Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

(Some of) My Biases, Double Standards, and Hypocrisies Enumerated

I am a very biased individual. This is not a flaw, in my opinion. Everyone has biases, and one of the reasons I created this blog was to showcase mine.

And argue with interpretations of things that I think are WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. But I digress.

Of course I don't expect you to share my biases, and healthy disagreement is always fun. But please note, that if we do discuss anything about comics, these biases will probably come up:

1) The following characters are utter assholes who I would still find somewhat sympathetic even if they shot a puppy:

A. Guy Gardner (Green Lantern/Warrior)
B. Sanderson Hawkins (Sandy the Golden Boy/Sandman)
C. Scott Summers (Cyclops)

1b) In storyarcs where these characters are assholes and other characters are also assholes, I will probably be biased toward these characters.

1c) Perhaps because of the whole "we hate those faults most that we see in ourselves", hypocrisy is a huge, huge pet peeve of mine. If one character is being a complete asshole, and one character is being a hypocrite. I will probably favor the complete asshole. It's a thing.

2) The following characters are NOT assholes, never would be, and if there is a story that makes them so, it is WRONG:

A. Steve Rogers (Captain America)
B. Sam Wilson (the Falcon)
C. Alfred Pennyworth

2b) If you characterize Steve Rogers as anything but one of the nicest people around (even when punching people in the face or brooding angstily) you are WRONG.

3) The following characters are idiots, and if there is a logical explanation of their actions, I will probably ignore it in favor of mocking them:

A. Dick Grayson (Nightwing/Batman)
B. Charles Xavier (Professor X)
C. Wesley Dodds. (Sandman)
D. Remy LeBeau (Gambit)

3b) Anything wrong with the X-Men part of the Marvel Universe can totally be blamed on Charles Xavier.

4) The following characters are awesome, full stop, and if you try to tell me that they are weak portrayals or something otherwise annoying, I will want to cause you pain.

A. Karen Starr (Power Girl)
B. Jean Grey-Summers
C. Sharon Carter
D. Barbara Gordon (Batgirl/Oracle)

4b) That said, I think these women have assholish tendencies too. Which is why I like them.

I undoubtedly have more biases, double standards and hypocrisies to be discovered, but these are the ones most likely to come up in any comic discussion on this blog. :-)

18 Comments:

  • At February 13, 2010 4:32 PM, Anonymous Anika said…

    3b made me laugh because it is so true.

     
  • At February 13, 2010 5:18 PM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    What if Guy shot Scott with a GL puppy-construct? And then zombie Scott ate Sandy?

     
  • At February 13, 2010 5:30 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Scott would shoot the construct. And Sandy's made of Sand. Everyone lives. And I would love them all. <3

     
  • At February 13, 2010 11:45 PM, Blogger k said…

    This post makes me happy. What would be the point of reading the blogs of balanced, unbiased people?

    Though you are objectively wrong about Jean. (While I went to work instead of arguing you into the ground yesterday, Jean shoulda stayed DEAD, DEAD, DEAD. Maddie's better :P)

    kiragecko

     
  • At February 14, 2010 12:41 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    In the issue where Scott and Maddie marry, the preceding story involves Mastermind casting an illusion of the Dark Phoenix and tricking the team.

    During this, Scott tells the group that he knows that Madelyne is innocent because he asked her himself if she were Jean reborn.

    He ASKED Madelyne if she were Jean reborn. And she STILL MARRIED HIM.

    Seriously, if it were me, and my fiance asked me if I were his dead girlfriend reborn/reincarnated? I don't care HOW hot he is, I'm giving him a card to a local therapist and telling him "don't call me until you've had a year or two of therapy, because you are CLEARLY not dealing with this loss."

    Madelyne? Goes ahead and marries him anyway. She knew EXACTLY what she was getting into.

    And that's why Jean's better. :-P

     
  • At February 14, 2010 6:01 AM, Blogger Menshevik said…

    Well, since the discussion two threads back and my contribution to it probably was the immediate cause for this, also very readable one, let me say this:
    I think don't think biases are no bad thing, especially if "taken and moderation" and, as in your case and I hope in mine, if the person is aware of them. They certainly make for a more interesting read than an attempt to be "even-handed" to the point of soporific neutrality. What that "altercation" yesterday demonstrated once again was that often the most heated disagreements are between people who are basically in close agreement and over apparent side-issues. When I look at your list, I see that I share a good many of your biases, and where I don't, it is often because I don't know these characters enough to have formed an opinion of them or they simply don't interest me, so I have no problems with you intensely liking or mocking them. And the funny thing was that Warren Worthington was never even among my top twenty favourite characters and for you he is not important enough to be listed here, yet we got into a quite intense disagreement over how to look at his behaviour in X-Factor #1-6, and the intensity of your animus specifically against him came as a surprise to me even though your "Scott and Jean can do no wrong" worldview was familiar.

    Also I would hazard a guess that our standards are also not all that far apart, because hypocrisy also is a big peeve of mine (I'm too chickenshit to comment on how far the "we hate those faults we see in ourselves" comment applies to me ;-) ). Only you saw Warren's behaviour as hypocritical, while to my mind he behaved like an ignorant asshole (he was largely written as an idiot at the time, had to be to make the Cameron Hodge plot work, and he had behaved as an asshole towards Candy before), while I think I may have seen Hank's and Bobby's promise to Scott to help him as hypocritical (as it turned out they would not really help him and they had an ulterior motive because they wanted to manipulate Scott into becoming X-Factor's leader whether he worked out his problems or not). So I was utterly unwilling, perhaps even unreasonably so, to give them preferential treatment over Warren (who of course also operated under the same ulterior motive).

    Note: This is not meant as a gambit(1) to reopen that debate, but an attempt at analysing the way I dove into it and in what ways I see similarities between ourselves.

    (1) I SOOOO approve of 3d)!

     
  • At February 14, 2010 6:03 AM, Blogger Menshevik said…

    Whoops, that should of course read: "I don't think biases are a bad thing..." or "I think biases are no bad thing..." *blush*

     
  • At February 14, 2010 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    agreed on Sand... why doesn't he get more air time???? though have to admit your old posts about Sand and Sorrow were too creepy and went over my head. And I thought I was the psycho-analyst you took those to another level LOL

    - Seafire

     
  • At February 14, 2010 11:49 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    It's so true that Wesley Dodds was an idiot. But he was an endearing idiot, which makes him ok in my book. Xavier is not endearing. Manipulative, yes.

    However, Guy, Sandy and Scott ARE simply the bee's knees. Well...at least Guy and Sandy are. Scott's ok though.

    And Warren has been a twit from the very beginning.

     
  • At February 14, 2010 4:32 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Menshevik: I don't think our opinions are all that off. And I definitely get that Beast/Iceman's reaction IS assholish/selfish too.

    But to me it's not hypocritical. If they started yelling at Warren or Jean for ignoring his mental issues to use him, then I'd call them hypocritical. I hate when people judge others for what they themselves do. (At least not without some kind of acknowledgment.)

    At this point in X-Factor though, they seem to be wisely staying silent, so I give them more benefit of the doubt...this time. :-P

    And yes. Everyone agrees on 3b. Because it's objectively true. :-)

     
  • At February 14, 2010 6:10 PM, Blogger Menshevik said…

    @Kalinara -
    Needless to say, we're not not going to agree on this matter, so I'll now mention a bias I realized in myself during this discussion: Normally I keep apart looking at a story a) as if it really happened and involved real persons and b) as a work of literature (art). But when there comes a time when the writing becomes so bad that, as it were, the man behind the curtain who is pushing the story in the direction of his choice becomes too obvious to ignore, then my annoyance at the writer can also affect my feelings towards characters. Especially if the writer abruptly and for no apparent reason other than to further a plot/situation to the benefit of (a) pet character(s) but to the detriment of others, then instead of the reaction the writers aim for what they'll get out of me is distrust against the character(s) they favour by their obtrusive plotting. To use an example other than Scott Summers, I dislike Gambit not just because he is a manipulative deceiver and by all appearances an emotional abuser, but also because the writers, in order to fit their master plot for the romance between him and Rogue, abruptly (and even without acknowledging the change) transformed Rogue to a wimpy character (instead of a heroine in her own right she became Gambit's clingy girlfriend).

    BTW, even without this kind of thing writer's favoritism towards characters can cause problems in a group book if it leads to neglect of other members of the group. One reason for Warren's fairly superficial characterization is that few writers ever treated him as more than a supporting bit player. Which is probably why the ramifications of the trauma he must have suffered through the murder of his parents was never explored in 40 years. I suspect a lot of writers are actually unaware that Warren did not lose his parents by natural causes).

     
  • At February 14, 2010 8:50 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I'm not arguing that Warren doesn't have an excuse. I just don't find his excuse as sympathetic. :-)

    You're free to think Warren is less of/equal in assholishness to the others. My thing is that a) I'm biased to be sympathetic to Scott and b) I'm very biased against hypocrisy. So for me, at least in that storyarc, I hate Warren. :-)

    (In other storyarcs, I do like him more. And in some less. It happens. :-))

     
  • At February 15, 2010 2:48 AM, Blogger Menshevik said…

    Well, since I see NO hypocrisy in Warren's behaviour in X-Factor #6 for reasons I explained I thought even with your pro-Scott and anti-hypocrisy biases you were unfair to Warren in comparison to your willingness to excuse Hank and Bobby.

    BTW, another example of author's neglect of Warren: Still fairly recently, in UXM #169-170, Warren had gone through another extremely traumatic experience, when he was kidnapped by the Morlocks and had to be saved from being raped by Callisto by the X-Men. On this story too there was no real follow-up (even though it happened to foreshadow the situation during the Massacre when Angel was pinned against the wall in the Morlock tunnels by the Marauders), contributing to the popular misconception that Warren had an easy life before the Massacre.

     
  • At February 15, 2010 3:00 AM, Blogger notintheface said…

    With ya on everyone except Mr. Grayson, who, when written right, is what Nick Lowe would call "The Jesus Of Cool".

    You can't make fun of Gambit enough, though. Let's start with the fact that, sans his trenchcoat, his costume looks like something Steve Ditko vomited after a bad bout with the flu.

    And you promised a column on Scott being a sneaky S.O.B. (in a good way).

     
  • At February 15, 2010 5:38 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Notintheface: I DID, thank you for reminding me!

    Menshevik: In the other thread, you said:

    "As I was well aware of Warren's immediately preceding behaviour, notably his dalliance with Dazzler despite living with Candy (@Lurker Without: Warren was living with Candy in New Mexico, apparently happily, in X-Factor #1 pp. 4-9, until he heard of Jean's return). So I did not really get a "Nice Guy" vibe from him, but rather saw him in a situation comparable to Scott's, only in his case Jean would have been aware that Candy was Warren's girlfriend/partner (she had been since the 1960s) and thus had cause to distrust his approaches to her."

    Boldface mine.

    You also said:

    "To clarify: Warren and Candy were not just dating, they had been living together for years at that point, so in effect by leaving her and making time with Jean what he did was as reprehensible as what Scott did re. Madelyne. The Angel obviously was no angel himself here, but Jean could and should have known that (as she remembered Candy from the old days)."

    From your own words, Warren basically epitomizes hypocrisy as defined. He's judging Scott for violating values that he himself does not appear to hold.

    Moreover, he's solely placing blame on Scott for keeping a secret that he himself kept for 6 issues. Granted, Scott had the greater responsibility to tell and was too chickenshit. But for me personally, Warren's hypocrisy ups his douchebag factor higher.

    You don't have to think hypocrisy weighs as heavily in the evaluation of whether someone's an asshole as I do. But it's pretty hard to refute that by definition, Warren's being a hypocrite here.

     
  • At February 15, 2010 12:48 PM, Blogger Menshevik said…

    @Kalinara
    Re. those quotes: Warren's and Scott's situations were comparable insofar as they affected their relationships to Candy and Maddy, respectively(1). With regards to how they affected Jean it was completely different. Warren was not deceiving Jean about his motives and personal situation (in XF #4 there was even a scene where he took a phonecall from Candy in Jean's presence), he did not expect his teammates, Scott in particular, to act as his accomplices in his deception (2), and his behaviour re. Candy was not visibly hurting Jean emotionally. Warren would only have been a hypocrite here if he had said and acted as if Jean deserved to know the truth about Scott and Maddy but not about himself and Candy.

    (1) Although some would say that Scott's behaviour to Madelyne was worse because she was his lawfully wedded wife, as well as the mother of his son, and not just cohabiting in a what appears to have been an informal relationship of questionable fidelity.

    (2) Scott's reaction to Warren's "forgotten" approach in X-Factor #2 made it clear that Scott wanted him to butt out because he (Warren) was out of his depths in such a situation. It is impossible to read that as "but please feel free to tell Jean behind my back any way you want".

    As for Warren keeping silent to Jean about Scott and Maddy, I think the stories make the reasons quite plain. It is impossible to miss that by his silence Warren was only hurting his own chances with Jean by perpetuating her misconception that Scott was free and unattached. He believed that Jean deserved to know the truth, but, as his thoughts in XF #6 p. 14 show, he suspected his own motives - he might be doing it not out of a passion for truth, but for Jean. (Jean knowing about Scott's marriage would clearly improve Warren's chances with her). So he tried to get Scott to do the right thing and resolve the mess himself - one way or another. He thus broached the matter to Scott in XF #2 and again in #3.

    In the scene in XF #6 p. 4 I don't see Warren as a hypocrite because
    a) the cat was already out of the bag, Jean had correctly deduced that Scott was hiding something big from her,
    b) Warren was immediately reacting without reflection to seeing the distress Scott's passive-aggressive surlyness was causing Jean, which caused him momentarily to drop his self-censoring inner guard, and
    c) because Scott clearly was the guy primarily responsible. Whatever reason Warren and the others may had to keep silent in X-Factor #1, their continued silence afterwards was what Scott wanted.

    Refutation accomplished, at least to my own satisfaction, though I know nothing will satisfy you.

    Despite his reluctance to tell Jean, maybe Warren would have answered truthfully when Jean asked him point-blank in XF #5 p. 10, but that was interrupted by a convenient emergency, as happened far too often in early X-Factor whenever an obvious resolution or revelation was about to happen. (Similarly when he was about to tell Jean in XF #6 p. 14). Not that I think it would have made a whit of a difference - I suspect that if Warren HAD told Jean about Maddy in private in XF #2, 3, 4, or 5, you'd now be vilifying him for stabbing Scott in the back. However he would have gone about it, he could not have done it in a way that would not have laid him open to the charge of trying to selfishly further his own interest, to appear as a Nice Guy in comparison to Scott.

     
  • At February 15, 2010 1:30 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Menshevik, the fact that the cat's out of the bag, as you put it, doesn't negate the hypocrisy. It makes it worse.

    He's doing the same thing. He's done the same thing. He helped in the secret. Now that Jean knows there's a problem, he's shoving it all onto Scott and ignoring his own culpability?

    No way. Jean finding out does not lessen the hypocrisy of his actions. You can argue (I won't agree) that it mitigates his assholishness. But it does NOT mitigate his hypocrisy.

    He's saying one thing, doing the exact opposite. It's very simple man. You will not convince me otherwise.

     
  • At February 15, 2010 1:51 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    As for whether I would be villifying him for telling? That's an interesting assumption from someone who knows NOTHING about my personal history. Thank you.

    Oh. And also, I think we've tangented quite far enough from the point of this blog entry.

    So if you want to continue discussing, feel free to set up a blog post or something elsewhere and link back here with a "this is why Kalinara is wrong" or whatever.

    You are free to drop the link here. But otherwise, the comment policy is in effect. Thanks!

     

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