Friday, June 02, 2006

Surreal Larsen

Erik Larsen's latest column... Through the Regenderizer!!

(Here's the real one, in case you are drunk or sleep deprived and easily confused)


  1. Erik needs to stop cramming his foot in his mouth while it's still only up to the knee.
    Maybe I'm taking this quote out of context:
    "Women wear makeup and tight dresses and high heels to be more attractive."
    See, the three sentences before it are qualified by "most." "Most readers." "Most people."
    But he doesn't say "Most women wear..."
    He says "Women." Period. As if to say, all women do this.
    Well, my wife NEVER wears makeup, or tight dresses, or high heels.
    In fact, she doesn't OWN any makeup, dresses, or heels.
    And I know she's not the only woman like that.
    But, in apologizing for things he said, he kind of lumped her in with all women... and said that they all.. sheesh...
    And that made me angrier than anything he's said before.
    So, what Erik began as a broad generalization became a generalization about broads.

    He needs to drop it and move on.

  2. At the close, Larsen says "But that's just one fan's opinion and I'm willing to concede that I could be wrong."

    Clearly this is not the case, when he keeps changing what he claims he's trying to say in order to show that people who criticize him have it all wrong and don't know what they're talking about.

    I'm with darth that Larsen just needs to drop it. Each time he tries to "clarify" his previous remarks he just ends up putting another foot in his mouth.

  3. Hmm... So if he says "most," that's okay, but if he doesn't say "most," it's naturally presumed he means "all?" I find that to be faulty logic.

    For one thing, he's right. Women do wear heels and makeup to look more attractive. Granted, that's in line with the stereotypical concept of "attractive," but that's why they do it. They don't do it to garden or change tires. That would have been a false statement.

    Likewise, he doesn't say "all," "many" or "most" for a reason. "Some" would have worked. Because "some" women DO wear heels and makeup and tight dresses, under the auspices of looking more attractive. And some don't. But women do these things.

    Some men do, too, but I haven't heard much from the LGBT folks on that front.

    I think we need a list of Appropriately-Dressed Supercharacters for reference.

  4. Well, actually, if I say something like "Cats eat mice," it's a generalization.

    Native English readers will read that and assume that it's a generalization. I'm saying all cats eat mice.

    Now adding a qualifier like some or most revises this to mean "not all". That's why we have qualifiers.

    The fact that Larsen did NOT in fact say "most women" or "some women" or another mitigating phrase, indicates that he is making a generalization.

    "Women wear makeup and tight dresses and high heels to be more attractive."

    Even if he meant most or some, in the English language, without a qualifier, it's a generalization. Basically, whether he meant to or not, he said "all".

    I imagine next column will be him trying to counter that. Honestly, I do think he's probably not that bad a fellow, but the more he speaks on this topic the worse he looks. Even if he's right and we are all misinterpreting him, his best bet would be to leave this topic alone for a while, talk about something else and wait for tempers to die down. THEN maybe rephrase or clarify himself when people might be more willing to give him a shot. (Or enough rope to hang himself).

    Right now, he's just making things worse.

  5. And either way, he's talking about superhero costumes. I can't even walk in high heels. My head hurts at the very thought of fighting in them.

  6. Slightly off topic. Thank you so much for the regenderised version. The part that made me smile the most:

    "I also get a kick out of some of the more traditional-yet-ridiculous aspects of comics, fighting boys in high heels and miniskirts among them (Richard Farr, being the king of the ridiculous -- as Elasti-Boy he wore high heels and a miniskirt and became giant-sized giving everybody on the street ample opportunity to see how recently he last changed his delicate masculine undergarments)."

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  7. "Some artists do pander and some readers do respond to that pandering with open wallets. Is it necessarily bad to give readers what they want even if it means some ridiculously awkward fight scenes?"

    Apparently it's only bad to give them what the want if what they want is sensibly dressed heroines. Those fans don't count.

    That is one tedious article.

    Like Ragnell was saying earlier, Namor may be nearly-naked, but that doesn't mean he's sexualised in the same way so many female heroes are. He isn't forced to wear uncomfortable shoes, for one thing.

    For another thing, he doesn't really pose the way the ladies do... His poses are generally of the "I'm about to hit you/I just finished hitting you" variety. You won't see him arching his back, you won't see a cover consisting entirely of his ass (I think so, at least. Prove me wrong!). You won't see him pursing his lips seductively. In short, you'll hardly ever see him strike the "Hey, let's screw!" pose that pretty much every super-heroine has struck at some point in her life.

    Even a bodybuilder style muscle-flexing pose is exceedingly rare.

    Surfer is an even worse example and I wish people would stop bringing him up. He is perhaps the least sexualised naked silver man I have ever seen.

    I think that's what Larsen still doesn't get; It's not just about how many clothes a character wears or how exagerated their body is. There's more to it then that.

  8. Oh, also, I forgot to mention, I think Larsen's generalization about women wearing make-up and such-like seems so conspicuous because it comes after a long series of sentences where he explicitly goes out of his way not to generalise.

    It may well be that he didn't mean anything by the difference, but if so he should've structured the sentence the same way he did the last three times.

    It's at the very least an example of sloppy writing.

  9. Trying to explain the inherent misogyny in most super heroine costumes to Erik Larsen is like trying to explain water to a fish. But, as far as anyone knows, Erik is not a fish and if he takes a big step back from defending indefensible positions and really listens for a minute, he can understand what all the fuss is about. Will he do that? Hard to say. If he doesn't, then maybe he is a fish.

  10. Let me amend that first line:

    "Trying to explain the inherent misogyny in how most super heroines portrayed to Erik Larsen is like trying to explain water to a fish."


  11. My cats don't eat mice, either, but they live inside...

  12. If he had just said, 'well, my point was to push for more diversity, I didn't mean to offend people, and I'm sorry that I did,' that would have been the end of it.

    Instead he seems to be following the idea of 'clarifying' his arguments, and throwing out a few faux-arguments that he can counter so that he can convince himself he's right.
    And his writing 'informal' as it may be, is really suffering. The second column was scattered, but I could barely follow that last column.