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Monday, September 08, 2014 

The AV Club hijacks Top Cow's Genius for their own politics

Last month, the AV Club reviewed a Top Cow miniseries called Genius, which they say reflects the Ferguson riots, and man, are they ever dishonest right out of the gate:
As of this writing on Thursday morning, the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson has been occupied by a militarized police force for four days and major U.S. news outlets are just now starting to spend considerable time on the story. What we’re seeing in Ferguson is an egregious misuse of power against a community that’s seeking justice after a recent tragedy and years of systemic abuse, and most of the breaking news is coming straight from journalists and civilians on the front lines—people who are tweeting updates, posting videos, and setting up livestreams to broadcast these events to the rest of the world.
Just as we should've expected, no mention of the issues at hand, and it has the effect of making you wonder if they see nothing wrong with the store robber assaulting the policeman. It gets worse:
Social media has forcefully shifted the narrative of the past week in favor of Ferguson’s citizens, but there’s still the overwhelming question of when and how this situation will ultimately be diffused. With no sign of the police occupation ending anytime soon, the hacker collective Anonymous has organized protests in major cities around the U.S. for Thursday evening, a show of solidarity for the protesting residents of Ferguson who are being painted as rioters and looters by the media [...]
What's this? Are they lionizing a bunch of electronic vandals? What kind of so-called believers in civility reference people like them in such whitewashed terms? And how funny they play 2 sides of the same coin: nobody ever said the entire population of Ferguson - black or otherwise - was rioting and looting, but still quite a few did, and they purposely ignore that fact. And despite how the MSM reporters (whom they actually mention above) downplayed and potentially justified the rioting, they pretend it's the opposite. It demonstrates how leftists can turn on one another when they think it suits them.
[...] This morning, Anonymous also released a name that it claims is the identity of the officer who shot Michael Brown on Saturday and left his body in the street for hours, but Americans shouldn’t need to turn to a renegade hacker collective for information and organization.
And the AV Club shouldn't be trivializing illegal actions by cyberhackers, yet that's pretty much what they're doing here. Besides, the officer's name was already reported by the very press they claim is against Ferguson's citizenry.
So what does this all have to do with comic books? If this were any other month, the answer would be “not very much,” but the events in Ferguson just so happen to coincide with the release of Genius, a weekly miniseries about a black community in South Central Los Angeles revolting against an oppressive police force. Genius was a winner of Top Cow’s “Pilot Season” in 2008—an annual event involving an assortment of one-shots and a reader vote to determine which story deserves a longer project—but it’s taken six years for this miniseries to hit stands.
While I think they're trying to hijack this story for the sake of their own agendas, it does sound like a very politicized tale, maybe something drawing vaguely from the Rodney King case back in the early 1990s. Only here, they make LA sound like a totalitarian regime. From a real life perspective, it's anything but that.
Genius follows 17-year-old tactician Destiny Ajaye as she unites the separate gangs of her neighborhood against a common foe: the police. Destiny witnessed the LAPD gun down her parents as a young child, and dedicated her life to military strategy in hopes of inciting permanent change by taking the fight directly to the cops. Because this is a comic book, Genius plays like a worst-case funhouse mirror of Ferguson events; Destiny’s crew isn’t peacefully protesting, it’s waging a domestic war with homemade explosives, assault rifles, and rocket launchers. Destiny has noble intentions, but she’s willing to embrace the emotionally detached perspective of a warlord in order to achieve her goals through uncompromising force.
Here they go again, villifying the Ferguson police department along with LA's. And I'm not sure what's so noble about pinning it all on the entire police force across the board, and not fighting to have her misgivings solved in court with the district attorney.
The weekly release schedule of Genius makes the timing even more opportune, getting the entire story out while Ferguson is still prominent in the cultural consciousness. But as Bernardin mentions, Ferguson isn’t the only thing making this series extremely relevant. The demand for female lead characters in film, television, and comics is higher than ever, and the same can be said about leads of color. The Internet age has made it possible for members of underrepresented communities to have their voices heard on the global stage, and the call for expanded diversity will only get louder as more people cry out.
Sales aren't reflecting many calls for diversity. Furthermore, how come they're not calling for better writing - and respect for consistency in mainstream superhero comics - as loudly as they are for diversity?
In a must-read essay for Wired, Marc Bernardin writes about his entry into the world of comic books and his inspiration for Genius, addressing how a lack of good representations of black people in pop culture made him feel like an outsider. “When I first got the opportunity to write comics—with my writing partner, Adam Freeman—I wasn’t consciously trying to inject diversity into the books we were writing,” Bernardin writes. “It wasn’t an agenda, it’s just what happens when your default is different from the norm: The books don’t look like the norm.”
They don't look very respectable of law and order either. How's that not an agenda? And plenty of police forces have black members too, so why act as though Ferguson's police don't have black members?
In the pages of Genius, the sole white male main character is the detective trying to uncover the truth about South Central’s new gang leader. The rest of the cast is predominantly black with the notable exception of Latina journalist Izzy Cortina, a woman who is willing to jump 60 feet out of a helicopter, into a pool, wearing a full pantsuit, all so she can get a scoop. This doesn’t look like the cast of a typical mainstream American comic book, and these characters are a part of a story that is similarly unconventional.
I don't think this is a case of non-conventional, so much as it is a case of depicting blacks as angry and begrudging, once considered an awkward cliche.
“Every villain is the hero of his or her own story,” Bernardin writes in his Wired piece. “But Destiny Ajaye is smart enough to know that she’s the villain of this drama. She is an agent of change. And change is almost always bloody.” Genius is an ethically complicated, politically heated story that isn’t afraid of asking hard questions and showing multiple sides of the conflict. This second issue contains scenes of police officers being shot down and blown up by gang members, but it also devotes time to the struggles of regular civilians whose rights have been infringed upon by the law enforcement officials who are supposed to protect them. And in next week’s Genius #3, the focus shifts even more heavily to the community as daylight breaks following the explosive events of this week’s issue.
I don't see how this makes the story any better. The description is ambiguous: they don't clearly state if Genius focuses on whether the gangs have committed a genuine criminal act, and that angle could suggest the story presents the grisly fates of the police as justified.
Genius is a cautionary tale, tapping into the pervasive fear of urban rebellion that has pushed Ferguson law enforcement officials to stomp on the constitutional rights of civilians. The people of Ferguson aren’t waging war, but judging by the response of the police department, they may as well be. As a nation, we don’t want tensions to escalate to the point where there are firefights between civilians and police in our city streets, but the events in Ferguson have proven that peaceful methods of protest aren’t going to cut it against a police force that has free rein to shoot tear gas and rubber bullets into a crowd once the sun goes down. [...]
In other words, the police weren't provoked by any criminals or rioters throwing molotov cocktails? I had a relative in my family who worked in the Florida police system back in the 1960s. I wonder what he'd think if he were around to see this? Again, it's not the entire population of Ferguson "waging war", and saying that's the case only trivializes the issues at hand. And rubber bullets and tear gas are nothing compared to real bullets and poison, making the AV Club's blabber a lot of ludicrous sensationalism. Until now, I can't say I ever expected a major website to stoop so low, but that's what they're doing, and simultaneously failing to argue why depicting minorities so badly in a politicized tale can do more harm than good to their causes.

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What a surprise. The AV Club helps perpetuate the false narrative about Ferguson, even though Michael Brown was anything but the "gentle giant" people are retroactively turning him into. Progressives are as predictable as the sunrise.

Sort of related, Avi: did you know that Bernandin is the same clown who wrote that article for I09 in 2010 where he suggested that the "last thing Spider-man needs is to be another white guy?"

http://io9.com/5549613/the-last-thing-spider-man-should-be-is-another-white-guy

I think you did a post about it around the same time.

Yeah, I wrote up a post nearly 4 years ago. Bernandin even upheld Marvel's Truth miniseries, so it's not too hard to guess where he's coming from with this new story he wrote.

It is the MSM's standard procedure after a criminal is killed or injured. The criminal is portrayed as a saint, a Boy Scout, and an honor student. And the circumstances are swept under the rug. "White Cop Shoots Black Teen." Period. End of story. No need to consider what led up to the confrontation. And, if you want more facts before forming an opinion, then you are a racist.

It happened with with the "unarmed motorcyclist" in Miami (who was shot while trying to run over a cop), it happened with Rodney King (the media edited out the beginning of that video, which showed King attacking a cop), it happened with the "unarmed bridegroom" in New York (shot by cops while he was trying to run them over with his SUV), and now it's happening with Michael Brown.

And it happens whether the criminal is shot in self-defense by a police officer or by a private citizen. The media perpetuated a false narrative that George Zimmerman stalked and attacked Trayvon Martin, when the truth was almost the opposite. And they repeatedly showed a picture of Martin taken five years earlier (when he was twelve), next to the ugliest photo of Zimmerman (his mug shot) that they could find.

Top Cow's "Genius" apparently advocates armed insurrection against "an oppressive police force." WTF? For years, Progressives have said, "They (the government) ought to take guns away from everybody except the police and the military." And they have ridiculed the idea of private citizens owning weapons for a revolt (if it became necessary) against tyrannical government. Now, suddenly, it's OK to "wage a domestic war with explosives, assault rifles, and rocket launchers."

So, in the Bundy stand-off in Nevada, federal agents used tear gas and Tasers (and threatened to use assault rifles) on protesters who were not threatening anyone, who did not attempt to steal or damage any property, and who, in fact, were not breaking any laws. Senator Harry Reid called the protesters "terrorists," and leftists condoned the Bureau of Land Management bringing in heavily armed park rangers who did not even have jurisdiction.

In Ferguson, rioting mobs were throwing molotov cocktails, looting stores, and attacking unarmed victims. They were "peaceful protesters" who were "seeking justice." And when local police tried to contain the violence by using non-lethal force (tear gas, rubber bullets), it was "an egregious misuse of power."

Typical leftist double standard. "It's OK when WE do it."

There was also the case of Edmund Perry, described by the New York Times and New York Post as an "honor student" who was shot by a racist cop. But two dozen witnesses (many of whom were black) testified that Perry was a mugger, that he attacked the cop, and that the shooting was in self-defense.

And the new York Times said that Jose "Kiko" Garcia had "never been arrested" and had never been involved with drugs or gangs. They perpetuated a claim that a cop beat him up and then shot him in the back as he lay face down and unconscious.

It turned out that the "victim" was a convicted felon; he had a gun in his hand when he was shot; the autopsy proved that he was not beaten and that he was not shot from behind; and the "witnesses" against the cop were drug dealers (Garcia's employers) who could not have seen the shooting from their vantage point.

You can also see the soft racism of the left in the article. "Leads of color." Sounds a bit like "colored people," doesn't it? I was always taught that "colored people" was a bad thing to say and I've always abided by that. But I guess leftists are allowed to get away with stuff like that.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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