Mass Hypnosis

I recently saw a television commercial for the latest episode of a popular show. It featured a lady who had just awakened from a coma of several years. The star of the show was filling her in on events that she had missed. The star says, “And Donald Trump is the President.” The lady tentatively asks, “President . . . of what?” The star replies carefully, “The . . . United . . . States . . .” Without missing a beat, the lady says, “I wanna go back in the coma.” Of course, it wasn’t that long ago that the idea of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States was completely ridiculous. It wasn’t even a consideration; nor should it have been.

There are some people who are so incredibly good at what they do that we can easily overlook the ugliest flaws in their characters. Others are so sweetly charismatic that we can turn a blind eye to steep canyons of ineptitude. Donald Trump doesn’t fit into either of those categories. Whether he’s praising the virtues of murderous Neo-Nazis, denigrating and persecuting refugees from “shit hole countries”, or simply fabricating “alternative facts” to demean a perceived enemy, Donald Trump is a true anomaly.

I’ve written before about Donald Trump’s blatant racism, sexism, xenophobia and general disregard for the truth. But, perhaps even more confounding than the man himself, are his supporters. These are people who will seemingly believe any un-researched, poorly presented fallacy that falls from Donald Trump’s mouth . . . without question.

Imagine, for example, that a reporter was filming me as I sit writing this very essay. Then imagine the same person posting their footage on a news outlet, commenting on the fact that he or she had recorded me during the writing process. At that point, I would respond by stating, “I wasn’t writing anything! That’s not even me! That’s fake news!” Now, the response from the, rightfully shaken, reporter would surely be, “But, Trevor . . . I was right there with you. We can all clearly see what you’re doing.” But the kicker is when 46% of the American population then chime in to support me and denigrate the reporter, who had done nothing more than his or her job. What kind of mass hypnosis does that require?  Donald Trump gets away with exactly this on an almost daily basis. And he is fully supported in this madness by otherwise sane and intelligent people. That’s not just scary; it’s surreal.

The closest comparison that I can recall would be Adolph Hitler in Nazi Germany. Hitler was about 5’2” and slightly pudgy. He had dark hair and eyes, a mustache so comical that it’s become iconic (Trump’s hair?), and a skin complexion that clearly revealed that he was anything but “Pure White”. Yet, somehow, Hitler was able to use fear-mongering, half-truths and outright lies (Fox News, anyone?) to talk fellow Germans into hating Jewish people so much that they were okay with forcing Jews into Concentration Camps and putting them into gas chambers and ovens, among other things. Hitler touted a Master Race of blond haired, blue eyed, athletic intellectuals. And they obeyed his every word with full knowledge that he could never fit in among them in any way. That sounds like true mass hypnosis; a hive-mind mentality that went way too far. Hopefully, things in America don’t get that far out of hand.

Of course, any Trump supporter who reads this will inevitably respond with: “What about Obama?” or “Didn’t Hillary Clinton assassinate Lincoln?” or some other such nonsense. Their powers of denial and deflection are honed to almost the same razor-sharp level as Donald Trump himself. And the longer you engage with a Trump supporter, the more they start to sound exactly like him. They throw unsupported statements at you like poisonous darts and lose their tempers when you disprove those same statements with properly researched facts. And, if you happen to be online, that’s when the insults come. I saw a post recently that read: “The internet has made most of you comfortable with saying things that you would normally get punched in the mouth for, without consequence.” That statement fits this discussion perfectly. Many of these individuals will denigrate your intelligence, question your patriotism and even threaten violence in the vilest, most vulgar terms. Others go straight to the same racist and/ or sexist rhetoric that Donald Trump has made acceptable. There are no moral boundaries when it comes to “Making America Great Again”.

And what does that even mean? “Make America Great Again” implies that we need to be transported backward to some undefined Golden Age. What period of American History would that be? Is it Slavery, when African-Americans were considered 3/5 of a human being and no better than livestock? Maybe that’s too harsh. The Jim Crow era was much better, wasn’t it? Is it the Trail of Tears, when Native Americans were forcibly robbed of their dignity as well as their way of life? Maybe it was during World War II, when Japanese-Americans were forced from their homes and into Internment Camps. It was also around that same time period that colleges and universities set quotas on the number of Jewish people that they would accept. And let’s not forget that it wasn’t until 1920 that the 19th Amendment finally allowed women to vote. So, People of Color and women are very curious. Just where are you trying to take us, Mr. President? Those great times you recall . . . were never so great for us. No hypnosis . . .

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The Court Of Public Opinion

In today’s world culture, I am often reminded of the Charles Bukowski quote: “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.” I believe whole-heartedly that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, there is nothing . . . nothing . . . not one thing on this Earth . . . that entitles all of those opinions to an audience.  In fact, some of them don’t even deserve to be considered more than once. We have somehow, mistakenly, come to the conclusion that every opinion carries equal weight and validity.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

With the advent of the internet, we now have the ability to create websites, post blogs and publish books.  We can post our thoughts, feelings and treasured images instantaneously to myriad social media sites 24 hours a day.  But, when it comes to sifting through the vast fields of wheat and chaff that compose internet chatter, there’s an important question that most of us neglect to ask.  What are these opinions based on?  Is it education . . . work experience . . .  life experience?  What makes any of this information worth reading, let alone valid?  A large portion of these people have absolutely no idea of what they speak.  Over time, the internet has rapidly become the broad platform for idiotic diatribes.  A large majority of us . . . readily accept this status quo.

An opinion based on nothing can be a shallow, worthless thing to force on someone.  In the judicial system, they have what is called an “expert witness”.  That person is called to testify because of his or her specific knowledge, gained through education, career experience or other expertise.  They don’t just call in any idiot off the street to make that testimony.  They call on an “expert”.  They want to hear facts. I don’t recall the author of this quote, but it definitely further clarifies my meaning: “Every opinion does not matter. Every person deserves life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but they do not get to draw their insanity on the public debate in crayon and assume it matters. That’s for others to decide. The elements of persuasion keyed to factual debate are far more important than opinion because facts actually get us closer to answers than lies do.” – Unknown

Now, I’m not saying that a college degree or long career is a prerequisite to expressing yourself.  Many people are well-read, intelligent and constantly immersing themselves in various subjects.  I, personally, have two art degrees, but have earned nearly as much with writing and self-publishing as I have with illustration and graphic design.  If you have watched pro wrestling on TV four nights a week for ten years, you know quite a bit about wrestling.  You don’t have to ever have stepped into a ring for anyone to listen to you.  On the other hand, your extensive collection of Jet Li and Tony Jaa movies doesn’t in any way trump my years of being slammed on mats and sparring with partners.  Perspective is key.

It seems that logging onto the internet gives some people instant expertise in everything.  They rant, hypothesize, hyperbolize and outright lie to anyone who will listen.  If you have strong feelings . . . feel them.  If you think deeply . . . dive right in.  Just keep that madness to yourself, if you don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve heard people, when they couldn’t think of any other reason to trash a movie, say: “The editing was horrible.”  I stand there thinking: “What in the name of God do you know about movie editing? You just wanted to complain about something right?”  That and the ever-present “plot holes that you don’t want to expound upon” will end a conversation with me quickly.  More often than not, you just weren’t paying attention or went to the restroom at the wrong time, Mr. Spielberg.

No, having an ill-formed idea and a broad platform do not reserve you the right to beat me about the head and face with the club of your ignorance. Go and live.  Study something . . . anything.  Then we can talk.  Or don’t do any of that.  After all, this is all just my opinion . . .

 

Now That We’re Together

It was something that “civilian” moviegoers and television viewers had never imagined.  They couldn’t even conceive of the options that lay just beyond the horizon, once the floodgates were opened.  But those of us, who had read and studied comic books and the various worlds contained therein, had fully understood the joys and possibilities of the shared universe for decades.  However, even we had no idea that any of them would ever be reproduced on screen in any significant way.  Yet, here we are, in the 21st Century, enjoying the fruits of the labor of several highly creative individuals.

Marvel has its MCU, Netflix shows and even television shows that tie-in to varying degrees.  DC Comics has the DCEU and — fitting their personality — in an alternate universe, there’s the CW Network’s “Arrowverse”, a shared universe unto itself.   Long gone are the days when we tuned in to the weekly adventures of a hero and had to pretend that he or she was an anomaly in their universe.  Special effects notwithstanding, probably the hardest things to watch today in George Reeves’ Superman, Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman or Lou Ferrigno’s Incredible Hulk (and I love them all) is the fact that these incredibly powerful heroes were limited to battling Earthbound, powerless criminals.  Each was the only powered entity in their respective universe and, in many cases, they ended up stopping the bank robbers and terrorists that Batman and Captain America would have already taken down.  So, of course, that lead to the title characters being remarkably “powered down” in their series as compared to their comic book counterparts.  Wonder Woman had no powers out of costume and couldn’t even fly. The Hulk died after falling from a plane that exploded in the air.  Yeah . . .

However, there are other, not so obvious, tropes that really need to be abandoned in the age of the Shared Universe.  First, I think we can all agree that it’s well past time to move beyond the premise that the protagonist is crazy.  The one thing that I truly disliked about Marvel’s Defenders Netflix series was their treatment of Daredevil.  Every other hero had a supporting cast that offered . . . well . . . “support”.  Matt Murdock spent much of his time trying to explain himself to Foggy and Karen, who acted like they had no idea where poor Matt was getting his delusions.  What!?!  They’ve seen aliens falling from the sky and being fought back by Captain America, Thor, the Hulk and various others.  Tony Stark stated on TV that he was Iron Man and Black Widow was on TV giving out SHIELD secrets after they stopped HYDRA.  They know superheroes exist. And let’s be real, Matt Murdock is a blind man who can navigate the world better than either Foggy or Karen ever dreamed and fight like he walked out of an action movie.  Why do they think he’s any crazier than, say . . . Iron Fist?  People in the real world (our world) don’t dress in spandex or body armor and chase criminals, but, in that reality, it’s obviously something that certain people do.  After a while, I started wondering what was wrong with Foggy and Karen.

I’ve seen a therapist attempt to denigrate Oliver Queen on the Arrow TV show in the same manner.  Likewise, it used to add humor when the Joker would tell Batman that they were both crazy because Batman dressed like a giant bat.  Now, it’s getting old.  It was so refreshing when Black Lightning firmly told his ex-wife that he wasn’t fixating on anything, he had powers and he was going to use them to stop the rampant crime in their city. Then he moved on and did just that. When there is so much evidence that there’s a history of normalizing said behavior, it’s actually sillier to constantly compare their world to our world.  And that doesn’t even speak to the number of powerful villains that are now being used and have to be confronted by someone other than the police. I’m not saying there needs to be a crossover or cameo every other episode.  But this is something that certain people do in these realities.  It may be time for writers to move on.

On a similar note, the significant others, bosses, coworkers, best friends, etc. who actually know that these people are out there saving the world . . . or the city . . . or even just a few blocks yet somehow can’t quite understand that they may need to be excused from a mundane act or two have to be written better.  They’re not providing a real-world dilemma.  They just look really . . . extremely selfish.  The sun is about to crash into the Earth and Becky Sue is asking: “But . . . what about me? You promised we could have some time.”  Seriously!?!  And don’t even get me started on: “I won’t be here when you get back.” Yeah, well if that bomb blows up half the city, you probably won’t. So, what do you really want your hero to be doing with his or her time?

And, lastly, can we stop killing off major villains?  Honestly, I believe killing off major characters, in general, can be a sign of lazy writers running out of ideas.  But I’m just focusing on villains here.  I know that a lot of people feel that it adds realism for the antagonist to meet a bloody, final defeat.  However, as a former prison employee, I’d have to ask . . . what planet is that?  Prisons are packed to the limits and are one of the surest sources of job security (. . . if you can handle the internal politics).  The bad guys ain’t dying off, people.  (Zod’s death in Man of Steel served a purpose, but is the rare exception.)  Part of what makes the Joker so cool is that you never know when he’s coming back or what he’ll have planned when he does.  His psychosis grows with every appearance and it’s like he’s trying to top himself.  And, as powerful as Killmonger’s death was in Black Panther, imagine knowing that he was always out there . . . threatening the throne . . . trying to advance an ideology that’s actually shared by a large number of people.

The best bad guys aren’t used often, but it’s almost an event when they return.  And most of them can’t be defeated the same way twice.  It just takes a little more creativity that way.  Be blessed . . .

MOST OF YOU ARE FAKER THAN WRESTLING

WWE . . . Lucha Underground . . . New Japan Pro Wrestling . . . Ring of Honor . . . Impact Wrestling . . . Yes, I follow them all to varying degrees. I started watching Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling on Saturday nights, here in NC, when I was about 5 years old (circa 1976) and haven’t really stopped for any significant amount of time since then. I did stop watching shortly after Ricky Steamboat’s retirement in 1994, only to come back in early 1996 in time for the “Monday Night Wars”.  The first reality TV show that I ever watched was WWE Tough Enough, an early look behind the curtain. By the way, the only other one I’ll watch is UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter. But the point is, I’ve seen a bit of the science behind the magic.

Still, when I mention that I’m a fan and get the response from many of you: “I can’t believe you watch that fake stuff”, it tends to irritate me a little.  First, if you choose not to watch it, that’s your choice but it doesn’t elevate you or devalue me as a person. It’s a choice. Secondly, yes, it’s predetermined. They go in knowing who’s supposed to win, but they have a multitude of pathways to arrive at that destination. Unlike a movie or TV show, the words scripted or choreographed don’t apply, because there’s no script; no director to yell “cut” to restart, if there’s a mistake; and no stunt doubles for the hard parts.  Plus, if I were to hit you full force in the face with a steel chair or club you across your shoulders with my forearm, the sensation you felt would be all too real.  All the blood is real. They suffer major, sometimes life-threatening, injuries. There have been deaths.  So, I’m guessing “fake” is relative.

However, I tend to sense major pretentiousness from those with whom I discuss this topic. I once worked teaching silk screening to people with developmental disabilities.  One of my “consumers”, who was a huge wrestling fan, asked my direct supervisor whether she enjoyed watching. Her response: “No. I’m way too intelligent for that”.  (Now, a side note here.  This has always been a pet peeve for me. If you are truly an intelligent person, people will know you are. I was an honor student all through grade school and college. And I never once had to wear a sign or sport a T-shirt to advertise my prowess. End rant.)  A simple “no” would have been more than sufficient; especially when I could name half a dozen other shows that she did watch that are probably still killing brain cells to this day.

And on that note, unless you only watch news and weather, EVERYTHING you watch on TV is fake.  Reality TV is fake . . . Prime Time television is fake . . . Netflix shows are fake . . . and don’t even get me started on boxing . . . At least the WWE tells the competitors up front that the fights are fixed.  And I’m waiting for one more “impossible comeback” or “unfortunate call” in a Super Bowl or NBA Playoff before I completely stop watching those.  As a writer, I’m big on suspension of disbelief and those setups have been horrible lately.

Lastly, I’ve heard the argument that they’re taught “how to fall”.  Well, I started in Judo and Jiu-Jitsu in 2001 and the first thing I was had to master was Ukemi, the art of falling.  In fact, it’s very similar to what professional wrestlers learn.  Likewise, I have a stronger respect for wrestlers who display a stronger knowledge of grappling and throws.  But the bottom line is that many of you, who question the validity of the showcase, would suffer greatly in an exhibition. It’s not a “real fight” but it’s probably more than you think.  Be blessed . . .

Beggar’s Nation

Have you ever denied the sincere request of a small child?  Fairly soon thereafter, you probably heard him or her say in confusion, “But I said ‘please’.”   And then, you had to explain to that developing, young mind that you don’t get extra credit for doing what you’re supposed to do.  That’s just a part of life here on planet Earth.

Having grown up as an African-American male in America, I often scrutinize our collective history; past and recent.  It seems that there has always been a concerted effort to deprive us of things that should never have been denied in any logical sense.  And once there is any progress at all toward gaining or regaining said footholds, we, collectively, are to feel . . . grateful?  Be it freedom from slavery or the grips of Jim Crow . . . or gaining the right to vote  . . . or striving for the right to keep breathing after a “routine” traffic stop . . . there has been — and still remains — a lot to overcome.  And, be it through marches, gatherings, legislation, documentaries, or my writing these very words . . . it seems an accepted thing that people of color are constantly asking for — actively seeking — things that should already have been ours ages ago.  I have even heard it stated more than once that we are “always asking for something”.

I was recently sitting in the office of the Superintendent of my last job, listening to him explain to me how I should be grateful that he had chosen not to take disciplinary action against me for missing work, due to legitimate illnesses . . . with all the necessary documentation.  He was telling me how I owed “The Institution” something.  I could only sit there thinking: “Well, thanks, Easter Bunny, for doing what the Hell you’re supposed to do”.  That was the day that I resigned, as opposed to being bullied into something that was detrimental to my health and well-being.  But why should I have been grateful for receiving what I was due?  I didn’t even have some of those medical conditions prior to the wear-and-tear of working at the prison for so many years.

Likewise, I’ve written previously about working as a civilian in a Georgia police department.  My Sergeant at that time would become visibly upset whenever I handed him the paperwork for the civilian holidays to which I — and every civilian employee — was entitled.  Again, I wasn’t asking for anything extra, it was just a formality to give him paperwork for days that were already mine.  To this day, I have no idea why it even bothered him so much.  What bothers me is yet another example of my having to humbly request something that was, technically, already mine anyway.  And putting up with unwarranted, disrespectful attitudes in the process is never a welcome addition.

I can recall a particular call, during my time with that department.  I had been dispatched to a burglary at a lower income, Hispanic household.  My Spanish has always been basic, but a neighbor volunteered to translate for me, which was a major blessing.  However, my point is what she said to me as I was leaving. She thanked me for being respectful and listening to them.  Now, with no frame of reference for her previous experiences, all that I could do was assure her that it had been no problem.  But, the only reason that day still resonates with me, is because she felt the need to thank me for treating them like everyone should have treated them; like people.  Her sincere gratitude was almost saddening.

But it speaks to where we are as humans.  We repeat so much history because no one has paid enough attention to learn anything from it.  We are still demonstrating and protesting for the same things, often in the same ways.  And many of those who aren’t standing in direct opposition . . . are just missing the point.  As a wise man once said, “Justice too long delayed is justice denied”.  Be blessed . . .

Self-Respect

Although to many of you it was ages ago, I can still recall becoming an Art Design major at North Carolina A&T State University, circa 1991.  I had left the restrictive world of Architectural Engineering and was looking forward finally being able to fully utilize my full creative capacity among people who really understood me.  Most credits transferred, a few didn’t.   But I still remembered how to draw and paint and I was looking forward to my studio classes.  Ironically, the place where I should have felt most comfortable was also where I would continue to feel academic alienation.

I would constantly see non-art majors expressing their joy at taking art classes because it would be an “easy A”.  Mind you, none of these people could draw flies on a hot summer’s day, but they were enraptured all the same.  And once we were all in class together, I could finally see why.  I was up nights, working my butt off, to get proper perspective, foreshortening and proportions.  And after some nit-picky critique, I might earn a B+.  Ms. Non-Major would then stroll up, and because she had added arms and eyes to her stick figure, she would be gifted with an A+, based on improvement.  So, not only was she taught not to respect our craft, but I still had to do actual work to obtain A’s in English, History or anything else.  I was an A student.  I didn’t beg anyone for anything.  And there was my own department giving away our dignity like candy corn on Halloween night.

By 1994, I had matriculated and moved on to the Savannah College of Art & Design’s Sequential Art program.  I thought that would be it . . . An art mentality from every quarter . . .  Serious dedication . . . And in many ways I was right.  But Graphic Design and Video were among several majors that don’t require drawing.  However, it’s advisable for Video majors to become familiar with storyboarding, which is akin to drawing for graphic novels.  Many of these students had zero drawing experience and even less confidence in what they were committing to paper.  So, once again, I witnessed the “grading on improvement” model that essentially left studio classes with two grading scales.  It wasn’t quite as extreme, but, considering that we were all attending an art college, it got pretty ridiculous at times.

And while I was attending SCAD, it became glaringly evident that the comic book industry would be following suit with a version of the same behavior.  Comic book companies at that time were notorious for possessing the most nit-picky, shrouded in mystery, elitist process for acquiring talent that anyone had ever seen.  You could be buying a book for months and know for a fact that the artist drawing it was nowhere near your level of talent.  And the answer you would probably get upon showing your work would be: “But they know he can meet a deadline”.  As if he were born meeting deadlines; at some point, someone gave him an opportunity and he proved himself.  That’s how they knew he could meet a deadline.  It wasn’t magic.

But the insult to injury would be when top artists from other genres (novels, movies, video games, etc.) request entry into the comic book industry, they are ushered in untested and without question.  Now don’t get me wrong, some of my favorite works have come from the minds of Brad Meltzer, Greg Rucka, J. Michael Straczynski and Joss Wheadon.  But there is nothing about being highly successful in another medium that says you’ll automatically be successful in comics.  “But they LOVE comics!” you say.  Well, so do all those highly talented writers and artists who get turned away every day, while Batman and the X-Men et al. get drawn by people who shouldn’t be allowed to sharpen pencils, let alone get paid monthly to draw with them.

And here’s the kicker . . . even the top, most elite creators in comics don’t get a free pass into other genres because of their status within their own field.   Not one traditional publisher or movie studio has ever said, “I know your skill, here’s a blank check to our world.”  There are several movies I can think of that would have been much better had that been the case.  But even with full knowledge that the concept would never have existed and no one else would ever have known where to take those characters for 100 plus issues, a studio will take control completely out of a creator’s hands and never blink. And don’t even think that the fact that the collected edition of your Vertigo series is a top seller will get you a deal for your novel.  It won’t; not by itself anyway.  I may not be enjoying the sales of any major publisher at the moment.  But as a self-publisher, I can publisher what I want, the way that I want, at my own pace.  And it’s consistently in print for whoever wants to see it.  http://www.infinitecreator.webs.com Be blessed . . .

Until Her Darkness Goes

Wow! I was thoroughly engrossed in this work.  From the first sentence to the last, I was completely invested in what happened to Rachael and Nicky.  It was like I knew them. They were close friends and I felt their losses. I was overjoyed at their successes.  I couldn’t side with one or the other when they disagreed or argued.  They were my friends and I loved them both. I could understand them both completely.  I was equally engrossed in their other relationships and their world.

This is a testament to the skill with which, author, Rana Kelly presents these characters and their world.  She is obviously a voice that deserves a much, much wider audience.  Maya Angelou once said that “easy reading is damned hard writing”.  And, if that is truly the case, Rana Kelly definitely puts in the labor to make her pages easily digestible. The dialogue is realistic, the settings are fully fleshed out and every character seems to be standing right in the room with the reader. Likewise, the business jargon doesn’t sound like someone just did research and wants to drop the proper terms onto the page. It reads as though real professionals are discussing their work under normal circumstances. I can’t say enough about the talent of this author.

Until Her Darkness Goes was presented to me as a “Rock Novel”.  But I have always felt that such labels are often limiting.  I know that they can be necessary for marketing or even to ensure sales in certain genres.  However, this book is a prime example of a work that presents characters that are fully relatable to anyone who appreciates strong characterization.  They just happen to work within a specific industry.  I personally have an interest in the music industry, but even if you don’t, you will find a lot to love about this book.  I cannot recommend it enough. I loved every page.

THE RACE OF POLITICS

“I hate you. It’s not because of anything you’ve ever said or done. It’s not even because of you as a person; as I don’t really know you or anything about you. I just despise you for the pigmentation of your skin.  So, you can never do anything to fix it or make it right.  Oh . . . and I hate your parents and all of your kids too.”  No matter how tolerant or sympathetic you are . . . No matter how close you’ve been to a person . . . No matter whom you’ve dated or how long you’ve been married to someone . . . You can never truly know the full effect of these sentiments until they have been aimed directly at you by a sincerely devout individual; especially if you live that reality daily.

Of course, life isn’t that straightforward.  I actually have more respect for a person who’s honest enough to just admit what he or she is — even if their beliefs are repulsive.  But what usually happens is that school districts are designed separately but unequally; laws that negatively affect the poor and people of color get pushed through; or Presidential Cabinets are filled with men who have ties to White Nationalism (which anybody with a brain knows means White Racism).  What happens is our country elects a President who has full, open support from the Ku Klux Klan . . . and makes countless racist remarks in public . . . while campaigning . . . and we rationalize that decision.  And it wouldn’t be quite so glaringly ridiculous if we as a country had not passed over the single most qualified candidate of any sex or race to ever run for President (and no, there’s no arguing that point), for the least qualified, least knowledgeable candidate to ever run. And that person is an open and unapologetic racist, sexist, narcissistic bully.

Now, I’m not misguided enough to believe that everyone who voted for Donald Trump is a fellow racist and/ or sexist.  But it’s obvious that his racism and sexism weren’t repulsive enough to your collective sensibilities for you not to vote for him. In fact, I was online prior to the election and read a post from one individual, stating that he felt that Trump’s shortcomings “didn’t affect national security the way that Clinton’s would”.  One could easily extrapolate that statement to mean that Trump’s biases didn’t affect him or his life.  At any rate, any serious look at the inept and delusional methods of the current administration will quickly call that individual’s line of thinking immediately into question.  There obviously has been a rather large effect.  From the ban on Muslims; to the monument to racism, now referred to as “The Wall”; to his support of and part ownership in the North Dakota Access Pipeline; to America’s newly strained relations with former allies and once neutral parties; the effects are there for all to see.

Likewise, The Patriarchy in America is extremely strong.  It’s apparently strong enough that even a lot of women have grown to accept it as normal.  Long before the advent of President Trump, I witnessed Republican Party members make repulsively sexist statements in public forums; only to have prominent female party members, such as Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin, fully support their campaigns.  And female voters followed suit.  I recently read that it’s common for women to vote the way that their husbands want them to vote.  As a supporter of equal rights for all people, I would sincerely hope that we have all evolved beyond that.  However, it has always been more than obvious that many people would have voted for a trained monkey if it meant never having a woman as President; no matter her qualifications.  Soon after the airing of the infamous video, in which Donald Trump blatantly speaks about sexually assaulting women, I read a Facebook post from a Christian minister.  The post read: “It’s better that our President grabs vaginas than have one”. This from — not just a fellow Christian but a leader of people — needs no further analysis.

When Donald Trump spoke of forcing kisses on reluctant women and grabbing their vaginas, I was supposed to be okay with it.  Well . . . I was not.  Donald Trump once yelled: “Look at my African-American over there!”  He did so while referring to the sole, misguided Black man at a particular Trump Rally.  Donald Trump was pointing out this man like an anomalous beast . . . in a cage . . . at the zoo.  And I suppose I was supposed to be okay with that as well.  Well, I wasn’t.  And many others claimed to share that sentiment.  Yet, here we all are, enduring some of the most questionable decisions in modern history.  And, after Donald Trump had won the election, becoming President of the United States, many of you were acting as though he had just won a Super Bowl or a UFC title.  “Well, he’s won now. Let’s just work together and move forward.”  There was nothing in the campaign of Donald Trump that suggested unity or diversity of any kind.  And we can see the divisive nature and “alternative facts” that dominate his Presidency.  Surely, if there had ever have been a time to “work together”; it would have been in keeping him out of office, wouldn’t it?

THE GATE SWINGS BOTH WAYS

I recently responded to a question on the Quora website that I feel is relevant to my themes here. The lady posted the following query:

Does my obsession for these superhero CW TV shows make me a ‘bad’ or a ‘fake fan’? (Although I love the comics!)

My response:

In short, no. People come into fandom from various points of entry. That’s part of the reason that properties are expanded into various media. And you have stated that you already read the comics. So you know the “base” medium and have it as a means of comparison. The reason that shows like Flash and Arrow don’t slavishly regurgitate the comics is because, while it’s cool when we see moments taken straight from our favorite stories, it would get old for those of us who read the books and/ or know the histories pretty quickly. The producers want to hold our interests as well as attracting new fans, who will watch a well-crafted series but may have never considered reading a comic. As a creative person, I don’t feel that a bad fan exists. If you were to buy and enjoy my work and keep coming back, I want to maintain my quality and keep your patronage and loyalty.

And:

JUDY RUPE

1 upvote

Well, I first got into comics and superheroes because of my dad. He collected comics since he was 7 (he had over $50,000 in comics). I used to watch the terrible 70’s superhero movies and then my dad got the 1990’s TV show: The Flash and I was immediately obsessed. And I started reading comics and watching the cartoons such as: Justice League, Justice League: Unlimited, Superman: The Animated series, Batman: The Animated Series, Young Justice, Teen Titans etc… I’m a junkie for this kind of stuff 🙂

Trevor L. Wooten

1 upvote

Wow . . . I’ll bet he had quite a collection. I can’t even imagine the volume, let alone the value. And it’s awesome that the two of you could share that. My kids can watch the movies, but none of them turned into readers or collectors. My son would be closest with video games. But I followed your path with the TV shows through the years. Reruns of the 60’s Batman in the early 70’s were my first exposure to that character. Yet he became my favorite character, despite the distinct difference in presentation between the show and the tone of the comics. I just don’t see a bad way of introducing someone to the industry. If they have a genuine interest, they’ll want to see the source material. Then they’ll either stay or go, but it’s an individual choice. And nothing says they can’t still enjoy the medium that hooked them at the outset.

As was stated later in the thread, there’s a sense of tribalism among some in fandom; the actual feeling that something needs to be guarded.  These “Gatekeepers” are keeping a lot of new people away — or at the very least, a discreet distance — to preserve either a sense of superiority or purity.  Either would be misguided.  Especially in an industry as relatively small as the comic book industry, we should be embracing those who show a genuine interest.  We should be guiding them toward the highest quality creators and projects on the stands and in the bins.  We should be inviting them to the local comic book store with us every Wednesday.  As a self-publisher, I don’t currently have the tools to branch out into other media, but I see the value of Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image, Valiant and other companies doing so reach new audiences.  And I definitely see the how completely suicidal it would be for us as an industry to sabotage their efforts.  Just a thought . . .

Is It So Difficult?

Is it really so difficult to grasp the concept that a person can stand in total support of Law Enforcement but still ask that individual members of said group be held responsible for and receive appropriate consequences for wrongdoings? In fact, it seems illogical to even SAY that you support Law Enforcement and at the same time to condone the presence of corrupt and murderous individuals among their numbers; staining the whole with their mere existence. Having worked closely with some of the best officers this country has to offer for three years in Savannah, GA, I’m more than aware of the utter chaos that our lives would be without the presence of police officers. Likewise, when I’m not creating art or writing down what the voices in my head are saying, I’m spending 12.25 hours a day “protecting the general public” from inmates. I get it. I also understand the need to eliminate corruption and stop overshadowing the efforts of the large number of good officers with good intentions in this country. It’s not a difficult concept to grasp that the deaths of unarmed and/ or restrained African-American men at the hands of police officers were unwarranted. One simply has to try. Be blessed . . .