Celebrating the Unpopular Arts

Fandom, Entitlement and the Alt-Right

“In brightest day,in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil’s might
Beware my power, Green Lantern’s light.”

Well… no evil except casual racism and misogyny, but still….

As a kid, my favorite superheroes were the Flash and Green Lantern. The Flash, because his real power wasn’t super-speed; his speed was a tool he used, but his real power was that he was smart – he outsmarted his opponents. He knew more about scientific principles than they did and he applied his knowledge in clever and creative ways to solve problems that he couldn’t outrun. As a puny little kid who read too much and knew too much random stuff, that resonated with me.

My other favorite, Green Lantern, worked on two levels (three if you count the fantastic art by Gil Kane). First, he had a ring that was functionally magic; if he could think of it, the ring could do it. Second, and more importantly, the ring ran on willpower. He had to bring resolve to the fight, to dig in and hold on and never give up, because if he didn’t, the ring would fail. He kept that willpower up through something completely unique to comics: his daily oath. When he charged up his ring by pressing it to its power battery, he would recite the pledge I quoted at the top. Some writers suggested that he said it as a way of timing the process; the length of time it took to recite the oath was how long it took to charge the ring for another 24 hours. But he could just as easily have sung “I’m a Little Teapot” if it was just about timing. It’s so much more than that.

As I said, the Green Lantern Oath is unique in comics. Superman had a mission statement (“fighting a never-ending battle for Truth, Justice and the American Way”); Spider-Man had an aphorism (“with great power must also come great responsibility”); Batman had a promise (“I swear by the spirits of my parents to avenge their deaths by spending the rest of my life warring on all criminals”); and Captain America had several thick volumes of inspiring speeches on the nature of freedom and the responsibility to defend it. But only Green Lantern had an ongoing, present-tense pledge that he recited daily.

When my son was a Boy Scout, I found that the Scout Oath and Law were the best thing anyone ever gave a parent. Suddenly I had a checklist of ideals and standards that he promised to uphold, principles he publicly raised his hand and swore to every Monday night, and I held him to them. “A Scout is clean,” I’d say while pointing at a mess he’d made. “A Scout is helpful,” “a Scout is courteous,” and so on, and I believe the reminders about who he was and what he’d promised to become helped to make him the good, kind and decent man he is today.

Homeland Security and other agencies have a slogan they like to use, “if you see something, say something.” Green Lantern, in reciting his daily oath, taught me that there’s more to it than that. If you see something, DO something… and make it your business to SEE things. Look hard. Squint to see the evil in the blinding glare of the sun, search in the shadows of midnight, actively look for the things that need to be fought against. Don’t wait for them to show themselves. Find them.

Green Lantern is just one of the many fictional heroes who helped to shape me into the person I am today, along with the Flash, Linus Van Pelt, Spock, Howard the Duck, the Great Gonzo, and many more. Most of us are to some degree shaped by our entertainment choices and our heroes.

Which is why it continues to baffle me that there are those in fandom who are utterly unaffected by the lessons, morals and values of the characters and series they declare undying love for. They spend a lot of money and time on their particular pop culture franchises, while at the same time loudly denouncing the central tenets of said franchises and doing their best to promote the views of those franchises’ villains. How does a person grow up enjoying the adventures of Superman, Captain Kirk, Luke Skywalker, and Spider-Man, and then turn around and hurl “Social Justice Warrior” as an insult? Isn’t social justice a good thing? Don’t we admire those who fight for justice in society? Aren’t Clark Kent and Peter Parker social justice warriors? Isn’t that what Yoda was training Luke to become?

Where does this disconnect come from?

Writer Mark Gruenwald has Steve Rogers come face-to-face with entitled fandom.

We’ll start with some of the more mild examples. There are the Marvel fans who railed against the Kirby estates’ “greed” for thinking that they should get a portion of the enormous profits generated by the dozens of characters and concepts Jack Kirby created, as if finally paying his family the money he should have been getting all along would somehow cause Marvel to stop publishing comics and making movies. How do you admire Kirby’s work while taking the exact opposite moral stance of his characters? Here’s a guy who always took the side of the underdog, always stood against the oppressively powerful, and yet his fans are on the wrong side of a real-life version of just the sort of situation his heroes would be involved in.

When my friend Ken Penders learned that Sega was incorporating characters and concepts he’d created for the Sonic the Hedgehog comics into the games, he thought he should get paid for his work. Since he had never signed a contract with Archie, his work was not legally considered “work for hire,” and after being unable to come to terms, he sued. Fans, convinced that this lawsuit would somehow impact the production of the games, took to the internet to berate him for his “greed.” The guy actually got death threats for wanting what he was legally entitled to.

Two relatively small examples of fan entitlement and belligerence. No big deal, right?

If only it were just two.

John Boyega in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'
John Boyega takes off his helmet and Twitter has a cow.

When Star Wars: The Force Awakens released its first trailer, there was quite a lot of outrage from fandom, provoked by the sight of John Boyega in stormtrooper armor. Before any story details were even known, just the thought of a black stormtrooper was so offensive that hundreds of “fans” had to rail about it in comments on YouTube. There was similar outrage over the fact that the lead character was a woman, and even more over the attention given to both women and people of color in the cast of Star Wars: Rogue One. But that was nothing compared to the online frothing over the cast of the new Star Trek series.

Spock wearing IDIC symbol giving Vulcan salute.
IDIC: Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.

When Gene Roddenberry conceived of Star Trek, he very quickly realized that his initial concept of a space western (“Wagon Train to the stars”) could be a vehicle for gently delivering much-needed social commentary and straight-up moralizing to the public, dressed up as space opera with laser guns and bug-eyed monsters. He started with the crew, populating the ship with a virtual UN of accents and cultures, of which three in particular stand out: Sulu, Uhura, and Chekov. Star Trek premiered in 1966. For context, that was 25 years after Pearl Harbor Day, three years after Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, a year after the Watts Riots, and five years after the Bay of Pigs, and the height of the Cold War. So what did Gene Roddenberry do? He plopped Japanese, African-American, and Russian characters in command positions on his spaceship. Today the portrayals of race and gender issues on the original Star Trek wobble between quaint and cringeworthy, but at the time they were downright radical.

Nichelle Nichols as Lt. Uhura
When Lt. Uhura says “Captain..” the crew shuts up.

Uhura in particular is noteworthy, not only because she is a person of color, but because she was a woman in a key position, and when she spoke on the bridge, all the men shut the hell up and listened. She was fully an equal, respected and fully confident in that role, and it changed the lives of thousands of little girls and boys who saw her. Which was Roddenberry’s intent. Over the course of three seasons and a handful of movies, it was pretty well established that the Klingons were a proxy for the Soviet Union, a plot device through which to examine the Cold War. So when it came time to do Star Trek: The Next Generation, what did Roddenberry do? While Gorbachev and Reagan were arguing about nuclear missiles in the Reykjavik, he stuck a Klingon (Soviet allegory, remember?) in a key position on the bridge, hammering home the point he’d made 20 years prior: the future depends on us getting along and working together.

Where am I going with this? To put it bluntly: If you were one of those racist/misogynists reacting with rage and insults over the casting of Michelle Yeoh and Sonequa Martin-Green on Star Trek: Discovery, you have entirely missed the point of nearly five decades of Star Trek.

How do you do that? How do you watch a show whose central theme is diversity, then turn around and scream that you hate diversity?

White Supremacist cosplayers in Charlottesville.
White Supremacist cosplayers in Charlottesville.

What is the disconnect that allows cosplayers who dress as heroes to turn around and march for White Pride in Charlottesville? Alisa Norris makes appearances at conventions dressed as Supergirl, an immigrant to Earth who strives to protect and defend the helpless, and this woman, who evidently admires Kara Zor-El so much that she replicated her costume and impersonates her in public, simultaneously has complete contempt for all of Kara’s values and beliefs, enough to march hand-in-hand with her openly and unashamedly racist husband and chant Nazi slogans. How is that even possible?

I’ll tell you how it’s possible. It’s possible because none of these people are actually fans. If they were fans, they would exhibit the same respect and common decency that the heroes embody and hold dear the principles expressed by them.

These people are just consumers of product. Superhero comics and movies are to them just mindless entertainment to consume, a parade of cool eye candy and ‘splosions to gape at, with no meaning or message to any of the heroics. When Captain America makes a stirring speech to SHIELD agents in Winter Soldier, these people wish he’d shut up and get back to punching things.

For some of us, this is intolerable. These characters have meaning and a purpose beyond mere mayhem. Jerry Seigel and Joe Shuster wrote an allegory about the immigrant experience in America, specifically the Jewish experience. Part of their intention is that young readers look up to and admire Superman, and from that, embrace the values he embodies, particularly the strength that immigrants, even poor and abandoned orphans, can bring to the country lucky enough to take them in. If you can’t see that, you’re not a Superman fan.

Cap gets to speechifying.

Captain America was created as a wish-fulfillment fantasy; Joe Simon wanted to encourage America to enter the war and fight against the Nazis. Jack Kirby wanted to punch Hitler in the nose. Captain America #1 was on the stands long before the US entered the war, with Cap punching Hitler in the nose, and its publication may in fact have helped us to make that decision. If you’re okay with pasty-faced guys yelling “Jews will not replace us” in public, you’re not a Captain America fan.

If you think the lead character in a Star Wars or Star Trek project has to be a straight white male, you should ask yourself if you’ve learned anything that those franchises have tried to teach you. (Hint: the Klingons, stormtroopers, Emperor, and Darth Vader are not the heroes.)

I’d really like to see some Starfleet uniforms, Jedi robes, Green Lantern and Captain America t-shirts in the crowds shouting down the Nazis next time. “No evil shall escape my sight.”

(This article originally misidentified the company that owns Sonic the Hedgehog. The error has been corrected.)


  1. frasersherman

    That’s exactly why I loved Flash as a kid.
    Good post otherwise, too. It reminds me a little of the way some right-win politicians will invoke 1930s and 1940s without registering they’re much more liberal than the invokers assume. Warner Brothers films often took a “society’s to blame” approach to explaining criminality. And “Sands of Iwo Jima” is a movie they probably couldn’t make today with its view of career Marines.

  2. frasersherman

    The Kirby thing infuriates me (I’ve been in some of those discussions). Though I suspect some of it may be people simply not understanding things like royalties (as in the “Well I’d be happy if I still got paid for work I did years ago but that’s not how reality works!” argument ) I don’t feel inclined to cut ’em much slack.

  3. Edo Bosnar

    Great post, thanks for this.
    Had that very issue of Capt. America you referenced here, and still remember it quite well. Yep, Cap giving the neo-Nazi a verbal dressing down is just as bad-ass (if not more so) as one of his patented punches delivered to Red Skull or Batroc.

  4. M-Wolverine

    This post is kind of all over the place; it makes some good points, and misses the mark on others. But it hits the feels right. Mainly because it mixes a lot of issues.

    I think it’s true in things like Star Trek where the whole premise is cutting edge diversity that it’s crazy that fans complain about a new show having *SHOCK* diversity in it. But I also think we take the outer edge of both sides and make them the mainstream voice (Thanks creation of Social Media!) and the majority in the middle are getting stuck between the warring factions at either end that think they represent more than they do. Who doesn’t like a Black stormtrooper? Racists. Who has a problem with Rey (an issue I went in depth on the old site)? People who aren’t that secure in their manhood. (Rey is awesome, for the record).

    But “Social Justice Warriors” as a derogatory statement isn’t people who believe in social justice. That’s the majority. It’s those that take perceived slights in everything and are looking for offense and change. You list Supes, Kirk, Spider-Man, and Luke as examples of that being a good thing (though Luke is probably a stretch, and Kirk is iffy). But the SJW that people make fun of are those that would object heavily to those characters. Kirk is a womanizer who doesn’t treat females as more than objects, and really is a lot more gung ho military than a lot of other Trek characters. (The Prime Directive was more a guideline than a rule to him). And how many people didn’t say they just might like it if Sony/Marvel decided Spider-Man shouldn’t be Peter Parker anymore (because they of course should ditch the most popular comic character around), but if Spider-Man wasn’t Miles Morales, they’d have all committed a crime against…somebody. Something. Righteousness!!! (And there’s a category in there too that would be upset if the new Star Wars movies were about Luke Skywalker, and Superman is just THE MAN.)

    These are the kind of Social Justice Warriors that are made fun of. Are they mainstream? Not really. But all these are extremes. Frankly, Star Trek went too far that way under Roddenberry. The Next Generation when it was primarily under his control was pretty awful. You had kids on the bridge solving everything, the ship’s freakin’ counselor as the second most important person on the ship, and it opens up by saying it’s ok if a space jellyfish kills a planet of people, we just have to understand it because it’s different. The show got loads better after Gene had less control.

    I’m not sure Kirby and Penders are even the same thing. Sounds like different kinds of contracts. People can get mad all they want, but people in the arts often feel like they’re entitled to more than people in other industries for their creations. If anyone was legally promised royalties (or giving their work over wasn’t part of their contract, which sounds like the Penders case) and doesn’t get compensated, sue the hell out of them. But if you agree to do the work for the pay, and it’s agreed the work belongs to the company, that’s just business. You can be idealistic about it (as artists often are), but it’s not different than the corporate world, or even the very liberal academic world. If you create things or make discoveries, they may cut you in on part of the pie. They may know you’re doing good things and throw more money at you. Or they might even profit share. But it’s going to be the company’s product and work, because you made it for them.

    Unfair? In some ways. But they also pay for all the failed designs, give the infrastructure to create (and pay for it to exist), the support, the production, and everything else. Kirby had great creations. We probably don’t know about most of them if the big companies didn’t publish them to the country and world. Even today, with the Internet and Indie publications, for every Scott Pilgrim that someone pays to make into a movie, there’s thousands of things no one ever hears of. For every Darkseid that everyone wants to use and makes a lot of money, there’s hundreds of Transilvane’s that DC paid to have created that suck and are never seen or heard from again. People too often want all of the rewards, while taking none of the risk financially.

    If Sony is using Pender’s characters without having agreed they were to become Sony’s in the first place, more power to him. And of course he doesn’t deserve death threats for anything, but that’s kind of how things go now with social media. This Alisa Norris person claims to have gotten death threats too; but you don’t point that out. It’s equally as bad; no one deserves to have their life threatened for their ideas, even if they’re stupid ones. Norris isn’t a big fan; apparently she’s a stripper who likes to dress up as a superhero. And probably has cons pay her to do it. She’s hardly unique in that category, so I’m not sure what she represents, except stupid people.

    But that’s not new. We’ve had stupid people marching for extremes for a long time. It just all get instantly published via social media now, where as before no one would have ever heard of it. The Captain America thing posted illustrates that wonderfully. He actually chastises both of them. Because the extremes aren’t that different; they’re both falling to the same level of deplorable. In this case (and others) Nazis are worse, because they’re Nazis. Everyone hates Nazis. (Insert gif here). But the extremes have all the voice now, and the middle has been silenced. Which is going to be a problem, because extremists are intractable. They can’t compromise, they can only war. It’s the middle where agreement can be had, and we really need to take back the dialogue in this country.

    1. frasersherman

      Actually the people who scream about SJWs don’t seem to be parsing things that finely. They’re not distinguishing “social justice warriors” from people who genuinely care about social justice, they’re using it as an unsarcastic insult. Or contrasting SJWs with activists who only exist in their heads, like the MLK in some conservative fantasies who never pissed anyone off by talking about social injustice.

      “Kirk is a womanizer who doesn’t treat females as more than objects” Not really. Most of his pre-Star Trek romances (the JAG in Court Martial, the woman in Shore Leave) seems to have been intense romantic relationships. His image outstrips the reality (and always has — one fanzine observed back in the 1970s that “his middle initial doesn’t stand for Tomcat!”).

      1. M-Wolverine

        But the Kirk example was an extreme that those who look to object to anything that doesn’t stand up to 2010’s level of enlightenment is objectionable, even if the day’s standards actually make it quite progressive. And Kirk may have had “intense romantic relationships” but by the structure of the show they all lasted less than 60 minutes, with commercials. It certainly wasn’t Riker and Troi. But that’s just how the show was built. People look at all that has come since, and don’t see that Roddenberry was squeezing all that commentary into his pitch of “Wagon Train to the Stars.”

        And there are those that parse labels and those that blanket them. Your examples aren’t wrong, but there’s a similar category of those who label all who disagree with them as racists or nazis, whether they actually are, or just have a difference of opinion which doesn’t completely agree with their world viewpoint.

        Those who are going to see every President or whatever on the opposite side as the devil are going to label everyone that way. Those that find both extremes equally silly can see the difference between railing at windmills and actually sincere efforts for improvement.

        1. frasersherman

          That some people on the left over-react? Sure. But I see SJW flung far more often at people who aren’t over-reacting. Like the outcry of “SJW” in response to the Marvel editor’s shot of herself and her friends having milkshakes.
          I see it like “Feminazi” — it’s not that feminists can’t have bad ideas, but the people who fling it around are using it as a blanket condemnation of feminism.

          1. M-Wolverine

            Sure they do. Just as I pointed out (And Le Messor goes into detail) that “Nazi” and “Racist” slip off the tongue of people who aren’t overreacting either. But it’s all blanket statements on the fringe.

            Sometimes people are just enjoying a milkshake with their friends. Other times they’re turning everything into a political statement. Wonder Woman is great because it’s a female lead superhero movie! Ghostbusters is hated on by horrible people because it’s a female lead movie! No, Wonder Woman is great because it’s a really good movie, featuring women. Ghostbusters was an awful idea and awful execution featuring women.

            The problem is when sides give it more of a pass just because of preconceived notions. Look at how media types, not fans, talk about Iron Fist and Luke Cage on Netflix. One is not really better than the other. Iron Fist is kinda average throughout; Luke Cage is really good for half the show, then really borderline bad on the back end. But the latter is a triumph because it fits the message people want to send, and the former is awful because they didn’t do it the way I wanted them to!!!

            I guess the point is, whether you’re using terms like Feminazi, SJW, white privilege, or any of the terms the various Alt-‘s are using, most people will immediately tune you out as a loon using silly catch phrases. It’s only either side that really takes the other seriously.

          2. frasersherman

            “Ghostbusters was an awful idea and awful execution featuring women.”
            No, it was a delightful, funny movie and I had a blast.

            “Look at how media types, not fans, talk about Iron Fist and Luke Cage on Netflix. One is not really better than the other. Iron Fist is kinda average throughout; Luke Cage is really good for half the show, then really borderline bad on the back end.”
            I’ll have to disagree again. I really enjoyed Luke Cage, even the weaker episodes. Iron Fist I resorted to “let’s watch the ‘previously on Iron Fist and see if I missed anything” And I never did. The amount of time spent on boardroom power struggles was insanely boring. It doesn’t help that I hate the Hand.

          3. M-Wolverine

            Well, I’ll just say you’re in a quantifiable minority on Ghostbusters. The other stuff is more open to opinion. Luke Cage started out great, with awesome villains and great style. Then they decided to switch villains horribly, with bad over acting, thin characterization, a laughably silly costume/suit, and a motivation that was bad even in a comic book. Iron Fist has done really nice cinematography and color scheme, and I found a lot of the characters compelling. Certainly no one as bad as Diamondback. It suffers from not enough of an arc for the lead character, and too much set up for the Defenders. And they all, outside of maybe DD1, suffer from too many episodes (the shorter Defenders not included).

            I did find the complaints of his martial arts funny because A. DD gets a pass because his double gets to wear a mask, B. Coming off the awfully choreographed Luke Cage finale fight and C. From the same people who rave about Jessica Henwick whose fighting was way worse. Looked like theater class fighting, and it’s the second series she’s been on where her fighting has been suspect. Don’t get me wrong, she’s charming as hell, and was a breakout in the role, but let’s not blow smoke on her fighting becaus she’s half Asian.

            Though if you hate the Hand maybe this round of Netflix wasn’t for you. (They did drag down DD2 a bit which was golden when it was about the Punisher and Elektra).

          4. frasersherman

            Whole-hearted agreement shorter seasons might have helped.
            Quite aside from any ethnicity questions, I just thought Finn Jones was incredibly bland to pick for the lead of Iron Fist.

          5. M-Wolverine

            I think one of Marvel’s general successes has been in their casting, and that smooths over a lot of problems. I’m trying to think who else was up for the role that they could have cast…because it probably isn’t their strongest casting for sure. But it seemed ok at the time.

            I think part of it was the writing too, because they keep him too one note for too long, and as I said his arc wasn’t arc-y enough. I’ve actually read stuff that says he had more development in Defenders than his own show. I don’t remember Danny being that much of a whiny man baby even early in the comics. But that’s more script than performance. I think they went too much Anakin, not enough Luke. 😉

          6. frasersherman

            I don’t think he was in the comics either. And when he did whine, it was between punching Sabertooth or Warhawk, which balanced it out.
            Too much Anakin, yeah, I’d go with that.

          7. M-Wolverine

            Opinions may vary, but unlike the movies, the TV shows have been all about the quality of the villains. DD1 great Kingpin, great series; Jessica Jones great Killgrave, really good series (first real signs of 13 episodes being too much); DD2 Punisher as adversary great, Hand as adversary meh. Luke Cage Cottonmouth and Mariah really good, Diamondback LOLOLOL. Iron Fist…Meachum? Gao? It might have worked if they cast Pedro Pascal dude? Defenders works because it’s really not a character study, but the Avengers on the small screen, action packed, and they put a face to the Hand. (Pun intended) And get even more interesting as bad guys after…stuff…happens. So the lack of a Sabertooth or even a Warhawk is definitely a major problem.

          8. frasersherman

            The first episode of Defenders (all I’ve seen) certainly benefited just from the mass of interesting characters. Glad to know there’s some more good stuff ahead.

          9. Le Messor

            Interestingly, I only started watching Luke Cage last night and am two episodes in. (Don’t worry, I’m not too concerned about spoilers for this one.)

            So, Cottonmouth then Diamondback are the villains? I’d say he’s working his way through the Serpent Society, but I looked up Cottonmouth and it’s a different one. Also, I understand the Diamondback he’ll face is a dude.

          10. M-Wolverine

            I do find it funny that his rogue’s gallery is so lame that they gave their names to Serpent Society members who ended up being cooler. (I mean, Cottonmouth isn’t even the only Black Cottonmouth!)

          11. Le Messor

            That would be cool! Especially if he actually looked like he did in the comics!

            Of course, then we run the risk of a Gotham crossover. (Risk… or hope? You decide.)

          12. Most of the time when I see “SJW” in a post, it’s adjacent to either “snowflake” or “libtard,” just thrown in as a catchall insult.

            Most recently, I was called one because I didn’t lose my mind over Oprah Winfrey being cast in ‘A Wrinkle in Time’; the other person believed the character had to be white because the text doesn’t say otherwise. I became an SJW for saying she’s actually a pretty good actress and would probably be very good as Mrs. Which.

            I’ve come to see SJW as an indication that the commenter can probably be ignored.

          13. M-Wolverine

            Any of us can open the comments in any major paper and see that stupidity countered with inanities like “Trump-Panzee” and the like, which wouldn’t be so bad if it was only thrown out at die hard Trump supporters, but basically is code for “if you disagree with me on anything you must have voted for Trump.”

            I think people notice more the other side’s hypocrisies, but they both have them.

          14. frasersherman

            I remember even when some characters in Hunger Games were clearly identified as black, there were people whose brains exploded that the characters on screen were also black.

    2. When Next Generation was awful, it was actually that Roddenberry was declining and his lawyer had appointed himself producer and arbiter of all things Trek. David Gerrold has talked about this; it was when that guy was forced out that the show regained its footing.

      1. M-Wolverine

        What’s the time line on that? His health had been shaky for years due to…activities…but his first stroke was in ’89, two years after ST:NG started. And while the lawyer undoubtedly made everything worse, the shows wasn’t exactly rolling out of the gate. Was he pretty addled even when the show was being developed/started?

        1. The whole story can be found in this book for those who want details. certainly Leonard Maizlish did a lot of damage, but you also have to factor in the decade or so of fans at conventions hailing Roddenberry as a visionary and also those same fans telling any interviewer who shoved a mike in front of them that it was all about the peaceful utopian vision of the future, not spaceships and fistfights. So Roddenberry gave them his utopian conflict-free vision and it was a thundering bore. The Trek everyone loved from the original series, the run of really hot shows from about the middle of the first season to the last third of the second season, was largely the creation of Gene Coon and Dorothy Fontana. And it was Nicholas Meyer and Harve Bennett in The Wrath of Khan that gave everyone what they actually WANTED, a character drama set in a naval adventure format… but in space. So a lot of TNG was Roddenberry trying to prove that his utopian no-conflict version was the REAL Star Trek. Even so, a lot of it wasn’t his. The basic concepts of TNG were lifted pretty much bag and baggage from David Gerrold’s The World Of Star Trek. (Older captain, young second-in-command leading the away team, etc.) Gerrold then refined it into what we recognize now when he was hired to story-edit the series, but he walked after the situation became intolerable. (So did Dorothy Fontana, but she gets the credit for talking Roddenberry out of giving Deanna Troi six breasts.) There was a hemorrhage of writers that first season and it wasn’t ALL Maizlish’s doing. By all reports, Gene Roddenberry was adored by everyone except the people that actually had to work with him.

          1. M-Wolverine

            Yeah, that’s it. Agreed. All that “Great Bird” stuff certainly got him to believe the clippings a bit. Why the original series was most compelling to me was it was high adventure, that used situations as metaphors for real life things, as much great Sci Fi does. But they were humans who were doing better than us, but not perfect humans, which are boring. (The many erroneous articles stating that Discovery was “breaking the rules” by allowing conflict between Starfleet personnel obviously never watched Bones). Taking Klingons and not making them just black hats was a good idea; deciding to make Ferengi bad guys because they’re capitalists not so great.

          2. M-Wolverine

            While we’re talking Star Trek thematic turns, a new interview with Meyer really does accentuate how he made it take a turn to the more Naval aspect of the original series.


            I wonder if he even realizes Hornblower was likened to/inspiration for Kirk back in the TV show days.

            And I wish Lucas had the same view of the artist’s opinion that Meyer has.

  5. Le Messor

    “When Gene Roddenberry conceived of Star Trek… could be a vehicle for gently delivering much-needed social commentary and straight-up moralizing to the public,”

    Except it was far more of the latter than the former. It gets preachy; and often that preachiness is horrible to listen to if you don’t subscribe to Gene’s particular political views – not to mention the anti-religious stuff that’s all throughout Trek (‘cept DS9, which at least shows balance).

    I will try to answer the question you asked. Then I will be banned from this site for doing so. An invitation I got this morning to become a contributor will be withdrawn.

    Because people say ‘diversity is good, so anything we do or say in the name of diversity is also good; if you disagree with our tactics, if you disagree with our methods, you’re a racist, sexist homophobe hater you literal Hitler!’ Even if the reason you say you disagree is because the tactics are counterproductive to the cause of tolerance and races getting along.

    “How does a person grow up enjoying the adventures of Superman, Captain Kirk, Luke Skywalker, and Spider-Man, and then turn around and hurl “Social Justice Warrior” as an insult? Isn’t social justice a good thing?”

    How do I read those stories, then use SJW as an insult? (and I do.)

    As M-Wolverine covered, SJW is meant ironically. They are none of the above.

    I am not diverse. I am white. I am male. I am Christian. I am not hard left.
    When comic books shove the same lessons in my face over and over again – and it’s always the same lessons – I turn off. It isn’t done subtly or gently.

    And the lesson is:
    You are the most worthless, evil, horrible person on the planet you privileged a-hole! How dare you commit the crime of being male? Wife abuser! (even though I’ve never married). Slave owner!* (Though the emancipation proclamation was a hundred years before I was born.) You should be spending your entire life grovelling before minorities!
    When the very same individuals who, on September the 12th 2001, were saying ‘let’s be forgiving of Muslims who are just innocent little lambs who never do anything wrong’ still hold me accountable for the Crusades, it doesn’t make me want to listen to their ‘lessons’ (and that did happen. Also, I shouldn’t need to say this, but: I have no problem with Muslims. Every person I’ve met who I’ve known was Muslim has been a very nice, polite individual. That example isn’t about Muslims; it’s about hypocrisy.)

    “Which is why it continues to baffle me that there are those in fandom who are utterly unaffected by the lessons, morals and values of the characters and series they declare undying love for…”

    I am affected by the lessons. Just not in the way you want me to be.
    The lesson I get, over and over again is – ‘You are not diverse; ∴ you are a worthless, evil scumbag. We never say that.’
    So it’s a bunch of racists trying to tell me ‘don’t be racist’; a bunch of sexists saying ‘don’t be sexist’ and a bunch of religious intolerants saying ‘don’t be religious intolerant’.

    As an example: I will read comic books about / starring women. Captain Marvel, Squirrel Girl, Mega Princess. Wonder Woman is the first DCEU movie I enjoyed.
    However, when I do, I’ve got half a dozen alarms going off in my head. So many of them are full of misandry; the ‘lesson’ they teach is that women ‘don’t need men’. So they end up being about celibates and lesbians (what straight women go to to identify with, I don’t know.) Male characters are reduced to caricature. The biggest recent example I read was issue one of Ladycastle, which has been called a great feminist piece. It was all about how idiotic, oppressive men spending their lives making life difficult for women. I did not read issue two.
    In Champions #2, Kamala complains about a made-up example of sexism, says ‘I was getting tired of the stench of testosterone’ (after getting rid of Hulk).
    I did not read issue 3.

    Imagine if somebody had reversed the genders on those two; imagine the outrage? But the lesson is invariably hypocritical. People are actively trying to redefine sexism and racism now to justify their hypocrisy (oh, it’s prejudice + power, so it’s not racism / sexism when *I* do it… so that makes it okay to mock, villify, and belittle half the human race!)

    The lesson I get over and over again is: Diversity means we stick up for somebody other than you. You suck because of your race/gender/religion.
    We never say that.
    So, while I have no problem with the concept of diversity, every time I hear the word, in my head I’m curled up in a corner, crying.

    ~ Mik Bennett

    * Full disclosure: I’m descended from Robert E. Lee. I still claim no responsibility whatsoever for slavery. I have zero control over somebody who died before my birth. None. Zilch.

    1. I can’t see anything in this post that makes me (and I’m gonna be presumptuous and speak for everyone else here) want to delete your comments, ban you from the site, or retract the invitation you received. Frankly, your ability to write passionately and intelligently about the nuances of these messages and the hypocrisy you see, without descending to insult or sloganeering, is absolutely something I’d like more of here.

      We don’t want Atomic Junk Shop to be a site where all the contributors march in lockstep and swear blind allegiance to somebody’s checklist. Your point of view should be represented, so I hope you consider joining in.

      Granted, half the frothing moonbats on Twitter will come after you for it, but I expect the other half will come after me.

    2. I will try to answer the question you asked. Then I will be banned from this site for doing so. An invitation I got this morning to become a contributor will be withdrawn.

      What Jim said. We don’t ban people we disagree with. We ban spammers, bots, and assholes. I have yet to see anything like that demonstrated here. (Although when I saw the piece go up I was expecting some to show up.)

      And really, a reasoned argument for the center probably isn’t something any of us disagree with in the first place. Just as an aside, speaking to Jim’s original point, my favorite WTF example of this is Star Trek Lives! A really breathless and gushy paperback “analysis” of Trek wherein the authors desperately tried to make the case that Gene Roddenberry adhered to the ideals of Ayn Rand. At one point I think Leonard Nimoy admitted he’d read her books which was declared a triumph. It’s cringe-inducing. I read it in high school (in the mid-70s we were desperate for ANY new Trek) but I didn’t realize how batshit insane that idea was until years later when I found out who Rand actually was and what she wrote about.

      1. Hal

        Ayn Rand? *Ayn Rand*?!?! I thought those Seventies Star Trek books by… Marshak (sp.?) and Co. looked and sounded pretty embarrassing but that is…highly illogical! Although wasn’t the later Star Trek novel, Final Frontier, by Diane Carey “inspired” by Rand? Yech!

    3. Edo Bosnar

      I’ll reply to Mik/Le Messor’s comment not with the intent of starting a back-and-forth (due to real life obligations/troubles, etc. I really don’t have the time or energy to engage in a lengthy polemic), but more as just a counterpoint.
      First, I’ll say we’re both similar in that I’m also a conventionally straight (middle-aged) white male, who grew up near a small town about 30 miles south of Portland, OR in a very conservative, mainly Catholic, community; my parents were immigrants from Eastern Europe (and as an aside, based on his surname, I’m dead certain I share the same ethnicity as Peter Cvjetanovic, who became infamous due to that viral photograph from the Tiki-torch march in Charlottesville), and I even had a bit of an Alex Keatonesque young Republican phase in high school.
      That said, once I started to emerge from that bubble (esp. after high school, when my family moved down to California/Silicon Valley), and began reading up on things like feminism, began meeting and making friends with people from many different backgrounds, and observing the calls or moves for greater diversity, I never once felt threatened by it all. A lot of the things I was exposed to challenged the things I had believed previously, but I never once saw bona fide misandry in, say, the feminist writings of Catharine McKinnon even as she hypercritically analyzes the effects of our male-dominated culture. And I’ve never felt threatened or triggered by the word diversity, or calls for it, because I’ve never perceived it as some kind of movement to discriminate against white people (and white males in particular).
      My point is that as a straight, white male, my own interpretation of the “lessons,” as Le Messor puts it, contained in much of the pop culture we consume is very different (and I have to say, even though it seemed to posit a post-religious future, I’ve never got an overt anti-religious vibe from any iteration of Star Trek).

      1. Le Messor

        Edo, I think I went the other way. I grew up with a more liberal upbringing, listening to the kind of things my comment was railing against. Believing them.

        Eventually, I figured out the damage it was doing to me, and started to notice the hate poured out on ‘me’; and reject that side of things.

    4. “In Champions #2, Kamala complains about a made-up example of sexism, says ‘I was getting tired of the stench of testosterone’ (after getting rid of Hulk).”

      I haven’t read Champions yet, so I can’t comment on “a made-up example of sexism,” but I have to say, “the stench of testosterone” is a pretty accurate description of the Hulk. Now, if she’d said it about Captain America or Hawkeye or some other typical male character, that would be a valid point, but Hulk? He absolutely is the living embodiment of the stench of testosterone.

      1. Le Messor

        The made-up example was ‘Don’t make me be the killjoy like the woman in every movie ever’. The killjoy trope exists, of course, but I’ve never seen it as purely female. In fact, when I started trying to think of examples, the first and biggest I came up with was the priest in Footloose, starring the great warrior Kevin Bacon.

        Hulk wasn’t doing anything much before that. Also, this is Amadeus Cho, not Bruce Banner we’re talking about. I suppose, being a teenager, that gives him more testosterone, not less. 🙂

        1. M-Wolverine

          OMG, who wants that in their comic book? No one wants to be lectured to by a teenage depiction of some color ink. And the trope certainly exists, See: Judd Apatow movies; Knocked Up, etc. Then he remade the movie by flipping genders in Trainwreck (I kid, but just a little).

          But a laughable complaint because most often they’re the “Killjoy” because a much bigger trope in Hollywood is the male man-child who’s stupid, lazy, and/or refuses to grow up. Beyond movies, pretty much every sitcom that’s come out featuring married couples for the last two decades. It’s sad when you have to go back to Cosby of all things for a revered father figure. Basically every show has become the Simpsons. (There’s a whole other things of the evolution of that show, which seems to start out about the escapes of Bart, and turned into making Homer not a bad father but the goofy lead. Kinda parallel to the decline in quality of the show too).

          Because there are no adult men who don’t need to be henpecked by their wives, because they’re all eternally 22 years old. Basically every Adam Sandler movie, even in the married ones. Heck, he managed to get a movie and a sequel out of the premise in Grown Ups. Which seem like nothing other than an excuse to get to pretend Salma Hayek could actually be his wife.

          1. frasersherman

            In fairness to Sandler (I don’t say that very often) that doesn’t sound any dumber than most Hollywood average-looking star/stunning love interest matches.
            I remember a critic guessed the logic runs like “Well women fall all over me in real life. I suppose if I were a mailman like my new character instead of a film star I wouldn’t attract as many — oh, don’t be ridiculous, I’m sure it’s me they love not my fame. Salma Hayek it is!”

          2. M-Wolverine

            No, it’s not just Adam. That movie just tied into the other point. His costar Kevin James is another big offender in that category. I guess Seth Rogen too, but at least sometimes he makes fun of the fact that he’s out of his weight class. (no pun intended)

            At its root is an older trope where old actors are with women who should be playing their daughters. Various Bond movies. Every Tom Cruise movie after the 80’s. But at least those guys are good looking, unlike their comedy counterparts. That gives them a bit of leeway. I was talking to some college girls a bit ago and there was some new item about some 50 year old guy dating someone their age, and they were all like “ewwwww.” But I pointed out, it really depends on the guy, doesn’t it? You’re ewwwing because he’s kinda dumpy but rich. What if it were George Clooney? “No, he’s old too.” OK, what if it was Brad Pitt? “Wait…he’s not in his 50’s is he? He is? Hmmmmm…yeah, I guess.”

            So at least it’s ridiculous for the male in that scenario, but you can buy the female acting that way. Just like I have no problem believing them if they want to cast Salma with a 25 year old love interest. Because I doubt there are too many saying no.

          3. That trope is the central feature of virtually every commercial for a household cleaning product prior to about 2015. Over at GeekDad, we’ve had a field day ripping into commercials featuring the message “Dad is just another irresponsible messy child that Mom has to clean up after, and usually the worst of the lot, but fortunately there’s Squirt-N-Kleen to take care of the destruction he leaves in his wake.”

    5. jccalhoun

      I’m a straight white man. I am hip deep in academia but have never felt or encountered anyone I felt was trying to make me feel like: “You are the most worthless, evil, horrible person on the planet you privileged a-hole! How dare you commit the crime of being male? Wife abuser! (even though I’ve never married). Slave owner!* (Though the emancipation proclamation was a hundred years before I was born.) You should be spending your entire life grovelling before minorities!”

      1. Le Messor

        That’s great! I keep hearing how bad academia (in particular) is in that respect, especially in the USA (is that where you are?); it’s great if you haven’t encountered it.

  6. frasersherman

    “So they end up being about celibates and lesbians”
    I have to ask, what movies where the woman end up being celibates are you referencing? And are they actually celibate or simply not paired off with anyone by the end?

    1. Le Messor

      “And are they actually celibate or simply not paired off with anyone by the end?”

      Okay, okay, it’s probably more the latter than the former (though sometimes it’s the latter implying the former).

      Specific examples? Uh…
      They do exist! I swear I’ve seen them!
      There’s nothing I know so well I can even name it right now. The ‘end up rejecting romance’ is something that has… problematic… associations for me, but doesn’t make me hate a movie enough to put it on the blacklist in my head. (ie: remember it.)

      1. frasersherman

        Understood. I have the same reaction to movies where some antisocial character has a happy ending in that he gets to go off and be all alone forever. For personal reasons I don’t find that a good resolution.

  7. Hal

    Nice perspicacious post, Mr MacQuarrie. It hit the ol’ nail right on the ol’ noggin. Just yesterday I was looking up a few posts on Star Trek Discovery and one of the first that materialized on Google was one that stated Discovery was likely to be a bigger flop than Enterprise, the top reason given? “The two main characters are a girl and some gay dude. Getting sick of this SJW crap.” Hm. This is awfully familiar, first there’s the fact that one of the leads is a woman – holy moly! – or a “girl” as Our Man From the Sixties has it but then – shock, horror! – the other is a “gay dude”, someone of the homosexual persuasion in Space?! In the Future?! Say it isn’t so! The icing on the case is the bit about “SJW crap”, how many times have similar plaints been cried out since the term “Social Justice Warrior” was coined? Really, how many?! It’s almost as if it’s the new “PC”, an abbreviation used to dismiss anything you certain people don’t like as if the thought police are out to get them, never mind that dismissing anything out of hand as the result of some nebulous “SJW/PC/LMNucous” conspiracy seems as much an attempt at thought policing as anything else. The problem with this is has nothing to do with the characters and how interesting they are but everything about them not being white or straight. The reasoning behind complaining that two lead Star Trek characters being non-white and non-straight respectively is “SJW crap” is opaque at best, it’s Star Trek isn’t diversity supposed to be part of its DNA? If both characters were white and male obviously there would be no complaint about “SJW crap”, however if others complained that both characters *were* white and male and that this was somewhat retrograde then they would immediately be scorned with much use of “SJW” labelling and accusations of being part of the “PC Brigade” (Jeepers! Where do I sign up? I betya get snazzy uniforms!). Its an annoying fact of modern life that any one who says anything considered “liberal” or leftist will be accused by some of being intolerant or controlling, one of those dreaded Social Justice Warriors with their flaming swords of Truth, yet the very same complainers will feel perfectly justified in being outraged about a characters being gay or *gasp* a lady or a “Person of Color” (now, I find the recent adoption of that phrase slightly puzzling as back in the mists of Time, non-White people were dubbed “colored” then that went away yet at the moment “POC” is the approved term. Frankly, I find that a little weird as it presents all non-White people as being the same which is really what various racists think… Then again, it is dumb to imagine all White people or all heterosexual men or gay women are the same so… Humans… *shakes head*) which is laughable.
    It is particularly scary to see people defending corporation – *multi-billion dollar* corporations – whilst vilifying individuals for being “greedy”; it really is to laugh and cry at the same time. Skewed priorities doesn’t come close to describing what is wrong with that and that is without even mentioning the aggressive and hateful language used by some, oh and the death threats… (Death Threats?! What the…?!).
    Unfortunately, closed-mindedness and self-righteousness is endemic; when a person ventured the opinion that not everyone who was even slightly dubious of the new Doctor in Doctor Who being a woman was a misogynist he was treated by some as if he were a rabid dog, he was blocked by a person to whom he was being entirely civil simply because he was saying something to which she was not prepared to listen. And he himself was supportive of a female Doctor, it was just that daring to offer a more nuanced and complex view of the World than “anyone not super-thrilled by the idea of a female Doctor must be a raving misogynist”. The sense of entitlement that rages throughout various debates is poisonous; weirdos seeing a picture of some women at Marvel sharing milkshakes and reacting with venomous blather about “SJWs” (huh?!), that’s peculiar and ludicrous; goofballs shooting down any criticism of George R.R. Martin, that’s silly; people haranguing Steven Moffat for either being “misogynist” or too much of a “SJW” is mindboggling, shot by both sides indeed.
    I must admit I found the reaction to Joss Whedon’s less than stainless behaviour during his marriage hilarious; much use of popular terms such as “gaslighting” and insulting insinuations that any woman he had sex with did so because of his “power” rather than that they wanted to do so, insulting to the women, that is, I find it hard to think of him as some Svengali and the women as mere drones, one sympathizes with his ex-wife but some of his appalled critics might like to think through the implications of what they are saying (the notion that he stayed with her for 15 years so that he could tempt more innocents into his web seems the stuff of gothic melodrama and doesn’t explain why he finally confessed all). I never did like Whedon or much like his work – or his fans! – and thought the situation around Charisma Carpenter hinky but the “virtuousness” and intellectual acuity of his new army of villifiers seems dubious. He appears to be a weak, sexually compulsive man who *did* and *does* like women but lied to his wife and hurt her terribly while enjoying his reputation. The notion that anything better within him or his work is cancelled out by his flaws is facile… I don’t even like him!

    1. M-Wolverine

      Great post. There’s problems on both sides. I mean, I get the dark place they’re coming from. But really things like Discovery (casting wise; it has tons of real problems) and Force Awakens is what we should want. Stop replacing characters with great history by appropriating their name just because they’re white guys. Create interesting new characters featuring minorities. Force Awakens broadens the Star Wars universe in more ways than one, and they’re just great characters that happen to be female, Black, Hispanic.

      Discovery isn’t saying “let’s make Captain Archer a woman” it’s creating new captains and officers we haven’t seen represented before. If anything it only gets hurt when they force ties to other characters (Spock’s sister?!? WTF??) The only diversity problem that show has is “everyone has to have a new alien” when in TOS time having Spock serve with a bunch of humans was rare; this him seeming very alien to a lot of the crew. (Wasn’t there another starship [Constellation class?] that was all Vulcan?) And he was only half Vulcan. That bothers me, not a Black female first officer. I’m more worried with two ships and two Captains that means the awesome Michelle Yeoh isn’t going to survive the first episode, or get written out.

  8. Hal

    It’s lucky there are no men like that in what we laughingly call reality then, isn’t it? *phew!* Bwahahaha!
    . Honestly, advertising is funny. They still have women pegged as doing some things with men barely featured. However… Much of the time those commercials are more insulting to *women* than men (due to various assumptions) and, well, there’s more than a grain of truth still to certain ads even in the Twenty-First Century! Ultimately tho’ it’s hard to get to upset over advertising as it is by its very nature often garbage! Yay, I win “exclamation point bingo” (Hey, there’s another! And there… *must stop…* 😉 )

  9. Hal

    Reading The 50-Year Mission and the first two These Are The Voyages books (even if those were overall sympathetic to Roddenberry, probably too much so) was sobering. As a Star Trek fan I was, of course, aware of some of what he got up to (years of reading magazine articles, books, and latterly webticles will do that for you) but seeing it all laid out in greater detail than even in the Captain’s Log tomes disheartened. Even if some of those who hated Roddenberry – hello, Harold Livingston! – came across as vainglorious deluded twerps themselves while others who didn’t – Rick Berman – had some of the same flaws.
    Although quite aside from that, I found the treatment of Gates McFadden and her character egregious, sexist, and such a waste. She’s totally right about the shrewing and minimizing of her character following her return.
    Vaguely related to that – and I apologize for blathering about something in which you are not interested – the largely unrecognized Shatnerian tendencies of Patrick Stewart – who I liked as Picard, don’t get me wrong – regarding the portrayal of his character were both ridiculous and disappointing considering he already got the lion’s share to do. His wish to have romantic storylines in the series and largely mediocre movies was silly. Frankly I could care less about Troi and Riker getting back together, I always found the relationship between Picard and Beverly much more fascinating and promising. It’s such a pity that a convincing mature romantic relationship that was right there in their laps wasn’t explored (Attached was a gyp) partly due to Stewart’s embarrassing interest in being Kirk Mk II and partly to a lack of inspiration from the producers and writers. ST:TNG was very good at times but it could have been so much better and sharper.

    1. Le Messor

      “Gates McFadden .. She’s totally right about the shrewing … of her character following her return.

      I don’t see her as shrewish. I’ve recently been rewatching NexGen, and have got up to Season 4 so far (I took a break because of other TV commitments), but I’ve never seen her as a negative character.
      Or do you mean she’s being tamed as a shrew?

      Then again, I like Wesley, so what do I know?
      (What’s that sound? Oh, it’s all my credibility flying out the window.)

      “Frankly I could care less about Troi and Riker getting back together,”

      How much less? 😛

      1. Hal

        “I don’t see her as a shrewish.” Well, that all part of the wonderful world of differing opinions!
        I should be clear, I don’t see Dr Crusher as a negative character but I happen to agree with Ms McFadden that her character lost much of her warmth and quirky humanity when she returned while her importance was minimized. She made the point that her relationship with Wes (who I quite like too, it is just that he was quite poorly written and stuck with the “boy genius” trope) became robbed of any closeness in favor of tired old boy seeks older male approval clichés. Picard as ersatz father figure gets much more play than the relationship between Wesley and his actual mother. Ach, the American obsession with fathers and sons… Boring!

        Minutely less, that’s how little I care! 🙂

          1. Le Messor

            There are those who believe Picard isn’t an ersatz father to Wesley!

            “She made the point that her relationship with Wes (who I quite like too, it is just that he was quite poorly written and stuck with the “boy genius” trope)”

            There are two of us?!?! What is the world coming to?

            Oh, and she is right about her relationship to her son getting glossed over later. Definitely agree with that!

            (I honestly completely didn’t notice your grammar slip.)

  10. Hal

    It’s nice that since Martin finished A Song Of Ice and Fire lo those many moons ago (who would have thought Ned Stark could have survived losing his head or that Daenerys would end up with Cersei? OMG!!! Et cetera, et cetera…) he has had time to rake up old ground. Golly!

  11. John King

    There is an old saying that “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”
    Thanks to communication on the internet a lot of people have a little knowledge and seem to presume themselves experts on subjects they know little or nothing about and some of the things they “know” are not even true (some GamerGaters still believe the ludicrous lies which started off the movement).

    There seems to be a lot of over-reaction and hysteria around. While some people have extreme reactions based on the gender or ethnicity of someone cast for a role, we had the same excessive response to Ben Afleck being cast as Batman.
    I’m certain a number of people here remember someone getting abusive in a comments section because he saw a comic cover he liked being described as a “trainwreck” and he regarded that as a “personal insult”.
    I get the impression some people want to be offended and deliberately twist or misinterpret other people’s words to make it seem offensive
    and some people do not seem to understand the concept of opinions and subjectivity and seem to think every statement has to be intended as an objective truth.

    Part of the problem is many people seem to adopt an “us vs them” viewpoint and put blind faith in anything said by one of “us” (it’s easier than thinking and coming up with their own opinions) and rejecting out of hand anything said by “them” (even when both sides are saying the same thing).
    Remembering the controversy over the early version of the Teen Titans 1 cover – even after the initial problems had been sorted, the forum had people who had never read the article putting blind trust in someone who had probably never read the article and completely misrepresenting it rather than actually read the article.

  12. Hal

    Sorry for the very late reply, Le Messor; your comment got buried under several others and I honestly didn’t see it until now (Also life and health things got in the way. Everything’s a haze. FEH.) Gah! Wouldn’t want you to think I was one of those people who can’t be bothered to reply eventually or even perfunctorily; okay, it’s probably just me but manners cost nothing! Yes, I am from the 19th Century. 😉
    Hey, we agree on a few things. Gosh and golly!
    (Thanks for that. I hate dumbly goofing.)

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