Peyton, over in John Seavey’s post about the Fake Geek Girl bullshit which I am glad he wrote because honestly at this point I just do not have the energy to engage with that bullshit for what feels like the tenth time, writes:
As a complete aside I also wanted to thank MGK, John Seavey, and Jim Smith for this site. As someone said upthread, it’s one of the few places, along with Scalzi’s Whatever, Evanier’s blog, and Jim Hines blog and a few others that, as a female nerd, feels safe and supportive.
I’m just gonna say that I feel very proud to have received this comment, since I decided quite some time ago (like, years) that this was going to be one of my primary goals for the site. As I get older1 I find myself getting more liberal rather than less, which is a pleasant thing to realize, and John and Jim and everybody else I’ve invited to the site were invited, at least in part, because I knew they had no truck with all of the bullshit that nerd-dom encourages in celebration of the straight white guy norm. And I say that as a white guy who mostly invited straight white guys, which happened mostly because whenever I’ve encouraged guest bloggers to apply, they are usually straight white guys.2
This really isn’t just about the blog, either, but what I do generally. I mean, I’ve said before that Al’Rashad is adapted from a screenplay I wrote about a dozen years ago, but the simple truth is that the comic is much better than the screenplay ever was. The big action beats are for the most part the same thus far, but:
– Originally Rayana was much less proactive as a character. Even then I wanted her to be kick-ass, but as written in the screenplay, she was not nearly at the nigh-Brainiac-Five level of intelligence and competence which she is at now, and she works, I think, so much better now than she did previously. Having Kahal be her personal engine of destruction adds a new twist to their relationship which I like quite a bit as well; I like that Kahal takes his lead from Rayana whenever it isn’t a “right now we fight desperately” moment.
– Apali was originally male, and moreover was not nearly so important to the story as she is now. Making her female actually broadened her quite a bit and let me do more with her. The fact that she has essentially been Rayana’s surrogate mother isn’t something I’ve explicitly written in a page yet, but I think it’s pretty obvious, and that simply wouldn’t work as well if she were male as she was originally.
– Also, Joro really should have been a girl, as I’ve written previously, but the ship sailed on that one. Sometimes you realize things too late.
– Finally, there’s one more major character aspect that hasn’t been revealed yet (and might not even be revealed in the first story arc) but to which I gave serious thought, then discussed it with Davinder, then discussed it further with a few people whose opinion I respect in order to make sure that it would work with what had been written already. I think when it gets revealed people will accuse me of pandering (as always happens in these instances), but again: it’s something that makes the overall story simply work better. This is because different races and genders and sexual orientations and all the rest: they’re not checkboxes you have to fill in to pass a test. To blatantly steal from Pratchett: they are all different metals, and alloys are stronger.
I’m drifting a bit here from my original point because I started talking about my comic (which you should all read and adore, of course), but to get back to it: it’s a damn shame that the internet needs places that are “safe and supportive” for female nerds and gay nerds and non-white nerds and all of the other nerds who are not typical nerds, because everybody should have the right to act like a goddamned overgrown child about some irrelevant piece of pop-culture if they so choose because that is what we are all doing, really. The question should not even have to be posed. More people who I can argue “but Superman would TOTALLY beat up Thor” with is always going to be a benefit. More people who will argue whether the Enterprise could blow up a Star Destroyer are always welcome.3 I really don’t care if they have tits or different amounts of melanin – I care that they have fresh perspectives and new ideas, because more ideas is always better.
But so long as those places are necessary, I am determined that my place will be one of those places. This is not an ironclad promise that I will always be perfectly enlightened, because we are all works in progress and nobody ever gets it right one hundred percent of the time. But I think it is important that I try.
Okay, soapbox mode over, and tomorrow if I have time I’ll write the essay about Wreck-It Ralph that lots of people have been demanding for some reason.