Friday, September 09, 2011

Worst. Blaspheming. EVER. (UPDATED!)

Source: CBM

It's been a pet theory of mine for awhile now that religious-outrage and fanboy-outrage are basically the same thing, psychologically, with societal-acceptance being the main difference. Taking the text of "Spider-Man" as the basis of one's life and raging at those who don't share your commitment? "Silly." Taking the text of an English translation of a Latin translations of a Greek translation of a Hebrew/Aramaic translation of ancient Middle-Eastern campfire stories as the basis of one's life and raging at those who don't share your commitment? "Republican Presidential Candidate."

With that in mind, I'd like to thank the proprietor of North Carolina's "Comics Conspiracy" for making that point amusingly clear: He's banned "Action Comics #1" - the "Superman's first year in action" retcon-series of the "New 52" - from his store because The Man of Steel took the Lord's Name in vain. Really.
To clear this up: The relaunched "Action" is set 5 years prior to the rest of the "new" DC Universe, and shows Superman's early days on the job; so early he's doing his crimefighting in blue jeans an a t-shirt, and has not fully developed his powers. Thematically, it's writer Grant Morrison attempting to take the character back to his pre-WWII stature as a street-level social-justice crusader - a walking embodiment of the (then) new protections of The New Deal.

In the sequence that so offended this particular shopkeep, Superman is fired on by a tank and exclaims "GD!," which he has taken as an abbreviation for "God damn!" Yeah, that's really it.

Two things about this strike me as especially amusing:

1.) I haven't read "Action #1" yet, but knowing Morrison's eye for obscure character detail it actually wouldn't surprise me if "GD!" is actually supposed to be Superman SAYING "GeeDee!" out loud as an intentional non-blasphemous curse word (see also "Gosh Darn," "Geez!," "Eff!," etc) befitting the "Tom Joad with super-strength" morally-upright hayseed farmboy 'social justice' Superman initially was. In other words, Morrison could actually have intended the line to be IN FAVOR of this dude's view on language.

2.) The fellow in question says he's been in the business for 35 years - which means he's been reading for longer than that, most likely - and that this is his "last straw" in liberal comic writers (he calls Morrison a "liberal scottish schmuck") taking liberties with characters: "Superman would NEVER take God's name in vain!" Uh... dude? Even putting aside that Superman isn't real... he used to take god's name in vain all the time: HIS god's! People tend to forget this (it doesn't come up much lately) but Kryptonians are actually supposed to have had their own religion based on worship of their red sun, "Rao," and "Great Rao" was Superman's go-to "holy shit!" proxy in the 70s. In the 80s, he flat-out confirmed that "Rao" is more-specifically the name of his God. Was this guy totally cool with Superman as a sun-worshipping pagan for the last three 40 years?

UPDATE: Grant Morrison has now publically stated that "GD" is actually just supposed to be Superman making a "grunt" sound because he just got hurt; which just makes this whole thing all the more hillarious. Morrison has a "thing" for stuff like this - when he was on "Justice League" the first time he popularized Batman constantly making a "Hh!" sound.


Smashmatt202 said...

Jiminy Cricket, these people get so excited over nothing!

Rook in the Pumpkin said...

This piques my curiosity about something I've wondered for a long time, that being: what exactly is the range of the political/social/religious belief spectrum for comic book fans? I don't like generalization, but I'm curious (out of some sense of nerd-anthropology or something) how the different eras of comic fans have mixed into a mishmash of individual beliefs, and in turn, how that has influenced and evolved the themes of the medium. Y'know, that's a topic that I would take 5 or so minutes out of my day to watch a show on the internet about... I wonder where I could find a thoughtful, socially minded, comic fan's take on the big picture of said subject...

Ultima Black Mage said...

Wel... Wow. All this over the letters GD? That is so... stupid. I doubt it even means God Damn. Could just be a noise he made because of the blast in that page.

Next thing you know some comic shop owner is going to remove Ultimate Spider-man from shelves because he's ethnic.

I look forward to reading the Action comics and the other new 52 since I'm new to mainstream comics. I usually read online and independant comics.

Chris said...

Perry White - "Great Caesar's Ghost"

Wonder Woman - "Great Hera"

Captain Marvel - "Shazam"

Robin - "Holy _____ Batman"

Time to throw out half of your selection.

Scott Glasgow said...

Okay, time to say something.
Christian says something insightful and interesting; nobody listens or bothers to comment.
Christian says something stupid; suddenly all the problems in the world are caused by him.

Mister Linton said...

I don't generally read comic books, but doesn't swearing seem a little out of character for Superman? I've always imagined Batman swearing like a sailor, but it would be wierd if SM busted out with some cursing.

Also, side question: How often do comic books use abbreviations like this in word bubbles? Honestly, that seems kind of stupid unless the character is literally saying "gee-dee" as you mentioned.

Dave from canada said...

@ Glasgow. You forgot the qualifier: because of his religion.

Christian says something stupid because of his religion IS important because said religion is not only the most popular one on the planet, but also the most powerful and influential. Pretty much the only major world power with only a LITTLE christian influence is China. Like it or not, the stupid things christians believe can have very real implications for the world.

And I'd dare say that if a christian managed to say something
insightful and interesting caused by his religion, there'd be a fucking parade. Sadly, what paltry wisdom can be gleaned from the mistranslated ramblings of Millenea old illiterate goatherds was probably used up by year 2.

IN short: you control pretty much everything. Stop crying because people don't agree with everything you say.

Mischlings said...

Really funny thing about this? I just read this issue today, after having read a little bit about this on The Escapist, and I didn't even notice it when I was reading the book. Really, it's mountains and molehills, but people are going to be stupid.

Scott Glasgow said...

@ Dave from Canada

Before you're so quick to jab at Christianity as an archaic construct. Take a reading of some people, namely John Milton, C.S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer to name a few. Or more recently, Ravi Zacharias.
I don't get upset if people disagree with what I say. Everyone's mind is their own, and it's childish to get upset over that. It just blows me away how people conceptualize Christians as ignorant and short minded, without even looking into why they believe what they do.

Anonymous said...

Okay, this always pisses me off - God's name is not "God", you fucking plebes. God's name is "Jehovah" or "Yahweh" depending on your translation, but it is not "God" or "The Lord". Those are titles, formed in our language, NOT NAMES. It's just damn stupid to believe otherwise. I mean, really, it's always seemed obvious to ME, and I'm not even Christian! "God damn" does not count as taking the Lord's name in vain.

Dan Backslide said...

Aquaman: Flapping Flippers!

Green Lantern: Brillolog...

Blue Beetle: Galt Damn it!

Martian Manhunter: Fuck Whitey...

Scott Glasgow said...

@ Electron

Yes it is interesting that the name God gets thrown around the way is does. It mostly comes from the individualization of God. To believe and follow God (Yahweh, Jehovah, Adonai) is to denounce belief in all other gods. So by saying 'God', you are in fact naming the one true God. I've personally thought of the name 'God' like calling your father Dad. There are other names for him, but he's your Dad.
As for 'God Damn' taking 'the Lord's name in vain'; it's all about intent. Did you mean to ask God to damn that traffic, that person, or your cat? If you did, then you called the Lord to your aid unnecessarily, or, 'in vain'. And therein lies the key. Thinking about what you are saying, before you say is, about why you are saying it, before you do.
Which, unfortunately this comic book proprietor seems to not have done. :)

Dave from canada said...

@ Glasgow

Christianity IS an archaic construct. Pretty much any major religion not about aliens is. By definition.

And I have read some of

Lewis' apologetics are CHILDISHLY bad, and suffer massive glaring omissions that I have to assume a person as educated as him should have seen coming.

Ravi zacharias is Ray Comfort without the star power and porno stache.

" It just blows me away how people conceptualize Christians as ignorant and short minded, without even looking into why they believe what they do. "

And it blows my mind that whenever we have a discussion of a christian acting ignorant and short minded, we have people complaining....that people see christians as ignorant and short minded.

Also, a great many people DO look into christianity's roots, and the reasons christians think the way they do.

Do you know what the 3 most religiously knowledgeable groups in the united states are in order atheists, secular jews and mormons?

MANY people outside the majority HAVE to educate themselves in order to survive. The reverse is not true. A christian can go their entire life knowing NOTHING about judaism...or even christianity. But people on the other side of the fence can't avoid learning about others.

Every time we get examples of christians acting stupid, we get some apologist in here claiming that not all christians are like that and why does eveyrone pick on them.

Arara said...

Holey Moley!

Sam Robards, Occasional Gamer said...

The retailer is acting flat-out ridiculous, and I say that as a Christian.

Now taking that as a excuse to say, "Because this retailer, who is Christian, acted like an idiot, all Christians must be idiots" is mind-numbingly stupid.

You can hate or rag on anyone you want, but you do it because of something about the individual. In this case, the retailer who shot his wad over nothing.

When you spread that to an entire group, that makes you bigoted and prejudiced.

Joanna said...

I don't identify as a Christian but I'm not going to throw all Christians under a bus and say none of them have ever made worthwhile contributions to society. While this ONE overtly religious shopkeeper has decided to ban a book over the ASSUMPTION that Superman is taking "The Lord's" name in vain, there are millions of other Christians who aren't head-up-their-ass retarded. It just so happens that the loudest, squakiest people tend to be the most uneducated, and that goes for Atheists too.

Tom said...

I've been looking into the Comics Conspiracy guy a little bit. He seems to be a bit out of touch, to say the least. He's probably an older man, vaguely aware that kids today use abbreviations when texting, and that GD is an abbreviation in this context for "God Damn." I can even imagine a situation where a little kid, maybe a niece/nephew or grandkid, starts giggling at GD because he thinks the abbreviation means a swear. The same way kids might think other inane gestures or phrases are code for bad words.

From his perspective, it's plausible that a writer might slip in what seems to be a subversive youth-culture reference (he doesn't know Morrison is 51, Superman is perceived to be a kids book, after all). Maybe GD is common slang for God Damn. He thinks Superman is mainly for kids, and he doesn't think there should be swearing in a Superman comic, he doesn't care that the swear might not make sense in context (although, if I shared his sentiment, I might be more bothered by the blood shooting out of Superman's ear a few pages on, but whatever). The fact that the perceived swear is blasphemous is insult added to injury.

Never mind the fact that The New 52 reboot is all about offering all of the new comic content online, circumventing this man's business altogether. Wouldn't be surprised if that bothered him, if he keeps up with this sort of thing.

Everybody says something misinformed or embarrassing at some time or another. Sometimes these people own businesses, and because of the internet, his opinion is now everywhere, making it hard for him to back down. Despite this, he's apologized to Morrison for name calling, though he still seems to think GD is code for blasphemy.

Still, this man's facebook page is now a deluge of petty counterarguments, some civil and some antagonistic, and that's merely what hasn't been removed. This man just learned what an internet troll is, which might give all of us a better impression of where this guy is coming from and the tidal wave of crap he's brought on himself.

People misinterpret things. This guy isn't a pundit or a politician. He's not the manifestation of everything that's wrong with rational thinking in America. He's a guy on the internet, who's a little conservative and defensive of Christianity, with a brain fart.

Laserkid said...

I can't believe I'm about to say this, but Dave from Canada is right. I am a very lapsed christian - but christian nonetheless, and when someone does something this fucking stupid they SHOULD be called out on it.

I would give a different reason then DFC would but the point is the same.

In my case I don't want my beliefs to be typified by idiocy - so WHEN idiots do shit like this, I want them denounced for their idiocy. This isn't christianity, this is idiocy that is rationalized by christianity, and should be called out as such.

Much in the same way that Islam is NOT what is shown by terrorists, Christianity is NOT what is shown by these idiots. In both cases its a rationalization by people who don't wish to take responcibility for themselves and so throw it behind their religion when neither religon asks either thing of them.

SonofRyan said...

1. Please, Christian people, stop pretending that when someone attacks an obviously stupid member of your community that it is an attack on all Christians. Guess what else is even more important, you're the most powerful and numerical strong religion on earth, you're not persecuted, please stop pretending you are, I'm a Jew, we know persecution, and believe me, you're not persecuted.

2. Glasgow, while I am not one to attack gee-oh-dee (note above religious declaration) C.S. Lewis' apologetics were really, really mediocre, like seriously, also Milton, while undoubtedly the author of one of the great works of English literature (paradise lost) his apologetic s were also pretty laughable. I'm sure their are better christian apologists but those weren't very good one's, you should come up with better examples.

Phildog said...

I don't know. If my god blew up and destroyed my native planet and killed off (almost) my entire race, I'd curse it out everyday too.