March 13, 2013

Add Kurt Busiek to those comics creators who don't get it

Avi discovers that a "progressive" comics writer whom I actually admire felt the need to back up a colleague, despite said colleague being hypocritical ... and childish. Yep, Kurt Busiek tweeted, in apparent response to the conversation between Ron Marz, myself and Doug Ernst,

Our lesson for today seems to be that expressing conservative opinions is free speech but expressing liberal opinions is bad.

To say this is a ridiculous response does a disservice to the term "ridiculous." Not to mention, it's not even logical -- "free speech" and "bad" have nothing to do with one another. And, it's hypocritical in that it's been Orson Scott Card's speech that has been deemed "bad" among the liberal comics guys, enough to want him dismissed from writing for DC.

Look, I am, and always will be, a big fan of Busiek's comics work. Although a "progressive," he rarely, if ever, pushes an agenda in his stories. And when he is political, he's pretty fair about seeing both sides. (Consider his volume 3 Avengers work beginning in the late 1990s and the controversy surrounding the addition of Triathlon to Earth's Mightiest, as an example.) But in social media, like here, he can be just plain silly. Why is it OK for Marz to scream "STFU" on Twitter about gun rights, but not OK for me to tongue-in-cheekly write "Shut up and write" in a blog post comment? Not to mention, as we've pointed out here many times, when a conservative theme may be utilized in a comics story, it's "controversial."

So ... Kurt -- it seems that lesson is "that expressing conservative opinions is bad but expressing liberal opinions is perfectly A-OK."

As creator Mark Waid was fond of saying recently (regarding the Orson Scott Card matter), free speech doesn't come without consequences. Indeed it does not. Which is a point I relayed to Busiek a long time ago in an e-mail conversation. Kurt's response was that he didn't like so-called "economic boycotts;" he preferred to battle words with words -- for example, precisely what I, Avi Green, Doug Ernst, Carl and others have been doing. Of course, when Kurt and I had that past convo, social media was virtually non-existent, and blogs were in their infancy. But now that regular joes like me have [a lot more of a] voice, he doesn't like it much, it seems.

Nevertheless, let's get back to focusing on the actual matter at hand: Again, Waid's point about free speech and consequences is 100% correct. Waid (and many others) exercised these "consequences" with Card because of his [controversial] views on homosexuals and gay marriage. The hypocrisy part comes in in that why, if Card can be shoved aside for his views, cannot Waid, Marz, Busiek, or whoever else be ostracized for theirs? Many people demanded Card be axed by DC for his views. (Waid says it's about Card's actions because he sits on the board of the National Organization for Marriage; I already argued that there is little substantive difference between this "action" and someone in a lofty position like Waid using social media or whatever to espouse his opinions.) I, and every other person I know on the other side of the aisle, would never demand a liberal creator be fired for his opinions (or "actions" like Card's ... unless it was criminal, of course). We'd merely not support such a creator with our wallets.

Which, again, is the point I made to Busiek that long time ago ... and most recently to Marz. If you want to spout off on personal political views on social media, then don't be surprised if you piss a lot of people off. And Kurt's desire for "battling words with words" apparently was either phony or short-lived, for he blocked me on Twitter for reasons I presume have something to do with opining about his personal politics in the past, as have Waid and conspiratorial nut-case Erik Larsen.

Some "battle," eh? At least Marz has kept an open Twitter feed, and others like Dan Slott are at least very honest about why they'll share political opinions regardless of any economic consequences. Even ultra-liberal Mark Millar said Card shouldn't be dismissed because, basically, who says Busiek, Waid or whoever won't be next for their opinions?

Posted by Hube at March 13, 2013 01:15 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

I love how the Canadian in the comments at Avi's place is lecturing us on free speech... which, like you say is beyond laughable given how much more restricted free speech is there.

Posted by: Carl at March 13, 2013 03:17 PM

The point YOU'RE missing is that Card's views verge on radical and are very far from the views of the majority whereas the views of "Waid, Marz, Busiek, or whoever" are generally accepted by most.

Posted by: watson387 at March 13, 2013 03:22 PM

"Generally accepted...?" On what issues, exactly?

Card's views on gay marriage aren't out of the mainstream; however, his views on gays in general indeed are. But ... so what?? Our own president's views on various items are way out of the mainstream. Why does this make it right to dismiss Card from DC?

Posted by: Hube at March 13, 2013 03:29 PM

DC doesn't want to be associated with hate. I would assume they also would fire members of the Nazis, KKK, etc.

Posted by: watson387 at March 13, 2013 03:34 PM

Of course. The ever-lame "kindred spirit" argument.

But nice try. DC hired him in the first place. His "Ender's Game" is being turned into a major film. Are you seriously claiming these companies did NOT know about what he's written? And how many Nazis/KKK wrote something like this about Jews/Blacks:

The hypocrites of homosexuality are, of course, already preparing to answer these statements by accusing me of homophobia, gay-bashing, bigotry, intolerance; but nothing that I have said here -- and nothing that has been said by any of the prophets or any of the Church leaders who have dealt with this issue -- can be construed as advocating, encouraging, or even allowing harsh personal treatment of individuals who are unable to resist the temptation to have sexual relations with persons of the same sex. On the contrary, the teachings of the Lord are clear in regard to the way we must deal with sinners. Christ treated them with compassion -- as long as they confessed that their sin was a sin. -- Orson Scott Card

Maybe you can ask Pres. Obama's "spiritual mentor," Jeremiah Wright, about hate, watson. After all, the pres. sat in the man's pew for 20 years.

Posted by: Hube at March 13, 2013 06:17 PM

Let's get it all straight:

1) I do NOT agree w/Card's views on homosexuals.
2) I am a libertarian more than conservative.
3) Hate speech exists on both sides of the aisle.
4) As Mark Millar noted, if Card should go, who will be next -- and for what reason?

Posted by: Hube at March 13, 2013 06:36 PM

BTW, I like what Jerry Ordway wrote recently (on his blog or on Twitter ... can't recall precisely) about the whole OSC matter (and I'm paraphrasing): That it was too complicated for him to get into.

See, Jerry's smart. Like Michael Jordan once said about the his merchandise, "Hey, Republicans buy sneakers too!" Conservatives/Republicans also read comics. If you wanna take a chance and take political stands, you run the risk of pissing off a sizable portion of your fan base. I respect that Dan Slott, for example, recognizes this, but said "he couldn't live with himself" if he didn't speak out on certain issues. That's perfectly fine. But, again, he knows the risks.

Again, Mark Waid was spot-on when he recognized this fact, too. His problem is that he was making excuses for the supposed differences between Card and those on the left who say/do stupid things. Waid was also correct in that any private company can hire and fire whomever it chooses. But, again, he speciously dissected why Card could "rightfully" be axed by DC (Card's "actions" as merely opposed to speech). I seriously doubt Waid would calmly accept DC telling him "see 'ya" due to him, say, ripping Mormons, the Tea Party, anti-abortion activists, et. al.

Posted by: Hube at March 13, 2013 06:47 PM

Remember that until very recently, Card's views were exactly the same as that of the Obama administration. Oddly that doesn't seem to generate the same level of vitriol for some reason.

Posted by: Duffy at March 14, 2013 10:11 AM

Duff: The views are (were) the same on gay marriage. But Card has gone quite a bit further in some of his essays/articles.

Posted by: Hube at March 14, 2013 10:12 AM

Hube: I hadn't realized that I thought this was confined to his opposition to same sex marriage.

Posted by: Duffy at March 14, 2013 10:25 AM

"The point YOU'RE missing is that Card's views verge on radical and are very far from the views of the majority"


IOW, the exact sort of views the First Amendment was written to protect.

Posted by: Gregory of Yardale at March 21, 2013 11:21 PM

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