Thursday, February 14, 2013

Lesbian Breaks Up With DC Over Twitter, Wants Her Mix Tapes Back

by Ash P.

I’ve never broken up with someone online.

First off, it’s tacky and impersonal. No one wants to hear their long time relationship is over via Twitter. Twenty-two years! Twenty-two years deserves a sit down in the kitchen with a mug of tea and one last attempt to patch things up before you part ways. Twenty-two years is a lot of time and money spent together. Twenty-two years is not for Twitter.

Except when it’s a multi-million dollar company.

It started out innocently enough. I hadn’t been online for a few days due to work/family/catching up on Face Off/booking Wondercon/cats booping me for pets. Then a friend posted this on Facebook.

christ on a cracker.

Really? Really? Orson Scott Card? Come on, dude, I just got off work. I responded calmly, somewhat sarcastically before heading onto the sites to read up more on the ordeal.

But three articles deep, I cracked. Sad/angry/confused/scared/all the non-fun feels, I was an idiot and I was an idiot headed for twitter. 

click for full nerd scorn effect.
I wrote frantically. I made myself clear. Somehow my computer corrected oppressed to oporessed and I missed it. I mixed up the pledge of Allegiance with Superman’s slogan. I immediately, unconsciously made Spiderman mac ’n cheese for dinner. I had broken up with my favorite comic book publisher and was in a bad place. Where’s that cover of Heartbreak Hotel again? Oh there it is

I gave myself a few hours to calm down, but the feeling was still the same. After some bad calls from higher ups, this felt like one I couldn’t take. Don’t get me wrong, Orson Scott Card is a fantastically famous writer whos name sells tons of books. When the Ender’s Game movie comes out he will sell even more books because every book will have a “Author of Ender’s Game, now a major motion picture!” sticker slapped on it. People love those stickers. However his stances on gay people don’t warrant an excuse from DC that is worded like so-

“As content creators we steadfastly support freedom of expression, however the personal views of individuals associated with DC Comics are just that — personal views — and not those of the company itself.”

His stances warrant a “sorry guys, we fucked this one up” apology, plain and simple. His personal views go beyond a political discussion after a few glasses of wine, he’s not merely some armchair political expert. Card is an activist. Those personal views against gay marriage are also professional views. This is a person who expends a large amount of energy and time fighting to deny some of us one of the most basic of human rights. In the past he has gone so far as to say that if marriage passed in California he would be for destroying the government and erecting one that protected traditional marriage*. Like all authors, Card’s opinions have bled into his work. He is loud, he is active, he sits on the board for NOM, yet he has been selected to write Superman.

from time to time, yes.
Okay, digitally published two-parter Superman, but still, Superman? Who? Wha? Huh? Superman stands for a lot of things, liberty and justice for a-oh fuck I mixed them up again Truth, Justice, and the American Way for starters. His creators had him standing up for the everyman, for the oppressed. He’s gone more global recently, but the thing is this; Superman doesn’t discriminate. He believes in equality and peace. The Man of Steel is such an enormously iconic character, a character headed soon to the big screen with butt loads of merchandizing tie-ins, and you’d think someone would take a moment and ponder “Maybe we shouldn’t allow a man who spends a large amount of time fighting to keep civil rights away from some of our readers to be associated with one of our top grossing characters?”

I know you shouldn’t completely associate the author with the character. If I had done so then for years Batman would have spoken in a Scottish accent and practiced magic off panel in my imagination. However we’re in a state of flux right now, with more and more people and more and more readers supporting LGBT rights. Why would a company want to associate themselves with someone so tied to and engrossed in what most would consider fueling bigotry? Particularly a company that has for some time created a welcome environment for LGBT readers? A company that has a smart, strong gay woman starring in her own title? A company who has material showcasing positive gay lifestyles that so different, so opposite of what this person preaches? 
I didn't even care for this twist & it's still positive gay lifestyle.

Okay, alright, the usual the views don’t reflect DC spiel, and at this point with the wildfire that this has caused the editors will be on the look out to make sure none of those opinions bleed into Card’s Superman script. But he’s getting paid to do this. That check that will be cut (or is DC a direct deposit type of joint? Quandaries.) and will some of that go to NOM? Will some of that be used to fund the battle against me wanting to put a ring on it? It’s Card’s choice as to what he’ll do with his money, but DC has to be aware that like everyone else he donates to his causes, and their money could very well be headed to NOM’s bank account or another non-profit that does just as much damage towards their LGBT readers. Their money is supporting him and by proxy, supporting his negative views and network that is trying to make said views a reality. 

So, maybe DC doesn’t deserve my money.

As someone with toy Hal Jordan, Batgirl and Batwoman right next to her on her desk, it’s hard for me to write that. I’ve always been pretty vocal about my fondness for all things DC. My very first, most positive memories involve my dad hauling me to the comic shop at three years old so he could buy his DCs. When mom went to work and it was just the two of us The Adam West Batman show would be turned on. I remember when my dad bought The Death of Superman (he read it once, and then put it in its bag and taped it shut). At around four I was rocking towel capes and launching myself off of stacked couch cushions. At five I went trick-or-treating as Batman. At six I took my cousin’s Batman, Superman, JLA and Green Lantern issues and despite not knowing ninety percent of the words “read” them**.  He found out and we got in a fight that ended with a ripped Superboy cover. I remember when I first opened up my newly purchased copy of Kingdom Come when I was getting back into comics my first year away at college. When a friend lent me Red Son. How I stayed up till five A.M. to read as much of Johns run on Green Latern as possible, and I started at the beginning. Gotham Central, Arkham Asylum, Batman and Son, All Star Superman, Batwoman: Elegy.

we need to talk about this for a moment.

Holy shit. Batwoman. They made a superhero, with the suit and the cape and the Batman tech, gay. Not just gay, ladygay. And she dates cops? And it's tasteful and respectful of the people it portrays? Who read my dairy? Who knew I yearned for a strong, female, queer hero? In the Gothamverse? WHO DO I NEED TO BAKE SWEETS FOR?*** I briefly forgot Xavin and Karolina from The Runaways existed when I found Batwoman. Then I discovered Secret Six and freaked out all over again. DC had me, hook, line, and sinker. As I became more and more of a writer my dream job/longshot goal in life became clear: become a badass and write Batwoman. A chick who likes chicks writing a chick who likes chicks at one of the big two. A trailblazer, or something.Either that or become a ninja.

But I don’t want that anymore. Guys, real talk here: I have a Robin costume, a Catwoman costume and a Raven costume in my costume bin, and I don’t want to buy DC comics anymore. I don’t want to buy DC toys anymore. I don't want anymore DC shirts. I don’t want to recommend DC titles to new readers anymore. DC is paying a person who is actively trying to make sure I can’t get married to write for them. A person who believes homosexuality should remain illegal. A person who some of their own characters would at the very least be offended or threatened by because he certainly doesn’t see them as healthy or natural. 

not possible in public.
His personal views tend to also hit a little too close to home. Like many LGBT people I live in an area of the United States where a lot of others personal views about LGBT people effect jobs and lives. Where people tell you you don’t talk about those things because it’s shameful. Where if two men hold hands somebody is nearby telling their friends “why do they have to flaunt it?”. Where I struggled for months after graduating to just find minimum wage employment and was told after a family member looked over my resume that I had to immediately remove my college’s Gay-Straight Alliance from my list of clubs and community service. Because it “raises a red flag” to employers and that I may be “trouble” or potentially “hostile”. I live in an area where people’s personal views like Mr. Card’s are so strong that those out of the closet are forced back in.*** Where getting married, buying a house and starting a family with the person they love without fear is a fever dream. Where all young LGBT people can talk about is escaping, because there is nothing there for them. In a land of opportunity there is no opportunity if you do not fit within the social norm or at least try to fake it. We're still the undesirables out here where Orson Scott Card's personal views reign supreme and drive donations, and we look to books and other media for our temporary escape.

I don’t have a choice right now about where I’m living. But I do have a choice where I can spend my book money. Card’s opinions are beyond just opinions, they are professional activism. He is on the board of one of the most outspoken anti-gay marriage groups in the nation. His articles spread derision and his fight against the LGBT community cuts away at a basic human right many of us yearn for. He promotes inequality to the point where he feels the government should be destroyed in order to uphold it. His name may be a draw for some, but it makes others flinch. And DC, a company that has been open to the portrayal of positive gay characters and relationships, who’s books have won GLAAD awards is going to pay him. In turn funding his ideals, his cause, his activism, his personal views.

That is fucking insulting.

So so long, DC comics. I hope you like the choices you've made. I mean, not that you'll listen to me. I'm just one of your many steadies, an inconsequential girl that only spends several hundred dollars a year on comics.... and a few hundred on toys... then there's the shirts... well then when I graduate I'll be making a lot more so... well anywho, keep the mix tapes! Maybe OSC will like them. I'll just make a new playlist and download into flash drives because between Image, Kickstarter and various creator owned titles? I'm gonna play the field.  

Oh and Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.

Asher Powell’s oldest memories are reruns of the Adam West Batman show. She's a little bummed she won't be able to buy Batwoman Vol 2 and a lot of other books on her Amazon list now, however she can now buy a lot of other books on her Amazon list. By day she is a mild mannered geek wielding an art degree and a heavy caffeine addiction, but by night she is known as a writer who’s work has been featured on Autostraddle and Bleeding Cool. You can follow her on twitter where she rambles about the nerdier side of pop culture as well as her kitties and what she’s procrastinating on. 

*The article appears to have disappeared.
**I made sound effects and pretended like I knew what was going on in the story. It was mostly the super heroes saying “I’m gonna kick your butt!”
***I know who to bake sweets for. Rucka, J.H., if you ever want cookies shoot me a message. 
****And the closet is a horrible, lonely place if you’ve been out of it for some time.
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  1. Thank you for sharing this funny, sad and very personal (in the best possible way) response. The cognitive dissonance on DC's part is really distressing, and I can only hope they'll change their collective mind.

  2. Your money's yours to do with what you wish, and I won't try to convince you otherwise.

    But I'd just like to note that a LGBT person apparently wanting a complete boycott of a person from ever working in their field simply because that person does things that you don't agree with seems incredibly disingenuous.

    Because that's really what you're calling for, isn't it? For OSC to lose his job because of the things he does in his own time with his own money? When would you be happy? If no one ever published him again? If he starved to death because of his views?

    For the record, I do not agree with OSC's views at all and I find them very hurtful and antiquated. But think for a moment if the situation was reversed and he was a prominent gay activist and a bunch of people were petitioning DC to remove him from the book because of that. Would you hesitate to call that wrong? Don't you see any similarities between this situation and the "One Million Moms" protest of Ellen DeGeneres appearing in JC Penney ads?

    If you want DC to know how you stand on that issue, I -do- encourage you to vote with your money, and not buy OSC-written comics if you wish. Hell, even encourage your friends to not buy the comic if you like. If it sells poorly, they won't hire him again, or at least they'll think twice. At the very least you'll know that you didn't even indirectly But putting pressure on DC to fire the man based on his political beliefs alone isn't the 'high ground'. Neither is boycotting an entire company (full of good people, some of which may feel quite the same way you do) based on the political activism of a single person who was hired to write a two-issue story of which, I'm certain, DC editorial would never allow anything hateful to bear their logo in this day.

    Cool down, drink some cocoa, and buy an extra copy of Batwoman instead. :)

    1. *you didn't even indirectly fund his hateful agenda. Not sure how I accidentally the end of that sentence. ;)

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