plainly and simply parasitical on the obvious or univocal reading

Saturday, July 29, 2006

29 on 29

So yeah, it's my birthday today. The big two-nine. Hmm, don't really have much more to say than that (WHA!!!???).

I've just finished making my final arrangements, which means that yes, I will be in Chicago for Wizard World next weekend. I'll be staying in the city, where the food is better and the drinks cheaper, and making the ridiculous trek out to the airport in the mornings. Should be exciting. Fellow bloggers who are also going are encouraged to get in touch (dlouisjacobson-atsign-yahoo-dotcom).

*Later Edit* Also, this is what I look like (because, y'know, I can never have too many things competing with my background image).

Monday, July 24, 2006

An Open Letter to Edgy Writers Who Write About Really Real Real Life

I cannot censor you. I wouldn't if I could. As a matter of fact, I may be more interested in the blossoming of your career than you are. I just don't want you to be a talentless hack. You don't want to be a talentless hack, do you? If you do, just say so and we can reevaluate the terms of our relationship honestly, like adults.

I am aware that rape happens in real life. In fact, I am aware that it happens more often than people are comfortable acknowledging. You can be sure that when I critique real life, it's on the "needs improvement" list. Curiously, when I bring it up in reference to real life, I am never accused of trying to stifle anyone's creative vision.

But all of that is rather beside the point, isn't it? The point is the text, and whether it is any good. When I am critiquing someone's work of fiction, I am (and I admit that I was foolish enough to think that this was obvious) not critiquing real life.

See, much as there are good and bad ways to deal with murder, bank robbery, whacked-out cosmic shit and world domination plots (you know, the real-life stuff), there are good and bad ways to deal with rape and its consequences. For example, using rape and/or serial rape as a shortcut to show how really really bad/serious/big threat your bad guy is qualifies as a bad way to do it. Even aside from the rape thing, why do you need to take shortcuts to establish anything about any of your characters? Why do you care so little about your creations? Same goes for using it as a motivation, by the way. If I were to break it down mathematically, it would go something like this: sexual assault + cliches and hackery = trivialization of sexual assault. And that is offensive. And when you think about it, doesn't that make it a less effective way to show how bad the bad guys are? And doesn't it, in fact, undermine any gritty realness that the introduction of such a high-impact real world issue may have introduced? I'm not just trying to bust your chops here, I simply think these are things you may want to consider as you refine your craft.

You may think that this means that I think there's something inherently wrong with dealing with sexual assault and rape in comic stories. This is not precisely true. Dealing with it is fine. But simply introducing it into the text is not the same thing as dealing with it. Simply presenting it as bad, or taking a textual stance against it, is not the same thing as dealing with it. We all know it's bad. You won't be blowing any minds with that stunning revelation. And yes, the same could probably be said for all violent crimes. What sets rape apart, however, is that it is a crime that, the overwhelming majority of the time, happens to women, and happens to them precisely because they are women.

So you see, I'm not interested in stifling your creativity. I am not taking a stand regarding what you should or shouldn't "be able" to write about. I am not calling for your work to be censored, and even if I did, nobody would listen. I don't matter that much. What I am saying is this: as long as you continue to produce texts that deal with rape and sexual assault in a cavalier or trivializing way, especially if you do so because your writing is poor, I will continue to bring critique. I want you to be a better writer. Edgy, even. And good writing starts with good thinking. I wish you well, I really do. See that you don't bring the hackery, though. And if you do, and I express my disappointment, please don't act as though I'm attacking your freedom of expression, when I am merely exercising my own in kind.

Yours always, except when not,

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Hey, there's a navel down there...

So yesterday I was accepted into grad school. I'll be going for comics and gender studies, astonishingly enough. That is, studying comics through a gender studies lense, as well as studying gender as it relates to comics. I'll be looking inside the text and out.

Currently I'm working on an article about homosociality and how it relates to the fandom and industry of comics. I haven't started school yet, I'm just that much of a dork.

Also, I swear I do, in fact, know how to have fun.