What some leftists seem to think of Bill Willingham's Fables
Ali Baba's Muslims are presented as duplicitous hypocrites with a nonsensical baroque religion, who are concealing a weapon of mass destruction when we meet them. Everything has its context. I found it extremely distasteful to put something like that out at a time when the neocons were using similar arguments to justify the pounding of Muslim families into mincemeat. Typical fawning approval on BW's part for those who hold the whip hand.On the one hand, where Willingham earns points is by drawing up an allusion to Saddam's attempts to develop WMDs (if that refers to any recent stories, then we can assume Iran's also been added to the list of allusions in the series). On the other hand, the commentor earns serious demerits for inciting against "neocons" by implying it's "families" they're after in the war against Islamofascism. I guess that means it's okay for him/her if Muslim families adhere to the Koranic belief in honor murders and butcher a daughter who doesn't want to be part of the ummah? Tsk tsk. Another commentor at least had the decency to say:
I do think we should be careful about assuming an author's intent based on a character's actions as I remember when Kurt Busiek was similarly accused of an anti-Muslim bias for introducing Infidel into Astro CityBut he dampens his impact by suggesting that something's wrong with being critical of Islam. Are we to assume that if Busiek had intro'd a character with a name like "Apostate" into his book, that he'd be doing wrong there too? Or if he'd intro'd an Armenian cast member? Please.
Let's now go on to what said commentor Figserello began telling in his reviews of the Fables series in paperbacks (and be forewarned: he/she's also fond of George Monbiot, the awful British reporter who inspired the word "moonbat"). On the third page of this thread, Figserello goes on to say:
I've just read the first part of the Arabian Nights (and Days) collection. The whole of the story about the genie in the bottle.So on the one hand, the plus side of Willingham's work is that he's willing to allude to just what Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote, had to say about the Moors in his time - "trust no Moors they're all deceitful." On the other, the poster is sabotaging his/her whole take by blatantly attacking Blackwater and even the company Michael Moore was profiting from. And he/she ignores the elephant in the room - the Religion of Rape itself. He/she then goes on to say about the 8th book Wolves:
In it we find that those Muslims are untrustworthy duplicitous schemers who have no respect for human rights, have a meaninglessly baroque religion and who connive in hiding weapons of mass destruction when they should be negotiating in good faith and even the best of them are just unthinking dupes.
Whatever sins or failings the peoples of Muslim nations like Iraq and Afghanistan had been guilty of, by the time this story was published they had been hammered halfway back to the stone-age. So I don't really see the point of Willingham's aligning his little tale against them like this. Reading Willingham's story made me think of someone happening on a hit-and-run victim on the road and spitting on them before walking on his merry way.
By the time Willingham wrote this, Blackwater and Haliburton were well on their way to appropriating their billions from the US coffers for the wars in the Middle East, and Rumsfield and Cheney didn't really need Willingham cheering them on from the sidelines and justifying the west's wars in Muslim countries. But he still decided to echo the standard Fox lines in his little entertainment.
As for Operation Israel, I'll just point out the rather one-eyed view of Israel's battle tactics and leave it at that.Oh, I do beggeth thy pardon? Is that supposed to be an assault on Israel's right to self-defense? What a disgrace this commentor is. Now, what does he/she say about book 10 "The Good Prince":
Other parts of the pattern are the romaticisation of the morality of wolves, Bigby's use of his powers to protect 'state security' to entrap and murder people he doesn't like (Obadiah Crane), Cinderella, the working class 'princess', being the only one who has to prostitute herself to get by, the Animal Farm and democratic movement's 'revolutions' being shown as misguided, and Willingham's unquestioning echoing of the Fox News line regarding the Muslims in the story.As someone who doesn't take a naive stance on FOX News and Murdoch's associations with al-Waleed bin Talal, this makes me giggle. Because as anyone who's viewed them carefully in the past couple of years knows, it's not like FOX has been literally critical of the Religion of Rape since a year after bin Talal bought a share of NewsCorp. Yes, there are some few times when they're willing to bring on say, Geert Wilders and allow him the right to free speech, but most of the time? I can only say they're hopeless.
Oh well, with that told, let's now turn to the downside of Bill Willingham that may have resurfaced in one of the spinoffs called Fairest. In this review:
The second issue, however, confirmed my poor impression. In this issue, Briar Rose is at least fully awake and on the run with Ali Baba. The scenario has potential and the arguments between the two characters have a nice Moonlighting element to them. However, that characterization is undercut by Jonah the genie’s diatribe about women. Briar had argued that she could keep up with Ali, an argument that is patently false based on their relative fitness. But rather than noting that a pampered princess can’t outrun a trained thief, Jonah launches into a rant about how women aren’t as good as men. As he says, “That’s why marathons give out two awards, one to the real champion and another to the first female finisher.” I was dumbfounded. I thought Billie Jean King had settled this issue in 1973 when she defeated Bobby Riggs. Ali Baba is faster and has more endurance because he’s in good physical shape and Briar Rose is not.First, I want to warn that the man who wrote that review once had a positive position on DC Comics' misogynist screed called Identity Crisis, so whether the description of the going-ons in Fairest are accurate, it could be that he's not saying this altruistically, and thus, the review will have to be taken with a grain of salt. But if this synopsis about what the genie's saying is correct, then how does Willingham reconcile that with his pro-Israel stance or even his critical positions on the Religion of Rape? Willingham already came under fire several years ago for participating in the War Games/War Crimes crossover in Batman and writing an issue of Robin in 2004 that saw Stephanie Brown being tortured with a drill by Black Mask, Dr. Leslie Thompkins pegged as killing Stephanie to make a crazy point to Batman about her oppsition to vigilantism, and even turning the Silver Age Atom's ex-wife Jean Loring into a new Eclipso in the Day of Vengeance miniseries, and more specifically, into something even more demonic. Now, he's providing his detractors with more ammo to use against him by writing a "knowledgable" genie making insulting cracks about women's fitness? Good grief. It does undermine the right-wing positions, I'm afraid.
One might defend Fairest by noting that a character makes this statement and not necessarily the writer. However, I’m not sure that defense holds in this case. The genie is generally deferred to as a knowledgeable, almost omniscient character. Plus, Bill Willingham didn’t have to include the diatribe at all. It speaks poorly of him that he chose to write it when it has little to do with either the story or the main characters. Instead, it reads like an anti-feminist statement in a series that’s supposed to appeal to those who are interested in rich female characters.
I think the biggest problem with Willingham is surely that he's a loose cannon, and if that's the kind of position he's going to take on women's rights, he's hardly qualified for the kind of political metaphorical commentary Fables is supposed to be about. But neither is the man who wrote that review of his latest Fables spinoff if he's going to approve of Identity Crisis, a miniseries with a misogynist approach to storytelling among other elements that are still tainting much of DC's output to this very day. And Willingham's work at the time did have some connections to Identity Crisis, and even followed up on it, so personally, I'm dumbfounded if say, Brad Meltzer gets a pass but Willingham does not. If that's how the man's going to opine, then his own argument about Willingham's bias falls flat on its face right alongside Willingham's work containing bad biases.