still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race

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Re: still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race

#81  Postby arugula2 » Nov 23, 2019 12:13 pm

I'm interested in that sleight of hand. That's why I think I have more reading to do. "Last Alan Moore Interview?" was referenced in the article, for example. I'm skimming it as I type this, and it seems like another rabbit hole.

That reply you quoted is a snippet of a follow-up q&a about the golliwog, after he'd already replied to a previous question that was more concerned with the reclaiming itself ("The golliwogg is generally seen these days as being a racist character. Why did you decide that you wanted to use a character with a problematic history like that in your work?"). His answer to that one is 1,118 words. That's why I think the answer to the follow-up question ("How do you respond to the contention that it is not the place of two white men to try to ‘reclaim’ a character like the golliwogg?" ...which is basically a new angle) is an attempt at addressing what's different about the follow-up. He'd already justified (in his mind) Galley-Wag's existence.

Galley-Wag is itself another rabbit hole. What I'm finding more fascinating than anything else is that the villain he's recruited to fight in The Black Dossier is an unalloyed representation of Ian Fleming's James Bond, called Jimmy Bond, who is a misogynist and racist. All of this is interesting to me now...

(Personally, I don't think refusing to include minstrel-like imagery in stories is helpful. I also don't care what skin color the author is... specifically because the reasons for why society should care is the point, namely that minstrelsy and its propagators have historically been racist. Once we understand the reasons to care, we should be able to expand the meaning of that imagery. For example, that's probably what Kate Upton was doing when she invented the golliwog character, except she was doing it innocently. There's room, I think, for doing it purposefully & with forethought. I might even think it's essential that it be done - but the future's a weird country, and I feel like a stranger in it.)

About rape... I don't have time to read the long answer tonight (probably tomorrow). It's 2,238 words. But what I found compelling was his logic for the inclusion of rape at higher rates, since it is probably a far more common crime than murder - yet murder is much more casually and flippantly depicted in pop culture. Or is it, in comic book culture specifically:
Is what we’re actually talking about here the prevalence of rape and sexual violence in my work in comparison to that in the work of other writers working within the comic industry? Now, here, I’d probably have to agree, especially if we’re talking about the comic writers of thirty years ago, when I first commenced my apparently rape-fixated career. If you look at the attempted rape in the first episode of V for Vendetta, for example, I think you’ll find that I was only able to identify the crime by its initial letter on the lips of a traumatised and stammering Evey Hammond. Still, this was one letter more than had been available to EC Comics a couple of decades before, when they were forced to tell their still-shocking tale of a rapist hiding behind a sheriff’s badge without referring to the actual crime except by implication.

I didn't see the need to frame it as a "hero" using violence to "overcome an adversary" because that seems limiting. Depictions of violence generally, and murder specifically, are simply ubiquitous; but depictions of rape are taboo. I thought that was the point he was making.
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Re: still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race

#82  Postby Thommo » Nov 23, 2019 1:05 pm

There is no need to frame it that way I'd agree, that was a single example, not the wider principle itself. Violence is a way of resolving conflict. Rape is not.

Conflict is common to most stories, which is one possible alternative account as to why violence and killing are so prevalent. Violence and killing are very often devices for resolving conflict, and further can be portrayed as morally positive or neutral in a way that is not true of sexual crimes. Crime is not common to most stories. So comparing a particular that stands for conflict resolution to one that stands for crime is not likely to be comparing like with like. They do not appear to serve the same narrative function in most cases. There are other potential lines of criticism or concern as well such as the relative effect on victims, and their wishes.

Obviously there are much, much broader issues under contention, and I think it's fine to take different views on them, but what I was saying is that the reasoning Moore presented (and I accept his reasoning might be fuller elsewhere) is far from compelling to me. The objections people made to his work really aren't addressed by his comments at all.

If you want to read a more fleshed out version of the criticisms (and I'm not saying you should as this is a relatively large amount of reading for a relatively small point) you could maybe look here:
Upton's character proves equally impossible to separate from the minstrel and blackface traditions that, as Eric Lott has shown in Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working class, were central to American culture in the nineteenth century and beyond. Moore may claim the Golliwogg's minstrel clothes didn't originate in Upton's work (Nevins, Impossible Territories 203), but Noles observes that minstrelsy was part of both the Golliwog books and the larger cultural climate in which they were produced (pt. 2).
...
But he was certainly drawn as a racial stereotype, and that image is the part Moore and O'Neill have altered the least. As a character in illustrated children's books (and now comics), the Golliwogg can no more be separated from his visual representations than can The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen itself.
This should not imply that the writing is free of racial stereotupes. Moore may insist that he and O'Neill "wanted to dispel any racist notions" (Nevins, Impossible Territories 203) attached to the character, yet they have added to them by writing Golliwogg as a prodigiously endowed, oversexed lover.
...
When questioned on this subject however they have ignored or dismissed the racial implications of their portrayal of the Golliwogg, attempting to shift the discussion to issues of creative ownership and free expressions. In a 2014 interview, O Mealoid asks Moore, "How do you respond to the contention that it is not the place of two white men to try to 'reclaim' a character like the golliwogg?" (O Mealoid, "Last Alan Moore") - a generous prompt that misstates the criticisms of readers such as Noles, who in fact compliments several white writers and artists for their critically informed use of blackface and minstrel imagery (pt. 3). In response, Moore first expresses uncertainty that he and O'Neill were attempting to reclaim the Golliwogg, in direct contradiction to his earlier statements to Nevins.
...
Moore expands O Mealoid's misleading summary of the criticisms into even more outlandish assumptions of his own invention. He attempts to shift the grounds of debate from the particulars of his use of the Golliwogg to abstract principles of artistic representation - in this case, so abstract as to be irrelevant to the actual criticisms of Black Dossier.
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Re: still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race

#83  Postby arugula2 » Nov 23, 2019 9:35 pm

The link to the interview in my previous post seems to be his full comments. The Guardian article and the book passage above both seem to be reacting to excerpts (and obviously providing excerpts). Like I said earlier, his answer to one golliwog question is over a thousand words. The second and third golliwog questions prompted almost 2,000. They are so unabbreviated that the excerpts I've been reading necessarily chop up the meaning. It's probably not impossible to represent those answers using snippets, but most readers I think will have a different impression of some of them once they compare.

A minor example is the book's claim that he compares Golliwog favorably to Uncle Tom and Nigger Jim, in contradiction to an earlier answer in the interview. The first part is a deliberate stretch, I think, and the second part is only implied but probably disingenuous too. In the interview, he mentions those characters in passing, as being "supposedly sympathetic black figures in fiction" at the time of Upton's creation - but not to align or compare, but specifically to divorce. He's saying Upton's creation of the character is separate from these rare characters, and hers is an original creation of a positive character based on a toy whose provenance she was ignorant of. In other words, even as a "sympathetic black figure in fiction" the Golliwog doesn't qualify, because Upton's intentions were more innocent. (His own intentions being legitimated by that isolation, in other words, with Fantasy as the midwife.) The book wants to claim a contradiction where imo there is none. But his answer is so dense, it's easy to distort. This point is minor, but it's at the heart of the controversy, because the issue as I see it is whether or not minstrel-like imagery and symbolism can be expanded or repurposed. I'm pretty sure it can, depending on cultural nuance. The less interesting (but still interesting) issue is whether or not Moore was trying to do this. Based on his full answers, it seemed to me he was.

A weird wrench in that logic is the passage in your book excerpt that claims Galley-Wag is "prodigiously endowed" and "oversexed." Wot? He is? Because that complicates things. Not that his face doesn't already complicate things. (Complicated is ok, and it makes me more interested to figure this out. But seriously, Galley-Wag is "prodigiously endowed" and "oversexed"? That's not touched on in the interview nor expanded on in the book excerpt, which is inconvenient.) (Added: I'm even more interested now to see how Galley-Wag relates to his nemesis, Jimmy Bond, who is supposedly a "misogynist".)

The issue of violence generally, and rape...

The portrayal of violence and killing, in pop culture, as possibly "morally positive" is an aspect of that same bias that treats rape as taboo, I think. It might even explain a number of ugly things about accepted norms in foreign policy, legal defences (such as against prosecutions of police officers who routinely murder civilians, not to mention autocratic wars on drugs), or even comic book collateral damage. In comics/superhero movies, sometimes this internal contradiction is addressed, but it's probably a minor theme. Regardless, although I can't make generalizations about how often violence in comics is possibly "morally positive" compared to morally "negative" (is it about 50/50? If I had to guess, I'd say about 50/50), I don't think that rescues it, since the contradiction is there, and since the real issue is frequency. Of course a "hero" is morally positive, and therefore his violence is usually assumed to be morally positive. I don't think that's a reflection of reality, however, just conventions in comic books. If the aim is to subvert 1-2 comic book conventions, one way to do it is to tweak the dial to more closely reflect reality. I'm not informed enough to conclude that's what Moore has done, but it seems to be what he claims.

The taboo imbalance is kind of grotesque, actually. Something that should be more taboo (the use of violence to "resolve conflict") is whitewashed (no pun initially intended), and something which should be less taboo (the sheer prevalence of violence against women, and rape in particular) is hidden. The de-tabooing is the point, I think.

ADDED: sorry for the wall of text.
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Re: still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race

#84  Postby Thommo » Nov 23, 2019 10:08 pm

Thanks for your reply, I have read it, and I think we probably still just disagree about the exact degree of success of Moore's defence of these particular aspects of his work. We're very much down a tangent now that it wasn't my intention to explore, so I'm going to leave it there, but I didn't want you to think I had ignored your post! :thumbup:
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Re: still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race

#85  Postby arugula2 » Nov 23, 2019 10:26 pm

One thing I want to underline is that how successfully someone has defended something too often depends on distillations by other people, because 99% of the time that’s all we have time for. Someone as verbose as Moore isn’t likely to benefit from that. But also, neither is a process that’s supposedly nuanced, and is about storytelling. I’m not sure he’s not massaging his intent, I’m not there yet. But the specific claims in his interview that were challenged seem to hold up so far, for me.

Also, it’s as much an inner dialogue as an outer one, as I try to understand things. Thanks for the help. :thumbup:
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Re: still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race

#86  Postby SafeAsMilk » Nov 25, 2019 4:07 pm

Ironclad wrote:Regarding homosexually in the movies, is it important to a story that a character is overt in their sexuality? Why? Are we sure Batman isn't gay? He's bad with girls,

Getting your stereotypes mixed up, gay guys are usually great with girls :mrgreen:

Seriously, the second the frequency of complaints about unnecessary overt heterosexuality in movies begins to approach the complaints about unnecessary overy homosexuality in films, I'll give this even a fractional moment's consideration.


A Premier League football player was asked, on live TV a few years ago, given that there should be many gay football players on the pitch each weekend, how many did he know and why were they not 'coming out'. He appeared to answer frankly, IIRC - "I don't know any and it's never discussed, we go to work, train, then go home to our families. There may be a few, there may be none, but it doesn't appear to be important" - something like that.

I'm not sure "don't ask, don't tell" was ever a great policy. Once homosexuality is truly normalized, ie you aren't hearing hypocritical complaints about overt homosexuality, then I think this will be a sensible position.
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Re: still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race

#87  Postby SafeAsMilk » Nov 25, 2019 4:40 pm

arugula2 wrote:
SafeAsMilk wrote:
So it's arbitrary, but obvious?

I offered two interpretations in that paragraph. You cut one out. That’s the one that’s arbitrary - or seemed arbitrary to me, and I was asking for the basis of it.

So to recap, because your response left it out (so I’m not sure if you saw it), arbitrary would be to distinguish the kind of ‘fan’ that makes specific demands of new interpretations of existing stories, from “true fans” (see your post, to which mine was replying). It’s almost explicit that what you meant by “true fans” are those of us (me included) who are flexible & enjoy the mere fact of divergent interpretations of things. Otherwise things go stale and oppressive, imo. But those other kinds of fans are still fans of the material... I was trying to suss out meaning that wasn’t jumping out at me - but if it was just a normative stance, that’s fine, and I’d get that.

What I fear in discussions about the way the rabble behaves, is the adopting of the methods of the rabble (I mentioned this earlier).

I get this, but I think it's worthwhile to point out that when it comes to the rabble, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If you're going to claim you're the True Fan because you like some specific iteration and some other iteration is a personal betrayal to your childhood or whatever, then it's easy to make the case that you're a fan of that specific thing, not the thing in general, so you've got no basis to claim ownership of it. It's self-defeating.

The classifying of people into neat categories specifically in order to dismiss their arguments, is what the people in question tend to do - not a small reason for why they almost never change their minds about anything. It has two potential downsides, I think. One, it means almost any perspective will tend to be largely dismissed before it is fully considered. Two, the larger trends, the ones that are bigger than individuals, are obviated, and there’s nothing to learn from a situation that’s clearly rich with potential for learning. Individuals may be boring and predictable, but humanity is weird and interesting.

Btw, those two things are predictions, and anyone can test them.

I agree, but again, context for these statements is important. If you can show a person that they're dismissing via categorizing by showing them how they too can be dismissed via categorizing, then I think that is a potential for learning too.

I don't find artists claiming that their version is the best and other people's is garbage particularly helpful or revealing, but more power to you if you can glean anything worthwhile from it.

The container doesn’t really matter, is my point. Even a vain asshat has access to truth, and can sometimes spurt it out. I haven’t seen enough of Moore’s comments to feel like I fully understand his pov... but ya, he’s unsubtle. A misanthrope? (Someone else’s word.) Narrow tastes? I guess so. Doesn’t tell me nearly enough about whether or not his observations are based in actual trends.

Scorsese’s take is obviously nuanced - not thin like the media summaries led me to expect. It made me think. I can look past the masturbation, especially because he acknowledges his tastes are arbitrary. It’s pretty clear he knows that, and is trying to describe a trend. Scorsese’s “version” isn’t really his own, anyway. He seems to be arguing for diversity itself, in a time when cinema is becoming more homogenized:

In the past 20 years, as we all know, the movie business has changed on all fronts. But the most ominous change has happened stealthily and under cover of night: the gradual but steady elimination of risk. Many films today are perfect products manufactured for immediate consumption. Many of them are well made by teams of talented individuals. All the same, they lack something essential to cinema: the unifying vision of an individual artist. Because, of course, the individual artist is the riskiest factor of all. (link)


It’s more generous than what you implied. It’s almost an inversion. It’s a point that gets missed if the container is thrown out because there’s something distasteful about it. But that’s the same point you are apparently trying to make (diversity, and bullocks to narrow-minded fanbois) but from the other side, somehow.

I disagree with you on a number of points, first that the vessel or context is not important. It certainly is in this case, since Scorcese's rants against superhero films ultimately come from his inability to produce his own new film via major studios, instead ending up with Netflix to get it done. It's convenient that he would argue that major studios have changed in a way that's negatively impacted him, and that the change is a bad thing. He simply asks us to accept his claim that cinema is "becoming homogenized", as you put it, and that there's a problem with risk and auteurs. I find it more self-serving than thought-provoking. The makers of superhero films (some of them anyway) certainly do have a vision, and that vision varies from one film to the next, contrary to the claims of people whose complaints seem wholly based on the fact that it features people in costumes with superhuman powers. Instead of whining about superhero stories, maybe Scorcese should try making one that he thinks is actually good, much like Moore did, rather than ironically complaining that Hollywood isn't interested in yet another gangster film. What he's actually doing is categorizing and dismissing, which he can get way with because it's aimed at what's popular right now.
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Re: still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race

#88  Postby BWE » Dec 05, 2019 9:08 pm

BlackBart wrote:Meh. I'll look down on comic book fans when they start shoplifting. :coffee:

I'll look down on shoplifters when housing, food and medicine are guaranteed rights.
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Re: still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race

#89  Postby Fallible » Dec 05, 2019 10:30 pm

Medicine is a guaranteed right. Oh...of course...
She battled through in every kind of tribulation,
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Breaking boundaries and chasing fire.
Oh, my my! Oh my, she flies!
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Re: still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race

#90  Postby BWE » Dec 05, 2019 10:43 pm

I assume you understand my point.
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Re: still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race

#91  Postby Fallible » Dec 05, 2019 10:54 pm

Was there something overly sophisticated about it?
She battled through in every kind of tribulation,
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She never listened to no hater, liar,
Breaking boundaries and chasing fire.
Oh, my my! Oh my, she flies!
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Re: still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race

#92  Postby BWE » Dec 06, 2019 6:35 am

Um... do you like to go to parties?
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Re: still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race

#93  Postby Fallible » Dec 06, 2019 6:59 am

Do you like oranges?
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Re: still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race

#94  Postby Cito di Pense » Dec 06, 2019 10:32 am

BWE wrote:
BlackBart wrote:Meh. I'll look down on comic book fans when they start shoplifting. :coffee:

I'll look down on shoplifters when housing, food and medicine are guaranteed rights.


I think you're overlooking something, here. Most shoplifters are just thrill-seekers. People who actually need what they steal are often (indirectly) chasing stuff to feed a drug habit or habit of some other kind. Other people who actually need what they steal commit burglary and other lower-risk incursions instead of challenging the environs of a shop that has walls and folks to look after the inventory.

The kind of thinking that demands free stuff for anyone and everyone and sanctions shoplifting on that basis has injected some personal meaning into the fact of human existence. Go with God, BWE.
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

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Re: still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race

#95  Postby Hermit » Dec 06, 2019 11:23 am

Cito di Pense wrote:
BWE wrote:
BlackBart wrote:Meh. I'll look down on comic book fans when they start shoplifting. :coffee:

I'll look down on shoplifters when housing, food and medicine are guaranteed rights.

I think you're overlooking something, here. Most shoplifters are just thrill-seekers.

I tried to discover statistics concerning the amount of shoplifting perpetrated by thrill-seekers, but my Google-fu failed me. Can you help? This is what I did find out during my search, though: A third of retail stores' lossage is caused by their own employees. The rest is divided between professional and amateur shoplifters. Professionals steal for profit, amateurs overwhelmingly out of personal need they can not meet with money because they lack it.
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Re: still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race

#96  Postby Cito di Pense » Dec 06, 2019 11:44 am

Hermit wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
BWE wrote:
BlackBart wrote:Meh. I'll look down on comic book fans when they start shoplifting. :coffee:

I'll look down on shoplifters when housing, food and medicine are guaranteed rights.

I think you're overlooking something, here. Most shoplifters are just thrill-seekers.

I tried to discover statistics concerning the amount of shoplifting perpetrated by thrill-seekers, but my Google-fu failed me. Can you help? This is what I did find out during my search, though: A third of retail stores' lossage is caused by their own employees. The rest is divided between professional and amateur shoplifters. Professionals steal for profit, amateurs overwhelmingly out of personal need they can not meet with money because they lack it.


You cite no sources, so I have no means of discovering what amateur shoplifters demonstrate they need. Probably stuff like nappies and baby formula and kiddy toys, amirite? Some people shouldn't have kids. Amirite? They're forced to have kids they can't support because mean people take away their family planning options. Amirite? What a thrill, to have kids you can't support.

If employees of retail stores are responsible for substantial lossage, it must be because of how well-paid they are by WalMart. Amirite? If we call it "need", then that's what we call it. I don't call that "shoplifiting". I call it "sticking it to da Man", but that's just a thrill and a half. Let's just say that when folks collect statistics on this kind of stuff, nothing is documented very well, unless you're happy if you can just cite a statistic.
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Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race

#97  Postby Hermit » Dec 06, 2019 12:48 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
Hermit wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
BWE wrote:
I'll look down on shoplifters when housing, food and medicine are guaranteed rights.

I think you're overlooking something, here. Most shoplifters are just thrill-seekers.

I tried to discover statistics concerning the amount of shoplifting perpetrated by thrill-seekers, but my Google-fu failed me. Can you help? This is what I did find out during my search, though: A third of retail stores' lossage is caused by their own employees. The rest is divided between professional and amateur shoplifters. Professionals steal for profit, amateurs overwhelmingly out of personal need they can not meet with money because they lack it.

You cite no sources...

Funny you should mention that. :mrgreen:
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Re: still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race

#98  Postby The_Piper » Dec 06, 2019 1:57 pm

Fallible wrote:Do you like oranges?

I like turtles.
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Re: still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race

#99  Postby BlackBart » Dec 06, 2019 2:24 pm

BWE wrote:
BlackBart wrote:Meh. I'll look down on comic book fans when they start shoplifting. :coffee:

I'll look down on shoplifters when housing, food and medicine are guaranteed rights.


Blissfully unaware of the context then?
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Re: still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race

#100  Postby Cito di Pense » Dec 06, 2019 2:39 pm

Hermit wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
Hermit wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
I think you're overlooking something, here. Most shoplifters are just thrill-seekers.

I tried to discover statistics concerning the amount of shoplifting perpetrated by thrill-seekers, but my Google-fu failed me. Can you help? This is what I did find out during my search, though: A third of retail stores' lossage is caused by their own employees. The rest is divided between professional and amateur shoplifters. Professionals steal for profit, amateurs overwhelmingly out of personal need they can not meet with money because they lack it.

You cite no sources...

Funny you should mention that. :mrgreen:


For shit and grins like this, Hermit, you can find a link to support any opinion you like:

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/re ... cle625886/

You don't even have to read the article, which is a waste of time; the text of the link tells a story in itself.
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