Saturday, 12 December 2015
UK 'TROLLS': KICKING THE BUTTS OF BUTT-'EADS) - PART THREE...
Are you a fan of 'straw man' arguments and spurious 'logic'?
Then you'll love the above screengrab from a blog extolling the
'virtues' of today's U.K. comics scene, as it has them in abundance.
First of all, I've never read or heard of anyone insisting that 'a comic
must be a weekly humour title aimed at kids, with cover-to-cover
comic strips and must be purchased from a newsagent', so he's
foisting his own skewed viewpoint onto those he seeks to discredit.
Comics can be fortnightly or monthly, and can be purchased
mail order or by subscription. Or given away free, even.
I've expressed a preference for the way things used to be
when I was growing up, but I've never sought to suggest that
the comics 'industry' has to be constricted by that; nor do I know
of anyone who has. Part of the problem, I believe, is the fact that
the word 'comic' can be applied to more than just one thing, and
this leads to confusion on both sides of the discussion when it
comes to understanding just what is being discussed.
For example, the simplest definition of the word 'comic'
I've seen online is this: "A periodical containing comic strips,
intended chiefly for children." That's probably still the popular
idea of what a comic is among the general public. However, that's
using the word in the specific sense as it's most commonly under-
stood, whereas it also has a looser, broader sense, and this can
sometimes lead to people talking at cross-purposes when
discussing the seemingly simple subject.
It's like the 'music' industry. Music is accessible in a vari-
ety of ways. Once upon a time, the vinyl record format was
how most folk listened to music, or by attending live concerts.
In modern times, it's mainly by CD, or downloading, and all sorts
of other ways that I've probably never even heard of or imagined.
(That's because I'm a doddery ol' fart, but that shouldn't be held
against me. After all, I'm a doddery ol' fart who still has his
own teeth and hair and that should surely count for some-
thing, you impudent young whippersnappers!)
Once there was a record industry. A 'record' in the way
that most people understood it, was a vinyl disc with a hole in
the middle - not to be confused with a Polo Fruit or a dough-
nut. When someone said that they were going to buy a 'record',
we knew exactly what they meant, and, at one time, didn't include
a CD or cassette. That's because, in the sense I've just described, the
word 'record' referred to what I would call the 'carton', and not the
'content'. Although, confusingly, 'record' was also a 'shorthand' way
of referring to the original recording. That's why the word gradu-
ally took on a looser and wider application: Someone would hear
a song on the radio and say "I must buy that record" and then go
out and purchase a CD or a cassette tape (or 8-track). That's
because, in that particular context, their use of the word
referred to the 'content' and not the 'carton'.
The word 'record', as I said, was short for 'recording'
so, technically, whatever the 'carton' was - vinyl disc, CD,
music cassette , 8-track, or whatever - fell within the category,
but, for the most part, it was generally understood that a 'record''
was a particular thing in itself - a round, usually black, plastic disc.
However, when referring to their 'record collection', a person's
usually talking about their vinyl collection, not their CDs or
music cassettes - even 'though these are 'recordings'.
Different 'carton' you see.
Confused? You will be! First, 'though, let's deal with
the facetious captions on the screengrabs below. Got to
be thorough. If a job's worth doing, etc...
Well, the fact that I recently referred to LITTLE STAR
(which is in the same format) in some fairly recent posts as
a 'nursery comic', puts paid to that little piece of misrepre-
sentation. Would anyone deny that this was a comic? Has any-
one ever denied that this format doesn't fit the category? If so,
I must've missed it. The absurd examples he mocks are
nothing more than fantasies of his own creation.
Again, another gross misrepresentation of the other side's
point of view. I used to work on the above title and the first one
below, and I, for one, never once challenged or denied its catego-
rization. Nor have I ever read of anyone else doing so. Another
'straw man' argument with no evidence to prove otherwise.
Do I really need to labour the point? Remember also
that these comics are around 20 to 25 years old. I thought
we were talking about the state of today's 'industry'? Talk
about misdirection? And, amazingly, there are some folk
who fall for all his tedious twaddle. Strewth!
On a simple point of logic, it's perhaps worth noting
('though I'm not applying it here) that just because a periodical
may describe itself as a 'comic', it doesn't necessarily mean that it
fits the description. (After all, The SUNDAY SPORT described
itself as a newspaper.) Once again, these 'silly rules' he likes to
ascribe to others seem to be ones he's invented himself. What a
neat way to try and win a debate - argue against what we say
the other side said, instead of what they actually did say.
Let's pretend, for the sake of argument, that every U.K.
comic on sale in shops today contained nothing but reprinted
U.S. material. Would it still be a comic? I'm not aware of any-
body who would dispute it, 'though there may be. So again, this
could be yet another 'straw man' argument. However, he's refer-
ring to two comics. Two comics do not, in my book, constitute
an 'industry'. (Although, in fairness, these are comics from
around 20 to 25 years ago, when we arguably still had
one. But that was then - we're talking now.)
Ah, but there are other comics out there, you say! In-
deed, which is why, next time (among other things), we're
going to explore the idea of just what constitutes an 'industry'
in light of how the word was once understood in relation to
the comic biz. Don't dare miss it! You know how I hate
talking to myself. See you in part four.
Posted by Kid at Saturday, December 12, 2015