well.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Everybody Loves Retarded Man-Child

Just a random thought I had while writing the previous two posts, something I want to express but keep separate from the previous for tidyness' sake...

If I were to be offended as a man and on behalf of my gender by any depiction in modern mass media, it'd probably be the trend where, whenever a common "nuclear family" domestic situation is displayed, say in sitcoms or TV commercials, the "man of the family", the husband, the father, that man, he is portrayed as a complete dumbass.

God knows that formula has been popular enough to drive shows like Everybody Loves Raymond and Home Improvement to the highest ratings, and they quit doing those shows just because they got sick of doing them, not because the viewing public was calling for them to just stop it already.

This is a far cry from Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best where the man of the family was considered the font of all wisdom and the economic powerhouse, and granted, that paternalistic vision deserved to be broken down a bit, but if I was a conspiracy nut, I could make a case that modern sitcoms of this type are feminism's way to sneak in the message that men are incompetents who need smart kickass women to prop them up. Men who are smart, clever? They usually fill the role of dateless loser-geek. Any man with self-confidence and an assurance in his own worth is often the creepy self-absorbed womanizer who gets shot down by any woman with an IQ higher than her belt size.

Is there any show made any more where the man is the primary breadwinner of the house, and he's a clever, intelligent, successful sort of guy? Even on commercials it all rings about the same.

"Honey, what was that noise? What happened?"

"Aw, nothin, I just was fixing the chandelier and it dropped on my head."

(Smiles knowingly, nods head like the wisest hermit sage) "Yeah, that's my retarded man-child."

Cue either the laugh track or a blurb for Home Depot.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Oh noes teh womens R coroperting mai sexality~!!


If you know about manga, maybe you know about "yaoi" and/or "boy's love" comics. I'll admit right up front that my own dealings with them are pretty sparse, since the subject matter (gay love) isn't something I'm really all that interested in when selecting my reading material. But for the sake of research, I've done a bit of looking around, read some stuff posted online. This is what it looks like to me:

  1. "Boy's Love" and "Yaoi" are more or less the same thing, only the latter is more explicitly erotic and less story-oriented than the other.
  2. The main characters in such stories are very stylized, often to the point of being very very pretty. Some artists depict them with very girlish faces.
  3. Most reaction I've read coming from actual gay guys to these stories is a kind of bemused, "Well, that isn't very realistic at all, at least not from my experience."
  4. The actual number of gay readers of this stuff (at least in the States, as near as I can tell) is pretty small; the primary audience for these works is heterosexual women, and of the artists who create it, a large portion are themselves women.

(If Mad Thinker Scott is out there and has any thoughts on yaoi, feel free to chime in.) So what we have here are creators of one gender creating characters of the opposite gender, with highly idealized (and sometimes impossible) body types, performing in ways which are very unlike how sensible real people act, and a large portion of this artistic creation is for not much more purpose than the titillation of its primary target audience, which is not the gender of the aforementioned characters.

Sound familiar?

Now, why shouldn't I get worked up into an indignant froth over how men are depicted in yaoi comics? I suppose I could rationalize a whole heap of outrage on behalf of my own gender over yaoi and how it depicts men and the unrealistic expectations such stories might implant in the minds of young girl-perverts. I could consider the waif-like pretty-boys normally found in these stories to be an insult to real men, and if I were gay I could probably be livid over the liberties yaoi takes with the dynamics (and mechanics) of gay relationships.

But I don't, I'm not.

[I was just about to write "and I suspect most other men wouldn't care all that much, either," except, hell, I dunno, maybe there is some sort of male-based anti-yaoi movement out there I'm unaware of. Certainly real homosexual existence is plagued enough with doofuses, prejudice and crusades that some of that may spill over into a specialized branch of comics; I'd like to think it'd be more based on prejudice and homophobia than anything else, and I'd hope it'd be in the minority. But then again, people are often stupid.]

If you took the title of this entry seriously [and if you really did take it seriously, I advise counseling], you might think I would be about to launch into a tirade about how all this yaoi is "co-opting" my sexuality, by jerking around a bunch of characters on paper to the tune of what some women find sexy instead of what men are really like.

But that would assume that my sexuality is linked to other men's sexuality, and by extension to the fictional sexuality depicted using fictional men. I don't feel either to be the case. Other men's sexuality is their business, not mine. And I understand that the characters in yaoi comics are primarily created for women's fantasies, often (mostly?) by women.

Not only is a yaoi character unrelated to my sexuality in particular, it is entirely unrelated to male sexuality, being a product of female sexuality and the fantasies that beings forth.

In other words, it is impossible to "co-opt" something that never really belonged to me in the first place.

Your assignment: Now go off somewhere and think about Catwoman for a little while.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I Claim this Breast in the Name of all Mankind

It isn't my intent to directly engage this particular blog-writer, for a number of reasons, including the fact that she seems to be fed up with the man-trolls who just don't get it... so I won't mention her by name or link to the post that sparked this thought. I'm sure if anyone really gives a damn it'll get back to her, and if not, best to leave that hornet's nest alone.

But one phrase I saw got me thinking, and that phrase was:

"the co-opting of female sexuality by the patriarchy."

It's a phrase I've heard before, in a number of variations, and if I understand it right, it's saying that men are in control of how women handle sexual matters.

This is not a premise I disagree with.

But (and I say this knowing full well I will likely be called angry names for saying it), isn't that kind of, well, natural?

In the few seconds I have before the torches find me, let me explain.

Although humans, as intelligent, self-aware beings, have more or less grown beyond our basic animal instincts (your mileage may vary), and sex is often more a form of recreation than a biological requirement for species survival, the original purpose of sex is, after all, to get a male and female together to have sex and make a baby. To that end, the male and female must appeal to each other. Appeal is how you get two people close enough to have sex.

If a woman wants to have sex with a man, she needs to appeal to that man's aesthetics, spark his desires. If the woman is not his "type", he's not going to be nearly as interested in sex. In that way, a man may indeed control how a woman approaches sex. She may wear a low-cut dress and expose cleavage, diet, wear high heels, or do any number of uncomfortable things she might not otherwise do in order to attract a man.

She can control whether she does these things to increase her chance of attracting her desired mate; what she can't control is whether the man responds to whatever she offers. Some men are "easier" than others. If, for some inexplicable reason, a man simply doesn't find brunettes attractive, a brunette may change her hair color, or abandon her attempt to attract that particular male. If she isn't targeting a specific male, she may alter her appearance in ways she believes will make her appeal to a large number of males.

This goes both ways; a man may seek to improve his appearance in order to appeal to females, but if it's true that women in general are less interested in the physical and more attentive to the emotional, then the dynamics in that direction are going to be somewhat different.

There's plenty of variation, as well as all the gay/lesbian/bi factors in play, but when you think about it in this way, it seems extremely unlikely that either gender could ever be 100% in control of their own sexuality, since the whole object of sexuality is dependent on getting the opposite sex's attention. To have complete control, women would not only be determining for themselves what they're willing to do to "be sexy", but also be dictating to men what they are allowed to find sexy.

This is why I give a little sideways glance when I hear someone tack on "but we aren't trying to take the sexy away" when discussing sexuality in comics, since the conversations that get punctuated in this way also often indicate that the speaker thinks men ought not to be finding certain things sexy, thus if those things are removed through force or coercion, it's not really taking "the sexy" away, since nobody should find those things sexy in the first place, cuz' we says so, so there.

The Mary Jane statue? Well, first, guys, you shouldn't find a woman in proximity to dirty laundry sexy at all for any reason, so that's out right there, and she's got her butt shoved out, she's presenting just like an animal, and that's degrading, so you shouldn't find that sexy at all. Nope, no MJ statue. Can't have it. Not allowed. But that's not taking the sexy away, no.

Catwoman with her costume unzipped to show her breasts? Have you seen those breasts? They're huge and unrealistic! No, it doesn't matter if you think they look nice. It's an insult, not sexy. Can't have that.

Supergirl? Ew ew ew! That's perverted, not sexy! Gone!

Body-painted Wonder Woman ohmahgawd. Trashing a feminist symbol. This should never ever be sexy, and therefore it is not sexy, and therefore we will take it away and lock it up away from the eyes of man forever.

See? We're not taking the sexy away at all! You're just confused, you don't really know what sexy is.


I will concede that things have been better for men than women in this regard for much of history; I don't dispute that men have been dominant and controlling throughout the world.

The idea, however, that "co-opting" female sexuality is something you could just root out and eliminate through persuasion or legislation, instead of being a byproduct of the whole biological sexual response system, seems to me to be a bit unrealistic. And fighting it would be a Sisyphean task, suitable only for those willing to become dictators...

Friday, January 18, 2008

La Petite Mort; or, "You Got Your Thanatos in My Eros!"

"Are they all into necro, or what?"

Dear reader, whoever you may be, I ask you: did you find the torture and death of Stephanie Brown to be presented in an erotic fashion? Was it erotic to you, or is it what you think someone else might find erotic? How do you arrive at these conclusions?

And: is this really anything new or unusual? Does it even matter all that much?

(You might think these are rhetorical questions, but how you answer, I feel, says a lot more about your perspective and character than you may realize, and even more, I think it would be particularly telling if you could come up with no clear answer to these questions.)

These days, it's not too hard to spot the points where sex and death converge in mass media, from a naked chick in a slasher film being murdered for having premarital sex to James Bond finding a gold-painted dead woman in a bed. It would be a mistake, though, to think of this as a new trend, or even as recent as the last century. You don't have to treasure-hunt for some lost text of DeSade to find where they overlap in classic literature.

Even Juliet, talking about her upcoming nuptuals, dropped in lines like "and death, not Romeo, take my maidenhead!" (Though 'death' was in this case, a euphemism for ecstasy, the real thing would happen along all too soon...)

And that trope of tropes, the person who dies in their lover's arms. "One last kiss, my beloved.... urk."

Armies of embarrassingly mediocre goth poets will confirm it: the macabre can often be very sensual. What of Dracula? Once an allegory for sexual mores, recent re-interpretations of vampire lore bring the symbolic into the literal.

If mixing the two themes is so alarming to you that you consider Stephanie Brown's death to have been fetishized (or, for another example, you believe a reclining sunbather to represent a dead woman), then I submit that you must also be aware of the overlapping of said themes everywhere else it happens in the entire recorded history of art (or at least as much of it as you personally have experienced). To know one but not be aware of the other strikes me as so unlikely that whenever someone reacts with great vehemence upon seeing the themes together in some modern work, my initial knee-jerk reaction is to wonder whether the person having these issues is very young, depressingly ignorant, or deliberately blinkering themselves for controversy's sake.

Now, I'll state again that this is my initial knee-jerk reaction, and shortly thereafter I usually have a more complex thought such as "well, maybe they haven't quite sorted out all their viewpoints yet, it happens..."

Thus, I won't try to classify furikku/the Sooz (whichever is the preferred alias, I dunno) into some pigeonhole, when she wonders whether the creator of Dominic Deegan is a necrophile. I will say that blurting out something like this is the kind of thing that made me create a wholly anonymous blog. Imagine, if you will, had some character in the strip been a minor and she'd said something along the lines of "why do creators make kid characters? Are they all pedos or what?" This sort of snap analysis/judgment/labeling really rubs me the wrong way, and under the right circumstances I imagine it'd annoy any of you, too. It equates the author with the work, or worse, with someone's biased perception of the work, much the same way "she must be a fat lesbian, saying all that feminist bull" does.


This isn't the first time this strip has passed before my eyes. Self-proclaimed horse's ass John Solomon reviewed it (I'd say "savagely", except that's kind of standard procedure) on his currently-on-hiatus site, one of many entries that prompted me to make a post or two about the Bad Webcomic site itself. And Dominic Deegan is damn near top of the list of the bad webcomics that the site despises, warranting several entries just by itself.

And I am still completely baffled over why some people seem to be unable to handle the concept that someone would produce a work of art that does not meet their personal criteria and not require their approval and validation to do so. But apparently this webcomic's very existence drives some people up the flaming wall. And if you click the Dominic Deegan tag on this LiveJournal, you'll see a prime example of some sort of love/hate thing that must drive a lot of the people who follow the strip, whether to enjoy it or rail against it.

Every once in a while I come across something like this that makes me glad I never tried to "get into" the comics biz, because having this kind of fan(?) would drive me insane. "I love this character, he's so amazing, you necrophiliac pervert!" Like having Two-Face rooting for you.


Now, it is true that the art in Dominic Deegan has its technical flaws (as does, say, Dilbert), and the pose in question, of a woman on her hands and knees, bleeding from a throat wound, probably would be difficult to achieve in real life. Is this a case of an inability to draw accurate anatomy, or is it a deliberate attempt to show off sexual characteristics of a wounded, dying character?

What if it is the latter? What then? Do fetish elements in a work completely invalidate that work?

What if it is the former? If there is no real intent to sexualize death, what does that say about the people who see it as such?

And that brings me to the other element in furikku/the Sooz' post: a series of pictures purportedly showing how real bodies would drape over things and come to rest.

In movies and TV, when someone portrays a corpse, you can always tell who is there to really act "dead", and who's just there to fill a spot and be in the picture. Being dead isn't as easy as it seems. When you're dead, comfort isn't an issue, and there should be absolutely no muscle tension, so actually lying like a dead body would involve letting gravity pull you into potentially painful positions, and even lying flat on the ground can be uncomfortable if you aren't allowed to shift position and re-distribute your weight every so often. Try it yourself if you don't believe me. Go somewhere and "be dead" for maybe fifteen minutes. Relax, really relax entirely, let your body settle as it will. For extra points, start by falling down as if shot. A limp, dead fall itself is hella uncomfortable, and the way you land doesn't lend itself to an easy recline.

So the people depicted in these pictures get an "A" for effort, but a few of them still aren't as "dead" as really dead people can be. That's not really what I wanted to point out, however.

Consider the second picture from the bottom on that page, featuring a guy tied up in a chair. Not a bad pose for someone to look like they'd been abducted and then killed. Are we trying to fetishize death here?

Sometimes I wish I were an artist, since it'd be far easier to show you than describe it to you, but just imagine, now, if instead of some guy in a wifebeater, tied up in that chair was a woman in lingerie. The exact same pose: rope tied just under the breasts, hips slid forward, legs parted somewhat... can you seriously tell me that wouldn't be considered a picture of eroticized death? But why? If the original is inoffensive in this regard, what makes the second offensive?

The lingerie?

The gender of the victim?

Now re-imagine the scene, only instead of lingerie, use nearly any superheroine costume in use today. Still erotic or no?

Hell, just say it was a attractive woman in the same clothes as the guy.

If even this last example would make you consider the situation to be eroticized, then we've arrived at a point where "eroticization" would seem to depend not on the position of the dead body, but that the body is female. Had the Black Mask tortured and killed Tim Drake, and had his body been thrown into the exact same poses as Stephanie's, would there have been the same outcry?

Nearly any of the examples on that page of pictures could be considered "erotic" with a few alterations. The schoolgirls at the top: suppose they'd been wearing something more along the lines of the stylized and fetishistic uniforms commonly shown in many manga? What if the camera angle had been changed 180 degrees to have a potential view up some skirts? What if the person of indeterminate gender draped over a couch with their butt in the air had been wearing shorter, tighter shorts?

Just how thin and wavery is the line between death and sex? Are we really beset by creators with morbid perverted obsessions, or are the viewers the ones bringing in their own sets of alarms, fears, and hidden taboos...?

And how much of that really, really matters?


Nice pic at the top, eh? I'd like to thank Dirk Deppey for doing the work of editing that image so that I could nab it and put it up here. Why that image? Well, just look at it: if you erased the swarm of bees, would that face on Wonder Woman be one of physical distress or rapture? People talk about "the O face" in comics a lot lately without acknowledging that sometimes very similar expressions can denote two entirely different things.

Plus, in light of the recent WW controversy, seeing a comic wherein she's briefly made "slave" to some alien insect queen just tickles me. There's your empowering symbol for girls right there.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wondering 'bout Wonder Woman? Not me.

Sorry, not 'sex and death', not yet. This whole Wonder Woman thing kinda burst in, yelling and waving its arms to get everyone's attention, and now I must needs have my say like everyone else.


Wonder Woman is a sex symbol.

Wonder Woman is a symbol of female empowerment.

Wonder Woman is an object of fetishism.

Wonder Woman is an uplifting character, a role model for youth.

Wonder Woman is a cultural icon.

Wonder Woman is a commercial property owned in toto by DC Comics and its corporate parent Time Warner.

All of these and more are true, none are false.

The conflict occurs when some folks think that the character should, nay must, be only one of those things, or only those things they approve of.

That's a situation you may certainly petition for, if you are of a mind. Myself, I see no reason to forcibly limit some thing's potential because portions of it make other people feel creepy or unhappy. Insisting that one state or the other is all the character ever was, or was intended to be, or especially insisting that the character can only ever be used in one way; that is being deliberately and selectively blind to portions of history, the world we live in, and human nature. As far as I'm concerned, griping about the Playboy Wonder Woman cover is like griping about standing out in the rain.

In addition, in case I hadn't made it clear before: you having kids does not entitle you to a safe world where your kid can't ever possibly see the Playboy cover by virtue of it not existing. Keep your kids off the Internet if you're that worried. Horrors, you might have to actually take the time to EXPLAIN things to them. Wouldn't that suck.

Friday, January 11, 2008

I'm Anon, A Mouse, and I Approved This Message.

It's interesting how peaceful the world seems when you take time off during the holidays and just not look too hard at your various news and information feeds for a while. Cut off from all that, you look out your window and stare at a blanket of quiet white snow, and relax. It'll all work out, dudes, why stress?

And when you get back on the horse, the whole noisy rodeo sideshow is right there waiting. Oh well.

Having decided to catch up on what I'd been missing, I noted my own pseudonym pop up on Mad Thinker Scott's blog (the now abandoned one). Apparently, Tim Liebe, whoever the hell that is, said the following on someone else's blog:
Whether they agree or disagree with you, in the end it's your house, your rules - and if they really take issue with your viewpoint, anyone online can create their own blog. It's not about "Freedom of Speech" or any other such excuse trolls use - as RMM, MTS, Anon, A Mouse, James Meeley and others of their ilk would discover if I came on THEIR blogs and mocked them mercilessly on an endless basis. (I would, too - only unlike any of them, I have a life.... )
Now, in that and other posts, Scott seems to have handily dealt with that issue, except for one small bit of eloquence I would like to add:

Oh, fuck you, you unctuous twit.

Nice way to lump all of us and our motivations together, as if we were all the same person. There is no penile hivemind! There is no penile hivemind! And have I actually gone out of my way to mock people on their own message boards? Hell no, I do that here.

Now, there's more to this than just chastising someone who typed a bit too much before his brain cells kicked into gear. But first this message.


We should never have gone to war with Iraq, post 9-11.

The primary reason I think this is because doing so diverted manpower and attention away from chasing down Osama Bin Laden, something we should have had done and over with years ago. But there are other reasons, which you may or may not find valid depending on your political viewpoints.

I believe the Bush Administration, if it did not outright lie to Congress and the people, exaggerated what little truth there was to lead us into a war that was not in any way necessary. I did not believe Saddam Hussein was an imminent, dangerous threat to us before the war, despite the claims of the Administration that he had WMDs. What he did have when we went in turned out to be bupkis. I'll make no secret of the fact that I think George W. Bush has been a miserable president whose lasting impression on US history will be getting us into a stupid war and eroding the freedom of the American people far more than any terrorist ever could. You may believe otherwise.

But if you paid attention, you should have seen the party line shift as it became more and more obvious that the WMDs weren't being found and were probably never going to be found. First, it was claimed that WMDs were there, that Hussein was intimately involved somehow with 9-11, and that if we didn't act, it would probably be nukes exploding in every major Western city. All the talking heads shut up about that when those things started being proved false, and then you started hearing things like "well, Hussein is a brutal dictator, and we have to liberate the Iraqi people. Imagine all the people he killed! We have to save the people who are still alive, thirsting for freedom!"

And that's wrong, by which I do not mean that it is incorrect, I mean it is a bad way to conduct your affairs. Yes, Hussein was a bad guy. He's dead now, and gone. GOOD! I'm not sorry for him in the slightest. But that's not the ostensible reason we went into Iraq in the first place. Those reasons were thin enough, and if they had tried to sell the war mainly on the basis of freeing the Iraqi people from the get-go, well, I'm sorry, but Hussein would still be running things and making nasty comments about us on Al-Jazeera. "Freeing Iraq" is, for one, a bait-and-switch motivation, and for another, it's justifying one horrible act by pointing out someone else's horrible act. Iraq is the first war I'm aware of that we (the USA) started, where we fired the first shot, we were the aggressors. And now, when someone complains about that, they get told, "Well, Hussein killed all those people!"

But that doesn't make what we (or rather, the Bush Administration) did any more right. What evils Hussein may have committed does not excuse evils committed by others. Like your parents should have told you long ago: two wrongs do not make a right.


Believe it or not, this does kinda link up to comics feminism. And before some nitwit chirps up with "OMG UR SAYING FENIMISTS R SADDAM!! GODWINS LAW!", take a closer look. I have used a well-known worldwide incident to illustrate a principle: "two wrongs do not make a right". I am about to apply that principle to much smaller, less important events. This is not equating the two sets of incidents, and anyone who says it is, is a dumbass.


So back to Tim Liebe, crowing about how my "ilk" would change its tune if HE came on MY message board to harass MY KIND. Leave aside the casual self-aggrandizement, as if he's such a clever, clever genius that I couldn't possibly match him in a direct debate on my own turf; no, what I'm curious about is: if he thinks what "we" do is so distasteful and reprehensible, why does he even casually talk about doing the same thing himself?

Or consider the Heroes for Hire "tentacle bondage" cover, and the Mary Jane "laundry" statue. Anyone remember parody images by other artists hitting the Internet soon after? Spider-Man in a thong, bent over... Luke Cage and Iron Fist bound up as tentacles approach? A cover featuring the Flash held by a tentacled beast subtly altered to give it a more erotic feel?

Maybe I don't surf the mouthbreather section of the Internet enough, but I don't recall an outcry against those images. Sure, they were parodies, but they still objectified their subjects, AND I distinctly remember a few passing comments along the lines of "yum" and "hawt", given in what I assumed to be all seriousness, by fangirls who I assume to be into the whole "slash" thing. Otherwise, did anyone get convinced by the parodies that the original objectifications were the blight on society that they were made out to be?

The tit-for-tat thing doesn't work all that well when the people you intend to shock into understanding have enough rational sense to understand that if it's right, it's right in both directions, and if it's wrong, it's wrong both ways.

Too often though, I see bad behavior justified with other people's bad behavior. "RMM (or whoever) was a jerk to me on my blog! I therefore have every right to be as big of a jerk to him or someone "of his ilk"!"

No, it doesn't work like that. You wind up with two wrongs, no rights. And that may be fair and balanced, but that isn't always what I'd call "good".

Coming soon: SEX AND DEATH.