WHAT DID YOU THINK WAS GOING TO HAPPEN?
There is a time and a place for everything…and that was not either.
That is just one of several articles out there about Cain leaving twitter because she was “bombarded” with “misogynistic comments”.
Absent from any article I was able to find about this, are any of the alleged misogynistic tweets, or any actual quote from Cain about why she left twitter. SO…how thin or thick her skin is, will just be a mystery. Perhaps she was deluged with misogynistic comments, perhaps she got it no worse than any of the rest of us who get piled on by fandom, or any worse the average person who voices an opinion on social media. Perhaps she just deleted the account because the book got cancelled so why bother to keep up that page? For that matter, from these articles that do not have any comment from Cain, for all we know the twitter account got pulled down because she unleashed a paragraph of profanity and posted a pic of herself puking on a marvel logo in response to the comments she got. The romantic in me hopes this was the case.
I find it odd, that no story has the usual screen shots of comments from a-holes, like we have seen in every single other story about a-holes on the internet. The crux of some of them is how awful it is that people said that to her…but they never say what the “that” is. How do you write a story in hopes of stopping a behavior without explaining the behavior? How can you seriously tell people not to cross the line, without telling them what the line is?! It’s gibberish. “Misogyny” is a term that’s open for interpretation. I’ve seen simple valid criticism defined as misogyny because it was directed at a woman, and I’ve seen comments I would call flat out sexual harassment defined as misogyny. Giving some clue as to where in between those two examples is the behavior they think is out of line is conspicuously absent from these stories.
Hey…I’m just a dumb Gen-Xer trying to figure out how the world works now, feel free to clue me it. I don’t think millennials are aware of how fast things are changing for us innocent bystanders. Two years ago if there was a guy in the bar dressed as a woman and I refereed to him as “he” it wasn’t a problem, now it is…HOW THE F*CK AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW?! Are you trying to make everyone more aware of what’s appropriate and what’s not, or do you just want walk around pissed off all day? Were these comments way out of line or is it more stuff I’m not supposed to say anymore that I don’t know I’m not supposed to say unless you tell me I’m not supposed to say it?! Or if the comments are none of my business, don’t write the article in the first place.
I’ve seen some upside down things in this brave new world, but telling people they shouldn’t say something…but not saying what the something is, is a new one on me.
Whatever, others are taking up that aspect of it…(see link below)
All I am able to confirm is that she got a solid amount of negativity, of various kinds from the twitterverse, ultimately the book was cancelled.
so I want to focus here on something else… to just take a step back as though I am watching this from space, and inspect why this happened, as best I can given the information at my disposal…
She is a best selling, respected author of “thrillers”, actual books, published in the warm bosom of the book industry. By that I mean, her readers were people who buy books of genres and authors they are already fond of, to sit on the patio and read, or read curled up in bed with their cat, or at lunch at work. It’s a relatively warm, friendly, quiet, fairly civil and respectable fandom. A medium where the entire story is there to read from cover to cover at whatever pace you like, and if you get to some part that confuses you or seems to take a bad turn or drags a bit…you can just keep reading until all is revealed.
And with that as a background, some sick lunatic puts her to work to writing a Marvel super hero comic book that’s only 20 some pages lper issue, which only comes out once a month, giving readers nothing to do in between but stew and vent on the internet about what this newcomer is doing to a 40 year old character. Even if she wrote action fantasy books, it would be a questionable idea for her to make this move because the pacing is entirely different.
And in this new medium she took on, there is not a 25.00 cover price to ward of impulse buys of casual readers who know nothing of her work and may come to find they have no actual interest in it, but a paltry 4.00 cover price, enticing anyone with an extra Lincoln to spend after they have picked up all the other comic books they get every month, to grab up because the picture of Mockingbird in spandex gave them a twitch in their pants. She went from her work being seen by very very few casual readers who are unfamiliar with it in any way, to 99% of her readers being unfamiliar with her work in any way…AND very familiar with the character.
She was to go from having readers buy her books because she wrote them, either having read her work or knowing it by reputation, to people buying the book because they know the character and never heard of her work. And she is to make this leap into a genre, medium, and writing style she in unfamiliar with…and attempt to get fans of the character to modify their desire for the type of story they want to read, to fit her desire for the type of story she wants to write.
What the f8ck did anyone think was going to happen? This was a recipe for disaster from the start. She gets the ambitious/absurd idea of jamming some feminist ideology into a super hero comic book, in the middle of the most unpleasant presidential campaign in over a century. People are at each others throats all over the place and then in one medium that they may think they are safe from politics, a Marvel super hero book, people looking for an escape, are blindsided with some political mumbo jumbo.
Imagine if you will, some comic book writer taking up one of her titles and filling it with super powered battles with cars being thrown around and people shooting lasers out of their eyes. With absurd dialogue and instance after instance of onomatopoeia.
I imagine that would go over poorley.
Whatever high minded ideas she had, and they may have been insightful and well written, I assume they were…that is the 100% wrong outlet for them. let’s be honest, this is the genera of giant gravity defying boobs in spandex.
Here’s the cover of the first issue…
…what do we got here? We got a car crash, some rockets, speed boats, an explosion, some fist fights. I’m looking at this and going “oh, yeah…this books really gonna make you think, gonna delve into a buncha cultural insight I bet.”
This is like someone going to a comedy club in the Bronx on a Saturday night and singing show tunes, and then getting pissed off that they were booed and had a beer bottle chucked on at the stage…yeah, no sh*t they chucked a beer bottle at you, they are drunks at a comedy club in the Bronx at 2am. They showed up for dick jokes and to try to f*ck the waitress, not to hear you sing the theme from Cats. I don’t know much about Mockingbird, because I haven’t followed a Marvel Comic since I was in high school. As far as I remember she died. It was in some issue of West Coast Avengers, she got shot in the back with a fireball from Mephisto, and I’m pretty sure in that same issue she was in hell and fought the ghost of Lizzie Boarden. … You read that right, were talking about a character who fought the Devil and Lizzie Boarden’s ghost with metal sticks while dressed in spandex…does that sound like a good genre to insert high minded political content?
The jist of all the articles is -this is why we can’t have nice things. Chastising people who didn’t like the book, making them out to be dullards who can’t handle mentally challenging stuff. Uhm..no…that’s not the problem. The problem is this is where they go to avoid mentally challenging stuff. There are times when you want mentally challenging stuff, and times you just want to see super heroes punch each other. The standards of what to expect out of a marvel superhero book have been cut and dried decades ago, so their expectations are not what is inappropriate here.
…maybe you still don’t get, let me put it another way. Lets say all this same reaction happened after instead of inserting her social commentary into a marvel super hero comic book, she did so as a writer for the WWE. Would you be complaining about the fandom or would be be saying “Lady, are you outta your f*cking mind?! Nobody is tuning into the WWE for that.”
Again and again and again I hear well minded writers forward the idea that you can deal with intellectually challenging, culturally insightful concepts in a book about people who fly and shoot lasers from their eyes while wearing spandex and a cape. and time and time again we see it go over like a turd on a skillet. Why, I dunno…maybe because when people buy a book about people who fly and shoot lasers from their eyes while wearing spandex and a cape, they aren’t interested in dealing with intellectually challenging, culturally insightful concepts.
I’m not saying you can’t have politically charged comic books, or have intellectually challenging stuff in comic books…I’m saying doing that in a comic book about a broad who fights Doctor Doom or whoever, is asinine. The bulk of Marvels characters were created for 10 year old’s in the late 60’s. You have to do some real mental yoga to get that to work in 2016 at all…and you think you can do so while inserting social commentary? Who’s stupid idea was this? I can’t blame Cain, she clearly had no idea what she was in for. You have a fan base accustomed to a certain type of story and you do a 180% degree turn on them…and get a bad reaction, it’s not the fan bases fault. This is like selling tickets to a football game and then having a tennis match.
Take a look at a book like Faith, from Valiant. It has woman empowering message and a superhero in a cape (no spandex), and there has been no such debacle. You know why? Because it was STARTED WITH A WOMAN EMPOWERING MESSAGE. The fandom of that publisher is used to more compelling stories. You can’t just grab some old character everyone is used to reading mindless stories about, from a publisher who’s properties are on the big screen every three months in mindless action plots and jump the shark into social commentary. You are trying to fight 40 years of branding in 8 issues. It’s lunacy.
Why didn’t they just give her own new book with her own new character, that was a whole lot more down to earth? That would have made a lot more sense, but they didn’t because nobody would buy it because the Marvel brand is about super heroes punching each other. That is was their fans expect because that is what Marvel has trained them to expect since 1963.
And I don’t know what was said to her on twitter, probably everything you can imagine because…It’s TWITTER. I can sympathize that after previous publications her fans would tweet to her calmly from their couch with a blanket on their lap and scented candle burning in the background…but that’s not how the rest of the world operates on twitter. It is the THUNDERDOME and everyone knows it. I don’t even go on there anymore and I LIKE getting in arguments. Twitter is for people who can express the entirety of their opinion in 140 characters. It is not conducive to any kind of exchange but base knee jerk reactions.
The notion that this is because she is a woman is ludicrous. There is no end to the list of male comic book writers who have walked into a twitter sh*tstorm. The notion that this is something only comic book fans do is Ludacris. How much crap is tweeted at the guy who writes game of thrones? How much crap is tweeted when everyone’s favorite Dr.Who is killed off. How much crap is tweeted when a football team’s coach makes a bad call? For that matter…go on twitter right now and declare who you are voting for ….and wait ten seconds.
This was gasoline and a match. A woman unaccustomed to the fervor of pop culture fans, with a overly ambitious political message, presenting it in a comic book about super heroes, to an audience that was unprepared for it, during a nasty political campaign, interacting with people on twitter.
What did anyone think was going to happen?