TREASON

Call it what it is: TREASON.

Trump Treason Turkey

 
The Republican congress is complicit.
 
Fox News is an active party to it.
 
The Fraternal Order of Police defends it.
 
The so-called “patriots” who spent eight years screaming for the blood and soul of President Black Dude have been exposed on a daily basis as active partners for the fire-sale sellout of our nation to its historic enemy state.
 
Our system of constitutional government has been broken by the fact that a dominant political faction has demonstrated – through thought, word and deed – that the law means nothing when those who are tasked with enforcing it choose not to do so.
 
Our media, by valorizing a sociopathic con-man as “presidential” and treating him as anything more than the buffoonish caricature of American hubris, has facilitated the annihilation of verifiable facts.
 
Citizens who employ their First Amendment rights to protest incursions by corporate invaders are beaten down and imprisoned by militarized police forces. Republican partisans who perform open, armed rebellion against the previous president are pardoned and flown home in the vice president’s private jet.
 
Amendment 1 has been weaponized to counter its original purpose. Amendment 2 has been used to arm that faction’s partisans. Amendment 14 is ignored except in cases where it allows “corporate citizens” an ever-increasing degree of power. Amendment 4 might as well not even exist, thanks to the Supreme Court’s endless exceptions to it. Let’s not even talk about Amendments 9 and 10, whose protections have been reserved only for those who seek to overthrow the entire system and replace it with their own.
 
We stand at a Zero Hour in American history.
 
And the response to this willful destruction of the nation and its laws is a cascade of excuses and the jeering cry of “libotard.”

By every definition of the word, this is treason.

 
Now what will we do about it?

More to the point – in the face of the most powerful military in human history, a militarized police force that has thrown in with the traitors, and a deeply divided populace for whom no crime is too great if it pisses off their fellow citizens – is what can we do about it which will leave anything left after the catastrophe that follows?

Riot Cop

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Personification of Complexity: Harlan Ellison, 1934-2018

For a brief time, I was here. And for a brief time, I mattered.”
– Harlan Ellison, 1934-2018HarlanAmong the most polarizing figures in American literature, Harlan Ellison epitomized not giving a shit while deeply giving a shit.

He could be charming, yet reprehensible. Generous, yet infuriating. A champion of the oppressed, yet abusive and predatory. He marched with MLK and spent time in jail for civil-rights agitation at a time when that was not a common thing for young white dudes to do. He was an infamous womanizer with a penchant for harassment in the name of a joke. Harlan was among the most eloquent voices in the history of American letters, and he published some godawful shit in the name of getting paid.

Harlan Ellison was one of my favorite writers, a wellspring of cantankerous rage, and among the most influential people in my life. During Reagan’s reign of errors, Ellison’s books – most especially An Edge in My Voice and Stalking the Nightmare – were always close at hand for me. He taught me that fury is creative fuel, that we must fight oppression even when it hurts us to do so, and that we can and must be better than we so often are.

(He also showed me how much fun you could have with the English language, and that words like “bugfuck” made for perfectly acceptable literature, provided you could use them intelligently in a sentence.)

I was fortunate enough to meet him in person several times. Despite his ferocious reputation, he was always polite, funny and kind at those times, even when – as on a panel at some convention I can’t recall offhand, where we disputed the value of publishing online – we disagreed.

Harlan was a living personification of “complex.”

He’s had a lot of shit to answer for over the years, but we are fortunate to have had someone like him – however flawed he was as a person – to light the fires and call accounts and show us just how bad things COULD be and how grand they SHOULD be if we get off our asses and refuse to take the darkness laying down.

Thank you, you cranky bastard.

Your words live on on me.

Harlan Ellison

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Strangling on Our Own Bootstraps.

I have spent most of my adult life poor. Not because I don’t have a work-ethic (the number of credits and accomplishments I have to my name shows otherwise) or because I work in the arts (which pay better and more reliably than any other job I’ve had) but because pervasive poverty [1] is the norm for many Americans of my generation and the generations after me. We work harder, for less, with less stability and security than any American generation since the Great Depression, and less than some even before that.

We are laboring in a system increasingly rigged to cost us more than we can ever afford to save, and this situation has grown more and more unsustainable since the early 1980s, when I entered the workforce.

And yet, we continue to be told it’s our fault. And many of us continue to believe it.

Bootstraps

Casual selfishness and even cruelty [2] is the rule, not the exception in the American workplace. I have caught managers whiting out time cards at a minimum-wage job, had a boss who refused to pay me for time I had worked because I had quit when she refused to take my wedding day off from work. I had a manager at a moving company who stole goods from our customers and then sold them to second-hand stores while letting innocent employees get hung out to dry for his thefts… it goes on and on and on, and all the while we continue to be fed media narratives that it is the poor – even the working poor – who are lazy, unmotivated, reckless spenders, entitled, incompetent, “wanting something for nothing”… the litany goes on and on and on, and even people who are themselves victimized by this practice buy into the bullshit.

Hell, these days being poor and overworked and exploited by the system is even being sold as sexy. “The gig economy,” they call it, as if this was something we’re doing for fun, not out of desperation. It’s chic, it’s cool, it’s about paying more for an “apodment” or a “microloft” than we would have paid for a rental house a decade or so ago. We’re exhorted to “clear out the clutter” so we can move into tiny houses. In truth, it’s a nice way to say, “get sick and you’re on your own.” No benefits, no stability, and nothing to fall back on when mortality and ill fortune strike.

Meanwhile, the paychecks get smaller and the hours get longer and the stockholder shares continue to rise... until they don’t, and then it’s yet another story about how millennials are killing everything again.

Doers

Here’s the truth: We are being lied to, manipulated, literally stolen from and then played against one another by the people who are abusing us under the guise of “job creators.” The Trump administration’s naked corruption simply goes to show that these parties don’t even feel they need to hide it anymore. They’ll shout OHMAHGOD THEREZQUEERZIN YERBATHROOM! and half their constituents will jump on the bandwagon. They’ll point at fictional “very bad hombres,” and their adherents will scream “BUILD THE WALL!” They’ll continue to send an endless parade of young people into the shredder with non-stop “wars for freedom,” and then drop the vets off at the nearest homeless shelter and will still have military people voting for them next election, even when the man who’s eager to send their kids into battle is a draft-dodging tin soldier.
It is a literally gods-damned scam, and it gets more blatant every year.
And yet, these thieving parasites continue to wave the Bible in one hand and Horatio Alger in the other, hoping you’ll never twig to the fact that neither book says what they tell us it says.

Folks say I’m angry. You’re damned right I’m angry. Seriously, I’d much rather not be. I have better things to do with my life than rant about stuff like this online. Hell, I had planned to play myself some much-needed Skyrim this evening. Instead, I found the following article by Barbara Ehrehnreich [3], read it, and found myself hammering out yet another screed about this bottomless subject because some days that’s all I can feel like we can do: shout into the void while we strangle on our own bootstraps, trying to do more than we did before with less than we made 20 years ago, and wondering how the hell we’re ever going get down off this cliff that seems to grow ever-higher each passing year.

 

 workingpoor_title

 

_____________________________
1 – “…One-quarter of American workers makes less than $10 per hour. That creates an income below the federal poverty level. These are the people who wait on you every day. They include cashiers, fast food workers and nurse’s aides. Or maybe they are you.The rich got richer through the recovery from the 2008 financial crisis. In 2012, the top 10 percent of earners took home 50 percent of all income. That’s the highest percent in the last 100 years…

…From 2000 through 2006, the number of Americans living in poverty increased 15 percent. By 2006, nearly 33 million workers earned less than $10 per hour. Their annual income is less than $20,614. This is below the poverty level for a family of four. Most of these low-wage workers receive no health insurance, sick days or pension plans from their employers. That means they can’t get sick and have no hope of retiring.

During this same time period, average wages remained flat. That’s despite an increase of worker productivity of 15 percent. Corporate profits increased 13 percent per year, according to The Big Squeeze by Steven Greenhouse.

Between 1979 and 2007, household income increased 275 percent for the richest 1 percent of households. It rose 65 percent for the top fifth...

, Income Inequality in America: Causes of Income Inequality (theBalance.com, March 25, 2018)

2 – Like that of my now-former the boss at Saxon Shoes, who had a manager take me – after a workplace accident caused by shoddy shelving – to a private clinic where the doctor was a friend and customer of his. That doctor gave me a neck brace, told me to take five days off, and handed me a bunch of x-rays and stuff to take back to the boss. He told me to call him back for a follow-up appointment after those five days. I did as I was told, but when I returned to work the entire incident had “disappeared.” My boss and the managers acted as though I had stayed home of my own volition, and refused to acknowledge that I had been hit in the head by a falling shelf full of shoes.  Oh, no – that never happened. The boss refused to pay me for the time I had been out, and scolded me for staying home when no one had told me to do so. I called the doctor. his receptionist hung up on me. I contacted a lawyer; he called me back to tell me that the doctor and his receptionist had never even heard of me. All records of the incident vanished. It was my word against my employer’s, and no one would take my side. This shit happens ALL THE TIME in American business. I know two other people personally with similar stories, and those are just the ones I know about.

3 – …What I discovered is that in many ways, these jobs are a trap: They pay so little that you cannot accumulate even a couple of hundred dollars to help you make the transition to a better-paying job. They often give you no control over your work schedule, making it impossible to arrange for child care or take a second job. And in many of these jobs, even young women soon begin to experience the physical deterioration—especially knee and back problems—that can bring a painful end to their work life.

I was also dismayed to find that in some ways, it is actually more expensive to be poor than not poor. If you can’t afford the first month’s rent and security deposit you need in order to rent an apartment, you may get stuck in an overpriced residential motel. If you don’t have a kitchen or even a refrigerator and microwave, you will find yourself falling back on convenience store food, which—in addition to its nutritional deficits—is also alarmingly overpriced. If you need a loan, as most poor people eventually do, you will end up paying an interest rate many times more than what a more affluent borrower would be charged. To be poor—especially with children to support and care for—is a perpetual high-wire act…
– Barbara Ehrehnreich, “It is Expensive to be Poor” (Atlantic, Jan 13, 2014)

 

 

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Being the Bully

Joel Eisenberg asks: Ever bullied anyone? Ever regret it? Why’d you do it?

Yes. Yes I did. And yes, I do.

I was a dick in 8th and 9th grade, and badly (though only verbally) abused a few of my classmates, including one who I had been friends with only a few years earlier. Why? Because I got in with a few other kids who bullied them too, and hassling those classmates seemed like a fun thing to do. Also, some of the targets seemed so… pathetic in our eyes, as if they couldn’t help but be abused. In reality, we – their bullies – were despised by other kids but not as despised as our targets were, so we rolled that shit rolled downhill.

I started realizing how awful I was acting around grade 10, knocked that shit off, and distanced myself from most of those “friends.” Ironically, the tools that helped me see what I was doing, and to get a better group of friends, were heavy metal, D&D, and getting involved in the drama department – things that were soon (in two cases at least) scapegoated by adults as being the cause of teen violence and suicide.

This was over 40 years ago, and I still feel ashamed about what I did and how long I did it. I have since apologized to one of our targets, and have not seen the others since high school.

Knowing that I was the perpetrator of social abuse, and realizing that my own angry misery inspired my abuse of others, has kept me at least striving to be more compassionate (not always patient or tactful but compassionate) to the stuff other people are going through.

And because the memory of my behavior back then still leaves such an awful taste in my mouth, I have zero tolerance for such behavior now – most especially when the abuse comes from people we consider to be adults. One of the reasons I can be such a sanctimonious ass sometimes is because I’m still angry at the kid I was back then and the cruel shit he sometimes did.

My then-friends and I were children – angry children sorting out our shit in the only way we knew how. Seeing older and theoretically more mature people continuing such behavior fills me with disgust… a disgust inspired in part because I recognize the harm I inflicted too.

Your Humble Photographer, Phil Brucato

The photo is actually me a few years later. I hated having pictures taken of me back in my mid-teens, and so few if any of them exist.

 

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Ammosexuals Exposing Themselves

I’m not going to post their photos and thereby give them the fame they so desperately crave, so I’ll just say this much about those human fecal stains playing solider with their AR-15s at the various marches today:

The day you wake up and decide that your response to a march staged by kids who’ve had their friends murdered, featuring adults and other kids who’ve had loved ones murdered, who are marching to keep other kids from being murdered, will be to strap on the same type of weapon that murdered those people and then strut around the street as if you’re the injured party there… that’s the day you lose all rights to call yourself a man.

This isn’t patriotism. It’s not courage. It’s the opposite of Christian faith.

It’s just the pathetic declaration that the only argument you have in your favor is the threat of deadly force in the face of children.

Which means that you have already lost.

hissy-fit

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Permanent Wows

Momentary break from politics: I was just listening to Rush’s album Permanent Waves in the car, and realizing that record presents Neil Peart at the absolute pinnacle of his lyrical game.

Rush

 
Peart had his definite ups and downs with regards to lyrical prowess. Though a massive improvement over the “hey now baby” lyricism of his bandmates, he could get pompous, obtuse, goofy, and – as in, say, “New World Man” (the band’s worst song, I feel… and that includes the stuff off their first album and Hold Your Fire), downright cringeworthy. It could fairly be said that Peart stumbled so often because he reached so far. Neil never took the easy way out (well, almost never…), and neither did the band as a whole, which is one reason I love them so much despite their occasional missteps and a decidedly acquired-taste style.
 
This album, though – it’s fucking gold.

I mean, beyond the always-brilliant instrumentation, Permanent Waves features some gorgeous turns of phrase. everything good about Peart’s lyricism is on full display on this record, and the closest thing to a lyrical misstep – “All the busy little creatures/ Living out their destines” – is still light-years above most rock songs, and redeems itself with the following line: “Living in their pools/ they soon forget about the sea… and the hair-raising instrumental transition that follows that line.

 
Look, I know that Rush is a perennial whipping-boy for rockister-than-thous. And I never fucking cared. Even at their worst, the band has been in a class by itself since their second album, Peart’s debut Fly By Night, and did a pretty decent riff on Zeppelin before then. Every Rush album has its own personality, and you can mark the band’s ambitions by what they decided to try (successfully or otherwise) on the album in question. Many bands have been influenced by them, but no one’s ever managed to sound much like them because the post-Rutsey Rush is the sublime chemistry of three driven, visionary, goofy and occasionally pretentious guys who know damn well that no one else can do what they can do when they set their minds to it. No one else sounds like Rush because no one else could possibly BE Rush. You can cover their songs, but you can’t create the sound they made.
 
Permanent Waves marked a course-correction after the brilliant but bloated Hemispheres and the finicky A Farewell to Kings (my second-least-favorite Rush album, after Hold Your Fire, and one that’s guilty of almost everything Rush-haters despise about the band). The guys realized they’d pretty much tapped out the epic-length metaphorical SF faerie-tale thing, and they went for a record that manages to blend metaphysical ruminations about thunderstorms and macro /microcosms with some trenchant (and prescient) commentary about the declining state of popular radio, plus an absolutely gorgeous love-song to ever-flawed humanity. Through it all, Peart’s lyrics never miss a trick. Speaking as a writer, I think this record features some of the best popular music lyrics I’ve ever heard, anywhere. It’s easy to drop some “Ooo babies” and get the singer to sell that sentiment. It’s quite another to craft words like these.

Give Permanent Waves a listen, even if you’ve heard it before. I’ve been listening to this album since 1980 (my fourth rock concert was seeing Rush on tour for this album), and even know I’m hearing new things to love about it.

Rush Gram

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Billy Graham’s Reward

Billy Graham played the Good Christian for the cameras, especially when his copycat spawn plundered their followers during the televangelistic reign of the late ’80s and early ’90s. Don’t fall for that act, though – this man was a disgrace to his savior and a stain on modern Christianity. His ranting Trumpski sprog displays the true face of Graham’s legacy, and both of them embody the false prophets Jesus so often warned against.

angrychrist

As detailed in the book One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America, Graham presided over the literally unholy marriage of sociopathic corporatists and the right-wing evangelicals who unseated their more Christ-like progressive brethren. The path from Eisenhower’s White House to Trumpmerikah is paved with Billy Graham’s deeds.

Matthew 25, so often cherry-picked by the “prosperity gospel” hucksters that Graham opened the door for and ushered into their current seats of power, ends with a perfect epitaph for Graham and all his kind:

Then he [Jesus] will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Graham was not righteous, no matter how much he pretended to be. And as the Christ put in in Matthew 6, referring to self-promoting hypocrites like Graham, “Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”

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Barnes & Noble’s Corporate Malaise

Nicole Brinkley writes: Barnes & Noble’s solution to poor sales isn’t, “Okay, let’s reassess stock and see who’s ordering all these things that nobody wants to buy—and maybe do some better outreach into these communities.”

Barnes & Noble’s solution is, “Hey, let’s throw out those experienced employees instead of looking at how those employees could help achieve both our short-term and our long-term community and sale goals.”

barnes-noble-closing-225x300She’s 100% correct. I knew this from experience. And this is not a new situation, either. I dealt with it personally in 2006, and it led to me leaving that company after nearly six years of top-reviewed service at three different locations around the country. I don’t have time right now to relate the whole story. The short version, however is this:

B&N was close to a dream-employer when I began working for them in late 1999. They paid well by retail standards, had good benefits, and generally treated the staff with respect and incentives because they realized that knowledgeable, loyal employees who could hand-sell goods brought in more money than low-paid floor-monkeys counting the seconds until their shifts were over.

That situation ended when Amazon and other internet venues cut into B&N’s profit margins.

As I later discovered, Barnes & Noble defined “profit” like most other American companies do: Make more this year than you made last year… and if your income drops, then slash your expenses.

In B&N’s case, “expenses” were the benefits and payroll that supported the chain’s staff.

Again, it’s a long story. By 2005, however, pay had been frozen, benefits cut, staff reduced, and workload increased throughout the chain. Meanwhile, many money-wasting policies remained unchanged. B&N had become incredibly inefficient, with an outdated business model; its response, of course, was to punish the people who sell their goods.

In 2006, my friend and co-worker Zack got sick. He couldn’t afford a doctor visit or medication, and by that point we had no health coverage. He tried to “tough it out,” and he died.

B&N Corporate’s response was a shrug.

By that time, I had already grown frustrated with the deteriorating situation with that company. When our district manager – who I knew from a previous store I’d worked at – came by for a visit, I approached her with a plan to streamline the inefficiencies, update the business model, and shift money from wasteful inventory policies back to payroll.

That plan was based on over half-a-decade’s experience with the chain, and over a decade in the publishing industry as a whole. She agreed it was a good plan, and said she’s take it to Corporate the following month. Irony alert: The B&N CEO’s statement from November 17 of last year is essentially what I suggested to them 12 years ago… so of course, they’re now doing the exact opposite thing.

Afterward, the district manager came back to me with the following words: “Corporate likes things the way they are. They don’t plan to change. If you’re unhappy here, I suggest you get another job elsewhere.”

So I did. I did it by the numbers, on good terms, gave plenty of notice, and even trained my replacements (plural). As far as I was aware (and my old co-workers Melissa Ackert and Beth Buell can attest to this), I left on good terms with everyone, and was welcome back in the store anytime.

When a client screwed me for $4000 in late 2007, and I went to a different B&N location for a quick job, I found out otherwise.

Apparently, after I left, Corporate tagged me as a troublemaker, said I had quit without notice, and noted that I was not to be rehired. They also gave me a shitty reference when a different bookstore called to verify my employment there.

I called my former manager, and the management team there swore they’d had nothing to do with that.

Almost six years of loyal, dedicated and knowledgeable service was pissed on and trashed out of sheer, vindictive spite from Barnes & Noble Corporate, apparently because an employee had dared to attempt to update their outdated business model.

I have seldom spent money in a Barnes & Noble since then. And trust me – I spend a LOT of money on books and media.

I have to wonder: How many more stories out there are like mine? How many other book-loving salespeople got dumped on by B&N Corporate and so took their business elsewhere? How much money has this cost the chain in lost business from disgruntled ex-employees alone, much less the losses incurred when a dedicated, well-informed, motivated sales-force is replaced by desperate, resentful wage-slaves who literally die from the company’s neglect?

Twelve years later, the company hasn’t learned a fucking thing.

Why not? Because as long as the folks at the tippie-top get their paychecks and stock dividends – no matter what those things cost the company, its people, even its industry – they have no incentive to learn, and even less of an incentive to care.

That, right there, is a distillation of everything wrong with Corporate America.

And laying off entire staffs of people does nothing to address that problem.

BN

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If “Unskilled” = Worth Less, Then Where’s Your Money Coming From?

Y’know what really hacks me off about this whole “unskilled labor” argument? It’s the fact that without millions of people doing that “worth less” labor, none of the higher-paid employees, executives, owners, or stock holders would have a company to begin with.

burger-flipper-1938-810x569

Nobody flipping burgers means no burgers to sell.

Nobody stocking shelves means no goods being sold.

Nobody delivering pizzas means fewer pizzas being sold.

Nobody working as a cashier means no money is passing from the customer’s hands to the company’s bank accounts.

The foundation of this nation’s economy – of any society’s economy, really – rests upon the people who do the dirty jobs. Ayn Rand fantasies aside, railroad executives don’t make railroads. Without tracks, without trains, without people running those trains, without people selling tickets and keeping stations open and monitoring rail traffic and plenty of people who have enough money to ride on trains in the first place, the railroad executive has nothing at all.

Dagny Taggart is a parasite. Without millions of “takers” doing her work for her, she’s a selfish leech with big ideas. And so are the many people who consider Atlas Shrugged to be some sort of revelation rather than six handfuls of delusional bullshit.

Goods do not magically appear on store shelves, nor do they magically sell themselves to the customers. Nor do customers who don’t have enough money to spend buy anything they cannot immediately afford. Nor do goods and services materialize from thin air, fully formed and ready to buy. Every single step of an economy (regardless of the name you attach to that economy) is based on turning labor and materials into goods and profits. And without the materials, the services, and the labor, the profits do not exist.

Why is this so hard for folks to understand?

Why is it considered fashionable, even smart, to declare that a person flipping burgers and selling them to customers is the most expendable link in the economic chain when, in fact, that person is its most important element?

15

You can have the greatest kitchen on earth. (One built, we assume, by people who design and build kitchens, and who provide the materials to build them.) You can fill it with the finest ingredients (all of which have to be grown, harvested, transported, refined, packaged, inspected and provided before you can get them), and design the best menu in human history. Unless, however, you have people to unpack, prepare and sell your food, keep your restaurant clean, and make sure it remains well-stocked and well-serviced, you have NOTHING.  A bunch of ideas, maybe even materials, but no way to turn them into profits.

How dare anyone claim that the people whose labor lets an entire company function are somehow its most disposable “human resources”?

Fuck that.

If the burger flippers ain’t flippin, the executive ain’t earnin’.

There’s your “unskilled labor,” right there – at the foundation of every business in existence.

Folks who want the gold without paying the miners are parasites and nothing more.

Papa Parasite

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“The (White) Purity of the Material”

There’s lots of talk these days about “the purity of the material.” Lots of fanboys pissing in the Wheaties of anyone who dares to gender-bend Thor (even though he was occasionally gender-bent in Norse mythology), or enjoy a team of female Ghostbusters, or make a Star Wars movie with female and non-white leads.

Last Jedi

And that concept – “the purity of the material” – is utter nonsense.

I write this stuff for a living. Have done so since the early 1990s, in a variety of media. Hell, I even wrote part of a book for Star Wars. And despite the seriousness with which people like me take our jobs and try to do the best we can do under the circumstances, it’s a job. That’s it. That’s all. One we love (trust me, we don’t do it for the money!), but still a job.

We creators are professionals making a living on tight deadlines, in media that were until recently considered to be completely disposable, unfit for serious consideration. We rarely own the things we create, and so while we do our best to bring actual creativity and fun to our work, the idea that comics, or movies, or games, or TV shows, or even most books – certainly those in genre categories – are somehow sacred, unchanging writ is complete garbage.

For far too long, our jobs were more-or-less restricted to white guys (in comics, usually Jewish) who mostly knew one another and so hired the people we knew. A handful of women and non-white folks of different genders were hired if and when an editor knew them, and trusted them, and didn’t hold some absurd ideas about who was and was not fit to join the team. Some guys, obviously, did hold such ideas, which restricted the talent pool further. And so, because creators tend to create stuff based on what they know (or think they know), especially when they’re on tight deadlines in disposable media whose rights they don’t even own, the majority of the heroes of such media were white dudes scoring white chicks, with the occasional (often inaccurate and offensive) gender and / or ethnic stereotype dropped in to show how progressive the creators felt they were at that time. And because that was the marketplace norm, even the female creators, and the queer creators, and the non-white creators, stuck to what they were being paid to create: stories for and about white dudes.
Luke Cage
That was then, this is now. Some of us felt that was bullshit even decades ago, and hired people to break the stereotypes. Other folks who weren’t white, het dudes enjoyed those media too, and they grew up to be the next generations of creators – creators who tell their own stories about a world with a greater and broader and far more realistic and frankly more interesting view of the human condition than The Adventures of Whiteboy Pt XIV.
Some white boys hate that.
Fuck ’em.
Anyone who honestly desires a retrograde form of entertainment wherein the scope of characters was limited to a very small slice of human culture and experience has got decades’ worth of that stuff to enjoy. More than you could possible indulge yourself with in one lifetime.Go get it, dudes – it’s all yours.
But to anyone who wants to keep the gates of imaginative media shut against everybody else on earth in the name of “the purity of the material” – there’s the door, assholes. Don’t let it hit y’all on the ass on the way out of it.
“The purity of the material” is as mythical as Superman himself… a dude who was created by a pair of Jewish teenagers to do the things they never could.
Speaking as a creator of such media, a creator who takes his work as a sort of sacred charge, I know that the material is a JOB, not an eternal statement of fundamentalist, exclusive truth.
Our work inspires people, and I love that. I feel humbled and honored that so many people find something real in the fictions I create.

And I feel deeply offended that some folks believe that only they have the right to create and enjoy and perpetrate such media. That with terms and logic straight out of

Mein Kampf and other racist nonsense, they defend the things we create while they wave the banner of “the (white) purity of the material.”
Bullpen 2There’s nothing pure about what we do, kiddies. It’s sweat-work in a rough and often unforgiving field. The fact that we occasionally manage to make characters and tell stories that resonate with people on anything beyond a superficial thrill is a bonus perk of that job.

How dare someone – anyone – feel that resonance belongs only to them?

 

Motherfuckers, I create this stuff and it doesn’t even belong to us. Once released, it belongs to the audience; our names and visions and sweat helped shape it, but the art that makes such things immortal (or at least enjoyable) comes from the connection between the creators’ vision and the audience’s desires.
It belongs to whomever loves it. To whomever it speaks to.
Do not ever, EVER, try to defend selfish, ignorant bigotries in the name of the creators and their work.
‘Cause I’m one of those creators, and most of my friends are creators, anyone who wants to speak hate with ours names attached can go straight to hell.
Miles
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