Friday, 28 October 2016

"Harassment" Part 2.

You have to love the online media these days, nothing is more fun than calling them out on something and then watching them double down instead of maybe admitting that they got it wrong. In the case of the late Gawker Media, pride certainly came before a fall and in some of the other organizations out there, I feel it can only be a matter of time.

After I first wrote about the cancellation of Marvel's Mockingbird and the alleged "harassment" of its writer, Chelsea Cain, it was still noticeable that none of the reporters that covered the story could show a single tweet that could have been classed as "harassment" and all seemed to fall silent. Cain herself eventually responded via a post about the whole thing on her website and I have to say it is one of the most respectable bits of writing I have seen for a while. Notice that she doesn't play the victim card once, she says that "I was not being targeted, it was just a lot of people being Jerks, per usual, but in greater numbers", it was also noticeable that the word "Harassment" did not appear ONCE. Granted she did mention "daily abuse" and I can sympathize with that totally, but "Harassment?" not a single mention. I read the rest of the post and agreed with her assessment of Twitter at the end because I have given thoughts to quietly slipping away from the site as soon as Gab is more operational and has an app because Twitter really is a sinking ship these days. In the end, Cain handled the whole situation better than the media as she was just telling her story, not fishing for clicks.

I thought it had ended there but low and behold, another story popped up from David Betancourt, a reporter for The Washington Post, and it read pretty much like the rest. It was basically a support piece for Cain but once again showed no evidence of these "harassing tweets", only a couple of ones written in support. Myself and a couple of others called him out on it and over various tweets he was as evasive as he possibly could be with us, it became evident to me that he really had nothing to support the story besides his claim that he based his article on "reports and statements from the head EIC of Marvel and support from top industry talent". However, that only added up to the tweets on display in the article and that I found quite interesting: why wasn't anyone quoted on what they had said? I can only wonder.

I would love to show how the conversation ended but he blocked me after I mocked him on his spelling (which was bitchy, I know) but I couldn't help myself. I had done it before with Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool after he thought it was ok for his reporters to act like school children at press events, you can see the conversation here. Modern journalism really has become putrid these days and it is hard to tell who's work you can trust anymore, I wish I had some recommendations but I'm still trying to come to final decisions on some of them myself. Ironically, this whole fiasco really has shown that "Listen and Believe" really doesn't work when it comes to the online media, "Trust but Verify" really is the only way forward.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

"Harassment"

The word "Harassment" is a term that is thrown around the internet and the media a lot these days, you can thank people like Anita Sarkeesian for that one. She would often use it as a way of deflecting criticism from her videos as each one was easily torn to shreds by her many, many critics out there. Since then many others have used it in the same fashion, especially if they are one of these modern feminist types when faced with a large amount of criticism such as Randi Harper and the Prince of Idiots himself, Jonathan McIntosh. Recently the dreaded word popped up again, but once again it went down the same road.


Most people I know view this modern feminism that is about these days as a very nasty, hostile, and hypocritical movement, myself included. Many of its figureheads such as Chanty Binx and Kate Smurthwaite claim to be about "equality" but they often act just as bad and if not worse than the very thing they claim to fight against. Binx is known for her rude protest against a group of men's rights activists and when one of them addressed male suicide with her, she sang "Cry Me a River", Smurthwaite made an ass of herself recently in an exchange with Peter Lloyd on Sky News at the end of the debate and it's a funny moment, to say the least, take a look at the smile on Lloyd's face at the end; a grin of victory as a simple remark sends her off the edge so easily. I learned today of the writer for Marvel Comic's Mockingbird, Chelsea Cain, had apparently  "quit Twitter" due to "harassment" over her writing of the now canceled series. The problem I have nowadays is that when I hear the word "harassment", I always want to see proof of it before I believe it. Some may criticize me for that and you know what? Be my guest but asking for proof is not an unfair thing to ask for when such claims are made. One of the journalists out there that I have respect for is a man named Brad Glasgow, an independent writer who took a look at the whole thing and wrote an interesting piece about it.

Glasgow discovered that whilst there had been articles written about Cain's quitting of Twitter, he could not find any examples of harassment to support it and nor was he given any examples. As his piece also showed the short exchange between writer Brian S Hall and author on one piece on it, Eder Campuzano, in which Hall asked for proof and Campuzano would not comply. I can only wonder why. The narrative of a woman being forced to quit Twitter is a great one that always brings in the clicks, most people seem to forget that not only that Twitter is an open forum but there are also two great tools that it provides: a mute button and a block button. I am aware that people do get insulted and harassed on there but all it takes is a couple of clicks and it is gone each time someone does it to you, I've been insulted on there numerous times but I often find it amusing as I know none of those who do so would dare do it to my face, I remember one guy who went after me a long time ago ended up blocking me because I dared to give it back to him.

What I have also noticed also is that this made a good story because of who Cain was and what comic she was writing, there have been other cases recently that were notable but the media did not cover them much. The model Nicole Edelmann quit Twitter after Gizmodo's nasty article about her boyfriend, Palmer Luckey where she was included to try and show how much of a "terrible person" he was because he apparently supported Donald Trump (he doesn't) but this did not receive much in the way of media attention besides ones from smaller websites. The irony of that situation was that the press inadvertently proved that Gamergate did indeed have women who supported it, but that went over the heads of many. Cassie Jaye, a feminist filmmaker had to fight to get a documentary she was making, where she took a fair look at the Men's Rights Activists made after funding was pulled in an attempt to shut it down. After a very successful Kickstarter, of which I was a backer, she was able to get it finished but she still had a fight to face as feminists in Australia managed to get a screening of it shut down. It did receive some coverage but not the very pleasant type like The Guardian demonstrated, all because she wanted to explore other viewpoints fairly.

It seems where we live in times where victimhood is worth more than professional merit and I just shake my head at the whole thing. When it comes to Mockingbird nobody thinks to mention that the comic's sales dropped just as much as Angela: Queen of Hel's did, I've seen screenshots of Mockingbird that tell me all I need to about its content, but with AQOH it really was as bad as people made it out to be. Again, though people will either forget or ignore this as the "harassment" narrative is a good one but as the Boy Who Cried Wolf showed a long time ago: that eventually turned into a sword that cuts both ways.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Progress

I blogged a while back about how I was trying a different approach to book number two and how I was feeling better about its progress, this piece is an update on my progress and satisfaction of such. I I do not want to make it sound like I am throwing all my eggs in one basket too early but so far I have had a positive feeling about this and I do not wish to ignore it.

The word count has reached thirty-one thousand words and is chugging along nicely as I decided to spend more time getting to know the characters and their lives. I am attempting to correct a mistake I made with Nomads as well as building up the story better as well as using beta readers to help me with this. The story has been laid out much better than Nomads as well, it will be a story that plays out in three parts and hopefully will be more of a character piece but only time will tell I guess. One thing about my small experience writing stories is that they rarely end up the way I planned so ultimately time will tell.

What has bothered me throughout all this is what will happen when it is finished. As I have said before, part of the reason Nomads did not do so well was because it was not advertised anywhere, I pushed it as best as I could on Twitter but sadly to no avail. Amazon charges for advertising and it is not cheap, I am considering crowdfunding towards this sort of thing but I just do not know yet, the problem is that I have nothing really worth offering people who would choose to back something like a Kickstarter from me so at the moment it is not a great idea. I would love to go to a publisher but I really want to remain independent because I like to be able to say what I want, the last thing I need to to have a book published and then lose a contract in case I say something some asshole doesn't like and they contact that publisher.

I know I'm probably sounding bigheaded here but I see this sort of shit on Twitter all the time. When I spoke with fellow author EJ Spurrell in a live stream a while back and he told me the story of when someone contacted his place of work over something he had said, I really don't want that happening to me so in my mind, independence is the right thing and that is something I shall stand by.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Logan the Old Man.



The fact that I am sitting here, writing a blog piece about a film trailer, really made me wonder why the hell I was doing this. For those who do not know, I have only been to the cinema twice this year and that is an all-time low for me as I was always an avid visitor to my local cinema. Don't get me wrong, it has saved me a ton of money (drinks and sweets from that place are bloody expensive) but the content that has come out this year has been less than attractive to me. I saw Deadpool with my wife and then The Killing Joke on my own because we couldn't find a babysitter, I enjoyed them both but the other films that came out I either missed due to lack of money (Suicide Squad), refused to go anywhere near (Ghostbusters) or just thought "that looks crap" (Batman Vs Superman) and that was that. Yesterday I saw a trailer for the first time that really moved me and that rarely happens, in fact, I cannot remember the last trailer that did so. That trailer was, of course, Logan.

I had heard the rumors for some time that the next Wolverine film would be Hugh Jackman's last as the character and it was understandable due to his age. When it comes to his portrayal of the character there can be nothing bad to say about it as he didn't play Logan; he was Logan. My personal highlight of his acting was in X-Men 2 when the school comes under attack and he fights back with the character's classic berserker rage, what a moment. So when I sat to watch the Logan trailer for the first time, I had some idea of what I was expecting as the main picture itself clearly suggested that it was based on the famous Old Man Logan storyline.


I picked up on possible hints to the Death of Wolverine storyline and to me that seemed like a reasonable guess because the wonderful touch to the trailer was not the appearance of X23 (I'll get to her) but the use of Johnny Cash's version of Hurt. Because of how that song was used over the sad imagery of the old Logan and Xavier in the harsh future where the mutants have all gone, I am not ashamed to admit that I nearly choked up. I know that I will make the effort to see this film when it hits the cinema here in the UK because I cannot ever recall a time that I have ever had an emotional reaction to a trailer before and I doubt I will again.


Of course, I cannot finish without mentioning X23's appearance in the film but I do so cautiously. Logan's death in the comics of a well-written story and had a very bittersweet ending; they really should have left it there. But as part of Marvel's new progressive nature, X23 took over the mantle and the All-New Wolverine comic was launched and the first issue sold well. After the first issue, however, the sales numbers dropped quickly over time and when the Old Man Logan ongoing series was launched, it outsells All-New Wolverine by around twenty thousand units. I reviewed the series a long time ago for digifira and I stand by what I said about it. She really is an uninteresting main character so I look at her inclusion in this film with caution but also with the hope that if she does appear in her own film in the future that it is a well written one, and not because she is a female alternative of a legendary character being used for political reasons.

Time will tell.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

So I watched... Captain America: Civil War (eventually)


Before anyone informs me that this film has been out for ages and so on, I know, I just have not been bothered about seeing it due to my declining interest in all things Marvel. More so because of what appears to be the growing Disney influence and my feeling deep down that I feared that this film was a combination of advertisement for future Marvel films as well as trying to entice young children to buy their shiny toys. Anybody that's read Marvel knows the story of this film so I won't talk about it too much but be warned, there will be spoilers from this point onwards.

I didn't mind the story too much as it dealt with the consequences of the effects on the real world when these massive battles happen when the people on the street die: who will speak for them? When the Avengers are told they need to be brought in line and under government control, some like Iron Man sign up for it, others like Captain America do not and the divisions begin from there. I watched the film and had a job to like many of the characters in it, Stark is basically the asshole who believes he is on the right path, Cap is noble to a fault, Ross is just a guy in a suit, Rhodes is just a sidekick, I could go on here but Cap was the only one I felt I could cheer on as he was mainly trying to save a friend whilst others were either trying to arrest him or just kill him. Whilst I do like a large roster of heroes in a film like this, there was one that bugged me a lot, you can probably guess who.


Probably for the sake of pulling in the younger viewers, Spiderman has a cameo appearance in this film and is played by Tom Holland, aged 20 years old but looks 12, and to me served no real purpose in the film other than as an advert for his own film when it arrives and of course to shift some toys from the shelves. Granted he is in one of the best scenes in the film but that's really it, besides his minor intro and a small after credits scene. The final battle between Cap, Iron Man, and Bucky is ok but if you're rooting for Iron Man at this point you're probably in the minority because he really is just trying to murder Bucky. When the film finished I felt so unsatisfied with what I had seen that for a moment I wondered about trying to get the money I'd paid Amazon (they were cheaper than Sky) back but decided it just wasn't worth it in the end. At least I can safely say I will not be buying it in any form so I suppose I can take some relief from that.

What bugs me the most is that this felt like such a "safe" film, nobody dies in it besides the folks on the street and Crossbones at the beginning (although it's Marvel, they will probably bring him back) and I point my finger in Disney's direction for that one as the characters in the comics continue to change and the house of mouse's influence spreads like a rash, much to the annoyance of the older fans. Civil War to me was a very underwhelming film and to anyone reading this and interested in my final opinion, I can only recommend renting and not buying as if you do buy it, you're only going to put in you DVD/Blu-Ray player to watch the fight scenes and probably nothing else.


Sunday, 9 October 2016

A Cold Winter.

This last week has been both a strange and discouraging for me in places, it really brought to attention that in this day and age that we as a generation really are living in some trying times.

I was annoyed that Nomads did not sell many copies but that was in part my fault that I assumed that it would, another author informed me that it was rare that anyone in my position would do really well right off of the bat and that I really was just laying a foundation right now, the more content I would put out there, the more I would get noticed. It was sound advice and I learned a good lesson from it and managed to get myself really focussed with book number two, it is coming along nicely and after I had finished writing a section of it I realized that I had learned lessons from Nomads without noticing it.

So far I have spent more time getting to know the characters of this story much more than what I did with Nomads, sure I spent some time with the characters but I do wish I had done more with them and as much as I want to pull the thing down from sale and forget about it, I will leave it out there because I still love the story and there is a beauty in its imperfection to me. This book I am working on now is almost at twenty-five thousand words at the time of writing this and I'm still getting to know the characters, I feel really positive about this book but I have learned not to put all my eggs in one basket when the time comes to release it. It really is true what they say about hindsight I guess.

I was shown this week that there are people out there that really do have it worse than me but I never realised it, I met up with an old friend for coffee on Friday and the last time I saw him he was doing really well: he was working his ass off at his job, he had a beautiful fiancee and they were working towards a house together. I noticed when we started to talk that he was twitchy as he moved, usually with his hands and fingers, he even seemed a little nervy and I was confused. He then revealed that he and his fiancee had split, work life was not doing so well for him, and he had been diagnosed with mental health issues. Outside I remained still but inside I was thrown completely, this guy was someone who I had admired and learned stuff from over time and to see him having fallen so far was a shock. We talked for a while and he assured me he was fine and working to build himself back up but the conversation stayed in my head for the rest of that evening.

Before writing this entry I met up with another friend of mine to catch up over a coffee, her name is Rachel and she has been one of my best friends more almost twenty years now, she is also one of the few people I can safely say I trust completely. She and I shared stories of how rough it has been lately, I have arthritis in my right knee and some days the pain is harsh but she has it worse than me, it's in her ankles, her knees, her lower back, and in some of her fingers. Her work leaves her tired most days and she doesn't have the energy to do things most evenings but yet she powers on, knowing people like her and having her as a friend has given me someone to draw energy from and keep myself going in my own ventures but again, it was a reminder of the times we live in.

Why do I write about this? We really are living in very trying times and I have come to realize that sticking together with our friends and loved ones really does help. I'm going to stay focused on these things as time moves forward and not waste my time with negative people that could drag me down and put more energy into my own creativity as right now, I feel that I'm getting a little better at it. This piece is also another thank you to those of you who come to read this blog on a daily basis, it's nice to know that there are people out there who are interested in what I write and that is something I certainly draw from as time progresses. This coming winter is going to be a cold one I think, wrap up warm and remember to reach out to people you know, you never know if you're going to need the energy or them.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

So I Read... Eclipse.


It's been a while since I read anything from the Topcow section of Image, I was a massive fan of all things The Darkness and Witchblade but when I left comics I sold them all off; the affection was always still there. Once again I strolled into my comic shop to pick up my standing order and I spotted the first issue of Eclipse, saw the Topcow logo and decided it was a sale.

The story is an original one, the sun's rays have become so hot that they can burn a human being alive and as a result; mankind now lives a nocturnal life underground. The only way any human can survive on the surface during the day is to wear a special suit in case work on the electronics needs to be carried out, these are the Solar Engineers and one of them, the main character of the story is David, a man reaching the point where he doesn't care anymore. A killer has emerged and has used the sunlight to kill someone and left a message behind, his next target has been identified and David has been asked to help.

The story and artwork had nothing for me to complain about in the slightest, I loved how the world was portrayed when the scorching sun was casting its rays over it as David did his work and then how it switched to a miserable life underground where you can see him trying to keep to himself until a knock on his front door beckons him to help. I won't spoil how the first issue ends but it has been a while since I've seen a good cliff hanger and this certainly was one.

I recommend picking this comic up as this is a story I want to see reach a good conclusion, kudos to it for once again being a series that starts with no variant covers as this is something I welcome wholeheartedly. Check it out.

5/5