lowkey: (Default)
[personal profile] lowkey
So first off, when it comes to Artistic & Fannish Thoughts On The Internet, I really do try to ascribe to Moff's Law. I've internalized said internet law as "I should aim for meaningful and good-spirited engagement with artistic stuff", and even if I don't always live up to that ideal (because, man, sometimes someone is WRONG on the internet), I generally try really hard to be nice. Unsurprisingly, the men* that best adhere to Moff's Law -- the sterling posters over at Threat Quality, which includes the eponymous Moff -- are basically the internet posters I want to be.

Anyways, I was just saying that as a sort of disclaimer. Not that I'm immediately going to abandon it and say "check out these here intarnet opinionzzz." It's just that I really wanted to post about this whole Sady Doyle thing, but I also wanted to make it clear that I really don't have a horse in this race.**

You might ask, what is this whole "Sady Doyle thing"? Well, apparently, Sady Doyle is a journalist/outspoken internet personality, who writes for The Atlantic, on top of running a blog, Tiger Beatdown.

She wrote a piece calling George R.R. Martin out for, among other things, being a sexist prick.
George R. R. Martin is creepy. He is creepy because he writes racist shit. He is creepy because he writes sexist shit. He is creepy, primarily, because of his TWENTY THOUSAND MILLION GRATUITOUS RAPE AND/OR MOLESTATION AND/OR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SCENES.
I didn't read the whole thing -- which automatically disqualifies me from commenting, really -- because I've not read the series; I really can't add anything meaningful.

But she, uh, also had some bitting comments for internet fandoms in general:
Because here’s how it goes, when you criticize beloved nerd entertainments: You can try to be nuanced. You can try to be thoughtful. You can lay out your arguments in careful, extravagant, obsessive detail. And at the end of the day, here is what the people in the “fandom” are going to take away: You don’t like my toys? I hate you!

So, get it out of your system now, because, guess what, George R.R. Martin fans? I don’t like your toys. Deal with that. Meditate for a while. Envision a blazing bonfire in a temple, and breathe in its warmth and serenity. Then, imagine me dumping all your comic books and action figures and first-edition hardback Song of Ice and Fire novels INTO the bonfire, and cackling wildly.
ANYWAYS, I didn't know anything about this internet debate until [personal profile] owlmoose's post on the matter alerted me to it, and also to what is apparently the internet retort par excellence, a post by Alyssa Rosenberg over at ThinkProgress.

This thread of the debate is easier for me to follow, because it doesn't rely on intimate knowledge of or strong opinions about A Song of Ice and Fire. Because Rosenberg's main contentions are with how Doyle structured her argument.

BUT THEN ALSO Chris Braak at Threat Quality posted an ambivalent defense of A Song of Ice and Fire, which amounted to "Sady, I think we should be on the same side, but you've sorta definitionally excluded me from being your ally." AND THEN you should check out the comments, because Doyle posted a comment, and Braak responded.

And one more thing to take away from this: when Doyle criticizes internet fandoms, she knows what she's talking about. Take, for instance, her recent piece criticizing gender and race in Moffat's season and a half of Doctor Who***, and the comments it received. I think (?) many of the worst comments have been deleted, but the point stands: internet people suck, and in her piece on ASoIaF, Doyle preemptively called the Internet and Internet fandoms out. But where does that leave people like Rosenberg and Braak, or hell, me -- people who are fans but want to, you know, follow Moff's Law?

Anyways: the long and short of it is -- thanks to this, I learned what MANSPLAINING is.

* I said men because, to the best of my knowledge, the contributors at Threat Quality really are all men.
** Even though a claim to neutrality is still a choice. And also, a slightly ungenerous reader might note that, as a white male, my "neutrality" is a vote for the status quo. But it isn't as if Sady Doyle needs Internet Male #63587 (i.e. me) to come to her rescue; that's completely antithetical to the kind of position she wants to argue. So... I just don't know? I think most everyone involved in this has really valid opinions?
*** For the sake of full disclosure: I'm a white male, and I really like Rory Williams. It's unfortunate that Amy's character development has suffered so that he could become awesome (in my opinion), but also: the season isn't over yet. Case-in-point, there was a good half season of Castle where I felt Rick was basically completely useless, but the show's come a long way since then. Anyways, this is a post for another time.

Date: 2011-09-02 05:15 pm (UTC)
mako_lies: Final Fantasy XIII Fang (14)
From: [personal profile] mako_lies
I read bits and pieces of the Doyle piece when it first came out... I read the part about fandom, like you did, and was like... huh. Because about that she makes an interesting point.

Like, I know lots of people who will defend their fandoms despite flaws. And I mean, I guess I get that? But I mean, to not acknowledge the flaws at all... (Not really talking about ASoIaF, because I've not read it, either... So I really can't speak to it). I mean, some stuff is personal opinion, but some of it...

Someone who tries to claim Fang deals with EVERYTHING PERFECT AND HEALTHY? Because they love Fang? I can't get behind that. Because she doesn't and that's not bashing her character, but I guess some people can't appreciate the flaws in something?

I don't know. I may have just horribly derailed myself. Not sure what I'm getting at anymore, coherency is not my strong suit right this second. (There's been no coffee in my life and I don't feel good, so).

Date: 2011-09-02 05:50 pm (UTC)
mako_lies: Lebreau (Default)
From: [personal profile] mako_lies
I really enjoy having meaningful fannish conversations, I enjoy analyzing the things I like, even if what I find isn't stellar. I mean, I adore the Final Fantasy series, but I have some serious issues with how they deal with gender and race.

Does that mean I can't enjoy the series? No, it doesn't, but it doesn't mean I should ignore the fact that they handle some things in ways I disagree with.

[personal profile] imadra_blue wrote a piece about the portrayal of female characters in the FF series, and yeah, it's pretty disappointing. I mean, look how poorly they handled Rinoa? And Quistis? Sometimes, they do really well. XIII has a lot of well-characterized and independent female characters. But a lot of the time... they miss.

Do I still like the series? Yes. Do I acknowledge it has flaws? Yes.

(And I could get into the race thing, but, ah, I think it's pretty self-explanatory?)

Date: 2011-09-02 05:39 pm (UTC)
feverbeats: (Default)
From: [personal profile] feverbeats
Much as I dislike Sade Doyle, I don't understand why people are up in arms about this. Fans of things do get irrationally defensive when the things they're fans of are called imperfect.

Oh, I don't know. Maybe I'm biased because I think ASOIAF is objectively a pile of shit. That's also possible. Actually, no, I think the problem is that the "half-hearted defense" article is missing some really important points that, like how the rape scenes are treated in the book, and that's making me angry.

I said men because, to the best of my knowledge, they really are all men.
. . . Clearly I've been discussing stuff with the wrong men. Usually when I try to explain to other dudes that their toys (invariably with The Dark Knight) are flawed, mostly they throw fits.

Date: 2011-09-02 06:01 pm (UTC)
feverbeats: (Default)
From: [personal profile] feverbeats
I guess I'm just reading Doyle's words about fans differently than you. I didn't read it as her saying fans couldn't or shouldn't engage in discussion about their fandom, just that she didn't want to be attacked by fans defending ASOIAF out of hand.

YESSS, someone else who doesn't like TDK! Excellent.

Date: 2011-09-02 06:09 pm (UTC)
feverbeats: (Default)
From: [personal profile] feverbeats
Okay, that's probably true. She's been kind of lousy about fandom as a whole in the past, so that's fair enough. (And yeah, I would not recommend ASOIAF. I'm reading the first one and I want to finish that because I've started, but it's dreadful, both in terms of content and quality.)

I AGREE. I agree so fucking hard. Iron Man was pretty much my perfect superhero movie.

Date: 2011-09-03 12:52 am (UTC)
feverbeats: (Default)
From: [personal profile] feverbeats
Haha, that's a good way to think of it. I think the first one was probably better, but I adored the second one just as much. Actual good writing! Lots of feelings!

Yyyyeah, I had that problem with Thor as well. Especially the whole "loving Jane is what changed him" thing. Really? Ugh.

There was just way too much in The Dark Knight. They shouldn't have tried doing Two-Face and the Joker in one movie. I though the Joker was good, but he overshadowed everything else. I guess I'm weird for wanting a Batman movie with Batman in it, ahaha. I could go on and on about TDK. /o\

Date: 2011-09-03 01:13 am (UTC)
feverbeats: ((thor) loki)
From: [personal profile] feverbeats
Haha, yeah, I don't think I know a single person who didn't like Loki. But still!

Ah, see, I didn't like him, which was probably another reason I didn't love the movie as much as a lot of people did.

Date: 2011-09-03 04:39 am (UTC)
nal_rene: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nal_rene
I personally liked the actor they had for Rodey better in the first one than the second one.

As far as Dark Knight goes, I don't care for the actor who played batman... at all. In fact he is the reason I won't watch those batman movies more than once, but the Joker made my day.

Keith Ledger stayed true to his character. Though I miss the side of joker that you could laugh at. But his entire purpose in life was to get Batman to screw up and mess up morally.


Date: 2011-09-02 06:09 pm (UTC)
owlmoose: (quote - questions)
From: [personal profile] owlmoose
Thanks for the Chris Braak link; what an excellent critique of both the content and tone of Doyle's post. He really hits it, with his comments about how GRRM is, in fact, attempting to write a realistic medieval fantasy setting rather than the standard airbrushed one, even though he doesn't always succeed.

The thing is, for all I've criticized her piece and her responses, I do feel Sady Doyle here. Speaking very, very, generally: Nerds -- particularly the stereotypical middle-class white male nerd we tend to think of as the classic sci-fi/fantasy fan -- do tend to feel oppressed for their nerdom, and they do tend to be very bad at acknowledging and examining their own privilege. Which can be an explosive combination when they try to engage with criticism. Fans can get ugly, and they've gotten ugly at her more than once lately. I don't blame her for lashing back.

But that doesn't change the fact that, in many times and places, nerd culture really *is* marginalized. No, nerds aren't going to be winning the Oppression Olympics; they probably shouldn't even enter the race. But that doesn't make their marginalization less real. It seems disingenuous not to acknowledge that. And lately, I've been getting the feeling that Doyle is poking at the nerdrage hornets' nest on purpose, starting at least with the Harry Potter piece (another one that I found somehow reductionist and unsatisfying, even as I was hard-pressed to argue with many of the details). That's been bothering me, too.

This may just be me venting at you... sorry.

Date: 2011-09-03 04:22 am (UTC)
nal_rene: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nal_rene
You actually made me interested enough to reply to those damn things. *Sigh* Good job, you did well. Though I tried to make my defense/argument/constructive (I was trying) critism thoughtful... it would have taken up a hell of a lot more room.

Anyway, it was all very interesting. Thank you for putting this up. I am also sighing and cursing you lightly with this same breath, so... yeah.

Very interesting. I don't like when random profanity's are thrown in my direction and supposedly being misogynistic, for liking something I read.

It's like my republican friend when she says, "ALL UNIONS ARE HORRIBLE AND THE GOD DAMN FEMINISTS NEED TO JUST DIE!" No, Chloe, they aren't and don't. They need to tone it back some because they are stepping into the region of unreasonable, but dying? no.

I am a moderate and I don't like conflict. I keep away from conflict as best I can. So my views are going to be pretty similar.

Women are a lot better off now than they have ever been, ever! And I'm happy with that. Racism has decreased in the US by a whole friggin' lot. And I'm happy with that.

But let me tell you something. It is possible to be racist against someone because they are white. It is possible to be sexist against someone who is male. Plain fact! And those who in one breath say, "YOUR RACIST!" or "YOUR SEXIST!" then turn around and in the same breath say, "White people are so privileged and all of them are rich!" or "Men rule the world and are dooschbags!", those people are hypocrites. And I have little tolerance for that because I deal with my father on a daily basis.

And fuck, if all whites are rich bastards then how come I can barely go to college? How come I worry about if my family is going to have to go without power next paycheck?

And Men? Most of them are decent human beings! Like you, lowkey.

Everyone can be a bit racist and sexist. SO DEAL WITH IT!

This may have been very angry sounding... I apologize. This subject upsets me a lot.

Re: This may just be me venting at you... sorry.

Date: 2011-09-03 04:40 am (UTC)
nal_rene: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nal_rene

This is awesome! Watch it. Or rather... listen to it.