The thing is, you’re sounding a lot like those lit teachers. “Superheroes are only any good if they’re tonally and thematically similar to established Great Works of the Western Canon, not when they engage in any of the irreverent, playful, queer, campy, or postmodern stuff - that’s trash for kids, and you should feel bad for liking it.”
The Adam West Batman didn’t do any “damage” to superhero movies - certainly not any more than the turgid, dumb Nolan films, which convinced a generation of execs that superhero films need to take their fundamentally stupid and silly premises (say, a billionaire in a rubber bat suiit) with the utmost seriousness and joylessness, and birther the even more turgid and dumb Snyderverse films.
The reason why we are discussing BB posts on the BBS is that they are posted, and this is something of a privilege akin to a position of authority.
@dnealy, I hope you do not see this as a personal attack. I just want to point out that in my perception, you usually voice strong opinions, and voice them as someone who believes in them (at the moment of voicing them, at least). I realise that sometimes I don’t agree, and have troubles not being triggered sometimes. I don’t have the time I carved out earlier to be active on the BBS, but in these instances I am sometimes glad for it, so I don’t get into a row online. Anyway, what I wanted to say: perhaps you could just try and check the reasons for your impulses when writing, and before posting? And if you find that you are very strong in your opinion, maybe have a lighter go at it. I think the conversation wouldn’t be less interesting, but more nuanced.
You do get the platform for that on BB, and the BBS is a wonderful collection of diverse (and neurodiverse) mutants which is bound to opine on your opinions. I’m glad they do. And I am also glad the writers and contributors are a diverse bunch (BTW, I somehow miss @doctorow, and the contributions of @japhroig), and I’m glad you are actually participating in the discussion. However, I also assume that this is sometimes costing you more energy than it is giving back.
In short: don’t tone it down, but try to judge a bit less strongly and have some fun.
Is it? @dnealy has shown himself more than willing to engage in discussion and debate here, which isn’t always the case with authors here. He’s never seemed to me to be one who demands we all agree with his views or has ignored our critiques of his posts. He general makes clear that he’s offering his interests and opinions, rather than telling us what is the what. He might have some privilege being a BB author, but he’s never treated that privilege as a hammer (HA, get it! I made a joke!), but rather as a position in which to engage the community. And since he’s been here, I’d argue that outside attacks (meaning new posters posting JUST to complain or whinge about the post) have increased because he’s a Black man in order to shut him down rather than discuss his views.
That’s the thing - opinions are not facts! We all get to have them. Seems like lately in our culture, people sort of want to have their geeky cake and eat it too… they want their beloved cultural thing to be taken seriously as culture, which fair enough. There is a long history of dismissing and in some cases outright banning and censoring comics and other genre fiction. But that’s no longer the case. Lots of pop culture has entire fields of study connected to them. But that’s no good for some, either, because they melt down at the slightest criticism of their beloved whatever it is… But, I have news for those folks - that this is what taking culture seriously IS… everything from these kinds of conversations where we get to hash out our divergent views, to cultural critics giving us their views, to academics writing disserations about the thing.
True! If I had a hammer, I’d have to remind myself not to hammer in the morning, the evening, and all over the web. And @dnealy is indeed a special contributor, as he is really engaging with his audience, which I am really thankful for! (Hey, thank you, Doug!)
That’s where my perception is a little different than yours. I have the feeling that he’s hammering loud and clear, and sometimes is voicing his opinions so strongly that anyone not agreeing with the opinion has the urge to defend their own.
To be clear, there is nothing wrong with Doug doing that!
Thanks for the reminder. I rarely look at the tags, my bad.
@Mindysan33 are absolutely right Doug never seemed one who demands we all agree with his views or has ignored our critiques of his posts, I am under the impression that he’s spending a lot of energy explaining again (and again…), sometimes defending his opinion in the course of the discussion several times.
This might be a wrong impression, but my thoughts were that this could wear him out. And I would miss his contributions. I offered something out of my own experience which helps me, sometimes. Lighter go, and all that. Mindfulness, and all that. You know. That stuff some superheros tried to teach me.
Ok, my impression was wrong. Please believe me that my points were made in good faith.
Which is unacceptable. Fuck those idiots.
Oh no. I just looked up it there was a Black Thor to make a quip about handing Doug a bigger hammer to smash those. The first results told me that yes, there is a Black Thor comic, and it is perceived as perpetuating racial stereotypes. Well, shit.
Thanks for the hammer, by the way.
I’m off trying to follow that rainbow bridge for the day.
For what it’s worth (now that I’m caught up here) I’m completely in agreement. I may not agree with a lot of what @dnealy says in his posts, which is fine! He writes opinion pieces and there’s room for disagreement and debate. More than anything, I truly appreciate that he takes the time to come here and further discuss with us plebs in a reasoned and friendly manner. He’s good people as far as I’m concerned.
As others noted, there is indeed a power/positionality difference between a BB author and commenters, which may not map exactly onto a teacher/student power dynamic, but nonetheless exists.
However, my comment wasn’t about power or position - I just said that he was “sounding like” those conservative, patriarchal gate-keeping teachers in his argumentation. He didn’t just express an opinion (“I like these three Thor comics better than this one Thor movie”), he made an argument, rooted in assumptions about what makes art worthwhile, and that argument and those assumptions are worthy of critique (including pointing out the similarity if those assumptions to the assumptions of people he aims to distance himself from).
Why focus on how Devin is making the argument rather than the substance of the argument?
Devin is saying that superheroes from comics have fallen short of becoming a “new American mythology” as he had hoped because their popularity has led to their commodification, which requires a kind of reduction to the lowest common denominator. You can argue that comics have always been commodified, but we just forget the junk and remember the masterpieces. You can argue that comic movies may include dumb stuff but still are contributing to a “new American mythology.”
But just declaring it gatekeeping is not moving the conversation forward. If you want to defend the movies, do so. Tell Devin why he is wrong, not why he is wrong for saying it that way.
I’m sorry, but this is complete nonsense. BB authors post stories to the blog which gets echoed here for discussion. You can read the stories, or not. You can discuss them here, or not. Likewise, BB authors can choose to discuss further here, or not. Most don’t, and that’s their choice. If an author chooses to come here and talk further, then that’s a bonus, but it’s not expected. @dnealy in particular is great about consistently following up with the community on his posts and deserves praise for this. If you don’t like these posts, don’t read or interact with them. Nobody’s forcing you to do anything.
Like it or not, BB simply isn’t a place where there is much interaction between the authors and the community. If you’re not ok with this kind of one-sided relationship between the content creators and consumers, then maybe this isn’t the place for you or maybe you should consider ignoring anything in #boing.
Despite these things, I think that we have collectively built a pretty great community here on the BBS and it keeps me coming back day after day.
Criminiy. I wasn’t lamenting the state of the site, or making any value judgements about it. I was just describing a pretty self-evident reality - that the paid authors whose work is published to the site proper have a position of greater authority and power than the community members whose words are necessarily less visible and less centered. That’s not a complaint, it’s just a fact.
If I observed that the Editorial staff at the NYT have more eyes on their words, and more editorial backing of their words, and thus are in a someone privileged position in relation to the folks that write letters to the editor, it would be absurd to take offense or to conjecture that “maybe the New York Times just isn’t for you.”