11.27.2012

Zombie Emotions


Everyone experiences emotions. No one is immune. We like to think we are... But we're not. We get scared. We panic. We love. We hate. We admire. We lust. We're human beings. We feel, and that's not a bad thing. The problem is, people just don't know how to handle them. So they try to suppress them, or worse, kill them off. 

And that's the problem. Emotions do not die. You cannot drown them in alcohol. You cannot shoot them down with thoughts. When you bury them, they turn into zombies -- they come back uglier and harder to handle, and the longer you bury them, the uglier and meaner they are. And they're nearly impossible to handle in large groups. 

You cannot help how you feel. All you can control is how you behave. So allow yourself to feel what you're feeling, lest they come back and eat you alive. 

11.14.2012

Rethinking My Stance On "Fake Geek Girls"

First, I want to thank everyone -- supporters and detractors alike -- for weighing in on the topic of "Fake Geek Girls", my MUCH discussed Booth Babes article on CNN, my other blog pieces, and the recent discussions around the topic of what I consider to be "posers" or "Fake Geek Girls." This is a genuine, heart-felt thanks. Hate it, love it, agree or disagree, the dialog has been not only necessary, but what I feel has been overall good.

When discourse takes place, we are forced to evaluate and reevaluate our stance, no matter how strong it is. At some deep emotional level, we realize when we've stood on hyperbole or our own personal predilections, and I think facing that truth -- even in silence by ourselves -- is good.

Yesterday, a friend of mine, Tony Harris, posted a rant on his personal Facebook page about Fake Geek Girls. Tony has spent his nearly 25 years in comics innovating and creating some incredible properties, characters, art and culture. One major aspect of Tony's art: he's one of the very few male artists in mainstream (superhero) comics who has ever outright refused to draw idealized / fetishized / objectified women in his work.

Tony Harris is genuinely a good guy who posted a spur-of-the-moment rant on his personal Facebook page. What he did was not what I did -- I went on CNN and writ large my disdain for a subset of the culture I find distasteful. He simply did what we all do on Facebook -- he posted a rant and moved on. The fact that this rant was screencaptured and then reposted all over the internet, which got national attention, was never his intention. Slamming it is not the kind of fair it was with my article (even though Tony is a strong guy and is taking it). Whether you hate me or love me, whether you hate my opinion, his opinion, or the mere fact that we exist, I'd really like to ask people to consider this before attacking the guy or reposting the piece:

Have you ever vented in the spur of the moment, something you wish you'd taken some time to really think out? Have you ever used Facebook as a catharsis for a burst of emotion? Have you ever felt your logical side peek out and say "Hey now, you know that's not what you really feel..." only to have your emotional side say "YEAH BUT IT FELT REALLY GOOD TO SAY!"

Ever regretted it? Not that you felt it or how you think, but how you said it?

Maybe consider that when you realize that this is what happened here, but instead of a bunch of comments and unfriending, the guy was put on an international stage across tons of blogs and Tumblr pages and news feeds and Twitter and cannot possibly respond to the volume of feedback (which has, as it did with me, coalesced into a tide of "You're EVIL!") much less reflect, explain or, if he wanted to, apologize?

Now, on to the point: I think that I need to update my viewpoint on the topic of "Fake Geek Girls" and "Posers". It's tainted with a lot of vitriol and anger (as is everything I rant about), and I think that the culture and the various abuses within it are actually much more important than just making scathing points isolating on one type of person.

From my own personal viewpoint, as the guy who wrote the pieces I wrote: I know me. I know how I feel. I know that intent of what I wrote was not to hurt women. It wasn't an attempt to put WOMEN in their place, limit freedoms, hurt anyone or anything.

The intent is to call out behaviors I find distasteful (even if you don't), namely using a culture you don't intend to belong to to further your own agenda. As a member of this community for the past 30-some-odd years, I have a love for it that I consider precious -- so when I perceive someone or something doing something I think is harmful, I react. I also point out personal accountability for consequences.

The unfortunate part: whether I meant to or not, I've touched a nerve where respect toward women is concerned.

I actually see now, with Marian Call, Wendy Hathaway, Liz Stricklen, Genevieve Dempre, Jessica Sides, Amy Ratcliffe, Taffeta Darling and all of these other incredibly smart, geeky females that I admire and respect (genuinely) calling this out and flat out saying "Look, you make good points but there's a bent here that borders on (or outright infringes in) misogyny" -- There's some reconsidering I need to do.

I have a policy: once I've written something, it's written. I don't revisit and I don't obsess. Very rarely do I readdress or post followups on an opinion piece, because I feel like once it's there, it can't be un-there. I can be sorry if someone is hurt or angry, but I cannot be sorry for how I felt -- and that's what those pieces are. So I just go "eh, get over it" as sarcastically as I can as my own personal defensive measure and I write the next thing.

This is too important now. I can't just let this flow into the stream of things I've written and move on to the next thing. I can't treat this the same as I treat all of my other "Joe The Peacock" type angry-funny things.

I think I'm going to readdress my article(s) on this topic, and then only after a bit of soul-searching to find what it is that is actually causing my concern. Or, in other words, I'd like to start attacking the illness, not the symptoms. And after that, I'm going to welcome ANYONE, supporter or detractor, to converse with me about the new viewpoint and help me to understand what I'm not seeing. Because let's be frank: if I'm this confused by the outrage over the things I've written, and I cannot possibly understand what is being misread or how to get people this angry... It can't be all of those people.

 I've screwed up somewhere, either in being blind to the unintended message, or in writing it in a way that isn't clear.

I'm a huge fan of personal accountability, and that's what this is -- I'm owning up to the fact that, somehow, somewhere, I'm missing something where this topic is concerned. What I do know: there are entities in this newly-cool geek culture who are, in no way whatsoever, interested in actually participating in what makes it awesome. They don't come for the love, and they don't come for the fandom, and they don't come for the passion. They come for the money, or for what will inevitably turn into money. Or attention, which in some cases, is worse. And somewhere in there, I've muddied my viewpoint.

I want to thank you all for weighing in. Look for something in the coming weeks (not days -- I'm really going to work on this).

11.09.2012

Black Cat Cosplayers, Tea Partiers, Freedom Of Speech and Harassment





IT'S THIS SIMPLE:

"Sexy" chick dressed as an overly-sexualized fetish-laden female superhero (complete with high levels of cleavage and booty-accencutaiton)  drawn by socially-inept sexually-repressed men, going to a convention full of socially-inept sexually-repressed men, getting offended when those socially-inept sexually-repressed men act like socially-inept sexually-repressed men

IS THE SAME AS

Wearing a pro-Obama t-shirt to a public gathering of Tea Party supporters and getting offended when your politics are bashed and you are verbally harassed.


Do both people have a right to be there? Yep.
Do both people have a right to their opinion? Yep.
Do both people have legitimate complaints about the social fabric of the respective communities and their level of maturity and intelligence? Yep.
Do both situations suck? Yep.
Were both people fucking stupid to expect that this wouldn't happen? Yes, but only if they aren't mentally retarded. 

It's that fucking simple. When you make a decision to make a statement in an environment where, before you even arrive, you know the reaction, and you make that statement anyway, you MUST accept the consequences. Freedom of speech is not freedom from concequence. 

I'm not saying it's right, and I'm not saying it's fair. I'm saying it's reality. If you are strong enough to make a stand and take the abuse, wear a pro-Obama shirt into a Tea Party rally. If you aren't, let someone else do it. Same with being a beautiful women wearing an extremely form-fitting black leather/latex outfit accentuating and nearly showing her breasts into a convention full of men who LOVE breasts and are notorious for being socially awkward. There is a VAST difference between being harassed for being a female at a comic convention, and being sexualized and fetishized when you dress as a sexualized and fetishized character.

If you don't want to be eaten by lions, don't walk into a lion's den dressed in steak. You know better.

(And NO, this isn't the "she deserved to be raped" mentality. No one deserves that. See my points on the Tosh comments if you're not familiar with my prior writing, and if you are and you still try to make that connection, you're being willfully shitty just to make some stupid point I don't care about. So save it. You know the difference between "seen" and "touched" as well as I do.)

11.07.2012

Quit Being A Whining Crybaby Sack Of Shit


There's a LOT of complaining today. Armchair pundits have come out of the woodwork to make hyperbolic statements they have no intention of either following through with or proving correct.

I'm sick of it. But it's not just today, it's every day. There's not a day that goes by that I don't see people whine and cry and complain about the state of just about everything.

I hate my job.
I hate the government.
I hate my boyfriend.
I hate my town.
I hate this book, movie, game, tv show, blah blah blah.

Get off your ass and do something, then. At the very worst, you'll figure out why it is that things are done the way they're done, because you'll actually gain perspective and educate your ignorant fucking ass. At the very best, you'll effect change and find a better way to do things.

Complainers rarely do either, because they're lazy sacks of shit. They want to be "right" without the risk of losing what they have. They're right up there with pessimists. They care more about pointing out what's wrong than fixing it, because it gives them the veneer of intelligence and foresight without any of the labor, risks or consequences.

Without risk, there is no reward -- except for complaining, because the reward is simply ego satisfaction. It's selfish and pathetic. If you really care you'll actually do something instead of masturbating with language.

Hate the political figure doing stuff? Run for office.
Hate the way the house looks? Clean up the mess.
Think a product or service sucks? Create a competing product or service.
Hate your job? Go into business for yourself (or, at least, change jobs).
Hate today's books, music and movies? Learn to produce and distribute your own material.
Hate being fat? Work out. Run. Eat less and better.

I know what the weak will immediately say in response. "But I don't..." THEN FUCKING FIND A WAY TO DO. Complaining is the refuge of the weak.

I won't tell you to shut up, because that's fruitless, and frankly, I find it all amusing. It's fun to hear the things I used to say to myself until I proved them all wrong, because it lets me know a) I'm on the right path and b) my competition is low.

But what I will say is that you should stop being a whiny crybaby sack of shit and get to work doing the thing you claim to care about, or else accept the consequence that none of us who are actually busy doing things that matter, care. And of course, you'll complain about that, too. "No one ever listens to me..." That's because actions speak louder than words.

If you want to be heard, become so good at what you do that there's no choice but for everyone to pay attention.

11.06.2012

The Creative Mind (And Why It Can Be Troublesome)


Dear "normal" folks:

I'm writing this from a place that's trying to be helpful. It is, of course, woven from my perspective and experience, and so there's tons and tons of margin for error. It's just how I see things. But from  my perspective and experience, it's profoundly true that normal people don't "get" creatives. And the closer they are to creatives, the more the questions impact them. Sometimes, it's in interpersonal relationships. Sometimes it's in behavior. But somehow, someway, there's almost always issues that arise between creatives and "normal" folks. And I'm going to try to shed some light on that for you.

I have a theory that creative people spend the vast majority of their day living in delusion.

Because that's what creativity is. It's delusion. When you're being "creative," you're deluding yourself with visions of how life, things, ideas, concepts can be different. You delude yourself into thinking you should change or create them. And then you hold on to those delusions while you make the thing you make, and once it's done, you delude yourself into thinking anyone's going to care.

It's only after it's made, put into the world, recognized and accepted that the delusion changes into "creativity" because creativity is the word that society has come up with as a nice way of acknowledging this behavior.

Let's face it. We call things "creative" because "crazy" is insulting.


You might be thinking that I'm equating creativity to a mental disorder. Well, it kinda is, for certain definitions of "disorder." It's certainly not the normal state of normal minds, as defined by the majority of minds and how they operate. Remember, "crazy" is defined by the masses and majority, because crazy is the antithesis of accepted thought and how things are normally. "Normal" never changed anything in the world (much less, changed the world), because normal is normal. It likes how things are. Even Steve Jobs agrees. "Here's to the crazy ones," his famous soliloquy begins.


Creatives spend their time inventing characters, stories, scenes, technologies, theories and other things manifested from the input they receive from their surroundings. They take the stimuli they receive, both from the past and the present, and mix it with what goes on in their brain. Then, it's output in some form. Writing, drawing, painting, singing, playing music, sculpting, inventing and otherwise shaping reality to meet their delusion, as best as reality can be shaped.

This becomes an issue when normal life stuff happens. The creative mind -- which is delusional, mind you -- deludes itself with visions of how it could be, what might be happening, what should be happening, and the distance between the two things. We get wound up in that. It's hard to just live in the moment and "be" when you're a "creative" because creatives can't help when they get creative. Even if it's about stuff that isn't art. Creativity manifests itself in expression. Artsy inventive scientific stuff is a channel of output, not the creativity itself.


The thing normal people don't get is that we can't just turn that off. For us who suffered trauma, our creativity, our panics, our mania... They're coping mechanisms. They're mental armor they've never worn. They're defense mechanisms they've never had to experience.



Creativity, in all its forms, is the charcoal filter that turns impure thoughts into something digestible, because all creativity comes from a dissatisfaction of how things are. Creativity is the method we use to soften the raw feed while not diluting the message. Without it, the raw feeling; the raw thoughts... They would chew a normal mind apart. We call this being rude, or blunt, or inappropriate in most cases. It's because it's not normal. It's not acceptable by the standards of the majority. It's "off." It's delusional.


While I don't think every creative mind was abused, or abandoned, or hurt in some way, I do believe that it spawns from the place that requires a coping mechanism to function. It is a channel of thought combined with emotion that requires that charcoal filter if it's to be expressed and understood by anyone who isn't us.

I hope this helps shed a little light on things.