This just in from the Social Justice Warriors: John Byrne is evil.
This very stupid year is already, quite obviously, the Year of the Transsexuals, because the rage-fits of a tiny cadre of deeply troubled people must be part of Our National Dialog all day every day.
The latest Enemy of the People is Byrne, one of the giants of the 70s and 80s, best known for his runs on X-Men, Fantastic Four, and, most spectacularly, the reinvention of Superman for Man of Steel (comics not movie).
Byrne was asked about transsexual issues on his forum, particularly this article from feminist Elinor Burkett objecting to some of the language used by the “trans” community.
He said things I and many others have said. And now he’s going to pay for it by being subjected to boycotts and shrieking fits from people who are not at all hysterical.
This is the real starting point of this discussion: being born male or female, physically, sets up a series of parameters. Those parameters are not really altered if the male puts on a dress and declares himself to be a woman. (I have grown tired of transvestites being called “she.”)
As so often happens in our Society, the pendulum has swung, and as it usually does it has swung further in one direction than the other. Thus, in the last hundred years or so, we have gone from being incredibly narrow and restrictive in matters sexual — incarcerating homosexuals, for instance — to stretching perhaps a little too far to be “all encompassing.”
I understand the biological processes that can happen in utero, which are considered by some to be the cause of “transgender” individuals, but, as some have noted, the jury is still out on whether this creates a genuine condition or a mental illness.
Later in the exchange, he says this:
A REALLY hard question, then: Many people are tortured and driven by a desire to have sex with children. Our society frowns on this, and such people are considered mentally ill. We do not accommodate them, we do not respect them.
How is being “transgender” different? Given all the twists and turns that have happened in our general understanding of how the brain and mind work — still a work in progress — how difficult is it to imagine a future in which it will be determined without doubt that “transgender” is, indeed, a mental illness? How will we feel about all those people who, instead of actually helping them, we encouraged in a program of self-mutilation?
This is a long, long road, and so far we have taken barely a single step upon it. (Christine Jorgenson was half a century ago. How much has changed?)
Amen, John. Reasonably argued, and completely logical.
Naturally, the mere fact that he brought up pedophilia even if only by analogy is sending the SJWs into orbit. Some of the sites I read are already saying they will no longer run any John Byrne art and plan to have a blackout on his work. They argue that this kind of Stalinist purge is perfectly a-okay because they don’t have to give space to a “hater.”
What we have to remember is that most of the people writing on these fan sites and posting to social media are 20-somethings: self-important naifs with a minimal understanding of the world beyond their comic books and computers–special snowflakes fed on a steady diet of peanut-free food and “social justice” propaganda. Nothing is more insufferable than a 20-something with an opinion. (I know: I was one, and I was widely published at the time, and I cringe every time I think of some of the things I wrote.) Their thoughts on social, political, and economic issues are almost invariably useless, based on shallow reading and inexperience, and isolated from the messy realities of life in the real world. Because of the socially disorienting times in which they came of age, they’ve spent too much of their lives in narcissistic contemplation of every aspect of their own specialness, which is how we get stupid crap like “gender fluid” people and “microaggressions”. These are exactly the kind of PC twits Jerry Seinfeld has been driving into a frenzy with his criticisms of their unique blend of thin skin and pig-ignorance.John Byrne was also defamed by the director of the new, certain-to-be-awful Fantastic Four movie. The actor playing Johnny Storm is black, and his sister, Sue Storm, is played by a white girl. Obviously, this is all very silly agenda-driven stuff that I don’t care one whit about. They want to cast a black actor as a white comic book character? Fine. Who cares. Yay for diversity in fictional characters who catch fire. That’s a big deal, right?
Then again, I’m not Byrne and didn’t draw Johnny Storm for five years, so I have no skin in the game. (What? Bad phrase?)
Here’s what Byrne said:
When it comes to casting a Black actor as Johnny Storm, there is a degree of historical ignorance at work that is insulting to Stan Lee and the memory of Jack Kirby.
Lee and Kirby, both New York Jews, did not “cast” the Fantastic Four as extensions of themselves. It took fifty years for a writer (and I wish it had been me!) to identify Ben Grimm as Jewish. But what Stan and Jack did when shaping the early Marvel Universe was demonstrate a social conscience in the best ways the Nation at the time would tolerate. And let us not forget, it was Stan and Jack who desegregated the American Armed Forces almost a decade before it happened in real life.
Lee, Kirby, Ditko and the rest introduced ethnic and racial minorities with a far greater frequency than, say, DC. Wyatt Wingfoot became a regular member of the FF’s supporting cast. Robbie Robertson showed up in Spider-Man. The Black Panther arrived. Heroic non-White figures arose from the ranks of the common man. Remember Al B. Harper, who died to save the world?
When Johnny is race-swapped the inevitable response from some segments of fandom and the media is that this is “necessary” due to comics in the 1960s being hotbeds of White supremacy — while nothing is further from the truth. American comics had long been the home to some of the most liberal, forward thinking people you were likely to meet. They cannot be taken to task for portraying society as that society perceived itself. But they should definitely be lauded for being, often, ahead of the curve when it came to social reform.
He makes some good observations, and is eager to defend his generation and the one that came before from accusations of racism. That’s the point at which someone involved in the new movie, like director Josh Trank, could address this respected FF artist and engage his arguments on their strengths and weaknesses.
Stacy Keach played a Nazi in American History X.
Ergo: John Byrne–John Friggin’ Byrne–is a racist Nazi who hates black people.
UPDATE: On Twitter I was alerted to a tweet by Josh Trank claiming the comment above was a joke. Color me unconvinced. Does it read like a joke? Is calling someone a Nazi in this overheated, oversensitive environment funny or even responsible? Nothing about the wording suggests so.
So, no: not buying it. I’m imagining Marvel told him to back off since they have a $122 million reboot about to release and they don’t need a s***storm of controversy.