Friday, July 15, 2005

Blogging about Blogging

There's a debate going on that I've intentionally stayed out of, but I've decided to add my two cents, and just for the hell of it I'm posting it here instead of that incredibly hard to deal with comments thread. (See, when you respond to someone's comments you should always start the response off with at least their name, only a few people seem to get that...So instead of having to constantly read every other response to see if it responds to mine, well this makes it easier...of course I realize no one reads this, why do you ask?)

So, Rose decided that there was a lack of female representation at Comic Book Galaxy, and on the comics internet in general. She even called out Laura for not recognizing more female bloggers/writers. You'll notice that Laura is the ONLY female blogger on my sidebar, just like CBG has only one female contributor. Is that because we have something against women? Surely it is.

No, it's not. But, while CBG's contributors (male or female) can be summed up simply as "what we got", Laura is the only female blogger on my sidebar because she's what I like. She's funny, she's informative, she's obsessive, she's never hostile (I know, I know, a guy who is hostile claiming he doesn't like hostility), and she doesn't complain about things she could ultimately change (she always buys Aquaman, she usually doesn't like it, but never continually rants about it). Are there more women bloggers out there like this? Probably, but I've always been a "stick with what's working" kind of guy. Laura works for me on a regular basis, and whenever I find someone else I like enough to want to read about everyday, well, they'll be on the sidebar.

You'll also notice Dorian is the only gay man on my linksbar too, and for partially the same reasons. Only I like, no LOVE to hear Dorian be combative and hostile because he can do it in a way that always makes me laugh. When I find another gay comics blogger that I like this much, guess what, I'll add them to the damn sidebar.

The key word there is FIND. See, you can throw an internet rock and hit a white guy blogging about comics (or hell, ANYTHING), but finding female and gay bloggers, especially ones that are GOOD, is not always the easiest thing.

My question here though is why be so destructive about CBG and its shortcomings? Could it use more minorities on the staff? The short answer is: YES. And I'm pretty damn positive that ADD sought out people in those areas that are qualified (which begs the question, if I'm qualified, what exactly are the qualifications? Heh.), but odds are good they passed, for whatever reason. You need look no further than that dreaded comments section to find at least one that falls into two of those categories.

Here's another question: Why stop there Rose? Surely there are other minority groups we don't have on staff. Why concern yourself with just females? Surely Alan is as much a racist as he is a misogynist, why not attack him on that front? If you honestly hoped to have any weight to your complaint you'd have attacked CBG on its lack of almost any minority groups, not just females, so instantly your argument falls apart, at least for me. It just makes it read like you deciding to take a big dump on our clubhouse and you needed something other than "the site looks ugly".

Simply put, there aren't more because there aren't more. I could hand some comics to anyone and ask them to write about them, but is that something you'd want to read? I could go to work today, give them to everyone I know and ask them to write 500 words about what they read, I guarantee less than half of them would even be remotely enjoyable. Why? Because comics readers, especially ones who can understand and intelligently comment about the medium, are hard to come by. I think CBG has done a damn fine job of gathering a group of people (I got grandfathered in! YAY!) that can talk at length about comics with intelligence. Is it revolutionary? Nope, but it's there, and people are enjoying it, or at the very least reading it.

Here's something else I'd like to address: Her comments on Chris Allen's personal life. Honestly, what the hell does that have to do with how he acts professionally? I could go home every night and jerk off to lesbian porn, but does that mean I don't know how to act around women in a more professional environment? Umm, no. Just because Chris runs his site as sort of a journal about his life in general that does not mean he isn't respectful of women. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that women that read comics could get a date far easier than men that read comics. I applaud Chris' efforts to "get back on the horse" so to speak. I saw what divorce did to my father, seeing Chris handle it completely differently has been interesting. Dating is hard, and I think it's infinitely harder for men, especially us geeks, so if blogging about it helps Chris get through the day (or whatever the reasons, it's his life afterall), well who the hell are you to judge him?

She does have a few somewhat valid points, all of them about the look and/or navigation of the sitre. But, you know what, I'm not even qualified to comment on that. If you can't be part of the solution, DON'T be part of the problem, that what Grandma always said. I know enough HTML to run this blog half-assed, so I'm not going to say "Hey, Alan, you know it would be great if you busted your ass even more and made the site look like a shiny new nickel!". On his blog Alan admits to doing as much as he can, and from what I've seen that's entirely true. So, instead of bitching about the sites look and leaving it at that, why not offer some tips? Why just be destructive in your criticism? If you know of specific ways to fix things why not email Alan and ask him if he'd like your help.

But, you make it clear that you want nothing to do with CBG early on don't you? Apologies, I forgot. By the way, that statement reads like it was written by a kid in the sixth grade: "Hey, I didn't get invited, but screw them I didn't want to go anyway!" Is that really necessary? It also subtracts from the validity of your argument.

So, what this boils down to is the exact thing that's wrong with mainstream comics? People continually bitching about a product they'll buy no matter what. If you're going to read CBG everyday then complain about it, it kind of makes your points invalid, especially since you're not trying to be part of the solution. Personally attacking one of the editors (it WAS a personal attack, it reads like one, it's there, you can't deny it) certainly isn't going to win you any favor with the staff either. Chris and I likely disagree on TONS of stuff, but I've always been one to stand firm with friends and family, and CBG is a family, a growing one. If you don't enjoy it, well, you don't have to read, but it will still be there, and eventually it will be the best it can be.

Sigh...then there's the debate in your comments section about links. Has it occurred to anyone other than me that somewhere somebody might just stumble upon something? Why does it matter if some sight gets double linked? Why does it matter if nine people link to the same article? I do NOT!!!!! write my blog or my column for the people on my sidebar, if I see something there that I want to link to, I will. I write for the people who don't know me, that's who I write for. That Batman column was not for the people ALREADY reading comics, it was for the people who don't. A comics commentator commenting on comics commentary that comments on something they've read somewhere else is kind of idiotic. Yes, you did read that somewhere else, but I didn't write it for YOU, I wrote it for the guy who hasn't picked up a Batman comic in fifteen years, or the parent who's looking for a good Batman book their kid can enjoy. I could have certainly done it better, everything can always be better, but I at least tried. I didn't stand around bitching that no one writes about good entry level books for people to pick up. Well, I tried, that's at least a step in the right direction.

So, to cut it short, not just Rose, but everyone out there content to sit around bitching that things aren't what they should be, but never lending a hand to make it better: STOP BEING PART OF THE PROBLEM!

I think that's what "Pushing Comix Forward" is all about.


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