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It's hard to balance one's addictions with what needs to be done. For example, I have become addicted to Neverwinter Nights, especially since I discovered a quick and easy way to download the upgrades, adventure modules, and other goodies from the NWN website (that is, use the super-fast Macs at school). However, I have schoolwork to do, so I must restrict my playing time. I also need to spend time with Marilyn, whom I rarely see these days since she started working at the bookstore. I also need to do my share of the apartment cleaning. For some reason, that last one seems to be the hardest part. I told Marilyn that I would clean the dishes from this weekend, when she cooked a marvelous set of ribs. Half of those cooking dishes are still there, despite repeated attempts to just get it done. I would be lying if I said that I hadn't spent some of that time that I could have been finishing the dishes playing Neverwinter, but having said that, I've been cutting down on the time that I do spend on it. No, really!

(By the way, if you happen to be playing Neverwinter Nights, or plan on picking up the Platinum edition/Hordes of the Underdark expansion, and play online, I usually play characters on the WFRP and City of Arabel PW Story Internet games. My player name is HerrSpielmeister. Come play with me!)

There's a CCAS meeting on Saturday. This time, to my great delight, the lads have decided to hold it at The Source, so I can peruse gamebooks and comics on my way in and on my way out. More seriously, the difference with this meeting place (as opposed to the last one) is that I know exactly where The Source is, so I don't have to worry about getting lost again. That means a lot to me. Sam Hiti may show up to this one (as he showed up to Sherwin's seminar on Faith and Comics in January), which will be quite groovy. Marilyn may even come this time, and even if it's just to see her boyfriend Sam, that would be quite cool. Hopefully she won't be bored by the shop-talk.

Which reminds me, my friend Sherwin was covered in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on Saturday, in an article on Christian comic books. I'm always glad to see comics being talked about in newspapers, especially Christians in comics. Yet, there is a virus amongst journalists that has had a nearly 100% infection rate since the 1960s. I challenge you to find a newspaper article that has dealt with comic books and their impact on society, no matter how large or small, that DOESN'T make some kind of reference to the old Batman television show. This journalist was no exception.

I've probably gone on a rant about this in the past; if I have, feel free to scroll down to the bottom of this post. If you've missed out, buckle your seatbelt.

I'm put into a frustrating position. On the one hand, I'm thrilled any time newspapers, television, or the mainstream media in general put comics into the spotlight. Yet, on the other hand, I'm annoyed by the fact that they continue to stigmatize comics in the public mind by continually associating them with a childish, campy television series. Granted, there are childish, campy comics, but not all of them are about superheroes, and not all of them are a cultural joke. So, I want to write an e-mail thanking the journalist for covering the story. I also want to write them an e-mail asking why they use a forty year-old cliche as a crutch in order to avoid having to gather information about a topic and write something thoughtful about it. Especially considering that in one of the most important books ever written about comics, Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics, the author specifically laments this phenomenon.

In my Learning and Teaching class, we recently read an article that spoke about the ways in which specific word choice can alter a person's recollections or impressions about something. For example, when shown a short film of a car accident, people who were later asked about the cars "smashing" together recollected more a more violent incident than those who were asked about cars "bumping", even though they had seen the same film. This is one big reason why police officers isolate witnesses at a crime scene until the detectives can arrive to ask them questions. If they begin to confer with other witnesses, or get questioned by people asking loaded questions, they will likely remember the crime incorrectly, or put stress on certain elements that they were not initially inclined to do.

Now, take into account that at least 90% of the newspaper and media articles that have covered comic books in the last forty years have stressed their implicit connection to a pulpy children's action show. Despite the fact that about 80% of these articles published since the 1980s claim "Comics aren't just for kids anymore," this statement is always accompanied by (and countered with) Batman TV show-style sound effects: "Pow! Biff!" And this is in the headline, if not also in the opening paragraph of the article. What effect do you think this would have on the average reader who doesn't really read comics? Over a period of forty years, over and over and over again, every time it's mentioned in the media? Do you think people would honestly be inclined to think of comics as anything but children's fare, given that this was always the refrain with which the subject was introduced? People ultimately cannot help but connect comics with childish fare, specifically because the media does this.

Not to mention that to rely on the same cliched phrase when dealing with a particular subject - the same phrase every other journalist uses and has used for the last forty years, if I haven't made that clear enough yet - is indicative of a lazy, lazy author.

Okay, that's off my chest. Well, until the next time I see it.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 at Wednesday, February 16, 2005 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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