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CSBG Archive

Cronin Theory of Comics – Creators and Their Work Are Two Separate Entities

I’ve been following the coverage of Judd Winick’s relaunch of the Wolfman/Perez-era Titans (CBR just had a piece on Winick and the book here), and it’s really interesting to note that Judd Winick just seems like a really nice fellow.

He did an interview with George Perez for Wizard (which I believe had been archived online here), and Winick was nice and extremely respectful to Perez. It was a real cute interview.

Also, if you’ve ever read Pedro and Me, Winick comes off as a sensitive, kind person. That was basically what he came off as on the Real World as well (only tack on boring there, too).

All of this, though, has no bearing on whether his output as a comic book writer is any good. I think that the majority of his mainstream comic book work has been quite dreadful (which is amusing, as the majority of his NON-mainstream comic book work has been quite good). That seems fair enough, right? He can be a nice guy, but it doesn’t make his comics any good.

That said, the reverse also holds true, and that’s what appears to be harder for readers/fans to believe/concede.

If you think a writer’s work is sexist/homphobic/racist/et al, then that’s different, as that may fairly be considered a reflection upon a writer him/herself.

But otherwise, just because a writer does poor work, just criticize the work, leave the writer alone – after all, they are separate entities from their work.

NOTE: This is different from previous theory “Treat Comic Creators Respectfully.” That’s just straightforward – treat them with respect. This is specifically “Do not pass judgments about creators based on their work.”

119 Comments

Just saw a page of Dave Sim’s “Glamourpuss”: breathtaking stuff, no way around it.

Um, although I only saw one page…there seem to be quite a few people who think it looks like crap, I don’t understand…?

Just for the record, I haven’t read any of Winnick’s DC stuff, but I really liked his original run on Exiles. I’m a sucker for “What If” stories and Whedonesque snappy dialog, so that’s not too surprising. (I also liked the one episode of Juniper Lee that I saw…yeah, it’s a Buffy rip-off, but it’s a good one.)

I know some people don’t like Winick due to his politics or occasional preachiness, but if I’ve ever had a problem with Winick, it’s that he doesn’t pull off editorially-mandated stories very well.

“You want me to break up Green Arrow and Black Canary? Okay, fine, he cheats on her- AGAIN”

“What? They’re back together now? And he does what? Proposes?? Ugh, okay, I’ll write it up…”

“You want Connor in a coma? He’s attacked by WHAT?”

Maybe his indie comics and better mainstream work is good because he has to believe in what he writes for his heart to be in it…

Brian, the creator/work divide is a really tricky issue, especially when you consider that in a medium like comics there is more than simply the writer who is responsible for crafting the finished product. Artists and editors are at the very least just as culpable for how we readers receive and interpret the work. Therefore, to draw a straight line which either pairs or divorces your reception of a creator’s work with an understanding of the creator himself is to elide a number of other individuals and factors.

Nevertheless, I think that there is a part of your argument where you attempt to have it both ways, and I would argue that you simply can’t. The part I’m referring to is where you carve out a niche for work you might find offensive: “If you think a writer’s work is sexist/homphobic/racist/et al, then that’s different, as that may fairly be considered a reflection upon a writer him/herself.” I read this as saying: You can’t draw a straight line between the creator and their work *unless* you find the work offensive (however you choose to define “offensive”), in which case you can go ahead and draw that line. This seems like specious logic to me, in part because everyone has different notions of what constitutes “offensiveness” and it seems to carve out an enormous exception clause for those whose work falls into that category.

With that said, I appreciate that you brought up this issue since I’ve been wrestling with it ever since Marvel hired Orson Scott Card to work on Ultimate Iron Man. I very much wanted to read the Ultimate Iron Man series, but I have found Card’s public statements condemning homosexuality to be very troubling and therefore I opted vote with my wallet by not purchasing any of Card’s comics. Now, I’m sure that the series itself (which I did not read) did not contain any gay-bashing, but nonetheless I didn’t want to support the author whose political and social views I found greatly upsetting. In that instance, I suppose I was drawing a financial line between the author and his work, but it was a line nonetheless. (I specifically remember that when Quesada was asked about Card’s anti-gay statements, Quesada said that he read Card’s comments as “nothing more than one man’s opinion expressed in a very civilized way” and therefore he was okay with Card working on Iron Man. To this day, I maintain that if Card’s comments had been directed towards some minority group other than gays, then Marvel would not have come within 100 miles of Card.)

I didn’t know that about Orson Scott Card. Ignorance is bliss.

I also didn’t know Winick from the Real World, so I didn’t realize the context of his story in GL where his assistant gets beaten. I think BC’s point is that, when a writer uses a storyline to “push their agenda” (I mean this in the least inflammatory way possible), there’s an argument for tying the creator to the work. If OSC started using Iron Man II to attack homosexuals, you would have to examine the book through that lens of what the creator said outside the book.

It’s not so much “offensive” as political. If an actor or director is in your standard fare action/romance/comedy, don’t you judge them differently than if they’re in something that comments on current events? I’m mostly thinking of George Clooney here, but I’m sure there are other examples.

Anyway, my $0.02. I don’t know which side of the argument I might be helping.

You know, it’s funny you mention Winick, because even before I ever read his work or knew he wrote comics, me and my roommates used to hate him on a personal basis from seeing him on the real world for being a preachy and sanctimonious douche. We felt he had that passive-aggressive manipulator vibe that self-described “nice guys” always use to get their way while still appearing holier than thou. He came off as such a sap, the kind of guy that loudly proclaims for all to hear how he subscribes to all the trendy, politically correct issues because of how enlightened and selfless it’ll make him look to others and in hopes that he’ll get some pity sex out of it.

Mind you, I’m not giving him personal insults based on my disdain for his work. I actually like some of his books. I’m giving him insults based on what he showed us of his personality.

The ‘Boy Genius’ comic was fantastic, but i have no idea what its called. He really shouldn’t be spending so much time trying to bring back a 50 year old character, or making Green Arrow do wierd stuff, and just get back to doing his own things. There are so few comedy comics out in there wierdly enough…. that’s no good.

Alex, it was “Barry Ween, Boy Genius.” I dunno, didn’t really hit me. It felt a lot like “Calvin peeing on a truck logo” juvenile humor.

While I agree that ideally you should treat the work and the artist separately, there comes a point where you just know too much about the artist to do that comfortably. For instance, I can no longer gain pleasure listening to Amy Winehouse.

As for Orson Scott Card, I’m with David M on this one – I decided I couldn’t in good conscience support the guy’s work. Then I found out that part of the story involved making Tony some kind of full-body brain (and contradicted the family background mentioned in Ultimate Team-Up), and I was all the happier for my decision.

I’ve heard Liefeld’s a nice guy, though some of his statements and actions have made me think he’s a bit of a tool.

Even if he is a nice guy, his work’s crap.

Byrne is clearly not someone I’d want to spend extended amounts of time with, but he’s done some great work in his time.

Heck, even Alan Moore often comes off as an asshole, but it doesn’t diminish the standing of his work at all.

So it works both ways. Nice guys can do bad work, and those who aren’t nice can do good work.

This works both ways, too. I personally love Brian Azarello’s writing. He has done some really great stuff.

Unfortunately, he is also a huge asshole. After showing up 45 minutes late to a signing at WWC (evidently the second year in a row he did so), he was incredibly rude to everyone there. He ignored most of his fans to talk to the people behind him, spent sometime on his cell phone while signing, and just had a real “I’m better than you” attitude towards everyone. He was the only creator my girlfriend wanted to see at the con and he ended up treating her and the rest of his fans like garbage.

It was a really low move, but his writing is so good that I can over look how shittyhe was towards everyone.

Ye Olde Iowa – the irony to me is that based on what comes through in his writing, that’s exactly how I’d expect him to act. I’m not really a fan of his writing.

Being a nice guy will not get me to buy a sub-par book. I love the Titans but the thought of Winick writing them fills me with dread. His end of the Outsiders/Checkmate crossover was awful.

I don’t think there’s much wrong with letting one’s negative feelings about a creator on a personal level (eg. Card, Byrne) affect one’s reaction of their work, but the reverse seems like a significantly bigger problem. It’s a little disturbing to see negative reactions to a story translate into personal abuse of the creative team.

What, no comments on Miller yet? I’ve only been reading only reviews of comics for a couple years, but I was quite surprised at how often I read about Frank Miller’s “fascist” or “far right-wing” attitudes. It was even stranger when I read reviews for “Strikes Again” expressing shock at how it deviates from the fatalistic, street-level adventure to tell an almost-idealistic superhero story (with Batman acting as a down-to-earth foundation for the revived JLA). Miller may or may not have the kind of politics he’s been accused of, but most sources I can find of the accusations are based on isolated examples of his work, not the work as a whole. Frank Millers harshest stuff (Dark Knight, Sin City) is what really stands out, that doesn’t mean it defines him or everything he does.

On the other hand, I’ve got to admit that I’m still trying to get over the impression I got from Morrison’s “Invisibles” or his run on “Doom Patrol”. A few issues of either left me numb from Morrison’s baseball-bat-subtlety about counter-culture influences on his writing. It was really bad considering I was looking forward to those aspects of the books. I get impression now that I’ve missed a lot of good Morrison comics just because two of his stories left a bad first impression on me.

I will let my negative feelings about a creator personally affect whether I buy their product or not. Much like people mentioned with OSC above, if I find someone to be really offensive or a total dick, I won’t buy their stuff even if I think I might like it. Case in point, Harlan Ellison. In addition to the stories I’ve heard, I’ve seen the man in person a couple times, and he’s always come off as a total d-bag. So I refuse to buy any of his books. Maybe I’m missing out on some good stories, but I don’t want an ass like him getting any of my money.

“Barry Ween” did have a lot of juvenile humor, but behind that it had some good material about how hard it is for extraordinarily talented kids to fit in.

And I agree that Winick seems like a nice guy overall. I think it’s just that writing in the DC Universe, especially the DC Universe as it exists today, caters to his worst instincts as a writer.

As for judging creators based on racist/homophobic/sexist/etc. stuff in their work, the nice thing about that is that they usually espouse the same views in public statements, so I can judge them as people based on those and leave the work out of it.

Can someone PLEASE give me a legitimately “fascist” or “far right wing” quote from Frank Miller. It seemed like people just jumped on this bandwagon because he was going to be mean to Al Qaeda in a book. Far as I know, Miller has never declared a clear cut political ideology.

Also, please stop misusing “fascist” people. It does not mean “really mean to minorities” or “not a nice guy” or “not a bleeding heart” or “not politically correct” or “dislikes Stephen Colbert and thinks he’s overrated and smug.” It’s a form of government, and one that, based on Miller’s views toward censorship, I really doubt he would support. It seems many lefties misuse it all the time to simply describe anyone who doesn’t agree with them.

the “fascist” accusations against Miller did not start with “Holy Terror, Batman!” though… i’m pretty sure i’ve heard the word being strongly associated with him since the late 80s.

argh! hit the return button by mistake!!!

anyway, i was about to add that beyond the primary defintion being a member of or sympathizer for a certain kind of government, the word “fascist” DOES bear the secondary defintion, “a person who is dictatorial or has extreme right-wing views.”

Separating a creator from their work can be good.

I think it’s also wise to separate creators from popular internet perception of them.

I sometimes wonder if I have the opposite problem. For instance, I know little of Mark Millar as a person other than he’s supposed to be very liberal. But his writing makes me think he’s a frighteningly smug, amoral individual who favors cruelty and totalitarianism as solutions to problems. In real life, I would guess he isn’t this way, but his writing sure seems to give that impression.

That’s funny, Jesse, because I came up with the exact same impression of Millar based on his writing. Good to see I’m not the only one.

As far as Millar goes, my disappointment with his writing leads me to *not care* what he’s like in real life.

This thread reminds me of a statement I heard when I first started writing horror games for TSR. I mentioned that Stephen King was one of my influences and a gamer from Maine commented, “I can’t take any of King’s work seriously anymore because I met him at one of my son’s softball games and he was really nice and polite.”

I never understood how someone who was “nice and polite” translated into a bad horror writer.

Theno

I’ve had several short horror stories/novellas published, and been to a few horror conventions where I met several other horror writers (also where I had seen Harlan Ellison, from my earlier post.) As a whole I’ve found horror writers to be ridiculously nice and polite in real life. Almost to the point where you want to tell them to stop being so freaking nice all the time. So that gamer from Maine might need to stop reading most horror books.

anyway, i was about to add that beyond the primary defintion being a member of or sympathizer for a certain kind of government, the word “fascist” DOES bear the secondary defintion, “a person who is dictatorial or has extreme right-wing views.”

Any government can be fascist, as long as it insists on controlling every aspect of public and private life. It’s not a member or sympathizer of a “certain kind of government.” It’s a totalitarian impulse where everything has to go together and the state has to govern every aspect of society or at least direct every aspect of society towards some Utopian end, regardless of whether that uptopian end leans left or right.

That secondary definition is wrong and usually spread by progressives, usually the same ones that claim you have to wield political power in order to be racist, even though that is traditionally not the proper definition of racism. You can have extreme left wing views and be dictatorial as well. I’ve looked up fascism in many respectable dictionaries and I’ve yet to see it defined as “extreme right wing views.”

But his writing makes me think he’s a frighteningly smug, amoral individual who favors cruelty and totalitarianism as solutions to problems.

So? You do realize that you can be liberal yet be smug (Colbert, Maureen Dowd, Al Sharpton), amoral (take your pick of liberal politician but let’s start with Bill Clinton) and favor cruelty and totalitarianism as solutions to problems (the civilian carnage in the Pacific theater under FDR and Truman was enormous, even before you take into account
the atomic bombs, and Trotsky, Mao, Stalin and Lenin were all pretty far left yet favored totalitarianism and violence as solutions).

You guys have this simplistic, self-aggrandizing view of politics where liberalism somehow equals sainthood and everything you don’t like equals fascism which is somehow interchangable with right wing.

There are good liberals, bad liberals, peaceful liberals, and evil liberals. You have good conservatives, bad conservatives, peaceful conservatives and evil conservatives.

the word “fascist” DOES bear the secondary defintion, “a person who is dictatorial or has extreme right-wing views.” Neither side has a monopoly over good or evil, freedom or totalitarianism.

This post should fix the blockquote thing. Sorry.

T.,

Cool down for just a moment. I wasn’t implying there was any connection between the fact that he was liberal and him not being a nice guy. I was just saying that was all I know about him based on interviews and such. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t just jump to conclusions and call me self-aggrandizing and the like when that is clearly not what I meant.

“It seemed like people just jumped on this bandwagon because he was going to be mean to Al Qaeda in a book.”

Really? I would’ve thought it came about when he did a comic celebrating Spartans as heroic defenders of Athenian democracy.

So you can determine my political views based on a 2 line comment about a comic book writer? And you think we’re the one’s with the simplistic views?

Pot, I’d like to introduce you to kettle.

“That secondary definition is wrong”

Um… the English language is, for lack of a better word, alive. If enough people ascribe to a definition, it becomes a correct definition. I find it humorously ironic that you would be so dictatorial about language, given the conversation going on.

“I’ve looked up fascism in many respectable dictionaries”

You must be even more fun to be around than your posts make you seem (if that’s possible).

“You guys have this simplistic, self-aggrandizing view of politics”

Once you start using the word progressive perjoratively, or just the word “lefties” at all, you pretty much lose any high ground to criticize the simplistic political views of others.

I mean, you can try to seize the high ground, but that would be fascistic.

This is exactly the kind of debate I’d want Colbert to smash if he were president of Marvel Universe.

Really? I would’ve thought it came about when he did a comic celebrating Spartans as heroic defenders of Athenian democracy.

Go back further. The idea’s he used in Dark Knight Returns sparked the whole Miller/fascist thing.

It’s all sparked by character association & the hype at the time.

That secondary definition is wrong and usually spread by progressives, usually the same ones that claim you have to wield political power in order to be racist, even though that is traditionally not the proper definition of racism. You can have extreme left wing views and be dictatorial as well. I’ve looked up fascism in many respectable dictionaries and I’ve yet to see it defined as “extreme right wing views.”

oh, is that so, T.?

which “respectable dictionaries” have you looked this up in, pray tell?

in this country, there are few considered as resspectable as The American Heritage Dictionary, and that fine tome offers this:

fas·cist (fāsh’Ä­st)

2. A reactionary or dictatorial person.

and just so that we don’t have to debate further about what that definition means, the same “respectable dictionary” defines “reactionary” as

of, pertaining to, marked by, or favoring reaction, esp. extreme conservatism or rightism in politics; opposing political or social change.

and frankly, that is all i’m talking about. this is an accepted usage of the word in the language.

you can argue about the literal, political origins of the word until the cows home, but the fact remains that it is also completely acceptable (and not “wrong” as you say) to use the word to describe a person with extreme conservative views.

you may consider it unfair or biased to apply the label only to extreme conservatives and not to extreme liberals. in that case, i might even agree with you. but that is neither here nor there.

the bottom line is that this is accepted usage, so you were wrong to claim that people were misusing it.

Ok, maybe bringing up Miller WASN’T such a good idea…

“The idea’s he used in Dark Knight Returns sparked the whole Miller/fascist thing.”

I could see how DKR, Elektra: Assassin & Give Me Liberty all, to an extent, say that you need to have a certain level of what some would call fascism in order to fight facism (which, in the first, is the Reagan government, in the second is both Nixon *and* a Kennedy-ish figure, and, in the third, is corporations). But none of them seem to celebrate fascism as clearly or as strongly as ’300′, to me.

So I see your point, even though I don’t totally agree with it. But I don’t see how anybody could make the point that ’300′ is not celebrating fascism (quality aside).

Rob – I’m surprising nobody has beaten up on you about Morrison yet…

Let me just say, go buy ‘We3′. It’s 10 or 12 bucks. If that doesn’t convince you that Morrison is a serious writer worth exploring further, I don’t think anything else will.

and I say that despite *hating* ‘The Invisibles’ (and I was lukewarm on ‘Doom Patrol’ until the third book).

Jesse, your words were “I know little of Mark Millar as a person other than he’s SUPPOSED to be very liberal. BUT his writing makes me think he’s a frighteningly smug, amoral individual who favors cruelty and totalitarianism as solutions to problems” [Emphasis added is mine] Based on how the sentence was constructed, it seemed the implication was that being liberal and having smug, amoral and totalitarian tendencies contradicted each other. Maybe it’s not actually what you meant, but on face value that was the most reasonable interpretation of your sentence. It’s not an irrational jump to conclusions at all.

Phew, finally a common usage standard—letting the meaning define the word instead of the word defining the meaning. That takes us a step away from Ingsoc-style Newspeak. Now we can stop pretending to work under the assumption that there is anything liberal about Liberals.

In DKR, Batman is not a fascist. Is he an extremist? Sure. Violent? yes. Maybe even right wing. But he is not helping the government control the media or anything else. If anything, he’s defying government control and fascism. As crazy as Miller is about defying censorship, even of ideas he doesn’t agree with (read his essays on censorship) I just can’t imagine him supporting a form of government that controls every aspect of the printed word.

Comb and razor:

Here is the full definition of fascism from American heritage Fourth Edition, which is the latest. I included the whole thing so as not to be accused of selectively editing.

fascism

SYLLABICATION: fas·cism
PRONUNCIATION: fshzm
NOUN: 1. often Fascism a. A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism. b. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a system of government. 2. Oppressive, dictatorial control.
ETYMOLOGY: Italian fascismo, from fascio, group, from Late Latin fascium, from Latin fascis, bundle.
OTHER FORMS: fas·cistic (f-shstk) —ADJECTIVE

WORD HISTORY: It is fitting that the name of an authoritarian political movement like Fascism, founded in 1919 by Benito Mussolini, should come from the name of a symbol of authority. The Italian name of the movement, fascismo, is derived from fascio, “bundle, (political) group,” but also refers to the movement’s emblem, the fasces, a bundle of rods bound around a projecting axe-head that was carried before an ancient Roman magistrate by an attendant as a symbol of authority and power. The name of Mussolini’s group of revolutionaries was soon used for similar nationalistic movements in other countries that sought to gain power through violence and ruthlessness, such as National Socialism.

Here’s the link: http://www.bartleby.com/61/57/F0045700.html

No mention of right or left wing. Now onto your definition of FASCIST from the same dictionary:

A reactionary or dictatorial person

Note the usage of the word “OR.” Not “and” but “or.” As in either reactionary or dictatorial. One or the other. Right OR left. Which has been my point all along, either side can be fascist.

Note the usage of the word “OR.” Not “and” but “or.” As in either reactionary or dictatorial. One or the other. Right OR left. Which has been my point all along, either side can be fascist.

T,

in order for the above statement to make any sense to me, i would have to accept that the word “dictatorial” has an inherent association with “Left” in the same way that “reactionary” does with “Right.”

however, i can see no evidence to support such a premise, so i have no choice but to to reject it.

oh yeah… just to be doubly sure, i checked the Oxford English Dictionary, probably the most respectable of respectable dictionaries in the world. it said:

fascism
/fashiz’m/

• noun 1 an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government. 2 extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practice.

— DERIVATIVES fascist noun & adjective fascistic adjective.

— ORIGIN Italian fascismo, from fascio ‘bundle, political group’, from Latin fascis ‘bundle’.

to be honest, i’m not completely satisfied with this definition myself, but i don’t think there’s much escaping the fact that while there has always been intense debate over what exactly fascism is, it’s mostly been associated with right-wing stances.

Dictatorial can be left or right. The point is, when you say “reactionary OR dictatorial,” and dictatorial can mean right or left, it just shows that right-wing is not a necessary element. A possible element, yes. But not a mandatory one to be fascist. My point still works whether or not you consider dictatorial to be exclusively left or not. It only fails if dictatorial meant exclusively right.

Remember when this thread had something to do with creator personalities and how they relate to the books they write?

Those were good times, huh?

Amen, Jeff, amen.

Remember when this thread had something to do with creator personalities and how they relate to the books they write?

Those were good times, huh?

I thought it still did. Weren’t we just talking about Miller’s personal beliefs and how they related to the books he wrote?

Point taken though, we hijacked the thread. I’ll respectfully leave the topic alone.

T,

that’s an extremely tenuous argument that probably wouldn’t withstand much critical probing, but i don’t think there’s any need to take this thread too far in that direction.

from my perspective, the important thing to note is that at the very least, it is acceptable to describe an extremely right-wing person as “fascist” (whether or not they are “dictatorial,” whereas — if we accept your logic — a left-wing extremist becomes a fascist only if their leftism is coupled with dictatorial impulses).

and that was my original point: it is not a misuse of the word “fascist” to describe an extreme rightist as such. so i will rest.

“In DKR, Batman is not a fascist. Is he an extremist? Sure. Violent? yes. Maybe even right wing. But he is not helping the government control the media or anything else. If anything, he’s defying government control and fascism.”

Not that I completely agree that Batman is a fascist in DKR, but your argument here is obviously specious. Hitler opposed the government that was in charge before his own.

In DKR, Batman is the same kind of benevolent tyrant as the leader in 300; he’s violent and forces everything around him to conform to his will, but it’s okay because he’s also absolutely correct and right and good-hearted or whatever.

However, with regard to Batman, I do think that there would be a better word than “fascist”. Not so much with the Spartan king; no two ways about that one.

To head back towards the subject:

I feel that I’m lucky, in a way, living in Australia. We have, oh, ONE con a year, and in comic guest terms we’re lucky to get one or two out a year.

So far, I haven’t met anyone who disappointed me. For example, I remember standing 2nd in line to get Marv Wolfman to sign my Crisis Absolute edition. The guy in front of me wanted him to sign basically a copy of every comic he’d ever written.

Marv told him to move aside, and that he’d get back to him later.

But see, that hasn’t affected what I buy. I don’t then specifically go out and read more Wolfman work. If he was a bastard, I wouldn’t read less – IF I LIKED THE STORY.

That’s funny — I’ve been the opposite guy, the guy who brings a bunch of stuff hoping to get a few signed, and the signings are so empty I wind up getting everything I brought signed.

Dan Slott was so nice and funny that I bought several books over the last few months that I hadn’t been strongly interested in prior to that.

And John Lloyd was so awesome… the guy in front of me was clearly not interested. He had ten copies of ‘V For Vendetta’ and said, “Oh, yeah, these are for my friend, so don’t draw in them.” And he said, “What’s your friend’s name?” and the guy said, “Oh, uh, just sign them, that’s okay.” And Lloyd knew the guy was going to turn around and sell them, but he kept signing them, all the while pimping his new hardcover, saying, “So, why not buy your friend this book Kickback too?” and the guy is trying to keep the lie alive, so he says, “Oh, uh, he… he doesn’t like, you know, that sort of book.” And Lloyd says, “You don’t even know what sort of book it is! What sort of book does he like?” and, basically, made the guy look more and more foolish, and more and more like a liar, even while signing his books with a smile.

I was next in line and, after I handed him my copy of V for Vendetta, I said, “That sales pitch was so awesome and entertaining that I have to buy Kickback because of it.”

I don’t regret doing so, even though the book wasn’t very good.

jaythe1letterwonder

January 31, 2008 at 3:21 pm

I just thought I’d add my 2 cents to the whole fascist thing it has only in the last decade or so become common place to think of the far right as fascist,after all Hitler was the leader of the national socialist party,a vegaterian and was agianst people smoking cigarettes.Both german and italian fascism came about from left leaning political leaders.The idea of fascism having anything to do with the politcal right wing has only come about since people on the left decided to call conservites and republicans that as a slur to end decussions.

Conversation 1
Eh. Most of my favorite artists, in any medium, are huge assholes.

I’ve told you guys my favorite musician is Charles Mingus, right? Same guy who punched his trombone player in the mouth so hard he couldn’t play for months? (Or so the Urban Legend goes…)

My relationship is with the WORK, not the people who produced the work.

Conversation 2

Miller described himself as a “liberal hawk” in a Comics Journal article a while back. He strongly supported (supports?) the Iraq war. That’s all I know for sure.

And by and large I don’t see his work as political. (Except maybe Martha Washington, which I haven’t read in years and years and years.) His characters have political opinions, maybe, but since they’re generally blatant, over-the-top caricatures*, it would be REALLY silly to see them as speaking FOR Frank Miller.

* And, yes, Miller is fully aware of this. He says so in Eisner/Miller.

“Hitler was the leader of the national socialist party”

Woah, hoss, slow down. “National socialism” is *extremely* different from socialism. Their policies were neither liberal *nor* socialist (yes, there is a distinction).

It’s just a name. Much like Miller describing himself as a liberal does not neccessarily mean that he is a liberal (which is not to say that he is not).

“italian fascism came about from left leaning political leaders”

In what sense? The fact that he was a nationalist? A militarist? A corporatist? Or an anti-communist?

Which of those four things which are the primary traits of Mussolini would you say are left-leaning?

Note that I am not arguing that it is impossible for a liberal to be a fascist. I am merely saying that nobody who knows a single thing about history could possibly describe the German or Italian governments in World War II left-leaning or “liberal” in the modern sense of the word. It is patently absurd to do so.

jaythe1letterwonder

January 31, 2008 at 3:56 pm

Well,up until the last decade or so,I would say miltarism was a left wing treat.Look at Stalin he was definitely miltaristic.

I wouldn’t call it “patently” absurd. There’s a new book out called “Liberal Fascism” that makes that exact argument.

Personally, I don’t think those types of discussions help anything. There were a lot of leftist tendencies in Nazism and mussolini’s regimes a lot of right-wing aspects. I don’t think its 100% intellectually honest to lump the regimes squarely in one camp or the other. While I think the book is just unnecessarily divisive, I wouldn’t call it patently ridiculous either. Its well researched and argued.

I do agree that the main reason fascism is more associated with the right is that its become the knee-jerk response from liberals since the 60s to attack anything perceived as right-wing.

In what sense? The fact that he was a nationalist? A militarist? A corporatist? Or an anti-communist?

I’m sorry, but I can’t help myself…

JFK was all those things. Is he right-wing? Military and leftism are not mutually exclusive, hence the term “liberal hawk.”

“I would say miltarism was a left wing treat.”

So you’re giving the left President Reagan? President Eisenhower? Winston Churchill?

“Military and leftism are not mutually exclusive, hence the term “liberal hawk.””

T – you’re far more reasonable than jay (and, in looking around random stuff about Frank Miller & fascism, I stumbled upon a link to your Jenkins blog which interested me), but this is kind of a silly point, because you have to ignore the obvious fact that the phrase proves: being a hawk is so associated with conservatism that you have to say “liberal hawk”. You don’t have to say “conservative hawk” or “right-wing hawk”; it’s implicit in the word.

“There’s a new book out called “Liberal Fascism” that makes that exact argument.”

Thank you for bringing that to my attention; it hardly surprises me that his points are just things he read about or heard about but looked into no further.

Let me reiterate: there is absolutely NOTHING socialist about the Nazis. It’s a flatout stupid thing to say that “national socialist” is the same as “socialist”.

“JFK was all those things. Is he right-wing?”

I don’t think you’re actually interested in my opinions about JFK but, based on the things he accomplished in his presidency, I think there’s a much stronger case to say he’s right-wing than left-wing.

But I agree with you, this is more divisive than it needs to be. Breaking stuff down like this is silly because it’s overly reductive; if a person, like Bush, pursues policies which are socially conservative but fiscally not-conservative, which side of the spectrum does he fall under?

“I do agree that the main reason fascism is more associated with the right is that its become the knee-jerk response from liberals since the 60s to attack anything perceived as right-wing.”

It’s funny that you don’t want to be divisive, but you want to blame everything on the left. What if I were to say that it derives from the fact that the Nazis fought Communists, and the right-wing has spent the last sixty years labelling anything left-leaning “Communist”? Wouldn’t you say that’s unneccessarily divisive, despite any inherent truth to it?

jaythe1letterwonder

January 31, 2008 at 4:22 pm

Actually,I’m was just throwing some thoughts out there.National Socialism does not have much to do with socialism it was a bad point.I wouldn’t call Reagan all that miltaristic if for no other reason than he was the first president to call for getting rid of our nuclear weapons.JFK and LBJ and even Truman were definitely miltaristic.Eisenhower not so much though.

Sean, the reason I believe this is so is because since the 60s, baby boomers and their form of progressive liberalism have had such an increasing voice in the American left that liberalism has become conflated with progressive liberalism. As a result, now people feel the need to explicitly point out that they’re liberal hawks so as not to get lumped in with progressives. This is basically because boomers, both on the right and left, like to paint that antiwar picture of the modern left. But the old guard of liberals like FDR, JFK and LBJ were very pro-war and liberal and back then didn’t have to explicitly say they were hawks. It wasn’t until the boomers that the American left became automatically synonymous with antiwar. Likewise, it wasn’t until neocons that the right became automatically synonymous with being so prowar. The paleocons were actually very isolationist and the right didn’t even want to enter WW2 for example.

It’s funny that you don’t want to be divisive, but you want to blame everything on the left.

I don’t want to blame everything on the left, just the knee-jerk tendency to label anything right-leaning as “fascist.”

What if I were to say that it derives from the fact that the Nazis fought Communists, and the right-wing has spent the last sixty years labelling anything left-leaning “Communist”? Wouldn’t you say that’s unneccessarily divisive, despite any inherent truth to it?

No, because it’s true. A lot of righties DO call anything left-leaning Communist. And that’s wrong too. I can cop to that. I don’t think we should be unnecessarily divisive, but I don’t think we should sugarcoat things and baby each other either or cover up our flaws. A lot of lefties do call everything to the right of them “fascist.” A lot of righties do call everything to the left “communist” or “socialist.”

Incidentally, Hitler having been a vegetarian means absolutely nothing. He didn’t do it for ethical reasons, he did it because he was in ill health and had a sensitive digestive system.

jaythe1letterwonder

January 31, 2008 at 4:35 pm

But,he did inject vegaterianism into his youth programs.Besides,there is no ethical arguement for vegaterianism.Veganism,yes.

Y’know, when I was collecting the Planet Heist mini a few years back, at no point did the words authoritarian, fascist, left-wing right-wing communist socialist or any other philosphical/political term pop into my head. All I was think was “Damn! This comic’s really fun, and it’s got great art from someone I’ve never heard of before!” Odds are, if you aren’t looking for a lecture in a comic book, you won’t find one to distract you from enjoying the comic.

“I wouldn’t call Reagan all that miltaristic”

If you wouldn’t say that the president who increased the military budget to the largest it ever was at the time is militaristic, than who would be?

Oh, right, liberals…

T – If I weren’t leaving the office, I’d probably enjoy having this conversation further (though I bet everybody else is glad that I’m leaving the office), so let me just offer a handshake for a level-headed, well-reasoned debate. We probably don’t even disagree as much as it might seem.

“Besides,there is no ethical arguement for vegaterianism.”

And the hits just keep on comin’…

jaythe1letterwonder

January 31, 2008 at 4:50 pm

He did try to get rid of nuclear weapons as a milatery option and after all you can’t hug your children with nuclear arms.

FDR wasn’t militaristic?

jaythe1letterwonder

January 31, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Well,let’s hear some ethical reasons then.

(I decided to add one more)

“A lot of lefties do call everything to the right of them “fascist.” A lot of righties do call everything to the left “communist” or “socialist.””

I don’t exactly disagree, but I think what you’re doing is a common straw-man tactic on both sides. Rather than treat liberal arguments as serious, it’s easy to say, “Well, a lot of liberals say ____, and that’s absurd, so I’m right.” And vice versa — but I’m talking about you, so I’m saying it that way.

I think it’s better, with conversations like this, to try and talk to the person, not to try and talk to everybody on that person’s end of the spectrum through the person.

For instance, I lean left, but if you were to assume I was anti-death penalty, you would be wrong.

“FDR wasn’t militaristic?”

In what sense? He built up industry and sold a lot of weapons to the British because he was anti-Nazi (which, if the Nazis were leftist, means that he was right-leaning, right?), and that helped us start to get out of a depression, and then we were attacked and he went to war over it. We didn’t go to war in Europe until they declared war on us (we told them our war was with Japan, who attacked us).

So, no, not particularly.

“Well,let’s hear some ethical reasons then.”

People who are vegetarian for ethical reasons feel that, when an animal reaches a certain level of awareness or intelligence, it is immoral to eat them.

I don’t agree with them, but I certainly wouldn’t argue that it’s not an ethical argument.

“He did try to get rid of nuclear weapons as a milatery option”

The argument could easily be made that this *is* militaristic, since it means that much more money will be spent on weaponry, and many more people will be sent to fight in another country.

I don’t think you understand the concept of militarism.

jaythe1letterwonder

January 31, 2008 at 5:01 pm

I guess your right he wasn’t compared to ALL the other world leaders in the 1930s.But, he also wasn’t all love and flowers either :)

jaythe1letterwonder

January 31, 2008 at 5:07 pm

I’m pretty sure your talking about veganism.

People who are vegetarian for ethical reasons feel that, when an animal reaches a certain level of awareness or intelligence, it is immoral to eat them.

I don’t agree with them, but I certainly wouldn’t argue that it’s not an ethical argument.

That’s part of it. Although, honestly, I’m not sure how we can judge the “awareness” of plants, so I have trouble discounting it.

Speakin’ as a (99%) vegetarian, it’s mostly a resources consumption thing. Eating enough plants to keep you alive consumes a fair amount of plant-resources. Feeding a cow enough plants to keep the cow alive to maturity takes a shit-ton of plant resources. It takes less land, energy, and resources to cultivate plants as opposed to animals.

“I’m not a vegetarian because I love animals. I’m a vegetarian because I hate plants.” – A. Whitney Brown

So, setting aside the whole Fascism debate (and my need to run to he thesaurus and dictionary to follow huge chunks of this thread) I thought I would make a few statements about creators and my opinion of them and their work.

I have been known to change my opinion of a person’s work based on their attitudes. A great example is Cerebus. I was very late coming to the game and knew nothing about Dave Sim (gasp!) or Cerebus other than it had an impressive streak that was coming to an end At a local con I managed to put together a rather impressive run of issues that comprised the better part of the first two-thirds of the series. As any who have read Cerebus know, the letter pages were at least half the fun. But, as I read more and more of Sim’s rantings (and read more and more about him in interviews and stories) I came to get a really bad taste in my mouth. While i feel that Jaka’s Story was probably the highlight of Cerebus, I have stopped reading the series and will probably not seek out any more issues. His preachiness and misogynistic views have gotten in the way of my enjoyment of the earth-pig born.

On the flip side, you have Judd Winnick. Well, being a teen in the 80′s and 90′s, I grew up with the Real World and watched the season with Judd and Pedro. I even got the opportunity to hear Judd speak on World AIDS Day. He was more or less the same guy you saw on TV. Not the most energetic and engaging guy, but sincere. So, when he started writing comic, I picked them up because I liked him. Barry Ween (especially the 2nd collection) is some of the funniest stuff I have read. Milk shooting out your nose funny. Caper. Not too shabby. Exiles was pretty fun. Have i liked everything he has done? No. I was pretty tired of Green Arrow at the end and dropped the book. But, if I see he is on a title, I’ll check it out.

The grey area comes with people like Mike Grell. One of the first comics that completely blew me away was his first few issues of Green Arrow. Gorgeous covers. Great writing. Great art. It was mind-blowing to a twelve year old kid. This is what comics COULD be! As I grew up and became a vegetarian (for animal rights issues) I came across Grell’s love of big game hunting. Now, I am not going to get into the politics and morality of big game hunting, but it comes back to someone else’s argument about Orson Scott Card. Do I spend money that will support a person who engages in something i do not agree with? I mean, big game hunting costs money and he gets his money from comic book sales. So, by buying his comics I am enabling him to go on hunting trips. (Ok. I know that my buying or not buying one comic does not make or break his big-game hunting trip.)

To be fair, I do not post on any message boards spewing hatred of Mr. Grell for his hunting enjoyment. But, I also don’t spend my money on him (thankfully comicmix posts new Jon Sable comics for free!!!).

Brian Bendis is another one of those grey zone examples. His early work was fantastic. Read Alias. Read Jinx. Read Goldfish. Great stuff. I really like Ultimate Spider-man. I happen to think Bendis is a pompous ass. I have met him in person several times (we live in the same city. It happens quite a bit). each time I meet him he comes of worse and worse. Unfortunately I think some of that arrogance is seeping into his writing. Mighty Avengers reeks of it. It is getting more difficult to read his books when he grates my nerves.

So, where does all this get me? Hopefully the same place it gets me in life. I support the creators whose works I enjoy and do not support the creators whose works I do not enjoy. And, sometimes, a creator’s personal life ruins my enjoyment of their professional life. When that happens, well there are a lot of books out there that are looking for somebody to read them. I could be that guy.

As for the vegetarian thing, I figured i wouldn’t like it if someone or something ate me, so why should I do it to another creature?

Besides, I think we have all read/seen enough about the cruelty to the animals who are raised in a factory farm system for a person to understand why another would not want to support it.

I’m not going to get preachy about it. I promise. Suffice it to say that there is a big difference between the way the chicken/beef/pork that you get at your local supermarket was raised, lived, and died than how most people envision it. Ma and Pa’s country farm it aint.

What Brian said applies to any art, really, although many don’t see it. Chinatown or The Pianist don’t suck because Polanski slept with 12 year old girls. However, ad hominem arguments will never stop being used, specially in comics; how many times has anyone here saw someone saying “Chuck Austen is worse than Hitler” or something like that (Reductio ad Hitlerum will never stop being used too) even though from every interview I’ve seen, he seems like a very nice guy? Still, nice as he is, Archangel and Husk having mid air sex in front of her mother and their teammates is one of the worse moments in the history of comics.

But, really, on a perfect world, this would be obvious to everyone on Earth.

I almost hate to comment on the original topic but I didn’t stop buying work by Mark Millar because of his personal views. I stopped becaused of Wanted #6.

However, I would not buy anything new written by Orson Scott Card after his actions at SF conventions. Basically he makes insane statement after another, usually against women and society (T. I’m not lumping this on mainstream conservatives, just Card himself). Afterwards, when everyone else on the panel argues with him, he blames them of being anti-Mormon.

Ultimately I have to disagree with Brian–Card ticked me off enough that I won’t buy his work.

i dunno about this idea that the association of fascism with the Right is a recent, Boomer-generation invention.

quoth Benito Mussolini, the Father of Fascism himself:

“Granted that the XIXth century was the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy, this does not mean that the XXth century must also be the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy. Political doctrines pass; nations remain. We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the ” right “, a Fascist century. If the XIXth century was the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the “collective” century, and therefore the century of the State.”

–from The Doctrine of Fascism, 1932

http://www.worldfuturefund.org/wffmaster/Reading/Germany/mussolini.htm

Austen’s work I skip based on the sheer crappiness of it. Don’t know much about the guy, other than the fact that I have not enjoyed anything of his that I have read/seen/(or unfortunately) bought. We can lump Liefield in to this category (again, based on my feelings about his art, not about my feelings about him), as well.

comb and razor -

screw it, i’ll stay in the debate. the thread has been already dominated by this discussion anyway,

Jonah Goldberg actually addressed that issue in this quote:

“Mussolini referred to himself as being on the Right…but what he meant by Right, was a right-wing socialist. You have to remember, Stalin was calling Trotsky a right-winger back in those days. Bukharin was put in one of Stalin’s show trials for being a Right-Wing deviationist. He was a hard core left-wing socialist.

Beyond that, if you were a Martian and you came to planet Earth with a clipboard and you observed politics and history, and you defined the Left as statism, collectivism, hostility to classical liberalism, hostility to traditional Christianity and tradition generally and you defined the Right, at least in the Anglo-American sense, as both traditionalism and limited government — right? I mean to me, that seems to be a pretty good anatomical description of Left and Right.”

That’s the problem with assigning lefty and righty labels to nazism and fascism. There are too many plausible arguments in each direction, too many respectable experts disagreeing and it just goes in circles.

T-

fine… i’ll accept that.

i’m really not too interested in dissecting the literal philosophical definition of a concept with as tortured a history as Fascism here; my initial concern was more about common usage of the word “fascist” in contemporary colloquial English. i just came across that quote and thought it was interesting, but i’m really not invested in this part of the debate.

Wait, we’re using Jonah Goldberg as a credible source on ANYTHING?

I’ve rarely read anything so LAUGHABLY UNCONVINCING as the quote you offer from Goldberg there, T. Is that what passes for the scholarship of “respectable experts” in the U.S. these days? Awful. Failing grade.

On the other hand, I agree with you that it’s unwarranted and indecent to label Frank Miller a fascist.

“Beyond that, if you were a Martian and you came to planet Earth with a clipboard”

I guess if I were a Martian, Goldberg would make sense. I agree with T. that while the word “fascist” has right-wing connotations (by some definitions), leftist leaders are equally capable to be tyrants.

But Jonah Goldberg’s a step away from Michael (Weiner) Savage.

I wouldn’t call it “patently” absurd. There’s a new book out called “Liberal Fascism” that makes that exact argument.

Yes, and if you accept totally dogshit arguments as worthwhile, then “Liberal Fascism” is a great book. In the real world, however, where fascism has an actual defined meaning, rather than what Jonah Goldberg wishes it was, it is a idiotic drooling piece of scribble.

Seriously, at one point in “Liberal Fascism”, Goldberg argues that Mussolini wasn’t a fascist. You know – Mussolini, who invented the term.

I met Brian Azzarello at a con last week and I was very disappointed; not that I expected him to be nice, but I expected him to be, you know, interesting. Same with Brian Wood. You’d think the guy who wrote Couriers and who writes Northlanders and DMZ would be more animated. But I really liked meeting B. Clay Moore, Phil Noto, and Dan Breterton, all of whom were nice, down to Earth guys, very appreciative and accommodating for a fan, which reading their works, I could see them being. Same with Mark Waid and Howard Chaykin. Nice guys, very real, just like their work, especially Chaykin who seems to have the attitude (in life and his writing) that he works in COMICS, nothing too serious and ultimately a job that you get if you are lucky enough to make a living doing something without serious responsibility.

Oh and for the Fascist argument:

Fascism and Communism are both branches of Totalitariamsm, the belief that the State should have total control over life. So both share similarities in many aspects (Stalin, Hitler, and even FDR all believed that the govt. should have more power over people’s lives) but the differences come with things like private ownership and the direction that State control takes. Fascism allows corporations to exist and profit, as long as they are subordinate to the State while Socialism/Communism preach state control of everything.

And FDR ordered the U.S. navy to wage an undeclared war on Nazi U-boats in the months before Pearl Harbor while the U.S. was still at peace with Germany

So fascism and communism are equivalent names for the same evil, JC? Only one likes private enterprise, and one doesn’t.

I’m not sure I can agree with that.

Maybe I’m bigoted, but I really can’t stand Adolf Hitler’s art after finding out he was a vegetarian. I just really dislike PETA and all that stuff and I think it reflects badly on him to associate with that.

Don’t be such a Nazi about it, Martin! After all, just because someone’s a vegetarian, it doesn’t automatically mean they’re a hypocrite…

Seriously, at one point in “Liberal Fascism”, Goldberg argues that Mussolini wasn’t a fascist. You know – Mussolini, who invented the term.

Goldberg never argues that in the book to my knowledge. He misspoke and said that in a speech, and the liberal blogs isolated that part of the speech and blew it up, even though it was obvious from his book that he knew Mussolini was a fascist. But that’s fair, as I’m sure he’s probably done the same to his opponents from time to time.

And I haven’t read the book, but I don’t know if it has dogshit arguments. But not counting reviews from the rabidly left or rabidly right blogs, the main complaint I hear from it isn’t that it has bad arguments or bad research but that he glosses over any example of right-wing fascism and cherry picks only the examples of left-wing fascism, skipping whole decades of 20th century history at a time. It’s one of the reasons I’m not interested in trying the book, as it sounds a little too one-sided.

so let me just offer a handshake for a level-headed, well-reasoned debate.

Likewise.

“The main complaint I hear from it isn’t that it has bad arguments or bad research but that he glosses over any example of right-wing fascism and cherry picks only the examples of left-wing fascism, skipping whole decades of 20th century history at a time.”

In other words, it has bad arguments, and bad research. Right?

Don’t know why you’re cutting the guy so much slack, T. Right or left, a crackpot’s a crackpot.

Plok, I wouldn’t say they are equivalent evils. Again it boils down to the nature of the people running the regimes and the extent and the intentions they want to push state control. One of the key factors in Totalitarianism is the Leader, so what ever direction the leader takes the regime defines the “evil” or the “good” of the Fascist or the Communist state. Indeed, Totalitarian, communist and fascist are utopians at their core…it just that people may not necessarily agree with their version of Utopia.

Then I found out that part of the story involved making Tony some kind of full-body brain (and contradicted the family background mentioned in Ultimate Team-Up), and I was all the happier for my decision.

I wouldn’t penalise it for contradicting Ultimate Team-Up. That’s been contradicted so much that I beleive it’s officially out of continuity now.

I sometimes wonder if I have the opposite problem. For instance, I know little of Mark Millar as a person other than he’s supposed to be very liberal. But his writing makes me think he’s a frighteningly smug, amoral individual who favors cruelty and totalitarianism as solutions to problems. In real life, I would guess he isn’t this way, but his writing sure seems to give that impression.

Really? Smug I grant you, but generally it just gives me the impression that he’s writing about characters with those opinions.

In other words, it has bad arguments, and bad research. Right?

Wrong. From the excerpts I read, it has good research and arguments that range from plausible to quite good. For example in this interview he makes some great points: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/01/11/goldberg/

He shows for example of how fascism can come from the left: for example using the government to force people to stop smoking, use seat belts, cut out trans fats, trying to introduce bills to enforce whole grain use…that’s fascist. He also explains how sometimes something can be fascistic yet good. For example the autobahn was a fascistic measure, but we don’t turn around and say highways are evil. How is that bad reasoning or research? Whether you agree with it or not, the examples and conclusions are plausible.

The problem is that someone can respond with a well-researched and well-argued thesis from the other side of the political and you just end up in a horrible cycle. I feel all that brainpower could be better used for other political exercises. Plus the whole happy face with the Hitler mustache on the cover is just tacky to me.

Don’t know why you’re cutting the guy so much slack, T. Right or left, a crackpot’s a crackpot.

I don’t consider him a crackpot at all. Al Franken, Randi Rhodes, Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity are crackpots. Goldberg I wouldn’t put on that level. I consider him to be like Alan Colmes: not as boisterous and popular as the crackpots, but very well-researched and capable of very plausible arguments. Even though I rarely agree with Colmes, he’s one of the few liberals who often makes me come close to changing my mind on some issues. Strangely enough, the left always treats the guy like he’s a wimp or a traitor because he never delves into the overly shrill or bulldog antics of a lot of other pundits.

How much of the book have you read and fact-checked?

T.: but all that stuff like seat belts, that’s actually NOT fascist, you know?

(Also, please try not to say things like “fascist but good”, it offends my sensibilities.)

And I would ask you, how much of the book has its freaking author fact-checked, huh?

T.: but all that stuff like seat belts, that’s actually NOT fascist, you know?

(Also, please try not to say things like “fascist but good”, it offends my sensibilities.)

If the government is forcing you to do it and micromanaging you, it’s a fascist measure. It’s making the choice for you and denying you the right to make the choice for yourself. Sometimes that can lead to a good effect, since I think few people would say that eating trans fats or smoking extra cigarettes improves their well-being in the long run, hence the “fascist, but good” thing.

And I would ask you, how much of the book has its freaking author fact-checked, huh?

Dude, I’m not saying this book is the holy grail or that it’s mistake free. I just don’t equate it with a totally unreliable, worthless and meritless piece of crap like you do. I’m sure there are some mistakes in facts and in interpretation in the book, just like in most nonfiction books. But from the excerpts I’ve read there’s a lot of worthwhile and important information as well.

“If the government is forcing you to do it and micromanaging you, it’s a fascist measure.”

So, is paying taxes or having to attend school until you’re 18 fascism as well?

Indeed. This is the same kind of overheated, imprecise, and inaccurate use of “fascist” that you were lately protesting. The ordinance against jaywalking is not fascist, conscription is not fascist, that people can’t keep tigers in their apartments or use child labour in their mines is not fascist. Likewise, if a fascist government builds a highway, it doesn’t make fascism “good” because they did it, and it’s not a good basis for arguing that fascism can have positive effects — the road is just a road. Lots of governments make their trains run on time, without breaking old men’s bones in the street to do it. It’s a false link. Fascism doesn’t have positive effects.

I’m not trying to say you esteem this book in absolute terms, I’m only saying you’re cutting it a lot of slack it doesn’t seem to deserve, because it truly appears this book isn’t on a continuum between flawless scholarship and scholarship that includes some minor factual mistakes or arguable failures of interpretation, but rather that it’s off the continuum of responsible scholarship altogether. This is David Icke without the lizards. It’s just bunk. Goldberg’s effort wouldn’t get a passing grade in Grade Eleven history anywhere in the world.

I’ve looked into it enough over the last 24 hours to feel pretty safe drawing that conclusion. Have you looked into it less extensively?

Oh yeah, but if every instance of government “micromanagement” is fascist, then I suppose the natural consequence would be that many good things are fascist because in the absence of fascism they wouldn’t come about at all.

Thank God that’s nowhere near the meaning of the term! Ye gods, what a slippery slope!

Normally I would agree with the argument put forward by Cronin.

However, Judd Winnick was once on a reality TV show and is therefore fair game.

He shows for example of how fascism can come from the left: for example using the government to force people to stop smoking, use seat belts, cut out trans fats, trying to introduce bills to enforce whole grain use…that’s fascist.

Do any of those things come out of the left?

And this is why my history professors retired the term “fascism” when addressing an actual political system and now use “authoritarian corporatism.”

Mychael Darklighter

July 31, 2012 at 9:46 pm

“To be fair, I do not post on any message boards spewing hatred of Mr. Grell for his hunting enjoyment. But, I also don’t spend my money on him (thankfully comicmix posts new Jon Sable comics for free!!!).”

if i find out my plumber is a racist, it’s okay not to pay him!
after all, i’d only be funding his racist activities! he has no right!

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