Posts Tagged ‘Homosexuality’

DC Announces New Digital Superman Series OR The First Two Issues Are Written By A Bigot

February 7, 2013

samneesuperman

Yesterday, IGN announced that DC is launching a new digital series featuring notable comic book creators telling non-continuity (and non-New 52) stories about Superman.  In the vein of their current Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, the new Adventures of Superman will come out weekly digitally and then be collected in comic book form a few weeks later as a regular monthly series.

This is an absolutely fantastic idea.  Not only do we get back the red shorts Superman, we also get awesome creators telling their own stories.  There are some great names attached already, including Giuseppe Camuncoli, Jeff Lemire, Michael Avon Oeming, Bruce Timm, and many more.  Plus check out that Chris Samnee cover above!!  Chris Samnee is drawing a story written by Jeff Parker, so that’s going to be great.

The only problem is that the opening two issues are written by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston, with art by Chris Sprouse and Karl Story.  I’ve got no problem with Johnston, and I quite enjoy Sprouse and Story, but Orson Scott Card is a bigot.

Card is best known as the writer of Ender’s Game, a science fiction novel that won all sorts of awards and is considered by some to be one of the best SF books of all time.  However, his stance against homosexuality and gay marriage was at one point worrisomely militant (“those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society”) and hasn’t toned down all that much.  He is vehemently opposed to gay marriage, and is a member of the board of directors for the National Organization for Marriage.  He’s also one of those idiots that likes to frequently link homosexuality with rape, molestation, and pedophilia, despite such links being widely debunked by every reputable study.  In short, he’s a bigot, and a vocal one.

Now, I’m not saying let’s go burn down Orson Scott Card’s house and throw all his books in the blaze.  The man can say whatever he wants, as much as I may disagree with it.  What I am saying is that he is a TERRIBLE choice for launching a new Superman book.  Superman is the ultimate outsider, an alien from another world who lives in a place where the vast majority of people are not like him.  Superman cares about the marginalized, and understands those who are different, whether they be confident in their difference or conflicted.  He’s been there, and he gets it.  Orson Scott Card does not.

Furthermore, as much as Ender’s Game gets a lot of praise, there are some substantive critiques of the book and it’s sequels in terms of it’s apologetic approach to genocide, and Nazism specifically.  The ties between Ender and Hitler are rather blatant, and in trying to understand Ender and his motivations behind killing an entire species the book thus paints Hitler in a more sympathetic light.  This is not to say that Card is a Nazi or an anti-semite (he’s just a homophobe), but rather that his most famous work examines how far we can push forgiveness and understanding through the guise of a Hitler analogue.  This brings up several points:

  • Card strongly denies all of this, despite the VERY clear connections.  He’s either being disengenuous or, as some suspect based on his lack of knowledge of his own book in its defense, he didn’t actually write it.
  • This type of narrative, trying to justify the actions of powerful, terrible men, is just so damn cliche.  As Elaine Radford puts it, “our society already focuses too much on telling the powerless to forgive and forget.”
  • Superman’s Jewish roots are very well-known, and it just seems absolutely bizarre to have the man who wrote what is basically an apologia for Hitler now write Superman.

On the basis of Card’s anti-homosexuality bigotry alone, this is an awful choice by DC.  In light of the problematic messages of his most famous work, it seems beyond ridiculous to have this man write Superman.

But this is DC Comics, and nothing is beyond ridiculous anymore.  I’m very curious to know if they considered any of this when they chose him to launch the book.  My bet is that they thought “OH!!  Famous author!!” and saw that the Ender’s Game movie was coming out this year, and went with Card on star power alone.

Orson Scott Card is a terrible choice for Superman.  Orson Scott Card is a terrible choice generally, really.  I wouldn’t buy him on anything, and I can’t believe he’s launching this series.  That being said, I’m very much looking forward to Adventures of Superman #3 and beyond.  Unless DC goes and hires Fred Phelps for an arc.

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Earth Two’s Green Lantern Is Gay OR People Who Didn’t Know Who Alan Scott Was Yesterday Are Mysteriously Outraged

June 1, 2012

In yet another case of old rumours being confirmed, DC Comics has announced that Alan Scott, the Green Lantern of Earth 2, is gay.  And because, I guess, our society is sort of stupid, this is big news.  Seriously, it’s everywhere.  “Alan Scott” is trending on Twitter.  Unless you are a HARDCORE comic nerd, you would have NO idea who Alan Scott is.  You’d know Hal Jordan from the movie, maybe John Stewart from the Justice League cartoon… perhaps Kyle Rayner if you read Green Lantern in the 90s.  But Alan Scott?  I’m not sure there are as many Justice Society fans as there are people talking about this.

Anyway, Alan Scott was straight when he was created in the 1940s (surprise, surprise) but James Robinson and Nicola Scott are recreating the characters for Earth 2 and decided to go a different directions with Alan Scott to, you know, be actually reflective of modern society.  And so Alan Scott is gay, which is really cool!!  And he’s got a boyfriend, which is also really cool AND nice for him:

Between this and Northstar and Kevin Keller, it’s been a banner year for gay fellows in comics.

For those of you upset by the change, I’d just suggest getting over it, really.  There are two confirmed gay characters in a FICTIONAL ADJUNCT UNIVERSE.  Big deal.  There are millions of actual gay people in the REAL LIFE UNIVERSE.  You’re just going to have to get used to it… they’re not going away. 

And for those of you who are upset about the change BUT don’t think you’re homophobic: Come on.  If you’re THAT into Alan Scott as a character maybe you need to consider changing your sexual orientation as well.  A minor change to a C-list character (despite DC going on about how a major, iconic character would be gay, Alan Scott is pretty low on that totem pole) isn’t anything to get worked up about.  Jade and Obsidian were gone already AND gay dudes can have kids too so maybe they’ll be back.  Just relax.

Anyway, HOORAY for another blow to heteronormativity.  And good work mixing it up, DC.  It’s good to see.

Look for Earth 2 #2 next Wednesday in your local comic shop!!

All The Gay Parts Edited Out Of “Born This Way” On American Idol Finale

May 25, 2011

So I’m watching the American Idol finale right now (don’t judge me), and all of the contestants did one of those awful group numbers to start the show.  The song was “Born This Way” and they cut out EVERYTHING remotely related to homosexuality and, you know, what the song is actually about.  There was no:

  • “Don’t be a drag, just be a queen.”
  • “A different lover is not a sin.”
  • “No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian transgendered life.”

ALL of that was excised, sometimes awkwardly.  The second verse just ended in the middle after “I must be myself, respect my youth” lest the masses have to hear that “a different lover is not a sin”.  And those bits certainly weren’t cut for time considerations, because they sang the chorus about a hundred times… it most definitely was not a short performance.  So yeah, good work American Idol… it’s 2011, and you’re still afraid of in any way being associated with the gays.  You ever notice how it never comes out that American Idol contestants are gay until AFTER the show?  Way to promote heteronormativity to your millions of viewers… that’s in no way problematic.

Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” Is The First Hymn Of The 21st Century

April 28, 2011

But in the cultural sense
I just speak in future tense.
– Lady Gaga, “Judas”

I’m going way off topic again, as I’m wont to do from time to time, but it was just Easter so this is sort of timely at least. 

“Born This Way” is everywhere.  I would estimate that on any given day, there’s about an 87% chance it’s going to be on the radio when I get into my car.  Lady Gaga’s sung it in every conceivable venue, and of course the Glee kids covered it.  It’s been labelled a gay anthem, and has been shoehorned into every remotely gay-related situation since its release (see: a recent ad for Modern Family where it’s playing in the background while Cam and Mitchell are out with their gay friends).  But I would argue that, as much as the song is about homosexuality, “Born This Way” is first and foremost a religious anthem, and the first song to encapsulate the spirit of what 21st century Christianity will soon become.  In the near future, people are going to be singing it in churches.

From its opening line, “Born This Way” entwines homosexuality and Christianity:

It doesn’t matter if you love him, or capital H-I-M

Given how the rest of the song goes, the first “him” suggests some inter-man loving.  “Capital H-I-M” is clearly a nod to how pronouns referring to God are capitalized in the Bible and other religious texts (ie. Him), and so “H-I-M” is God.  The implication is that you are more than welcome to love him your gay partner, Him the deity, or as the song ultimately suggests, both. 

While Christianity has traditionally viewed homosexuality as a sin (or, if they’re really upset about it, an abomination), Lady Gaga says in the chorus that God is the reason it’s okay to be gay:

I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes

This line echoes an earlier verse where Lady Gaga’s mother tells her:

“There’s nothin wrong with lovin who you are”
She said, “’cause He made you perfect, babe”

For Christians, the idea that God made each person as a special and unique creation is key part of their theology.  They often cite Psalm 139:12-13, which states:

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made

These verses come up often, from Sunday school songs to anti-abortion debates.  But Lady Gaga takes this Christian logic and applies it to homosexuality, basically saying that everyone is “fearfully and wonderfully made.”  Her point is that if God made everyone, then you should embrace the way you were made to be.

With this God-based justification for homosexuality, Lady Gaga implies that God is totally cool with gay people (and thus, His church should be too) AND that gay people can and should be involved in faith communities.  First, attributing the essence of who a person is to God advocates faith in said God if you want to ascribe to her premise… it doesn’t make sense to say “God made me this way” if you don’t believe in God.  And second, Lady Gaga translates “mi amore vole fe yah” as “love needs faith”, bringing up another Christian belief that all love comes from God, or that God IS love.   Lady Gaga’s not just saying “hooray for homosexuality”… she’s suggesting that Christianity offers a way to best appreciate your unique self and to understand love.

“Born This Way” also goes beyond heterosexuality and homosexuality to discuss other common divisions.  From economic disparity (“Whether you’re broke or evergreen”) to racial differences (“You’re black, white, beige, chola descent / You’re Lebanese, you’re Orient”) to those who are shunned by society (“Whether life’s disabilities / Left you outcast, bullied, or teased”), Lady Gaga is saying that everyone can find love, pride, and self-worth in being the person God made them to be.  This sounds like every song I ever sang in Sunday school, just with more gay stuff and lines about drag queens.

Which bring us back to the “speaking in future tense” quote above (SIDENOTE:  They probably won’t be singing “Judas” in churches, ever… that song is spectacularly sacrilegious).  Lady Gaga is today singing about the love, tolerance, and acceptance that Christians will be singing about tomorrow.  Currently, a great many Christians aren’t enthusiastic about homosexuality, but I suggest to you that “Born This Way” is destined to become a staple of 21st century hymnals.  Here’s why: Those in the church who oppose homosexuality are, quite literally, dying out.  Old people are staunchly against homosexuality, while younger people are far more accepting.  These old people are near the end of their lives and their numbers are dropping, while these young people have lots of life left AND produce even younger, similarly accepting, people with all their procreating.  A recent CNN poll suggests that more than half of America, a nation with a massive Christian majority, now supports gay marriage.  In the years to come, homosexuality will inevitably become a non-issue.  Moreover, it will be embraced.

Evangelicals and other staunchly conservative groups have a loud voice, but they are rapidly losing this debate, and Lady Gaga knows why: 

A different lover is not a sin
Believe capital H-I-M

Homosexuality is flat out not a sin.  I won’t get into the many translation and context issues here, but suffice it to say that any decent Biblical scholar will tell you that the Bible doesn’t actually condemn homosexuality.  More significantly, many Christians are beginning to see homosexuals as the latest in a long line of people kept down by the church for supposedly Biblical reasons who ultimately gained acceptance.

In the 20th century, women and minorities made great strides in terms of civil rights, strides that were opposed every step of the way by many church groups.  But at the end of the day, even though they were far behind everyone else, churches came around.  There are all sorts of verses in the Bible that state that women should be subservient and not participate in church activities, but today the vast majority of Protestant denominations ordain female ministers.  The convoluted Biblical justifications for slavery and then segregation were innumerable, but today most churchgoers are completely fine with African Americans as ministers and fellow congregants.  The same will soon be true for homosexuals.

So why will they sing “Born This Way” in churches?  Well, most Christian music is already vaguely homoerotic pop (Cartman knows what I’m talking about), but that’s not why.  It’s because “Born This Way” will encapsulate what they believe, that God makes everyone unique and that we should accept and love each other because of this.  Also, Christians are like the Borg, and love to assimilate.  I’ve lost count of all the times I’ve seen white churches and choirs singing Negro spirituals… “Go Down Moses”, “Peace Like a River”, “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”, and “There is a Balm in Gilead” are but a few of the slave songs that are now part of the mainstream Protestant repertoire.  “Born This Way” is the Negro spiritual of the gay rights movement.

Homosexuality is the latest frontier of acceptance that Christianity must cross, and they will.  They always do, just way later than everyone else.  I’m not sure what frontier will come up next… probably an artificial life, sentient robot situation.  That definitely sounds like something Lady Gaga will have a song for when the time comes.  But as for now, mark my words, “Born This Way” is destined to be sung in churches, and it will go down in history as the first real hymn of the 21st century church.

Here is the song if you live under a rock and have never heard it:


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