Wednesday, December 31, 2008

December 31st, 2008

On this the very last day of 2008 I would like to take a moment to say something to the entire blogosphere: I'm disgusted with all of you.

Yes, all of you. Even those of you in the corner that don't realize I read your blogs. Yes, I'm disgusted with you.

Why? Well, I keep a very large bloglines file that I read through regularly when collecting WFA links. And in the past couple months I've taken to collecting and posting WFA on a regular basis.

Last week, Heidi MacDonald posted this (in response to a post of Caleb's on Blog@Newsarama) addressing the lack of female writers at the Big Two. She was answered by email and in a few scant places across the blogosphere. Strange, because Heidi and Caleb posted on two of the most widely read blogs in the community.

I had to search for these answers, because in my community we were discussing something else, also coincidentally brought on by a post of Caleb's on Blog@Newsarama. The thin veneer of the conversation was about legal standards for obscene material involving fictional children, the potential harm of these legal standards and appropriate punishment.

The actual conversation was about Val D'Orazio's feelings and whatever crazy thing she said this week.

I ended up with a few links to Heidi's post, a good response from Cheryl Lynn and several posts worth of links to Val. I also got one post that said that WFA was addicted to drama, which got me ranting on twitter (twanting?) about how if no one posts about anything but Val all I'll have to link are posts about Val!

The truly galling part of this--pointed out to me on Twitter by Cheryl Lynn--is that Val is the elected head of the venerable comics charity Friends of Lulu.

From the organization's website:
Friends of Lulu is a national nonprofit organization whose purpose is to promote and encourage female readership and participation in the comic book industry.

This is a worthwhile and noteworthy goal.

The conversation started on Heidi's blog--the one for which she is currently being hammered by the indie community attempting to derail the conversation from the specific topic of writers at the Big Two by calling her too negative, by bringing up artists, by bringing up how many women are in the independent comics community which all detracts from the main complaints which is that the two largest and best known comic publishers in the country--DC and Marvel--who control some of the best loved characters in our culture are neglecting to involve women in shaping their universes (Credit to this list of grievances also goes Cheryl Lynn)--falls directly under FoL's sphere of interest.

And here we are bitching (yes I said bitching with full knowledge of the misogynistic background to the term and its effect) back and forth about her feelings and how appropriate it is for the head of a feminist organization to taking her particular stance while totally ignoring the issue that is the point of that conversation.

I don't blame Val. I don't like Val, but I don't blame her for this. That would be like blaming root beer for not tasting like birch beer. Val is what she is no matter what position she holds. Instead, I blame all of us for talking about her instead of the issues we're pretending to be talking about. (Initially I just blamed all of you because I've been blogging about Robert E. Howard the whole fucking time but now you've got me blogging about Val and I feel disgusted with myself.) We should be better than this.

Happy Fucking New Year, Comics Blogosphere. You've rekindled my deep loathing of humanity.


  1. You had to mention birch beer? I...I LOVE birch beer.

    But I'm avoiding the topic of Val, because lately she's been driving me nuts. And as much as I adore Gail Simone, it WOULD be nice to have more than a few women writers and artists.

  2. To be fair, I don't think I could have added much to the proceedings other than my standard "Bring Back Ann Nocenti" rant.

    Got mixed feelings on Val's posts. She pushed some emotional buttons, but Captain Kirk could pilot the Starship Enterprise through some of the holes in her arguments. She's kind of a "have her cake and eat it too" debater.

  3. Val is all spectacle and no substance, and if there's one thing blogs love, it's that. Spectacle is a lot easier to talk about and be against -- it doesn't require any nuance and gives you a stance that makes you look like a hardliner.

    And I'm not trying to be a wiseass here, but: I'm stumped as to what blogs might talk about re: lack of women writers. I mean something that constitutes taking action, beyond "this totally sucks." Thoughts?

  4. In our defense, we keep talking about Val because she keeps making this about Val. She accuses people of ganging up on her because they have it in for her. She says that Newsrama is deleting posts defending her. On the 29th she posted this in response to the whole controversy:

    "Indeed, had I made a post defending Simpsons child porn, I have no doubt in my mind that the handful of haters would have made posts expressing their outrage. They would say: "She can't be the head of a woman's organization. She supports child porn!" I know this like I know the sun comes up in the morning."

    She actually states that the reason people are disagreeing with her is not because they want to defend 1st Amendment Rights, but BECAUSE THEY DON'T LIKE HER. She doesn't seem to think people should be able to say anything about her unless they agree with her 100%. As for posting directly to her and keeping all this stuff off the other blogs, forget it. I haven't been able to post to her site once in the many months I've visited there. You might not be happy with us for talking about Val instead of the issue but right now we don't have a hell of a lot of choice.

  5. Ken -- Widespread discussion it among comics fans will eventually bring it to the attention of the bigwigs at Marvel and DC. We've seen this happen with Stephanie Brown, for example. They're desperate businessmen in the middle of a bad economy, it might get them mining for female writers again.

    Najika -- Okay, okay. Val doesn't make this about her. She can TRY to, but WE are the ones who make this about her by answering her on our own blogs rather than just rolling our eyes and moving own. Any sensible reader can see that Val is a big puddle of crazy with a cursory glance whether you dignify her rantings with an answer or not. She doesn't make herself big, WE make her big. The only option is to stop making her big.