December 11th, 2011

Picard

Maybe We Should Conduct Ourselves In A Civilized Manner... Naaaaaaah

J. Michael Straczynski is a dick.

That's right, I said it.

There's a reason rumors are so prevalent in the comic book industry.  It's because the truth remains hidden, and the only way to learn what is really going on, who the good people are, who the bad people are, is to go underground.

I've had a beef with JMS for years.  I admired the guy's writing talent.  Babylon 5 is one of the true classics of sci-fi.  However, people like me have seen a side of him (no, I still can't talk about what it was) that threw him into a very unflattering light.  The only thing people can do is keep presenting a good public face so that the rumors remain just that...rumors.  No one can step forward to say what they really think and feel.  They'll be branded as haters or whatever, and your fans with white knight for you.  But for that to happen, you cannot, under any circumstances, let your real self be shown.

JMS just threw away his protection and showed the world what a dick he is.

This started years ago, when JMS was writing The Amazing Spider-Man.  He wrote it for years, and left just as Marvel was launching the Brand New Day continuity.  Circumstances were supposedly less than acrimonious.  JMS went to Thor, then jumped to DC, where his reputation for pretentious storytelling and egotism started to grow, culminating in Superman walking across America while refusing to use his powers to help anyone.

Everybody still with me so far?  That's good!

So, a few days ago, JMS shows the fire still burns.  He posted this little graphic to his public FAILbook page:



He also made this little note:  "Sales on The Amazing Spider-Man since my departure.  Just sayin'."  (Editorial note:  the links I could use are no longer working, suggesting that this got pulled down for reasons I will get to anon.)

Now, how do you interpret this post?  Is there any way it could possibly be construed as anything other than a passive-aggressive slam on the current editorial and creative staff at ASM?  I would like to point out that JMS wrote under Joe Quesada, who isn't even EIC anymore.  Steve Wacker is the line editor now.  Wacker came out swinging, and JMS told him he was overreacting, he never said anything to put down the creative staff.  In fact, Dan Slott (one of the good guys) had contacted JMS and they had a civil discussion about whether or not this was an attack on the current creative staff.  JMS wrote, "If you choose to continue the conversation, please try to do so in a grown-up fashion, as did Dan Slott. You might find it a refreshing change."  JMS has a lot of balls doing this then saying Wacker should act like a grown-up.

Wacker returned fire with damning evidence -- not only did he pull up the official statements showing the print run numbers, but he also pointed out that the chart JMS posted came from a site that hates Marvel, cooking the numbers and threatening people like Dan Slott with physical violence.  JMS got awful quiet after that.

Dan Slott, as is his way, tried to calm everyone down.  He wrote, "Hugs for everyone. *hugs*"

And then, Mark Waid came out of the booth.  I've already covered how outspoken Waid is.  He is the one person in comics I am afraid to get into a verbal sparring match with.  Completely unbidden, Waid posted this:

"Dick move, Joe. Flat out, a dick move, and you know it. Either your point was to show people how awesome you were, or to show people how things have deteriorated since your absence. There’s no other way to interpret your post. None. Are you really that hard up for approbation and fan love that you can’t rise above that sort of shit? I understand Wacker’s frustration. Maybe he overreacted a bit, in the way good friends DO react when they perceive their friends and employees being attacked by a bitter man with a bottomless ego, but you made the first move, and it was a dick move. And if anyone doubted you were doing it for anything other than informational purposes, adding “Just sayin’” was the snarktacular icing on the cake. No one says “Just sayin’” unless they’re doing exactly the opposite of “Just sayin’

"…

"Half an hour later, still fuming at JMS’s shitty passive-aggressiveness. I should probably go walk it off. Maybe with a long walk. A long, dull, pointless, boring walk. Across America.

"…

"That I won’t finish."

While opinion initially was that Whacker hyped a little but JMS was being a bitch, Waid is now (deservedly) considered a hero for putting the smack down on JMS.

And now, the rest of the world sees what we have seen.

JMS is a dick.  A talented dick, but still a dick.
GetDownAmerica

The Iowa Republican Debate Postmortem

Damn, that was fun last night.  No movie can provide that much entertainment.

Last night was the last R debate before the Iowa caucuses that are less than a month away.  Get ready for a long, protracted campaign, folks.  There are four candidates making noise -- Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich.  (Bachmann and Santorum ain't even viable, so forget about them.)  And none of them will give up position.

This was the most important debate, because remember Conventional Wisdom -- the candidate who took Iowa wound up getting the party's nod for the nomination since 1972.  With the news cycle going into hibernation because of the Christmas holidays, this is the last image of the candidates people will have until the new year and just before the votes get taken.

Gingrich revealed his opportunist stripes to anyone paying a lick of attention.  When he first started running, he was just there to try to keep the others from bouncing off the ceiling.  He repeated decried how the questions in the debate were meant to pit the candidates against each other and how everyone should be civil, respectful, and co-operative.  But anyone can be a good sport when they are losing and can never win.  Gingrich has since become the front runner, and last night, the gloves came off.  Romney realized that, in order to get his momentum back, he had to target Gingrich.  Gingrich handed him his ass with snarky remarks, saying the only reason Romney worked in his precious private sector and wasn't a career politician was because he lost to Ted Kennedy.  Romney actually had a good counter, saying if he had been drafted out of college, he'd be a career football player.  But no news outlets are covering that part, only Gingrich's smack.  Now that Gingrich has a shot at the nomination, he's gone negative instead of his, "I'm staying above the fray."  And the true self emerges.

(Side note:  the Tea Partiers can kiss my Polish ass.  With Cain dropping out of the race, their support has gone to Gingrich.  In other words, the Tea Partiers, who want someone who isn't business as usual in Washington, are backing the most business as usual candidate in Washington, DC.  Fuck.  You.  All.)

Ron Paul consistently got applause when he spoke.  I'm telling you, I'm not sure he'll take Iowa or NH, but I have a gut feeling he'll take second in one, possibly both states, and send the R's scrambling.  That's what you get for throwing your own candidate under the bus last election.

One of the chief criticisms of Shrub when he was running for President was his lack of involvement.  He had people doing the work for him, and he just kind of wandered through the debates, the campaign, his Presidency, etc.  Perry made Shrub look positively hands-on.  Admittedly, it's a shrewd strategy.  He lets Romney and Gingrich tear into each other, keeping him out of trouble (debating is not his strong suit) and letting them be seen as combative.  This worked for the most part, with only one incident that actually backfired pretty badly on Romney (more on this later).  But it still made him look distant, and it still doesn't prepare him for the knife fight he wants with Barack Obama.  He's like a backup football player who has never taken a snap in the game -- yeah, you may think you have the talent and are ready, but seeing action is a LOT different than practice, especially when you have to learn on the fly.

Bachmann continued her "I'm not dead yet" by taking a page from Herman Cain.  Cain rode to success with a snappy campaign slogan, 9-9-9.  Bachmann came up with "Win-Win-Win" and talked about a lot of bullshit proposals that would never make it out of committee.  She also continued to start her points with a folksy story meant to show she's one of the people.  Amazing all the life experiences she's had.  Christ, I can't wait for her to bomb out so I'll never have to listen to her again.

Romney's biggest fuck-up shouldn't even be regarded as a fuck-up.  During an altercation with Perry over Obamacare, Perry said he read Romney's book.  The original, not the paperback that Perry hinted was strategically re-edited.  Romney challenged him that he was misrepresenting the book (he should have challenged Perry if he could even READ a book), and even asked him if he wanted to bet.  "$10,000!" Romney said.  I didn't think anything of it because people make exaggerated bets all the time.  How many times, when predicting an event you are so sure is a certainty, do you say something like, "I'll bet a million buck on it!"  Well, the Twitterverse blew up over it.  One guy said that was three months pay for the average family.  People basically started revising Romney into part of the 1% that Occupy Wall Street was protesting.  Romney's biggest enemy was himself.

(Side note:  Mormons aren't allowed to gamble.)

For those wondering, the line in the book is a tenuous one.  The book in question is called "No Apology", and was first published March 2, 2010, before Obamacare passed (March 23).  It contains the line, in regards to Romney's Massachusetts with its Single Payer Mandate, "We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country."  The paperback version of "No Apology" was published February 2011, and yes, indeed, the line is deleted.  Although, considering nothing else in the book changed, I don't think this line is as Fraught With Portent as Perry made it out to be.  YMMV.

Let's stick with the Single Payer Mandate thing for just a minute.  Romney tried to redress his Individual Mandate as no different than what Perry did with his executive order that girls be vaccinated for HPV.  Romney described it as a sexually transmitted disease (Jesus, not this shit again).  He said, "And my view -- you had a mandate in your state.  You mandate that girls at 12 years ld had to get a vaccination for a sexually transmitted disease.  So it's not like we had this big difference on mandates."  I'm not sure that's a fair comparison.  Perry's order dealt with one specific problem and only affected girls in Texas, while Romney's plan was far more sweeping.  Technically, both plans forced people to address health care needs, but I just don't see this balanced in the ledger.

Paul said he could keep the payroll tax cut in place, because he would close needless government departments.  In fact, with his plans for scaling back government, he could cut taxes for everybody.

And get ready to vote in your state's caucuses, people.  Remember, if you don't make the decision, the decision will be made for you.
This Makes Me Moist

The Gift For The Woman Who Has Everything

George Carlin once famously said that if you tack together two things that have never been tacked together before, some schmuck will buy it from you.

The Little Rooster Store is offering for sale a vaginal alarm clock.

Yes, you read that right.  Vaginal.  Alarm clock.

It's a vibrating alarm clock you set and then shove up your hoo-hah.  I'm guessing this is a "one owner" kind of deal.

Guys, I'm not sure you're aware of this, but if you buy this for your significant other as a Christmas gift, she is legally entitled, nay, obligated, to kill you.

Don't say you weren't warned.