Having joined up on twitter recently I have been following various people. Some are famous, for example Gail Simone.
Following Gail Simone has increased my respect for her a thousandfold. Her tweets are funny, and she's so far exhibited only decent-person ideas. Today (Tuesday 8th June) she has been talking about The Killing Joke, y'know, that comic where Barbara Gordon, then Batgirl, got shot in the spine by the Joker and paralysed.
When editorial approval was sought for this particular plot, the editor (Len Wein) reportedly yelled down the hall:
'Cripple the bitch'
Isn't that hateful? Isn't it venemous? Granted, I do not know the tone in which it was said, but the words are ugly. What struck me after asborbing this bit of (old) news, was the way in which feminist are accused of treating characters like real people. Isn't that just what this editor is doing? Why ascribe the word 'bitch' to a fictional character, in that context, if they are not in some way real to you?
And if Barbara Gordon is indeed real to you what does this say about your attitude to real flesh and blood women and wheelchair users?
Which is why I find the statement 'Cripple the Bitch' quite disturbing. It's along the same lines as Bill Wilingham saying:
"I wanted to gun down those girls who kept asking about the memorial case"
at the recent heroes con (reported on here).
I am someone who believes words are important. I think those sort of casual throwaway line regarding violence usually betrays some feeling of anger, hate or violence within a person. Or at the very least some sort of detachment towards others. You certainly can't fully appreciate and support the full meaning of those phrases without being a very malevolent person.*
So this leaves me kind of sickened. And this is exactly the sort of thing that says women (and people with disabilities) are not welcome. It's the same mentality that puts rape scenes into comics (or any popular culture medium). It's the sort of shit that makes me very wary about the types of internet sites I inhabit and makes me distrustful of any new people I meet (men and women, because these views permeate all genders).
*I am not in any way stating that using a wheelchair is a negative thing. But I believe that the editor who uttered those words thinks that it is a punishment of some sort.