Like the rest of the world (including Donald Trump, I’m sure), I’m a bit stunned and shocked by the change in direction for our nation that took place last night. It’s going to be hard to write about comics sales and cover art today or for a while, but I’m going to try to stay focused on writing about what The Beat has always covered, out of respect to my readers and to keep from going insane.
However, I did awaken this morning (after two hours of fitful sleep) to find this tweet on my timeline:
So this is what's to come? Already. I was sad but now I'm angry. Nothing will be left to protect women from this. pic.twitter.com/Jv2BEroUJF
— Heidi MacDonald (@Comixace) November 9, 2016
John V is a notorious troll who has threatened me and other prominent women in comics with rape and injury for years. In fact I wrote about him before here. Four years ago, just before Obama was reelected.
I was surprised to learn that the man I call “John V.” seems to have become the focus of concentrated internet outrage for a day or so—and I couldn’t be more thrilled.John V., a message board poster who uses rotating IPs to avoid filters, has been haunting the comment boards of female writers for over two years. A few months ago, for whatever reason, he seems to have started using Twitter as a base for his insults and rape-obsessed ragings. As you can see from the above, about a month ago he made a series of posts aimed at me, Tom Spurgeon, DCWKA’s Sue, Jill Pantozzi and a few others that shocked quite a few people. Although John V. is clearly a misogynist with a deep hatred of women, he also seemed to have a mad on for men of comics like Spurgeon.
Mark Millar and a bunch of male pros led a charge to get him banned from Twitter, and he went underground for a while, only to reappear just when a bully with contempt for women was elected president of the once greatest nation on earth.
I wish I’d thought to make a screen cap of the rest of his tweets before his account was removed or deleted — there were other gloating threats against other comics women. The most interesting part to me was that he’d rejoined twitter as something like “ComicsLadyinCbus” who posed as an older woman who had just started reading comics again. I actually noted it at the time as a little weird. I see he had exchanged tweets with a few people (myself included) and had a few months of posts that read as if Sylvester’s Granny was discovering Lumberjanes for the first time. One of JohnV’s favorite tricks is posing as someone else and then upending the apple cart.
I normally don’t call out trolls, and I’m sure the attention of me posting this is giving him the boner he so dearly craves, but to the compassionate Trump voters out there (and I know you exist), thisthisthisthisthis. A rise in (at best) bullying and at worst overt racism and misogyny and xenophobia. It’s all fine now. These are no longer qualities that America stands against. And we need your help to stop it.
If you’ve been with me for any of the way, you know I’m like Daryl. I’m not going to bow to Negan even if it means getting my best friend beaten to death. Today is so disillusioning for people who believed in a progressive world. I’d been thinking maybe we were making real progress, but, you know, it was always going to be a fight. Justice and equality always have to fight against ignorance, fear and hate, human emotions that were created back in our limbic system to protect us. Sadly, they can make living in a civilization where everyone has rights more difficult. And the more nuanced battles we’ve been fighting are going to go back to the utter basics of justice and equality.
Social media and targeted news networks helped get us here, but they just amplified our inner voices. Both sides have been living in their own echo chambers of nodding heads for years. And it won’t get any better for a long, long, long time. By the time it gets better most of NYC will be under water anyway, because climate change is happening full throttle now. Good thing it doesn’t exist!
So that’s it. It’s gong to be harder than we ever imagined and right now I’m going to have breakfast with a dear friend and then maybe write some comics news or opinions or post some nice art. And carry on. Because the world needs beauty. Now more than ever.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.