Good Riddance, Fred Phelps: 5 Pivotal Moments For LGBTs In Comics

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Good Riddance, Fred Phelps: 5 Pivotal Moments For LGBTs In Comics

To mark the passing of a bigot, let's look at how gay people have fared on the pages of American comic books.

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RossaLincoln:
snip

Alright I'm calling this out.

I'm not going to say I like Fred Phelps here, but there's a line here and literally laughing/celebrating the death of anyone is pretty immature in my books. I expect this kind of stuff from a Gawker media outlet.

Yes, Phelps was a huge knob when it came to being a massively homophobic prick, but you've just fed the Westboro Baptist Church the attention they crave. These are people that picket funerals for media attention but you just gave it up for free. This is a group of people who don't even have the guts to protest near the people they oppose, why give them the time of day and muck up the accomplishments of LGBT moments of any media by association?

Oh, I don't know about that...once again, people are up in arms and the Westboro Baptist Church seems to be getting the publicity it craves. I read that Phelps used to be a civil rights lawyer, representing non-white residents of Kansas in discrimination cases. You can proclaim that part of his life to be a diamond in the muck if you wish to, but that only makes it stand out more.

Did he change his mind again before he died? Maybe. I also read that his relatives who left the church were denied contact with him, so I doubt I'll ever know, but there is always the possibility.

Yeah... celebrating a death in this way is pretty tasteless.

I'm celebrating the fact that his hateful legacy failed. Though, and I swear I don't mean to offend, I have no problem considering people who aren't bigots morally superior to people who are, nor do I think it's in bad taste to comment on the legacy of hateful bigots by pointing out how they failed, and hilariously so.

RossaLincoln:
I'm celebrating the fact that his hateful legacy failed. Though, and I swear I don't mean to offend, I have no problem considering people who aren't bigots morally superior to people who are, nor do I think it's in bad taste to comment on the legacy of hateful bigots by pointing out how they failed, and hilariously so.

Perhaps, but Westboro Baptist Church was never influential, unlike other hate groups. They effectively angered every political and social group in existence, and I believe their congregation never numbered more than maybe forty something people.

I don't think anyone will really miss him, of course, but what I think most people are saying is that we shouldn't react to hate with more hate. That just gives Westboro what it wants: attention. We should pity and ignore them, since their effectively the little toddler in the room that wants attention, but doesn't have any real power or authority.

Interestingly, I don't know any Republicans under the age of 65 that hate homosexuals, due in large part to the massive Libertarian influence that currently exists within the party. Lets celebrate the positives, not the death of a hateful old bigot who wasted what could have been a positive life. He doesn't deserve it.

RossaLincoln:
I'm celebrating the fact that his hateful legacy failed.

Only if you consider his crazier, more spiteful, lawyer of a daughter taking over is a "failure".

But still, I cared more when Saddam Hussein died than I care about Fred Phelps' death.

I'm torn as well - certainly not offended; I don't think any of the commenters are offended per se.

I would have APPLAUDED from my desk, if the equivalent of this was written while he was still alive. A direct challenge like that to him and his idiology would have been bold and most impressive indeed. But now, it feels a little late, and a little like easy pickings.

Look, we pull over on the side of road and stop when we see an ambulance coming - it doesn't matter where it's going or who is in it. We pull over and stop for a funeral procession - it doesn't matter who is in the casket. Civil/equal rights causes are of better mettle than public gloating, or at least they ought to be. This could have been a triumphant article written with dignity and class, rather than a five page treatise that amounts to some interesting comic info on a relevant topic, book-ended by pointing and laughing at some bigotted jerk's tombstone. One path is journalism and being the bigger better person (like the better parts of this article), the other is a glorified tumblr post.

Neat rundown. Wasn't aware of these firsts myself. Is Batwoman (A completely different one from the one mentioned in the Batman bit, mind) the first gay superhero to have their own ongoing series...?

As for celebrating Fred Phelps' death being considered offensive or something... Going by that "Be Tolerant of Intolerance" logic... Yeah, sorry, can't muster up the necessary rat asses to act all impartial. I will literally dance on his grave given the chance.

MinionJoe:

RossaLincoln:
I'm celebrating the fact that his hateful legacy failed.

Only if you consider his crazier, more spiteful, lawyer of a daughter taking over is a "failure".

But still, I cared more when Saddam Hussein died than I care about Fred Phelps' death.

The failure, as I note in the article, is that gay rights are expanding rapidly and very soon, gay marriage will be the law of all 50 states.

MinionJoe:

RossaLincoln:
I'm celebrating the fact that his hateful legacy failed.

Only if you consider his crazier, more spiteful, lawyer of a daughter taking over is a "failure".

Actually it seems that the WBC is ruled by a council of the eldest male members now, after Fred was excommunicated from his own church last year.

Now if his own creations turning against him isnt poetic justice, then i donw know what is.

While I can wholeheartedly agree with the spirit of this piece, I gotta say that it's in several different kinds of poor taste.

He died, and now you are, metaphorically, picketing his funeral. You're taking advantage of a man's death in order to further an agenda. This is exactly the kind of tasteless, puerile, spiteful, and pointless behavior I'd expect from Phelps, not anyone who actually opposed him. It says a lot about both the author and the Escapist, little of it good, that this kind of sensationalism and spite has their names on it.

Be glad that he's dead, sure, but at least put forth the effort to be a better person than he was.

It's a strange world when people are basically saying 'too soon' over jokes made about an utter asshole.

I'd like to propose an experiment related to one of DC's failures on the sexuality front.

Batwoman's same-gender marriage was vetoed by DC, but what if everybody acted as if it wasn't?

Hear me out. Sherlock Holmes, until recently, was iconically seen with a deerstalker hat, which had its origins in the Basil Rathbone adaptation, despite not featuring anywhere in the original Conan Doyle works at all. Still, through cultural osmosis, it became an accepted part of his character. Have deerstalker, will Sherlock. People forgot that he didn't have this in the original literature.

My proposal is this: What if all the fans, or even just as many as can be convinced, simply acted like the marriage had gone through and Batwoman was happily wedded to her sweetheart? If it was done enough by fans, would the writers (perhaps when the character was handed over to a new writer) perhaps simply forget that the character wasn't actually married in the first place thanks to executive meddling?

If we change the perception of the character now, could it influence canon later?

If done well enough, would it essentially force DC to accept it? (Yes, they aren't the most progressive of companies, but perhaps it can be explained in terms of bottom line)

RossaLincoln:

The failure, as I note in the article, is that gay rights are expanding rapidly and very soon, gay marriage will be the law of all 50 states.

Ah! My apologies. I misread it as a "failed legacy" when the legacy (ie WBC) shows every intention of continuing their activities.

I've always suspected that WBC was never really about curbing anyone's rights. They're just about pushing buttons until someone retaliates and can sued. It's why so many of them are lawyers. As an added bonus, being classified as a "church" means they don't have to pay any taxes on any monetary judgements that they win.

I'm sorry but this is a fucked up article. It really is because as much as people disliked the WBC and their actions it doesn't help when you have articles like this get published that celebrate the death of another human being.

It also doesn't help that you could of quite simply had the entire article exist WITHOUT a single mention of Fred Phelps. While I understand that writers want their content to be relevant this is indeed poor taste and I would actually go so far in saying that the editor should remove this article and remove the content involving Fred Phelps. Something like this can stand on it's own two feet without having to prematurely dance on another person's grave.

If nothing else, I learned something new today. That Extraño character reminds me of someone... Am I crazy, or does anyone else think Eiichiro Oda might have had a little inspiration when he was designing Foxy the Silver Fox? The hair, the skin tone, the color scheme, just... wow.

We celebrated when The Wicked Witch Thatcher died, so we can sure as hell do it for this asshole. Enough with holier-than-thou bullshit.

Major_Tom:
We celebrated when The Wicked Witch Thatcher died, so we can sure as hell do it for this asshole. Enough with holier-than-thou bullshit.

Obnoxious shits did it in their own thread. It wasn't the main headline of a featured article.

Fred Phelps died. A lot of people will not be mourning him. A couple - friends, family, people who shared his beliefs - will. Plenty of people - myself included - couldn't care less. But this I will say; I don't like reading anything that actively glories in the death of anybody. This is reducing a real flesh-and-blood human being to the level of a panto villain.

Major_Tom:
We celebrated when The Wicked Witch Thatcher died, so we can sure as hell do it for this asshole. Enough with holier-than-thou bullshit.

Here here!

Get off your high horses people. An asshole died, and I'm going to drink a beer to celebrate the world becoming a better place.

I would like to say we shouldn't be celebrating the death of a person, but the guy was an asshole, I was happy when he was gone because this guy was just all sorts of terrible.

MinionJoe:

RossaLincoln:

The failure, as I note in the article, is that gay rights are expanding rapidly and very soon, gay marriage will be the law of all 50 states.

Ah! My apologies. I misread it as a "failed legacy" when the legacy (ie WBC) shows every intention of continuing their activities.

I've always suspected that WBC was never really about curbing anyone's rights. They're just about pushing buttons until someone retaliates and can sued. It's why so many of them are lawyers. As an added bonus, being classified as a "church" means they don't have to pay any taxes on any monetary judgements that they win.

Yeah, to clarify, that failure I speak of *is* his legacy.

Is the world a better place with him gone? Yes. My problem with articles like this is the fact that being a bigot to a bigot doesn't make you any less of a bigot then the bigot you are being a bigot to.

AzrealMaximillion:

RossaLincoln:
snip

Alright I'm calling this out.

I'm not going to say I like Fred Phelps here, but there's a line here and literally laughing/celebrating the death of anyone is pretty immature in my books. I expect this kind of stuff from a Gawker media outlet.

Yes, Phelps was a huge knob when it came to being a massively homophobic prick, but you've just fed the Westboro Baptist Church the attention they crave. These are people that picket funerals for media attention but you just gave it up for free. This is a group of people who don't even have the guts to protest near the people they oppose, why give them the time of day and muck up the accomplishments of LGBT moments of any media by association?

If they craved attention for this, they would have held a funeral. I think you can count the people who will be mourning his death on one hand, and that includes his family. If you're sensitive to that, more power to you. But as he was a person who masterminded attacking the families of dead soldiers AT their funerals, I have no problem with anyone calling him out for exactly what he is - a hateful dead bigot.

Silverfox99:
Is the world a better place with him gone? Yes. My problem with articles like this is the fact that being a bigot to a bigot doesn't make you any less of a bigot then the bigot you are being a bigot to.

When you make bigotry so broad as to include any hatred/intolerance/whatever of anyone or anything, bigotry stops being an inherently bad thing. Quite honestly, we should be bigots to bigots, because doing otherwise might make them feel as if their views are accepted when they aren't and shouldn't be.

TaboriHK:
I have no problem with anyone calling him out for exactly what he is - a hateful dead bigot.

There's a difference between calling someone out and celebrating their death. A big difference. Phelps didn't even kill anyone or advocate violence. He was a nuisance. Nothing more.

RossaLincoln:
I'm celebrating the fact that his hateful legacy failed. Though, and I swear I don't mean to offend, I have no problem considering people who aren't bigots morally superior to people who are, nor do I think it's in bad taste to comment on the legacy of hateful bigots by pointing out how they failed, and hilariously so.

Celebrating human death is still an immense tasteless thing to do. It would have served the accomplishments of LGBT moments in comics if you hadn't mentioned Phelps at all.

Or if you had focused an article specifically on him it would have been better for dialogue.

Here's a fun fact. Fred Phelps was lawyers during the Jim Crow era, the era where black people could be lynched for looking at a white person in a certain way. He was also one of the only lawyers who'd fight for justice on the side of Black people in the Jim Crow era.

In the South.

I think the dialogue of how a man who was one of the extremely few white lawyers representing black people in a fight for civil rights goes to becoming one of the biggest homophobic voices would be less crass.

My beef isn't with you calling his homophobia out. I despise all discrimination, but I also find it disappointing that its apparently OK to celebrate someone being dead alongside great achievements of a group of people who've been discriminated.

It's like going, "Hey guys Mel Gibson just died of cancer! Isn't that awesome? Now to celebrate let's take a gander at the accomplishments of Jewish filmmakers!"

LifeCharacter:

Silverfox99:
Is the world a better place with him gone? Yes. My problem with articles like this is the fact that being a bigot to a bigot doesn't make you any less of a bigot then the bigot you are being a bigot to.

When you make bigotry so broad as to include any hatred/intolerance/whatever of anyone or anything, bigotry stops being an inherently bad thing. Quite honestly, we should be bigots to bigots, because doing otherwise might make them feel as if their views are accepted when they aren't and shouldn't be.

The meaning of bigotry is being intolerant of others ideas or beliefs that differs from your own. There is no other qualification and there shouldn't be. When right or wrong gets put into the equation it creates a situation where bigotry can be justified. The justification then leads to excesses of the hateful behavior. This is exactly what the LGBT community has been fighting against. Many of those people resistant to gay rights believe they are correct and right. Since everyone has a different opinions and ideas the only way to stop bigotry is having the meaning be broad.

This does not mean that you agree with them. It does mean that you don't return the hate and intolerance back at them. When you are hateful and a bigot to a bigot you are only reenforcing the hate in that person. You can not agree with them and still not be hateful and intolerant.

Barbas:
Oh, I don't know about that...once again, people are up in arms and the Westboro Baptist Church seems to be getting the publicity it craves. I read that Phelps used to be a civil rights lawyer, representing non-white residents of Kansas in discrimination cases. You can proclaim that part of his life to be a diamond in the muck if you wish to, but that only makes it stand out more.

Did he change his mind again before he died? Maybe. I also read that his relatives who left the church were denied contact with him, so I doubt I'll ever know, but there is always the possibility.

i didn't know that, and it only further proves a theory i've had for awhile... what if Fred Phelps was the greatest, most helpfully successful troll of all time? What if he saw the injustice in America towards the gay community and decided to change it in an extremely subversive way... sacrifice himself to make the opponents of gay rights looks like extremist psychopaths.

he might have known he'd go down in history hated, but didn't care because he knew that by coming off so absurdly outlandish, it would crush any hope that the anti-gay movement would be taken seriously?

A nice informative article on the subject, thanks.

But this bit:
"for a Superman/Batman team up to get a hell of a lot more romantic. Sadly, that's never going to happen,"

Why is it sad? These characters where just never intended to be gay, so ... ?
They where created, born one could call it, straight. IMHO it's just the way things are fore these two.
That doesn't mean there can be, and maybe should be, more LBGT characters in comics.

There's also not a ton of non white characters in most ancient comics, yet are you also going to call it sad that Clark Kent never will be black? It's sad that there are few non white heroes out there, that doesn't mean the existing ones should be changed all of a sudden.

Kenjitsuka:
A nice informative article on the subject, thanks.

But this bit:
"for a Superman/Batman team up to get a hell of a lot more romantic. Sadly, that's never going to happen,"

Why is it sad? These characters where just never intended to be gay, so ... ?
They where created, born one could call it, straight. IMHO it's just the way things are fore these two.
That doesn't mean there can be, and maybe should be, more LBGT characters in comics.

Assume my tongue was planted firmly in cheek, and also that this turn of phrase is often assumed to be shorthand for "sadly for [people in question]".

The guy may have been despicable, and he was, but to actually celebrate someone's death doesn't make you any better than him.

Czann:
The guy may have been despicable, and he was, but to actually celebrate someone's death doesn't make you any better than him.

Yes, celebrating the demise of one of the biggest hate mongers of our time is surely the same as picketing the funeral of hundreds of grieving families and persecuting people for their sexuality.

You know what? I'll just be a despicable person then. I don't mind. I'm happy he's dead, and I hope everyone who shares his beliefs will die too. Good riddance.

Sunrider84:

Czann:
The guy may have been despicable, and he was, but to actually celebrate someone's death doesn't make you any better than him.

Yes, celebrating the demise of one of the biggest hate mongers of our time is surely the same as picketing the funeral of hundreds of grieving families and persecuting people for their sexuality.

You know what? I'll just be a despicable person then. I don't mind. I'm happy he's dead, and I hope everyone who shares his beliefs will die too. Good riddance.

We can go ahead and kill every single human on Earth then. That would surely, no irony here, solve all our problems.

Except that pesky death thing.

Czann:

Sunrider84:

Czann:
The guy may have been despicable, and he was, but to actually celebrate someone's death doesn't make you any better than him.

Yes, celebrating the demise of one of the biggest hate mongers of our time is surely the same as picketing the funeral of hundreds of grieving families and persecuting people for their sexuality.

You know what? I'll just be a despicable person then. I don't mind. I'm happy he's dead, and I hope everyone who shares his beliefs will die too. Good riddance.

We can go ahead and kill every single human on Earth then. That would surely, no irony here, solve all our problems.

Except that pesky death thing.

Yes, we could do that, because everyone is clearly on the same level as Phelps.

Oh wait. No they're not. Stop being an apologist for sub-human scum like him.

Some of my fav characters are of the LGBT. Scandal Savage, Knockout, *Takes a moment to mutter about the end of Secret Six, and their lack of appearing in the new 52* Batwoman, Renee Montoya.
Some are kinda close, IMO, or at least just in my mind in Powergirl, Terra, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn.

Sadly, I don't think the man's death will slow the anti-LGBT sentiments of the church.
I'm hard pressed to fully dislike the article celebrating his death, taste, or not. Not only was his hatred distasteful, he, and his church, arguably, didn't do Christians any favors by adding to the stereotype that Christians hate LGBT, never-mind having protests at funerals, and threatening George Takei's, and Ellen Degeneres' weddings.

Still, part of me feels bad a guy died, no matter what his views were.

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