I firmly believe that the Department of Justice is making a grave error in proceeding with its lawsuit against Macmillan, Penguin, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins and Apple Computer concerning the sale of e-books. I believe this is true for three very different reasons.
First, as someone who has been in the industry for 37 years as a bookseller, editor, author, and publisher, I know quite well many of the companies and individuals the DOJ has accused of collusion and their ways of doing business. I regret to say that the DOJ has confused a sheep (or lemming) mentality with collusion. Publishers have always followed each other in setting terms and policy. Usually one of the major publishers will make a change while the others watch to see the reaction. If the new policy or terms seem to be accepted or workable, then the rest quickly follow. For example, prior to the 1980s, all publishers charged freight for shipping their books from their warehouse to retailers. One publisher introduced “free freight” on all orders over 25 books and quickly all the others matched them. In the 1990s, most publishers had wholesale terms of 40-44%, depending on how many books you were buying. Then independent booksellers got upset that the chains were getting better terms and sued some of the publishers for violation of the Robinson-Patman Act of 1936. To deal with this, one publisher came out with new terms at 46% regardless of quantity purchased (save for a small minimum quantity) and suddenly everyone else followed suit. Or you could look at co-op advertising funds. Prior to the 1990s, every publisher based the amount of money a bookseller could received for an author event in their store on the amount of the “supporting order” – i.e. the total amount of books the bookseller spent on books for the event. The more a bookseller ordered, the more funds they received. Then the chains started taking aggressive advantage of this policy to the point that the publishers could not afford it any longer. So one publisher introduced a cap of $250 per event and soon every publisher had a similar cap. And, through the 1990s, though publishers’ official terms were almost universally 30 days EOM, they all allowed booksellers at least 90-120 days to pay their bills. Then, following one holiday season, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Books-a-Million all returned millions upon millions of dollars of books, instead of making the hefty payments the publishers had been expecting. Suddenly, all the publishers were in a very poor cash flow position – and within weeks, they were all trying to squeeze that money out of small, independent bookstores by insisting that all their bills past 30 days were now due. Again, one lead, the rest followed.
Were all these cases of collusion? Is there some secret cabal of publishers slyly meeting behind the scenes in some secret lair to coordinate their policies? Not at all. They were all watching what each other did and quickly following whoever seemed to be leading in the right direction (and they all followed each other off the cliff, as in the case when they all kept allowing the big chains to buy however much they wanted and got stuck with unmanageable returns that put them into a cash crisis, as highlighted above).
First, let it be known that I love most fanboys. When I go to a con, most of the guys there are respectful. They share a passion with me, and that’s awesome. We’re all on a rock floating through space with little connection to most of the people who surround us, so anything that allows us to bond is fantastic.
What I don’t love are angry fanboys (I wish there were a different word for them). I don’t love being scoffed at when I jump excitedly at finding a comic. I don’t love being told that, if I didn’t like something, it’s because it wasn’t “meant for chicks.” I don’t love the notion that I’m not a real fan because I have two X chromosomes and like to look at the Avengers cast. And I sure as hell don’t love my online interests (particularly shipping) being looked down on by the people who do this:
(Comment on a negative Rotten Tomatoes review of The Avengers.)
(Message in my inbox. Way to be an anonymous coward.)
(Comment on the the SHH boards.)
That last one’s fairly tame. It followed a (now deleted) comment that went something to the effect of this: “Tumblr is sick. I can’t even browse the Avengers tag because of all the fangirls posting porn.”
Well, you know what? I’m not sorry.
I’m not sorry my enjoyment of fandom is different from yours.
Maybe my time would be better spent bitching at reviewers and complaining that Black Widow made it to film before Ant-Man. But that’s not what I choose to do. I choose to draw. I choose to write fanfic. I choose to share podcasts and make comic book recommendations. I choose to be positive (when I’m not pissed of at people like you anyway).
I’m not sorry you sometimes stumble upon sexualized male characters.
You know why? Because of this:
(Zatanna’s new “costume”)
(Heroes for Hire #13)
And, finally, this:
(Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Hawkeye, and TITS AND ASS!)
You get to ogle comic book characters constantly. You get to ogle movie characters constantly. And you know what? While I have a problem with the double standard in comics, that is your right. Women are sexy.
But if I want to put Iron Man and Captain America on the cover of The Notebook or pose them like Cyclops and Jean Grey, I’m going to do it. And I think I have the right to without being thought of as some sort of freak.
How is the way I enjoy my hobby less healthy than the way you enjoy yours? How am I the one who’s inappropriate? I think it’s because I sexualize male characters instead of female ones.
I’m not sorry that makes you uncomfortable.
(“Leave the Avengers aloooonnneeeee!”)
(Wasp would never say this.)
I’m not sorry you’re a homophobe.
Actually, I kind of am. Exploring alternate sexual orientations isn’t “defamation of character.” It’s 2012, for crying out loud. I’m not a lesbian (or curious for that matter) but I can appreciate the Spider-Woman/Ms.Marvel pairing and the occasional Pepper/Natasha fic. The world of internet fandom has a lot to offer you if you let it.
I’m not sorry for shipping.
Shipping is glorious. I ship because it’s nice to think that these epic heroes have equally epic romances. Some of the fanfic out there is better written than a lot of comic books. Some of the fanart is better than real comic book art (looking at you, Rob Liefeld). Some of the things I ship are canon (Spider-Man/MJ). Others aren’t.
There’s a misconception that fangirls are only interested in male/male pairings. Some of them are, and who cares? That’s their right. But the assumption just isn’t true. There’s a reason Natasha/Clint is popular among movie fans. There’s a reason Tony/Pepper is popular. Those characters have boatloads of chemistry.
Then again, so do Loki/Thor, Tony/Bruce, and Tony/Steve. Don’t want ladies to overwhelmingly ship male characters together? Make a movie with more than one female lead. We can’t help it that The Avengers is a sausage party.
We are going to ship. We are going to ship loudly and proudly and there’s nothing you can do about it. I suggest you stop complaining and jump on the bandwagon. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy fangirls when you get to know us. We have a sense of humor. We have a sense of fun. We just happen to also have a strong sense of romance and a thing for attractive men.
After his mechanical digger phase, he met Vertue at the Edinburgh Television Festival in 1996. They are happily married with two sons, Joshua, 12, and Louis, 10, though Moffat says he only had children because he was told to, and dreaded the idea of pregnancy “completely”.
“Your wife turns into a boat, and shortly after that, you never sleep again and you clean shit off someone. It doesn’t seem like a very appealing prospect. Obviously, the moment I saw my child, that was different, but up until that point, I was thinking, ‘how long before she gets back to normal size? Will this damage anything?’” He’s laughing, but I fear his feminist credentials are in jeopardy again.
“The institution of marriage is not under attack as a result of the President’s words. Marriage was under attack years ago by men who viewed women as property and children as trophies of sexual prowess. Marriage is under attack by low wages, high incarceration, unfair tax policy, unemployment, and lack of education. Marriage is under attack by clergy who proclaim monogamy yet think nothing of stepping outside the bonds of marriage to have multiple affairs with “preaching groupies.””—
Rev. Otis Moss III, Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ (via touchoftea)
Hey, I saw your call for submissions about Doctor Who and representations of people of colour. I am a person of colour and a pretty huge Whovian, so I thought I’d put in my two cents about it. (Note: I am more familiar with New Who than Classic Who, although I have been slowly catching up on those episodes.)
I think RTD’s reboot of Doctor Who was groundbreaking in many ways, in particular with the inclusion of Martha Jones as a companion. I don’t think I can understate the significance of having a woman of colour as a lead character; if we are given significant roles in television, it’s almost always as the sidekick or ancillary character. We are not given character arcs; we almost usually exist to serve the narratives of the white protagonist as either a help or hindrance.
Now, the way the narrative (and fandom!) treats Martha isn’t perfect; she’s often considered “second-best” when compared to Rose, and in many ways, her story is intertwined with her being the Doctor’s rebound relationship. But Martha has her own journey to undertake, and her travels with the Doctor serve to change her as much as it does to change him. Her story begins with her running away from her family’s problems and ends with her coming back to be strong for them. I would argue too, that Martha leaves the Doctor (and voluntarily!) in a better position than either of his other companions: Rose is trapped and then unceremoniously dumped in a parallel universe with a clone (although, to be fair, I actually ship Rose/TenToo pretty hard) and poor Donna has her memories wiped. Martha walks away from the TARDIS with a renewed purpose in life and the knowledge that she is not second-best; she is her own best. I also love how she takes charge of her future: she asks the man she met on the Year That Never Was out on a date!
Mickey is another character who I find groundbreaking. When we open with episode Rose, we are very casually shown that our lead female is in a relationship with a black man. This is huge; interracial relationships on television are increasing in visibility, but more often than not, we tend to pair people of the same race together. (I am the product of an interracial relationship, and I am in one myself, and yet representations of my sort of romance are still rare.) Of course, Rose leaves Mickey behind for the Doctor (both physically and emotionally), but I appreciate that while Mickey starts as an ancillary character, he too grows and develops and has his own arc, starting in School Reunion and culminating in The Age of Steel when he voluntarily leaves the TARDIS to be a resistance fighter in a parallel universe. When he next see Mickey, we see that he has become a formidable character in his own right.
Now, while I find much to praise in RTD’s treatment of people of colour in Doctor Who, it’s not without problems either. Historically, Classic Who has been subject to exoticism and orientalism (the infamous Fourth Doctor adventure The Talons of Weng Chiang feature white actors in yellowface), and although we might write off those episodes as products of their times, it doesn’t mean exoticism and orientalism don’t sneak into episodes of New Who either. The fortune-teller in Turn Left is an unfortunate example, but even if it’s problematic, I do appreciate that RTD’s tenure had people of colour at all.
Now, between RTD and Moffat, I was surprised to see that the universe had become overwhelmingly heterosexual and white. Other people have discussed at length Moffat’s treatment of sexuality, but I will put forth the question: can you think of any significant characters of colour in the show since The Eleventh Hour? If people of colour do appear in Moffat’s work, they seem to be routinely killed off. In The God Complex, Rita, the potential next companion of whom the Doctor seems to be enamoured is killed. In Closing Time, the first person to die is black. While these little things are not unusual (RTD’s run had its share of casually killing off people of colour—Donna’s first fiancé, for example), it is not balanced out by characters who survive (like Captain Zachary Cross Flane in The Satan Pit) or are given their own significant narratives like Martha and Mickey.
I hope Moffat will try and introduce more characters of colour in the future, but his track records hasn’t been very good on his other shows (The Blind Banker on Sherlock, for example, is a heinous example of orientalism and an egregious use of the yellow scare trope).
Lookie here, I submitted something to Feminist Whoinverse!
This post contains criticism of Steven Moffat, both his writing and his personal views as expressed on his Twitter. I’m putting it under a cut because I don’t want to inflict my views on people who aren’t interested in them. If you disagree with me and read on anyway, it’s a free interweb, but on your own head be it.
TW: Biphobia; monosexism; unchecked straight, monosexual, and male privilege; privilege denial; bisexual stereotypes; gendered stereotypes; gender essentialism; sexism; references to sexual harassment
These are the tweets from Moffat that started the whole debacle surrounding sexualities. If you just look quickly, and isn’t very familiar with LGBTQ rights, this looks like a pretty cool thing. Because the Doctor doesn’t care about sexualities, and that’s… good. But this isn’t what this implies. He claims that The Doctor doesn’t see sexuality, and doesn’t understand it, and needs to have it explained to him. This is problematic because The Doctor has encountered a pretty decent number of non straight characters over the years. He was the one who explained Jack’s sexuality to Rose, he was aware of when Shakespeare was hitting on him and he knew and was aware of that present day academics are discussing Shakespeare’s sexuality.
The Doctor: Come on! We can have a good flirt later! William Shakespeare: Is that a promise, Doctor? The Doctor: Oh, fifty-seven academics just punched the air. Come on.
He knows of Human sexuality, knows how it works, and knows about the discussions surrounding it. If anything, my guess would be that he has a better grasp of it than we do, since he’s been following humanity for such a long time he ought to have a good understanding of the history of oppression and the problems that present day queer people still are faced with. Why doesn’t he already have a universal marriage setting on that screwdriver of his?
Under this cut are spoilers for City of Lost Souls, but also an in-depth discussion of sexual assault as it pertains to books in general and The Mortal Instruments in specific, with a discussion of rape culture and rape myths. There is also an excerpt from a scene that contains a violent physical assault.