Near the beginning of this year, the web comic Axe Cop took the Interwebs by storm. It was a pretty inventive premise. Professional comic book artist Ethan Nicolle, age 29, would illustrate a comic written by his younger brother, Malachai.
The hook? Malachai was five years old, and his idea for a comic revolved around Axe Cop--- a cop with an axe. A typical comic would feature bad guys, explosions, several power transformations and dinosaurs with machine guns for arms. I was hooked.
Axe Cop has teamed up with the popular web comic Dr. McNinja. A compilation book will be published by Dark Horse. The comic has been profiled in USA Today, Wired Entertainment Weekly, New York Magazine and more. There's an Axe Cop Motion Comic series that's up to 3 episodes now. It's kind of a big deal.
Which is what made some levels of fail displayed by the artist even more disappointing.
So, in a recent blog post on his site, he talks about how he recently saw Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and that he felt that if there ever was an Axe Cop movie, based on what he saw of Scott Pilgrim, he'd want Edgar Wright to direct.
A fan by the name of Keisha Ng posted that she felt Scott Pilgrim had a number of troubling stereotypes and racial themes, especially when it came to Knives Chau and that as an asian woman it bothered her. She ended her comment with "Anyhow, Ethan, I really hope that if an axe cop movie is made that you can include some more characters of color—asian and latino and black kids need to know that they have secret attacks, too."
Ethan's response was... well... here, I'll just quote it (the blog doesn't make permalinks to individual comments):
OH ETHAN NICOLLE NO.
So... people complaining about stereotypes are actually worse than those that perpetuate stereotypes?
Stereotypes are true, and thus, are funny all the time?
No matter how hurt a marginalized group is by stereotyping, the stereotyped group is being damaging by talking about it?
Stereotype jokes are funny to most people, and so people should just shut up about it?
"Let me tell y'all what it's like/bein' male, middle class and white" except, he means it for serious?
Those who point out stereotypes are denying reality, soft, and babies?
What the hell?
This becomes even more mind boggling when you read his explanation for why he regrets drawing a 90 page comic about Jesus teaming up with Ernest Hemmingway to go killing Nazi Werewolf Hitler. He says "I started out with the attitude, 'a joke is a joke. If you can't take a joke, move on.' I guess I adopted the philosophy that humor makes anything OK." And while when it comes to Christianity, such an attitude is apparently not okay, I guess when it comes to using marginalized groups as the butt of jokes, it's perfectly fine. Then again this is also the same entry where he also says "I'm beginning to sound like a woman... 'you should have done what I told you not to do!' "
(OH ETHAN NICOLLE NO)
Keisha my point is that it doesn’t help anyone to coddle them and protect them from generalizations. Fat comic artists are generally lazy, bad with women and socially awkward. That description is not totally true of me, but it is partially true. It’s more than 50% true. No one would laugh at or even present a stereotype if it was not true to some extent. If something like “your about as good at ballet as a Native American” you would just confuse people. Stand back and ask what is really offensive about saying asians in general are bad drivers. Is it true? So what? Is it really worth getting all bent out of shape about? Wouldn’t life be better if you could just laugh at the joke and make one back?
And of course not all stereotypes are true of all people all the time… no one I have ever met would claim that. That is a point that is literally meaningless.
There are two battles to fight here… you can fight the battle to shut up all jokes about stereotype, or you can fight the battle of people taking victim status upon themselves and being too weak to enjoy life. The first battle will NEVER be won, because most people are OK with generalizations, because generalizations contain an element of truth. If you can’t generalize, you can’t be truthful. The second battle is much more practical and it makes everyone stronger. If people aren’t making victims of themselves it’s much harder to stop them from being happy.
Why do you sit and watch a movie and focus on how left out you feel? How often is a fat, poor artsy guy made the hero of a film? Not very often. I don’t care. Movies aren’t made to appease me. To think so would be narcissistic. It seems as absurd as being offended that Avatar focused on blue people… it made me feel left out because I am as pasty white as boiled pork meat. Lighten up sister! You seem to be taking yourself much too seriously. You’ll choke all the joy out of life. In every group or stereotype there are wonderful things, embarrassing things, and hilarious things. Denying that doesn’t help anybody out.
Sorry if you feel I’ve been too harsh. Feel free to email if you want to discuss this any further.
Yes. He really does introduce an Asian stereotype, call people who call out stereotyping too weak to enjoy life, say there is an equivalence in representation between the under-representation of those and other marginalized groups with white poor artists, call her feeling left out narcissistic, compare real minorities to fake blue aliens, tell her to lighten up, and that she is taking herself too seriously.
astolpho once said that someone trotting out the "you're taking yourself too seriously" in discussions of race is basically saying "you have self-respect and the basic desire to be treated with respect, and that's offensive to me," and while I can't axcribe motivations to someon because I can neither read thier mind or heart, that's exactly how he's coming across.
Also, what is it with talking about colors that don't exist in reality when discussing race? Blue people, purple people... it's kind of ridiculous.
ETA the second: So, Doug TenNapel weighs in with a comment, which I can't directly link to, but if you visit the comment link and do a Find for Richard Taco (seriously), you'll find the whole wall of text, but I wanted to highlight the money quote:
Your complaints end up saying more about your weakness than his. And you’ll just have to trust me on this one, he is respectful and happy about all cultures. Ask him what he thinks of Asian cultures instead of misconstruing what he said. He didn’t in any way comment on Asians, he only commented on our white, racist culture’s celebration of victimhood. In that sense, you’re not acting like a South Asian… you’re acting like a spoiled, white American. Asian cultures don’t claim victimhood at all. That’s a European, progressive, cry-baby attribute we should all shed in the name of being good and being happy.
Wow. Wow... a consertive white dude lectures minority on what a real Asian is, and... I... really?
(yes, the same Doug TenNapel Earthworm Jim and also a Neo-Conservative blogger who once tried to re-write the roots of rock and roll to say that Republicans were punk rock and rock & roll was dead because some rock and rollers supported Obama with a straight face)
- Current Mood: discontent