A slightly longer excoriation follows.
So, I hate the word babymen. Have ever since I first read this. For a variety of reasons.
The first is that I find this whole piece, while coming from places of truth, to be pretty tedious. I mean, I can agree with some of what Manley’s saying. However, between the fact that I’ve heard his argument like a million times (not that it makes it less true, but still) and the fact that it boils down to “Some guys are saying mean things about the cartoon I’m working on! I’ll show them!”, I can’t really give it much credence. I mean, it’s not even that I don’t find grown men freaking out over a Batman cartoon that does not meet their standards risible, I just find the way he characterizes them more so.
Had it just been Manley reacting to overzealous Batnuts on his blog, I’d just ignore it. But now the word’s seeping out in to blogs I read (well, at least Savage Critic and the ISB). So I’m going to compare it to hate speech. Hey, at least I’m transparent about my motives.
But really, I hate words that lump any group of people in to a homogenous blob that becomes a buggy man or punching dummy. I hate fanboy as a epithet, and I hate this. More so babymen because the actual word causes a tiny hot poker to stab me in the brain every time I read it.
But, I dunno, it just seems lazy to use this as the new word to refer to all of the grody, awful, tasteless, total charicatures of superhero comics fans that everyone who reads comics needs to have to feel better about themselves and anger up their blood.
Everyone does this. Even Tim O’Neil, although I can’t link to a specific example because his blog’s a pain in the ass to link to. Or was the last time I bothered to. But everybody likes to create a strawman of the comic fan that they thank god they are not; Cheeto stained fingers, poor general hygiene, buys Marvel and DC solely and obsessively, never seen a real girl naked… I could recite the stereotypes for hours.
Because I’ve employed them too. I cop to both employing the babyman mentality and being part of it, depending on your definition, because I am buying Secret Invasion and Final Crisis. And some tie ins to both. And Amazing Spider-Man weekly. And a lot of reprints of old stuff. And I think about Batman way too much to be healthy. Or, at least I obsessively read a guy who does it for me, these days. And I’m a fat 25 year old who lives with his folks and is not so prolific with the ladies. So I have a lot of babyman tendencies. (Writing this word I hated so much is giving me an immunity to it.)
I like to think I have the caveat that I don’t take supeheroes ultra seriously, because I generally don’t take anything very seriously. I try to keep perspective. Staying on the linguistics, I generally hate it when people call bad comics “atrocities.” A lot. Almost as much as babymen as a prevalent compound word in the comicsblogoversalspheroid. Because, no matter how much you hate John Cena or Brian Bendis, their works are not an atrocity. This is an atrocity. That’s why I take pot shots about KBox here from time to time; he does that all the time. I realize I run the risk of summoning him to the comments by invoking his mortal name (he’s a demon!), but I run that risk. Mainly because I don’t read the comments at all for any of my posts, despite feeding off the number of them. That and Chinese buffets sustain me for many days. They’re also both full of lethal amounts of sodium, oddly enough.
So, in summation; I hate stereotypes, unless they are wrestling on my television for five hours a week and on Pay Per View at least once a month. So I don’t care for this word on that level and the fact that it is linguistic vomit that causes me pain. It is second only to the use of the word comix in my book of awful, terrible, no good words people use in the written discourse of my favorite bastard artform (due in 2009 from Random House). I think anyone who did not work on underground stuff in the ’60s and ’70s should be put before a firing squad for using it. Andrew Arnold would be first against the wall in that case. So, yeah, I just defeated my purpose, but I am very proud of my Goldberg-esque undefeated streak in that department. Cronin should start pumping “Curran” chants in to all my posts to really get me over.
Still, babymen; awful, horrible word. I’d compare it to a real epithet, but that’s beyond the pale, even for me. Because it really would be an atrocity to do that.
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