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A girl just shy of coherence


May 29th, 2009

Racefail 09 2.0.0.1: I warn you, the fail is rich and deep with this one. @ 02:28 pm


Okay. Someone else is gonna have to jump up deal with this one, because the fail is so rich and deep, like an infinite aquatic body of privileged white stupidity topped off with majestic whitecaps of modfail that I don't even know where to begin.

Disclaimer: I'm not deeply invested in the Super Young Team, their depiction, or their fate.

A few days ago majingojira posted a very thoughtful and thorough essay on why the reception to Grant Morrison's Super Young Team has been so mixed. The essay is worth reading on two levels (despite the occasional typos and problems with verb tense and verb agreement): one, it's just an extraordinarily insightful piece of criticism about cultural templating, tropes, and the psychology of cultural appropriation, manipulation, perception, and misapprehension in modern fiction when it comes to Japanese and Western culture. Two? It's rife with credible analysis as to why there's a vocal group of people who think that Grant Morrison failed the cultural credibility test in his end product.

Today cissie_king posted a response to majingojira, and I'll just quote from the bottom of her post - a post, by the way, where she's critical of writers who write the Other poorly but then defends Grant Morrison for doing just that:

"That's my opinion, so feel free to comment, suggest things and ask questions. You can also insult me and call me a big privileged white idiot who doesn't know anything about anime, but I won't hear you because I got Mein Kampf 2 on tape and I'm listening to it while getting a swastika tattooed on my shaved head. Also a unicorn, a really racist unicorn who hates unicorns of other colors because illegal aliens stole his job at the unicorn racism factory."


Translation*: "I've just said something incredibly offensive and insulting, and I want you to feel disempowered and unable to refute me."


Shall we go through the bingo card slot by slot?

Image of bingo card provided for reference purposes only! Actual racefail is closer than it appears!





Stereotypes can be true!:

"I often hear a complaint about the character and series Aztek; that the main character of that series did not look Hispanic because he was white and blond. These complaints, of course, come from a combination of good intentions and complete ignorance. Not all people south of the border have a brown complexion or dark hair; some of them are black and some of them are white as white can be. Europeans from the entire continent didn’t only immigrate to the U.S. and Spaniards are not all that racially different from the other Europeans, they are also white. There are real blond Hispanics, but the idea of Hispanics in Americans’ minds is ‘brown,’ and they complained that Aztek did not fit into their idea of what a Hispanic person should look like."


Calm down! Relax! plus a bonus Authorial Intent!:

"But Superbat uses twitter and poor Joe Casey, the writer, gets called an ignorant racist who does not understand Japanese culture at all. It is more than probable Joe Casey didn’t know Twitter is not popular in Japan either, but this was received as if he had just written Mein Kampf part 2: Kampf harder."


Stereotypes can be true! redux:

"I don’t think there is anything wrong with a character that somehow represents part of his/her culture if done respectfully; it would just be silly to throw away all their culture all the time and only make culturally neutral characters. But, I believe there is something wrong with complaining that some character does not fit your idea of what foreigners should be like, as if they can’t be whatever they want to be. Like in this case complaining that Super Young Team is not made of Japanese heroic archetypes."


I don't know anything about Japanese naming conventions but I'm right anyway!

>>ETA: There certainly are blond Hispanic people. But you need to ask, why does the comic choose to have a main character who is a blond Hispanic without commenting on it?<<

But why should it comment on it. It's not like he has a third arm growing out of his forehead. That would need an explanation. Yes, he is a blond Hispanic, what else is there to say? The Thing doesn't need to explain he is Jewish, he is just Jewish.


Stop being so angry!

Modfail!

Unicorn racism factories!

Are you telling me that no Hispanics at all are blond? Really? Two of my friends from college would find that amusing. Warning: huge ladles of yet more racefail when cissie_king attempts to demonstrate her deep comprehension of the differences between Latinos, Hispanics, and "Aztec" culture.

Tone! You angry, angry people of color!

Stop this crucifixon!

There's some serious win right here, but then that gets followed with THERE IS NO CULTURAL APPROPRIATION beause I SAID SO.

Who gives a shit. AZTEK ISN'T ACTUALLY AZTEC. Wow. Well, maybe not so wow, because I know that aaron_bourque seems to be invested in derailing such discussions when they manifest on S_D.

More modfail! CAN'T YOU ALL JUST BE NICE?!

Can't you all just be nice? redux! (That's a modfail holy trifecta.)

I know of at least one person who got banned from NS_D after calling the OP out on her glittering white privilege.


You know what's just as bad? I read Green Lantern #41 last night, and my god, I knew I wouldn't be the only one who saw this.


Yrra Cynril as she used to look:




Yrra Cynril as she looked in this month's issue of Green Lantern:





...Look, look, she's been Vixenified!

I'm increasingly unwilling to support a company that continues to whitewash characters who are clearly not white. This is where I stop paying for anything related to Blackest Night. Screw it. I'll gleefully Byrne Steal™ it all instead. GL #41 risks souring the entire crossover event for me. Actually, you know what? It already has. Poisoned well, poisoned well.

Oh, and the first person who shows up to defend DC, the colorist for this issue, DC editorial, and anyone else related to this whitewashing? I will reach through the monitor and atomize your dentition with my Brass Knuckles of Don't Even Think About It.

*Translation wording is cribbed and slightly rephrased from a brilliant comment made by someone over on james_nicoll's journal during RaceFail 1.0.

Edit: Holy SHIT, DC Comics just FIRED Dwayne McDuffie from the JLA book. So much for an African American writer scribing an A-list DC book, eh? Fail, DC. FAIL. Based on McDuffie's comments over the last year or so, it's obvious that he wasn't very happy writing the book, but it's still sad to see him go.

Son of Anti-Semitic Edit: Apparently skalja -- who I guess used to be rabican? -- told box_in_the_box that cissie_king gets a free ride for the Mein Kampf and swastika remarks because she did it "with the best of intentions."

Oh.

My.

GAWD.

Woman, please. Check your cultural insensitivity and look at the fact that you're excusing some highly questionable and tasteless comments because YOU judge them to be well-intended. Did you not learn anything from Racefail 1.0?

Redheaded Step-Progeny of Edit: skalja has clarified that this is what she PMed to Box regarding cissie_king's post that I linked to above: And specifically in reply to that, I said: "You're not wrong that it's a problem post, though I disagree that it's flat out trolling - I think she genuinely had good intentions even if she went about it in completely the wrong way."

So...aggressively preemptive derailment referencing swastikas and racist unicorn factories is okay because it was done with "good intentions." OUCH.

(angelophile, I'm not sure why you deleted your comment to this post, but I certainly didn't think it was out of line. )

ETA 6-1-2009: cissie_king apparently deleted all of her comments to the above NS_D post and then promptly deleted her LJ.
 
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From:tavella
Date:May 29th, 2009 11:57 pm (UTC)
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Honestly, it's the mods that are pissing me off as much as anything. Cissie_king is being a passive aggressive bitch all over the place, and they are treating anyone stands up to her as offenders who need warnings.
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From:kali921
Date:May 30th, 2009 12:10 am (UTC)
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I'd say she's gone beyond passive aggressive to outright full steam ahead damn-the-torpedoes aggressive, and she's apparently so clueless that she actually pulled out the "tone" argument.

The mods? They keep trying to rebrand the S_D comms as an anti-racist comm ZOMG NO RACISM WILL BE TOLERATED, but they rarely seem to actually call people out on derailing or insulting behavior when racism is discussed, and in so doing they wind up looking anything but evenhanded. (I was pleasantly surprised that any of them actually bothered to respond to my post last week featuring Jeff Parker and Kyle Hotz's racefail but less pleasantly surprised that they didn't tell the derailers to take the high road out of Dodge.) The lack of commitment is increasingly more and more nauseating. They've kind of crippled themselves with so much of a focus on the S_D Golden Rule rather than identifying and stopping derailing behavior and outright racism. If you're going to take a specifically political stance in the user info for the comms - anti-ablist, anti-sexist, and anti-racist - than man/woman up and actually ENSURE that the comm's discussions don't devolve into endless derailing/racism/sexism or sit down and give up any pretense at sexily branding the comm as a bunch of allies in the fight against the matrices of oppression.
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From:neo_prodigy
Date:May 30th, 2009 12:14 am (UTC)
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Oh shit.

*bookmarks to read later at home.*
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From:kali921
Date:May 30th, 2009 12:23 am (UTC)
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Sorry. I've got nothing but bad news today!

The noscans_daily clusterviolation is dense, I warn you. I honestly felt that cissie_king was on her way to making a couple of decent points, but she hamstrung herself as soon as she Self-Godwined™.

And Dwaaaaayne. I may not have been thrilled with all of his writing (and story choices) on the JLA book, but the consistently high quality of his output overall? God, it's such a WASTE to lose him, and I'm furious that DC, after making his writing experience less than enjoyable while he was on the book, apparently fires him for talking about behind the scenes stuff at DC ON DC'S OWN OFFICIAL BOARDS for the past TWO YEARS. They couldn't quietly take him aside and...ask him to stop? McDuffie states that they told him that it wasn't due to the quality of his writing or low sales, so they've just effectively branded themselves as complete asswipes.
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From:kitsunekaboom
Date:May 30th, 2009 12:49 am (UTC)
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That's the only panel of the new Fatality I've seen and she's glowing. That doesn't really make the colorist's job easy one way or another. Glowing things tend to have whatever color they are growing with predominantly. Glowing human bodies are rather difficult to draw to begin with. If they're giving off that much like you shouldn't be able to really see much more than an outline in the first place. If it's an energy field it's even weirder given the nature of constructs.

Basically there are no hard and fast rules to be able to draw these things and make them look interesting. Are there any other panels of her current look without a huge energy flare?

I will say that the poster had a perfectly valid point on the militarization line. If we're playing by that line then there wouldn't be super heroes in the states either. I also didn't see the point of the OP's going on about cultural hero archetypes since those are all based on a universe without super heroes. (Though the ideas that super heroes would actively and radically change cultures is never really addressed in comics either). Why would Kikaider be in the least bit interesting when you have real beings like Super Man running around?
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From:kali921
Date:May 30th, 2009 01:11 am (UTC)

Ahem.

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Ahem.

Here are two pages from the issue.

Note that she's pictured with John Stewart.

Can you tell me why the Star Sapphire aura -- and the Sapphires, at least thus far in the lead up to Blackest Night, tend to glow violet/pink -- would magically make a woman with brown to dark brown skin look...yellowish white?
From:softestbullet [dreamwidth.org]
Date:June 1st, 2009 01:50 am (UTC)
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Also, her hair is now straightened.
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From:dharmapunk
Date:May 30th, 2009 01:01 am (UTC)
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Wow, Fatality got even whiter than Vixen, at least Vixen looked like she maybe had a tan.
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From:kali921
Date:May 30th, 2009 01:06 am (UTC)
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Wow, Fatality got even whiter than Vixen

And that, good sir, was my FIRST thought.
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From:outlawpoet
Date:May 30th, 2009 01:23 am (UTC)
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rrrrrr.


I couldn't bear to participate, other than to point out something I couldn't let stand, her assertion that Green Arrow was a *generic* hero with no special "American" cultural milieu, which would play anywhere, and why can't Japanese people have the same wonderful culturally detached heroes?

Like Errol Flynn is some grand universal constant across cultures or something. Accch
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From:kali921
Date:May 30th, 2009 01:26 am (UTC)
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I couldn't bear to participate, other than to point out something I couldn't let stand, her assertion that Green Arrow was a *generic* hero with no special "American" cultural milieu,

THANK YOU. I almost bit my own tongue in half when I read her Green Arrow comments. Because it certainly couldn't be that your own Western acculturation makes you view a superhero who is very specifically evocative of an English folkloric hero as culturally detached and culturally neutral, right? Right?

...Right?
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From:lady_ganesh
Date:June 1st, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
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...and now I am picking my jaw up off the floor because I cannot believe anyone would say that with a straight face.

And actually, it points out one more aspect of the larger issue-- we like Green Arrow because of that cultural connection. It makes him part of a lineage, and it makes him more fun. (Just as Japanese anime and manga have a number of iconic characters based on Goku of The Journey to the West.)

Here from linkspam on Dreamwidth.
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From:big_wired
Date:May 30th, 2009 01:57 am (UTC)
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Yeah, that was Racefail...

Also, Yrra has been drawn, as I called it awhile back, Ed Benes Black. Although Vixenified is pretty good too.

It just hurt my head that since someone got miffed at being criticized that it was a huge effort for them to allow a discussion.

Ugh... my head hurts. Damn you, Morrison!
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From:kali921
Date:May 30th, 2009 02:06 am (UTC)
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"Ed Benes black." Oh, BUUUUUUUURN. But the colorist on Benes' JLA art really deserves to be kicked - who was the colorist on those Vixen issues?


I've been calling it Vixenification and Vixenified since...early 2008. But I now also use Ryderfied and Cloakified. (See Ryder, recent Avengers: The Initiative cover, and see Dodson's concept art of Cloak for Dark X-Men.)

Edited at 2009-05-30 02:07 am (UTC)
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From:lurkerwithout
Date:May 30th, 2009 02:23 am (UTC)
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Bye Cissie. I had enjoyed your in-character posting style and sense of humor up until now. And I'm now glad I'd gotten bored with no_scans and IJ Scans and stopped following them...

At least McDuffie seems mostly upbeat about the firing, trying to concentrate on his current successes. Plus, even if his run was cut short, at least it did something so that DC is FINALLY putting out Milestone trades...
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From:kali921
Date:May 30th, 2009 02:30 am (UTC)
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At least McDuffie seems mostly upbeat about the firing, trying to concentrate on his current successes. Plus, even if his run was cut short, at least it did something so that DC is FINALLY putting out Milestone trades...

I'll only be happy when DC gives McDuffie every single project that they planned to give Grant Morrison. JUST BECAUSE.

And yes, I'm glad that McDuffie's upbeat. It still guts me, though.
From:philippos42
Date:May 30th, 2009 02:57 am (UTC)
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I love you & cissie_king both, but sometimes you both have sort of tin ears.

She will always defend Morrison. Practically always, anyway.

You have a hilarious ability to take a comment, however sardonic, ironic, or mitigated, in the worst way & accuse people of the worst possible sentiment--with no consideration for the fact that their favorite shiny thing just got dissed, their guard is up, & they're mouthing off.

In this case, Cissie King's shiny is Morrison.
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From:box_in_the_box
Date:May 30th, 2009 03:10 am (UTC)
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Which, of course, entitles Cissie King to say what she said.
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From:kali921
Date:May 30th, 2009 03:35 am (UTC)
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Are we talking about my tin ear when it comes to people who dismiss Misty/Danny or are you saying that I'm overreacting in calling privilege/racism?

TELL ME SO THAT I CAN OVERREACT!
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From:titania_le_fey
Date:May 30th, 2009 01:52 pm (UTC)
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I just had an encounter with flaming fandom racism. God forbid Ian Malcolm have a thing for black women....since oh.. yeah he has a black child in the movie at least. I've ruined the character! Now someone should give me a sound beating.

The person who contacted me about it was so flagrantly racist that it burned. Apparently, smart white males can't be attracted to minorities. **Face Palm**
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From:kali921
Date:May 30th, 2009 09:57 pm (UTC)
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...dare I ask what they actually said?
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From:titania_le_fey
Date:May 30th, 2009 10:04 pm (UTC)
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OH, ask if you're compelled to be as offended as I am. The best part of all of I think was... "Ian is a respected academic. He wouldn't lower his status by being involved with a black woman."

After that I started seeing red! It, to me, insinuates that skin color is equal to worth. It makes me want to ask if they are aware Ian's a Jew. Maybe Jews aren't dark enough to be "low status"? **Head desk*
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From:kita0610
Date:May 31st, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC)
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(followed the link)

Oh Jesus Christ on a Harley. I don't even. If this asshat didn't get banned, can I hit him over the head? A few times? With an axe?
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From:kali921
Date:June 1st, 2009 07:26 pm (UTC)
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Cissie got banned and then deleted her journal. Frankly, I thought she'd stick around, since she usually seems to enjoy bloodsport fights on LJ, and I'm sure that she considered this whole thing a fun wankfest rather than a manifestation of racefail and privilege.

Possibly Irrelevant Information

A girl just shy of coherence