Mike Glyer of File 770 linked to my post “Marvel: 1602 and the Wet Fish Slap”. Against my better judgment I ended up responding to some folks in the comments section who – naturally – disagreed with me.
Worth noting: Despite the fact that I specifically attempted to be polite and tried to make my case as clearly and coherently as I could, my showing up to defend myself seemed to make people much angrier.
The original posts are on the thread; here were my responses:
[From the commenter] Has it never occurred to you that one of Gaiman’s characters happened to be gay simply because a significant percentage of the human population is gay, and Gaiman wrote his story to reflect the actual human population?
No. I’m sure that it didn’t. ?
Despite the monster under the bed stories you might have heard, I was indeed not so blinded by my hatred of the gay population nor my rage at Neil Gaiman to neglect to consider this possibility. After I calmed down from my Smaug-like wrath caused by catching sight of a gay guy in the comics, I did try to think of why.
Here’s the thing: This is not a red-headed scenario, or a blue-eyed scenario.
This was obviously structured near the end of the book as a dramatic reveal. Gaiman clearly considered it significant that Angel was gay. This was a fact about him that *mattered* – not to me, mind. To him. Gaiman.
And – people seem to want to ignore this, but it bears repeating – telling Cyclops made no sense. None. Angel is even offered an opportunity, sitting right in front of him, both to keep his secret and keep Cyclops off his back…and instead he reveals his deepest secret, a secret that in 1602 could potentially be enough to get him ostracized or blackballed from his new community, to the one guy who is *most likely* to want to use it to hurt him.
There was NO REASON AT ALL FOR THIS.
And finally – Angel was not gay in the original X-Men comics. Gaiman changed it. While other updates for characters make at least some sense, it does seem rather difficult to find the connection between being born in 1602 and being gay.
To pretend that adding this in doesn’t spark any sort of questions, isn’t meant to make any sort of point, even though he actually changed a character’s sexuality around specifically to wring out this particular scene, which doesn’t need to exist at all…
…Well, maybe Neil said “Hold on guys, there are no gay guys here! I better try to represent, you know, just for realism”.
Or maybe had a reason in mind when he made the change.
And even THAT doesn’t necessarily harm the narrative, but he handled it in such an incredibly poor, ham-fisted way I couldn’t believe it.
So he doesn’t get a pass from me. I’ll let others decide if it’s my horrible right-wing bigotry informing my opinion or not.
[A commenter] Speaking as a visitor from the 17th Century, I am profoundly grateful to such among your pamphleteers who employ empty inkhorn terms, as “virtue-signalling” and “box-checking”; it is a way of informing this reader that he careth less about the story he revieweth, than he doth making himself look good to rattle-pated, clotpole knaves and boobies.
*Sigh* I sent off my last comment, saw this one, and decided to write this up quick before I left; as I add this section in via edits, one other person has already come in to ignore everything I’ve said (for example, I didn’t say the presence of a gay character was unrealistic, I said it was stupid for a gay character in the year 1602 to out himself to somebody he already knows has a reason to dislike him) and accuse me of being a bigot in as many words. Good stuff.
I didn’t use the phrase box-checking, Mike [Glyer] did.
I did indeed use the phrase virtue signalling, but again, everybody has gotten worked up as if I threw out that word and then neglected the rest of my case, which is simply not true at all.
Now I’m certainly open to the possibility that I was only seeing what I wanted to see because I have such a reflexive disgust and revulsion towards gays, subconscious though it may be.
But nobody seems interested in actually responding to what I really said, but they sure are interested in announcing how they aren’t interested in what I want to say. The one person who tried to respond to me so far twisted the point I made so thoroughly I find it hard to believe he was making a good faith effort.
And NOW I’m gone.