By SC 6 Comments
Hello, do you know what critical thinking is? In a way it is sort of like arguing with yourself? The important part is to not do this aloud in a crowded room ~ unless your really good at running away - from people in white coats carrying tranquilizer guns. Whenever I see a blog, or a thread, about that has the word diversity in the title, that involves comics, or movies, or really, well anything really... I can predict at least five replies within the thread ~ those in favor - those against = those that are more neutral. I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way. In extreme cases, when people get frustrated, we discover that people who do not want diversity, are racist, sexist bigots. Those that want diversity, only want it for diversity sake, and to be PC.
Oh, which brings me to the man ~ Or the straw man. Or the straw man argument. Which I think no doubt, is the best way for a lazy person, who thinks that the point of arguments, is to win. Them, the straw men. Do you know of the straw man argument? Its when you take a persons argument, then distort it, so that is an extremely oversimplified and dumbed down version of their argument with some superficial similarities. Which is sort of the argument that leads to above by the way? People who do not want diversity = racist, sexist bigots. Those that want diversity = only want it for diversity sake, they do not care about the story. I mean, when those are perceived as the arguments right? Its so easy to feel extra smart in refuting them, because they are such poor arguments.
Next time I read a comic, I really do need there to be a sentient male, lesbian cloud from Saturn, that is Jamaican that also knows French and has a unibrow... otherwise... I am going to be intolerant of diversity (or lack of). Never mind the fact that diversity at its core is just ~ actually ~ difference. So even a book with only two Madrox clones talking to each other, is going to organically and naturally have diversity inherently. Just, relatively, not as much depending on how your measuring, which is sort of up to you, as say maybe ten Madrox clones... and Monet, and Strong Guy, and Siryn, and Shatterstar, and Rictor. As much. The line - - - - does not actually stop there. You can always make something more and more different. Diversity isn't just gender, race, or sexual orientation. Its a character being taller than another. Its a character wearing a black cape next to a character wearing a red cape. Its a character who is happy next to a character who is depressed, next to a character wearing a pancake as a mask, with little tiny cut out holes in the pancake, where the eyes are, so he does not walk into walls. To dislike diversity, is to dislike Batman, and any other character that is not Superman. At least as far as superheroes...
This next one is a bit easier? Do you know what preference is? Discretion? Opinion? Those things aren't the same, but they are similar. Do people really, really want to but the best quality story when it comes to comics? How do you know, unless you buy every single issue released? How do you know which will be the best issue? All do you really want the best story that week, if the best story as decided by a bunch of people.. lets say 100? Is the same story that is about a character you hate, in a setting you hate, by a writer you hate, and an artist you hate? I suppose some people - are so loyal to the story that they might buy that book, - if a 100 people concluded it was the best book that week and no other people of a large amount disagreed? Has that ever happened though? Maybe... a persons preference and discretion could maybe be a factor? Possibly, maybe, I think and wonder? Like, I would prefer a good X-Men story, over a great story starring... Dane Cook... it helps that there is no false dilemma situation present. You have a lot of choice. You tend to learn to trust you like certain stories with certain characters a bit more, merely because those certain characters are those characters and not characters you have learned you simple, do not, like, as, much. The same applies for writers, and artists, and publishers, but... there are, differences between personal preferences and objective truths.
Personally? I think diversity in argument threads about diversity gets a bad rep. Is it PC, that a person might prefer Batman, because he is tonally darker than Superman? A person might personal value grittier stories? Maybe because the way Batman is presented to him, and is interpreted to him, suggest to him, and his wallet, that he would rather read a good Batman story, rather than a great Superman story. Similarly, depending on a person, is it PC, that they prefer characters for ways that appeal to them, personally? So maybe we should quickly look at what might be a bad example of diversity being for a politically correct reason?
Like, I wish to tell the poignant and dramatic story, of one white guy, who has a black friend, and both of them get trapped in a small town, that is filled with only racist Ku Klux Klan members? So I build this delicate, and complex, grounded story, that is about friendship, and self sacrifice and danger and racism, and risk, and... more themes. There might be two non white characters within the story? Its a realistic story though, grounded in reality. No aliens, or millionaires who know every martial arts style ever including the secret ones, taught by dogs, billions of years from now. Problem? My movie producer, lets pretend its Tom Cruise? Tom thinks, that there is not enough black people, Asian people, lesbians or Martians in my story (well I think somewhere my story turned into a movie script) and so, the uhm... Vice, President of the KKK, and the Accountant of the KKK in the small town my story is set in... well my movie can not be made or funded, unless those two KKK characters are black? Also one must be a lesbian. That way, the movie's quota of black characters will go from two? To four? Lesbians will go from zero, to one? The reason why? Well see, that. That is diversity, for diversity sake? Its definitely diversity that is implemented in a way, that actually, directly affects the story... unless its meant to be ironic... or a comedy... unless this small town was filled with blind people... or the black characters who were in the KKK were allowed in for some reason... but now, things are just getting a bit too convoluted. How will were believe the danger that is in store for our two non KKK protagonists one white, and one black, in a small town filled with racists, if the head or one of the heads of that same racist organizations is visibly blacker than the character they are threatening to harm for being black?
My argument to that would be that any person who is wanting to add more racial, specifically add more diversity as far as black people, in the above story for the sake of adding more black people, the idea of the story be damned, I am not sure that is an argument actually promoting diversity... the story already has diversity. What the above PC example actually illustrates is stupidity. In the same way, a person who would argue, that Galactus? Does not actually ~ need ~ to be a transvestite, half Australian, half Samoan, dwarf with a speech impediment does not mean that that person is anti diversity. Nor do they want a story where a person, who is exactly the same as them, clones himself 100 times, and talks to himself with one word, over and over again, for #100 issues, a fairly limited diversity story, environment so on... that sort of anti diversity, attempted to be enforced on to other readers ~ thats not so much a real argument either. Which brings us full circle I think...? If when we consider diversity? True diversity, bearing in my personal preferences? Like power levels and diversity there? Some people care, some people don't, some people have the right to care if a character is a girl, a certain ethnicity, power level, genre type? Tech level? Maturity... add in critical thinking? Are you actually looking for the right answer? Or the right answer for you? Do you really want the best story? Or do you want the story you like best? Then if someone disagrees with you... are they wrong? Or do they merely have a different preference? Do they have a good reason to have a difference in opinion to you? Aside from them obviously just being a racist, sexist, homophobe, or... just wishing for diversity? Merely for diversity sake? Or, is it possible,just possible, that there reasons for their preferences, both subjective and personal, and objective in terms of how they think such stories affect the short term and long term success of the industry... is it possible their reasons are as considered as yours?
I have been talking to myself this whole time mind you. I don't think there is a right side when it comes to diversity in comics. Its already going to be in each issue no matter what, because diversity will always be there in real life. Its just a matter of degrees and extent. I am the type of reader, who does not read comics to read about myself, so in a basic, general way, you could say that I am maybe pro diversity? I like Rogue, because I do not really know many sassy, southern belle's with white streaks who can absorb powers, but I'd hate if there were more than one of her... then I like Thor, and then Wonder Woman, and then Silver Surfer, and then Gambit, and then Elektra, and then Big Barda, and then Blue Marvel, and then Shatterstar, and then Monet, and I can like new characters as well. I don't like those characters because they are, or aren't diverse. They are a mixture of a bunch of different qualities the are more complex than just a few similarities or differences. When it comes to stories rooted in realism? I prefer diversity to represent this? I would maybe not like a five year old powerless child to defeat a powered immortal that can throw buildings around, without good reason... thats fantasy to me, like Schism... I can like fantasy stories though... I like when a skilled writer balances realism and fantasy... but my preference is that there is a good balance. Five year old powerless child should only be able to in a story, lift what they roughly can in real life... see, realism? Preference. Still a fictional character. So back to my personal preferences? Diversity, I am a fan. On the more literal level as well as society's more typical focused tendency to associate diversity with race, gender etc
As far as how I feel about diversity when it comes to the bigger picture? Health of the comic book industry? Well I think things need to improve, however that is a more complicated topic and the people in white coats have spotted me and so...