Quieting the Infowarrior

I have to be honest…when it comes to online arguing, the minute I tire of a discussion, I tend to walk away.  Sure I may come back to it later…but if I tend to just say my final piece and move on.  Especially if you are a “Patriot” or Infowarrior type.

In other words, I do not care to waste my time arguing with paranoid conspiracy theorists.  Truthers, birthers…all the same arguments that go in circles chasing tails.  They never offer fruitful or interesting discussions, and no amount of engagement will cause the light to turn on in their heads.  They are to far down the rabbit hole.

The other people I just walk away from are those white people who, in a discussion about race, throw out some horrible story about a white person who was beaten, maybe even kills and then ask, “Where is the outrage?  All lives matter!”  That is a guarantee that the participant wants to derail the discussion.

Both of these types of folks now simply get muted on twitter or made invisible on Facebook.  Why be tempted to respond when I know all that will result is a headache.

White Actors Need Roles Too!

I am unsure what Nellie Andreeva is saying here.

Okay.  That is a lie.  The short version is: There are to many non-white faced on TV these days.

I am sure she would dispute this, claim I am misunderstanding her point.

But, as is the case with any sea change, the pendulum might have swung a bit too far in the opposite direction.

Nellie expresses concern about there being no room for colorblind casting.  I totally get that this is her concern.  I get she believes that this is about a concern that race trumps the best actor getting the job.

This is a pretty absurd concern to have though.  There have been plenty of examples over the years of casting stating they are looking for white actos, whether the role called for it or not.

“Basically 50% of the roles in a pilot have to be ethnic, and the mandate goes all the way down to guest parts,” one talent representative said.

So, half your cast can be white, as long as half your cast is not?  So, white actors have a shot at 50% roles in a pilot (including, more likely than not, the lead) while non-white actors must vie for the other 50%.  Asian, black, Hispanic, and so on, all compete for the other half.  This is not equality, and it is not equality in favor of minority actors.

Network and cable television are still overwhelmingly full of majority white casts.  There is one show right now about an Asian family.  The Asian community covers a lot of ethnic backgrounds.  Both Japanese and Vietnamese may be considered “Asian”, but they are culturally distinct.  Yet, if you say we are going to do a show about an Asian family, you probably will have actors of different descent playing a Chinese family.   Of course, we white people rarely notice a difference.

So, for the Asian community, you have one show.  Blacks have a couple of shows.  And if a Latino comedian hits it big enough, maybe you get a show or two about a Latino lead.  Are there any comedies or dramas centered on a character of Middle East descent?

Most shows still center on a white protagonist(s) with supporting cast members who are not white.

And that is the joke of the Deadline column.  Overwhelmingly, TV is still giving us white leads.  The talk of colorblind casting is a joke, because even when shows specified no race, casting looked at primarily white people for their leads.  There has never been colorblind casting, and just because pilots are actually starting to note to cast some actors who are not white is not an indication of a problem, it is a solution.

The Curious Case of Ted Cruz and Country Music

Ted Cruz may end up being a wealth of hilarity folks.  Just look at this:

“I actually intellectually find this very curious, but on 9/11, I didn’t like how rock music responded,” he said. “And country music, collectively, the way they responded, it resonated with me.”

I find this intellectually curious as well, Mr. Cruz.

For one thing, it does not make much sense.  I mean, what did he not like about the rock and roll response?  Was he offended by the calls for America to be united as a nation?  Or was he more put off by the fundraisers to help the victims and their families?  Maybe it was the songs praising first responders or the passengers of United 93?  Just what part of the rock and roll response to 9/11 was so damned off-putting that he would turn to a life of country music?

Or is it just that Cruz saw it as an opportunity to pander to the Republican base with the dog whistle of 9/11?

If Cruz keeps talking like this?  He will flame out spectacularly.

The Answers We Seek…

A few things that have come up regarding the Val D’Orazio and Chris Sims Harassment situation…

One?  Why did he wait so long to apologize?  In an ideal world, Chris would have apologized when he realized the damage he had done.

This is the most damning part of the post harassment.  Chris offered a reason that, while I kind of get it, simply does not absolve this severe lapse in judgement.  His reason was, she had cut herself off, and he did not want to force the situation on her.  But the thing is, had he simply apologized a few years ago there are at least two possible ways it would have played out.  One, maybe she would have angrily said “fuck off, Sims.”  But at least he would have been making the effort.  That would have said a lot for others even if she had rejected it.  Another likely possibility?  She accepted the apology they made peace and the Gamer Gate folks had no (intentional or unintentional) ally.  Chris Sims blew it on this front.  It makes any apology now one that will be severely scrutinized.

Two?  This went on from 2007 to 2010.  Chris Sims started working for Comics Alliance under Laura Hudson’s guidance in February of 2010.  Why did they not vet him better?  My theory is they did not really vet Chris.  They looked at his blog popularity, his general writing style and thought he would add something to the CA world.  How could they overlook this?  I also think the truth is a little harsh.  I do not think many people thought what was going on was “Chris is harassing Val.”  I mean, I read posts where he basically said how much he did not like Val.  But I missed some of the harsher comments he left for her, since it I pretty much only read comment threads where I had commented.  And there were a lot of folks (some more progressive than Chris was at the time) who were coming down hard on Val.  The discussions surrounding threats on line had not hit full swing yet… I suspect the truth is, a lot of folks just did not think of what was happening as “harassment”.  So, it was not treated as such by CA when they hired Chris.  I am actually trying to reach out to CA folks on this one.

Three? Chris paid no price for this.  Here, I find myself wondering what the solution is…does the Chris of today not get to work in comics because the Chris of yesterday was a terrible person? If we are not demanding he be fired…what is the appropriate punishment for behavior from 7-8 years back?  Outside of apology, how must he pay?  How should he suffer?

Listen, I am not speaking in hypotheticals here.  From first through twelfth grade, I got harassed and bullied.  My bullies all got away with it.  They suffered nothing.  I stated on Facebook yesterday that Sim’s comment asking D’Orazio if she was “gonna cry, little girl” fills me with an anger that wants to punch that Chris Sims in the face.  I hate that one comment with a intense anger.  But what…was I supposed to call the WB when one of my bullies was a lead on a semi-popular show of theirs?  I really hate to believe the only justice would be to prevent them from making a living, especially when, in Sim’s case the person in question turned around for the better.  And frankly, everybody who came down on Val paid no price for it.  They all went on with their lives, and if we are going to take this seriously, it is not justice to only demand Sims pay a price.  According to Val, Sims was one of the worst not because he wrote bad things (she indicates his followers wrote far worse)…  so why are the folks who followed his lead not being held to account for not paying a price?  Because they are not about to write an x-men comic?  That seems pretty weak.

Four?  Did I mention Gamer Gate?  Yeah.  Why?  Because what actually started this was not a tweet from Val.  What started this was that Val and her husband were aware Gamer Gate was about to use this as an attack on Chris and Comics Alliance…which explains why Chris e-mailed an apology to Val’s husband.  He reached out to Chris and CA.  People have argued it does not matter.  But it does…because Gamer Gate does not care about Val or her values.  They are using her to attack people who have argued and fought for the same things as her.  GG hate Comics Alliance and their “SJW Ways”, and saw the history with Val as the perfect weapon against people who call for diversity within comics and gaming.  This is not something to be pushed aside.  It is not a diversion.  And it is not an excuse.  It matters.

Chris has now repeated taken responsibility and apologized, which is sadly rare.  If Chris lost the X-Men gig, I would shed no tears (though it is not karma-he did not get her removed from any comics)…but I am really not sure how giving in to the mob mentality now is a critical hit of the mob harassment mentality of then.  What is the price the changed person should pay?

Crawling Towrads Light

Hypocrisy.  What is it?  A lot of people seem to think it is “Do as I say, not as I did.”  That is, however, not true.  If I tell you that I did something in the past and tell you I think you would be better off not doing the same thing?  That is simply offering an opinion based in life experience.  But if, for example, I tell you sex outside of heterosexual marriage is wrong and a sin, and it turns out I am in the midst of cheating on my wife with a man?  That is hypocrisy.    Hypocrisy is “Do as I say, not as I am doing.”

This whole thing with Val D’Orazio and Chris Sims…it is complex.  Mind you, not the part about the 2007-2010 online harassment.  That is pretty much damning public record.  And it was wrong.  But it is complex…because I like them both.

I first was following D’Orazio and her Occasional Super-heroine blog, which I seem to recall discovering via the Girl-Wonder web community.  I found the stories of the behind the scenes in Pro Comics frustrating.  And my memory of initial reactions were her Identity Crisis blogs sparked anger in a lot of people.  Then, suddenly it seemed to change. I discovered Chris Sims and a large group of bloggers that I also found generally engaging.  And then I saw this (what seemed like an unfair) backlash towards Valerie and her blog.   I did not understand it…but to be honest, I did not perceive Chris as leading it.

I did not read a lot of stuff some of these folks posted on her blog, which skewed my perception of what was going on.  I just saw a lot of people getting down on Valerie. But at the time, as I had slammed people I did not agree with, I felt odd calling out people for saying they did not like a person that I liked.

Then Sims joined Comics Alliance, working with people like Laura Hudson.  And since I had a skewed perspective (by missing some of the harsher treatment-understand, I rarely read online comments on peoples’ blogs unless I also left a comment) Sims got a chance to mature.  The guy I followed there seemed to be getting better and better as a person.  I saw him evolve into a person that I respected.

Valerie was someone I had no issue with, she continued in various capacities to push for comics becoming a more inclusive environment for women…and none of her critics could diminish that for me.

Seeing that 2007-2010 Chris actually posted on her blog “are you gonna cry, little girl?”  That is angering, saddening, maddening….it represents everything the “Chris of Today” seems opposed to.

And that is part of the problem.  That old Chris just got to learn and grow up, while Valerie had to suffer the results of his behavior.  I don’t think it is quite accurate to say he reaped reward for the harassment career wise…rather, it was overlooked…and it was overlooked by a lot of people who condemn online harassment, so Chris got to go a path of becoming a better guy, without the sting of his terrible behavior raining down on him.

I get why his getting to write an X-Men comic (how odd is it that I found out, not from any of the news announcements, but rather from a post on Valerie’s Facebook page) for Marvel stings D’Orazio.  Chris was an utter douchebag in his treatment of Val.

These are not, of course, close personal friends of mine.  I am pretty sure neither know who I am…and my interactions with either D’Orazio or Sims have solely been of the twitter/facebook variety.  I mean, I would like to believe that if I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon hanging out with them (or countless of comics fan/pro/critic personalities I have interacted with on the social medias) it would be an enjoyable time.  But I cannot say I know the “Real Chris Sims” or the “Real Valerie D’Orazio.”

This is not vindication for those kids who hated Sims and Comics Alliance over their advocacy for diversity in the industry…I took the time to read some of the different comments, and there sure seems to be a lot of people gloating because they thing Comics Alliance and Sims are being shown for being great hypocrites.  But here is the thing, Sims is not being a hypocrite to oppose behavior that he has indulged in years past.  People can grow and regret and be horrified by their own actions and former beliefs.

Chris has publicly apologized.  His e-mail to Val’s husband where he mentioned being thrown under the bus was a poor choice of phrase…because he is not being thrown under the bus.  I suspect it was not his intention with the phrase, but there is no way around the fact that it sounds like a “poor me line”.  But he is in a rather odd place…as the people who are angry if he does not apologize, but when he does, every motive is heavily scrutinized.  And honestly?  I kind of hate that.  I support Val.  I think she deserves support.  But if we are going to be a community that allows nobody the opportunity to grow and change, where there are no second, third or fourth chances?  No opportunity to step up and offer regret and apology without folks assuming it is totally false?

I don’t think that is a community worth being a part of.


(As an aside, I see a pretty big difference between this and the Brian Wood situation…Brian did not fully own up to the situation and made an effort to end the controversy with a “you just misunderstood” line of defense…Sims is offering no such excuse)

Where Is the Protest

Ever since the #BlackLivesMatter movement got going shortly after the shooting of Mike Brown there has been an attempt by (overwhelmingly white) conservatives to challenge with a very consistent meme of “Where is our protest?”

The meme works this way…people find an incident where a person shoots and wounds or kills a cop.  They then demand to know where the protesters are.  It is an attempt at a big gotcha for hypocrisy.  Except…it is not even kind of an example of hypocrisy.  And therefore it is not a successful gotcha either.

Here is the thing…the protests related to unarmed black men being killed by cops are not based in “One guy killed another guy.”  So right there, examples where a cop is injured in the line of duty start to crumble.  The specific protest here is that it is a cop doing the killing.  And the reason people are marching in protest is that police represent the system.  They see a problem in the system that they want corrected.

When a criminal shoots a cop, it is always seen as tragic.  It is pretty much never justified outside of the most fringe elements and the cop is proclaimed a hero in local media.  It does not become a nationwide news story very often because…well, their jobs are dangerous and it is presumed there are risks.  If there is not an angle that makes it unique from other “line of duty threats”, such as the shooter citing a national incident, it pretty much remains a local story.

And, the shooter is usually a criminal, which is why there is only candle light vigils instead of protests.  The police will hunt this guy down and no grand jury is going to say, “Nope, no reason to indict!”  The system will demand punishment forth acts of the criminal, not argue the criminal had no choice.  Marching in the streets against a confirmed criminal act makes no sense…what change would people be calling for?

People protest to change the system and problems within the system.  Criminals who shoot cops are outside the system and breaking the law and do not get the cover of the law for what they did.

It should also be noted that very few of the people shot by cops get protests.  By and large, most people killed by cops are never national news, and largely accepted as justified.  It is when there are other elements that make careless police work (to be polite) stand out and people take notice.

So…no, of course there are no protests when cops are shot…everybody thinks the shooter was in the wrong and deserves punishment.  Cops do not get protests, they get candlelight vigils in their memory.