Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Flame On!

Allow me to tell a story. Two weeks ago, Kalinara posted an open letter to guys about what she wanted, which was basically that female characters be written with the same depth and respect as male characters. It was neat, respectful, entertaining, and I agreed with it 100%. I believe my entire response at the time was "woot."

Then, at about the thirtieth comment, along comes James Meeley. James has a blogger profile, but doesn't have a blog of his own (as far as I can tell, he had at least two, but both have shuttered. Anyone know what that is about?) Anyway, not having a space of his own, James uses the comments page as an open forum to tell "feminist comic fans" that they "need to remember" that their, ugh, "impatience" hurts the cause of feminism by turning "people" off.

Let me take a moment to say that disliking feminists for their impatience is like hating the homeless for being hungry. You dick.

James doesn't help his case by peppering his comment with wonderfully condescending phrases like "This is just a little something you should keep in mind."

Well, Chris and Ragnell weren't going to stand for that, and after trying to engage him on Kalinara's thread, Ragnell took it to her own blog to bring the little cretin to the light of day.

Only, she does something interesting. She removes her name, as well as James's, and ask us, her audience, to judge them both knowing only what they wrote, in its entirety. This is where I enter the story. I call it like I saw it (and you can read it for yourself if you'd like.)

And, without knowing which is which, pretty much everyone agrees that James was in the wrong and Ragnell, while maybe a bit too snarky, was in the right. But there's one guy who doesn't think James said anything that terrible, and thinks that it was Ragnell's dismissive tone that really turned the whole thing into a snarkfest. And I would have thought "well, that's more forgiving than I would have been" and not thought about it again.

Until he takes a second post to call me out, by NAME, for suggesting that James, and I quote "is some serial killer of kids on death row, not someone who had an opinion you disagree with."

Guh, wha? I actually had to go back to re-read what I wrote. What I actually said was that Chris and Ragnell's comments were "a little aggressive... but, as we'll see below, he [James] deserves what he gets." I thought the meaning was pretty clear and pretty mild.

James's defender read that as "he gets what he deserves," (which is subtly but meaningfully different) which somehow immediately translates into "he's Ted Bundy and needs to DIE!"

Who could do that? Who could say there was nothing offensive in James's post, which let me remind you separates out "feminist comic book fans" from "normal comic book fans," but saw death threats in mine? Who is that desperate to start a fight?

Why it's James Meeley!

Yes, that's right, classy guy that he is, James Meeley defended himself in the third person as if he were someone else entirely.

Now, Ragnell hid her part of the conversation too, but she NEVER defended herself, and even engaged in strong self-critique by suggesting her comments were the result of a hair trigger.

Once again, Chris steps in with a pithy bon-mot that calls James on his asshole-ness. Not being the wit that Chris is, I actually call James on it directly, call him on misquoting me and taking offense at phantoms in the air, and try to explain to him what I found offensive, because he obviously found nothing offensive at all.

I don't know what button I hit. But clearly it was labeled "MELTDOWN." He goes off the rails. He flat out refuses to engage the actual debate (with the fantastically patronizing "well that's your opinion,") before going on misquote me, again, taunt me for "backtracking and apologizing" (I had done neither), malaprop "alliteration," claim immunity from criticism from anyone but Kalinara (who was, in fact, criticizing him, but he wasn't responding to her, either) then explicitly equates feminists with SUPERVILLAINS! On a feminist, superhero comics blog!

WOW!

The comments go on. I think I acquit myself well (though Jenn and Anonymous do an even better job) and you get to learn about Terry Long, but my point is...

Who does that? No really. What did he think was going to happen after saying something like that? How could it possibly help his case that he DID support feminism but didn't support their methods? Did he think he was going to have ANY credibility after defending himself in the third person? It's moronic.

I'd say he was just being an asshole to get attention, but you know what? It's way, way beyond that. It's so assholish that it becomes counter-productive. He becomes like a practice dummy for feminist writers. The targets on him are so large you could hit them blind-folded and drunk (which I assume is the state Chris actually blogs in).

So, James, if you're reading, I invite you to post a response on my blog. You seem to be blogless right now (no really, what is up with that?) and might need a space to vent your charming blend of paternalism and homophobia. Your lovely wife Heidi can comment as well. I'd love to hear your opinions on the new Batwoman, the use of rape in comics, minority superheroes, and other topics of interest.

I could use the punching bag.

18 comments:

Lea said...

I'm glad to see the opinion that Meeley's a jackass (which I formed in January) has been confirmed.

Anonymous said...

Dear Steven,

Well put sir. I also commented
briefly on Ragnell's site, and
was astonished by the fact that
young James separated women comic
book readers from "regular" comic
book readers. I'm sorry, but this
REALLY gets my goat! I may be an
old lady, but I have the entire
run of "Preacher" for heaven's
sake!

Back to the kitchen for me.

SallyP

furikku said...

Ahh, the grand tradition of sockpuppets, in which a person uses alternate, anonymous accounts to aggrandize himself.

The guy seems entirely too emotionally wrapped-up in the argument to be reasonable. Although his malapropism was painfully hilarious.

Sally P said...

Hey Steven,

Thank you for an excellent post.
I really do hope that James has
calmed down by now. Frankly I'm
still laughing over it. What
astonished me...other than not
equating women with "regular" comic book fans...Grrrrr, was that
he just kept getting in deeper and deeper. All his frenzied attempts
to excuse his original posts just
kept making it worse! Equating
feminists with pizza toppings
and supervillains? Oh THAT'S
going to make it so much better!

Jenn said...

Great re-cap of the drama... I really would love to hear why James thought he could get away with the third person thing -- it was really kind of pathetic when you think about it. Why not just shut up and wait 'til it's all over -- why feel the need to advocate for yourself IN THE THIRD PERSON??

But ultimately, I think James genuinely believes feminist comic readers are ruining "his experience" (with all the male privilege that would entail). I have a similar friend who is fairly progressive, but thinks of comics as a nearly sacred entity -- that is sullied by discussion of identity politics.

Or maybe James really is just a blogless attention whore.

markus said...

meeley used to run
http://thecomicasylum.blogspot.com/
and famously objected to the gay agenda at display in Young Avengers (should be issue 6 or 7 where the latter was printed.)
IIRC he claims to run/work out a comics story in a less enlightened area (Texas?) and framed it all as concern over customers. Later exchanges showed that his own attitudes could be described as somewhat prehistoric as well.

Philip said...

Wow, what a cheap shot.

James' comments were dumb, but dragging up the matter weeks later to show off how superior you are isn't exactly commendable. Ragnell's approach of debating the issue and not letting it get into personal attack is probably the better way to go. It's your blog of course, you can do what you want, but I'd prefer to see you take the high road in cases like this.

Anonymous said...

This is the most hilarious thing I've read today. You are to be congratulated, sir, for your delicious summary for those of us who weren't around to be entertained.

Kris (badficwriter at livejournal)

Steven said...

uh, Philip, I posted this 2 days after the dust-up on Ragnell's blog. Not weeks.

And if you want to talk about my superior attitude, I guess you missed the post entitled I AM A GIGANTIC MORON.

But you know what? It IS a cheap shot. James Meeley was being an insufferable ass who only managed to dig himself deeper with every post, and since more people read posts than comments, I wanted more people to know about it.

So what? I like cheap shots. I don't know why you think I'd care about what you prefer. If you don't like assholes being called assholes in public, there's the door. You can get a full refund from the ticket counter.

NEXT!

(Everyone else, thanks for the kind words)

Philip said...

Why would you care? No idea. Common courtesy maybe? You do post comments on other blogs. Debating an issue rather than attacking people maintains a sense of decorum. If you can't see the value of this then I really feel sorry for you and I hope you never take this attitude into a situation where it could be used against you.

Steven said...

Y'know what? We're taking this to a new post. See you on front page.

Roland Dodds said...

This James character is a genius! I bet he gets more traffic now than I ever have! I should start a flame war too.

Al said...

I've been following the Meeley dust-up because it's fun to watch idiots have meltdowns and then get smacked by the world, and I for one appreciate the summary of ...y'know, Meeley's entire history of hateability. The funny thing is, I remember the homophobic email from YA #3 and that totally pissed me off too. I had no idea it was the same guy. If Meeley can handle two or three more incredibly annoying flamewars, he might get up there with John Byrne for hilarious lameness.

(And seriously, his self-promotion skills are peerless. Except for the part where he deleted his blog. I totally visited it, though.)

Steven said...

Until he deleted his blog, I totally thought it was a brilliant Brer Rabbit-esque stunt. But it turns out he was a) serious and b) an idjit.

Jason, which hermit-crab like inhabited the abandoned domain-name (and the inherited linkage) to promote Postcards, now HE is a genius.

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