With all the stupid that has recently infected our news feeds and such this past week, I’d be remiss to admit I didn’t at least try to find something comic-related to rant about today. I read about half of John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake’s Kros: Hallowed Ground graphic novel – but wouldn’t have anything cathartic to say about it as I’m numb from the dumb. I learned how to make my own salad dressing – but I doubt you’d really care about it or Whole 30. I read all the articles about how Justice League was getting some nifty reshoots to fix errant tonal problems – but again I digress: why sit here and rant about a movie that isn’t out yet, when our glorious leader took to the press and created a new villain for our weary nation!
I won’t regurgitate the circumstances that led the mighty Twittler to coin the phrase “Alt-Left” this week; the odds are in my favor you couldn’t hide from the forthright gaff. Let’s just go in media res here, and talk about the elephant in the room.
Points to me, by the way, for using elephant in the room, as a punny turn of phrase for our Republican Fascist-In-Chief.
The Alt-Right movement, such as it is, is a grotesque that uses rope, leather, and chain to bind white nationalists, white supremacists, and vanilla-ice-cream-only lovers to slough across the land in hopes of finding a way to make it great again. For those playing at home? That was a killer reference to Kros: Hallowed Ground. The Alt-Right likes to postulate that our nation – the one founded by people seeking freedom to live as they saw fit in a religious system they preferred over the one they chose to flee from – is better off as an insular island of a single race and single religion.
Devoid of minorities (racially or religiously) the Alt-Right sees a prosperous and strong country with a rich celebrated history of capitalism and a mighty military. A place where you get rich because you pull yourself up from your boot straps, make a fortune, and only pay enough taxes to keep the lights on (or whatever). Other nations fear us, and do business with us because they fear us. This is their dream scenario. And now, they have an arch-nemesis.
The Alt-Left movement, such as it will now become, is a even-grotesquer that uses smugness, gay-loving, and NPR to bind progressives, LGBTQ folk, and only-artisanal-gelato lovers to slough across the land in hopes of finding a way to smite the Alt-Right. With their cat-ear hats, and pink-batons, they incite violence for those (who through legal channels) were peacefully protesting.
For you see, the Alt-Left interjected and caused the violent outbursts in Charlottesville; they didn’t understand that the Alt-Right legally had permits to encircle their counter protestors and shout hate-speech at them. They didn’t understand that the Alt-Right were there to use their freedom of speech, and promises of violence only ceremonially. The Alt-Left, of course, is known to use their fake news to circumvent these truths. You heard it here, folks. I’m telling the truth.
To date, there had never been a name for the Alt Left. President Trump has the best words though; Crooked Hilary, Lying Ted, Little Marco. His ability to deconstruct a foe and rebuild them with simple nomenclature is a thing of beauty. And let’s call a spade a spade: Hilary Clinton has a few dubious marks on her career. Ted Crux lies. A lot. And Marco Rubio is kinda short. I guess. Hence the naming of this previously-unknown beast has shown the light to the true villainy of this nation! The loquacious hydra that seeks to destroy the President who won so many more votes than literally any other candidate ever in the history of this nation!
But therein lies the problem, my friends. I went searching – yes, even on the dark web – and couldn’t find a single Breitbart-for-queers. There wasn’t a single hate-group built on the idea that healthcare is a right, not a privilege. And while I found plenty of very vicious t-shirts proclaiming how gay the occupant of the garment was… I didn’t see a single one with a gun or bomb, or language that implied the use of it was necessary on the opposition. Hell, I even found one company making a comics anthology for that one service that tries to help women. But not a single mention of a backer reward of a molotov cocktail to throw at white nationalist march.
If you spot the Alt Left in the wild, please let me know. Until then: Stay vigilant!
This morning (I prep my stuff on Tuesday) I flicked on my Facebook feed to see a pair of news stories — real ones — that caused me to sincerely take pause. The first was vapid enough: Internet D-Lister Tila Tequila sieg heils at an Italian eatery. The second one, a bit less oh who cares, denoted that a room full of whitenationalists (a.k.a. “The Alt-Right,” a.k.a. fucking Nazi Klansmen) had a conference ending with their leading ideologue declaring that Jews may be “soulless golem” amongst a litany of other unabashed hate-speech. For the first time in the wake of the presidential election, I actually took a breath to be floored — save only for Tuesday the 8th when Donald Trump was declared the winner of the highest office in our nation.
And my only thought that came into focus was… Where’s Superman?
You see, Superman was created by a pair of Jewish children from Cleveland, born of immigrant families. Their greatest creation was (and still remains) a bit of a nod to the Jewish struggle. Kal-El, an alien born to an alien land was rocketed to safety as an infant by his parents who were unable to leave their land. He was a hero denied his homeland, granted amazing abilities that would separate him forever from those he would live and love on his adopted planet.
To be clear: Jews don’t have superpowers, save only for their amazing ability to control Hollywood, the media, and all global economies. But I digress.
The truth of the matter is I’m not oblivious to the world around me. But I’m certainly privileged, self-absorbed, and mostly invisible to the real hate that exists. In my own life, I’ve personally never been anything but celebrated for being Jewish. I grew up in a nice community where Jews were plentiful… all things considered. When I moved to Indianapolis for college, I saw bits and pieces of a different swatch of America, but, again, never once did I feel like my religious identity was truly ever under attack.
Please denote again that this was all from my sheltered, suburbanite, self-absorbed viewpoint.
Here and now, with swastikas swathed across my feed, my eyes squinted at the seething idiocy of it all. By all accounts, Tila Tequila is a waste of atoms. My only knowledge of her comes from the blurred memories of promos for some off-kilter reality show or two. That she has recently turned heads by being a Hitler apologist, pro-Trump, sieg heiling what-have-you? Only screams for a need for attention. When one’s relevance dies out, I suppose this is one road you could take to stop your declining fame.
The National Policy Institute, as run by the aforementioned Hitler youth, causes me no small amount of undesired stress. While Richard B. Spencer was only amongst 200 or so supporters in Washington D.C. when he decided to quote Nazi propaganda in the original German and liken my kin to animated clay statues, the fact that it has risen up the viral flagpole and ignited both pro and anti-movements is what leaves me clutching pulp and ink for solace. Mr. Spencer and his ilk are emboldened by our President-Elect and his appointment of Steve Bannon as a chief advisor. The King of the Alt-Right Internet sounding board (Breitbart.com) is now a stone’s throw away from the man with the nuclear codes. How could that not put a bit of pep in the step of the white-power movement? Even if Trump denounces them… actions speak louder than words. And Bannon is in. Christy is out.
It helps when one builds his election on locking up one’s opponent, erecting walls and disenfranchising immigrants, banning others from entering our country based on their religious beliefs, and generally winking and nodding at being a randy rascal who grabs attractive women by the kitty cats. But. I. Digress.
I never imagined that over the next four years— as my two sons begin to understand more about the world in which they live — that I would need to explain hate the way I’ll have to. When I was in Hebrew school and learned about the Holocaust, I was told of the devastation it caused within my family. My grandmother’s entire hometown was massacred. Much of her family did not survive. That personal connection was numbing. But, again: I lived in a nice suburb where The Holocaust was saved for special movies and solemn history lessons.
Modern-day civics had nothing to do with that kind of hate. That kind of hate had been pushed to the fringes of society, and me and my Jewish brethren were thriving. And now? Internet celebrities and fascist sycophants are being given headlines on CNN and round-the-clock coverage. Hate is now covered for ratings. Hate is now part of the zeitgeist.
I used to play the guitar. I never had any really talent for it, and soon put it away. But there was one song that I did learn. I did a pretty good job with it, too.
This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island,
From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf stream waters,
This land was made for you and me.
As I went walking that ribbon of highway
And saw above me that endless skyway,
And saw below me the golden valley, I said:
This land was made for you and me.
I roamed and rambled and followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts,
And all around me, a voice was sounding:
This land was made for you and me.
Legendary folk artist and social commentator Woody Guthrie wrote This Land Is Your Land in 1940, reacting to Kate Smith’s recording of Irving Berlin’s God Bless America, which was played everywhere and constantly during during the Great Depression; he thought it purposely complacent about the terrible injustices being suffered by most of the American public which he had witnessed first-hand after leaving his native Oklahoma to travel the rails across America, eventually ending up in California, where the Dust Bowl refugees – “Okies” – who had migrated hoping to find a better life, and instead finding only more suffering and cruelty – see John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath, or, even better, read the book by John Steinbeck – while the government did nothing
Why do I bring up this up? Because, when Guthrie recorded it in 1944 for Moe Asch at Folkways Records in New York City, Asch left out one particular lyric:
Was a high wall there that tried to stop me
A sign was painted said: Private Property,
But on the back side it didn’t say nothing –
This land was made for you and me.
Which, of course, made me think of our President-Elect.
And then, while doing a bit of research for this column, I found this from the New York Times, written on January 25 of this year by reporter Thomas Kaplan:
“More than a half-century ago, the folk singer Woody Guthrie signed a lease in an apartment complex in Brooklyn. He soon had bitter words for his landlord: Donald J. Trump’s father, Fred C. Trump.
“Mr. Guthrie, in writings uncovered by a scholar working on a book, invoked ‘Old Man Trump’ while suggesting that blacks were unwelcome as tenants in the Trump apartment complex, near Coney Island.
“‘He thought that Fred Trump was one who stirs up racial hate, and implicitly profits from it,’ the scholar, Will Kaufman, a professor of American literature and culture at the University of Central Lancashire in Britain, said in an interview…[who] about his findings … for The Conversation, a news website.
“In December 1950, Mr. Guthrie signed a lease at the Beach Haven apartment complex, Mr. Kaufman wrote in his piece. Soon, Mr. Guthrie was ‘lamenting the bigotry that pervaded his new, lily-white neighborhood,’ [Mr. Kaufman] wrote, with words like these:
‘I suppose / Old Man Trump knows / Just how much / Racial Hate / he stirred up / In the bloodpot of human hearts / When he drawed / That color line / Here at his / Eighteen hundred family project’
“Mr. Guthrie even reworked his song ‘I Ain’t Got No Home’ into a critique of Fred Trump, according to Mr. Kaufman:
‘Beach Haven ain’t my home! / I just can’t pay this rent! / My money’s down the drain! / And my soul is badly bent! / Beach Haven looks like heaven / Where no black ones come to roam! / No, no, no! Old Man Trump! / Old Beach Haven ain’t my home!’
“Mr. Guthrie died in 1967, and in the 1970s, the Justice Department sued the Trumps, accusing them of discriminating against blacks. (A settlement was eventually reached; at the time, Trump Management noted the agreement did not constitute an admission of guilt)…
“Mr. Kaufman, the author of ‘Woody Guthrie, American Radical,’ said Mr. Guthrie would be repulsed by the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. He pointed to Mr. Trump’s comments about Mexicans and Muslims, and contrasted the candidate’s sentiments to those of Mr. Guthrie in his song ‘Deportee,’ written about a plane crash that killed Mexican farm workers…
“‘Woody was always championing those who didn’t have a voice, who didn’t have any money, who didn’t have any power,’ Mr. Kaufman said. ‘There’s no doubt that he would have had maximum contempt for Donald Trump, even without the issue of race.’”
As someone posted on Facebook, maybe Superman can start fighting the Klu Klux Klan again.
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” — Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back
I never took the above quote very seriously. I liked it, it stuck with me, but I had always thought it was just George Lucas pop-pseudo vaguely Buddhisty philosophy.
Now… I’m not so sure.
Now I think I’m seeing it all around me in the wake of Donald Trump’s election this past week. Now it reverberates in me. There’s a lot of fear out there and some of it led to Trump’s winning. That has led to a lot of anger and there is also a lot of hate going around right now, on all sides of the political spectrum.
And I think it will lead to suffering.
The “dark side,” however, is not Lucas’s dark side of the Force. It is a dark side of our country, of us. It’s always there. It’s always been there.
We’re such an odd mixture. We pride ourselves on freedom, freedom for all, but blacks were denied that freedom and it was enshrined in the Constitution where they were defined as only 3/5ths of a person. Women weren’t even mentioned in the document until 1920 when the 19th Amendment was ratified and even today they don’t have equal rights in many cases.
The attitude towards Native Americans, to paraphrase General Phillip Sheridan, was that the only good Indian was a dead Indian. Our wretched track record on treaties only confirms the attitude behind such a statement. It can still be seen in the protest to the pipeline in North Dakota. And this doesn’t even begin to cover the attitude towards Latinos, Asians and the LGBTQ community among others.
It is fear – fear of the Others, the ones not like Us, the ones from Another Tribe. It is the consequence of the zero-sum mentality; for the Others to have more, I will have less. Equality, parity, means I will lose. Whites, and white males especially, are told they are privileged. I know that the first time I heard that, my response as a white male was that I wasn’t privileged. I had little money, little power, and my existence was precarious. I felt I wasn’t privileged; I was barely surviving.
I did learn better. The privilege that I had was that I had more opportunities, even if they didn’t always come through. I wouldn’t be followed when I went to a store because of my skin color; I didn’t face a glass ceiling or made less money for the same work because of my sex or that I was assumed to be inherently disordered because of my sexual orientation. I wasn’t threatened with deportation because of my nationality or regarded with suspicion because of my religion. All because I was born a Christian white male.
However, many people who are barely making it fear that for someone else to get more they must have less and they are barely existing as it is. Politicians and media exploit that for their own purposes. That fear leads to anger, that anger leads to hate, that hate leads to suffering. That’s the progression, that’s real, that’s going on right now whether you’re liberal or conservative. We all are going to suffer, this country is going to suffer, and I honestly don’t know if we’re going to survive as a people or a country. I really don’t know.
If there is a way to escape this progression? Marvin Gaye hit it with his song What’s Going On.
There’s too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There’s far too many of you dying
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today, eheh
We don’t need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today, oh oh oh
Picket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh, what’s going on
What’s going on
Yeah, what’s going on
Ah, what’s going on
On the one side, those of us who voted for Hillary Clinton have to see that not every Donald Trump supporter is a bigot, a xenophobe, a misogynist. They have some valid concerns and some real fears and they feel those concerns were not being heard. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. Yes, there is plenty of racism and bigotry and plain out hate in the Trump campaign but we have to sort those out and listen to the real concerns.
Those who voted for Trump have to listen, too, to the very real fears and concerns of our side. From what we’ve seen, from what we’ve heard, we see a despot in the making. That’s not just paranoia; the comparisons are apt and are there to be seen. We fear the loss of so much that is important to us – equal rights, the right of every woman to choose, the right to live in this country. We don’t feel we can wait and see what Trump does; we know what he has said and how he has behaved. There is real and valid fears and that leads to anger and that will lead to hate and that will lead to suffering.
What breaks the progression? Martin Luther King Jr said it better than I can.
“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate.
“So it goes.
“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
Those great philosophers, Bill and Ted, summed it up quite nicely: Be excellent to one another.
That’s not my line above; it’s from Woody Allen’s film Annie Hall. Allen told his friend he heard a television exec ask him that in a meeting. His friend said he was paranoid.
In the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, a Jewish man accidentally killed one black child and injured another when he lost control of his car. Black residents surrounded and beat the driver. The news reported everywhere. What was not reported is the act of an unidentified black man who led a Jewish passenger to safety.
A privately run Jewish ambulance responded and those paramedics began attending to the surviving child stilled pinned under the car. When an NYC-operated ambulance arrived, the scene coordinator instructed the Jewish team to evacuate the Jewish driver from the accident for his safety.
There was a police car already on the scene. Why didn’t the cops take the driver away? My opinion: A decision based on fear and a stupid coordinator. Rumors quickly flooded the black crowd; tales of the Jew being taken away in an ambulance thus abandoning the injured black child were rampant.
One of the horrible outcomes of this event was a mob of black youths fatally stabbed a young Orthodox Holocaust researcher just hours after the accident. No doubt rumors and young men’s bravado played a part in the killing.
Crown Heights endured three days of rioting and in New York City battle lines were drawn between blacks and Jews.
Most of the rioting was based on rumors; I know because I lived in Queens and passed through Crown Heights every day.
At that time any rumor was more than enough fuel in New York City at that point to light a racial fire.
New York’s mayor at the time did little to calm the racial embers, in fact, he flamed them.
That’s Rudy Giuliani even today. The Giuliani era was so close to Jim Crow some of us wondered when the cops would start wearing sheets.
The Crown Heights incident is among many that had contributed to the breakdown of Black and Jewish relations. It started way before Crown Heights. Black people and Jewish people have a joined history that is almost as old as this country.
In 1915 a Jewish man named Leo Frank was lynched in Georgia. He was found guilty of killing a 13-year-old girl. The fact he could not have done the murder because he had numerous witnesses placing him somewhere else did not matter. He was Jewish, and the next best thing to lynching a nigger was a Jew.
That event caused a lot of Jews to find a kinship with blacks. The same event caused a severe fracture between some blacks and Jews because at one point during the trial Frank’s defense attorney tried to pin the crime on a black janitor, calling the janitor, “…a lying nigger…” amongst other things.
Both African Americans and Jewish leaders have said some pretty damning stuff over the years about race. I’m well aware of the rhetoric on both sides, but it seems (at least to me) that the two above examples may illustrate at least part of why blacks and Jews have a somewhat intoxicating relationship like an alcoholic who wants to quit, but something always tips he or she off the wagon.
Horrible events both to be sure, nevertheless notable actions by blacks and Jews towards each other occurred. But command one of the media is not the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. It’s if it bleeds it leads. A positive does not sell as many papers.
Blacks and Jews, it’s one step forward and 12 steps back.
The black-and-Jew subject is the basis for my one and only conspiracy theory. That theory is that somehow The Man deliberately causes a rift between Black Americans and Jewish Americans. For more on The Man, read my upcoming book Uppity: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Black People But Were Afraid to Ask. You’ll find all you want to know about the Man in the chapter “The Man and other convenient ways white people think we blame somebody else when choked to death for selling loose cigarettes.”
American blacks and Jews are two groups of people who overcame slavery, continue to fight bigotry, and who have a rich cultural history. The fact that both groups of individuals continue to defy the odds should bond them. If that’s not enough, then we should at least come together because there is no better ethnic joke than a black or Jewish one.
What’s the object of a Jewish football game?
To get the quarterback.
Why did the police shoot the black man?
Because when they shouted “Get down” he started dancing.
I don’t think anybody laughs harder at jokes aimed at themselves than blacks or Jews. That may be because we see the bigger picture. We have to laugh, or all we would ever do is cry.
Those who make light of our history and exploit stereotypes to divide us fear what our two groups could accomplish if we were united.
Given the similar history and related roadblocks that blacks and Jews share, why is there this tension? What makes it more perplexing to me is in the not-so-distant past, blacks and Jews were a united front. If you watch those early civil rights marches of the Sixties on film, you will see scores of Jews arm-in-arm with black marchers.
What happened? Where and when did the road fork and we decide that our paths were better traveled separately? Not only separate but shooting affronts at each other while doing so.
In some African-American communities, there is a hatred of Jews that is almost palpable and the same hate for us in some Jewish neighborhoods.
I am not an expert on race… far from it. All of what I write is from my bittersweet experiences in life. These are my opinions to be sure. But somewhere buried in myself absorbed rants, there may be a glimmer of an answer to the bigger picture of the black and Jewish issue.
Surely some will think I’m just talking shit and have no business commenting on the black and Jewish issue. You may think I’m ill-equipped to deal with such a complexed issue. But just like those who thought Mrs. Trump wrote her speech you’d be wrong as in incorrect because I was raised half Jewish!
My mother would be surprised to hear that since she raised me alone.
I’ll explain with a tale of my youth…
I was a latchkey kid. For those among you too rich or too obtuse to know what that means, I’ll school ya: every day after school; I came home to an empty apartment in the projects. My mother was working three jobs most days.
Where was my father?
The chapter in my book you want is “Where’s Daddy?” After reading that chapter, for further clarity, read the chapter “Who’s My Daddy?” After that, turn your attention to the chapter “Are You My Daddy? Somewhere in there, you may find the answer to that question. Oh, if you do, please tell me.
As a latchkey kid, I would let myself into the apartment after school, remove the dinner from the refrigerator my mother left for me, park myself in front of the TV and stuff my face. Sometimes my sister Sharon would be home, and we would do what all loving siblings did with mom not home: Try and kill each other.
My sister was four years older than me and would always find ever more innovative ways to hurt me. Once when I was six, Sharon picked me up, held me by my feet and proceeded to bang my head on the floor…hard.
Another time she decided she would be a good girl and be nice to me.
She asked if I wanted some tea. I said yes surprised at the bizarre niceness of my mortal enemy. She got out the tea set she received for Christmas, poured in some tap water and placed it on the stove. After lighting the stove, we both sat down and waited for that magical moment when the teakettle would whistle.
That was a huge deal with us. We were at that age where those kinds of things were full of wonder. After a very few moment, we noticed that instead of hearing something we smelled something. We then noticed that the Teakettle was moving.
This took a second to register. My mother’s teakettle whistled, but, Sharon’s had, it seems magic!! It moved! I was smiling like a crack addict who just made friends with the CIA distributor to the hood! When I looked over at Sharon, her face looked like it did when we snuck in to see The Exorcist.
I soon joined her horror when I realized plastic teakettles melt… all down the stove. Wow, who knew plastic was not fireproof? Her teakettle looked just like the kettle my mother used except that it was pink and had pictures of Barbie all over it. Except for that, it looked the same.
Sharon turned off the stove and with the help of a dishtowel she removed what she could of the teakettle from the stove. What she managed to remove was microscopic. The plastic had melted all over the stove dripped down onto the floor, and the apartment smelled terrible.
Then in walked my mother. She stared at the stove and screamed, “What happened?!?” I remember thinking that this was a good thing. I had not put the kettle on the stove. I had not messed up the stove, and, it was not me that made the apartment smell bad. Then I remembered all the times Sharon had beat me up when my mom was not around. It seemed that the devil was finally about to get her due. My mother repeated what she had screamed before, but this time directed it right at my sister.
“What happened?” Sharon looked right into my mother’s eyes, and with a look so sincere I almost believed her when she said, “Michael did it.”
What happened next is so ingrained in my memory, it’s like it happened yesterday. But to properly share that moment with you I must explain a bit about who I was at six years old. You may find it hard to believe from some of the things I write, but, I was a very cute adorable and well-behaved child. I never talked back; I never cried, and I never used a bad word in my life.
Now? I cry at the very mention of some things. The other day someone mentioned my all time favorite film My Best Friend’s Wedding. Immediately my mind’s eye saw Julia Roberts yielding the man she loved while giving a speech at his wedding!
What about bad words? Give me a fucking moment, will you?
Back in the day, my mother made it crystal clear that those ‘naughty’ words were not for her son. Nope, not her baby. I was a good boy. My mother looked at me after Sharon spoke her nasty lie. Before she could say anything, I focused my big brown puppy eyes and promptly descended to the dark side.
“BULLSHITTTTTTTT!!!!” I yelled!
After my mother had got over that outburst she, decided that both my sister and I were at fault. She made us both promise to be more careful and to underscore that point she shot us both in the chest. (For more on this, see the chapter “Angry Black Women”) but somehow Sharon and I survived.
OK, that did not happen. My mother did not shoot my sister or me in the chest. What kind of mother would that make her?
She shot us in the leg.
You got me, that did not happen either but, we did get punished and never pulled a stunt like that again. I often think what may have happened if my sister and I had not sat down to wait for the whistle of the kettle. What most likely would have happened is a horrible tenement fire in the least. I shared the above story because it’s relevant to the very real dangers facing latchkey kids and underscores the importance of the angel about to enter my life.
Because we were poor, even a mishap like that could not stop my mother from working all the jobs she had to work to support my sister and me. So a few years later, I was still a kid living in the Edgemere projects in Rockaway Queens. 434 Beach 58 Street Far Rockaway Queens Apt. 8B, to be exact. Back when we moved into Edgemere, they were lower income projects and the families living there were mostly Jewish older people. One fateful day, I was sitting in the hallway outside my apartment waiting for my mother to get home.
I had forgotten my key. So there I sat reading comics and starving. Man, was I was hungry. My hunger made worse by the knowledge I had no idea when Sharon would be home, and it was hours before my mother would.
Every time I would hear the ding of the elevator I would whip my head around hoping to see my sister. Instead, I would see neighbors enter their apartments paying me no never mind, or worse giving me the ‘You must be up to no good’ look. This sad ritual continued for a long while.
After a time I did not even look up when I heard the sound of the elevator. I dozed off and awoke to see a pair of feet. I lifted my head; this white lady was staring down at me.
I stared up at her in silent wonder. “What are you doing?” she asked. “I’m waiting for my mother. I forgot my key.” I answered. She looked down at me and thought about my reply. “Come with me,” she said as she started to walk towards her apartment door. I stayed where I was. I had seen this woman before, but I did not know her, so I stayed put. Many times I had been told to stay away from strangers, and, I was staying put.
She turned back to me while she put her key in the lock and asked me, “You coming?” I said, “My mother told me never to go with strangers.” “That’s good advice, but I’m not a stranger. I live down the hall from you.” That made a lot of sense to me, but, I was staying put.
Nope, I was not going anywhere with this lady. I was not going to end up killed and stuffed in a hamper in her bathroom. “You want something to ea…?”
I was in her apartment faster than a speeding Rodney King.
Her name was Mrs. Tannebaum and looked around 60. She sat me down at her dining table and went into the kitchen no doubt for a knife to kill me. I just hoped she fed me first. Her apartment walls filled with photos and what I would later learn lots of Jewish works of art and other artifacts.
Mrs. Tannebaum came back into the dining room with a bowl of soup, or so she said. To me, it looked like a giant white ball floating in some strange looking liquid. “What’s this?” I asked. Mrs. Tannebaum said,
“Matzo ball soup. It’s good. Eat it.”
At that moment, every single thing that my mother ever said could happen to me flooded my mind. I knew the soup was poison. It had to be. Look at it! There was a giant ball in the middle of it. What crazy person puts a ball in food? Mrs. Tannebaum must have realized the reason for my hesitation because she picked up a spoon, scooped some soup from my bowl, ate it turned around and walked out of the room.
I continued to stare at the soup. OK, it was not poison but, there was still a giant ball in the middle of the soup. Mrs. Tannebaum returned with a plate full of…. cookies! Now we are talking! She placed the cookies on the table I reached for one, but in a lighting swift move she slapped my hand and withdrew the cookies from my grasp.
“Eat your soup; then you can have a cookie.” I was starving. I wanted those cookies. I slowly placed my spoon in the soup, then my mouth. My imagination kicked in this surely would taste like dirt dipped in doo-doo.
The reality? Oh, My God!!! It was great! I could not believe this! This was the best thing I had ever eaten except for candy. I devoured that soup like Fox News would an Obama sex tape. When done, I asked for more. She filled my bowl, and I sucked it down just as fast. Mrs. Tannebaum asked for my phone number called my mother who happened to be home now… darn it.
My mom came over and got me. She spent a few moments talking and thanking Mrs. Tannebaum, and homeward we went. The next day, there I sat waiting for my new best friend. No, I had not forgotten my key again… but she did not know that. Mrs. Tannebaum once again opened her home to me. This was now my daily ritual, and after a while, my mom would just pick me up from there. I realized when I got older that Mrs. Tannebaum was happy to have my company and I was glad to be there.
At first, I was just going over for the eats, but after a while, it occurred to me that I would rather be over at Mrs. Tannebaum house talking to her than anywhere else. She spent lots of time telling me about the Jewish people, and I found it absorbing. I remember when she said about the eight days of Hanukkah. That night I told my mother I wanted to be Jewish. “Jewish kids get presents every day for eight days! All we get is a lousy one day for Christmas!” I told my mother who just looked at me with a smile. “What do you want for dinner?” she asked me still smiling. I answered without missing a beat; “Bagels and lox!” My mother’s smile turned into a laugh, and eventually, my reply turned into one of her favorite stories, much to my annoyance. Most of the times spent at Mrs. Tannebaum were very cool. She had a quick wit and a winning smile and color TV! Batman was blue?
I noticed she would always have on a sweater no matter how cold or hot. One day as she was walking into the living room, I saw a faded tattoo on her forearm as she was putting on one of her sweaters. ‘Cool tattoo,” I commented. Mrs. Tietelbaum stopped in her tracks and looked straight at me. She then sat down beside me.
This move freaked me out. She would never sit down when I was over. She would always be up doing something: Cooking, cleaning, always something.
So when she sat down beside and held my hand, I knew this was serious. Even today, decades later I can see the pained look on her face. She told me how she and her family were at Auschwitz and what that meant. As she spoke, she started to cry because she was crying, I began to cry. Most of what she told me I will never forget.
“My mother, father, and brother were in the camp. It was a terrible place, run by terrible people. They killed many there just because we were Jewish. My family survived, but many I knew murdered because they were Jewish.” I recall being a little confused because of the word “camp.” Mrs. Tannebaum explained to me that this was an entirely different kind of camp and indeed it was.
This was a dangerous place with evil people the counselors. That day I left her apartment determined not go back there the next day.
My mother must have been surprised to find me home. A few days afterward, Mrs. Tannebaum left some soup for me, and my mom told me to go over and thank her. I did not want to go over there. That talk about the camp freaked me out and made me feel strange. However, when my mom told me to do something, I did it. I knocked on Mrs. Tannebaum door and was met with a big smile. “There’s my friend!” She said with glee.
This floored me. I had never had a grown-up call me friend before. “Where you been?” I gave her some story about something and then proceeded to thank her for the soup. It was my intention to say ‘thank you’ then get out of dodge, but I sat down when she asked me to, and we had quite a nice visit…(there were cookies!) Mrs. Tannebaum did not bring up the camp and we settled down into our routine again.
Some years later during a social studies class, I amazed my teacher when I was able to name one of the Nazi concentration camps. Later that day, I knocked on Mrs. Tietelbaum’s door and told her about my star moment in class. Over the years, I stayed close to her, running errands hanging out at her house, exchanging Hanukah gifts. She was delighted that I was doing well in school and we talked in more detail about her stay in the camp. Years later during a screening of the movie Schindlers’ List, I thought about Mrs. Tietelbaum for the first time in years.
As I watched the film, I started to cry as I am now, I had to leave the theater for a few minutes. Yes, I told you I cry at movies. I’m a 6 foot 2, 200-pound black man, and I cry at movies. Trust me no one should see that and when I watch My Best Friend’s Wedding… oy vey!
Mrs. Tannebaum attended my grade school, junior high, high school, and undergrad graduation. She was a loving woman despite a life peppered with nightmares. The horror she endured never more than a few nights sleep away. She would delight in pointing out the similarities between our two races. What she instilled in me was a high regard for Jews pride in my blackness and respect for all people.
“Even Germans?” I asked her one day. “Yes.” She said. “German people are not bad. They had a bad leader.”
I’m not an expert on race relations by any means, but I don’t have to be to know my relationship with that wonderful Jewish lady is the America we are supposed to be. When I was sitting on her couch, I was just a child she was an aging woman, and we were happy not just in each other’s company, but in each other’s life.
Four years ago I created the Hidden Beach Universe. I wrote about it here. It’s about a man who became president from a lie. Once in power, he lived up to his promises which meant American citizens who were not his idea of America had to go.
One way or the other.
Women punished for their choices.
African Americans stripped of hard fought liberties.
Gays told to return to the closet in and out of the military.
Americans divided by race, the government fueling the discord.
It’s so goddamn close it feels like I wrote Trump’s story four years ago, and although it forecast with pinpoint accuracy the coming of the Donald so to speak, I thought it might have been a little over the top with its Hitler-like view of what America would become under such a rule.
It makes for an excellent graphic novel, but in real life it’s a horrible idea.
Today is election day. The three women – my mother, sister and my dear friend are all gone, as are their votes. Good riddance some of Trump’s supporters would say. No, not all not by a long shot but many and you can spin that shit any fashion you want, they exist. Any number more than zero is too many of that kind of support.
To that type of folk, they were three votes from two niggers and a kike.
Wrong again. That’s three Americans who lived their life helping not hurting others. Removing walls not building them. Freedom and liberty as one people not hate and intolerance was how they saw life in the USA because that’s what America says it is.
If you don’t believe in that stop quoting anything the founding fathers and Lincoln wrote because that’s pretty much all they say.
Trump’s America is not the America that would have liberated Auschwitz or freed the slaves. Trump’s not the American that should be President of the United States. He should note be trusted with our children future.
“Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
Robert Oppenheimer the father of the Atomic Bomb.
“Why would we make them if we’re not going to use them?”
Before I get to the heart of my column today, I just wanted to mention that if you’re jonesing for Matt Smith, may I suggest The Crown, the new Netflix original series, about Queen Elizabeth. No, not the red-headed daughter of Anne Boleyn and Henry Tudor (a.k.a. Henry VIII) whose story has been told numerous times on both small and big screens, but Queen Elizabeth II, the current English monarch whose reign is at 62 years and counting.
The erstwhile titular star of Doctor Who plays Prince Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh, who married Elizabeth in 1947 after officially giving up his royal relationship to the Greek and Danish royal families and becoming a naturalized British citizen. I have never been a fan of Prince Philip – he has always seemed to me to be the epitome of the “ruling class,” cold, distant, and without empathy or sympathy for us working slobs. In fact, I’ve often wondered just what the hell Elizabeth Windsor ever saw in him. However, as played by Matt – at least so far, I’ve only seen the first two episodes (before King George’s death from cancer, though he is already terminally ill) and concentrating on the young royal couple’s carefree life – the young Philip is sexy, athletic, incredibly handsome, loving, and an all-around great guy. He even takes over the renovating of Clarence House.
And attention Matt Smith fans! He has an adorable butt, as seen in a bedroom scene… and according to the RadioTimes website, more are coming! Quoting from the article:
“The British actor – who stars alongside [Claire] Foy in Peter Morgan’s lavish tale of Queen Elizabeth II’s early years – bares his backside in the occasional bedroom scene, but not for the reasons one might expect.
“’A crucial thing is that Philip sleeps naked. That’s a fact. That was something that we found out… They weren’t put in – it’s just the fact that there are bed scenes. And what do you do, put Philip in a pair of [sic] pyjamas? That’s not right for the character.’ Smith joked that the scenes were ‘actually the best bit of acting I did in the whole series. No word of a lie. It was my most truthful moment.’”
As I said, I’ve only seen the first two episodes – the only reason I stopped was that it was getting really late and my eyelids were growing heavy – but so far, so good. (By the way, an added bonus is watching John Lithgow as the once and re-elected Prime Minister Winston Churchill.) So if you needing your Matt Smith fix, or just really missing Downton Abbey – I’ve been rebinging on the Crawley family, and now that I think of it, my guess is that they would all be still alive in 1947. Well, maybe except for the Dowager Countess Violet, but I wouldn’t really be surprised if that redoubtable woman spit in the face of death – go stream The Crown.
• • • • •
Tomorrow is Election Day. As I posted to Mary Mitchell, John Ostrander’s talented and lovely wife <snikt>
We interrupt this column for your columnist to watch the last 1:43 seconds of the Giants-Eagles game. Score is Giants 28, Eagles 23. Both teams are 4-3. Eagles just intercepted, in easy field goal range, but the Eagles are going for it. (They are now on the Giants’ 17-yard line.) Third down and ten. Now fourth and ten. Timeout – clock reset 10 seconds, now 1:28 left. Fourth down conversions for Eagles today is 1 for 3. Eagles quarterback Wentz throw a pass into the end zone to Eagles wide receiver Matthews. No good!!!!!!!! The Giants hang on to win!!!!!! <snikt>
As I was saying…
Tomorrow is Election Day. As I posted to Mary Mitchell, John Ostrander’s talented and lovely wife – Iam absolutely terrified that he will win. And I have never been scared of the “other” candidate winning. Sad? Yes. Concerned? Yes. But never terrified.
For the record, while I am a registered Democrat – I became one back in 2008 so I could vote for Obama in the primary here in New Jersey – and while I do believe that the Republican Party has, since the election of Bill Clinton, completed its morphication into the Repugnantican Party, as those who follow me and/or on Facebook know – it might interest you to know that I have voted the Republican ticket before: for Tom Kean and Christie Whitman as New Jersey governors in their respective races, and, most notably, you will all drop dead with surprise now, for George H. W. “Pappy” Bush as President in his (first) 1988 campaign. (Unlike waaaaay too many Americans, I also consider foreign policy when choosing my Presidents, and as Director of the CIA, “Pappy” had the inside track; there’s a reason we didn’t go all the way into Baghdad in the Gulf War, and George H. W. Bush knew it and got it, i.e., the balance of power sometimes makes ugly bedfellows. See Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin in WW II for reference. Or if it’s too much work for you to do a little historical research, just look what’s happened in the Middle East since Bush, Jr. took out Saddam.) Besides, Barbara Bush is pro-choice, and I have always suspected that her husband is, too, even if it has not been politically expedient for him to say so.
So why am I so terrified of a President Trump? Let me put into comic book terms:
I would rather have Lex Luthor as President than Donald Trump. Why? Because Lex Luthor, archenemy of Superman, is smart. Trump is not.
I would vote for Wilson Fisk before I could ever vote for Donald Trump. Why? Because Wilson Fisk, archenemy of Daredevil, loves his woman beyond himself. Trump is a man whose women are only reflections of his own narcissism.
I would vote for Doctor Doom before I could ever vote for Donald Trump. Why? Because Doctor Doom, archenemy of the Fantastic Four, loves his country, Latveria. Trump does not love the United States; he loves Amerika.
Do you want a taste of Trump’s Amerika?
Here is the transcript of what President Obama said to the crowds attending his rally for Hillary Clinton on Friday night in Fayetteville, North Carolina as he was interrupted by a Trump supporter; the crowd was loudly booing and getting riled up:
“Hey! Listen up! I told you to be focused, and you’re not focused right now. Listen to what I’m saying. Hold up. Hold up! Hold up! Hold up! Everybody sit down, and be quiet for a second… First of all, we live in a country that respects free speech. Second of all, it looks like maybe he might’ve served in our military and we got to respect that. Third of all, he was elderly and we got to respect our elders. And fourth of all, don’t boo, vote.”
And here is what Trump told his supporters about the incident at his campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania:
“There was a protester and a protester that likes us. And what happened is they wouldn’t put the cameras on him. They kept the cameras on Obama… He was talking to a protester, screaming at him, really screaming at him. By the way, if I spoke the way Obama spoke to that protester, they would say he became unhinged.”
You see, if you take the partisan politics out of it, if you don’t talk about what Democrats or Republicans think, the Trump video and the response to it gives you insights into what women in today’s America go through every single day.
I’m not saying that every single American man is as vulgar as Trump. I’m actually pretty crude myself, and have been known to engage in locker-room banter when I find myself among my fellow women in comics. In my experience (and I know I am not everyone), women’s locker room talk tends to be more about who has the worst cramps and not who is getting the most action. If there is a list of which men in comics are the most well-endowed or give the best head, it has not been shared with me.
However, using vulgar words is different from bragging about criminal conduct. When Trump talks about grabbing women by the pussy, he causes every woman in America to shudder. Being grabbed by one’s vulva is not sexy. It’s assault. It’s a man asserting dominance over a woman. And, as near as I can tell, all women have experienced it in some form or another.
Women are reminded on a daily basis that they are considered an assortment of body parts, not real people. As such, we are there for the taking, and grabbing is not the only way this happens. We are often physically threatened non-verbally, and accused of being “too sensitive” when we point out this behavior. If there was anything positive to say about Sunday’s debate, it’s that women called this out in public forums, and were believed.
This is not something that only happens to women running for president. It happens to every woman who tries to live publicly as a real person, not a beautiful object.
I said this would have something to do with comics, and it does. Comics, now more than ever, are part of show business. As you could see on the Access Hollywood tape, show business in this country, despite a reputation for “liberalism,” is in fact quite patriarchal, racist and sexist. Straight cis white guys, especially when they are celebrities, feel pretty much entitled to their positions at the top of the heap. And, because our industry is so small, it’s easier to be a celebrity in comics than almost any other field.
In my experience, this meant that my opinions were not seriously considered at meetings. My objections to particular characters or storylines were dismissed. My suggestions for how to grow the market were ignored. And when I needed to go to the bathroom, the women’s facility was identified by a life-size illustration on the door of a version of Catwoman who was as anatomically impossible as a Barbie doll.
Traveling for business was even more fraught with peril. My husband and son came with me a few times, when I had to go to someplace really nice, but most of the time, I was on my own. I could listen to conversations at the convention booth or at the hotel bar, and find out which of my female colleagues were considered the most attractive and/or the most attainable. No one ever made a move on me. I tend to go to bed early, so I might have missed the more drunken revels. Maybe I wasn’t ever enough of a threat to need conquering. Or maybe I’m so unattractive that I’m beneath contempt. Whatever the reason, I’m grateful.
This isn’t to say that every straight man who works in comics is a rapist, nor even a sexist. You don’t have to commit heinous acts to be part of the problem. You simply have to know about them and do nothing. You simply have to dismiss the experiences of your female colleagues as overreacting. You simply have to excuse a person with a known problem because he is popular or talented.
Just as African-American men must consider, every day, what they have to do to avoid getting shot by police, women (of all colors, nationalities, and affectional preferences) have to consider what they will do, or wear, or where they’ll go, and if any of those things will get them raped. All this mental and emotional energy could be better used at work, or in the kitchen, or on the playground with our kids. We could turn these energies to more creative pursuits.
If we treated each other with respect, as people, and not as stereotypes, we might get better comics out of it.
Sometimes I think the most difficult job in the DC Universe is Bruce Wayne’s accountant.
Bruce Wayne doesn’t go to H & R Block. Who takes care of him?
I mean, I assume that all the Wayne businesses, including WayneCorp and the Wayne Foundation, use one firm, and the person who does Bruce’s personal tax returns is part of that firm. Or there are accountants and tax lawyers who work directly for the company, and one of them is assigned to Bruce. Whatever the arrangement, one hopes that they strive for an impeccable separation of business, philanthropy, and personal finances.
Bruce rarely seems interested or involved in his corporate financials. The Nolan movies established that Lucius Fox uses an unobtrusive division of WayneCorp to develop various Bat-tech under the guise of government military research. Those expenses won’t show up on Bruce’s tax forms.
Bruce is extremely interested and involved in Wayne Foundation charities. He is often shown to be an active donor and fund-raiser. Almost as frequently, he is shown learning about the potential recipients of his charity, studying how to best help them. He does this so often that it seems unlikely that anyone would connect his generous impulses in general to the innocent victims of Batman’s specific activities.
Neither his corporation nor his charities would raise tax questions. I’m thinking about his personal tax returns. All the equipment deliveries to the Manor. All the repairs after on-site fights. Even the medical supplies that Alfred keeps on hand. All of these things leave a paper trail, the kind that the IRS wants to know about.
My tax returns aren’t as complicated as I imagine Bruce Wayne’s to be, but they do stack up to be several inches tall. I know that I need to have receipts and more on hand. I can’t believe that Bruce (or, more likely, Alfred) doesn’t have file cabinets and/or hard drives full of the stuff.
Bruce Wayne needs to hire the best possible people to take care of his taxes. His wealthy playboy persona demands it. And I do believe that because he’s Batman, he would only hire the most ethical. And smart, honest accountants ask a lot of questions. And they want to see receipts.
I don’t believe Batman is trying to cheat the federal government. Bruce Wayne is not using his position to amass personal power. He’s not on the ballot. His taxes are none of my business.
I’m a writer of fantastic fiction. That’s been my bread and butter for over 30 years. Folks that fly. Folks that travel through time. Folks that live in multi-dimensional cities. Bad folks doing bad things for ostensibly good causes. And so on and so on.
For all that the stories and characters have been fantastic, I have to keep them in some ways real. I don’t want to have the readers say, “Oh, that could never happen.” I don’t want to have an editor say, “Oh, that could never happen.” Or “That’s ridiculous.” Or “Who do you think you’re kidding?” The stories need to be at least plausible in some way.
Or so I thought until this political season.
Yes, I’m going to use the T word. Trump.
If Trump did not exist, if I had simply made up him and his candidacy, I could never have sold his campaign for president. I don’t think I know an editor who would have bought it except as some wild political satire. It would probably have been dismissed as a product of my fevered liberal brain.
Reality has… trumped me.
That happens now and then. When I first proposed my idea back in the 80s for a Suicide Squad revival, of saying that the government would get supervillains to do covert missions is (supposedly) in the National Interest, there was some concern that the premise was a little too out there. In between the time when the Squad proposal was accepted and the first issue was published, Irangate hit. (For those who are too young or too old to remember, Irangate or The Iran-Contra Scandal occurred during the second Reagan administration where the White House sold some weapons to Iran (which was under an arms embargo) and used the money to fund the revel Contras in Nicaragua which had been prohibited by the U.S. Congress.)
In short, reality trumped me back then as well.
When Donald Trump declared himself a candidate for President, I thought it was a joke. I thought he was a joke. After all, he ran before and went nowhere.
Now? Now he’s the Republican nominee for the highest office in the land and the most powerful person on the planet.
I think that’s a notion that American Horror Story could do a whole season on.
He has done and said things that would have sunk any other presidential candidate in memory. Just this week he praised Vlad Putin, the dictator of Russia, and even went on Russian TV to praise him and disparage President Obama. That was too much even for Bill O’Reilly. I’ve watched countless Republicans in high positions who had to answer questions about it and looked like they were going to vomit in their mouths. They usually mumbled something along the lines of “I support the Party’s candidate.”
Look, I make no bones and no apologies for what I am – liberal and decidedly anti-Trump. I’m not nuts about Hillary Clinton and, frankly, I think if it had been almost any other person who was the Democratic candidate, they would be crushing Trump. I think, and hope, that she will in the end. All that said, I cannot conceive that Trump will win this. I keep telling myself it’s not possible but, on the other hand, I never thought he would get this far either. I do not understand the appeal. I understand there’s a lot of anger out there and a lot of people are fed up with Washington but – c’mon! You seriously want the nuclear launch codes in Trump’s hands?
If this wasn’t what we laughingly call reality, there’s no way I could have sold this concept, this story, to an editor.
If The Donald wins the election, we’ll have an additional definition for the word, “trump.”
Today I’m going to diverge a bit from my usual spiel, but not by much. Oh, who the hell am I kidding? This is pretty much par for the course at this point.
Last week millions of us bore witness to the Republican National Convention, a subsidiary of Trump. One of the points that was made throughout the convention was how they had speakers of all different backgrounds at one point or another, despite the overall representation being very white. Since representation is something I’ve dedicated a lot of my time and energy into for this column, I feel that I should address this and how it parallels representation in comics and other media.
Starting on July 18th and going through the 21st, overlapping with San Diego Comic Con, the Republican National Convention rolled out many women speakers, Hispanics, black men, and even a gay man. Sure, Peter Thiel is a cis white billionaire who was outed against his will, but he’s still queer so that’s something, I guess. Republicans then used these speakers to make the claim that they’re the party of diversity and promptly patted themselves on the back for it.
Sound like something I’ve said before? You probably read what I wrote about Star Trek Beyond, Marvel’s handling of Iceman (I know, I’ve referenced that Iceman piece a lot lately), and more. These all fall under diversity being added for positive press hits. And similar to the Republican National Convention, highlighting efforts of diversity in comics and movies tend to come from straight cis white guys downplaying how dominated their industries are by other straight cis white guys.
Now I’m not comparing the likes of Simon Pegg to Donald J. Trump. Though diversity for good press in the entertainment biz isn’t without harm, it’s certainly not on the same level as what Donald Trump has done and can do.
There is an assumption that tends to come with being inclusive. The assumption being that you must support X fully and without hesitation if you give X any level of positive or even neutral representation. We see this all the time in comics and movies like with the representation mentioned earlier. We have also seen this in politics. And yes, Democrats can be guilty of this too, but the Republican National Convention this time around was exceptional.
Many speakers at the convention made it a point to condemn PC culture. They made sure to have non-white speakers like Ben Carson to stress this point too so as to show it is not just the rhetoric of a shrinking voting block. Similarly, they found about as many black men as they could find to say either Blue Lives Matter or All Lives Matter. The intention of which was to make it okay to say those things because black men also say them, despite the disparity between how many people in a particular community feel about an issue like that.
Watching that display at the convention brought back the recent memories of the team on Star Trek Beyond having Zachary Quinto speak on George Takei’s disapproval of Sulu being gay now since Zachary Quinto himself is gay so of course his opinion is right. Or how Axel Alonso defended Marvel’s hip hop covers campaign using the fact that since they have radically diverse editors on staff that they are right. Paul Jenkins in my interview with him a few weeks ago stated how he had trans consultants on the script for Alters with the implications that he’s justified in approaching this comic the way he is. Often PC culture is blamed here as well.
It’s important to keep in mind that people like Zachary Quinto, Axel Alonso, and Paul Jenkins in these particular instances aren’t inherently wrong because they found people that agree with them from the communities that would be the most skeptical. The Republican Party isn’t inherently wrong for the same reason.
Minority communities are not monoliths. We are all individuals with minds of our own and different sets of experiences that shape our outlooks. And all of these communities are large enough where you can find nearly every opinion under the sun in them. So please, whether it’s in politics, movies, comics or elsewhere, don’t ever assume that a couple of people from one group expressing an opinion represents the entire group.