Re: Or the oversight of the instant response?

Date: Fri May 25 2001 - 18:27:35 BST

  • Next message: Wade T.Smith: "RE: Or the oversight of the instant response?"

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    On 25 May 2001, at 9:21, Wade T.Smith wrote:

    Cross-posted from the Memetics List:

    > Here's a snip from an interview with Samuel R. Delany, a personal
    > favorite of mine. But I'm not sure what this little tale really
    > _is_...? Is it an example of PC gone batty? A morality tale for
    > paternalists? Or just one of those stories about how life really is a
    > series of fuck ups...?
    > - Wade
    > Q: In the mid-seventies, you had a brief stint as a writer for Wonder
    > Woman comic books. How did this come to pass?
    > A: One of the glories of the late sixties comic book field was what
    > were then called "relevant comics." In reaction to the freedom and
    > daring of the then-burgeoning "underground comics," commercial comic
    > books of the era began to take on far more mature themes and
    > problems--social topics that had some punch: racism, child abuse,
    > drugs, and what-have-you. The leading writer in this movement was
    > Denny O'Neil and the leading artist, Neal Adams. It was an exciting
    > moment in comics. The New York Times Magazine even devoted a Sunday
    > cover article to them.
    > Well, five or six years before that, Wonder Woman's writers had found
    > themselves with the "Superman problem": Because she was so powerful,
    > none of the villains could really offer any resistance, and Wonder
    > Woman--nee Diana Prince--had been reduced, for several years, to
    > Saving the Entire Earth from the Blue Meanies of Mars, or other
    > equally mindless adventures. So, finally, the editors had done the
    > only sane thing: Most of her super-powers had been taken away, and she
    > was now just you ordinary black-belt karate expert and generally
    > super-brave kick-ass heroine type--a sort of female Steven Seagal. She
    > was still pretty damned heroic. Instead of the flag bra and blue
    > bikini briefs, she wore a white karate gee with a black belt.
    > Certainly it made it easier to come up with reasonable plots for her,
    > and alone made it possible for the plots to have some relevance to the
    > real world.
    > Once the new relevant comics came along, they editors decided an area
    > they wanted to tackle was women's problems. By that time Denny was
    > editing Wonder Woman; he asked me to write a series of scripts for
    > Wonder Woman that would touch on problems of actual women. (You might
    > have thought, if they were really serious, they would have gotten a
    > woman writer. But that, I suppose, was a bit too radical.) I came up
    > with a six-issue story arc, each with a different villain: the first
    > was a corrupt department store owner; the second was the head of a
    > supermarket chain who tries to squash a women's food co-operative.
    > Another villain was a college advisor who really felt a woman's place
    > was in the home and who assumed if you were a bright woman, then
    > something was probably wrong with you psychologically, and so forth.
    > It worked up to a gang of male thugs trying to squash an abortion
    > clinic staffed by women surgeons. And Wonder Woman was going to do
    > battle with each of these and triumph.
    > Well, we only through two issues--and the first was a matter of
    > writing Wonder Woman out of the last adventure she was in and getting
    > back into her Lower East Side Neighborhood, which is where Diana lived
    > by then anyway.
    > One day about six weeks after I had come on board, Gloria Steinem was
    > being shown through the D.C. offices. Proudly they showed her the new
    > Wonder Woman. Steinem hadn't looked at a Wonder Woman comic, however,
    > since she was twelve. Immediately she exclaimed: "What happenned to
    > her costume? How come she isn't deflecting bullets with her magic gold
    > bracelets anymore and tying people up with her magic lasso?" Steinem
    > didn't get a chance to read the story of course. But she complained
    > bitterly: "Don't you realize how important the image of Wonder Woman
    > was to young girls throughout the country?"
    > She had a point, I admit.
    > But, a day later, an edict came down from management to put Wonder
    > Woman back in her American-flag falsies and blue bikini briefs and
    > give her back all her super powers. Well, that's what happened--and
    > she went back to Saving the Entire World from the Blue Meanies of Mars
    > . . . There was no way I could work those in with the relatively
    > realistic plot lines I had devised. So my stories were abandoned, and
    > I was dumped as a writer--and Wonder Woman never did get a chance to
    > fight for the rights of a women's abortion clinic.
    > It's a case of the world being over-determined--and over-determined in
    > some destructive ways. But Steinem had no idea of the stories her
    > chance comments were used to scuttle.
    > ===============================================================
    > This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    > Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    > For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
    > see:

    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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