LNH: Classic LNH Adventures #52: LNH Triple 10

Arthur Spitzer arspitzer2 at gmail.com
Fri Dec 7 11:20:11 PST 2018

On Tuesday, December 4, 2018 at 11:14:43 PM UTC-7, Drew Perron wrote:

> > 	5:00pm.  I eat dinner at Net.Hero Cafe -- an eatery festooned
> > with Net.Hero trivia and overpriced chicken dishes.  Eight minutes to
> > explain to the maitre d' who I am, thirty minutes to get served,
> > sitting as I am alone in the back.  The table reserved for visiting
> > heroes is taken by Shokk the Electric Man.
> I mean, okay, I realize that I'm supposed to empathize with him for doing all of 
> this work and not getting recognition, especially in light of other heroes 
> getting more. But there's this really unpleasant sense of fame as something he's 
> *owed*, something that it's tragic for such a man to be denied. And further, 
> it's played as the only meaningful "payment" you can get for such deeds.
> I mean, I know this is a consciously exaggerated story, but it's also clearly a 
> story that's trying for emotional resonance, and exaggerating in that direction. 
> And the emotional dynamics that it's choosing to exaggerate are... toxic? Yeah, 
> toxic.
> It feels very much like it's imitating a lot of what was considered High Culture 
> at the time - stories that were emotionally raw and honest... made by awful, 
> awful men. Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, and the like. Men who were honest about 
> being deep in the muck of toxic thought patterns, honest about the toll that can 
> take on your mind, body and soul - all things people can relate to! all things 
> that are important to talk about - but who were not at all willing to be honest, 
> or even put in a few minutes' thought, about what might be *better*, about how 
> one might move *past* those patterns and not be so awful. Self-flagellation, not 
> as contrition but as excuse, wallowing so you don't have to move *on*.

Wow.  This is a pretty extreme reaction to an innocuous passage.

As to whether Jeff wanted you to emphasize or sympathize with this character, I dunno.  I think he was just trying to make the character seem more human, give him flaws.  It's a character who's bitter about not being important.  Yeah, that's not the most noble reason to be bitter -- but it's a human reason.

I guess you could blame Stan Lee for this type of writing, which influenced tons of various other super hero writers.  The superhero who's bitter and self-pitying.

I mean you could look at basically all types of writing from the past and see it as being problematic because they're humans doing human things for not the noblest reasons.

I don't really see the connection between this and some one like Polanski.  Was the Cosby Show proof that Bill Cosby was a monster.  No.  It was a family show that probably helped make American a little less racist -- and it was created by a monster.

There are monsters that create fun for the whole family entertainment.  And there are harmless people that create deeply upsetting works of art.  And there are monsters that also created deeply upsetting works of art.

I don't think this story says that much about Jeff other than he was liking some Astro City comics at the time.  And if says something more maybe it's just that Jeff wished he was a more important person.  Which is a human feeling that a lot of people have.

> *ahem* I have opinions about this sort of thing. <#< >#> And it's definitely not 
> that Jeff shows any indications here of being such an awful person. But it's 
> worth thinking about in that context, I think.

Arthur “Self-Pitying” Spitzer

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