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Wednesday, July 30, 2014 

NPR journalist thinks only whites can be "nerds"

A journalist for NPR wrote about replacing Thor with a woman, and starts off saying she had a selective vision who could be geeks:
When the news broke that Thor, the hyper-masculine thunder god, had become a woman, my Twitter feed exploded. It seemed like everybody had something to say. "Who will play the female Thor in the movies?" came up a lot. Meanwhile, I first had to figure out who Thor was. To me, stories about superheroes were for nerdy white guys imagining a world where they could lift heavy things and somehow get the girl. In short, boring. I was hopelessly behind the times.
Why would only whites be nerds? Can't blacks, Latinos and Asians be too? That's a very silly perception she had going, and probably still does.
But like any good journalist, I wasn't about to let total ignorance keep me from chasing down a good story. I saw in Marvel's press release that Jason Aaron was writing the new Thor — so I decided to give him a call. He's in his 40s, from Alabama and has the slightest hint of a southern drawl. Gruff and to the point, he's the strong-but-silent type.

But when I ask him if he is a feminist, he says, "I'm not one of those people that think feminist is a bad word. I don't see why everyone shouldn't be a feminist."
NPR's contributors are anything but "good". They're a whole bastion of leftism who often can't admit their selective visions are a serious problem. And if only Aaron realized "feminist" was turned into a bad word by leftists with no idea how to build a good belief system. Otherwise, it'd have a much better reputation than it's had till now. And she's given a few clues further down the line just what an ignoramus she really is despite her attempts to prove she's changing.
"It's not like we sat around and threw a dart on the wall to change the gender of a character," said Aaron. "This was my idea. This wasn't Marvel coming to me. This isn't me throwing away what I've been doing."
Yeah, he says, but recent history's replete with examples of writers who cover for the higher echelons, even if they agree with their ideas. It's weird, since most mainstream editors today are such cynics that you'd think they had the guts to stand behind their ideas, yet for some strange reason, they see fit to remain in the shadows.
If Aaron seems defensive, it's for a reason. The tone on Twitter is a bit cautious. And there's already been a backlash against the female Thor. Graeme Mcmillan from Wired wrote that if Marvel really wants to give voice to women they should create more stand-alone female characters, rather than just having them temporarily fill male roles. In the San Francisco Weekly, Benjamin Wachs parodied the Marvel press announcement, announcing that Wolverine will be a "transgender Samoian Atheist."
That's surprising McMillan would make such a creative argument, considering he's usually one of the biggest apologists for the Big Two, and hostile to Orson Scott Card. Usually, McMillan hasn't had what it takes to state the obvious, and that's not likely to change much even now.

The reporter spoke to a comics store manager, who said:
"When you make [female characters] part of the canon, that's exciting. The comic industry is realizing that women are a great and valid audience," she says, and offered me a part of a pecan cookie. Even if the new Thor series doesn't end up being about female friendship, it might have encouraged at least one.
But there already are female cast members part of the canon! Sif, childhood sweetheart of Thor, is a standout lady in the cast of deities. So too is Valkyrie. And Jane Foster is a notable member of the human cast in Thor's own world. However, this does suggest little was done with the female cast in recent years, as evidenced by J. Michael Straczynski's short run, where ladies were largely in the background with no significant roles.

Now, here's where she turns to a propaganda path:
The importance of female readership — particularly its economic importance — is something Esther has experienced as a store manager. Fantom has a list of weekly subscribers and a quarter of them are women. And it's the comics with female characters that are making money. According to their most recent data, Fantom's bestselling superhero comic is Ms. Marvel, starring a teenage Pakistani-American from New Jersey, the first Muslim character to get her own series. The best-selling title overall is Saga, another series in which many of the main characters are female. And both Ms. Marvel and Saga have female creators — G. Willow Wilson writes Kamala Khan's adventures as Ms. Marvel, and Fiona Stapes is behind Saga's gorgeous art.

Esther and Zephi Friel, a 25-year-old employee at Fantom, both insist that it's not just women who buy titles like Ms. Marvel and Saga. "If it's a great story, everybody reads it," they tell me.
Everybody? I wonder how many apostates and victims of Islam in the know about the Koranic verses slanted against them care to read the former for entertainment reasons? And something tells me the people reading Saga for the homosexual themes might not want to read Ms. Marvel if it's not honest about Islam's hostility to homosexuality, a topic unlikely to show up in the former. "Total ignorance" is correct, alas. At least they say "if", and again, judging from low sales, not many think it's "great".

At the end, she says about the titles she bought:
[...] While they are all about superheroes who have super strength, they're all also about fighting with your family, sometimes feeling alone and inadequate, and trying to figure things out — in short, they're the opposite of boring. I read them all in a week.
Uh, those themes alone don't an excellent story make, nor do they guarantee it won't be "boring". If you know where to look, you may find tales using those kind of themes that are still a disaster, thanks to the assigned writer. If they're dishonest about the ideologies they emphasize, that only makes them more awful. And thus, the article falls flat. I looked at the comments and found one by somebody claiming to be an industry insider who makes an absurdly flawed argument:
A lot of people are agreeing with Graeme Mcmillan's statement " if Marvel really wants to give voice to women they should create more stand-alone female characters, rather than just having them temporarily fill male roles" But I have to fully disagree. As a woman who spent some time in the comic book industry working for Vertigo, I know all too well that there are a million original female characters out there in the comic world. In fact, they are constantly creating new ones everyday and sadly most of the time no one notices. Or worse, they notice, but don't take them seriously. This is an important/controversial situation because Marvel is taking an already powerful and prominent character and showing the comic world that they can make him female and the character will still be just as powerful, respected and prominent. It is an attempt to show the current readers that being a female doesn't bring down the importance and strength of a character (the writing does) and it's showing future readers that men and women are each given the equal respect they deserve in Marvel comics (or at least in this series) When given the opportunity, both men and women can succeed, be interesting, powerful, wise and respected. After all of the controversies with sexual harassment at cons and objectification of women all over the comic book industry, I think instead of this writer announcing to the world "We aren't all like that! (aka not all men)" He is simply showing his feminism, not by putting women above men, but demonstrating that they are equal and interchangeable in comics.
Disclaimer: I just hope Aaron doesn't trip up the writing and make her ditzy or the artist chooses to give her some skimpy outfit where the armor is only covering her nipples (God knows that the only thing a woman should be protecting is her nipples!)
I'm afraid based on the clues I found earlier, this female Thor will be something like what she's worried about. And she fails to realize that stunts like this one are exactly what she speaks of: if they don't take newer characters seriously, why would they take an old one seriously if she's deliberately been plunked into a role taken by a man, rather than one deriving from that of a man, like Hawkgirl taking up a role based on Hawkman's.

And hasn't she paid attention to Thor's sales returns? Like so many other pamphlets these days, Thor's been doing very badly, so much that it's hard to say the Thunder God's still as prominent as he used to be, or even respected, thanks to all the ill-treatment taking place. Even if this does lead to a sales spike, it's unlikely it'll retain huge levels for long. At least she admits the quality of writing determines everything. That commentor got some disagreement, such as:
I disagree. He's taking the easy way out. He's basing his character on an established paradigm. That's not elevating women in comics. Perhaps if the stories and artistry were better more female characters would catch on. But I feel this is just another slap in the face to women. It says "you're not good enough to stand on your own merit and I'm not good enough to write an original story to change that position. So I'll take the easy way out and make a quick buck."
Exactly. I thought creativity was something valued in storytelling, and the former Vertigo staffer is upholding cheapskate tactics? How come she's not asking for better promotion? A concept that's mentioned in the following reply:
The problem is that these new female characters are not being promoted, not that they aren't being written. See: female!Thor being promoted the hell out of and getting lots of attention, but no one pays attention to the fact that Spider-Woman is getting a new solo series, because they aren't promoting it as much. The problem is promotion, not creation. Genderbending a character or having a situation like this wouldn't be necessary if DC/Marvel would actually promote the characters they already have. This is the same problem we had at DC pre-New 52, where they had a really awesome very diverse list of characters and heroes, but they chose only to promote certain ones. It's even more prevalent now in the New 52, where we have a very reduced hero roster (which also reduces diversity), but all they do is promote Batman Batman Batman and won't reintroduce characters like Cassandra Cain, characters that fans have been begging for since the New 52 started.

Also, Vertigo is a DC imprint, but is not NEARLY as popular as either DC or Marvel. By default, any characters or stories that Vertigo makes will not become as popular or well known as anything published by DC or Marvel. Quite frankly, it's a miracle that as many Vertigo titles have made it to 'legendary' status as they have (Sandman, Black Orchid, Hellblazer/John Constantine, V for Vendetta, and Fables, among a couple of others), and many of the popular ones that made it only did so because of their relationship to the DC comics main universe (pre-2010).
Because of the publicity stunts involved, which aren't sincere, that's partly why the writing they do get is terrible too. I'd said at least once before, and will say it again: some of the worst storytelling came as a result of the crossovers, both during and after. Yet it's not unexpected somebody working in the medium would apologize for their shoddiest steps in terms of marketing, not be objective and implore there be better promotion for everything equally. Exactly why the medium's suffered so badly - nobody inside is willing to take a convincing stand, either because they're afraid of being blacklisted, or because they're too cynical to call for better steps in every aspect. Maybe that lady should also consider the ones who're really not taking comics seriously: NPR, and even the Big Two themselves.

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If someone thinks only whites can be nerds, they might want to watch Jamie Foxx's character in ASM2.

Can't recommend the movie in general, but the performance certainly kills that weird (racist?) notion all on its own.

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