“This isn’t their problem, guys. It’s ours.”

Comic-Con, mecca for geeks, reflects geek culture – and that includes the harassment (h/t). This isn’t the only event that’s put geeks harassing women who are also geeks in the spotlight recently, but it’s one of the biggest. It’s also seen a cosplayer brutally attacked.

Sexual harassment and misogyny are huge problems in fandom, as evinced by the above. So now seems like a good time to share this bit I’ve been meaning to highlight from Andy Khouri’s Fake Geek Guys: A Message to Men About Sexual Harassment.

This isn’t their problem, guys. It’s ours. We have to solve it.

Sexual harassment isn’t an occupational hazard. It’s not a glitch in the complex matrix of modern life. It’s not something that just “happens.” It’s something men do. It’s a choice men make. It’s a problem men enable. It’s sometimes a crime men commit. And it is not in the power nor the responsibility of women to wage war on this crime.

It’s on us.

How do we fight this war? We stop enabling. We check ourselves and, when necessary, wreck ourselves. Do you know a guy who’s hate-following women on Twitter just to troll them? You check him. Do you know a guy who’s writing disgusting screeds to women journalists because they don’t like the same things he likes? You check him. Do you know a professional whose discourse with women in his field is loaded with gender-specific language and condescension that could enable further abuse? You check him. Are your Twitter followers identifying you as a sympathetic ear for their sexist views? You check yourself. Is your website’s message board a cesspool of ignorance and hate? You check it like you actually give a damn. Do you know a guy who’s sending rape threats to women for any reason? Oh, you report that guy.

The more good people who speak out, the less chance creeps and assholes have to engage in bad behavior. No, it’s not fun. No, it’s not comfortable. Yes, it’s hard calling people out on this shit. But if we don’t, when we could have, we’re enabling that behavior. If you can do so safely, and without making the situation worse for the victim, check the creep.

Image shows a cat smacking a hand. Caption says, "Sexual harassment cat says no means no."While you’re at it, read this post from April 2013 by Meredith Placko.

At DragonCon last year, I witnessed a guy take photos of a girl’s backside at a group photo shoot. So many people were so involved with their own stuff, they failed to notice. But I sat there and watched as several people looked on at this guy and they said nothing. I broke off from my shoot and stood in front of the guy taking the lewd photos and confronted him. He took off before I could get any information about him. The girl had no idea she was even being photographed.

It’s easier to look the other way. Standing up and saying something means you have to get involved, you have to put effort into your actions. You may even come across as the bad guy. But standing up means you may save someone’s day.

And finish off with this post from Sushi Killer, which contains photos much better than my photoshopped jobs, horror stories, and bits like this:

One photographer mentioned that when he is working with a cosplayer and sees someone trying to take a picture of her butt or up her skirt, he jumps in front of their camera, blocking the shot with his own crotch. This draws attention to the pervert and can shame them, while also protecting the cosplayer.

I’d very much like to see more people at conventions intervene when creeps start creeping. I’d like to see this become the norm, until assholes get the message that their assholery isn’t welcome. Let’s make Comic-Con, all cons, and the geek world in general safe for geeks and unsafe for predators.

Image shows two dogs and a baby in costumes. Caption says, "Our costumes are cool, not consent."

Original image courtesy Pets Adviser.

Superheroes and the Law

Okay, all you geeks, here’s a little something a damned good friend at work turned me on to:

Law and the Multiverse. Read it. Love it. Image filched from their blog for promotional purposes.

Law and the Multiverse. Read it. Love it. Image filched from their blog for promotional purposes.

Seriously. Law and comic book worlds. Law as it pertains to superheroes, supervillains  and other comic denizens. This is awesome. I’m a huge advocate of using stories and story worlds to teach other things. I learned a lot of my science and developed a burning passion for it partly through people who wrote books discussing the science of Star Trek. I learned to appreciate philosophy by reading essays by philosophers exploring the philosophy of Middle Earth and Batman. So why not learn a little law by reading what lawyers have to say about how laws would work in comic book universes?

Click the banner if you’re with me on that.

This is bloody brilliant, and I hope they turn it in to a book.

Comic Book Secrets Revealed! Terrible News!

OMG, they’re killing Batman! However will I cope?

Apparently, in the comic books, Batman is…

dead.

Bruce Wayne — who by night is Batman — gets murdered by a man claiming to be the father he thought was dead.

In a highly controversial new comic book storyline, Bruce, who first appeared in 1939, is killed by Simon Hurt — the leader of the shady Black Glove organization.

Now, my first response to this was, “Oh, for fuck’s sake. It’s been DONE.”

The Stranger, my wonderful hometown newspaper, expressed my sentiments much better:

Oh my God. This is terrible. How could they kill Batman. Oh my God. There has never been anything like this in comic book history. They’ve raped my childhood. I must buy multiple copies of that issue because it is sure to be a collector’s item. Etc. Etc.

Nailed it.

I love comics, and I usually love the DC universe, but for fuck’s sake, this is beyond lame. It just screams desperate execs trying to figure out a way to get gullible fans to freak out and buy more issues. The problem is, I don’t think there’s enough gullible fans left after that “Death of Superman” debacle. Seemed like everybody jumped on the “kill a major character” bandwagon after that, and it’s lost its novelty. Yet here they are, trying to make a tired old idea seem fresh and new, trying to hit people with a trainload of emotion rather than engaging them with truly creative and useful ideas…

Hey.

waitaminute.

I know where this is coming from. They’ve been talking to Andrew Breitbart, haven’t they?

300

NP pointed out this evening that I’ve reached post 300. I’ve been so busy it almost escaped my notice. That would have been tragic, because I would’ve missed my chance to pay tribute to one of the best graphic novels and best films of all time.

I wouldn’t have had an excuse to paste enormous pictures of nearly naked men with dead-sexy abs all over my blog.

But that’s just a gimmick. Obvious. Of course I’d post something about 300 on my 300th post. Stands to reason, dunnit?

But I can’t rest an entire post on geeky hormone-driven paens to comic books and comic book films, no matter how good. This blog isn’t about that. It’s about politics, religion, science, and stuff. And don’t forget the stuff. What to do, what to do…

Paul from Cafe Philos comes to the rescue with a post that incorporates a little bit o’ everything. He caught a politial gaffe I missed! It has politics (McCain), religion (beer), science (beer), and stuff (beer controversy!).

Seriously. It’s even on CNN:

John McCain issued a promise Tuesday that may cause a bit of unrest with a broad swath of voters:

He’ll veto every single beer?
In a slip of the tongue while railing against excessive earmarks at the National Small Business Summit in Washington, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee inadvertently pledged to veto the popular alcoholic beverage.

We can’t let this one pass, my darlings. If George W. Bush was voted into office on the stength of being the kind of guy you could picture yourself having a beer with, what do you think it’ll do for McCain’s chances if blue-collar voters find out that the man’s not only an addlepated fuckwit, but a sworn enemy of beer? This could be our moment. This could decide the very future of America. We must spread the word:

“McCain vows to veto beer!”

It doesn’t matter if he simply misspoke. The Republicons beat Dems bloody with their every slip o’ the tongue – we shall pay them the same courtesy. Every beer-drinking Average Joe, every homebrewer, every frat boy and down-to-earth girl, needs to hear what their choices are in this election: beer-hating old coot, or beer-loving American. We shall spread the truthiness of this gaffe from sea to shining sea.

Paul has created a graphic we can use to create signs, shirts, steins, and buttons:

No. He will not. He shall not. He is the clear choice for this November. Remember what those 300 brave Spartans would have given their lives for:

Honor the 300. Fight against this beer-vetoing madman! Elect Obama, and let the beer flow like amber waves of grain!