Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

September 22, 2017

Different Day, Same Old Dumb Array Of Arguments

If you spend any significant amount of time on the comics internet, I recommend reading this article and this twitter thread. That paints a decent picture of the latest round of fan-harassment buzzing around, an indictment of a specific person using elements of how social media is set up to direct attention at targets of their criticism.

While it's necessary to discuss this, and awful implications, it's not a new or radical story: small-c conservative reactions have been ongoing since fan pen hit fan paper, and many of them curdle and give expression to the worst elements of social interaction. There's also an element of giving power over to something like this that makes it tricky to negotiate. Are you exposing something or giving it oxygen?

I guess you could argue that something about the method used might be worthy of note for those tracking on-line rhetorical maneuvers. The idea of targeting people for other people to harass, like the fascist version of bum language scratched onto digital fence posts, might seem novel until you realize how many times on-line criticism works like this as a matter of course. One might find similarly compelling the notion that a slew of wholly discredited ideas about the nature of today's culture have been married here to a self-entitled position, built dishonestly and also discredited, regarding what comics should be and shouldn't be. I don't. It's a marriage of convenience; pushing old, boring, logic-deficient arguments near one another doesn't make them true.

I don't know how anyone has the time to complain so desperately about a forced, strained and wholly self-serving snapshot of corporate entertainment except for that last part, maybe: rallying a bunch of grimly like-minded souls into agreement, a few people you don't like into noticing you, a few dollars socked away in a downloadable account. If it's possible to check out of the affair entirely, or nearly so, maybe we still should -- with the exception that any harassment is toxic and wrong, period, and should engender our best, focused, eyes-open action in direct response. I'm open to those ideas wholeheartedly.
posted 1:35 am PST | Permalink

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