Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Remember when Amity Shlaes told her fellow conservatives to make rightwing comics to re-educate the littlebrains? The Comintern seems to be responding: The two comics creators she hired to turn her anti-FDR book into graphic nonfiction, Chuck Dixon and Paul Rivoche, have been given a platform at the Wall Street Journal to tell us our favorite comics heroes were turned into a bunch of anti-American bums by liberalism, and that it's time for conservatives to "take back comics":
In the 900th issue of Action Comics, Superman decides to go before the United Nations and renounce his U.S. citizenship. " 'Truth, justice and the American way'—it's not enough any more," he despairs. That issue, published in April 2011, is perhaps the most dramatic example of modern comics' descent into political correctness, moral ambiguity and leftist ideology. 
We are comic-book artists and comics are our passion. But more important they've inspired and shaped many millions of young Americans. Our fear is that today's young comic-book readers are being ill-served by a medium that often presents heroes as morally compromised or no different from the criminals they battle. With the rise of moral relativism, "truth, justice and the American way" have lost their meaning.
Comics are apparently a public good (unlike, say, water) which must be kept pure so "young comic-book readers" hear only what a mid-20th-Century censor would approve. No, literally:
In the 1950s, the great publishers, including DC and what later become Marvel, created the Comics Code Authority, a guild regulator that issued rules such as: "Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal." The idea behind the CCA, which had a stamp of approval on the cover of all comics, was to protect the industry's main audience—kids—from story lines that might glorify violent crime, drug use or other illicit behavior. 
Actually the idea was to protect publishers from the moral panic engendered by Fred Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent.  Thanks to the CCA, "there were still good guys and bad guys," sigh Dixon and Rivoche, but "the 1990s brought a change" -- though the change actually came in 1960s, starting with R. Crumb and Zap, and giving rise to a comic artist community that wanted to stretch the medium  beyond kiddie comics, not just in the underground but also in their own workplaces -- and by the 90s they had the power to do so. Whatever you think of the result, that change has clearly meant more choice in what buyers can find in the market -- but Dixon and Rivoche portray it as censorship and "political correctness," and themselves as victims:
The industry weakened and eventually threw out the CCA, and editors began to resist hiring conservative artists.
[Cite please.]
One of us, Chuck, expressed the opinion that a frank story line about AIDS was not right for comics marketed to children. His editors rejected the idea and asked him to apologize to colleagues for even expressing it. Soon enough, Chuck got less work.
And that's why everyone has AIDS today -- because the comics commissars blacklisted Dixon and Rivoche and turned the means of production over to loyal Party members like Frank Miller and Alison Bechdel, who Seduce the Innocent to this day. George F. Will may think being raped is the coveted victim-status of our time, but among his conservative colleagues the fashionable victim card is always that liberals refuse to do things their way, which they inevitably portray as censorship.

I can't blame them too much -- they have a book to sell and, as I have observed before, comics is a hard dollar. I'm mainly surprised that conservatives are still peddling the purification of culture. Their traditional appeals to racism and sexism I can understand, but do even Mississippians want the swears and sideboobs driven from their TVs?


  1. John E Williams11:48 AM

    "One of us, Chuck, expressed the opinion that a frank story line about AIDS was not right for comics marketed to children. His editors rejected the idea and asked him to apologize to colleagues for even expressing it. Soon enough, Chuck got less work." If Chuck Dixon got less work in the 90s then he was in the same boat as every other comics writer. The big shock would be if he got more work.

    I do note the usual right-wing pussy crybaby logic: my freedom to speak out was stamped upon by mean evil Liberals, so let's re-institute a system of censorship that will make my view of the world the law of the land.

  2. John E Williams11:49 AM

    Heidi McDonald has a great take here:


    "But there is a terrible danger here. While I’m always in favor of expanding the comics audience, right wing attempts at satire have often fallen short in the humor department—so if you can’t be funnier than Mallard Fillmore, please, stand down."

  3. BigHank5311:50 AM

    A while back I heard an interview with Neil Gaiman, whose writing some of you may have encountered. He mentioned that when he was a young lad and scrambling for work, there were three main things that really seemed to matter to editors:

    1. You could produce outstanding work.
    2. You could deliver your work before the deadline.
    3. You could be really pleasant to work with.

    His observation was that any writer or artist had to do two of those three in order to make a living. Whenever some conservatroid (Rob Schneider, Chuck Dixon, Larry Correia, Orson Scott Card) starts pissing and moaning about how the deck's been stacked against them I know they've already failed at #3: they've started arguing with the customer, which is rarely a good move for the independent contractor. It's a free market, why should the buyers have to coddle egos on the side?

  4. BigHank5311:53 AM

    Also, this article sheds some light on what the CCA really did to comics:


  5. Conservatives are welcome to "Take Back" comics, if they can produce comics that don't suck and that people want to read.

    But we know that in this context Taking Back Comics means they'll produce the stuff that reflects their world view and then whine when people laugh rather than buy.

  6. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say I don't think he said "maybe a story about AIDS isn't right for children" and instead went on the typical rant about homos and them all being pedophiles. You know how calling other kids in school "faggot" is referred to by these nuts as just children expressing their religious views.

  7. gratuitous11:58 AM

    That cool story jumped out at me, too. If poor Chuck got dissed by some comics publisher (and I can only imagine what he considered a "frank story line about AIDS" to be), he could always go to to Jack Chick and publish his "frank story line."

    Or would publishing there be beneath even these two?

  8. cekman11:59 AM

    I never thought I'd see comics professionals defending the Comics Code. Apparently it wasn't just an archaic, narrow-minded censorship regime, but a sort of Fairness Doctrine for conservatives. What's next, bringing back the Hays Office?
    This is insane on so many levels. For example, did anybody tell these guys that Siegel and Shuster were New Dealers? Would they admit that the Comics Code wasn't formed due to the public-spiritedness of the (ho ho) "great publishers", but due to heavy pressure from the federal government?
    Also, one of the titles Chuck Dixon is best known for is The Punisher, which was emblematic of the grim'n'gritty trend of the '80s and '90s that he decries in this article. The Punisher was (and is) a murderous vigilante so heavily armed that there was a title devoted just to lovingly describing his arsenal. The other heroes considered him a dangerous lunatic. And Dixon is complaining about moral ambiguity?

  9. Also could they have come up with a less fun sounding name than the Comics Code Authority? Shit, it's like telling the tots their book has been approved by a slew of mean teachers and crabby neighbors.

  10. Conservatives are authoritarian by ideology and inclination. Authoritarians like uniformity and conformity; they hate diversity and free expression. Accusing liberals of censorship (and, as you noted, without any citation) is yet another example of psychological projection.

  11. Glock H. Palin, Esq.12:03 PM

    "...but Dixon and Rivoche portray it as censorship and "political correctness," and themselves as victims:"

    Because nothing cries out 'censorship' like removing explicit rules about what you can write about and how you can write it.

  12. XeckyGilchrist12:06 PM

    If you can't be funnier than Mallard Fillmore, you'd better check to see if you can fog a mirror.

  13. Glock H. Palin, Esq.12:07 PM

    "And Dixon is complaining about moral ambiguity?"

    The problem isn't the moral ambiguity - comic book characters have always been morally ambiguous (have you ever read early Superman books? There's a reason Superdickery exists). The problem is acknowledging and directly addressing that ambiguity. That's what makes conservatives uncomfortable.

  14. Censorship here could also mean anything that challenges their God-given right to profitable employment. Such challenges include anyone being better at the job and liberal and a society that has moved away from conservative ideals.

    In other words, not censorship at all, but if they could understand why people don't want what they're selling, they wouldn't be conservatives.

  15. Glock H. Palin, Esq.12:13 PM

    "One of us, Chuck, expressed the opinion that a frank story line about
    AIDS was not right for comics marketed to children. His editors rejected
    the idea..."

    The phrasing here pisses me off. 'Let's have a storyline about AIDS' is an idea. Saying 'that's stupid' is not an idea, it is the rejection of an idea. Your editors not giving you veto power over other writers is not you being 'rejected'. It's them doing the thing they are paid to do, being editors.

  16. lawrence09046912:21 PM

    "I'm mainly surprised that conservatives are still peddling the purification of culture."
    This probably sells with the WSJ readership.

  17. mortimer200012:29 PM

    For years a graphic novel of "A People's History of American Empire" by Howard Zinn has been taught in U.S. schools. There's even a cartoon version of "Working" by Studs Terkel.

    That last one should be worth at least a few exclamation points after it. Working is filled with verbatim tripe from "workers," those leftist anti-capitalist moocher bastards.

    The CCA's beneficial forerunner was the Hays Code, which saved America's children from so much Hollywood depravity. Thanks to the Hays Code, the drug-fueled homosexual antics of the Seven Dwarfs were toned down severely (the original script had one named "Sleazy", and Dopey was a fiend right out of Reefer Madness). If only we could return to the kind of censorship we can all approve of.

  18. DocAmazing12:31 PM

    Right-wing types have always gotten their fair share. In addition to the Punisher, Marvel did a truly horrible series about the Viet Nam War (The 'Nam) and another based on Hasbro's GI Joe line of toys, Mark Millar has had free rein to crap on the Avengers (and in particular, Captain America), Frank Miller passes up no opportunity to inform us that Those People Did 9/11, and that's not even getting into the casual sexism that one finds among a slew of illustrators.
    Back during the Comics Code days, a happy anti-Communism held sway; early on, EC Comics (of blessed memory) kept getting crosswise with the Authority for calling out racism. "Wholesome entertainment" is a phrase that can be interpreted in a wide variety of ways.

  19. Given the status of "Clark Kent" as an undocumented alien masquerading as a citizen of the US by birth, wouldn't conservatives wish him to acknowledge the fraud anyhow? Why should he have the advantages if he won't play by the rules?

  20. You're not that far off. From the column:

    The superheroes also changed. Batman became dark and ambiguous, a kind of brooding monster. Superman became less patriotic, culminating in his decision to renounce his citizenship so he wouldn't be seen as an extension of U.S. foreign policy. A new code, less explicit but far stronger, replaced the old: a code of political correctness and moral ambiguity. If you disagreed with mostly left-leaning editors, you stayed silent.

    So yes, sort of a Fairness Doctrine with a tinge of Affirmative Action, necessary because there are so few white men in comics.

  21. Dixon and Rivoche are basing their argument on the presumption that their preferred type of comic was nudged out of the industry by filthy liberals. Apparently, neither of them considered that those comics just aren't popular any more, if they ever were. Golden Age comics were dark as hell, especially the adventure and horror books, and people loved it. The light and goofy Silver Age comics were a product of the CCA, not the market.

  22. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person12:47 PM

    Comics Code Authority
    Yeah, that's a no-fun name. Here's one that'd put a smile on their razor-thin lips.
    Der Comix Verordnung Behörde.
    Not sure that shouldn't be all one word, though...

  23. Jay B.12:49 PM

    Funny these reactionary assholes bitching about Superman's rejection of "Truth, justice and the American Way" when they are puking out a bullshit take on why FDR was bad for America.

  24. Professor Fate12:49 PM

    That was my guess as well - I hardly think he said what he said he said. Hate filled rant more likely. Does he say what book this was for?

  25. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person12:51 PM

    Or be seen in one...

  26. There's always a fix when things don't work the way these hyper-privileged buffoons want, isn't it?

    Election didn't turn out the way you want? Voter fraud.
    Didn't get that job you wanted? Affirmative Action.
    Wife up and left you after 30 years of abuse? Feminazis!
    Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

    But if you mention oppression of women and minorities and so on, that's a bunch of bullshit.

  27. zencomix12:55 PM

    " though the change actually came in 1960s, starting with R. Crumb and Zap,"

    not to quibble or be argumentative about who started what and when, I'd just like to share this info about Joel Beck because I'm a big Joel Beck fan and I think he's deserving of more recognition. Zap and the other Zap artists besides Crumb certainly accelerated the change in 1968 with the first issue of Zap, but one could argue it all started with Harvey Kurtzman.

  28. fraser12:55 PM

    No, the light tone of the Silver Age was there earlier alongside EC horror comics etc (Plastic Man, Scribbly and Super-Snipe to take three Golden Age examples) The CCA is more about what was removed than what remained.

  29. Professor Fate12:57 PM

    1, Children have died of aids too. And have lost loved ones as well.
    2. This seems be a constant with the right wing - if they find themselves losing in the marketplace of ideas in say science (evolution- Climate Change) or in this case comic books - they start playing the refs and insisting that they be giving a place via some from of authoritain fiat.

  30. fraser12:59 PM

    Yes, "frank storyline about AIDS" is kind of vague. Does he mean having a character with AIDS? A character dying of AIDS? Someone shown having casual sex with hookers, then catching AIDS?

    And of course "comics marketed to children" which is always the hook in this discussion, and why I think it plays better than culture wars over what's on TV. All those innocent five year olds picking up Hentai or learning Superman hates America, they're the real issue. Even though the comics audience is overwhelmingly adult, the "comics are for children" shtick is a well right wingers love to go to.
    For a good look at the impact of the comics code and comics censorship, "The Ten Cent Plague" is first rate.

  31. fraser1:00 PM

    I will say that I've liked a lot of Dixon's work--he can actually write good comics, despite his politics.

  32. DocAmazing1:01 PM

    I'll never understand why no one has launched a comic book or magazine called Entartete Kunst.

  33. fraser1:03 PM

    I think he makes more of the Golden Age than it deserves, much as pre-code Hollywood sometimes gets idolized too much.

  34. DocAmazing1:04 PM

    Thank you for that link. That should be Required Reading.

  35. Plus, he doesn't EVEN USE GUNS.

    Obviously a Marxist gun-grabber.

  36. fraser1:10 PM

    Of course now that I think about it, the 1990s had a surprising (or not so surprising) number of Commie villains who were either "ex KGB sadistic killer turned Russian Mafia" or "die-hard Communist who continues to wage war on the West. So it's not as if conservative memes suddenly died off.

  37. "Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal."
    Should I hold my breath awaiting the Iraq wingnut comic that condemns Bush and Cheney for their Three Trillion Dollar war?

  38. fraser1:12 PM

    One of the anti-Communist highlights of the early Silver Age is an FF issue with an actual card carrying Communist ("Look, this card shows he's a member of a subversive Communist front organization! He must be a Red!")

  39. DocAmazing1:18 PM

    There is a precedent:

    Good luck finding that comic, though. Long out-of-print; much sought-after.

  40. Ah, the liberal bastion that is DC Comics, where Batwoman is forbidden from marrying her girlfriend and having a gay Green Lantern in an alternate universe is considered progress

  41. FMguru1:49 PM

    Very early Superman was actually Mr. New Deal Socialist - he fought slumlords, crooked factory owners, and politicians they bought and sold. Even post-WWII had Superman fighting the Klan (an extended story on the very popular Superman radio show did a lot to derail the 1950s Klan revival in real life).

  42. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person1:50 PM

    George F. Will may think being raped is the coveted victim-status of our time...

    I'm sure I'm not the only one who copped a chortle off that one. Is there anyone who is the slightest bit political-curious that doesn't know that Conservative Xianists are The Only Victims these days? Jeez, you can't go fifteen minutes withouit hearing from yet another aggrieved CX that someone's doin' 'em (or "it") wrong. They're a race of hall monitors continually bitching about other people telling 'em what to do.
    We need to start teaching Anthropology, Sociology, and Ab Psych in grade school...

  43. FMguru1:55 PM

    Yeah, these things always end with white men demanding affirmative action for their stupid conservative viewpoints (see also: the way that Hollywood refuses to make explicitly right-wing movies and pay right-wing celebrities as if they were George Clooney being some kind of violation of the Bill of Rights). The free market is all well and good the market shifts against the wingnuts, and then here comes the special pleading (see also: Orson Scott Card complaining about the unfairness of people boycotting his Heroic Adventures Of Young Hitler movie).

  44. Jay B.1:58 PM

    With the rise of moral relativism, "truth, justice and the American way" have lost their meaning.

    I really hate these guys. You know what really gutted "truth, justice and the American way"? Reality! A country that endorsed slavery, then, later, American apartheid. A country that had, on the Right, a whole bunch of Hitler sympathizers (and on the left, a bunch of blind assholes sure that Stalin was OK). A country that in the past 50 years fought two massive wars based on total and proven lies. What truth was found in Vietnam? In Iraq? What justice is found in a two-tiered justice system where cops can pump people full of electricity or lead without cause or punishment, and where billionaires can literally steal houses from normal people without any way for the people to get their possession back? The 'American way' is a total and utter fraud, at least in that its somehow better than the "French way" or the "Brazilian way" -- they, at the very least, kill fewer people and imprison fewer of their own citizens than we do. EVEN FUCKING SUPERMAN KNOWS THAT.

    But a couple of cynical, awful, hacks think the comic books are the problem. They really can go fuck themselves.

  45. JennOfArk2:05 PM

    All I have to say is...BRING BACK VAMPIRELLA!!!!

  46. Gromet2:06 PM

    I'm gonna go out on a limb here and defend Card on this one. Ender's Game is a good book, somewhat thoughtful and well done, and it by no means lets its Hitlers off the hook. Also, iirc the boycott of the movie was in response to anti-gay remarks he'd made that had nothing to do with the book. Arguably this boycott was like refusing to see a movie version of Huck Finn because you found out Mark Twain once ranted against gays; what would be the point of that boycott? What was the point of the one against Card? The anger directed against it seemed to have nothing to do with it.

  47. "Chuck, expressed the opinion that a frank story line about AIDS was not right for comics marketed to children. His editors rejected the idea and asked him to apologize to colleagues for even expressing it. Soon enough, Chuck got less work."

    Hmm, lemme guess how that conversation went. Imagine an idea session with several writers:
    Chuck: Don't you think a comic about faggots with the gay AIDS is inappropriate for children even if the fags totally have it coming for fucking each other up the ass?
    Editor: Chuck, I want you to apologize to your colleagues and then get out of my office.
    Editor: Chuck, get the fuck out.

  48. As usual, I should have just kept reading down thread first.

  49. fraser2:40 PM

    Plus the Judgment Day story was EC's final comic book--the article makes it sound like the company was targeted over it. The targeting, if there was any, came well ahead of that, and didn't have anything to do with race (more the fact that horror and crime comics were a particular focus of criticism, and that Gaines had only made things worse in his testimony before a federal committee).

  50. fraser2:42 PM

    Nobody gets married in the reboot DCU. Which means Aquaman and Mera are now living in sin.

  51. With the rise of moral relativism, "truth, justice and the American way" have lost their meaning.

    Moral relativism? I'd say they lost their meaning in a non-consensual naked-ass pile in Abu Ghraib. Hell, go one further, back to My Lai, and you'll find the napalmed corpse of "truth, justice, and the American way".

    Or "Wounded Knee", or "Fort Sumter", or "The Trail of Tears".

    Hell, go back to that first shipment of slaves that arrived before America existed, the whole concept was meaningless from the start.

  52. What makes you think you're an expert on comics, or comix, if you will?

  53. But if people have choices, some of them won't want to buy my whitebread drivel! And their exercise of that choice is the real censorship here.

  54. fraser3:11 PM

    Given that Dixon thinks gays shouldn't be in comics at all, I wonder if merely mentioning AIDS is what he considered "frank."

  55. JennOfArk3:11 PM

    Cue Donalde to show up in one of his various personas to point out that it's all MY fault that Georgie can't keep his fists to hisself. Domestic violence...who would have thunk?

  56. Children have died of aids too.

    Only because they KNEW IT EXISTED. Conservatives take the phrase "What you don't know can't hurt you" very literally.

  57. That one was truly mind-boggling.

  58. A comic book shop in my home town had a blog for the owner to spout his stock Republican points of view (if there's one thing conservative white dudes are certain about, it's that even their paying customers need to hear their stock Republican points of view).

    My favorite post of his was about the line in Superman Returns where Jimmy Olsen says, "Truth, justice, all that stuff." You can probably see where this is going. But it's even better! Because according to the guy, he originally had no problem with the line - figured it was just Jimmy being flippant. But then he read an interview with the screenwriter, who mentioned that the "American way" bit was changed because Hollywood movies get a lot of their audience from the international market these days.

    You can imagine how that went over with Republican Comic Shop Owner. Removing the words "American way" is one thing. But doing it to appease foreigners? Thanks Obama, etc.

  59. Believable. When it comes to things like homosexuality, sexuality in general, STDs, teen pregnancy, etc., etc., conservatives genuinely believe that simply covering your ears and pretending it doesn't exist is a legitimate approach to certain social issues.

    Just look at how they like to pretend that teen pregnancy is exploding these days. It's not! We just don't ship pregnant teens off to a farm somewhere. Conservatives' real problem isn't that bad things happen, it's that they have to hear about it.

  60. If you can't be funnier than Mallard Fillmore, there is a strong possibility that you do not possess the ability to use human language.

  61. I've seen funnier potty accidents than Mallard Fillmore.

  62. Even though the comics audience is overwhelmingly adult, the "comics are
    for children" shtick is a well right wingers love to go to.

    They do the same thing with video games. "How dare this game which is rated M (18+) mention sex?! Is this what we want our children to hear?!"

  63. There are fecal bacteria that are funnier than Mallard Fillmore.

  64. Not a phrase I ever expected to see applied to a Buzzfeed article, but there it is.

  65. Comics Constitutional Fiber--its entertainment and a laxative.

  66. There are even comic book histories of the Universe for god's sake, which have the temerity not to begin with Michealangelo's creation.

  67. Kal El as a dreamer? I like it.

  68. DocAmazing3:44 PM

    No one is more surprised than I.

  69. XeckyGilchrist4:00 PM

    Those took over for the Colombian drug dealers - or did I miss a generation or two?

  70. hellslittlestangel4:00 PM

    Sounds like the Justice League (of AMERICA!) needs to go find Superman and bring him back home in a body bag.

  71. Bigby4:04 PM

    Seems to me we should just give these sucky wingnut comics 'artists' a "participation trophy", have Affirmative Action just for them in the comics world and Hollywood, and could completely censor "left wing ideas" like the Big Bang and Evolution. Because Freedumb.

  72. smut clyde4:10 PM

    Fred Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent. No-one could possibly have predicted that Wertham would later turn out to be a lying, evidence-faking grifter.

  73. John E Williams4:12 PM

    What about that awful Day by Day or whatever it is? That's even worse. At least Mallard LOOKS like it's supposed to be funny.

  74. smut clyde4:14 PM

    Batman became dark and ambiguous, a kind of brooding monster.
    That leftwing extremist Miller has a lot to answer for.

  75. glennisw4:15 PM

    Whew! What a fine figure of a man he is! Did anyone tell Tbogg?

  76. satch4:17 PM

    I grew up on George Reeves as Superman in the 50's, and even back then, I knew what "Truth" and "Justice" were, but I never could figure out that "American Way" thingy, unless it was supposed to mean "We're always right".

  77. smut clyde4:17 PM

    "One day, daughter, you and I will look back at this event and laugh."

  78. John E Williams4:17 PM

    Here's my version of a rightwing comic.


  79. satch4:18 PM

    Well, yeah... Estes Kefauver (D) chaired the senate subcommittee that looked into the effects of comics on juvenile delinquency in 1954 and decided they needed to be censored. Ergo, in Wingerland, Democrats are the REAL censors!

  80. smut clyde4:20 PM

    Some things are just too important to leave to market forces and consumer choice.

  81. smut clyde4:22 PM

    Modern liberal comics are made up of DEATH PANELS.

  82. susanoftexas4:24 PM

    So, conservative salesmanship starts with extensive complaints that one's product is unfairly excluded from the marketplace by liberals and therefore conservatives should buy that product. It's as good a reason as any when one doesn't want to acknowledge the implicit fact that the audience would much rather enjoy art or pop culture products by liberals than by conservatives.
    Once liberals' products are excluded from the marketplace, however, all people exist together in happy harmony, free of any political considerations.
    Everyone is free to glorify the Good people and vilify the Bad while ignoring the existence of anything that made Good people uncomfortable, such as sex, disease, gender issues, people that don't look like conservatives, people who don't worship like conservatives, and people who don't have the same rituals, taboos, and values as conservatives.
    By refusing to exclude themselves from society, liberals are persecuting conservatives. The existence of liberals prevents conservatives from being successful. If all Americans were forbidden from seeing anything liberal they would buy conservatives products instead.
    In short, conservatives admit that their work sucks and the only way they can survive the bitch-slap of the free hand of the marketplace is to cheat.

  83. smut clyde4:25 PM

    Yes, "frank storyline about AIDS" is kind of vague. Jim Woodring might have issues about the use of his 'Frank' character.

  84. XeckyGilchrist4:31 PM

    Including the gospel of market forces and consumer choice.

  85. XeckyGilchrist4:32 PM

    I might be, but I'll concede the point.

  86. The "Ender's Game is pro-Hitler" argument is pretty firmly established among a lot of Internet commenters. I strongly disagree (even though I have lots of problems with Card), but the chances of changing anyone's mind about it here or on any other blog are close to zero, though you're welcome to try.

  87. XeckyGilchrist4:34 PM

    Is Day by Day supposed to be funny? OMG.

  88. Or possess human genes.

  89. XeckyGilchrist4:38 PM

    I think the point was just to refuse to give money to somebody who made troggy remarks like that, whether or not avoiding the film made any difference.

  90. Wasn't there once a blog devoted to exploring the gawdawfulness of DbD? Or was that just a really great dream I once had?

  91. XeckyGilchrist4:39 PM

    Looks like it still exists: http://waltzoftherightwingpaperdolls.blogspot.com/

  92. As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect-like creature.

  93. XeckyGilchrist4:41 PM

    It's similar to how their analysis of embarrassing Tea Party horseshit starts from the assumption that it was a leftie false flag op.

  94. Well, it seems to follow the format of, "Right-wing talking point. Right-wing talking point. Pop culture reference in place of a punchline."

    I believe the reader is expected to respond, "Haha, I agree with that right-wing talking point."

  95. Derelict4:47 PM

    I can only guess that these conservative comics artists don't recognize when the invisible hand is giving them the finger.

  96. He doesn't say, but this piece suggests that it was probably Judd Winick's Green Arrow storyline in which Green Arrow's new sidekick, who grew up on the streets, turned out to be HIV positive. If that's it, then apparently Dixon had no problem with the character's background as an abuse victim and a sex worker (nor, I guess, with the 1970s storyline in which Green Arrow's previous sidekick was a junkie), but mentioning HIV was beyond the pale. Dixon also made a stink about Winick's introduction of a gay character in Green Lantern, and made it clear that he didn't think it was appropriate for children to hear about gay people, period. Not surprisingly, he is also an asshole on the subject of non-fictional gay people. Yes, I'm sure his comments to the DC editorial staff were entirely polite and constructive...

  97. Derelict4:49 PM

    Obviously a Marxist gun-grabber.

    And a physical gun-grabber, too. Snatches those still-hot shootin' irons right outta the criminals' hands.

  98. Even actual ducks are funnier than Mallard Fillmore.

  99. smut clyde4:53 PM

    Is "Exploding Duck Penis" a bandname yet?

  100. Derelict4:54 PM

    That makes two of us. Since I grew up in the '60s, I figured maybe the American Way was bombing the living shit out of Asians.

  101. Derelict4:57 PM

    C'mon--you don't like poorly drawn soft-core porn copy-pasted with forced dialog that has nothing to do with the depicted action?

  102. Derelict5:02 PM

    I like this comment so much, I want to buy it a seat on the NYNEX.

  103. Guest5:04 PM

    The point of the Ender's Game boycott is that I have hundreds of entertainment options, so I will choose one that doesn't fund a known bigot who is actively working to deprive my neighbors of their rights.

    Mark Twain is dead and can't personally do any harm at this point. Orson Scott Card was still personally involved in anti-gay activism right up until the boycott started having an effect, when he finally distanced himself, at least out loud.

    But this is a guy who wrote as recently as 2008, "Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down..." Hell no I'm not giving him money.

  104. redoubtagain5:04 PM

    "Right-wing talking point. Right-wing talking point. Pop culture reference in search of a right-wing talking point."


  105. smut clyde5:06 PM

    Following which, he fought crime AND wrote poetry by jumping from key to key on the typewriter.

  106. Zencomix5:10 PM

    I got my Underground Comix PHD after drawing my Fabulous
    Furry Freak Brothers dissertation on a role of Bounty, The Quicker Picker Upper in the bathroom of a Sunoco on Route 18 while waiting in a gas line back in the 1970s. Would you like to see my diploma? It, too, is drawn on a sheet of Bounty, The Quicker Picker Upper.

  107. BigHank535:12 PM

    I don't know Golden Age history well enough to argue with any of his conclusions. What interested me was the enormous variety of stuff that was out there pre-code, most of which I had no idea about. New rules always get used to punish the outliers first, and here's Dixon and Rivoche demanding the iron boot of the State on everyone's neck. Well, not their necks. But then they're the only ones who really understand, deep down, what the State needs that it's been afraid to ask for....

  108. Gromet5:38 PM

    Thanks, Hob -- I was unaware there was a Card Loves Hitler argument. Quite a stretch, but people love to talk about Hitler.

    I never want to be one of those people who can't enjoy a movie because the star's politics don't align with mine. I like some of Bush's paintings. Then there's Wagner. Knut Hamsun. JD Salinger, not without his issues -- doesn't make Nine Stories bad.

    I hadn't heard Card's "mortal enemy" quote that "Guest" cites above, but eh, sounds like Card's a blowhard. If he's "acting to destroy" any govts, he's doing it pretty quietly.

    He wrote a good book. I'm not going to refuse to engage with it because I don't like an opinion he holds on an unrelated matter.

  109. Chairman Pao5:39 PM

    'The idea behind the CCA...was to protect the industry's main audience—kids—from story lines that might glorify violent crime, drug use or other illicit behavior.'

    Unlike, say, Iran-Contra.

  110. Gromet5:43 PM

    I guess the hope was that it would stop the studio from paying him for the rights to film the sequel. But that was accomplished by the movie version of Ender's Game not being too great.

  111. As I understand it, the "Ender's Game is pro-Hitler" argument is not that you should avoid the book because of Card's opinions on unrelated matter; it's that, based on the content of the book itself, one can deduce that the book is an allegory about Hitler which paints Hitler in a positive light, that an unwary reader could learn pro-Hitler lessons from it, and that that was Card's intent in writing it. I think that that reading is out to lunch, but don't take my word for it; it's not hard to find fairly detailed discussions online. I don't mean to hijack the discussion to be all about Card— the opposite really, just pointing out that you and FMguru were talking about somewhat different things.

  112. Gromet5:59 PM

    Ah, Hob, okay -- I did think FMguru meant that Ender was Hitler because Card doesn't like teh gayz. Only a couple comments later did I learn he/she refers to actual Hitler charges!

    But at least the "It's Hitler!" crowd is reading the book and addressing it. They're wrong and can be argued against, if one has time to kill -- but I'd prefer that opponent to the one who says, "I heard the author disagrees with me on things that have no bearing on the book (in this case gays), so I refuse to read it." That was not FMguru's point, but was Guest's.

    And now I apologize for any thread-hijacking and shall cool my jets.

  113. As someone who has +1500 comics from my younger days, I can't believe I know more about the history of the medium than someone from "the industry."
    Oh, and it's not an industry anymore. It's a storage/generation mechanism for movies or TV shows (or intellectual masturbatory playground for gibbering manchildren & a couple thoughtful people). If there's a comic book publisher in the black without licensing deals, I'll eat my X-Men #75.

  114. Jay B.6:13 PM

    "We should never opt out of a pile on." -- Abraham Lincoln, near Baltimore, 1864

  115. Derelict6:17 PM

    This. There are not enough like buttons for this comment.

  116. Reverse Missionary is the American Way

  117. Gromet6:30 PM

    Wait, is this the same Judd Winnick who was on MTV's Real World and wanted to be a cartoonist?? OH JESUS, GOOGLE SAYS YES. Well, great, look: He shared the house with Pedro who died of AIDS. So gay people with the disease were not an abstraction for Winnick as they might have been for Dixon -- they were a very concrete, unavoidable reality that he might have found it impossible to avoid writing about. Ugh.

  118. TGuerrant6:35 PM

    Tight spandex shirt showing off his gym rat physique, red speedo, blue tights, capped teeth…

    Lois was a beard.

  119. TGuerrant6:38 PM

    That's been my motto, yeah.

  120. TGuerrant6:42 PM

    Oh, I don't know. Consensus is a wonderful thing and so rare on the left.

  121. DocAmazing6:53 PM

    ...he wrote archly.

  122. Yep, hence the author of the first piece I linked to saying that "it only makes sense that Dixon's comments necessitated an apology." Dixon has repeatedly directed the same attack at Winick in particular, saying he's only writing these stories in order to make a political statement, DC is just trying to stir up controversy, etc... the old "I have no problem with gays, but why must you remind me of their existence" shtick, with an extra helping of "My employers and my colleague are terrible at their jobs and are lying about their reasons for doing things."

  123. smut clyde7:10 PM

    Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition
    Devout Mormon reckons that the definition of marriage has never changed? Head hurts now.

  124. TGuerrant7:27 PM

    By refusing to exclude themselves from society, liberals are persecuting conservatives.

    Your comment has filled a painful cavity in my cosmic wisdom tooth.

  125. I love this comment, especially the "they can go fuck themselves" part. Because it usually does get down to that, eventually. They can just go fuck themselves.

  126. TGuerrant7:33 PM

    Remember when Amity Shlaes told her fellow conservatives to make rightwing comics to re-educate the little brains?

    A campaign made more urgent and glorious by Jerad Miller's Joker and Amanda Woodruff Miller's Harley Quinn. The base! The base! We're motivating the base!

  127. Gromet7:46 PM

    Since my post I've been making my way through your links. Hoo boy. Well, I've never read any of Winnick's stuff, so maybe it IS tedious pamphleteering. Then Dixon would have a semi-point... but not a whole point because Oof, just let it go. That he can't let Winnick write a comic he (Dixon) doesn't love, and he sees a conspiracy against him and his Way of LifeTM in it... all the forces of comicdom aligning against him... really doesn't suggest a whole lotta positive stuff about Dixon's mental and emotional state.

  128. You know I have nothing but love for you- Snarking is caring.

  129. UnsaltedSinner7:57 PM

    "The two comics creators she hired to turn her anti-FDR book into graphic nonfiction..."

    Amity Shlaes' book can hardly be called "non-fiction".

  130. Works the same in their politics as well. Why else would Republican state legislatures be so hard behind voter ID laws? They can't win in the marketplace of ideas, so they cheat. Karl Rove has made it his life's work.

  131. Jaime Oria9:23 PM

    I'll just leave this here -

  132. Jaime Oria9:28 PM

    I make every effort to post this pic on all comment threasd where the Hays Code is mentioned, because it's so very, very awesome -

  133. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person9:34 PM

    I liked the first Punisher flick, but really, wasn't it just Death Wish with a neater logo and more splodeys?

  134. J Neo Marvin9:52 PM

    Having ignored Day By Day for several years, I'm surprised that it's possible for it to have become even worse. At least you used to know what right wing talking point they were stumbling on. Now it's just bewildering. Dada without the fun.

  135. davdoodles9:52 PM

    As a non-American, I'd always taken it to include the unspoken suffix "...or the highway". As in you foriegners better do what ol' Superman tells you to do, or it's clobberin' time...

  136. XeckyGilchrist9:53 PM

    Amazing how many manifestations the bottomless right-wing barrel has, innit.

  137. XeckyGilchrist9:54 PM

    I think that from the rightie point of view that's exactly it. It goes by many names, like American Exceptionalism, greatness, &c.

  138. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person9:55 PM

    I never want to be one of those people who can't enjoy a movie because the star's politics don't align with mine.

    Indeed. Larry Niven may be on my fuck-you list when he was once near the top of my buy-on-sight list, still, I'd pay money to see a well-made Ringworld. The CGI is there, and it could be done, if they could find someone to write a decent screenplay. Course, a good screenplay is no guarantee. Harlan Ellison's I, Robot screenplay from the '80s was better than the one they ended up using. (especially as it was actually an "I, Robot" script, not just some robot detective story they finally beat to fit and painted to match the title they decided to use). But hey, in this, The Age of the Reboot, maybe Harlan's version still has a chance...

  139. JennOfArk10:04 PM

    Completely off-topic, but I just have to say:





    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor loses GOP primary in stunning upset

  140. tigrismus10:20 PM


  141. Jeffrey_Kramer10:21 PM

    Not only were Siegel and Schuster New Dealers, some of their earliest comics had Superman fighting against capitalists (arms dealers and coal mine owners) who were killing people for profit.

    The early Superman was also a vigilante wanted by the police; that isn't some modern trope invented by postmodern relativists like Christopher Nolan.

  142. Tehanu10:38 PM

    One of my favorite things ever was the SNL sketch "What If Superman's Rocket from Krypton had Landed in Germany instead of America?" I think it was Dan Aykroyd as Uberman aka Klaus Kent.

    The sketch "What If Eleanor Roosevelt Could Fly" was also hilarious.

  143. Jeffrey_Kramer10:45 PM

    Reverse cowgirl is socialism, then?

  144. Jeffrey_Kramer10:57 PM

    "But... if the market is always right, and the market says that the market is wrong, then the market must be wrong, but if the market is wrong, then the market can't be trusted to tell us that the market is wrong, and if... Norman Podhoretz, coordinate!"

  145. Budbear11:14 PM

    Upvote for John Lennon reference.

  146. susanoftexas11:21 PM

    That's a very good article. This is a pattern we have seen over and over: a group of people who declare they are superior to all others while trying to inflict as much pain on their fellow men as possible.

    The American Way is American exceptionalism; Superman is superior because he was brought up by a Midwestern American farm couple. Freedom and democracy made him strong, Christianity made him morally pure, American equality and justice made him right wrongs wherever he found them.

    But what happens when your parents don't give you unconditional acceptance and love? When they teach you to fear yourself, mistrust your own instincts, obey them instead of make your own choices? (You get Smallville, but never mind.)

    The abused child becomes an adult that would do anything to pretend his parents loved him. He will especially repress his anger at his parents and find someone to take it out on instead, such as liberals.

    He will tell himself that he is special to drown out the self-doubt and fears, and if he is just an ordinary person he will blame someone else for his mediocrity. Such as liberals.

    It doesn't matter if it's Ender or Atlas Shrugged or The Incredibles, or Obama's enslaved masses, there's always a genetically superior, misunderstood and persecuted victim who must use violence to defend himself from constant attack.

    We see the effects of displaced, righteous rage everywhere around us, written in violence and justified as moral action, even compassion. Ender gets to strike out at his enemies and still remain morally clean. Nothing is his fault. Stilson already lies defeated on the ground, yet Ender can kick him in the face until he dies, and still remain the good guy. Ender can drive bone fragments into Bonzo’s brain and then kick his dying body in the crotch, yet the entire focus is on Ender’s suffering. For an adolescent ridden with rage and self-pity, who feels himself abused (and what adolescent doesn’t?), what’s not to like about this scenario? So we all want to be Ender. As Elaine Radford has said, “We would all like to believe that our suffering has made us special—especially if it gives us a righteous reason to destroy our enemies.”23

    Out of emotional pain, people try to strike out and inflict pain on others. To justify their petty cruelty they tell themselves that they are good people; they are victims, who are good, not abusers, who are bad. So any abuse they hand out is not really abuse. They are forced to abusive for the victim's own good, as well as everyone else's.
    Since their abusive actions are not really abuse, they must never be called abusive. Racist, sexist, homophobic--these are associated with abusive actions, and they are good people who by definition can't be abusive. Just like their parents.
    Conservatives insist that they are the grown-ups and that Democrats are spoilt, disobedient, destructive children. They see it as their duty to inflict pain on Democrats, for their own good.

  147. RogerAiles11:31 PM

    It's time to form the Jack Chick Society.

    Beyond time.

  148. susanoftexas11:33 PM

    Yes, by virtue of being born American, we are brought up with values and circumstances that make us superior.

  149. PhoenicianRomans11:37 PM

    Out of emotional pain, people try to strike out and inflict pain on
    others. To justify their petty cruelty they tell themselves that they
    are good people; they are victims, who are good, not abusers, who are
    bad. So any abuse they hand out is not really abuse. They are forced to
    abusive for the victim's own good, as well as everyone else's.

    Lying to one's self about one's motivations is a universal human failing, alas.


    Now, I'd like to say that the problem authoritarians have empathy and perspective, the diminished ability to put themselves in another's place, makes conservatives more vulnerable to these biases than progressives.

    But, being biased myself, I would tend to believe that, wouldn't I?

  150. susanoftexas11:38 PM

    That's one ComicCon I will not be going to.

  151. susanoftexas11:59 PM

    People lie about motivation because they want to do bad things but don't want to feel bad about it. So they make up bullshit reasons why their wrong actions weren't really wrong.
    If you have self-respect and self-esteem you won't lie because you feel good about yourself and you want to keep feeling good. You won't do bad things because then you would be a bad person.
    You know you are a good person because your mom and dad love you, and they told you that you are good. Their actions proved they believed those words.
    So you are not filled with anger left over from childhood and you don't want to hurt anyone. You were not trained to accept and inflict abuse and call it love and protection. You don't do bad things and call yourself a good person, and then have to lie to yourself to live with yourself.
    Liberals can be authoritarian too; a fundamental problem with our political system is the belief that we owe allegiance to our leader, instead of the fact that that he owes his allegiance to us.

  152. PhoenicianRomans12:11 AM

    I don't really have time to give a full reply you deserve, Susan

    People lie about motivation because they want to do bad things but don't want to feel bad about it. So they make up bullshit reasons why their wrong actions weren't really wrong.

    People lie to themselves all the time, in part for the reason you mention.

    If you have self-respect and self-esteem you won't lie because you feel good about yourself and you want to keep feeling good. You won't do bad things because then you would be a bad person.

    Incorrect. Lying to yourself helps maintain self-esteem, and you assume that people are either "good" OR "bad". We're all both good AND bad to various degrees, and one person's "self respect and self esteem" can be seen by others as an arrogant justification for exercising bad behaviour.

    I feel that best and maybe only defense is to bear in mind your own capacity for wrongness, self-deceit and rationalization at all times. Dividing the world up into "good" and 'bad" people is, I feel, a fundamental error.

    Liberals can be authoritarian too;

    My apologies. I was using a specific term to refer to the concept of Right Wing Authoritarianism, an identified cluster of traits. See here and especially here for more details.

    for more details:">

  153. Glock H. Palin, Esq.12:14 AM

    Ah yes, Day By Day, of Kantian nihilism fame. That still exists?

  154. Don't forget Belushi as Jor-El.

  155. AGoodQuestion12:28 AM

    Chuck Dixon wrote one or another Batman book for the majority of the 90s. This includes creating Bane and participating in the storyline where Bats gets his back broken. He also had long runs on Robin and Green Arrow. To the extent that there was money to be made writing superhero comics at that time, he was making it. This in a period where he says the Big Two became reluctant to hire conservative artists. Sweet Jesus, WTF is he bitching about?

  156. AGoodQuestion12:31 AM

    Yeah, if we want to appease foreigners, we'll just send them all our manufacturing jobs.

  157. AGoodQuestion12:35 AM

    ("Look, this card shows he's a member of a subversive Communist front organization! He must be a Red!")
    Look, I'm not saying he's GOOD at it...

  158. Spaghetti Lee1:00 AM

    Obligatory "Card wasn't always an asshole" link: http://grantland.com/features/ender-game-controversial-author-very-personal-history/

  159. Spaghetti Lee1:02 AM

    Agh, for God's sake, The Incredibles was not an objectivist allegory! The whole story is about the main character learning to not be such a prick and to stop treating other people like dirt, because he realizes that he can't win this fight alone! Yes, the villain had his "I'll make everyone super, so no one will be" speech, but he also envisioned himself as the dictator of his new world. (Also he murdered a bunch of people: I think that qualifies him as the villain more than any philosophy that he was probably just using as cover for his bloodlust in the first place).

    It's a good movie, and it makes me sad that objectivists want to claim it as their own and that so many liberals are letting them.

  160. freq flag1:09 AM

    I want to buy this comment a lifetime membership in the Harcourt Fenton Mudd Fan Club.

  161. Wrangler2:19 AM

    So apparently a noted homophobe has a novel where the hero commits genocide against a race of creatures called "buggers"? Hoo-boy.

  162. Donalbain2:56 AM

    The point of the boycott was, from my point of view, to try to avoid enriching OSC with my money. Even if he was not receiving a cut on the back end, a succesful movie release would lead to sequels, sequels that he would certainly have been paid more money for. That is where I think it differs from your Mark Twain example,

  163. Zencomix5:52 AM

    I'll jump at any chance to work the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers into a comment!

  164. Susan of Texas8:24 AM

    Lying helps maintain the facade that covers up lack of self esteem--an inflated view of self that covers up insecurity. If you don't inflate your view of yourself you don't have to lie. People lie for other reasons of course but that's a big one.

    People make a choice to do good or bad things. They are neither "good" nor "bad," they are just people. This is where Card comes in--as that article says, he wants to have Ender do bad things without being a bad person. Ender is a good person so anything he does has to be good as well, even if it seems bad.

    We Americans love this stuff because it absolves us from any blame or guilt for our actions. We can bomb the wrong country to hell and gone because we are fighting for good, so anything evil that we do is not our fault. We were forced into it. We pretend we don't have a choice so we don't have to make one. We had to vote for Obama even if he did bad things, like refuse to prosecute the banksters or close GITMO, or starve the government when it needed stimulus.

  165. Susan of Texas8:30 AM

    Authoritarianism is a continuum, I am using the same definitions.

    We choose to do either bad or good deeds. We are what we do. We are not good people if we do bad things, we are bad people who lie to ourselves so we can continue to do things that are bad.

  166. Halloween_Jack9:38 AM

    He can, but that doesn't always mean that he does.

  167. Halloween_Jack9:44 AM

    Dixon is, at heart, a hack, and things like the Comics Code make it easier for a hack because they have fewer creative decisions to make. (And I'm not really insulting hacks, because I've gotten a lot of enjoyment out of works that have not been particularly original or thought-provoking, and even great writers like Alan Moore have done hackwork. But there is a difference between people who do work for hire as a way of paying the rent while they work on their more personal or creative stories, and people who are basically just part of the assembly line.)

  168. Halloween_Jack10:01 AM

    that's not even getting into the casual sexism that one finds among a slew of illustrators.

    Not sure if you're referring to their work as illustrators (which is so endemic in mainstream superhero comics that it's less of an individual artistic decision and more of an editorial standard), or their personal attitudes, which in the case of people like Tony Harris was so toxic that it spawned a huge backlash.

  169. Halloween_Jack10:31 AM

    As I mentioned before, Chuck Dixon is a hack, and maybe his bitching is really driven by his realization that, after a long career in comics, he's still basically a work-for-hire drone. (I should note for fairness' sake that he has worked on some creator-owned titles; his first title, in fact, was Evangeline (nun with a gun) which he co-created with his then-wife Judith Hunt.) Getting a spot in the paper that sees fit to hire James Taranto may assuage his ego somewhat, but in the end he's just flogging a tedious adaptation of a tedious book by Amity Shlaes, and so he has to pretend that it's really because he had some pissy-arsed (and mostly one-sided) feud with Judd Winick. I would almost hope that SyFy offers him and his ex an option on an Evangeline series, so that he runs out of excuses to whine in public, unless his ex demands that the character actually has opinions on things and doesn't just run around in a skintight jumpsuit.

  170. Halloween_Jack10:35 AM

    Also, WRT the alleged inability of conservatives to get their works published, it's worth noting that former Alan Moore collaborator Rick Veitch managed to get his 9/11 truther comic published, although Dixon would probably go all no-true-Scotsman on that.

  171. XeckyGilchrist12:01 PM

    Red Ryder just took on a whole new meaning.

  172. slavdude12:17 PM

    The early Batman, too, IIRC, was also a vigilante-type character. I think these two clowns are romanticizing the 1950s-era characters, who were brought more into line with the white-bread stuff we tend to associate with the Eisenhower/Kennedy years.

  173. realinterrobang12:56 PM

    The original Superman cartoons from the 1930s don't include the "...and the American way" bit either, but they were made by the Fleischer Studios (in other words, a bunch of Jewy Jewy Jews, so probably socialists or maybe even communists, at least!). I don't know who added that bit to the slogan, if it appeared after the cartoons, or if the cartoons actually just omitted it for whatever reason.

  174. realinterrobang12:59 PM

    Harrumph. If he actually paid dues, he was obviously a plant.

  175. slavdude1:07 PM

    "Swears and Sideboobs". Sounds like a great name for a table-top role-playing game.

  176. Smarter than Your Average Bear6:32 PM

    with more cowbell

  177. Oh man, I had somehow not heard about Veitch doing that, and now I wish I still didn't know. He's a very talented weirdo and I love a lot of his work.

  178. Look, the right-wing character (#5) is smirking! That must mean that something witty or incisive was said!

  179. reynard618:11 PM

    Yep, pretty much. (Though I do give Dolph Lundgren a certain amount of credit for making Frank Castle more sympathetic than he had any right to be.)

  180. Gromet8:14 PM

    I didn't read that paper because its premise is fundamentally whack. Here, in just the intro paragraphs:

    The superior child whose virtues are not recognized. The adults who fail to protect. The vicious bullies who get away with their bullying.

    This is not what EG is about. At all. His virtues are recognized by the adults, who shepherd and test him to hone them (without him fully realizing this is their goal). The bullies are defeated and in some cases killed. I think one is won over? It's been a while.

    The novel repeatedly tells us that Ender is morally spotless; though he ultimately takes on guilt for the extermination of the alien buggers, his assuming this guilt is a gratuitous act.

    The program makes use of children because they will fight the war as if playing a game. They will be brutal in ways that informed adults would hesitate to. The novel is not merely asserting that Ender is "spotless." It describes a fairly complicated situation, and it considers that ignorant human nature, as seen before maturity refines us, has its ruthless streak. I think Ender sees that streak in himself at the end and finds it repellent. When he feels guilt it is genuine, not "gratuitous," whatever that means.

    We are given to believe that the destruction Ender causes is not a result of his intentions

    "Given to believe" is squirrelly wording.

    Card argues that the morality of an act is based solely on the intentions of the person acting.

    Disagree. If Ender's morality was based entirely on whether he meant to commit genocide in real life, then Card would play his feelings of guilt and anger as absurd. They come across as quite sincere and heavy, iirc.

    The result is a character who exterminates an entire race and yet remains fundamentally innocent.


    The purpose of this paper is to examine the methods Card uses to construct this story of a guiltless genocide, to point out some contradictions inherent in this scenario, and to raise questions about the intention-based morality advocated

    But the genocide is NOT guiltless -- it ends with Ender so overwhelmed that he exiles himself from humanity and dedicates himself to memorializing the aliens. Also, novels are full of "inherent" contradictions, that's the point of novels, otherwise they'd be tracts, so it's crazy to act like this is a flawed tract rather than a novel. And finally, "intention-based morality" was not invented by Card. Talk to the Jesuits about it -- as I was taught in CCD, if I point a gun at someone and pull the trigger with intent to kill, but it jams so they live, I'm still guilty of murder. And if I'm told it's a harmless toy gun, but I've been lied to and I accidentally kill someone with it, I'm not guilty of murder. You can't evaluate sin and guilt without considering intent.

    This is way, way more talk about Ender's Game than I expected. I had no idea it was so big on the internet. It is just a book I read in a couple of days in about 2004.

    Another fun one is The High Crusade by Poul Anderson, you guys.

  181. DAMN RIGHT. If someone ever recommends Holy Terror to me, I'm going Spartan on them.

  182. cleter11:48 PM

    I wish I still had my copy of Gibbering Manchild #1.

  183. cleter11:54 PM

    How does Superman even have an American citizenship to give up? Superman isn't even a legal person, he's a fictive identity made up by Clark Kent. Clark Kent is the guy who pays taxes, has a driver's license and a passport and a US residence and a Social Security number.

    And if Superman's legal residence is The Fortress of Solitude, doesn't that make him Canadian or something?

  184. cleter11:57 PM

    Does this make back issues of The Astounding Majority Leader go up in value, or are they worthless now?

  185. cleter11:58 PM

    The fuck does a Kryptonian anchor baby know about the American Way, anyhow?

  186. Probably no longer applies, but in the '60s Supes was granted honorary "world citizenship" by the U.N.

    (Apparently a junior fascist/smart-ass complained that Superman was violating immigration laws & violating airspaces left & right, so the U.N. thing was invented to keep him from being a scofflaw.)

  187. NonyNony6:52 AM

    ARGH. Superhero comic books are shitty now not because comic book companies are staffed full of liberals, but because comic book readers want to read shitty stuff. Chuck Dixon should know this - he made a freaking career out of producing shitty comic books that made him quite a bit of money until his hackwork moved from "tolerable" to "lousy and full of politics that sane people who read comics are trying to escape from".

    I mean, I'm not going to defend the current state of superheroes in the comic book industry - it's mostly crap with a glimmer of decent work - but this isn't because there's a secret conspiracy of liberals out to blacklist good conservative writers. It's because the companies are chasing "what sells" - and "what sells" right now is apparently Superman snapping villains' necks in order to learn that killing is wrong. (Okay, that's the movie version - but it's informed by the shitting comic books.)

    The crap produced by the comic book industry is very similar to the crap that is produced by Hollywood - if you don't like it you only have capitalism to blame for it because everyone in these industries is following the money.

  188. Acharn012:30 AM

    Remember the joke? If all the FBI informants quit the Communist Party they'd be bankrupt in a month.