Category Archives: opinio nation

Impulse Buys for Early October

I am buying the heck out of these things right now. Total pay-day treat.

Each thing comes with my absolute recommendation, and yeah, if you buy using the linky things, I do get a little kickback. Microscopic, actually, but still kinda lovely, so I’d really appreciate it if you did!

 

This was one of a few films I saw in the last few months that I really thought wasn’t as well received as it deserved. It seemed to struggle on three fronts: incredibly badly marketed from the off, it was fighting against such terrible word of mouth and low public awareness even before release that it was probably always going to open badly, and then when it was released, it was such a loving adaptation that it didn’t offer anything beyond what we had already seen in the hundreds of movies inspired by it.

However, after a slow start, this won over everyone in the large group I saw it with at the cinema. The director shines when handling the CGI characters, who out-real central actor Taylor Kitsch until he finally catches his stride around the beginning of the second act. I liked it.

 

This is pretty much a straight-up fight movie, in the same vein as Rocky, but the emotional core of it is so well-crafted and sincerely delivered, and the actual scenes set in the ring so beautifully choreographed and shot, it totally knocked the wind out of me.

Now I just have to see whether it has the same impact on me in front of my wife as it did watching it in the house on my own with her away for a week.

The truth is I’m generally a little under-fed and over-tired when she’s away, so I may have been in an emotionally weakened state.

 

Nobody pays enough attention to Tarsem Singh.

Admittedly, this may be because his interests as a director run more to aesthetic and artistic beauty than coherence or emotional characterisation, but his movies really are so beautifully made that he should command a much larger audience than he does.

That said, The Fall manages to hit all targets that I require to consider it a damn-near perfect film. It’s an amazing combination of Tarsem’s incredible eye for location and spectacle, two beautifully natural central performances from Lee Pace and Catinca Untaru, and a narrative that weaves fantastic flights of childish whimsy and real-world melancholy into something utterly satisfying.

Not everybody will love this film, but if you still love The Princess Bride, this is a brilliant companion piece for it in your grown-up film collection.

 

For a while now I’ve been reading Avatar’s sharp and horrific web-comic “Crossed – Wish You Were Here”, but Kieron Gillen’s recent interview with the writer Si Spurrier (on Gillen’s podcast Decompressed, which is must-listen for people interested in creative process) reminded me that I wanted to own it, now that it was in print.

The whole thing is already available online, and you can read it all here, but be warned: while Spurrier and Barreno do a great job of tempering the horror with creeping mundanity, the grotesque moments are really very, very grotesque, and as much as I hate the concept of trigger-warnings, Crossed as a comic franchise should probably come with a dozen of them.

Especially if you like dolphins.

 

I’ve only read one issue of Wolverine & The X-Men, but it’s one of two X titles – X-Force is the other – that leaves an incredible impression on me whenever I catch even the shortest excerpt.

I think it’s down to the addictive mix of Jason Aaron’s tightrope walk between lightness and X-mutant melodrama, and Bachalo and Bradshaw’s cartoony and rammed with detail art.

The bits I’ve read remind me of the best of Chris Claremont’s later 80s work, when he’d team-up with Alan Davis or Art Adams for absolutely screwy but paradoxically high-stakes mutant mayhem, but without the over-written excesses that re-reads of those comics tend to reveal.

Basically, I’ve been looking for an excuse to pick up more since reading that one issue a few months ago.

 

This final one is a bit of a surprise for me.

I bought the first volume of this as part of a batch of similarly spontaneous purchases, from Amazon sellers who had it cheap.

I’d liked the look of odd issues of Marvel’s Stephen King adaptations when I saw them on the shelves, but suspected that they were a glossy but flawed endeavour. After all, why bother doing a good job of an adaptation, when King’s name would sell the books whatever the quality?

And having read The Stand nearly twenty years ago, I had my doubts as to whether it was even possible to adapt such a huge work well, or if King’s original book would even stand up to that much scrutiny so many years on.

Revisiting the story does show that like John Carter, King’s work sometimes doesn’t fare so well alongside the more modern stories that he influenced, and Aguirre-Sacasa and Perkins haven’t helped that mildly anachronistic feeling by fixing the work in the period in which it was written. However, with the writer’s well-measured and well-achieved mix of prose flourishes and comic looseness, and the artist’s beautifully drafted location and character work, that slightly off period feel has the odd effect of really grounding the narrative, and giving it a creepy and portentous atmosphere.

I’m really looking forward to finally reading this next volume.

NOT ADAM AND STEVE

I think you’ll find, if you check your Bible, that it was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve…

…who were so corrupt, arrogant and incompetent that they couldn’t follow the one simple instruction handed down to them by their Creator, creating Sin in His creation and ultimately landing us in the state of permanent disGrace we’re in now.

No wonder God loves the gays. Heterosexuality is just a recipe for disaster. It’s right there in the book, you guys.

A Cultural Vanishing Point, A Generation Behind Us

When you’re a few years older than most of the people you socialise with, you get quite used to the odd temporal culture shock. Different kid’s TV, different music, these are the points of reference that put a hiccup in your day. The aggressive ideologising and politicising of a past that you lived through as if it’s ancient history. These things can mislead one into feeling superior – in the same way that seeing the technology that you didn’t get to grow up with, or watching people going through their first heartbreak or triumph and getting to sincerely believe that this is as bad or as good as it’s going to get, or even getting to drink and dance and party in a club without feeling a little old can make you feel bad about yourself.

I try not to feel either way if I can avoid it. I’m married to a woman eleven years my junior for a start, so it’d be a sure recipe for disharmony and depression, and that also means I have daily reminders of how very much more grown-up than me younger people can be.

But it’s there, a fairly constant part of existing and getting older, that you’re always processing the passage of time, and measuring yourself against your environment. Finding new ways to look at the world.

One perspective that hadn’t occurred to me until the other night, at a friend and colleague’s 23rd birthday – or at least that I hadn’t thought about in a really long time – was that most of the people I know today, either online or off, aren’t old enough to really remember any news or media in the UK before Princess Diana died.

We do this thing constantly – and everybody does it once they’ve hit the point where they start to really be aware of the long passage of time – where when a huge event or popular song or movie from the past comes to mind we’re suddenly shocked by how much time has passed. I think it’s a pretty abstract moment for most, but it can be bracing and feel meaningful, like looking at a particularly high fatality statistic after a disaster.

And another thing we do as a society – especially online – is measure how our culture has changed primarily through technological advances, or those big crunch where-were-you-when moments. Both of these behaviours make perfect sense as coping mechanisms for the world around us.

There’s truth in those numbers, and more truth in the observation that technology or trauma can change a culture, and I’m not remotely the first or even nearly the smartest person to say it.

Diana dying was a catalyst for changes that had already been brewing in the way media worked, and the way the British population interfaced emotionally with each other and the media, but that were suddenly normalised and formalised by the intensity of that event. Before Diana died, news outlets were already starting to push the human interest aspect of news items forward, and the population was already starting to demand it, and feel like it had a – ill-informed, often illegible and confused – voice in the media – but that ex-Royal car-crash was the point were both the news media and the public’s push in that direction got validation.

It was suddenly okay to travel hundreds of miles with a bouquet of flowers so that you might be seen to be mourning someone you’d never met. Normal people were now comfortable with deciding how other people – in this case the Royals – should be feeling emotions, and telling the world about it, and it was now okay for the news media to give those normal people a platform.

People have always had it in them to be busy-bodies, and to pass judgment on others or enforce their values on them. Until then, however, it had mostly been a behaviour that was kept in check, in mainstream Britain at least, by the cultural understanding that it might be human nature, but it wasn’t one of our more admirable traits. Of course, the tabloids always provided a pressure valve on that side of our character – The Day Today wasn’t just prescient, after all, it was satirising stuff that was already happening in news media – but it wasn’t yet the whole conversation.

Diana broke all that, in much the same way that the World Trade Center attack broke a similar but less trivial part of US culture. Suddenly, being an outspoken idiot on TV wasn’t just a fringe behaviour, it was the way we now did business.

We had the internet back then, but we didn’t have Twitter yet. Facebook wasn’t a thing. Blogs as we know them didn’t exist yet. The idea of a dynamic, user-generated web, where everyone has a voice, was in its infancy, and inaccessible to most.

But Diana dying was still a cultural clusterfuck of clamour and public displays of who-can-cry-the-hardest=who-cares-the-most, the like of which detractors of social media blame on the technology. The social web was probably on its way technologically already, but the culture was already in place, impatient, waiting for the tech to catch up.

None of which are new observations, as I’ve said, and if I seem to not be making a point that’s because this is mostly a meander on my way to one. And it isn’t even a particularly big one.

(…is probably what she/he said.)

What occurred to me in the middle of a conversation about this stuff the other night is that it isn’t important that most of the people I know weren’t there to see these changes, or even got to see what it was like before – as I’ve said, this was already on it’s way to happening, and was probably inevitable for decades – but that they don’t really have anything to compare where we’ve been since to.

For them, as long as they’ve been aware of the news and media – let’s say most people really start processing this stuff properly in their late teens – it’s been like this. The first time a lot of people even pay attention to the news is around these big stories, so for a lot of people the Diana coverage will have been the first news story they really noticed.

Diana died fifteen years ago. That means pretty much anyone under thirty now, and probably quite a few people in their thirties, don’t really know any different. This is just how the news is.

(Education exacerbates this. A lot of Higher Education providers in the UK are more focussed – often forced by external forces – on employability than academic or intellectual pursuits, and this means that often students are being trained to hold down a job in the current status quo, with aspirational subjects like ethics or the philosophies behind a subject being covered on the periphery. In journalism, this means training people to cover news the way it’s being covered right now, not encouraging them to aim for something better.

This doesn’t mean academics and students aren’t aware of how awful things are, but it does mean that where there could be anger or aspiration there is more often resignation.)

This is how things get bad. Not with people thinking things are bad, but by them never having known a time when it was better.

SO ANYWAY here’s the point. What all of this fidgetty, ill-informed pontificating has made me realise is that I’m maybe too hard on people like Laurie Penny. They’ve never known a time when stories – worthwhile or otherwise – were covered any way other than they are now, from a single emotional viewpoint, with an unashamed ideological bias and an avatar for the human interest element at the center – either someone who needs speaking for, or the author themselves in a pinch.

It’s hard to understand, post-Diana, that there used to be a more distinct line between journalists and columnists. Maybe not in the tabloids, but even the people working for the tabloids pre-Diana would have probably told you that a day when their way of managing the conversation became the way of managing the conversation would be a grim day indeed.

Fuck only knows how pre-Diana documentary makers feel these days.

So authors like Penny – who at least has a good way with prose – can’t be blamed for reducing the level of the conversation with rhetoric, agenda and cult of personality. The culture was broken when they got here, and they were shown the way by arguably the biggest cult we’ve had. Diana – the one that showed us that it didn’t matter what you had – or didn’t have – to say, as long as your heart was in the right place. Or at least on your sleeve, and bleeding.

Just because there are so many writers covering subjects that they are emotionally or ideologically invested in while still managing to scrutinise their own arguments and information, doesn’t mean I should hate the people who can’t pull it off or don’t see it as a priority. I should be happy to see the former writers as exceptional thinkers breaking through a near ubiquitous overcast cloud of mediocrity, and just not read the others.

Johann Hari had no fucking excuse, mind.

 

(To clarify: I don’t have a problem with authors who mix up current affairs, anecdote and ideology, and there’s a place for rhetoric and rants – this is one, after all, and I’m not even claiming to cover new ground here – but being an activist or opinion-former AND a journalist should be really tricky ground to navigate ideologically and practically, and I think it’s become far easier to stomp all over that line without applying journalistic rigour, or holding yourself to a higher standard than your subject, than it may have been in the past. You don’t get to present yourself as Nelly Bly without being an awful lot more like Nelly Bly.)

On Before Watchmen

(It should go without saying that what follows is just, like, what I think. I’m not an authority on this subject, but it looks like those are pretty thin on the ground anyway. So temper your reading with this concept in your head – I’m not telling what you should think, I’m just telling you what I think you should think.)

Girl and Boy by Andrew Tunney

Girl and Boy by Andrew Tunney

If you’ve been anywhere near the comics internet over the last few days, you already know about “Before Watchmen”, DC’s long-expected capitalising on their ownership of the classic comic book, and the one news story that ensures that we in the comic sphere will only be talking about superhero comics from now until the books are released.

Over at MOMBcomics.com, we decided to dodge the particular bullet on the subject – that bullet, by the way, is one that hits you square in the entitlement, and creates a time-sucking attention-wound – and instead of putting our swiftly growing brand* behind one opinion, we asked our friend the Internet for their opinion. This didn’t really achieve quite the broad spread of targets we might have hoped for – there wasn’t exactly a consensus opinion, but there weren’t as many anti-Before Watchmen opinions as would perhaps have been representative of the rest of vocal comics fandom.

The one conclusion I have come to out of the debate and the exercise at MOMBcomics was that people are conflating an awful lot of different threads to make arguments stick. There are three distinct strands to this, and they aren’t as compatible as most of the debaters seem to think. There’s the legality of the move, the creative ethics (a spurious construction if ever there was one) of the work, and the artistic merit of it. Personally, I think the former is covered ably by the words of Gibbons and Moore themselves, the second is an always important area to consider but isn’t black-and-white enough to justify the violent rage it seems to invoke, and the third becomes meaningless and potentially destructive if we become definitive about it, start claiming there are “rules”, but that the exact details of those rules are subject to change depending on the tastes/opinions of the speaker or the original author. (It’s also largely irrelevant when we are talking about it as a metric in the decision making process of a mass-producing industry, but that’s a whole other wrinkle.)

Hicksville by Dylan Horrocks

Hicksville by Dylan Horrocks

These are ALL areas that are worth discussion – everything is always worth discussion – but for the discussion to stay smart we need to try to keep the distances between those strands in mind when we discuss this – and to be frank most other – areas of fandom. Conflating them makes for dumb discourse, no matter how big the words you use are.

My own contribution to the post was a particularly huge disappointment, not least to me, in that it meant that what was as much as anything a manipulative suggestion on my part to minimise the amount of time and effort I put into thinking about the subject became an all-consuming wasted hour of brain-splurge. I ended up spending as long on trying to cut my ranting down to a vaguely fair three paragraphs as I did on writing it.

Enigma by Peter Milligan & Duncan Fegredo

Enigma by Peter Milligan & Duncan Fegredo

For the purposes of posterity – which is the act of saving anything that comes out of one’s posterior for examination by future generations – I’m putting the original blah here. It should be obvious throughout that I’m at war with myself, desperately trying not to go on, and failing, and this may explain lack of lucidity.

It should also be considered throughout that my real-world position on Before Watchmen is actually exactly the same as my oft-stated position on the DCNew52: DC are well within their rights to do it, it is possible that some good, functional art will come out of it, and short-term they will make a lot of money out of it regardless of the whinges of whingers, but backward-looking creative direction, link-baiting initiatives and hype-cycle pandering is ultimately feeding into the slow-death of mainstream comics. If DC were doing this, or had done the DC52, while also being successful financially on other comic fronts, and we were able to discuss this without the underlying tinge of desperation that everything they do is a step in the wrong direction from a fast eroding cliff, I’d be like “follow your bliss, DC dudes!”, but as it is I’m totally like *rolls eyes* “hey Detective Comics peoples, buy a clue!”. Or whatever else the kids are saying.

Anyway, this is what I would have said, if I wasn’t allowing myself to be drawn on the “rightness” of all this, but was secretly feeling myself pulled in anyway, but was really trying to fight it, and had unlimited space:

Too Much Sex & Violence by Rol Hirst et al

Too Much Sex & Violence by Rol Hirst et al

If I was going to allow myself to be drawn out on this, I’d say that there’s no practical, pragmatic reason why DC shouldn’t do this. I’d say there’s something particularly self-righteous about anyone judging any freelancer who takes this job, or anyone who takes any job, when the only real skin you’ve got in the game is based on personal opinion. I’d say that though I have loved most things about Alan Moore, people defending his corner have had far more to do with my diminished view of Watchmen than any should-have-gone-straight-to-DVD novelty movie ever could have, and that I would hope that he would feel embarrassed, rather than vindicated, by the recasting of him as one of the comic medium’s great martyrs. Because Alan Moore, more than the outraged fraction of the internet, is smart enough to know that he is not Kirby, or Siegel, or Shuster. I’ve always been in love with the Alan Moore who talks about Ideaspace, and something really fundamental about the idea of stories as an avatar for life, ideas and something more doesn’t really gel for me with aggressive protection of the perceived integrity of his texts.

Video Nasties by Chris Doherty

Video Nasties by Chris Doherty

I’d say that if your argument is that legally, or from a business perspective, DC shouldn’t do it, that’s not strictly accurate – and it’s worth noting that if you are in one breath talking about how popular Watchmen has always been, and in another talking about how DC have kept it in print to spite Moore/Gibbons, that there is cognitive dissonance. A business that doesn’t work within the bounds of their legal obligations to make money isn’t a very smart business. The suggestion that they a publisher is legally following the course of action that is most profitable for them just to spite creators is broken. Are all of DC’s dealings with Moore clean? Is it a bad thing that the prime gatekeepers to our favoured medium are corporate bodies? Those are both discussions worth having, but they aren’t this one, although if everyone starts talking smarter, maybe this’d be a good way into them.If your argument is that ethically it is wrong to work on a book where the ownership of that book is in dispute or being exploited by a publisher, Moore must be taken to task for his seminal work on Superman, or, for that matter, Batman, both of which have been the site of ongoing disputes over ownership. It can be argued that this situation is different, and it is. But it’s different for as many reasons that go against Moore as there are that support him.

I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly & JM Ken Nimura

I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly & JM Ken Nimura

If your argument is that it’s ethically wrong to create an adaptive work that is in direct conflict with the intentions of the original author, or handle a property in a way that may pollute earlier work for some readers, than I’m sorry, you don’t get to pre-emptively dismiss anyone who mentions League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen or Lost Girls. Whatever Moore’s skill or secret genius plan – or other reason that allows one to at will change the parameters of a rationale – he has fundamentally changed any number of characters in a way that will forever adjust the interpretation of those characters, for anyone not able to compartmentalise their perception on such things. It is wrong to think that everyone who raises those books has a problem with that aspect of Moore’s work. In my case, I happen to love the idea of iterative fiction. I think it’s something that comics do particularly well. It makes a mockery of the idea of canon, in a medium where canon is a disease.I’d also say that while I don’t think that narratively there’s anywhere to go with Watchmen, I responded to the news of Before Watchmen with something like existential relief, that before long we won’t have to have this particular version of this repeated conversation any more. If there was something to be changed about how comic creators are legally treated, that would be one thing, but that isn’t the case here.

West Vol 1 - Justice by Andrew Cheverton & Tim Keable

West Vol 1 - Justice by Andrew Cheverton & Tim Keable

Whatever other issues Moore had with DC, the terms of his and Gibbons’ contract on Watchmen are pretty clear, and DC haven’t acted in bad faith, unless there’s more to the promises made than the creators have said themselves. If it’s about what rights the audience has to not have their classic polluted, well, that’s a matter that’s always up for debate. What I mean by “up for debate” is that there is no definitive answer. I mean, outside of one’s own house, among a community.But what I really think is that the big problem here is that Watchmen is even still relevant to this extent. When Moore suggests that nothing of significance has happened in mainstream comics since Watchmen, he’s exposing himself as being taken in by – or happily ignorant of – a huge lie about the comic medium and the industry, but sadly it’s one that the audience, and the prime publishers, are happy to swallow too. Less than six months ago, DC proved they half believe it by trying to grab backwards for some imagined zenith, throwing a lot of great work and a lot of great creators under the bus in the process – work and creators that Moore also discards with his statement. A lot of the people cheerleading DC then, and the people cheerleading Moore now, are tapping into that same vein. Comics should have moved on from Watchmen, but here we are, circling it again. And Moore and his career haven’t been able to avoid, or showed the will to avoid, being pulled in by it.

Hitman by Garth Ennis & John McCrea

Hitman by Garth Ennis & John McCrea

And don’t get me started on the retailers.

There’s a tepid undercurrent of conservatism in how everybody is treating comics, that Watchmen prequels are just a symptom of, and the arguments for and against it are symptoms of, and now again, everyone is arguing about what they don’t want, and creators with vision at DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse and any number of other indie and small-press publishers can’t get their books in front of readers. Can’t even get them to torrent their work except by accident.

We have to be better than this. That’s what I want to say, if I can avoid being drawn on the other Before Watchmen nonsense. We can’t keep blaming DC for doing whatever it takes to stay afloat, when we could just let them sink and conserve our energy to help build whatever comes next.

See? Demented, but well-meaning. It was late.

The only thing I’d add to it is this: at a cultural level, the ownership of art – even/especially art created within a corporate or commercial framework – is not a fixed or objective thing.

A formative part of it – the core of it, the intended platonic ideal being presented at source – still belongs to the creators, and the tangible, tradeable ownership of the work – what can be reproduced, sold, adapted – is a legal matter, usually negotiated/decided/fought over before or soon after creation, and then apparently not being directly publicly discussed during any of the disputes afterwards.

American Elf by James Kochalka

American Elf by James Kochalka

But once that art is out in the world, the most significant part of that work belongs to anybody who sees it, and is moved one way, or another, a lot or not at all, by it. No matter how rigid the intention of the original work, it means something different to each person who encounters it. That’s the beauty of creativity – the innate magic in it, and the central, wonderful frustration of it. The better the work, the more complexity there is in the relationships between how each person sees it. Good art – and at one level any art we want to talk about is good art – tells us how we’re similar, but also how we’re different. Art is not concrete. There is no consensus in art. That’s kind of the point of it. It’s the other guyswho decide what should and shouldn’t get made based on their personal feelings and relationship with the world. Once you go down that road, that’s religion you’re talking about.

Alan Moore, when he’s engaging with or talking about creativity – which is when I think he’s really a genius, and truly alive – rather than past legal frustrations, understands this. His work, to my mind, is often about this. This is why it is perfectly justifiable when he uses other people’s creations or ideas in his work, and this is probably why the more thoughtful of the people who mention his post-modern use of other people’s characters are mentioning them.

Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Moore takes pride in seeing the Guy Fawkes mask in popular use within protest movements, even though its use was sparked by a pretty weak movie adaptation which he had cut himself off from, rather than the work he is willing to take responsibility for. There’s no hypocrisy in this because he is an important part of a process that started with Guy Fawkes, wearing the face and failing at the terrorism, and went through Moore, by way of Lloyd, and onto the screen via a creative process that we shall pretend doesn’t involve any production designers or prop creators, and into shops via a manufacturing and distribution process that we’ll put even less focus on, to eventually be taken up by an angry, disaffected population that Moore and many of the rest of us can only pretend to understand. However, that’s still a dilution of Moore’s work – which was a dilution of Guy Fawkes’ work – that could forever alter one’s perception of the original V For Vendetta comics if one let it.

It wouldn’t have happened without the pointless corporate exploitation of a work that Moore refused to support. That doesn’t make the corporate exploitation any less pointless. It doesn’t make any actual breaking of contractual terms that may have occurred to make that movie happen okay. But it does speak to the cultural value of any argument that says that a mature audience has any right of ownership to a piece of art that is frozen in amber at the point that they first encountered it.

Fuck. I may have just argued against my stance on the Star Wars Special Editions. Wait, I know: it’s DIFFERENT, okay? It just IS. WE WERE KIDS AND WE TRUSTED YOU, LUCAS, HOW COULD YOU??

Brooklyn Dreams by JM Dematteis & Glen Barr

Brooklyn Dreams by JM Dematteis & Glen Barr

Anyway, so. Scattered about this piece are works in the medium that I happen to love, all of which I want to reread sooner than I do Watchmen. All but three of them have nothing to do with DC or Marvel, and of those three, one of them has reverted back to its creators and is now out in a beautiful volume from IDW – it’s to the left of this writing.

We need comics. We don’t need the comic mainstream – certainly not as much as it needs us. And we wouldn’t even be having this argument about Watchmen if that book wasn’t part of that industry. It couldn’t have existed without it, it wouldn’t have been relevant without it, and most of us wouldn’t have even had the chance to read it without it.

We don’t have to give a shit about Watchmen, or Before Watchmen. We choose to.

We don’t have to fight about issues that we really have no skin in. We choose to.

We should really grow out of it.

 

If you want to comment on any of this, please feel free to use the comments section below. I appreciate that it’s probably hard to pull much meaning from such an unstructured mess, but please turn your reading comprehension up to at least 8.5 before jumping down my throat. Also, make an effort to not jump down my throat over any words I’ve misused – this was mostly written after midnight, and like everyone there are terms I’ve picked up over 38 years that I might not be using quite right. If you can understand what I meant, go with that, if you can’t, clarify. It probably isn’t clear from my tone, but as passionately as I feel about this, I take conversation as an opportunity to develop or change my viewpoint, and I’m grateful for anyone who wants to school me on anything I’ve said here – I might even learn something! – but if you come at me with rhetoric**, are just rude, or don’t seem interested in anything except telling me I’m wrong without forming a coherent argument that says why, it’s possible that I won’t treat you with the respect that you feel entitled to.***

 

*Stagnant brand
**The nature of argument on the internet is to numbly spout rhetoric into the virtual faces of other people. I’m not interested in arguments, I am interested in discussion. The nature of discussion on the internet is to try to apply science, history, or considered supposition into the virtual faces of other people, and if that isn’t quite good enough, to then turn to rhetoric. It’s a matter of putting that little bit more effort in.
***It is almost a certainty that I won’t treat you with the respect that you feel entitled to.