DC Comics caves, will not publish ‘Batgirl’ #41 variant cover

A variant cover for Batgirl #41 has some Twitter-people up in arms over the depiction of the Joker with Batgirl. The Joker has his arm around her with a rather large gun in his hand and he’s painting a joker smile on her face. Barbara Gordon, the woman behind the Batgirl mask, looks understandably scared.

It’s a powerful image. It’s an homage to Batman: The Killing Joke, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by enemy of free speech, Brian Bolland.

This cover was commissioned from Brazilian artist Rafael Albuquerque.

To say this cover triggered some Twitter and Tumblr outrage is perhaps an understatement. People outraged by the art even created their own hashtag, #changethecover.

DC Comics has canceled the cover, supposedly at the artist’s request in response to the outrage.

batgirl-41-cover-cameron-stewart-600x927
Non-variant cover artwork for “Batgirl” #41.

I can’t imagine demanding that something I don’t like be canceled or changed. If I don’t like the cover to a book or what’s inside the book, I simply don’t buy the book. It wouldn’t even occur to me to demand that it not be published so that other people can’t have it.

That seems like censorship.

Now that DC Comics has bowed to the whim of an angry hashtag, you can expect this type of crap to happen more often. People who want to censor art, thanks to DC Comics, now have the false-perception of power.

If I were in charge at DC Comics, I would have made the Joker artwork the regular, non-variant cover. I would have made the regular cover the variant cover.

That’s how you respond to people who want to censor art: you politely listen to their demands, then do the complete opposite.

Notre Dame and their butt-ugly uniforms beat Duke

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish beat the Duke Blue Devils last night in the Men’s ACC Tournament semifinal. Even though the two teams have a very similar record, Notre Dame was 28-5 and Duke was at 29-4, Duke was considered an overwhelming favorite.

I watched a few minutes of the game, so I’m more than qualified to comment on it.

It seemed like every shot by a Notre Dame player went into the basket, while every shot attempted by a Duke player did not. That may have been an optical illusion, but that’s the way it looked to me.

Speaking of how things looked, what was with the hideous looking uniforms worn by Team Catholic? I looked up the team’s colors on Ask Jeeves and Jeeves said they were wearing uniforms consisting of puke green, bronchial infection yellow, and navy blue. The uniforms were just plain ugly, especially when viewed in stunning HD.

Mike Krzyzewski
Coach Mike Krzyzewski, leader of young men.

I felt bad for Duke. I’m a huge fan of head coach Mike Krzyzewski. The man is a fantastic coach and a fine leader of young men. I appreciate how every year, he takes players from all over the country that no other NCAA team wants, and is able to form them into a team capable of taking on the college basketball powerhouses. A lesser coach would try to recruit blue-chip prospects, players that all the other elite basketball schools covet, but not Coach K.

He would rather take a nobody and turn them into a somebody. It’s the Coach K way.

Congresswoman wants the FBI to go after #GamerGate

Congresswoman Katherine Clark, Democrat from Massachusetts, is asking her colleagues in the Appropriations Committee to urge the Justice Department to intensify their efforts in going after so-called cyber-stalkers and online harassers. Specifically, she wants the FBI to intensify the enforcement of existing law against who she calls “Gamergate activists.”

The entire letter can be read by going here.

There’s no proof that anyone associated with GamerGate, a leaderless video game consumer rights movement, has threatened anyone else. Some with not-so-hidden agendas have been quick to jump to the conclusion that threats are being made by people associated with GamerGate.

The truth is that we just don’t know who is perpetrating these threats. The only people who know for a fact where the threats are coming from are the individuals making the threats and network engineers at Twitter.

Most, if not all, of the threats come from Twitter. For example:

An example of the threat made on Twitter attributed to GamerGate.
An example of a threat made on Twitter attributed to GamerGate.

I imagine if the FBI ever decides to investigate this issue, their investigation will begin in San Fransisco at Twitter headquarters with agents armed with subpenas. To find out who is responsible for making threats, they will need network logs from Twitter. Once they have these logs, they can then find the IP addresses associated with making these threats. Then, after obtaining more subpenas, they can go after the specific Internet hosting providers associated with those IP addresses. Once they find out who’s paying the Internet bill tied to those IP addresses, they can find out who is responsible for making threats.

Only then can they find out if anyone associated with GamerGate is responsible for making threats against anyone. Until then, any blame assigned to any individual or group is just speculation and conjecture.

‘Star Wars’ novel to introduce first gay character

Lords of the Sithlords, a novel taking place in the Star Wars universe coming out April 28, will have the first gay character to appear in a Star Wars movie, TV show, or book. Her name is Delian Mors, and she is a lesbian.

She is also sided with the Empire, not the Rebels, so I guess that makes her a villain. Then again, people seem to love the villains in Star Wars more than the good guys. You see people dressed as Stormtroopers visit sick children in hospitals, even though in the movie, Stormtroopers murder innocent, unarmed Jawas. They also murdered Luke Skywalker’s aunt and uncle whose only crime was wanting to bring refreshing, life-sustaining moisture to the good citizens of Tatooine.

Stormtroopers are dicks.

I don’t really know what to make of this. I’m all for LGBT rights in the real world, but considering just how bad sexuality is handled in the Star Wars universe, I’m not sure this is a good thing.  The very first love interest in the Star Wars universe was between Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, two people who turned out to be brother and sister.

Also, by declaring that this character to be the first gay character in the Star Wars universe, it confirms that none of the other characters were gay. I never really thought about it, but I always just assumed that some of the characters in Star Wars were gay.

Before now, I always just assumed C-3PO was gay. Now I know that’s not true. Delian Mors will be the very first gay person in Star Wars.

Are video games riddled with discrimination and misogyny?

There’s a documentary coming out called GTFO. It’s about the harassment of women in video games. It’s directed and produced by non-gamer Shannon Sun-Higginson, and was funded through Kickstarter.

The term GTFO is an Internet acronym for “get the f____ out”. The film’s website says  that the world of video games is “riddled with discrimination and misogyny”. It also says that every day, women face “harassment ranging from name calling to cyber vandalism and death threats.”

And this, from the movie’s director in the New York Times:

My biggest fear for this movie is that it scares young women away from this industry, which is really growing and thriving right now. Obviously the more women and the more diverse people in general who join the industry, the better.

I find it hard to believe that Shannon Sun-Higginson is really afraid that her movie will scare young women away from the game industry. I don’t think she really cares, much like I don’t think Steven Spielberg really cared if  Jaws scared people away from the beach.

Are video games truly riddled with discrimination and misogyny? I guess it all depends on your definition of the word “riddled”. That seems like an extreme exaggeration to me, but what do I know? I’ve only been playing video games since the early 80’s.

Filmmaker Shannon Sun-Higginson
Filmmaker Shannon Sun-Higginson (photo: GTFO trailer screenshot)

Instead of propagandizing the negative behavior perpetrated by the slight few who play video games, amplifying their pathetic voices and helping to create a false climate of fear, why not portray the world of video games for the safe, inclusive,  and enjoyable place it actually is?

For all the online threats levied against female gamers, not a single online threat has ever manifested into something real or credible. Most, if not all, of the threats have come from attention seeking trolls. Nobody has ever actually been attacked, harmed, or killed because of video games.

Don’t let propagandizing fear mongers with agendas stop you from going to the beach and getting into the water. In video games, the sharks aren’t real. Video games are safe and can be lots of fun, for both men and women.

How unfortunate someone chose to make a movie that conveys the opposite.