Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Follow-Up to the previous Dixon/Outsiders post:

I addressed this in the replies there, but I thought it warranted a blog post of its own.

I have now officially read Batman and the Outsiders #1. And NOW I'm deeply offended.

You see, the "special relationship" remark occurs, and naturally Anissa gets pissed off by it. Whereupon Batman reveals that he was unaware of anything more than a close friendship between the two, discerned from body language, until she just revealed otherwise. She is suitably chastised.

You know what, I'm calling Bullshit on that.

First of all, we're to expect, given how gratuitously unsubtle those two women are, that Batman did NOT know they were involved? This is BATMAN.

Moreover though, I cannot buy that in this context the term "special relationship" is referring to a mere albeit close friendship. I'm sorry, but that term clearly implies a relationship that's either familial or romantic. A close friendship is not suitably "special".

For a comparison, Dick and Roy are like total BFFs right? But do you seriously think Batman would EVER use "special relationship" to describe them? I'm sure the slashers would have a field day if he did. Because there are clear implications in that phrase. How about Dick and Donna? Or Dick and Wally?

Moreover, the way it was stated implied, to me, that Batman considered it something to frown upon. I'm not saying right this moment that this was intended to be homophobic or just a general disapproval of romantic relationships, but it definitely read to me like disapproval, and considering he's by now worked with the JLA for how long? I mean, regardless of his own proclivities, he's had to have grown accustomed to working with heroes with close friendships with one another, and realized that it doesn't have to get in the way of competence. I can buy him disapproving of romantic relationships, but friendships? Considering he's on a team with Clark and Diana, had been with Wally and Kyle, Ollie and Hal, and all those other sets of friends, I can't buy that.

Besides, Batman is precise. If he meant friendship, he'd say so. I don't believe he'd say "special relationship" unless he meant to relay those particular implications. He's a very smart man, and as Bruce Wayne, clearly demonstrates social adeptness. Even if he could miss the very obvious behavior of the two women (provided Jefferson didn't tell him over drinks or something), he wouldn't miss the implications in his own words. And he wouldn't use them without intending them.

There is actually, it occurs to me, a way the scene could have played out that would be a little less offensive and more plausible. If Batman had said the phrase intending for her to have read it as homophobic and thus deliberately provoking her anger, that might actually have worked for me.

Batman would then chastise her, not for giving away her secret, but for yielding to anger that she can't afford. Grace and Anissa really haven't been terribly subtle in their behavior, so Batman could argue that he's figured it out and that others probably have too. And on the battlefield, she won't be able to afford to give into that explosive anger should she encounter a probably-inevitable homophobic taunt. She'll need to keep her cool.

In this situation then, Batman's probably not a homophobe, but instead making that comment for a specific reason. He's still probably being more of a jerk than he's been characterized lately, but it would at least have a point. The comment would be acknowledged as potentially offensive and Anissa's anger justified, while still chastizing her for giving into it. I think, if this had been the case, I would have rescinded part of my earlier post.

Instead we get a Batman who's both too inobservant to note an obvious relationship and too socially inept to realize the implications of his own words OR we get a two faced liar who meant to provoke and confirm his suspicions, but blames her for overreacting to his "innocent" comment.

Either way, we get Anissa portrayed as over-emotional, over-reactionary, and too stupid to know a supposedly-innocent comment when she hears it.

It's a blatantly transparent set-up that's somehow MORE offensive than the preview had made it out to be. Whatever. I don't think I'll be reading this comic again.

17 Comments:

  • At November 14, 2007 6:29 PM, Anonymous Dan Coyle said…

    ...What?

    Dixon, a guy who wrote during the O'Neil period of "Batman is always right and knows everything" expects us to swallow that?

    Thank god I was able to resist the allure of a Dougie Braithwaite cover (but WOW that was a nice cover!)

    Fuck off, Dixon.

     
  • At November 14, 2007 6:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I definitely agree with you. It seems out of character for Batman not to know the nature of their relationship. Plus, as a lesbian, my first reaction was to take offense to contents of these pages, especially the special comment. Maybe this makes me "overly-sensitive." Just calling it it like I see it.

     
  • At November 14, 2007 6:45 PM, Anonymous Kwaku said…

    I disagree. Simply put, I don't see what you are seeing reading.

     
  • At November 14, 2007 7:34 PM, Blogger zhinxy said…

    Geee, I would have thought he knew from the fact Grace screamed "YOU FIRED MY GIRLFRIEND" at him in a previous issue.

    Oh, but he probably thought she meant girlfriend in that platonic way.

    Yep, uh-huh. Definitely.

    So, the World's Greatest Detective needs new Gaydar, huh?

    RIIIIIIIIIIGHT...

    See, I thought he was being set up to say something offensive just so she could overreact! Cookie for me! :P

    Now, if you excuse me, I have to go drink something...

     
  • At November 14, 2007 10:50 PM, Blogger Mike Haseloff said…

    Is it at all possible that Dixon is characterizing Batman as the repressed hard nut, incapable of elaborating on anything but the negatives whilst 'on the job'?

    Spinning around into his own close-up to declare he knows they're "LOVERS" isn't really what I imagine of Batman.

    "Special" and "close" seem sufficiently restrained, depending on the context, and how you read them.

     
  • At November 14, 2007 10:52 PM, Blogger CalvinPitt said…

    You know, I could have accepted Batman not realizing the nature of Grace and Anissa's closeness, if only because it would signal a move away from Omnipotent Batman that I despise so very much, but it's that use of the word "special". It just seems such an odd word choice to describe just a friendship.

    I mean, Batman has been portrayed as being emotionally closed-off in the past, but as you note, not to the extent a simple friendship would be "special". Maybe if he had just said "relationship", and played it off as just meaning friendship?

    Although, I do have a friend that's close enough I think of him like a brother, I could see someone perhaps calling that a "special" friendship. Not sure how I would interpret it if they did.

     
  • At November 14, 2007 11:25 PM, Anonymous Wrye said…

    Oh damn. Here I was going to pick it up, because, hey, Dixon, got to be a huge improvement on Winick, right?

    Asinine. This is the gaddamn Batman! He's a, you know, detective?

     
  • At November 15, 2007 9:54 AM, Anonymous Mallet said…

    He inherited the team from Dick and Roy didn't he? Wouldn't they have informed him about the generalities of the team. Dick especially knows the value of being prepared, he would have worked up a current situations chart or something.

    Also this probably would never have happened under who was originally supposed to be writing, AND we would of had more Aquaman. Wasn't that the entire point of the Metamorpho Aquaman one shot? To show Batman the value of a man who has access to portals all over the world?

     
  • At November 15, 2007 10:08 AM, Blogger Meaghann said…

    "Plus, as a lesbian, my first reaction was to take offense to contents of these pages, especially the special comment."

    I agree...it's a brush off my girlfriend and I will run into from time to time. The phrases "special relationship", "special friend", or just a heavily stressed "friend" are often used to devalue our relationship. I doubt Batman's really that oblivious and is more likely to be Dixon's biases showing through. Again.

     
  • At November 15, 2007 1:01 PM, Anonymous Mark Engblom said…

    Ah, but if Batman had made a point of noticing her lesbianism, that probably would have sent the usual crowd into a tizzy as well. Then it would have been "Hey, she has alot more to her than just her sexual preference!".

    So, damned if you so, damned if you don't.

     
  • At November 15, 2007 4:23 PM, Blogger zhinxy said…

    Marc Engblom: I can't believe I'm bothering, but:

    You aren't seriously making the old "There's no point considering why individiual/group x is offended, even if I'm not, because if they didn't have that to be offended by, they'd certainly be offended by "strawsituation I made off up the top of my head," argument, are you?

     
  • At November 16, 2007 11:38 AM, Blogger Meaghann said…

    "Ah, but if Batman had made a point of noticing her lesbianism, that probably would have sent the usual crowd into a tizzy as well."

    Not necessarily. It could have been done in a way that did acknowledge their relationship as a valid one and still gotten his point across of "I don't care what Grace thinks". Or it could have been omitted all together, the exchange just being:

    "Does Grace know about this?"
    "Grace's opinion doesn't enter into it."

     
  • At November 18, 2007 4:56 AM, Blogger Ami Angelwings said…

    That.. is.. so not Batman =_=

    This is the guy that knew ppl WIPED HIS MEMORY. >:|

     
  • At November 18, 2007 5:00 PM, Blogger zhinxy said…

    Ami - I think I get it now! We're being set up for another round of crazy-mind-wipe fighting!

    "YOU... I remember... YOU TOOK MY GAYDAR!"

     
  • At November 19, 2007 10:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "This is the guy that knew ppl WIPED HIS MEMORY."

    Ha!

    Yeah, at best this was just an awkward and poorly worded scene, but Dixon hasn't been at his best in years.

     
  • At November 25, 2007 10:47 PM, Blogger booster.shoes said…

    Dear Dixon
    i am pretty sure that batman has no problem with being gay/bi/lesbian the only things he cares about is that you do your job and do it well and you get the F*CK out of HIS TOWN
    please at lest have the balls to call me stupid to my face

     
  • At November 25, 2007 11:38 PM, Blogger zhinxy said…

    He called you "special." ;) Is that enough?

     

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