Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Introducing the John Birchosphere

I have to start going to When Fangirls Attack more often, especially if they're going to link to me when I provide relevant content (I was wondering how Tamora Pierce found her way here). Through that venerable institution, I've discovered a mysterious, lurid, and occasionally abominable corner of the blogosphere, which I have oh-so-cleverly named the John Birchosphere. These are blogs which aren't necessarily marked by their political orientation (don't want to turn this into "godless leftist/liberal laughs at the flyover country heartland 9/11 never forget," especially since I think I live in flyover country), but a sense of weirdness, a pervasive paranoia, an air of martyrdom--get the picture?

First up, Four Color Media Monitor, brought to you by someone named Avi Green. Here's how he describes his blog:

Because if we're going to try and stop the misuse of our favorite comics and their protagonists by the companies that write and publish them, we've got to see what both the printed and online comics news is doing wrong. This blog focuses on both the good and the bad, the newspaper media and the online websites. Unabashedly. Unapologetically. Scanning the media for what's being done right and what's being done wrong.

That kind of sounds like what I'm doing here, except this dude is SERIOUS. UNABASHEDLY SERIOUS. Also, I wouldn't start a description of my blog with the word "because." Also, he has a particular pet issue, as evidenced by this entry in which he digs up a few musty old comics and plugs them into his worldview. First up, a Larry Hama Avengers story in which the UN attempts to get the team to focus on extraterrestrial threats:

Putting aside the fact that in the course of three issues here, they do deal with some extraterrestrial beings, here named the "Tetrarchs of Entropy", I kid you not, what Hama was doing there was really REALLY stupid, because the UN, as most people might know today, is one of the most corrupt organizations in the world they claim to represent. They attack America and Israel with inherent frequency for their supposed violations of human rights, yet have very little to say, if at all, about the human rights violations committed by Islamic countries and dictatorships.

Okay, a little weird, but nothing too outrageous. I might not agree, but the UN certainly isn't above criticism. But then he follows it up with this comment about an old Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League issue, featuring a montage of different newscasts from around the world, all reporting on some alien invasion the Justice League is trying to stop:

What strikes me as very troubling about the panel at the end (could that have been intentional in hopes of that nobody would notice?) is that it features a likely delegate or a reporter from the House of Saud, which is no less despicable than any alien invader that outer space could produce, and the way it's so, umm, casually featured there, in pure device-y fashion, is really appalling. Whether or not the Saudis, if that's whom that Muslim in the keffiyeh represents there, are any more dangerous than the next armada of aliens invaders from another planet/dimension, they most certainly aren't any less of an evil than said aliens are. Or, what exactly makes them any less of a serious matter than those pesky Skrulls, Kree, or Qwardians that come about trying to put us Earthlings under the yoke?

All in all, Green has really confirmed my longstanding belief that the pros and cons of Islam are best discussed through the lens of comics from the 80s and 90s, especially since Bronze Age fanatics are notoriously stable, rational people. The most shocking part: I expected this to be the work of some 19 year old, but this guy's older than me! And I'm old!

In a different (yet somehow still virulently anti-Muslim) vein, One Diverse Comic Book Nation reveals that Green has more than one axe to grind, as evidenced by this"homosexuality is a humiliating disease that has no place in my funnybooks" call to arms:
This is but part of the creeping homosexualization of comic books, and it's really insulting. Mainly because it's never depicted as a problem, and probably not even asked, if at all. We're just supposed to accept it, regardless of whether it's sane or not.

And what next, will Islam be presented in comics as the next thing we're told to tolerate and accept, regardless of what it's like?

But wait! There's more--he operates or contributes to FIVE OTHER BLOGS. And it looks like he updates all of them regularly! Holy shit, does this guy have a job? The only one of any concern to me is the Comic Book Discrimination Dossier, which is maybe satirical, but not really...actually, I have a hard time telling what he's getting at, so I'll go the cut and paste method:

Well, if this is to be considered satirical, then to put it in the words of a webmaster of another website who wrote me a nasty e-mail when I expressed my anger at an unfair attack he launched against Gail Simone, it’s because “you simply don’t put up a website implicating a trend that isn’t there and claiming there is some sexist plot behind it.” Well in that case, despoiler of the First Amendment, how about a blog instead then?

And that’s what I’d been thinking of doing for some time already, to put together a blog with a purpose similar to that of the website humorist and comics writer Gail Simone launched in 1998, where I could write profilings of various characters, ladies, and even some gents, who’d been misused in bad ways in comic books both past and present. Because maybe, just maybe, it could help in eventually solving the problem.

How often will this blog be updated? Probably not that often, but I most certainly will be doing my best to work out the best possible profilings and explanations (probably IMO, but you get the idea) of what wrongs were/are being done with them.

So now, here goes with the project. For the sake of good storytelling sans gruesome discrimination, let’s hope this can help make a difference.

Note again Green's propensity for blog descriptions that seem to be missing the first paragraph. My best interpretation: he's satirizing--something or someone? Gail Simone?--but wants to be taken seriously as a voice for those characters that have been abused by people like noted anti-Semite Grant Morrison. But after reading a few entries, I'm not sure if Green is seeking to expose sexism, prejudice against the green-skins, or anti-fanboy-ism. Or maybe he just likes to type words--especially "profilings," a word which I believe he invented.

And just to prove that he's not totally disconnected from the mainstream blogosphere, he also thinks that Geoff Johns has gotten a little too violent. Beaucoup Kevin is on his blogroll--I wonder what he has to say about people who buy comics that they don't even like? Probably a Mohammedist-homosexualist conspiracy.


Dan Coyle said...

Gee, I wonder how Green feels about the first plot in the Giffateis JLA, which was about alternate universe superheroes going after Israeli nukes?

Duncan said...

Avi Green is fucking batshit, man. He was thrown off the apolitical (read: conservative) HeroRealm messageboards years ago and has been weeping his Zionist violin into the comic blogosphere ether ever since, with varying degrees of comedy.

My favourite conversational prop of his is 'to say the least', where he then goes on to say a considerable amount of nonsense.

Dan Coyle said...

Does Green know DeMatteis is Jewish?

Dick Hyacinth said...

(1) I didn't know it, but I'm no Avi Green.

(2) Are you familiar with the phrase "false consciousness?" I mean, it's a Marxist term, so I don't know if Green would know it. But I'm guessing he'd adapt the basic concept in such a way to explain DeMatteis' incorrect thinking/writing. Or he'd blame it on Giffen. Is Giffen Jewish?

JR said...

He'd likely peg him as "misguided" (or some stronger term) since DeMatteis is a convert to Hinduism, and a devotee of Meher Baba.

I imagine that little piece of information would likely result in a rather lengthy rant.

Jeff Rients said...

Yeah, I followed WFA to that same anti-UN/anti-Arab entry. That guy is pretty effed up.

Also: As a bronze age fan I know I'm going to bear the brunt of ridicule in some circles, but lumping us all in with the likes of this guy or John Byrne? Dude. That's harsh.

MarkAndrew said...

This guy linked to us today.

Not to MY stuff, which is the advantage of (sometimes) writing about obscure independent comics like Moomin and Ex Machina or (usually) writing nothing.

I was wondering if he was serious.

I guess he is.

My opinion of the comic blogsphere is pretty good. It throws me when I see.... well, stuff like this guy's blog. Like I really WANT it to be a clever parody, and it disgruntles me when it isn't.