Friday, February 17, 2012

We can't ALL be the center of universe

The rules of the Internet are fairly simple:

  1. My opinions are right, and the things I like are the best.
  2. There will be no argument in this matter.
  3. If there is argument, you are wrong, stupid, fat, and if at all possible, a racist.
To clarify, the "I" is each person on the internet, as they speak the rules.

Likely you can see the problem here.

Earlier this week, it was brought to my attention by John Moe, public radio mogul and man responsible for more awesome twitter hashtag games than Baskin-Robbins is for flavors of ice cream, that Rosie O'Donnell had admitted on her new chat show that she was afraid of little people. John's daughter is a little person, so his reaction was somewhat similar to The Wife's reaction when someone asks if The Kid is "retarded":

He passed a number of comments about Rosie's reaction, wishing he could come up with a real zinger, but deciding it wasn't worth it.

I don't have any little people relatives, but I'm not gonna turn down a chance to skewer Rosie...

Now that's a DAMN good line.  Plays on the fact that she's got way too big an ego and views everyone as beneath her, as well as the obvious fat joke.

Rosie must have thought so, cause she retweeted it.

And so started the responses.  My personal favorite:

I didn't figure out until just now that she meant "Paisan".

Now, I know, jumping right to pointing out spelling and grammar mistakes is just reaching for the low-hanging fruit, and you will likely notice reading this, I am in NO position to comment.  But I am truly amazed at what passes for acceptable discourse today.

I got a couple of those "I don't care what the conversation is about, I want to talk about what *I* want to talk about" ones as well:

That's right up there with "Magnets: how the *&(% do they work?!?" right there.

One person replied with a simple "Rosie is a GIANT" to which I calmly responded, "That was...kinda my point".  And once she realized we were in agreement (rolleyes) apologized to me.

So that was fun, and I actually got a couple new followers out of it.

Cut to today.  Comics fan, professional journalist, MDA spokesman and damn fine cosplayer Jill Pantozzi ran her review of Kevin Smith's new reality show Comic Book Men earlier in the week.  In it, she followed up on her previous article's points that the show had no female viewpoint, and as such served to reinforce the stereotype that there are no women in comics fandom.

(I hasten to add that when she wrote that in the aforementioned first article, the number of response that ran to "Of COURSE there's no women in it; it's called Comic Book MEN...duh!" was truly disheartening.)

She did not care for the show.  She found it something that would not attract new people to comics.  I mean, Ice Truckers and Pawn Stars aren't exactly making people line up to get into those industries, but at least they're made to seem interesting. But her review was reasoned, not vindictive or scathing about the show or anyone on it, and could be boiled down to the classic line

“People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like.”
Which was said, according to the internet, by either Abraham Lincoln, Dorothy Parker, or Tharko, king of Neptune
 The cast of the show, who do a podcast together, found out about the review today, through a third party.  I have no evidence they READ the review,  but I think we can all agree that the fourth rule of the Internet is "I don't need to have read or seen what you're talking about to have an opinion on it"


So in short, a little saltier than the Rosie fans.

When Jill reposted that missive, I was pretty sure that Bryan and Walt were gonna get SouthWested for sure.  And said so.

Which only meant that I started getting hit with as many verbal brickbats as Jill.

Now the part that's interesting, is we can now compare the tweets that came in defense of Kevin Smith and his friends and creations (which are possibly one and the same) to the ones from Rosie's supporters.

Rosie's fans were split between messages that supported Rosie and telling her to ignore the haters, and inoffensive statements to me that I was rude, wrong, or just plain mean.  The tweets from Kevin's folks all but ignored the comments, and went straight for personal attacks.

Rosie's commenters attempted to explain, justify or spin Rosie's comments, some calling her brave for sharing such a revelation.  They hadn't all SEEN the clip, but at least they took what they knew about it and tried to figure what an inherently nice person COULD have meant when they said they saw little people as if they were children.  Kevin's folks made no attempt to defend the show, nor to read the review.  Indeed, many began writing the review in their heads, versions that had personal attacks on Walt and Bryan, and began discussing THAT review.

The show, IMHO, suffered from mission creep.  It was originally supposed to be a reality show about a comic store, with a varied cast of people working there (and in disclosure, Jill actually auditioned to be on the show)  There WAS a woman in the pilot, but she was edited out entirely.  The show has basically a video version of the Tell Em Steve-Dave podcast.  Same cast, same topics, and all told, not too much about the running of a comic store.  Which is fine; if it does well, that's a good thing.  Kevin has a lot of fans, myself included, and it's something at least a little different on TV.  But if you meet someone who doesn't like it, especially someone who can explain why with words, your response should not be #KissMyAssYouBitterWannabeJournalist.

I honestly think Bryan was just trying to stay "in character" as a guy's guy kind of comic fan; after all, he does play Steve-Dave in the Askewniverse movies.

Only one problem.

Steve-Dave's an asshole.


  1. About Rosie's comment on being afraid of little people. Just which little people did she mean? Did she mean dwarf/midget little people or children little people? Did she mean leprechauns? Did she mean those under 4'11? Or 5'1"? Or 3'2"? What constitutes "little" anyway? (Put me, at 5'11" next to your typical Chicago Bull. What does that make me?) If she's afraid of little people, does that mean she won't watch "Game of Thrones"? Does she have nightmares where Peter Dinklage bites her calves? Does she jump up, punch the air and shout "YES"! when Warwick Davis falls out of the SUV in "Life is Too Short"? Is she see sending secret memos to Ricky Gervais? Underneath her fear, does there lurk a secret desire to marry a little person and move to a very small house in Beverly Hills? ("Calling Dr. Freud!")

    Just curious . . . .

  2. Vin, let's face it, for every reader or blogger who expresses him/herself reasonably and knowledgeably, we find so many more people with an axe to grind, rather than a reasonable opinion. I guess those folks are too busy to pay attention to the real issues at hand, so they cut to the chase with whatever knee-jerk reaction leaps to mind. Oy!

    LOL over your clever, hilarious use of Large Marge to compare John Moe's daughter's issues to twits who think OUR daughter's issues (specifically, she's a thankfully high-functioning Aspie who also happens to have ADHD) are the same thing as retardation, which they're very much NOT! :-)

    Oh, and for the record, the quote "For people who like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing they will like" was first uttered by one of my heroes, James Thurber. As a longtime Thurber fan, I have plenty of his books to back up my claim! :-) Great post, as always!

  3. Maybe Shirl really meant to say "pizon", as in:

    Rosie O'Donnell is but an example of the main reason my television viewing has become extremely limited, and I insist on nothing but music on my radio. The rather outre notion that Opinion (delivered as vehemently as possible) is somehow acceptable as entertainment. Perhaps if you're Jack Webb starring in "The D.I." then a favorable argument could be made for the theory. But, the last time I checked, Rosie O'Donnell was no Jack Webb (except, perhaps, in regards to five o'clock shadow. But I digress).

    In reading of this situation I am reminded of something I encountered while in Lutheran Confirmation class. The notion that Hell was populated by people all shouting the word "I" at the top of their lungs.

  4. Dorian here -- Michael, Thom, you guys both cracked me up!

    Thom, I'm still chuckling over your tongue-in-cheek musings about the definition of "little people"!

    Michael, thanks for your hilarious take on "pizon" by way of the late, great Jim "Ernest" Varney. I also very much liked and agreed with your Lutheran Confirmation class anecdote about "Hell (being) populated by people all shouting the work "I" at the top of their lungs. Well-put, my friends!

  5. And besides, I don't want to BE the center of the universe. I prefer to think of myself as one of those comets wandering around in the cold distant depths of space. The sort of thing that catches Mr. Spock's attention at the beginning of the Star Trek episode.

  6. Lovely article, for me it just means that everyone has the right to be allowed to be stupid every now and then, as long as you don't abuse it, but not to be a jackass.
    And in this day and age, people think that because they can voice their opinion they have to be heard as if their opinion was always relevant.