So I guess you’ve all seen this, right?
I don’t know if I would comment on it right away, if I didn’t have something of a personal angle on it. But I do, so I probably should.
That personal angle, by the by, is the post on this blog called “Interview With A Figment Part V”, now in temporary suspension, which features me dreaming about conducting an interview with Alan Moore in which I ask him what’s with all the rape in his comics, whereupon he laughs uproariously and exclaims…
…”FINALLY, SOMEONE NOTICES!“
Seemed funny at the time. Little did I dream someone would ever ask him the actual bloody question, and even less did I dream he’d answer it in a great big raft of 12,000 apparently quite angry words. So here’s the thing about that: my position on Alan Moore’s latest interview is something I may feel like reflecting on at some point, but what I definitely DON’T want is for my once-amusing (at least to me) Figment Interview to show up in some linkblog made by someone who’s looking for corroboration for their position while I’m still trying to get to a point where I might be able to articulate my own…
And I’ll tell you why. Because that post was something initially made in response to the rising tide of blog-thoughts (more than a couple of years ago now) that spoke quizzically about the whole “what’s with the rapeyness” issue, and so it wasn’t itself really me wondering about it. Rather, I was wondering why we were wondering: why it would be so disturbing to us, for an author to want to examine sexual violence as Moore typically does? The implication (and it was only ever an implication) seemed to be that Alan had some kind of an inappropriate hang-up about it, that he was unconsciously returning to the subject matter because it…I don’t know, because it turned him on, or something? And so whatever he tried to do, he was always caught out on that slippery Freudian slope somehow or other.
And I thought this (implied) point of view didn’t make any fucking sense. There’s a lot of rape and sexual violence in Alan Moore comics, and it’s perfectly fair to bring it up. It’s perfectly fair to subject it to analysis. But it seems shortsighted in the extreme to turn the mere observation into a diagnosis, and call that an analysis. Alan Moore didn’t seem to care, but I did, and the easy implication started to work on my head a bit, until finally I came up with the joke.
So that was what that was all about, and though I felt a bit squidgy at the time about appropriating Alan’s voice I figured that it was basically okay because it was so obviously a lark, and anyway it’s my fairly-longstanding policy not to remove posts that people have commented on, and people did comment so up it stood. Right now, though, it’s all gotten a bit more complicated than that: since Alan Moore has addressed this issue, in his own voice and at terrifying length, my little excursion into larkish dreamtime now seems to me to have acquired a slightly-horrifying tinge both of presumption, and overinvolvement. And even worse still…
It could potentially be used as a sort of “evidence”. As I said, I’m not going to go on and register my position on the latest Moore interview at the present time, but there are a few things I pretty much feel I should say right now even if they’re rather poorly thought-out, and one of them is that over the last little while it has become so TOTALLY OKAY for people to imply that Alan has an itch about rape that he just can’t scratch, that everyone seems to just assume it must be his problem that they think that, and not their own. But, it is their own. Because in a world where Marvel and DC up the ante on normalizing misogyny and sexual violence like they were two Dr. Dooms trying to out-rule the world at each other, while at the same time any complaint about said up-ante-ing will bring down the scolding wrath of everyone from email@example.com to the frozen head of Walt-fucking-Disney, for Alan Moore to be looked down on for a bunch of normalizing and cynical exploiting that he actually (to my mind) does not do, all while Brian Bendis and Mark Millar and the writer of Rise Of Arsenal walk off scot-free simply because they have a crew…
I’ll just say: the objection seems ill-timed. And I don’t want some dream I had a couple of years ago to be a part of anyone’s consensus-building about what a diseased fuck Alan Moore is. “Well, everyone’s talking about it, it must be at least partly true!” Ah, but right now that “everyone” is not going to include me, even by accidental default lumping-in with other people because somebody with a weird ax to grind couldn’t be bothered to read for context. To be quite frank, I think it’s a slander. And I don’t want to have to find myself suddenly all a-mingle with it, suddenly having to work quite hard to explain what I really meant, to people who probably won’t ever read anything else I’ve ever written, just on the off-chance that something I wrote gets somehow passed before the eyes of a wider audience as a sort of name on a petition I never was so much as asked to sign.
That’s one possible danger.
But another is that I somehow end up on the opposite kind of petition, the one that says Alan Moore can never do any wrong, and that anyone with a beef against him must be an asshole without a point or a clue who is just not getting it or just not even trying. This isn’t true either, and supposing that I think it is would be only to substitute reading for some context rather than none; in another place on this here blog is yet another misguided post on Alan Moore, in which I say loudly and longly that there is just no freakin’ way that the Golliwog in Black Dossier can have been meant as a simplistically non-problematizing “rehabilitated” figure…a contention Alan Moore has lately refuted, but if I am perfectly honest with you I must confess I cannot believe him when he says that, anymore than I can believe Chester Brown’s insistence that “Paying For It” is a title whose irony never occurred to him. So, that post I won’t suspend, even though I’ve often wished I could just flat-out erase it: but only because I think no one is likely to use it as petition-fodder. Ha, the tl;dr thing acts for once in my favour: that thing’s probably impossible to read for any sort of context, whether long or short.
“Interview With A Figment Part V”, though — for now, at least — has got to go. It just isn’t funny anymore, to imagine what Alan Moore might say if someone actually came out and asked him about his concentration on sexual violence. Really, things should never have got to the point where someone did ask him about it. Or at least, they shouldn’t have waited so long, until a simmering “Alan Moore, yeah that cat’s pretty weird” whisper-consensus had been built up.
Gossip is sure a shitty mistress, Bloggers. I can’t really blame Alan Moore for being angry. It seems to be common knowledge these days that he doth protest too much…but what is it to say that, except to say that “No” really means “Yes”?
You know what I mean?
Yet meanwhile on the other other hand, let’s just agree not to forget that the Twelve Thousand Words Of Alan Moore here were not just a defence, but also a massive retaliation, and that some of that fire rained down on tiny fish in a pokey little barrel. When I know what I think about that, I’ll tell you, but for now I’m still a bit stunned at the spectacle of it all. I have a lot of very heated thoughts on the matter! God knows if they’ll ever become transparent!
Good Lord, what an explosion!
But I won’t say more about it, for now. Just “sorry” to the commenters on that post, because I want it unpublic at the moment — because if it comes around to the point where I do express an opinion on the Twelve Thousand Words (which I am still endeavouring to process, mostly by reading around), or on the sexual violence in Alan Moore’s work, or on the matters of race and of class that he also tends to treat there, then I want it to stand on its own as something I fully intended to say, with no squidginess or equivocation.
And so in that way, quite unlike this post that you’re actually reading right now.
Sorry about that.