Monday, March 28, 2011

Captain America Gets Me Banned!

My posting on Captain America got me banned from the "comicbooks" section of  (Or maybe it was my X-Men piece.  I wasn't told why, really.  I'm assuming it was the Captain America piece, as that is the one that got negative comments, and the X-Men one got a favorable comment I couldn't comment on because by then I was banned.)  Yes, I find it  very ironic that my piece on a hero representing America (home of free speech, y'all) got me banned.  I find it more alarming, however, that this does often seem to be how a certain segment of comic book fans react.

Having collected comics since the '70s and working in a couple different comic book stores in positions from clerk to manager, I have seen this type of reaction time and time again.  Say something negative and feel the wrath of fanboys.  They can't debate points, but they can pout and shout.  They can't argue effectively, but they can take their ball and go home.  It's hard to take someone seriously when that is the reaction you get.

My Captain America piece was written to inspire debate and raise questions.  What happened was that people went off half-cocked.  If you read the comments you see that someone thought I called America a dictatorship or some such nonsense.  I actually wrote that America backs dictatorships, something that I thought was beyond debate.  I guess not everyone watches the news.  In fact, my entire piece was pretty tame.  I called out reasons why Captain America as a character doesn't work for me, and why he is hard to write.  I don't think I made any wild claims, but oddly enough, I am banned.  (If it was the X-Men piece, I am even more puzzled because feedback I got on that were all positive.)

Other comments said that I was trying to stir up trouble.  Again, what is with people thinking that voicing an opinion is trying to cause problems.  Have we become so far removed from debate and opinion that we can't see them when they occur?  This is not just a problem with comic book fans.  I've heard this from other people, too.  Expressing a "negative" opinion is "stirring the pot," and "making people feel bad."  (Or even "pretentious," my personal favorite because I've been called that for writing positive pieces, too.)  I review films for Film Threat.  Sometimes, like my current Joy Ride 2 piece, they are negative reviews.  If I only reviewed stuff I liked, I wouldn't be doing my job.  I'm not trying to make people cry.  I'm expressing an opinion.  If I can't write about what I don't like, it gives zero weight to the things I do enjoy.

Perhaps this will get me banned from the "comics" section, but I hope not.  I would have to resort to posting pieces on cute kitten pictures and other things that offer no debate and contribute little to the culture other than making someone smile (which is fine in and of itself, but I think as a society we deserve more).  I am a fan of comic books.  I believe they are a tremendous art form that gets little respect in the world.  When stuff like this ban happens, I can see why.  A great majority of the world treats them like "kid's stuff," and when people act like children you can't blame them. 

Go read the original Captain America piece and seriously ask yourself if I wrote anything that was worth getting banned over.  See if I wrote anything that was even that controversial.  Of course, if having an opinion -- any opinion -- is controversial and ban-worthy, then I'm guilty ... and proud to be so.

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