In Defence Of Starfire And Red Hood And The Outlaws

Hey, looks like I’m not alone!  Some other people thought the internet over-reacted to Starfire’s portrayal in Red Hood and the Outlaws too!  Scott Lobdell explains Kory’s “memory loss” etc and (what do you know?) it looks like I was right about what he was trying to convey!  That happens so rarely, I feel the need to point it out.  He also confirms that Jason was lying about some things.  Yeah, some people at the DC Forums are going to be eating crow in two weeks when the next issue comes out…

21 Responses to In Defence Of Starfire And Red Hood And The Outlaws

  1. I haven’t read the comic (and don’t plan to), but regardless of future plans, the first issue (from what I’ve read online) was pretty negative towards Kory. Regardless of his intentions, he did a bad job of portraying Kory. Regardless of how you view “powerful women,” the general view (which is well known) is that women who sleep around are sluts, and that this is negative and doesn’t show power in a woman. This also means that regardless (I will keep using that word because it’s the main point of this comment) of what he intended with the first issue, the majority (from what I’ve seen) was not a fan of the way he used a character they liked. Regardless of whether he intends that to be a serious thing or explain it away or anything like that, he released a single issue that is negative. I saw you respond to somebody about Titans #1 about how spending more money on it would be a waste. Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if people stopped reading because they think the portrayal is negative.

    More importantly, the more vigorously you defend your point, the more vigorously others will defend theirs. This post does nothing except attempt at bragging to people about how you were right about Lobdell’s writing, which is never the way to help your side. You’ve made your point in an earlier post, and this does nothing to further your argument (since it’s about things that haven’t happened in the comic or things that weren’t obvious in the comic) and in fact hurts it against those who were opposed to the argument in the first case.

    • lebeau says:

      Holy cow, Pi! I wrote a couple of sentences to accompany a link and you went on the attack! I’ve got nothing for respect for you, but I’m going to respond to your points with the same honesty you made them. So up front, no offense.

      1. You didn’t read the book, your opinion doesn’t count. Or at least it doesn’t count for much. Everything you know or everything you think you know about it is second hand info taken out of context. If you want to discuss the book intelligently, read it first. If this were just some fly-by0night reader, I’d stop right here. But since I have more respect for you then that, I’m going to continue.

      2. “The general view is that women who sleep around are sluts.” I have so many problems with this sentence, I don’t know where to begin! Let’s assume for a moment that this is the “general view”. Just because the majority of people hold a view, that doesn’t make it right. At one point, the majority believed the earth was flat. Any argument that hinges on the opinion of the majority being the correct view is inherently flawed.

      2a. Just because a lot of people got very vocal about something on the internet does not mean it is the majority view. I suspect for every 1 person who ranted about this book online, 10 people read it and had no problem with it. Not that it matters what the majority think.

      3. All we know for sure based on the book is that Kory propositioned Roy and Jason claims to have also had sex with her. Does that constitute “sleeping around”? I don’t know. Maybe. Would you be as judgemental if a man did it? People seem to accept this behavior from James Bond. Massive double standard.

      4. “Slut-shaming” is wrong. Women were sexually liberated in the 1960’s. Calling women “sluts” is more insulting than anything contained in this comic book.

      5. I don’t begrudge anyone dropping the book because they didn’t like issue 1. I don’t have a problem with people not liking issue 1. There are legitimate criticisms to make. The book did objectify Starfire and invited a certain amount of criticism about its sexual politics. By all means, feel free to critique the book as a stand-alone issue (if you have read it). But…

      6. A lot of people jumped to conclusions which were not supported in the first issue. I saw a lot of comments indicating that Kory was presented as mentally disabled. Which clearly was not the case. It was strongly implied (and Lobdell confirms in the link I provided) thats he was merely being evasive. Also, people took Jason at his word despite the fact he is clearly an unreliable source. I had many conversations in which I made these points and certain readers refused to acknowledge any interpretation other than their own. If Lobdell’s comments are indicative of the contents of issue #2, these people will be proven wrong very soon.

      7. “The more vigorously you defend your point, the more vigorously others will defend theirs”. Well, in that case, you had to anticipate I would respond to your strongly worded comments with vigor, right? I mean seriously, I’m just supposed to shut up? I’m not supposed to argue my point of view on a blog? I thought that was the entire point of a blog?!? You have lost me on this one, dude. If someone has a counter-point, I encourage them to defend it as vigorously as they see fit. If they make good points, I’ll concede them as I am a reasonable man. But if I see flaws in their reasoning, I will point them out as I expect them to point out the flaws in my reasoning.

      8. The “bragging”. I thought it was pretty clear by my self-depricating comments about rarely being right that the “bragging” was tongue in cheek. However, the point stands that a lot of people jumped to conclusions. I thought some people might be interested in Lobdell’s confirmation that these conclusions were invalid. That is really the point of the link.

      9. If facts hurt my argument with someone, that’s on them. They were never open to any point of view other than their own anyway.

      • xxadverbxx says:

        A link? Maybe I’m just really tired (which I am) but I’m not seeing a link…

      • lebeau says:

        Dammit, I’m an idiot. The whole point of the article was the link and I forgot it. I have updated the article with the link. Sorry for the confusion.

      • xxadverbxx says:

        Oh yeah, as class is boring I’ll address your 2nd point (not 2a) and just that for most the others I addressed already in comments or in my own post on Starfire.

        Basically you are right that many majority views are wrong. The thing is, the people in power (which in America at least is still the white male) do what they can to stay in power and press their views (even if they are wrong) down other people’s throats to try and keep their power however wrong it may be. In your ‘world is flat’ point, back in the day those who did claim the world was round was often branded as heathens or witches and killed in various ways for it because they were going against the majority group’s (Christianity) thoughts. Such actions then made people less likely to even question if the world was round or not. And though things generally aren’t that harsh now to touch that Bond bit, males being sexually active are generally reinforced as good things by portrayals like James Bond and how the media usually talks about it while women get generally a negative look who do it in movies/TV.

        Sorry if you already know that, but actively trying to apply at least some knowledge from class helps try to keep it in my head.

      • lebeau says:

        lol – You make me miss my school days. Back then, we didn’t have devices to occupy us during boring lectures.

      • xxadverbxx says:

        I think most people just doodled in notebooks then. I know before personal computers I’d draw giant maps on my books (either they were throw-away work books or covered in paper-bags like dust covers) that went on both sides of it ^_^

        And I’m glad I just wasn’t so tired I was just missing the link. Especially as you pointed out that there was one (or should have been) I went and relooked and still did not find it at first XD

        Poor Scott though, even having planned this (seemingly after reading some of your link) he didn’t do a good job of foreshadowing that what was going on with Kory was just BS. And in terms of Jason, he always has been aggressive and evasive even but I at least can’t think of a time he’s really been one to lie about things and so I don’t think it would cross most people’s minds that Jason is lying about Starfire’s memory like it didn’t mine (for whatever reason he may have… assuming he even knows what he said on it was a lie).

        So as a stand alone issue, it still comes off pretty negative in terms of Starfire’s look despite what Scott was going for. I’m sure (at least assuming right now) that collected nicely in a trade Starfire’s portrayal won’t seem as horrible since people then can jump through 6 or 7 issues at a time though and right away get an explanation to it instead of waiting a month to just dwell on the one part of it.

      • lebeau says:

        Yes, back in the dark days we doodled in note books. Or cut class altogether.

        Yeah, I’m kicking myself for the link. That was the entire purpose of posting and I blew it. Like I said on the other article I posted yesterday, I was rushed.

        I don’t actually think Jason lied about the memory thing. I don’t know that I would take his explanation as gospel truth. But I think he was telling the truth as he understands it. I think he lied about sleeping with Kory.

        I think Lobdell owns some of the blame for the way the book came across. But like I said before, it was pretty obvious to me that there was more to the story. I can’t really fault him for the conclusions people jumped to. I think a lot of people were letting their fandom blind them to any point of view that negated their indignation.

      • Without a link, it was just bragging. With a link, it’s much more justified. I’m still slightly annoyed, but not nearly as much.

        1. Sure, it doesn’t count as much about the specifics. I have seen pages of the comic, maybe taken out of context, but even in context, they still seem negative to me.

        2. My point is that a lot of people (and a very vocal amount of people maybe even more than the ratio of actual people) have this view. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, I’m just saying it exists. It also seems to be known to me that it exists. Maybe it’s just that everyone I meet has had that opinion, but that’s the opinion I see. With that being said, you have to keep that opinion in mind when you do something. Let’s say that you don’t think sex is negative and needs to be censored. A comic where people actively have sex (not shadows of them or skipping past the actual act, but showing the actual sex) would get outrage from people who think sex should be censored because that is the general view regardless of your personal opinion.

        2a. Maybe it’s not the general view, but if it’s the only one made clear (and the people I have talked to who read it or places I visited online made that the only point), well… And even though the majority isn’t always right, it DOES matter what the majority thinks. The majority of people didn’t watch Firefly or Arrested Development. That doesn’t make them bad, sure, but they got cancelled prematurely. So, while the majority opinion doesn’t influence how good something is, it does influence the life of that thing.

        3. As I stated in a comment in a post by adverb, I do think it’s sleeping around and I think it’s just as bad as a guy sleeping around. I also think that popular culture has more stigmas with women doing it and regardless of the attitude towards men vs women, the double standard exists and has to be taken into consideration.

        4. Again, as I stated in that comment, someone who sleeps around is a slut, regardless. I also don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing that someone is a slut, but popular culture is not often fair to women who are sluts (and thus needs to be taken into consideration).

        5. Okay.

        6. I can’t speak to that much because I haven’t read it.

        7. I’m sorry you thought my post was strongly worded. My main points were that actions have consequences regardless of intent and that a few sentences without a link (which having added makes this better) as a post, saying you’re right and everyone else can suck it was silly. More so, there have been so many posts about this topic, that adding another one without new info (which is what it was before the link) was silly. Stating your opinion is fine. Stating your opinion in multiple posts without new info is silly.

        8. Self-deprecating bragging is still bragging.

        9. Let me tell you about an experiment I once did in an English class. It was one of my favorite experiences in school. We had a fairly small class (6 people maybe) and were split up into two groups to argue an issue. The issue wasn’t important. What’s important was what happened. We split the room into 4 sections. Two were for and against slightly, two were for and against vigorously. Everyone started in the slightly for or against, but as the arguments commenced, everybody (except me) got more and more heated and it went back and forth, with the arguments getting more and more defended. Only by talking calmly and rationally, I was starting to win over one of the other people to my side, and might have had we had more time.
        The point is that a post like the one you made (without a link) where you more and more vigorously defend your point, while just saying the other side will eat crow is not winning over anyone. You argued rationally somewhere else? Great! I didn’t know that. You didn’t here, so I only had this and the previous posts to go on.

        TLDR: Majority might not be right, but still matters. Intent is not as important as actions. With a link, the post is still preachy, but a fine post and one I wouldn’t have commented as long upon.

      • lebeau says:

        Yeah, forgetting the link kind of defeated the purpose of the entire post. Once Adverb pointed out I forgot the link, I understood your stance a lot more.

        I’ll have to comment on the rest later. I’m out the door to pick up the girls and then hopefully hit the comic shop after dinner.

  2. xxadverbxx says:

    Well I’m not from the DC forums but I won’t feel like I’ll be eating it. Instead, I’ll be happy if Lobdell explains this “memory loss” which you in this extremely short post (that I somehow failed yesterday to notice) have failed to actually state how Lobdell explains it. Just that he explained it… So yeah, if you have a link or can at least state how he explained it that would be good. Otherwise you basically are stating “I was right” with no actual reference.

    Anyways, I won’t feel like I’d be eating it. I explained in my review on Red Hood and the Outlaws and I believe in many comments that I was really hoping that Lobdell would later come out with some explanation about her memory loss bit. I do hope it comes in issue 2, or else I’ll always partially wonder if Lobdell planned it from the start or added it in after the mostly negative outlook people had of Starfire.

    • lebeau says:

      Yeah, the “eating crow” comment had nothing to do with people who fairly criticized the book. That’s where I specified the DC Forums. People there were being especially stubborn in refusing to ackowledge that an explanation could even exist.

      Now, don’t get me wrong. Regardless of the content of issue 2, some people won’t be satisfied. I’m sure it won’t wipe away all of the book’s “crimes”. But I think it will address some of your objections to the book. Especially regarding Jason’s account of things and Kory’s memory. Even so, you still might not like the book. And that’s fine. This isn’t a book for every one.

      Damn, I wish I’d remembered the link! (smacks head)

      • xxadverbxx says:

        Well excluding most of how Kory was portrayed I also did state this comic could become a guilty pleasure even if Kory kept being portrayed that way so I think I’ll enjoy it.

        In regards to the answer hopefully coming in issue 2 is for by this point that issue should be done at least in terms of writing and really just a few touch ups to be done on it I’d expect. Issue 3 is probably still very much up to changes though so that question would remain “Did Lobdell really plan on it that way, or was the negative comments by fans on Starfire the reason he made it that way?”

      • lebeau says:

        Honestly, I thought it was pretty obvious from the first issue that we weren’t supposed to take things at face value. Especially when most of the information came from Jason Freaking Todd! I was amazed how many people insisted that Jason Todd’s word should be taken as gospel or that there was no other explanation for Kory’s behavior other than a mental disability. Sure, you could intrpret things that way. But it seemed a stretch to me.

        I wouldn’t be surprised is Lobdel addresses this more directly in a future issue. But even issue 3 might be a bit too early for him to change course.

        I did read an interesting exchange between Lobdell and Gail Simone on her site. The exchange was deleted by mods, so I’m paraphrasing from memory.

        Lobdell: I didn’t you warn me?

        Simone: I told you your Starfire sucked.

        Lobdell: Well, that’s certainly an opinion.

  3. ikeebear says:

    I checked out the link and just wanted to say – WTF is going on in the below extract?!?!

    I’ve seen a lot of unnecessarily academic, navel-gazing, over-analysis in my time, but this might just take the cake (and, furthermore, I have no idea what he’s talking about … and I don’t consider myself a dummy).

    And PopMatters made it the editor’s choice book, saying;

    What puts Lobdell over the bar to genius is how he uses this Freudian triangular structure between Kori’andar’s Starfire, Jason Todd’s Red Hood and Roy Harper’s Arsenal.

    In short, Lobdell uses this inverted Freudian triangle to meditate on the post-militaristic condition existing after 9-11. How do conventional military forces engage and defeat non-con forces in asymmetrical warfare? Chances are they don’t, Lobdell seems to suggest. What’s called for is a post-structured military comprised of no troops and only elite forces. And yet, these ‘outlaw’ soldiers may never be able to reintegrate into regular society. This is the story Ralph Steadman was trying to tell about his lifelong friendship with Hunter S. Thompson in The Joke’s Over.

    Lobdell’s Red Hood & the Outlaws is the story of these two deeply engaging dramas; of the reclamation of female sexuality, and the reclamation of the rule of law among nations. And, at a deeper, more meta level, the story of how both these stories are actually one drama.

    Does Lobdell even know what a “Freudian triangular structure” is? Had he ever heard of such a thing?

    Has Lobdell read “The Joke’s Over”?

    Was Lobdell attempting to make any reference at all to the “post-militaristic condition existing after 9-11”?

    My brain hurts.

    • xxadverbxx says:

      I actually stopped reading that page AFTER hitting that post. I had the same reaction and I’ve had two psych classes and a course on the developing mind from pre-birth all the way through death and I was confused there.

    • lebeau says:

      I took the third defense to be BS. I thought the first one had a point although it was a little unfair. The second point (Lobdell’s explanation that there was more to the story than people were acknowledging) is what interested me the most. But, yeah, my brain hurt too reading the third one.

  4. ikeebear says:

    Yeah, my first thought was it was a piss-take, but then reading it again I couldn’t detect a tell-tale *wink, wink*.

  5. Alex says:

    I like how people keep using phrases like “Eat crow” when they really mean “Watch Lobdell make clear things that could/should have been clear if he were a better writer.”

    • lebeau says:

      He could have made things clearer. But the people I’m referring to refused to acknowledge any interpretation other than their own. They leapt to a conclusion because they didn’t want to like the book. And then they defended that position against all reasonable arguments.

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