Sunday, December 2, 2012

RE: Tony Stark -- I Mean Tony Harris

"Oh good," you must be thinking, "Yet another blog post concerning Tony Harris' recent outburst." Yeah, well, it happens, but you may find this isn't what you're expecting at all.

I want to start out by saying I am both a woman and a huge geek. I also want to start out with a disclaimer, because I think had Harris done that, he'd probably be in a different boat right now and not up Shit Creek without any paddles. In case this is the very first time you've ever read my blog: I deliver with a lot of hyperbole. So if anything that follows seems excessive, it was likely written that way intentionally for just that purpose. I also have a tendency to pepper my posts with accentuating swears. So if words that mean the same thing as their acceptable PC counterparts offend you, well, you should probably think about why that is.

When I heard of this now infamous Facebook post I went in wanting to get my feminism on. Everyone I know, male or female, was outraged by what this guy said and I get so few chances to exercise legitimate feminism. Much to my surprise however, upon reading what Tony Harris wrote -- I couldn't help but agree with him. Sure his delivery was lack luster and he certainly could have benefited from spell check, formatting (R.I.P. paragraphs), and possibly a stiff drink, but hey we've all been guilty of a rage induced tirade or two.

The common outcry from most people seems to be, "How dare you judge us!" while in the very same sentence calling him an asshole at least and at worst demanding his public castration. For his opinion. Castration. Now, firstly, I am damn proud to live in a country where expressing my opinion is not only allowed but encouraged. Opinions can't be right or wrong. They aren't fact, they're how you feel. People seem to forget that. You can no more accuse him of being wrong for what he said than you can accuse me of being wrong because I dislike summertime. It's how we feel. I don't know about you guys, but I feel that using people is wrong too. Maybe you don't, but it's whatever.

Second, you said it yourselves over and over again: how dare you judge? How dare you? You can object to an opinion, but it's kind of a dick move. It's far better (read: persuasive) to simply counter with your own feelings on the subject, in a calm and reasonable manner without damning anyone to the fiery pits of Hell. Judge not lest ye be judged, and guess what? We're all judging now, you and him. Not cool, man. Chillax. Go take a hot bath, drink some tea, and if you absolutely must, pop a frelling Prozac. I assure you the world is not so angry a place as you're making it out to be when you read one sentence, ignore the rest, and then fly off the god damned handle.

One of the very first things Harris says is that he is:

  • Referring to a very small group of people.
  • Knows there are exceptions.

He is not saying all women are cunts, or that all cosplayers are bitches. He's not even saying you, as a vag-wielding citizen of Earth need to prove your geekdom. Let's face it, if you're there because you can't live without the next issue of Spiderman, it's pretty fucking obvious, there's no need to prove it. He's saying if you show up to a con, be there because you absolutely love the content for which that con is about. Regardless of whether or not your titties are on display. Most of all, he's saying not to manipulate and use people, because that makes you a shitty person (no matter what's between your legs).

These are all very reasonable requests, despite having been presented in a very unreasonable fashion. There's nothing to disagree with there.

Keep in mind that as a comic book artist, he spends a lot of time at cons. Seeing this kind of thing (greedy women* manipulating naive men with their bodies) so much is probably ulcer inducing. Reaching a boiling point was inevitable. Granted, boiling over in public could've been avoided. We all make mistakes. As much as we'd all like to be from Krypton, we're human.

People seem to be getting hung up on all the words that would make Thumper's mom disapprove without bothering to consider the actual point. Which isn't entirely their fault. Incendiary words have that effect. You may be a very logical individual, but as soon as you see someone imply that even a handful of your sistren/brethren are rude cows, all that logic dissipates into a seething rage. Then you're both saying stupid shit trying to make your point while incidentally making your point lost, because the moment you respond in the same caustic manner everyone else just gets mad as well. It becomes Them vs. Us for no reason whatsoever. Way to go perpetuating a problem that wouldn't exist otherwise.

Should he have taken a deep breath and counted to ten before hitting post? Probably. Not because it may be construed as sexist or misogynistic but because your argument is invalidated by most readers the moment you start name calling. You may as well forget your entire point and just start screaming colors of the rainbow because it'll be just as effective.

You want to know what is truly ironic? All the White Knighting going on. Men being offended on our behalf because we have ovaries -- because a big scary man said something mean about some other people with ovaries. This is just as sexist as whatever might have been said to begin with! But I guess polite sexism is okay? Huh. Good game.

tl;dr: Stop being reactionary d-bags. If you're a nerd and I'm a nerd, what's the problem? Benefit of the doubt, exercise it.

*Secondary disclaimer: I know not all women are greedy and manipulative. I am, afterall, a woman myself.

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