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  1.  (10347.1)
    I'm a little torn on this topic, whether it's worth a thread or not, but if it's not it can sink like a stone. Still, I've been morbidly fascinated by the sad spectacle of Frank Miller's rant the other day, and the reactions to it.

    I'm sure everyone's seen that by now.

    Bleeding Cool has been posting follow up commentary. There's an article on Breitbart, Youtube video responses, various articles (my favorite being the one StefanJ linked in the Occupy Wall Street thread, by David Brin) and a whole lot of other chatter.

    9-day wonder, sure, but I think the reason this one is sticking with me is because Frank Miller didn't used to be crazy. I'm not saying "he's nuts because he disagrees with me", but rather that his Anarchy post isn't the work of a sane mind. The idea that you can't protest Thing A because Thing B exists doesn't make sense on any level, at all.

    I think one of the things that bothers me most about the follow-up articles are how many attempt to be even-handed about the original post, as if its incredible list of factual errors were a matter of opinion. "Somebody said this, how do you feel about it?" kind of thing, trying so hard to give a lunatic rant the weight of news simply due to the fact it was written by a semi-famous person.

    Bah! The whole thing is more than a little depressing. We're never getting a new Sin City, are we? That writer/artist is gone.
  2.  (10347.2)
    I'd argue that he's exactly the same writer/artist, he's just divorced himself utterly from the shield of 'satire' that he so frequently dove under when people criticized him. I just don't see how anybody can look at his body of work and not have seen that this was roiling right under the surface.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeNov 15th 2011
    From Mark Millar's response:

    What shocked me was the vitriol against him, the big bucket of shit poured over the head by even fellow comic-book creators for saying what was on his mind.

    Personally, I was upset over the way Frank Miller expressed his views, not the views themselves. And if Frank Miller has the right to express his views by pouring a bug bucket of shit over our heads, why can't we do the same to him? Honestly, I'm upset that Mark Millar is upset at people for having bitten back at Frank Miller. Freedom of speech works both ways.
  3.  (10347.4)
    File his rant under "9/11 freed me to sound like a total bigoted asshole". Right next to Miller, Dennis and Jackson, Victoria.

    I always figured Frank had issues. You can't read his earlier stuff without picking up on his definition of what constitutes a manly-man and who doesn't make the cut (just about everyone), so this wasn't a huge surprise. I glanced through a copy of "Holy Terror" when it first arrived at the bookstore and just thought "aww Christ, c'mon now..." and put it back. Not surprised, just immensely disappointed. Much like reading through "Ender's Game" and enjoying it, only to hear an interview with Orson Scott Card a few years later and find out he's an awful horrid raving homophobe.
      CommentAuthorcity creed
    • CommentTimeNov 15th 2011
    We are talking about the guy who put the GODDAMN into the GODDAMN BATMAN, right? Just, y'know, for the sake of the record?

    It's hard to formulate any kind of a sensible response to the actual text, which was surely the intent. As professional self-sabotage spectaculars go, this one woooooould seem to be something of a belter though.

    It is worrying (but also sorta hilarious) to see anyone degenerate to the point of hamfistedly flaming their own blog with such a thorough absence of finesse. I'm less worried by his politics than by his failure to communicate in a way that would significantly differentiate him from a meth-addled macho fuckup with a keyboard. Mainly I wonder whether he is now like "what? what the fuck did I say?" or more like "HAH I SURE SHOWED EM ALL GOOD". I have my suspicions.

    Here's to ya Frank, feel better.
    • CommentAuthorandycon
    • CommentTimeNov 15th 2011
    This is what I wrote in the OWS thread where I first saw the Miller post. I dunno if there is much I can add since then:

    I think the video was entertaining but still the same type of hollow reactionary response(calling him retarded/a pussy) that Miller's was, just this time it was 'on our side'. BUT the argument he made about Miller and others saying the protesters/unemployed/me that we need to just go get a job and stop bitching like they are hanging from trees is akin to telling starving Africans to just eat a god damn hamburger was spot on.

    That is what turned me off of Miller, not that he is against the protests/is a conservative. He has every right to be, I have no problem liking artists that I don't agree with philosophically (I LOVE Dave Sim's Cerebus/Glamourpuss but don't really agree with his gender politics) my problem is his hateful, argumentative and just flat out ignorant choices in expressing his opinions.

    This idea that there are millions of easy to find/entry level/come and get 'em jobs out there is just foolish. Having spent the better part of the past six months looking for work despite having a degree, a pretty good resume/work experience for a fresh out of college kid I am still coming up short. I'm not even cherry picking my choices, I just got a response in reference to an entry level janitor position telling me I wasn't qualified. I actually WANT to work and not sit around on the computer looking at 4 different employment sites, working with 2 different temp agencies, I hate the idea that I am living on unemployment, thats not how I was raised. But it is what it is because everyone else I know isn't having much luck either.

    His plea that the real enemy isn't corporate greed but Muslim terrorists that are camped out in our toilets just WAITING to kill us just reeks of tin foil hat craziness it's hard to believe. For a man who was perfectly capable of serving his country but chose not to to bitch at others for not doing so is maddening. Never mind the fact that we live in a country that only partially cares about our troops while they are serving and could care less about them when they get back home. Seriously, we have to pass a bill to bribe companies with tax credits to hire veterans? The same country where after WWII is was a sense of pride to hire someone based on the sole quality that they served in the war.

    ANYWAYS, that was too much thought/effort/emotion to throw at Frank WHORES!!!!! Miller.
  4.  (10347.7)
    What shocked me was the vitriol against him, the big bucket of shit poured over the head by even fellow comic-book creators for saying what was on his mind.

    I think the reason people are pouring a "big bucket of shit" over Miller's head isn't because he spoke his mind, it's because Miller didn't have a thought worth speaking. There was no attempt at research outside of "I don't like you so I'll call you names". Zero understanding of what the OWS protests are about and who's protesting. Miller's opinion on OWS is as valid as my opinion on macrame.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeNov 15th 2011
    Have to agree a bit with James Cunningham. It'd be one thing if his screed had some effort put into actually learning anything about what he was typing about but it seemed much to be something written by someone who'd heard about OWS, had it described to him by people who didn't like Occupy, and just went from there, which puts him on the same level as a lot of the FreeRepublic and WordNetDaily types IMO. The only difference between him and those lot is that he's nominally famous for what he does, just like there's no real difference between OSC's homophobic flailings and the blog posts of a NOM supporter except one person has a bit of celebrity and a different person doesn't.
    • CommentAuthormanglr
    • CommentTimeNov 16th 2011
    My sense of things...I've seen a group of people including other folks with 'public personas' who seemingly have defined themselves in reaction to the events of 9/11. Some upthread mentioned Dennis Miller and others which all seem pretty apt. These folks in my experience have all pretty uniformly embraced really conservative politics because of the fear instilled by 'the Islamic terror' boogeyman. For the most part, I've quickly lost any real interest that I had in their work because of how tightly politics is intertwined with their creative efforts. And I also generally feel pretty bad that they these folks seem to let fear get in the way of whatever they have to say.
  5.  (10347.10)
    One of Mark Millar's points in his commentary on everything that's going on is that "I also hate a bandwagon and would urge my fellow left-wing readers to boycott Miller no less than HP Lovecraft, Steve Ditko, David Mamet or any other writer who might not share my personal philosophy, but who’s work I’m happy to have on my shelves.".
    I agree with the sentiment, but also think that a writer's political and personal opinions are extremely important. Entertainment, stories, narratives, we all communicate information, values, morals and ideas through them. Our work doesn't exist in splendid isolation from our selves, and shouldn't be treated as if it does! Story telling decisions (conscious or unconscious) like the number and roles of female characters, or the political alignments of our main characters, or the methods with which conflict is resolved in our stories form a tapestry of social values that our work communicates.

    Like Millar, I don't agree with Boycotting Miller's work, but I don't see anything wrong with making a fuss about his ideals, especially when he's a public figure who's work reaches millions of people in various different forms. The "us vs them" sabre rattling that Miller indulges in personally and fictionally is about as uncaring, unthinking and uncritical as any "political" opinion can get, no matter what wing you hang out in.
    • CommentTimeNov 16th 2011
    @Paul Duffield
    ...a writer's political and personal opinions are extremely important. Entertainment, stories, narratives, we all communicate information, values, morals and ideas through them. Our work doesn't exist in splendid isolation from our selves, and shouldn't be treated as if it does!

    [Emphasis mine.]

    I don't think the writer's political and personal opinions are nearly as important as they might seem I'm afraid. The 'work' can really only speak for itself, in the context in which it is being consumed/observed, and by whom. This makes the readers culture, historical instance, politics & values and ultimately, their reation to the work, the really interesting thing.

    If FM shouts at the TV when protestors appear on the news, well he may be a slighly nuttier bag of water than you or I, but 'The Dark Knight Returns' remains a wonderful work, then and now.
  6.  (10347.12)
    Here's my take on it:
  7.  (10347.13)
    I haven't been reading a lot of the response to Miller's rant because... what's the point? There's no reasonable argument in his comments to rebut, which means the best you can do in response is to talk about Miller. There's certainly some "I've always hated his work" coming out, some of it sincere, some of it the cannibalistic mob instinct to tear down someone famous as soon as he becomes vulnerable (the kind of thing Millar is objecting to). That's just typical crap.

    The responses that I find upsetting are the people (including some pros), apparently overjoyed at finding an outspoken ally for their minority veiwpoint, saying "attaboy, Frank" simply because he's saying things that are vaguely aligned with their political views, even though it's simply incoherent and hateful. Basically they're exploiting a mentally unstable person to support their agenda. I'd like to think that if some famous cartoonist went off the deep end and started ranting about the Tea Party were all just a bunch of child molesters who need to join the Peace Corps and learn about what life in sub-Saharan Africa is like... I'd refrain from cheering "you tell 'em!", denounce the slander, and hope for that person to get help.
    • CommentAuthorSolario
    • CommentTimeNov 16th 2011 edited
    What Miller espouses is barely an opinion as much as it's just raging irrationality and stupidity. If people want to boycott him that's fine. I don't understand why that is a problem at all. We don't buy stuff from lots of people we don't like. It's surprised me that people are shocked that these things are coming from the guy behind Holy Terror and Batman Returns; a great Batman story, but also a story that villifies criminal rehabilitation, diplomacy, psychiatry and is basically proto-fascism. You could argue that it's suppose to be satirical of proto-fascism, but that's a pretty hard argument now.

    Honestly, Millar's comment offends me far more than Miller's. Not because what he says is egariously stupid (because it is), but because he does it by using nothing but logical fallacies. Ad hominems, black-white dilemma, slippery slope, strawmen etc. It's impressive. (As Millar's person is a part of his argument, ie. his personal anecdote, I feel it's appropriate to take that into consideration of the argument.)

    "I wasn’t shocked by his comments because they’re no different from a lot of commentators I’ve seen discussing the subject. What shocked me was the vitriol against him, the big bucket of shit poured over the head by even fellow comic-book creators for saying what was on his mind."

    First off all, just because some others speak that way doesn't make it morally or socially acceptable to do so. Secondly, nobody said he wasn't allowed to say it. People are just responding to it. That's free speech as well, as Millar rightfully points out in the next sentence. I just really wish we could start to care more about having an informed opinion than just the base value of having an opinion.

    "Obviously, it’s within their rights to exercise the First Amendment as much as it was within Frank’s to make the original point. But there’s something so distasteful about that cyber-mob mentality that revolts me. It’s not just that I like the guy, that his body of work is among the best the industry has ever seen. It’s the GLEE I’m seeing from some people and, worse, the calls I’ve seen to boycott his work because his perspective on a point differs from yours and mine."

    Glee? Yes, I'm certain that people who love Miller's work are just ecstatic that he's gone even farther off the deep end. What people are responding with is horror and anger over Miller doing outlandish and socially unacceptable acts such as calling poor unemployed people rapists and thieves. Also note how part of Millar's argument is that he likes his work, ergo Miller shouldn't be criticized.

    And everyone is in their right to boycott or not buy a product or a product from a creator they don't like. That's usually how it works.

    "I’m reminded of the time, in the heated period leading up to the Gulf War, when over a thousand people signed a cyber-petition to have me fired from Marvel because I disagreed with the war in Iraq as a response to 9/11. Bill Jemas, quite bravely, bounced this back saying that one of the things he liked about America is that you can say what you like without fear that you’re going to lose your job. Liberalism doesn’t mean throwing guys in jail who DISAGREE with your liberalism. It means accepting that society is richer when everybody has a voice. Starting economic sanctions against a writer until they shut up and agree with you is horrific."

    Nobody wants Miller fired and nobody wants him in jail. What a terrible straw-man fallacy. And you can't say what you like in America without fear of losing your job. Priests can't admit to being atheists, bosses can't sexually harass their employees and stupid people can't be scientists. If you're a private entrepreneur then you need to watch what you say or at least try to espouse a well-informed opinion on it, because there can be backlash from your consumers. That's a part of how capitalism and America works, as well as free speech.

    Society would be a lot richer still, if everyone had a well-formed opinion and voice. Everyone just having a voice isn't enough.

    "I dunno. I just hate a mob. I think it demeans us. I also hate a bandwagon and would urge my fellow left-wing readers to boycott Miller no less than HP Lovecraft, Steve Ditko, David Mamet or any other writer who might not share my personal philosophy, but who’s work I’m happy to have on my shelves."

    Apparently, he does know, since he decided to share his opinion on it. First of all, there's nothing inherently wrong with being in the majority. Secondly, this isn't mob mentality; people aren't out with pitchforks and fire - at worst we're talking about an organized boycott. These are rational human beings pointing out that what Miller says is not only tremendously stupid, but also extremely hateful. That might to some degree consistute a philosophy, but not an especially smart or desirable one.

    Nobody boycotts H.P. Lovecraft because he's dead (who would they be trying to harm?), but if he was alive, he'd still get called out on his racism and stupidity, much like Ditko is called out on his empathy-devoided objectionism and Mamet is called out on his ignorant conservatism. We don't have to boycott them, but we can't ignore it. It's something we have to deal with every time we read their work and if it at some point the bad outweighs the good, then we start to consider whether or not we want to support these people and works financially.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeNov 16th 2011
    Frank Miller, Alan Moore, Dave Sim, Grant Morrison.... hell, even Wozza, late of this parish... all the greats had to be half fucking crazy to produce the superlative work that we've seen from them.

    Sometimes being half crazy is just a point on a sliding scale though and their work turns shite as they get more crazy. Sometimes that goes the other way round and the more batshit they get, the better their work. We can all name other writers and artists this goes each way for, I'm sure.

    And whilst Dark Knight Strikes Back and All Star Batman and Robin are funny as fuck for the fanboy rage they produce, but not essential works, and Sin City I can take or leave, you can prise Dark Knight Returns from my cold, dead, semen encrusted hands if you want me to boycott it. And on the offchance he may produce something as wonderful again, I'll give anything he writes a look. I may not *pay* for it, but I'll read it.
  8.  (10347.16)
    Batman Returns ripped both sides of the aisle. I had no problem with it then and I don't now. And seeing as the book ends with Batman rehabilitating criminals, I wouldn't say that's one of the ideas it stands against.

    Boycotting Miller's work would be silly. I didn't buy Holy Terror because it didn't say anything I cared about, and leafing through it, it looked pretty awful as well. All-Star Batman & Robin, on the other hand, I was buying because it was such an entertaining train-wreck. If it ever ends I'll probably still finish buying it. I'm not really sure how people would stop reading something so incredibly (but entertainingly) awful just because the writer is nuts. The lack of quality in the writing should have driven them away already.

    Can't argue the view on Millar's response, though. If he's got a problem with the "I never liked Miller's work and now, HA-HA, he's crazy!" then I'm right there with him, but failing to draw a line between an unpopular view and an outright ignorant one is another thing entirely.

    Richard Pace- awesome comic! :D
  9.  (10347.17)
    Richard Pace does it again...nice work!
  10.  (10347.18)
    I admit to ignorance on behalf of DNR, since it's Miller's only major work that I haven't read! I agree that it depends on the specific work and the audience in question as to how much of the writer bleeds through, but I think my point about the inevitable connection between the two still stands! Since I've somehow managed to avoid reading DNR until now, I might give it a go.
  11.  (10347.19)
    The Dark Knight Returns is worth reading, but keep in mind it's a product of the 80s. I should read it again, it's been years, but I don't think it's aged as well as Watchmen. Don't waste your time with The Dark Knight Strikes Again, though, because it will hurt your brain.
  12.  (10347.20)
    @Paul Duffield - The Dark Knight Returns is basically Charles Bronson in a Batman costume.