Friday, April 25, 2008

Ummm, yeah, about those "racism" charges...

So, okay, wrt the whole Amanda Marcotte/brownfemipower left the blogosphere/appropriation/head explodes business, on top of everything else it now transpires that the book that she and Seal Press have just released has these, well, ummmm, illustrations, okay.

You can see them here.

I'll just wait here while you check them out.

-hums a bit-

Back? Right, so:

Also, I was in the local B&N today, checked out the book, and saw ‘em with my own three eyes. amazing. I particularly like the one (not pictured at DWF there) where there’s this brutelike looking dark-skinned man slouching out of his hut, glaring scarily at Our Heroine as she saunters past.

And, like, they don’t even make any -sense-. They have precisely -nothing- to do with the content, which at a glance seems relatively innocuous, even mildly entertaining, of itself. She didn’t -need- -any- illustrations. And–who thinks that shit is funny? let alone doesn’t get that some people might have a problem?…especially after the cover?…like, what, people complain about the Symbolism of an ape but will be totally fine with -actual stereotyped “natives”?- or, what, won’t notice, or…?

Yeah.

Ah.

...and after that, one just doesn't know quite what to say, at the moment.

*

ETA: Seal Press has apologized.

We are taking action immediately to remove the offensive images from It's A Jungle Out There. We are currently reprinting, and we will make these changes now. We apologize for any pain or concern these images have caused.

We do not believe it is appropriate for a book about feminism, albeit a book of humor, to have any images or illustrations that are offensive to anyone.

Some have asked the valid question, "What were you thinking?"

Please know that neither the cover, nor the interior images, were meant to make any serious statement. We were hoping for a campy, retro package to complement the author's humor. That is all. We were not thinking.


Um. Yeah.

ETAA: and so has Amanda.

ETAYA: back to Seal for a moment, speaking of things one misses because one probably just doesn't even want to see it on account of it's depressing enough already, Sly Civilian pointed this bit out from their "apology:"

“This 1950s Marvel comic is not an accurate reflection of our beauty standards, our beliefs regarding one’s right to bear arms, nor our perspectives on race relations, foreign policy, or environmental policy.”


Aren't we cute. Not at all defensive or snide or dismissive there, no precious.

But o hay, they're going to "anti-racist training," so everything should be better from now on, right?

"Sorry I ran you over with my car during my last drunken bender. I know I didn't hear you the -first- 12,000 times you told me I might have a problem with alcohol? But now after the arrest and everything, I'm thinking maybe you might have a point after all. Not just the one on top of your head, either, you big party pooper! Ha ha! Just lightening the tension a little, if you will. Anyway, I'm going to rehab, so we're all square now, right?

--What do you -mean- they'll have to take away my driver's license? But I worked -really hard- for that license! I studied and took the test and everything! I just got that car! I barely dented the bumper when I hit you, it's in beautiful condition! Why o why is everyone out to get me! It ISN'T FAIR DAMMIT. And stop trying to make me feel guilty, I need a SAFE SPACE. --Oh, you're already stuck in the hospital room, and I have the entire outside? Well, I still don't FEEL safe. I can still feel you glaring at me through your window. Stop it! Stop ruining my happy day! you mean bully, you."

And yeah, considering that these are the same two geniuses referred to here and here, and then alluded to further here, here (speaking of "safe spaces" ffs, read the whole damn post, tell you what, and then come back and argue about how hard it is for the poor white women whose careers might be at stake, okay) and here, I am thinking: sure, go to the anti-racist training? but, um, also:

You're fired. For sheer, utter fucking incompetence, and no, that doesn't get fixed with a "see, this is why pictures of blonde women with white male backups kicking black spear-carrying "savages" in the face are offensive, mkay" written out dutifully 100 times, I am afraid.

If it were up to me, anyway.

Just saying.

23 comments:

winna said...

Those illustrations are fucking unbelievable. This whole thing has been unbelievable.

I know from talking to academics who've had books published that pictures or maps are chosen by other people (from my friends' plaintive complaints about BAD MAPS, the bane of academic texts), but the thing I took away from that is that illos cost more.

But if you're this struggling little press trying to bring the light to the world and you don't have to have illos, why have them? Why waste money, in other words, on putting offensive pictures in the book when it's cheaper to print without them? Especially when there's already been a ruckus about your cover illustration and the objectionable cover is thematically tied to your EVEN MORE OFFENSIVE inside illustration theme? Why would you make a point of doing that?

Alon Levy said...

As far as I remember, Seal Press isn't a struggling small press, but an imprint of a large publishing house. At least, I seem to remember getting to it when I looked at imprints of the big publishing houses, back before my book had gotten fifty rejection letters.

winna said...

Ah, my mistake. I took that impression away from the Seal Press blog post on the issue, in which Brooke said 'Seal is actually barely surviving. This press, which has a thirty-year history of publishing books that no other house wanted to publish, means a lot to me and to Krista and to a lot of women.'

Well, it might mean a lot to more women if the press wasn't putting ugly and hurtful illustrations in their books!

The whole affair has been shocking to me.

belledame222 said...

welcome, winna.

and the deal is, I believe, that Seal Press -was- an indie and was however many years ago, not too many, bought out by Large Publishing House. hence the changes in middle management for the much MUCH worse. as I understand it.

but yeah, the question of how it is they're struggling to survive even now...maybe if they don't make enough profit they'll be axed altogether, is the threat, I suppose.

honestly though if i were the uberboss i'd be a -lot- more concerned with HOW FUCKING STUPID ARE THESE PEOPLE than y'know zomg the books by WoC who -for some reason- we're just not getting won't -sell- as well as, well, ummmm, this?

and it still doesn't explain why anyone thought any illustrations at all were a great idea, much less -these-. much less after the cover ruckus...

it does seem like it almost -has- to be -willful- at some point, doesn't it? but it -still- doesn't really make any Earth sense, as such, even assuming all one cares about is the bottom line.

antiprincess said...

guess a picture is worth a thousand words.

K said...

Thanks for posting about this. How disgusting... I can't believe Amanda/Seal Press are getting away with this.

Claire said...

Please let it be fake. Somehow. A dream. Or maybe Amanda has been replaced by a pod-person for the last few weeks. Maybe if we stabbed her with an ink pen full of cocaine, her skin would melt off and she'd expand into a writhing Rush Limbaugh?

Astraea said...

And this is where the whole "irony" thing fails so hard. By using those images to subvert sexism and promote the idea of a woman who can fight back and stand up for herself, the images selected by Seal (according to A.M.) actually reinforce a particular racist meme: the black man is dangerous to white women.

All these images say is that the white woman can take care of herself (against the dirty, uncivilized black man), kthx.

belledame222 said...

as someone once said:

"Irony: the all-purpose ass-cover."

It so isn't even, especially here. The chapters that follow the pictures have nothing but NOTHING to do with race (unless I'm missing some code in the whole ranting about Feminists For Life and suchlike, which, hey, even better; doubt it though). It's just chirpily sitting there: oh come on, it's funny! it's retro! It doesn't -mean- anything. Laugh!

Outis said...

As of 2:00PM today, this news hit Jezebel.com. Your blog and many others were linked.

Somehow I don't think Amanda is going to be able to ignore this!

Outis

belledame222 said...

jinx, she's already put up an apology, as has Seal.

Linden Tea said...

Oh lawd that is the worst apology ever.

Please know that neither the cover, nor the interior images, were meant to make any serious statement. We were hoping for a campy, retro package to complement the author's humor. That is all. We were not thinking.

Damn right they weren't thinking, what the hell. "Oh lol we didn't realize it was racist WE HAD GOOD INTENTIONS it was supposed to be ironic lol" doesn't exactly fly. I mean, come on, the lol it's just irony excuse is so fucking tired and played out already.

They've really dug a bottomless pit for themselves by now, haven't they?

kristin.rawls said...

"You're fired. For sheer, utter fucking incompetence, and no, that doesn't get fixed with a "see, this is why pictures of blonde women with white male backups kicking black spear-carrying "savages" in the face are offensive, mkay" written out dutifully 100 times, I am afraid."

Completely agree. Thanks for keeping up with this even though lots of people over at Pandagon are *thanking* Amanda for her apology. Utterly fucking depressing.

--Kristin

belledame222 said...

yeah, funnily enough the "they didn't really MEAN it, they're good people" is exactly what seems to've gotten the Sean Bell murderers off the hook. surprise.

hey, Kristin, meant to ask: d'you have an email? or, well, drop me a note: bel4 AT earthlink DOT net.

and hey, welcome, linden tea.

corey said...

Huh. I totally didn't read that bizarre catch-all segment of their apology as snide. I read it as evidence of their staggering ignorance more than their arrogance...tho they are absolutely not above making incredibly snide comments ("negative discourse", anyone?), This whole situation and the cookie-dispensing as a result of these crap apologies have me at a loss. Kudos for attempting to advocate for some kind of REAL accountability for these fools. (hi there, btw)

belledame222 said...

they can't be both?

and welcome, corey.

missnomered said...

Oh lord.

Hasn't the book been out for like a month? Why are people just realizing this now?

belledame222 said...

welcome, missnomered!

um, i had the idea that it had just now come out, hence the launch and promos n shit, but i wasn't really paying attention tbh.

which is their excuse i guess, but um see the thing is it's NOT MY BOOK, or anyone else's; uh yeah, wouldn't you check your own...?

shrug, whatever, more happytalk, you know, what else -can- she/they say at this point, really. they're going for the least worst option with the goal of avoiding consequences (as opposed to actually changing), and, ludicrous as this seems, this is probably it.

gah.

kristin.rawls said...

Okay, I sent you an email.

Max said...

100%

belledame222 said...

welcome, max

Max said...

Hello! =)

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