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This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Monday, May 5, 2014


On 4-21-14 I wrote GENDERIZATION GAP PT. 2, in which I took a somewhat cynical view of Janelle Asselin's critique of the cover of DC Comics' TEEN TITANS #1, though not, I should add, of the sexual harassment she received as a result of that critique.

Nine days later, Jonah Wieland announced the change to the CBR forum. This was the first time I'd read that Asselin had been victimized by something more than loose sexual threats on the Internet:

so-called "fans" around the Internet, on various message boards and social media, including the CBR Forums, attacked Janelle personally, threatening her with rape and assault. These same "fans" found her e-mail, home address and other personal information, and used it to harass and terrorize her, including an attempted hacking of her bank account.

After reading that, I wondered if I had been overly dismissive of Asselin's complaints.  Though I prefer not to enter the "rage-fests" that typify so much online discourse about comic books, I'm sure that I would have been as angry as Asselin if something comparative happened to me, or to someone close to me, as a result of having made a critical comment of anything, be it pop culture or politics. I'll further admit that I'd be angry even if I was in Asselin's exact position of not knowing just how many specific hostile activities stemmed from the harassers.

I also wondered if I had been too dismissive of Asselin's comments, which I referred to as "poking the bear." I've poked certain bears myself on many occasions, and I've laid out some of my reasons for feeling that "opposition is true friendship" in this essay.  But what still bothers me about Asselin's original argument is that it lacks clarity as to whether it's attacking the idea of sexualizing teenaged girls generally, or the TITANS cover's failures in the arena of artistic excellence.  So, by the terms of my argument, I don't think Asselin provides a reasoned opposition of the comic-book tendencies she dislikes.

Jonah Wieland's reaction-- or over-reaction-- deserves further analysis as well. Putting aside the question of his motives, which may well be exactly what he claims they are, I have to question the feasibility of his solution. I've had my share of headaches from venom-spouting trolls on both CBR and Comicon.com, but to some extent that's what any poster lets himself in for by venturing into an Internet community.  I only occasionally posted on CBR before the Change, but I don't anticipate joining the new CBR community.

Why? Well, in GENDERIZATION GAP 2 I said that I valued the "evil thoughts" produced in the name of entertainment, even when they were, or seemed to be, sexist or racist in some way.  By the same logic, I suppose that I prefer even the slimy deceptions of moralistic Neopuritans, be they of the Elitist or the Populist persuasions, to any attempts to smooth them over with a bland standard of politeness-- such as we get in this famous HOWARD THE DUCK cover.

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