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Tuesday, January 01, 2019 

The Miami Herald's attack on Comicsgate is one of the most venomous of all

Author/journalist Leonard Pitts has written what has to be one of the most repellent attacks on the Comicsgate campaign yet, at the Miami Herald. This one is almost entirely devoted to smearing the campaign - along with Gamergate - as virtually anti-women:
No one knew the alt-right had come to comic books until a group of co-workers went out for milkshakes.

This was in July 2017, a few days after Florence Steinberg died. The woman Stan Lee dubbed “Fabulous” Flo” had been his “gal Friday” at Marvel Comics in the early 1960s, back when that term was still used to describe female administrative assistants. A few days after she passed, a group of Marvel women went out for milkshakes in honor of their foremother. The women took a selfie, and one of them, an assistant editor named Heather Antos, posted it to Twitter. “It’s the Marvel milkshake crew!” she wrote.

It was an anodyne caption for an anodyne image. The response was anything but.

“Can we just get off of feminism and social justice and actually print stories,” one person tweeted.

Another dubbed the women “the creepiest collection of stereotypical SJWs anyone could possibly imagine,” using a right-wing acronym for “social justice warrior.”

Still another tweeted “I would totally bang the girl in front” — Antos — to which someone else responded: “Better have her sign a consent form, she looks like the ‘false rape charge’ type.”

Nor was that the worst of it. There were also rape threats and sexually explicit images. Antos was “doxed”; i.e., had personal documents released online. Her friends and colleagues were harassed. And she was stalked. At the height of the furor, she was receiving about a thousand notifications — positive and negative — per hour. Antos posted a series of distraught tweets that suggested the toll the harassment was taking.
Is there any proof of the doxxing, rape threats and pornographic imagery available? Because if not, then this is just another classic, cliched smear and defamation. Besides, it's illegal to dox people online, and could be grounds for arrest and prosecution, so, if there's no proof of what Antos may have alleged, then it only makes this hit piece all the more shameful. If doxing really did occur, the police/FBI should be contacted and legal action taken. So far, I haven't heard anything of the sort being done, so how do we know it's true?
And the harassment just didn’t stop. For days, then for weeks, then for months, the tweets kept pouring in from people infuriated at the idea that there are women in comics. Many carried a then-new hashtag: “Comicsgate.”
Uh-huh. "Furious" at the notion Dorothy Woolfolk, Ramona Fradon, Louise Simonson, Jeanette Khan, Mindy Newell, Jo Duffy, Ann Nocenti, Amy Chu, Glynis Wein and busloads of other women over past decades would ever be hired to work at any company, in any capacity. The way this disgraceful "journalist" erases a lot of famous women from history and fails to thank any the better lady contributors from earlier times tarnishes the whole journalistic profession. Just another J. Jonah Jameson who's proving himself quite the ingrate. He refuses to acknowledge that much of the criticism stems from the ideology both women and men alike in the industry today are forcing into the products they're writing, and even if it's not politics per se, the writing is not immune to badness.
As movements go, Comicsgate was loosely organized, but certainly its most visible figure was one Richard C. Meyer, a little known, self-published comics writer who acted as a kind of ringmaster, using the ironic handle, “DiversityAndCmx.” Antos, he once tweeted, “looks like a hooker from some random episode of STARSKY & HUTCH.”

Antos finally left Marvel the following March. And Comicsgate was officially, as they say, a thing, an affiliation of alt-right comic book fan boys united by their hatred of women, themes of feminism or diversity in comics and by their willingness to bully and harass. Consider it a measure of their effectiveness that a handful of women who were targeted by Comicsgate were approached about participating in this article, but all either ignored the request or refused to be quoted, even anonymously. After calling Meyer and crew “knuckleheads,” the owner of one comics shop even asked that its name not be used here.
What if it's because there isn't really any proof of the alleged blasphemy? Besides, whether or not Meyer said that, here's something to ponder: Antos probably left because C.B Cebulski let her go. As galling as Cebulski predictably turned out to be, if Pitts really thinks its bad she was let go, shouldn't he be criticizing Cebulski?
If Comicsgate has not managed to “make comics great again” — one of its hashtags — it has certainly managed to make comics fearful again in a way arguably not seen since the anti-comics Congressional hearings of the 1950s. And if the tactics it employs sound familiar, that’s because they are.
How ironic given that people like Antos engaged in forms of censorship in artwork, echoing the Wertham narratives perfectly. If the books weren't selling as a result, what's the point in continuing to employ them? But atop all that, what's atrocious is that Pitts chose to go with the victim angle, all without providing any pictorial proof, and if people complaining about social justice is the best he can come up with, he needs to find a new medium to work in.
In 2014, the video game world was rocked by “Gamergate,” a campaign against female video game players, designers and critics. It rose after a free experimental game released by designer Zoe Quinn in 2013. Instead of centering on basketball or commando raids, “Depression Quest” dealt with, well...depression. In response, she started receiving menacing emails, her documents were released and message boards began to fill with threats like one that proposed gamers give Quinn “a crippling injury that’s never going to fully heal … a good solid injury to the knees. I’d say a brain damage, but we don’t want to make it so she ends up too retarded to fear us.”
Yawn. The critique had little to do with Quinn and more to do with how alleged video game reviewers were fawning over it deliberately. Sort of like what Pitts is doing now. He actually thinks a game about being depressed, and sticking with it, is inspirational, let alone worthy of all that attention? What a sorry case. The whole notion anybody would get worked up about a mere video game they don't even have to buy is decidedly contrived at best.
The comics industry got its first whiff of all this in 2016 after Mockingbird, a female superhero, was depicted wearing a T-shirt that said, “Ask Me About My Feminist Agenda.” The bullying that followed was enough to drive the book’s author, novelist Chelsea Cain, off of Twitter. A year later, when writer Magdalene “Mags” Visaggio came out in defense of Antos, the bullies took special joy in ridiculing her as a transgender woman. Meyer dubbed her “a violent unstable man in a Party City wig.” As recently as August, when poet and academic Eve Ewing was announced as the writer of “Ironheart,” a new series whose protagonist is a black teenage girl, observers pronounced her “unqualified” and — again — an ”SJW.”
This again. More victimology in motion. Cain left of her own choosing, and as for Visaggio...well, he's a guy who's name is Brian, and reportedly posted tweets about attacking cis-people with baseball bats, which disqualifies him from being a "moralist". So what's Pitts' point? His ignorance is atrocious.
It is worth noting that, Comicsgate ire aside, there has never been a time when comics did not address politics. Superman liberated a concentration camp during World War II. The Sub-Mariner has long campaigned against pollution. In 1974, at the height of Watergate, a disillusioned Captain America gave up his shield. Nor is feminism new to comics. Indeed, Wonder Woman — who debuted in 1941 — is a living embodiment of female aspiration and power.

But all those characters were created — and mostly written — by men. Increasingly, however, women are showing up as creators or participators in what has been a male-dominated world. And some men have no idea how to handle it. One of the totems of geek culture, observes Bay, has been a sense of male ostracization. Even Stan Lee, during his heyday at Marvel, cannily played on the nerd herd’s sense of itself as an outsider culture. As he told The Los Angeles Times in 2003, “I wanted the reader to feel we were ... sharing some private fun that the outside world wasn’t aware of.”
Again, there were women who worked in comics, Steinberg included, and by Pitts' logic, he's basically denying Stan Lee ever had a fanbase. On which note, I honestly doubt Lee's fans ever included Pitts. Seriously. Again, as noted earlier, Lee said Peter Parker should remain white/heterosexual.
“So the community is changing,” says Bay, “and I think what you’re seeing is just a general reflection of the same thing that’s happening across the world, in terms of white male privilege being challenged. White males are resisting this, resisting the challenge to their dominant status.”

University of Baltimore professor Dr. Bridget Blodgett. who, with Dr. Anastasia Salter of the University of Central Florida, analyzed the Gamergate phenomenon in their book, “Toxic Geek Masculinity and Media,” has reached much the same conclusion. We live now, she says, in an age where “everybody’s mom can play a video game and be a gamer.”
So only white men could possibly take any offense. Everyone else is a pinnacle of "morality", huh? Nobody of black, Asian and mixed background could possibly be galled at the lack of story merit in Marvel's transformation of Hulk into an Asian, Thor into a woman, or Steve Rogers into a Nazi. Nor could they possibly find any fault in turning Luke Cage into a bald guy with a beard, because that supposedly reflects reality and great taste, right? Surprisingly enough, Pitts had the audacity to say:
An argument can also be made that Marvel, in particular, brought much of this on itself. A few years ago, in an obvious effort to diversify and revivify its aging lineup of largely white, male characters, it began swapping many of them out for women and people of color. Suddenly, the Hulk was a Korean-American teenager. Thor and Wolverine were women. Captain America was an African-American man. Iron Man was a black teenage girl and Ms. Marvel was a Muslim teenager.

As if that were not enough raw red meat to throw down before the right wing, there was also a now-notorious 2017 interview by David Gabriel, a Marvel executive, in which he addressed the issue of declining sales: “What we heard was that people didn’t want any more diversity. They didn’t want female characters out there. That’s what we heard, whether we believe that or not.”
This looks even more distorted than the original reports about Gabriel. Point: the problem is that the "diversity" was forced and contrived, and devoid of real merit as a result. And if Pitts considers the white protagonists "aged", that's a confession he doesn't like them, and never did.
But in a sense, the truth of it doesn’t matter. As veteran writer Mark Waid points out, the white male characters are almost all back now, as anyone who has read comic books longer than a year knew they would be. This, after all, isn’t the first time this has happened. Iron Man was a black man in the ‘80s. Bruce Wayne has occasionally stopped being Batman. Captain America has been dead at least five times.

“My feeling,” says Waid, “has always been, if the claim is, ‘That’s what we were really after, that’s what we were upset about,’ well, you won. So shut the hell up.”

“That’s the tell in their argument,” says writer Kwanza Osajyefo. “Any comics fan who had been a longtime reader is completely aware [that comics is cyclical]. Everything is temporary, and then you go back to the status quo.

“The argument that’s coming from Comicsgate … has nothing to do with going back to classic characters or ‘making comics great again.’ It has everything to do with stamping down other voices.” Osajyefo notes that he’s not even working with “classic characters” — his series, “Black,” published after a Kickstarter campaign, posits a world where only black people have super powers — yet he is still getting abuse.
So it's all "abuse", and no criticism? If he wants to push what looks like an agenda in his own book, that's fine. It's when you start shoving it into somebody else's at the expense of all the hark work they put in to craft it that it becomes truly awful. Besides, while corporate-owned comics of yesteryear may have been more subtle with their politics, even they could be questionable at times. I'm not looking at even past products through fully rose-colored lens, if it matters. All I can say is, it's sad Osajyefo's one of various writers who won't admit people of his standing aren't interested in merit, but in agenda-shoving. And if it hadn't been for the pushback and points made that all these diversity-driven madhouses from Marvel were only about agendas, along with falling sales as people lost interest, assuming anybody cared at all, I'm sure Joe Quesada and Axel Alonso's bunch would've been more than delighted to keep around the flavorless changes they made. They certainly seem intent on keeping Carol Danvers in the role of Capt. Marvel now, and the new Muslim Ms. Marvel in Carol's former role, which fit her far better than what was originally Mar-Vell's.

And then Pitts has the mendacity to claim truth doesn't matter here.
Waid and Osajyefo are among a number of male creators — Mike Deodato, Jeff Lemire and Bill Sienkiewicz are others — who have spoken out in support of their female colleagues.
What are the chances they're not backing Cain now that she turned against Marvel?
The outspokenness has not come without a price. Waid is being sued by Meyer, who claims the writer somehow influenced retailers not to sell Meyer’s work. “I shut down Facebook for a while right after the kerfuffle that sparked the lawsuit because, again, it became such a funnel for hate. I couldn’t go on there and say, ‘Happy birthday, Grandma,’ without a hundred, ‘Die! Die! Die!’ responses.”

Osajyefo says he has been called a thief, called the N-word and doxed. But he feels this was mild compared to what the women have endured.
And I guess no screencaps or police reports filed? The answer is notably missing here. Besides, it's already basically been confirmed Waid was involved in wrongdoing. Towards the end, they note Cain's new Image series, which she wrote after Trump was elected:
The result of that anger was a new Image Comics series called Man-eaters, a ferociously funny and fiercely feminist allegory, described by The Hollywood Reporter as a combination of “’The Handmaid’s Tale” and “’Cat People.” In it, the world is terrorized by a virus that strikes girls after their first menstrual period, turning them into killer cats. [...]
So, no mention of any of the liberals who've abandoned Cain because in the end, they didn't think she was lefty enough? Oh well. The man's would-be journalism is just so dismal.

Even before this disgusting smear tactic, the Lake County Record-Bee wrote another one, putting ideology above merit in the process:
Sometime between the time I stopped covering the comic book industry circa 2008 and now, a dangerous movement has formed and taken root in various internet forums and in social media, an intolerant form of group think which appears to be crusading against diversity in all forms of entertainment media including film, gaming and the American comic book industry.

Referred to as “Comicsgate,” and comprised of an outspoken group of select members, You Tube content creators and industry professionals, they advocate for less diversity, fewer minorities and the exclusion of under represented groups both within comic books, movies and other forms of mainstream entertainment, while also calling for less diversity in the creators working in these lucrative and influential industries.
Yep, keep going, please do. What about those who advocate for desecrating other people's creations, including Lee's, under the notion anything goes with corporate-owned products, and forcing left-wing social justice down our collective throats? This is little more than an attack on other's people's opinions.
The controversy has been stoked further by various You Tube, Twitter and other social media channels with the recent release of trailers for the upcoming “Captain Marvel” movie due in theaters next spring and starting Oscar winning actress Brie Larson, the next blockbuster film by Marvel Studios who are responsible for “Spider-Man,” “Iron Man,” “The Avengers” and other big superhero themed movies.
In other words, it's all above criticism, no matter how PC it already looks. The Comicsgate crowd doesn't seem to have any issues with the Wonder Woman movie being made; it's only the story merit that matters. So why act as if they're literally against this new Marvel movie? If it were based on better components, it'd be a lot more worth looking forward to.
But what exactly is Comicsgate? And what do the movement’s proponents want? In a nutshell, proponents rile against “social justice warriors” (a pejorative term for progressive fans and creators) and against NPCs (a designation for non-playable characters in video games appropriated to mean people who can’t think for themselves) and are incensed and triggered online by what they perceive to be unwanted politicizing or intrusions into their preferred forms of literature (comics.)

Like Gamergate before it, Comicsgate members can subject those on the other side of the ideological aisle or those who do not conform to their way of thinking to ridicule, abuse and in some extreme cases, doxing (the outing of personal information for the purpose of harassment or other nefarious objective) or worse yet, can make it difficult for the professionals to carry on with their careers without fear of this type of treatment. Some have even been driven out of their homes for fear of retribution and/or harm.
But opponents of Comicsgate cannot do any of these? Not even the freak who harassed Billy Tucci? Even if this article was written before that news, it's still hugely disappointing how one-sided this dopey puff piece is being. But what's really laughable is the claim - without citing any examples by name - that anybody fled from their homes in fear. Were any police reports filed, as they were in the Tucci case? If not, then let it go.
[Brie] Larson, who is set to star as Captain Marvel, generated a lot of resentment from the Comicsgate people when she accepted a statuette during this summer’s Crystal + Lucy Awards where she also spoke passionately about the lack of representation among film critics. Indie Wire’s Jenna Marotta, writing about the event, refers to a study led by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative which examined access and opportunity for film critics, a point Larson was trying to drive home during her speech.

The report stated research which found reviews of the 100 top grossing films of 2017 posted on the influential website Rotten Tomatoes, that only 22.2 percent of the 19,559 reviews evaluated were written by females, with 77.8 percent crafted by male critics. This represents a gender ratio of 3.5 males to every one female reviewer. White critics wrote 82 percent of the reviews and critics from underrepresented racial/ethnic backgrounds authored 18 percent.
Now they're sugarcoating Larson's social justice propaganda, acting like there's a whole conspiracy to undermine the movie, and the finished product's merits don't count. I've heard this already even more times than I've heard the one about the shaggy dog. No matter a critic's background, there are those who get turned off by some of these films, and every chance they'll emerge disappointed from Captain Marvel too, if they think it's too dreary.
Similar to the objections to affirmative action or to programs enacted to advance diversity and inclusion of previously thought of as fringe groups in society such as the LQGBT community, the Comicsgate crowd claim they are not against inclusion, but that the various entertainment industries should not be trying to force feed it to them, rather it should be an organic process.

The issue with this narrow type of thinking is that it decreases the amount of opportunities available to a segment of creators and collaborators which have different perspectives and experiences to share which would otherwise not find an outlet in mainstream entertainment such as comic books, television and film. “identity politics” may turn some people off, but in the long run, there is a real cultural boon to popular culture when many cultures, voices and identities contribute to the general zeitgeist of a generation.
And now we learn the clown who wrote this believes identity politics a story makes, not talent and merit. I wouldn't be shocked if he doesn't even buy a lot of the products he's an apologist for, making his defense more laughable. And on that note, here's where it becomes utter hilarity:
As an avid comic book reader, I was once bugged by the fact that Marvel, for example, was using some of their established characters, i.e. Thor, Captain America, Captain Marvel and Miles Morales for what seemed more like editorial mandates for diversity’s sake. I used to claim that they should not alter the original characters and just make new creations, new diverse characters and leave the icons alone.

I now feel differently
, I think it’s refreshing to have more diversity because these characters have been portrayed in media through the lens and prism of caucasian personalities, but the world isn’t this way is it? It’s very diverse. Moreover, the stories are fun and the characters have not been diluted at all. And if a Muslim Captain Marvel inspires little girls to be heroic or lead a better life or an “inner city” Spidey does the same and tells interesting, fun or uplifting stories to boot, then I say, by all means. So much the better.
So, why the change of heart for the worse? Why side with bad religions and ideologies, most telling of all? He doesn't even provide any examples of individual stories he thinks are credible, and even then, chances are he's fully biased in favor of the worst stories. Over 2 thirds of Marvel and DC output today are beyond the pale in terms of quality, yet none of that seems to matter here. What is clear: this phony is no fan of Stan Lee, let alone Jack Kirby and Joe Simon.
For the longest time, minorities such as African Americans were portrayed as gangsters, criminals and stereotypes. The super heroes and modern mythological figures were given similarly shabby treatment, just think of the overtly stereotyped members of the Superfriends in the 1970s and 80s Saturday morning cartoons which came up with such abominations as Apache Chief and El Dorado, a Native American and Hispanic/Aztec hero respectively. We’ve come a long way since and progress continues to be made in representation in media.
What?!? No mention of Black Panther, Falcon, Mal Duncan, GL Corps member John Stewart, Luke Cage, Storm, Black Lightning, Misty Knight and Vixen as positive examples? Okay, I've seen it all now. Somebody really doesn't like comics and their art so badly he's willing to erase all the hard work of people more talented than he'll ever be for the sake of a propaganda campaign. And even in the Golden Age, I don't think most black characters were always portrayed as baddies, if anything. Yes, there were at least a few unfortunate examples of stereotypical illustrations, but from what GA material I read, it was anything but as bad as what this puff piece implies. It's worth noting that, due to Wertham's machinations in the 50s, it became less possible to feature blacks even in the roles of goodies, if at all. That was one of the most damaging effects of the Comics Code - it created a situation where, instead of giving blacks better representations, they got no representation at all until the late 60s, when things began to improve. But that's mostly obscured in this dismal op-ed.

Anyway, after reading and shaking my head at how slanted these crummy articles are, all I can say is I won't be in a hurry to buy the novels written by these propagandists who didn't even utter a negative word when Identity Crisis and Avengers: Disassembled were coughed out nearly 15 years ago. Such bias is just what gives journalism a bad name. But I will say this: Flo Steinberg was clearly a fine woman, and shame on those who'd exploit her memory for their one-sided leftist agendas.

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Black people from ghettos portray themselves as those things. This was not something imposed on them by whites.
"For the longest time, minorities such as African Americans were portrayed as gangsters, criminals and stereotypes."

Ethnic gangs originally were created by immigrants for protection from other groups...but the prevalence of black gangs in poor black communities today have nothing to do with protecting black people from racists , and cannot be blamed on the War on Drugs, since it predates all the 'Hope and Change' that happened in the 1960s, that made drug use much more mainstream. Malcolm X noted that too many young black men were being killed by other blacks as early as the 1960s. No, black people perpetuating negative stereotypes about themselves cannot be blamed on whites.

...shouldn't a fluff piece like this have been posted within the first month or two of the actual event happening? Why wait so long to post it?

"And I guess no screencaps or police reports filed? "

There is good reason not to post screen caps of this kind of abuse. Repeating the abuse in a larger forum to a wider audience only gives the abusers what they want; more publicity and notoriety. It is only perpetuating the abuse.

"There is good reason not to post screen caps of this kind of abuse. Repeating the abuse in a larger forum to a wider audience only gives the abusers what they want; more publicity and notoriety. It is only perpetuating the abuse."

Yet staying silent about for a long time or quitting social media because of abuse are victories for victims.

It's quite possible that that these victims who think like you do, relish the attention that these so-called abusers give them. Their abusers give their life meaning and make them feel valuable--someone cares enough about their actions to object to it.


Damned if you, Damned if you don't, eh?

Here's proof that Muslims don't have the monopoly on terrorism: https://www.sankakucomplex.com/2019/01/02/aum-terrorist-rams-car-into-harajuku-crowd/

Good thing ex-Muslims are standing up against Islam. The world needs more people like that.

What's wrong with bombing that peninsula between Europe and Africa again? I mean, all that oil will certainly help keep the explosions going for a good long while and its not like we can't get more elsewhere right?

Perhaps you should consider trimming down some of your lengthier articles so as to improve reading comprehension and attentiveness.

"It's quite possible that that these victims who think like you do, relish the attention that these so-called abusers give them. Their abusers give their life meaning and make them feel valuable--someone cares enough about their actions to object to it."

Most of the victims whose cases become known are high profile accomplished people - actresses, writers, or Academics. They would not attract that kind of attention if they weren't prominent. The people stalking them tend not to be accomplished; they are like school shooters or suicide bombers, desperate people who attack others to give their life meaning.

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