Comics

Why a Libertarian Might Not Be Thrilled with the Resolution of the Joker/Batgirl Cover Controversy

Trying to make expression disappear because you disapprove of it is unhealthy for liberal culture, whether done by the state or privately.

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Why might it not be a victory for free market, free culture that aggrieved people (who may or may not be the company's actual audience) are able to pressure a company into changing plans for its cultural product/art, as in the recent Batgirl "Joker variant" cover controversy, which ended with a planned cover cancelled?

Between Peter Suderman and Nick Gillespie's writing on it here, I think you have most of the background necessary to understand what happened, and why, and why the principles behind the story might be interesting beyond the specifics of the grievance.

This discussion will try to avoid the specifics of why people wanted to make the expression in question disappear—a comic book cover that showed the Joker menacing a weeping Batgirl (a fictional villain who has done terrible things to that fictional hero in a famous past story called Killing Joke, definitely including crippling her and by implication including raping her). Details both behind the scenes and in front might exist that those who actually care a lot about what is on the cover of a Batgirl comic book might have followed more closely than I have. (I am a fanatical lifelong fan and friend of comics, including superhero ones, but just don't happen to be reading or following that title.) 

Nothing foundationally and inherently libertarian is implicated in this story. The cover cancellation was, in its way, a market transaction. No state ordered anyone to do anything; no one threatened D.C. with anything other than something they have the perfect right to do, which is to not buy something or to denounce that thing and the company that distributed it. I understand that some people on the "keep the cover" side did more and worse than that, and threatened actual physical violence against their ideological foes in the debate. That is neither libertarian nor decent, though I question that the very violent fervor with which some assholes on the Internet stood up for the cover adds any extra legitimacy to D.C.'s decision to quash it.

Grant everything there is to grant: it is anyone's right to denounce; it was D.C.s right to react to it any way they wanted; that artist Rafael Albuquerque stated that he wanted to kill it; that the creative team on the actual comic wanted to kill it; that it doesn't tonally fit with the current comic. It may even be great for the world and the future of humanity that this particular cover never appears physically on paper, stapled around a few dozen comic book pages, but merely will appear all over the Internet in profusion forever. 

Granting all that, what larger meaning is there to this story, if any, such that a non-Batgirl reader might care?

One can see the controversy as either a merely interesting or even laudatory example of how in modernity concerned audiences for artwork or products (or, as I and others suspect but can't prove, aggreived folk on the Internet who weren't a big part of the potential audience) can communicate with artists and publishers, turning formerly one-way hierarchical relationships into more fluid and horizontal ones, allowing more people to get more of what they want and proving the power of the audience and the growing and responsiveness of Big Culture to consumer demand, just a sign that we are living in an age where consumer agency is growing in fascinating new ways..

That's not how I see its core meaning, and so can't celebrate the outcome. While that outcome is not inherently unlibertarian in an obvious way, it impacts various penumbras, as the Supreme Court might say, of what is valuable about a liberal culture of free and open expression. If this incident becomes a bellwether or how our culture will work from now on, it will be a precedent we should regret. To be less oblique, I don't like the idea that an angry mob on the Internet can get artistic products pre-emptively cancelled because they don't like the product, for whatever reason.

Censorship in the political and legal sense requries government action; but libertarian disapproval of the state is in fact rooted in the fact that it is prone to do things that are inherently not good things to do. The state does some potentially good things that are only problematic because they are being done or financed by force and violence; the state does some bad things that are problematic regardless of the entity doing them. Intolerent attempts to repress culture, to shut up expression that is disapproved of by either majority or minority, is one of those things.

The culture of boycott and anger about art or belief or words is not inherently unlibertarian. But perhaps it is dangerous to the truest and richest possibilities of communication and expression that should characterize a post-Enlightenment society that respects the Voltairian epigram about disagreeing with what one says but defending to death one's right to say it (not, that is, disagreeing with what one says and letting the people who are paying to distribute that saying know that we strongly disapprove of it and would rather it not be said in public and will punish you with obloquy and boycott if you continue to say it.)

I have written, sometimes obliquely, about these ideas in the contexts of the Duck Dynasty controversy and the Ron Paul newsletter controversy.

Why are libertarians so often so annoyingly disagreeable about standing up for horrid sayings, beliefs, thoughts, and images? Sheer horridness, maybe, but also perhaps there are sociological reasons that libertarians—surrounded by a world of discourse and people who believe and advocate things they believe are the greatest of evils, state coercion and violence—tend to find it harder to get particularly angry enough about the stories others choose to tell, beliefs they choose to have, things they have to say that strike others (or even themselves!) as bad. Those who support any power, public or private, to quash expression might want to remember that the specifics of what it is OK to say can and will change, not always in your favor, which is why it's safest to avoid the fallback position of "It's only OK to say and think things and make art that are OK."

Libertarians tend by nature be slow to decide that error has no rights, both because we think most of the world is in error on key things and are acutely aware that the majority thinks we are in error, often grave and evil error. We can nod when good modern liberals point out sagely that "saying 'shut up' is an act of free speech" but also believe that is a sterile, often destructive, unnuanced and unrich form of free speech, not one to celebrate too quickly. It sets in motion a game where expression is decided by loudness and the strength of one's sense of grievance, and that seems like potentially a bad game for anyone who values the ability to speak their thoughts, speak not their thoughts, or make art.

Everyone's sense of where the culture is tilting on inchoate matters like attitudes toward free expression are going to be personal and difficult to prove. But I have a sneaking sense that pre-Enlightenment attitudes roughly summable as "error has no rights" (it's just what the tribe thinks of as error that changes) are arising with pride in many communities of discourse.

Maybe I pay too much attention to things people say on Twitter and Facebook. Still, it's hard not to derive these senses of culture from personal experience, and in my experience the idea that some expression, ideas, and beliefs just should not be out there and deserve some form of punishment even if not arrest seems stronger than I remember it being 5, 10, 20 years ago.

That's not an idea conducive to a healthy, rich, fecund, liberal culture of a sort I'd want to live in. I fear genuine tolerance of expression is getting weaker in America's educated classes, and I see this Batgirl controversy as a bad example of that. (Josh Blackman has a less solipsistic take on the idea that the First Amendment is losing its hold on a class of American's liberal intelligentsia, seen not as a core principle but as just one more weapon for the powerful to punch down on the downtrodden.) Again, one can believe that private attempts to quash expression are also a bad thing without losing one's libertarian cred, I hope. One might believe it's a bad thing for the same reason you think it's a bad thing for government to do it—just as one would I hope oppose private wholesale murder of the innocent and destruction of property for the same reasons one opposes government wars. It's not always the case that libertarians hate the government just for being the government. Sometimes we hate it because it does things we think inherently worth hating.

There is an apparent self-undercutting quality to saying it's not great for a healthy libertarian culture to tell others to shut up. To say that is to do the very thing you are saying is a bad thing: declaring some expression best avoided. Those folk strongly encouraged by the victory for feminist, anti-rape, or merely consumer-power of the Batgirl cover controversy are merely saying the same thing, right?

But still, something rich and valuable might be worth preserving about a culture of expression that tolerates everything but intolerance. 

Not intolerance in the colloquial sense of not liking or supporting or approving of some set of behaviors or people or ideas, but intolerance in the sense of not tolerating expression itself.

An overweening busybody concern with what other people are saying, thinking, publishing, drawing to the extent one wants to make it stop feels unlovely. A culture where it becomes customary for people who don't approve of art and expression to pressure—even intellectually pressure—publishers and artists into eliminating that expression or art isn't the culture I prefer to live in.

This sort of intellectual turnaround always feels cheap, and yet here it seems helpful to remind people of the principle behind the particulars: don't you imagine that the distribution of approval of how this cover controversy went down vs. those bothered by it would have been different if this cultural conflict, or some other future one, arose from avowed Christian traditionalists/moralists condemning something for violating their sense of propriety and successfully getting a major media company to suppress work based on their offense?

I've never been a big fan of the concept of false consciousness, but the concept of duress has some intellectual validity. So I wouldn't necessarily trust the truly voluntary nature of the expressive culture that results from artistic decisionmaking triggered by popular anger becoming common. That's why, though there is nothing at heart "unlibertarian" about anyone's stances or actions re: the Batgirl cover, I have a hard time celebrating it.

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  1. Let us not forget that the Production Code was only adopted after a Catholic boycott.

    1. Eddie! You have some ‘splainin o do!

      1. Well Hollywood finally caved when the Protestants said they were joining in…

      2. Thank God for the strengthening of the Production Code in 1934, and thank God for Joseph Breen!

        Movies, coincidentally or not, started sucking more after he retired.

        http://www.amazon.com/Hollywoo…..seph+breen

        (I may be posting further thoughts below)

        1. Michael Medved claims that theatre attendance dropped by half around the time Production Code was dumped and that it can’t be connected to cable or home video. Is this true?

          1. A quick Amazon search shows that Medved *did* make that claim – Hollywood vs. America, p. 283 – he says that in 1966, the last year of the Hays Code, 38 million people went to the movies weekly, but in 1967, the first year of the post-Hays Code system, the figure was 17.8 million.

            Haven’t had time to check these figures, but wow, what an opportunity for some cosmotarian to refute Medved if he’s wrong!

            Wait, Medved says the reduced figures weren’t because of the collapse of the Hays code, but that the collapse of the code and the collapse of viewer numbers had a common cause – wish I had time to look more.

            1. But I notice that Medved wrote a book called The 5 Big Lies About American Business: Combating Smears Against the Free-Market Economy – almost as if there’s some kind of overlap between SoCons and free-market supporters.

              How many “socially liberal” progs would write books about “combating smears against the free-market economy”?

            2. Haven’t had time to check these figures, but wow, what an opportunity for some cosmotarian to refute Medved if he’s wrong!

              Why would any [meaningless term] need to refute a textbook example of the third-cause fallacy?

              1. A cosmotarian is someone who writes an article entitled “In Defense of Drunk Sex,” which includes this passage:

                “one of the great hoots of human life: stupid sex, where you don’t know or care what is going on, where the condom is, or even if she’s on the Pill? That moment of madness, that instant when feeling takes over and your brain has a night off, that time when you can’t string a sentence together but somehow you can still have sex? seriously, students, you should try this.”

                https://reason.com/archives/201…..-drunk-sex

                1. No, it isn’t. We already have a term for that: imbecile.

                  There is no need for neologism.

                  1. Bo Cara is fucking retarded:

                    HM’s a prude as well, huh?

                    He called you a ‘prude’ for arguing in favor of safe sex.

                    Got that? Trying to stop people from contracting herpes makes you a prude. This is clearly written by someone who’s never had sex so he didn’t have to worry about someone potentially getting pregnant.

                    It really is amazing how some libertarians (though Bo might actually not be one) think that hedonism to the level of gross stupidity is something that should be celebrated. Here’s a hint: Liberty cannot exist without people engaging in personal responsibility. If you destroy personal responsibility, eventually you destroy liberty. It might just take awhile.

                    1. He called you a ‘prude’ for arguing in favor of safe sex.

                      The funny thing is that when I was his age, I was already running amok in Bangkok, out of all places.

                      I’m sure he would have gone bareback each and every time. Because he’s not a prude.

                2. The term would also encompass libertarian contributors to Reason who write things like this for other publications:

                  “Because I knew my friends would try to stop me, I told no one. I snuck out, took that L train under the East River and considered what I knew about Dave: He was around 40. He was blond and a little stocky, according to his profile pictures. He was married (but no children). And he held some sort of job in the music industry….

                  “I took the money sheepishly, without so much as glancing at how much it was, and put it in my purse….

                  “…On the table there was a note: “Liz, you passed out and I had to get back to my wife. Take care?there’s vitamin water in the fridge. Talk to you soon.”

                  “…Then I remembered the money Dave had given me at the bar. I checked my purse: $200.”

                  http://www.ravishly.com/2014/0…..sugar-baby

                  1. Again, Eddie, employing the term “cosmotarian” to merely imply “libertine” shows how meaningless the term has become considering it was originally employed by Rockwell and company to criticized those who looked askance at the colloidal silver/FEMA Camps, Sheeple!!!! wing of the movement.

                    1. HM,

                      I wasn’t aware of that particular piece of history. I was just going with the way *I’d* heard the term used.

                    2. The best was Justin Raimondo’s article for Takimag where he was SO FUCKING ANGRY WITH YOU COSMOTARIANS

                      Look at this shit:

                      Speaking of needing a PR shop: Reason is fast losing subscribers and readers over this. Take a look at the comments attached to Weigel’s post: they sure have Weigel’s number. Almost to a man (and woman) they are wondering: whose side is Reason on? Why are they bringing up this tired old “controversy”? Who benefits?the friends or the enemies of liberty? So intent are these would-be commissars on purging the movement of anyone who doesn’t kowtow to their PC gods that they lose sight of the fact that Ron Paul is a bestselling author who has done more for the cause of liberty than Reason could ever hope to.

                      Weigel claims to be “flabbergasted” by Paul’s endorsement of Lew Rockwell, lewrockwell.com, and the Ludwig von Mises Institute, but to anyone familiar with Lew and his good works, none of this is surprising.

                      Raimondo really does view Libertarianism as a fucking cult. You can’t criticize anyone inside the cult. To criticize anyone inside is to aid the nebulous outer ‘enemy’ who is banging at our door.

                      The fact that he refers to Lew Rockwell’s ‘good works’ further expands upon the disturbing religious imagery.

                    3. Was Raimondo anything other than a Buchananite who smokes pot, really?

                    4. On the other hand… he’s talking about Weigel.

                    5. Furthermore, both Raimondo and Rockwell used the term to slur “interventionists”

                      Raimondo in 2011:

                      It is all too clear to me what the Johnson campaign represents: the attempt by the so-called “cosmopolitan” (cosmotarian?) wing of our movement to create “the next Ron Paul” ? and dump all that antiwar, anti-Federal Reserve “kooky” stuff, which the Beltway libertarian organizations funded by the so-called”Kochtopus” look down their noses at. These sophisticates sniff disdainfully at Paul’s Christianity, his country-doctor-bourgeois persona, his personal opposition to abortion: they are especially embarrassed by his opposition to the pernicious role played by the central bankers of the Federal Reserve in destroying our economy because this is something that is never brought up at Georgetown cocktail parties.

                    6. Rockwell in 2008:

                      Good for Huffpo’s Dennis Perrin for diagnosing the “Eek, a mouse!” reaction to Ron Paul by liberals (and neocons and self-described cosmopolitan libertarians). The anti-Paulians love the state, especially the warfare state. They want perpetual war in the Middle East, and the approbation of the regime. Thus their hate of Ron Paul. Of course the hatred of these types is another medal on Ron Paul’s chest. (NB: some “adult” language here, and thanks to Brad Funkhouser.)

                      So, if the term is to have any meaning, based on its original coinage it must mean “disagrees with Ron Paul on any matter,” which I don’t think is what you intended.

                    7. HM, I found another great article from our Paleolibertarian friends.

                      It’s titled Why Race Matters and was published in a libertarian journal edited by Hans Herman Hoppe in 1996 by a man named Michael Levin. An actual quote:

                      Tracing black crime to genetic factors leads back to free will
                      and responsibility. Race defends the view that, while the lower
                      mean level of responsibility of blacks makes them by definition
                      less punishable than whites, it permits other measures to control
                      black crime. After all, homicidal maniacs, although not
                      punishable, are not let roam free. Race suggests some possible deterrent measures, including swifter imposition of harsher
                      sanctions on blacks than whites for the same infraction, in light
                      of higher black time preferences, and (in light of the apparent
                      more rapid maturation of blacks) treatment of blacks as adult
                      offenders at an earlier age than whites.
                      It is also noted that if
                      white mistreatment has so affected the psyches of blacks that
                      they are not accountable for their actions, as some apologists
                      assert, blacks must also forego civil privileges associated with
                      full rationality, such as voting and jury service.

                      Yeah. If the people responsible for this want to call me a ‘cosmotarian’ I’ll take their disdain as a fucking compliment.

                    8. Here’s another possible definition:

                      “A cosmopolitan libertarian; a libertarian who holds socially liberal personal opinions about abortion, homosexuality, race, and other social issues. Compare to paleotarian.”

                      http://cosmotarian.blogspot.co…..nyway.html

                      Just in case you think “not a Jim Crow advocate” is the only definition which has ever been offered.

                    9. In fairness, Eddie, this is from the comments:

                      Cosmotarianism can be better described as in denial of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, ect. They deny that they are different in any way and seek to eliminate such differences. Men and women are psychologically the same, according to cosmotariansim. The Black and White races are just as smart. The cosmotarian ignores evidence that contradicts his* ideology.

                    10. My definition of cosmotarian is a media figure that poses as a libertarian whilst working for a libertarian publication by putting a libertarian patina on standard progressive views.

                    11. blacks must also forego civil privileges associated with
                      full rationality, such as voting and jury service.

                      I don’t understand why Levin, a fucking philosopher for crying outloud, has more right to the privileges than John Urschel, a man superior to him in every way; physically, as a professional football player, and mentally, as the primary researcher/author of “A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector of Graph Laplacians”.

                      Urschel has an Erd?s number of 4, what’s Levin’s?

                    12. Positively, the IQ gap predicts the
                      contours of black failure with remarkable accuracy. For instance,
                      according to the IQ data, only about 13 blacks in any one-year
                      cohort are as intelligent as the average mathematician, and in
                      fact, blacks earn only about a half-dozen doctorates in the
                      mathematical sciences annually, a impressive fit given the
                      small numbers involved.

                    13. Sidenote, I saw that dude talk at the Science and Engineering Festival in DC last year. Your boy is scary, scary smart. I’m not a Ravens fan so I can’t speak to his skills as a guard, but he’s definitely swimming in way deeper mathematical waters than most people will ever see. It’s kind of ironic, because guards aren’t exactly known for being bright. Typically, you’re looking for a big fat guy that likes running into things for that position.

                    14. Well, then what word (other than “imbecile,” which is fairly broader than the category of people we’re discussing) should be applied to libertarians who praise drunken fornication and finding 200 bucks in your purse after a night on the town?

                    15. drunken fornication

                      Lol

                    16. Why does that need to be a classification at all?

                    17. I asked what other word should be applied to describe the group I’m referring to?

                      “Enlightened non-racist” won’t cut it.

                    18. Seriously, if Rockwell has tainted the term, then there should be another term for the libertine branch of libertarianism.

                    19. Libertine-ian?

                    20. I mean, libertine. The two are separate concepts. What term should be applied to Republicans who don’t smoke or chew tobacco? What term should be applied to Democrats who have a fixation with neatness?

                    21. Yep, GayJay is a staple at Georgetown cocktail parties.

                    22. Know your history!

                      “Cosmotarian” was first applied to the proto-SJW freakout upon the 2008 re-revelation of the Ron Paul newsletters.

                      Eddie latched on to the term within hours to promter his own brand of mackeral snapping soconism.

                    23. “Eddie latched on to the term within hours”

                      Within hours of what?

                    24. within hours of the portmanteau of “cosmopolitan libertarian” appearing. You’re crimethink aren’t you?

                    25. No

                    26. My apologies…to our past Papist poster.

                    27. “”Cosmotarian” was first applied to the proto-SJW freakout upon the 2008 re-revelation of the Ron Paul newsletters.”

                      Uh, I vaguely recall it being used earlier than that.

                      Didn’t Lonewacko and Donderoooo refer to people here as “Cosmos” because we weren’t shitting the bed over mexicans / terrorists, respectively?

                      it was a standard-issue LewRockwell.com insult for… anyone not ‘them’, from what i could tell.

                    28. No

                      I vaguely recall Postrel said something elsewhere about “cosmopolitan libertarians” when the newsletter shit broke and the word was born. I think around early in the second week of January 2008 (based on a quick Google search to confirm).

                    29. Well, I’ll take your word for it. I did a sitecomber search and it didn’t seem to find anything from much earlier….

                      (though i couldn’t sort by date….is there somewhere where you can do that?)

                      …but at the very least, the derogatory attitude among Ron Paul-ites / lewrockwell types about “Reason libertarians” being unacceptably socially-liberal, philosophically wishy-washy, etc. certainly predates 2008

                    30. You can plug a custom date range in to any google search under the “search tools”. It ain’t the final word on etymology but it works.

                    31. It seemed the perfect word to describe “libertarian” consequentialists steeped in a progressive culture of what the neoreactionaries refer to as ” the Cathedral”.

                    32. This post from Jesse on 1/16/2008 claims it was the first time he’d ‘heard the term’

                      “Harris’ comment may be the first time I’ve seen someone use the term “cosmo-libertarian” (or “cosmotarian”) as anything other than an insult. Not that its meaning has had much time to stabilize — a couple months ago, as far as I can tell, the word didn’t exist at all.”

                      People in the comments seem to not give much of a shit. although John was on one of his red-blooded rants about how we’re all a bunch of weak-kneed unpatriotic squishies who would likely inadvertently let commies contaminate our bodily fluids.

                      “Libertarianism needs to embrace American exceptionalism. One of the biggest problems with Lew Rockwell and his ilk is that they hate the policies of this country so much, they come accross as hating the country. …The Reason staff has the same problem although not to near the same degree. Outright patriotism is just not cool…. There is a real bad habbit in the libertarian movement to view the rest of the country with distain. ,… The Reasonoids of the world have a bad habbit of looking at the country as filled with beer guzzling fundie morons who want to bomb every brown person as revenge for 9-11. Gee, is it a surprise that not many of the general population that libertarians so openly and often dispise don’t seem to support libertarians?…. “

                    33. I pretty much agree completely with commenter “Pig Mannix” in those comments.

                      Cosmotarian describes a strong subset of consequentialists who think libertarian Top.Men. are goling to lead us into the progressive paradise. I value liberty for its own sake and if I was some sort of utilitarian I’d favor something far less friendly to freedom for the “greater good”. But I’m not. I want everyone to make their own stupid choices and live with the consequences.

                3. The most fun my wife and I have is when we’re shitfaced and fuck each other’s brains out. Have you ever had fun, Eddie?

                  1. There’s a difference between doing that with your wife and doing it with some random piece of strange you know so little about that you’re not even sure she’s on the pill.

                    1. Oh, that was fun as hell back when I used to do it too. Maybe even moreso.

                    2. But that’s what makes it so exciting, Irish! There is an art to finding chicks who you can fuck bareback safely without knowing a lot about them. It’s fun learning to do so in any case. Just…don’t be too wrong as you learn.

                    3. Look for neck tattoos and cutting scars. Those are the never-fail no-herpes tells, Irish.

                    4. Look for neck tattoos and cutting scars. Those are the never-fail no-herpes tells, Irish.

                      Jesus, Warty, how is he supposed to learn on his own if you give him all the answers? Don’t listen to Warty, Irish. Just put your dick in a bunch of girls and then correlate which ones you got diseases from and what’s similar about them. It’s what I would do.

                    5. I’m glad you guys were here to teach me the ins and outs of STD transmission. If it weren’t for you, I would have died of AIDS like 5 years ago.

                    6. If it weren’t for you, I would have died of AIDS like 5 years ago.

                      How do we you if you haven’t? I mean I’ve never seen you in the same room with AIDS.

                    7. Acyclovir/Zovirax in the medicine cabinet is the sure tell. I learned this in my youth while looting out the expired narcotics ‘scripts from co-eds. DEMEROL!!! Hot Damn maybe her roomate is a diabetic and I can cold shake these and bang ’em up….Acyclovir…SHIT! I thought I was going to get laid too…time to make a polite exit.

                    8. Damn millenials catching “risk-aversion” from their helicopter moms.

                    9. Millenials, for all their many faults, use condoms far less often their Generation X equivalents. The whole AIDS kills thing isn’t one they’re as familiar with. And I am shocked at the number of young Caucasian single moms I see here in Florida.

                      /If you do what I do for a living, people like to tell you things… I know everyone’s sexual history here.

                  2. The guy I quoted wasn’t talking about *marital* sex.

                    1. You didn’t answer my question. Have you ever had fun?

                    2. I think Irish should answer the question as well.

                      Perspective matters.

                    3. I’m having fun now.

        2. There is no god, you poor fucking lunatic. Stop wasting your life.

          1. Is there such a thing as right and wrong?

            If yes, insisting on the distinction isn’t a waste, regardless of God being there or not.

            If no, then *everyone* is wasting their life.

            1. Notorious G.K.C.|3.23.15 @ 10:28PM|#
              “Is there such a thing as right and wrong?
              If yes, insisting on the distinction isn’t a waste, regardless of God being there or not.”

              Which, of course, makes your claim of a god totally worthless.
              Just so ya know we can read.

              1. I mean, as long as we agree there’s such a thing as right and wrong, and that right and wrong depend on more than our mood at the moment.

                The debate over the *source* of right and wrong then can be safely be deferred to another occasion.

                1. Notorious G.K.C.|3.23.15 @ 11:13PM|#
                  “I mean, as long as we agree there’s such a thing as right and wrong, and that right and wrong depend on more than our mood at the moment.”

                  So, eddy, you’re claiming that without your sky-daddy, you wouldn’t know right from wrong one minute from now?
                  So you are claiming that without some ‘guidance’ from a religious fantasy, you, like Tony are bereft of the ability to act as a moral agent?
                  What a fucking idiot.

                  1. I’m saying that without God, *you* wouldn’t know right from wrong.

                    you don’t have to believe in Him to benefit from what He does. Just as someone can breathe even without knowing about oxygen.

                    1. Oh, for the love of the FSM.

                      Fuck off, troll.

                    2. Sorry, the stalker position has already been filled, and Tonio’s stalking is fully satisfactory. But leave your resume in my rabbit warren and I’ll call you back if I have need of your services.

                    3. Lick my nutsack you sanctimonious cunt. Take your proselytizing and blow it out your ass. If I wanted to listen to delusional bullshit, I’d join your cult.

                    4. Game, set, and match, Notorious G.K.C.

                      Congrats.

          2. “Warty|3.23.15 @ 10:25PM|#

            There is no god, you poor fucking lunatic. Stop wasting your life.”

            You seem very certain there is no God.

            How can you be so sure ?

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  2. but just don’t appen to be reading or following that title

    A man with name like Doherty dropping his Hs like a Cockney? What would Peter King say?

  3. While I love that comment, I’m afraid I had to correct the error and make it incomprehensible to future generations.

    1. Well, that was one ell of a thing to do, Brian!

      1. Do’erty?

        1. its pronounced “Daaaarrrty” in Irish

  4. The irony is that Rafael Albuquerque, as an artist, did an excellent job. The cover invoked the proper emotional response; the Joker is supposed to be creepy. You are supposed to be concerned at the fate of Batgirl upon seeing that image.

    And instead of being rewarded, Albuquerque was sanctioned.

    1. Avant-garde artists are supposed to be persecuted (hopefully noncoercively, as in this case)… that’s part of being an avant-garde artist. He also may wind up better off given his newfound fame, anyway.

  5. So much for the notion that artists have to be “provocative” and not compromise their art in any way, especially to moralists.

  6. Watching “Jeremiah Johnson”. Don’t know what that has to do with this, other than that it’s damned fine art. Just gettin’ ready to get his family killed. So sad…

    1. I saw that at the drive-in with my parents as a kid. I love that movie.

      1. John Milius for the win.

      2. Is that when your brother was conceived?

        1. Hmmmm? I did fall asleep during the second feature.

    2. I still don’t get why they had to call him Jeremiah instead of his better known handle: Liver Eating [Johnson].

    3. Almanian, if you like JJ another film I recommend is “The Mountain Men” with Chuck Heston and Brian Keith.

  7. First Amendment is losing its hold on a class of American’s liberal intelligentsia

    Of course, freedom of speech has served its purpose and it is now time to crush the kulaks and wreckers. I mean it’s not like Robespierre, Lenin and Mao did the same!

  8. I tend to agree that the heckler’s veto is not a good outcome, but absent some coercion on the originator, how can it be effectively opposed?
    And that is a worse-yet outcome.

    1. Well, it’s chintzy, but you could get the image online and make a t-shirt out of it.

      I presume this would be legal if you only make it for yourself and don’t try to sell them.

      I’m not trying to suggest it’s satisfying, or anything. Just a way to protest the protestations.

      1. http://fm.cnbc.com/application…..0x1000.jpg

        nice hi-res pic to work with

    2. How can the majority ever be opposed? By calling them on it until it finally sinks in, which may be never.

      Oh, and the brilliant insight from the Outhousers?

      For turning a popular series that was pushing comics forward into a lightning rod that will probably cause some people to drop it in protest of “censorship” because you were too tone deaf to see that cover was a bad idea in the first place, and for putting out a press release that’s going to get erroneously cited until the end of time by misogynists looking to discredit arguments in favor of social justice, it has been 0 days since you did something stupid.

      Yeah, some quality work there.

      1. “Yeah, some quality work there.”

        Well, ya sort of have to be a connoisseur of whinging to appreciate the high-art in that non-vintage whine.

        1. I admit, it took a couple of readings to make sure one of the dependent clauses didn’t end up making it the opposite of what I thought it was.

    3. This isn’t a heckler’s veto. Heckling is disruption of speech by clogging the medium with noise. As far as I know, the SJWs are not running around defacing comic covers on the newsstand with magic marker.

      1. And of course, thanks to the Streisand effect, the image is far more prevalent than it would have been if the SJWs had kept their mouths shut and allowed it to fade into mainstream obscurity like every other comic book cover. So I really don’t see the problem here.

  9. Does Batgirl save herself or does Batman and Robin come to the rescue?

    1. Who knows? It’s not coming out until June.

      1. Oh, okay.

        If the Joker has taken Batgirl hostage and is torturing her, but she then saves herself, then it would perfectly depict the feminist concepts of patriarchy and female empowerment.

        Are the criticisms of the cover coming primarily from feminist critics or elsewhere?

        1. Are the criticisms of the cover coming primarily from feminist critics or elsewhere?

          With comics it’s hard to tell at times as the subculture has been SWJ central for quite sometime. However, some of it has to do with DC rebooting their entire franchise in 2011, in which they changed the tone of many titles. Batgirl was revamped to be more lighthearted and appeal to a younger demographic. So, with the variant cover, it is a bit like being a teenaged Nancy Drew fan and then coming across a book cover that depicts Nancy hogtied and ball-gagged in Ariel Castro’s basement.

          1. I’m just having a hard time understanding the criticism surrounding the cover. DC should have released several different variants with Batgirl, Batman, Robin, and Alfred. All with the same look of terror on their faces.

            1. DC should have released several different variants with Batgirl, Batman, Robin, and Alfred. All with the same look of terror on their faces.

              You mean like this?

              Yeah, that’s what DC usually does just as a money grab. The Batgirl cover was supposed to be part of a whole month where Joker takes over the covers of all the major titles.

          2. So…Fifty Shades, then?

    2. http://www.ign.com/articles/20…..oker-cover

      I think this article makes possibly the best argument for why the cover was unsettling. But I don’t think it makes a good case for pulling the cover from publication.

      Barbara Gordon can never escape the events of The Killing Joke, but as long as she’s a crime-fighter in Gotham, she will always have to contend with The Joker.

      Think of it like Ellen Ripley in Aliens. She has to face her demons. Despite the PTSD she must endure, she has to get on with her life.

      1. *rolls eyes* Caleb, Batgirl isn’t about some sort of heroine’s journey! Like that’s so…I just can’t even! *sighs* Mary ‘Batgirl’ Sue is my wish fulfillment and she can never be in any real peril! Just enough to make her life interesting and cool and omg everything I want to be as long as there is Nightwing/Batgirl ship fic!

        [insert oversized animated gif of Beyonce waving her left hand in a sassy manner here]

      2. Correct me if I’m wrong, but when Aliens was released in 1986, it was universally hailed as an excellent depiction of feminist empowerment in science fiction.

        What would the reaction be to Aliens if it were released today? Would it be criticized for its callous depiction of PTSD triggers?

        1. Are you kidding? Just from the fact that Alien was explicitly intended as one giant rape metaphor, not to mention the not subtle in any way phallic and vagina imagery of Giger, the film would have been pulled quicker than the Interview and Weaver would have spent the rest of her life busing tables.

          1. Yeah, even though Ripley is the lone survivor and kills the xenomorph at the end of the first one, it’s not really a great depiction of “empowerment.”

            Same way with the first Terminator movie. However, with the sequels are about the cathartic release of revenge.

            Again correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m under the impression that modern psychological therapy for PTSD survivors is de-sensitization to the stimulus. That’s basically what happens to Ripley in Aliens. When the Marines wuss out, she picks up a gun and gets her revenge.

  10. So will the Comics Code come back? They didn’t like how women were treated before it was adopted.

  11. What is this now, three articles on Batgirl? Plus the weekend intern reruns.

    Is the staff just trolling for more Botardation? Haven’t we had enough already? How about some pizza reviews?

    1. Has that moron been around lately? Next time you see him, ask him some questions a law student would be able to answer. Spoiler alert: he won’t.

    2. DEEP DISH ISNT PIZZA

  12. The Comics Code and the Production Code didn’t want rape to be depicted which was Bad but today we should depict rape either which is Good. Can someone explain?

    1. Oops
      today we *shouldn’t* depict rape either which is Good.

  13. Here’s the problem. Twitter armies are generally nonviolent. They can be assholes, and they can certainly be wrong, but they’re not violating anyone’s rights. Furthermore, there’s a very fine line between a “heckler’s veto” and market feedback. If I decide my kids aren’t going to watch a certain TV show due to content I don’t think anybody would have a problem with that. What if I wrote a letter to the network telling them about my decision? What if I yelled it in front of their building? My message is fundamentally the same, I’ve just adjusted the volume.

    1. A nonviolent mob isn’t doing anything morally wrong, but I still don’t much like mobs.

      1. Personally I find that mobs–and this is why they are useful and popular–carry an inherent threat with them, and could be said to be morally wrong. In their worst form–physical–they absolutely carry an implied physical threat. Sometimes it is overt (people carrying pitchforks and calling for violence), and sometimes it is more subtle (cross this picket line and your tires will be slashed). But a physical mob always carries some threat with it, at the very least that even if just about everyone is well behaved, there’s always the possibility of at least one crazy in there.

        Virtual mobs are no different, really, it’s just that they can only engage in the subtler threats because there is no actual crowd of people physically together. But when these Twitterstorms start raging, threats and bullshit (99.99% of which are just talk) come out, and that will frighten some people into silence or to reacting differently than if there was no mob involved. And frankly, that’s why the SJWs like internet mobs. Partly because of that extra little power a mob gets.

        1. I certainly wouldn’t condone violence or the threat of violence, but that’s not what I’m talking about. This is what the market place of ideas looks like. It ain’t all reasoned debates by scholars in robes. Sometimes it’s two assholes yelling at each other. Sometimes it’s someone who wants you to read his book while somebody else tells you you’d be better off not reading it while a third person calls the author a dumb shit. It may not be perfect, but it beats the shit out of the alternative(which is mobs beating the shit out of people they don’t like).

    2. So was the Catholic Legion of Decency and Reason is not very found of the Production Code.

      1. The Legion of Decency was not the same as the Production Code administration – the Legion was much more skeptical of Hollywood, while the Production Code was administered by Hollywood insiders who, of course, had to have regard for what the Legion was doing.

        1. They weren’t but they were heavily responsible for the PCA being created. The Production Code and Hays Code were not the same either, something a lot of people don’t realize.

          1. Okay my mistake. What people think of as the Code was the one enforced by the PCA headed by Joe Breen rather than by Will Hays.

            1. Hays was a titular figure. The Hays Office before 1934 was fairly toothless, it was in 1934 that, under Legion of Decency pressure, they got serious about enforcing moral standards, and put Breen in charge.

    3. Forgot who said it, but it goes something like propaganda can put into one sentence a falsehood that takes paragraphs to refute. Twitter armies suck.

    4. If I decide my kids aren’t going to watch a certain TV show due to content I don’t think anybody would have a problem with that.

      Correct.

      What if I wrote a letter to the network telling them about my decision?

      A bit into Crazy Cat Lady territory, but barely worth a raised eyebrow.

      What if I yelled it in front of their building?

      Now you’ve entered the realm of paranoid schizophrenics and/or the homeless.

      1. Generally I’d agree, but at some level don’t businesses want/need honest market feedback?

        1. In my experience, organizations tend to get more accurate feedback when they solicit it themselves. The people motivated to send it unsolicited are those who either really, really please or really, really pissed off. The “increase in volume” distorts the actual number of people who hold that view.

          1. To the extent that you solicit feedback properly (ie, without introducing bias) it’s expensive and hard. Basically you’re talking about focus groups and the like. A lot of businesses print out their customer service contact info and even offer you goodies for taking surveys, but even those will be slanted to people who have a problem.

            You can correct for the bias in unsolicited feedback, and in many cases you can solicit feedback in response to unsolicited feedback.

    5. 100% agreed.

      Furthermore, there’s a very fine line between a “heckler’s veto” and market feedback.

      This is a very important practical point. It is also incorrect for the commenters above to characterize this as “heckler’s veto”. Heckling is disruption of a speaker’s ability to communicate speech by polluting the medium, very different from persuading the speaker not to communicate the speech before he makes it.

  14. But I have a sneaking sense that pre-Enlightenment attitudes roughly summable as “error has no rights” (it’s just what the tribe thinks of as error that changes) are arising with pride in many communities of discourse.

    They’ve always been there. There were record burnings of Beatles albums. People want Huck Finn banned from schools because it contains nigger. And so on. This is always a feature with a lot of people, and getting people together about it tends to make it even worse. The internet allows people to get together so much more easily. And then you have your mob.

    However, I think we’ve also seen the rise of the “professional silencer” with the rise of the SJW crowd; a group who tend to exist only to silence and hound people. These people existed previously as well in the form of stuff like Christian family values groups who pretty much exist to try and sterilize tv and movies of anything they find objectionable, or Tipper Gore’s bullshit attempts to crack down on the music industry. But they were very tightly focused and were obsessed usually with pretty specific things. The SJW movement covers a lot more ground and is deliberately, purposefully attempting to inject itself into as many things as possible, even specifically into groups they “feel” aren’t properly progressive enough as a whole (take Gamergate for example).

    1. (cont)

      Of course, this Batgirl thing was pushed almost entirely by SJWs as seems to be the case for so many “controversies” of late, and I think that’s what Brian may be picking up on: that there is a general, rather than specific and narrow, movement that wants to censor not with the government, but with the mob. And they’ve had some successes.

      1. Jezebel is Mary Whitehouse with $2000 of terrible tattoos and type 2 diabetes .

        1. Joe Breen has a sad.

        2. Why can’t it be Alison Brie instead?

      2. I don’t really disagree but do you think it’s impossible that people in comic book fandom (or gamers, come to that) might have differing opinions? As opposed to any and all criticism of the medium only coming from outsiders?

        1. Of course they do, but you would never see an actual, solely-intra-fandom argument make its way to major media. Because no one else cares. You see it go mainstream when a lot of outsiders are getting involved.

          1. I see that. The reason I ask is because I do know quite a few people who are comic (I refuse to call them “graphic novels” unironically) and gamers (TT & VG) who are themselves passionate social justice types. The vibe I get sometimes (and, yes, since it’s just a vibe I could very well be wrong) is that all in the fandom represent one point of view which is only attacked by outsiders.

          2. an actual, solely-intra-fandom argument

            There go the goalposts. Susan was positing that the debate was already present in the comic book fandom before outside SJWs got involved.

      3. And they’ve had some successes.

        Such as? This example has to go down as a pretty massive failure due to the Streisand effect. I can count the number of past Batman comic covers I remember on zero hands, but this one is seared into my memory for a few years at least. Great job, SJWs.

        I think many of them have ulterior motives, of course, which unfortunately they are not failing at. Namely recruiting, fundraising, and gaining reputation among their fellow SJWs by sticking another scalp on their pantsuit.

    2. Oh for the good old days when they believed in “Dropping out of Society”. Of course all their grand plans, when put into practice in communes and the like, devolved into Lord of the Flies disasters. They must now get all of us to join in their insanity, knowing it takes longer to destroy something when others are doing the work to fund it.

  15. I wonder if certain commenters will remember this piece of red meat next time they imply that Reason is secretly in league with progressives.

    1. They break ranks every once in a while on issues that don’t have any practical significance, like this one.

    2. Suderman’s original article was positive about DC’s self-censorship bowing to SJW sensibilities as “market forces”, despite Reason having been skeptical about such efforts when in the past. It feeds into the observation that the Reason staff generally do not see enemies on the social left.

  16. Want to personally boycott something you don’t approve of? Go for it.

    Want to organize a public boycott of something you don’t approve of? Um, maybe, but I am not entirely comfortable with that sort of thing. It can turn into hectoring and coercion and can easily cause more social negatives than positives.

    Want to organize a public boycott of something you don’t approve of, not just to convince others not to buy it, but also for the purpose of preventing other people from buying it? Fuck you.

  17. The silly season is approaching again.

  18. …and then comes another presidential election year. Time to bug out.

  19. Look, numero uno, I’ve been seeing lots of images of that “censored” cover, whereas without the “censorship” I probably wouldn’t have known about the cover at all.

    Numero two-o, one key argument against government censorship is that the public as a whole, acting voluntarily, will weed out and reject bad ideas, bad art, etc. To say that, oh, no, the public shouldn’t voluntarily reject offensive and hateful content, is to open the door for the government coming in to do the rejection for us.

    Numero three-o, if you want to stretch the definition of “censorship” to include cases where consumers, even if they’re acting under the suggestions of activists, simply choose not to partake of particular comics, movies, etc., how is that different from, say, some movie bombing at the box office because it sucks? Should morally offensive movies, comics, etc. have more privileges than harmless but sucky entertainment? Or is it censorship when people decide not to watch Leonard Part Six, or Howard the Duck?

    1. You see no difference between me not seeing a movie because I think the premise sucks and me not seeing a movie because you decided it shouldn’t be made?

      1. What?

        Should it be made if the premise sucks?

        I’m afraid I don’t quite get your point.

        1. There’s a difference between someone telling you not to see Howard the Duck because it was stupid and someone telling the creator of Howard the Duck to not make it because it’s stupid.

          We’re not talking about a movie bombing at the box office because people didn’t like it, we’re talking about a movie never being made because some subset of potential viewers decided it shouldn’t be made.

          1. How does this apply to any of the examples we’ve been discussing?

            1. Maybe you should read the article again.

              1. I read the article, and I saw the “censored” cover image.

                Obviously it’s already been “made,” assuming that’s the key issue (though I’m not sure why it is).

                1. I mean, if I learned that someone was making a (non-ironic) movie based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, I’d urge people not to fund it, even if (especially if) the result was the film didn’t get made.

      2. You see no difference

        I see no difference between George Lucas and Adam Lanza.

      3. Happens all the time. You know why the Nancy Pelosi porn was never released? Because the network execs didn’t think anybody wanted to see it. The movie-going public has decided that many movies shouldn’t be made for a variety of reasons.

        1. In other news, Human Centipede 3 comes out sometime this year.

  20. I’m impressed, Brian. Look at the great writing you can do when you step away from the pot cart for a while. Very well written, I agree 100%.

    1. Pot cart? Isn’t Jacob the major weed consumer? Not that they can’t both be.

      (starts loading bong)

      1. You know, sometimes it’s hard to tell the pot smoking beardos apart.

        1. I don’t have a beard, just permastubble.

          (takes hit)

          Dude, that was my skull!

  21. My nephew wanted a copy of Atlas Shrugged and so the last time I was in the US I went to Barne’s and Noble to pick a copy up. Love the book, but wouldn’t call myself and objectivist. However, the sales lady said to me when I put it on the register, “Oh, you’re one of those types.” Honing an argument or position through honest questioning is an art that is disappearing. Good friends can do that, but the public sphere is a toxic brew of envy and aggression.

    1. And you called for her manager and got her fired, I hope.

      1. Calling her on it to the point her line starts to back up and people get antsy may have been a good start to that.

      2. Meh, her manager probably encouraged her to make small talk like Starbucks managers are currently doing with their baristas.

        Am I the only person who finds small talk with sales people to be overrated. I don’t mind comments about the weather or the traffic, but just scan my purchases as quickly as possible, and I’ll be on my way.

        1. I don’t want any interaction with the drones whatsoever. In fact, I’m deeply offended that they haven’t been replaced by robots yet.

          1. Meh, upper management will still try to give the robots the “personal touch.” They will program the robots to ask you about your day or the weather.

            A lot of Wal-Marts have self-checkout now. That’s the way to go. Just let me get what I want and leave.

        2. I generally find all small talk to be pointless and irritating. No matter who it’s with.

      3. Limited time and didn’t feel like wasting it on the troll. Evil, good men, nothing, I know. It’s in Denver, so a C note in it for you if you want some contract work.

        1. You could have at least snarked something good. my god, the possibilities.

          1. Publishing was one of the first industries to go full sjw, back in the ’80s. Things like the Gor series, which always sold throughout its entire run, were removed from publication. Poor bastard who wrote it ended up doing a couple titles for a company called Masquerade, erotica firm that had its heyday in the ’90s, but on smaller print runs (and residuals from his earlier works, which were completely removed from shelves). Far cry from the ’70s after the Miller decision, when SF writers talked up incest, Signet, Dell, Warner and Bantam all had straight erotica series replete with underage gals and rape, and… I could go on.

            Plus side, publishing’s actually gotten better than what it was. Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl, makes way too much money even though her characters might be considered “problematic.” Same way, though Manhattan lit types generally thought Judith Regan the antichrist, she was able to stay on top until she made the mistake of signing OJ for “If I Did It.”

    2. The worst part about that is that it assumes you can’t engage with different ideas unless you agree with those ideas. How did she know you even agree with Ayn Rand? I have a left-wing friend who owns Atlas Shrugged because he wanted to read what Rand actually believed so that he could understand her real positions rather than the caricature he’d get from other leftists on the internet.

      I own a copy of the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf because I wanted to read them for myself. That doesn’t mean I agree with either. It’s pretty fucked up when people start assuming that you should only read things you agree with and that therefore buying a political book must mean you agree with every aspect of that book.

      1. I have a left-wing friend who owns Atlas Shrugged because he wanted to read what Rand actually believed so that he could understand her real positions rather than the caricature he’d get from other leftists on the internet.

        That’s extremely rare for a left-winger.

        -jcr

      2. “I own a copy of the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf because I wanted to read them for myself… irrelevant .

        You are now on the watch list, citizen.. take care..

    3. Yes. Partisanship has increased the TEAM mentality so much that anything that “triggers” (ha!) one TEAM as a “marker” for the other TEAM causes them to just assume they know everything about that person from one single marker. I’ve noticed this for many years and it’s why I try to be careful when talking to people I don’t know extremely well to not peg any triggers if I can. Because a person will see you buy that copy of Atlas Shrugged and now they know all about you (in their heads, at least) from literally a single thing. Even though they are utterly wrong.

      I mean, people have probably always done this to a certain degree, but the extent to which people will actually classify you as a fucking enemy based on the smallest of things has increased significantly.

      1. I once had someone online presume that I was some sort of Southern Redneck (to the point of thinking I had a southern accent) based purely on the fact that my IP address originated in Houston, and I had expressed some vague libertarian sentiments.

        This despite the fact (a) I am from Canada, (b) I had lived in Houston a whopping total of 3 years, and (c) Houston is an enormous city of 4 million people most of whom (like most cities) probably aren’t from there originally.

    4. However, the sales lady said to me when I put it on the register, “Oh, you’re one of those types.”

      THIS IS HOW OBJECTIVISTS FLIRT

      You were then supposed to bend her over the counter and take her right there by engraved invitation.

      Dummy.

      1. And as you’re having sex with her, you’re supposed to quote Leonard Peikoff’s thoughts on the Ground Zero Mosque:

        “Any way possible permission should be refuse[d] and if they go ahead and build it, the government should bomb it out of existence, evacuating it first, with no compensation to any of the property owners involved in this monstrosity.”

      2. Learning is lifelong journey. Thanks, HM.

    5. “”Oh, you’re one of those types.””

      Holy shit, someone you are about to give money to as a paying customer…*in a bookstore*…. drops that shit?

      Are you fucking kidding me?

      That would have unleashed the Gilmore-Kraken.

    6. You should have come to my register. I’m a cashier for Barnes and Noble. Seriously.

    7. However, the sales lady said to me when I put it on the register, “Oh, you’re one of those types.”

      “Yes, I’m one of those people who values my freedom. Got a problem with that, you pinko bitch?”

      -jcr

  22. So this quote regarding Utah allowing firing squad executions (which comes from an article Eddie posted earlier) stuck out to me:

    On Friday afternoon, members of the governor’s staff met with Randy Gardner, a Salt Lake City man whose brother was the last Utah inmate executed by firing squad in 2010. Ronnie Lee Gardner was sentenced before Utah stopped allowing inmates to choose the method.

    Gardner told The Associated Press that he told Herbert’s staff about his opposition to bringing back the method and how painful it was to see his brother’s body riddled with bullet holes after his execution.

    This confuses me. If you’re against the death penalty, which I am, argue against the death penalty. Why does the fact that the guy had bullet holes matter? He would have died just as much if you’d injected him with poison, the only difference is there’d be no visual sign of his death. If you’re complaining about firing squads but not less visible signs of the death penalty, then you’re actually just showing that you’re squeamish about blood rather than that you have any moral position.

    I wrote some more thoughts on that here, which I’m posting because I’m lazy and don’t feel like reiterating something I’ve already written.

    1. People get really, really retarded about death. They really do. It’s just too much for them to realize that once the person is dead, the meatsuit doesn’t really matter any more.

      Steve Castle: I was so busy being an 80’s guy, I forgot to cure it. [He twists some more.] My only regret is … that I have … boneitis!
      [He stops twisting.]
      Fry: He’s dead.
      [The crowd gasps.]
      Mom: Pry out his fillings, feed him to the jackals and let’s get on with the sale.

      1. Is that you Gene Roddenberry? And if humanity has gotten over death then why is Counselor Troi there?

        1. H.R. demanded a gender quota?

        2. Because not grieving is emotionally unhealthy?

    2. When in a lecture, in 1961, Heidegger was asked how we might recover authenticity, he replied tersely that we should simply aim to spend more time ‘in graveyards.'”

      Most of his stuff is incomprehensible to me, but this seems about right. Sanitizing death in order to make survivors less uncomfortable can lead to some horrible outcomes.

    3. Did Randy prefer the way his brother’s victims’ dead bodies looked? They only had a couple of gunshot wounds so I guess that was better than being riddled.

  23. Today in Social Justice for Grade School Kids.

    1. Teaching grade-schoolers to be envious and self-righteous is like teaching a fish to swim.

      1. I would have gone with “Taylor Swift decided to do something more with her life than work at the local gas station so the same speeding ticket that will ruin your week is how trivial a detail to her compared to you, loser?”

        1. Or something like “Taylor Swift paid how many times your projected lifetime earnings in taxes last year?”

        2. “If I spend 6 hours wishing I were Taylor Swift, how many hours will I have left to do something constructive with my life?”

    2. Hahahaha. Oh, boy. My wife thinks that vacuuming doesn’t count as housework because I told her I like doing it. How much it hurts shows how much you love me.

      1. Your masochistic honesty is an inspiration to everyone!

    3. LeBron James is an occupation? I guess it…kind of…is.

      1. And now you know why James School costs so much. Jameses have to pay back their student loans, so a James salary really isn’t that much until you finish.

    4. The kid should’ve written $25,000 for number 1. Watch the teacher’s head explode.

    5. With each passing week I become more and more confident that the decision me and my wife made to homeschool our kids was correct.

    6. Why are Swift and A-Rod’s salaries numerical while the rest of the millions one have millions spelled out? Why does the left column have the $ signs but the right column does not? Where do I apply to get the occupation “Oprah Winfrey?”

      1. You’re in luck, she’s looking for body doubles now.

        1. She already seems to have an extra body.

          (ducks and runs)

      2. I wondered the same thing. Either the teacher is trying to teach the kids about different ways to represent numbers, or she (I feel safe in making this assumption) has the IQ of a dog. I know what my guess is.

      3. Good enough for government work

      4. How could I apply for A Rod? My batting average couldn’t be any worse than his at this point.

      5. Answers:

        1. The “Adam Sandler job” does not specify the units, so I will supply my own – (53 / 37,000) $. Therefore, the answer is $25,000.

        2. The “Taylor Swift job” does not specify the units, so I will supply my own – (33 / 64,000) $. Therefore, the answer is $147.

        3. Using the units specified in 2., the answer is $147.

        1. Derpetologist gives prizes, you cheapskate.

    7. Wow, Beyonce has a “salary” of $115,000,000? She’s really raking it in!

      And I love that Adam Sandler is considered just as relevant as Taylor Swift. This teacher is with “it.”

  24. Let me drop one more pearl of wisdom:

    What happened to the good old days when comic books were sold on racks, the purchasers were kids who only had to plop down a few coins, and the Serious Debates over comics revolved around whether Spiderman could beat Batman.

    1. Oh, and any kid who referred to a comic book as a “graphic novel” would have been given the wedgie of his life.

      1. Comics and graphic novels are as different from each other as jingles and symphonies.

  25. Here, eddy, you need to wear this stupidity forever, because it defines bleever’s rejection of humanity and agency. Choke on it:

    Notorious G.K.C.|3.23.15 @ 11:13PM|#
    I mean, as long as we agree there’s such a thing as right and wrong, and that right and wrong depend on more than our mood at the moment.
    The debate over the *source* of right and wrong then can be safely be deferred to another occasion.

    Sevo|3.24.15 @ 12:30AM|#
    Notorious G.K.C.|3.23.15 @ 11:13PM|#
    “I mean, as long as we agree there’s such a thing as right and wrong, and that right and wrong depend on more than our mood at the moment.”

    So, eddy, you’re claiming that without your sky-daddy, you wouldn’t know right from wrong one minute from now?
    So you are claiming that without some ‘guidance’ from a religious fantasy, you, like Tony are bereft of the ability to act as a moral agent?
    What a fucking idiot.

    1. Um, OK, so there *isn’t* such a thing as right and wrong? I mean, what did I say that was so shocking?

      I thought I said we *both* believed in right and wrong, but disagreed over whether right and wrong came from God.

      1. Notorious G.K.C.|3.24.15 @ 1:00AM|#
        “Um, OK, so there *isn’t* such a thing as right and wrong? I mean, what did I say that was so shocking?”

        Fuck you.

        1. It’s just that I can’t always understand the nuances of your spittle-flecked, vein-throbbing curses. It’s not that I don’t *want* to understand you.

      2. BTW, I’m sure you thought your response was “clever”, so I repeat, fuck you.
        Learn to read, asshole.

        1. You quoted some comments of mine where I said right and wrong exist, but we disagree over where they come from. Then you said that was so stupid I should be saddled with it. So I re-read what i said to try and figure out what pissed you off so much.

        2. Sevo, dude: relax.

        3. Nice work, you don’t come across as a fanatical atheist lecturing on heresy.

  26. Wow… I can never unsee this chatroom.

    1. *Triggered*

  27. A libertarian should be thrilled that this whole controversy blew up in the anti-speech idiots’ faces. That image will get far more distribution than it would have without the controversy. Thank God for the Streisand effect.

  28. You Libertarians are really struggling with this one, aren’t you? Listen, this was not simply a ‘response to the market.’ This was a response to a small sector of society that may or may not actually be a part of the market. That sector believes in nearly unbounded state power, which makes sense because identity politics ‘progressives’ enjoy special statuses in large institutions (like universities, the executive branch, etc). This is not the hard to understand, but reason.com is just befuddled. Often, you guys are great in your commentary. But at other times your commitments lead you into weird impasses.

    1. You Libertarians are really struggling with this one, aren’t you?

      No we aren’t. But your opinion is noted.

      Listen, this was not simply a ‘response to the market.’ This was a response to a small sector of society that may or may not actually be a part of the market.

      Oh God, another person who doesn’t understand what the ‘market’ is:

      “Free market” is a summary term for an array of exchanges that take place in society. Each exchange is undertaken as a voluntary agreement between two people or between groups of people represented by agents. These two individuals (or agents) exchange two economic goods, either tangible commodities or nontangible services.

      Many SJW’s don’t buy comic books. But there are people who would buy the batgirl comic books who won’t because they hear SJW’s saying that the comic books are sexist. It is their right, for whatever reason, regardless of the wisdom of foolishness of their reasoning to make that choice. And it is the right of the publishers to decide how to tailor their product to make it attractive to the people they desire to sell them to.

      1. That sector believes in nearly unbounded state power, which makes sense because identity politics ‘progressives’ enjoy special statuses in large institutions (like universities, the executive branch, etc).

        Thank you for that irrelevant non sequitur.

        This is not the hard to understand, but reason.com is just befuddled.

        You might be thinking of some other magazine titled Reason, perhaps one run on a mimeograph machine, because regarding this magazine, that assertion is plain ignorant.

  29. But still, something rich and valuable might be worth preserving about a culture of expression that tolerates everything but intolerance. Not intolerance in the colloquial sense of not liking or supporting or approving of some set of behaviors or people or ideas, but intolerance in the sense of not tolerating expression itself.

    Yes, it’s one thing to direct social intolerance towards certain offensive behaviors, it’s another thing to direct it at artistic expression.
    Let me draw an explicit contrast:
    A) Frat guys racist chanting
    B) Guy wearing shirt with sexy woman on it

    It seems to me that in case (A), the frat guys were expressing not just racism, but an intent to discriminate against black people, which is a behavior that is worthy of condemnation.

    By contrast, in case (B), the guy was merely expressing that he liked this particular style. “Sexy women are cool!” is the only thing the shirt said. Arguably, by contrast with the Batgirl cover, it was even empowering – those women were badass girls wielding guns, not helpless victims. Thus it’s really hard to find any sort of advocacy of any bad behavior towards women anywhere in that shirt.

    1. Side note: this reminds me of the discussion of “thick” vs. “thin” libertarianism.
      In “thick” libertarianism, libertarianism extends beyond just the government to cultural and social values including tolerance and free expression. Tolerance may also include opposition ot racism and sexism. But social condemnation of racist and sexist views need not extend to actually supressing such expressions. It’s one thing to condemn someone’s speech as racist or sexist, it’s another thing to prevent him from speaking at all. There is plenty of room in a libertarian society for people to speak out and say “that’s sexist!”, but I think there should be much less room for people to simply demand that they “shut up”.

  30. You do understand that the artist withdrew the cover ‘willingly’ out of fear, right?

    That this roving empowered SJW mob can–and does–actually hurt people, yes?

    Ask Brenden Eich, or Matt Taylor or bakers or owners of chapels

    Or any of the less famous who’ve been accused of crimes against society because they have a non-PC opinion.

    Frequently, the democratic process is disparaged as majoritarian, as mob rule here. Robert Bork’s comments about how sometimes majorities should just rule because they’re majorities are derided.

    How does this differ?

    Does it only differ because they don’t always use the power of the State to get what they want yet?

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  32. This is a good thing. This is exactly what is supposed to happen.

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