Gayness In Comics: A Response

So with news about DC and Marvel’s latest gay publicity stunts, there’s been some backlash. One Million Moms, “a project of the American Family Association (AFA)” — an organization designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) — are flipping their shit once again. All 47,000 of them.

In addition, I’ve received reports from friends and colleagues that more than a few comic book stores have banned the gay comic books in question. I’m not surprised by this as the same crap happened when Batwoman and Kevin Keller debuted a few years back.

And I’m not going to even mention how many times comics featuring black heroes conveniently don’t get ordered at many comic book stores.

However I would like to respond to this matter.

So for those of you out there who are immensely outraged at the thought of anything remotely gay or find gay content painful to view, please allow me to assuage your concerns:

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Not Buying The Hype

So by now you’ve probably have heard that Marvel’s Northstar is getting married and next month DC plans to out an “iconic” male character as gay in their revamped New 52 universe. A lot of people have been asking me about my take on both situations. Understandable, after all anyone who’s known me for five seconds knows that. Comic books + Denny = SIRIUS BIZNIZZ as such:

Nearly everyone and their grandmother has been asking my thoughts on both DC’s gay reveal and Marvel’s gay wedding and many have expected me to be excited about these events. My response to both:

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When is Erasure Acceptable?

Whenever we criticise portrayal – or, more often, erasure in some media or other, there is always a backlash. Always some excuse why the depiction was totally ok or why the erasure is completely and utterly justified. Always. We could be arguing against a portrayal of an all white Tokyo or an all-straight San Francisco and there’d STILL be someone rushing forwards to defend the erasure. So I’m going to shoot down one of the defences – not that it’ll stop them but at least I can copy and paste a link rather than typing out the smack down all the time. Hey, I’m getting repetitive strain injury from this, I need some time saving methods!

So let’s hit a biggie: Is it Ever Appropriate to have a Completely Erased Programme/Book/Game?

This comes in many forms: my book is set in the outer Hebrides and no minorities live there (because we have better sense)/I’m writing my lived experience and I have no X friends/I don’t want to tokenise etc etc etc. So let’s tackle this and wrestle it to the ground and start with the core problem.

You do not write in a vacuum.

Maybe you had the bestest of best reasons why your cast is so white in bright lights we get snow blind and straighter than a damn laser, no, really, maybe you really really do have a good reason. But whatever that reason is is lost among a sea of media that is erased simply because of good ol’ prejudice. There is nothing differentiating your oh-so-reasonable erasure with the constant prejudiced erasure we have to endure every time we pick up a book, open a magazine, turn on the television or see a billboard.

And even if your honestly-totally-not-prejudiced erasure is still meant with the bestest of best intentions doesn’t mean that yet ANOTHER erased portrayal isn’t harmful – it still adds to the weave of erasure, it adds to the unrelenting message that our stories aren’t worth telling and the overwhelming feeling that we don’t belong, aren’t a part of this world and are the dreaded Other, to be hidden and avoided? Your magical intentions don’t change that your work is part of the unrelenting erasure out there – and yes, that sucks. Yes it sucks that you can’t create your appropriately erased and well intentioned piece of media without it slapping all us marginalised folk in the face, again.

Guess what? It doesn’t suck nearly as much as being those marginalised folk being slapped. You’ll survive and you’ll forgive us if we’re not exactly lining up to help dry your tears.

So let’s look at that location excuse. Yes you’ve tracked down demographic statistics and managed to find Whitesville in Straighttopia, go you.  And that’s exactly what many of us oh-so-cynical marginalised folks believe you’ve done – hey, kudos for effort, most the erasers just take an all White, straight New York or Atlanta or London or Paris or Toronto or Vegas or LA or some other massive, diverse city and erase it, so at least you’ve gone to some effort in your erasure.

What? You’d never ever do such a thing? We don’t know that. We don’t know that you didn’t choose Arse-End-of-Nowhere Maine rather than Arse-End-of-Nowhere Missisi… Missiiisi… Louisiana because you thought you’d get away with your all erased cast. Why should we give you the benefit of the doubt – rule number… well some number, when interacting with marginalised people – we have zero reason to assume good things about you. We have every reason to expect the worst and regard you with our mean cynical eye.

Besides which, we’re there. Yes, in Arse-End-Of-Nowhere Maine, in the Outer Hebrides, we’re everywhere – there isn’t actually a guaranteed minority free zone anywhere on this planet. Unless you want to cast your fun, zany story in Antarctica or the bottom of the sea.

But, in the end, whenever you produce media that is all erased (or includes only tokens) you harm us, you demean us, you add to the culture of prejudice that rejects us – and yes, you’re going to get us saying mean mean mean things about you, Precious. And I don’t think there’s any way your erased media is going to avoid that.

So what’s the solution? How can you produce your “realistic” erasure without us being such big meanies? Cultural and societal shift. Sorry, that’s about it. If you want your erased work not to be a slap to marginalised people, if you don’t want your precious magic intentions questioned and if you don’t want to harm us – then we need to change the culture. Because erasure (and tokenism – which is mini-erasure and erasure by another name) will only be non-harmful when it is no longer the norm. When we can turn to your media type and assure that we will be consistently well represented then your all white/straight/whatever piece will be free from this damaging context and be free to be as erased as your little privileged dreams wish. Because it won’t matter – because it won’t be part of a grand context of excluding us.

Until that happens? Well until then, when you produce your super-erased media we will criticise it and your excuses won’t cut it. Deal with it – because we have to.

May Dream Casting: Star Trek Eclipse

Ok I take this time to post for a new Star Trek Mini-series. No to be intertwine with Abramverse.

Plot: In 237X: After the War of the Dominion. The Federation tries to recover from the loss of the War despite winning the war. Starfleet is trying to go back to the exploration backed by the Klingon Government. Due to the Recovery, Independent human planets had formed an alliance calling themselves the Allied Colonial Forces. The ACF is modeled from the 21th century Earth. With the Raising power of the ACF, it started a Federation Cold War with the Romulian backing. Meanwhile The newly starship-class Otomo  USS Eclipse have been commissioned by the Starfleet. During their Voyage they encounter a Scorpion Class Starship, the ACF flagship, destroying Cardassian ship. So the Eclipse have to find a way to stop the ship.

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(Open discussion) Blockbuster Season: May Casting Call Movie Sugesstions

Since Summer Blockbusters are here. I’m going to do a special in the course of summer season. At the month of May, we are going to do casting call or dreamcasting.  In the era of sequels, reboots and adaptations, we see people that don’t fit the role….AT ALL (CISWash). So with that being said. I present you the month of May Casting Call. During the month of May we’ll pitch a movie or a show idea with a premise, casting choice and get feedback. Then In the months of June and July I’ll do an video review of the movies both good and bad.

So please  what type of movie you want to see, the plot, theme and who do you want to star in it and why? So please pitch Ars Marginal an idea. It can be anything. Orginal, Remake, reboot or anther take on a story. Please Title the topic May Casting Call for (Insert Title)