…or better yet, john byrne, just stop sayin’ anything at all.

Trust me when I say I’ve been trying all week not to write this particular piece, because I realize on some level, it’s only giving the man attention he so obviously wants, and so obviously doesn’t deserve, but on a personal level, there’s no way I’m just letting this one ride. And honestly, you shouldn’t either.

For those that haven’t heard, or who managed to forget about it already, industry legend john byrne has dropped another bit of knowledge onto an unsuspecting public, a train of thought easily joining the ranks of his Christopher Reeve diatribe, and his Invisible Woman comments. While we have come to expect a certain degree of spiteful rhetoric from byrne, this past week he clearly ventured past even his own line of willful ignorance, using what the more politically correct folk refer to as the “N-word,” to presumably aid some argument of his. But that’s not really why he used it.

Blair Marnell chronicled the situation in last week’s ATR, but in typical Internet rapid consumption fashion, after only a few days, most of the initial shock and outrage has worn off, and people are back to speculating just why Ultimate Secret is running so late. I cannot believe that the same branch of fandom that is chattering about the Blue Beetle gettin’ killed, and inevitable price increases, is just consigned to sit back and wait patiently for byrne to say somethin’ even more hateful and disrespectful than the last thing he just said. Have we really come to the point where this is being excused as “oh, that’s just john byrne being john byrne?” Are you serious!? Either nobody wants to talk about it, or nobody actually cares, and I’m really curious to find out which it is.

Bottom line, carelessly tossing around the N-word in public is just unacceptable, here in the future, where the rest of us are trying to live. A seemingly mindless debate over whether it’s a “thought bubble” or a “thought balloon” hardly justifies its mention, and byrne’s contention that it constitutes an adequate example of correct usage holds minimal weight, though it does say something about him. Because really, why out of all the other obviously more appropriate terms, did byrne chose that particular word to illustrate the point? You get one guess, but that’s all you’ll need.

john byrne had been sitting around waiting for a good opportunity to say it. Maybe it was actually all month, or just the entire week, hell, might’ve been only the whole afternoon, but this dude was probably itching, he wanted to say this word so bad. I mean, he proved that with his unreasonable compulsion to type it over and over again, when he was called on it. Unless we’re meant to subscribe to the explanation that it’s just a word, capable of being thrown into something like this, with no negative connotation whatsoever? Yeah…right. No grown ass man could get behind that “explanation,” and though byrne would like us to believe he’s really that stupid or naïve, he proves the opposite with each subsequent post, indicating that he knew full well what he was doing, but just couldn’t be bothered to care.

Least with byrne’s true self on proper display, his “blonde Hispanic hookers” comment is framed in a more obvious context. Why didn’t you just man up and say it, john? Why didn’t you just say that you were really fired up because Fox chose not to cast a blonde-haired blue-eyed Sue Storm? Should’ve left it at that, instead of the elaborate and transparent call for “respect,” which was really your prejudice leaking all over your keyboard. Surprising how someone that finds it intensely disrespectful to use the abbreviations “Supes” and “Bats” on his own website, finds it okay to toss out racial slurs, and continues to prove himself an unconscionable hater of anything more well-regarded than he is. It’s not anyone’s fault that you’re not on the Wizard Top 10, or that people were touting Christopher Reeve as a hero, when that’s so obviously what they should be calling you.

But can we even blame him, though? We’ve created and fostered this environment where any and everybody can successfully hide behind their keyboards, and voice “opinions” they wouldn’t have the balls to say otherwise, and unless I’m completely misinterpreting the vibe out here, john byrne will suffer no consequences for this or any other bit of offensive nonsense he chooses to post up. It’ll be an issue for a couple days, and then we can all go back to lamenting the unfortunate passing of Hawkeye again. Not expecting everyone to have as visceral a reaction to this, for obvious reasons, but I am wrong in looking for at least some level of sustainable outrage? We do spend an awful lot of time going on and on about a variety of things, most of them inconsequential, but really, byrne only pulls this stuff because he’s figured out there’s no consequence.

I appreciate this specific instance makes folks uncomfortable, with the rapid fire usage of racial slurs, but if we feel justified in shoving Micah Wright into comic exile, or impassioned enough to demand that Waid gets reinstated on FF, somebody could encourage aggravated fans to write a letter or two to DC. Personally, I’m sending one their way, and making an effort not to put any extra money in the man’s pocket, but is it asking too much for this to bother people, beyond the House of M press conference?

Maybe if byrne was that dude everyone was talkin’ about, for the right reasons, DC would clamp down on him and tell him to do his comics and shut up. Maybe the fact they haven’t, says a lot about his decidedly bitter disposition, where not even typing the word nigger in sequence garners him more than a passing glance. Then again, maybe he’s just a racist who finally came out of his closet?

And there’s no way in Hell I’m rewarding him for that.

Are you?

Back soon,

 

 


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