I would like to begin today’s missive by formally inviting Men’s Fitness Magazine and writer Jordan Burchette to feast on a giant bag of dicks or vaginas. I leave the choice up to you, as I would not want to imply discrimination one way or the other based on gender or sexual preference. The experience of having a large cloth and absorbent sack, of either male, female, or a mixed grouping or disembodied sex organs, brimming with fragrant gentalia foisted upon your persons to be gorged upon unendingly as restitution would be fairly unpleasant. Strong words, I know, but in light of my last column here, about making fun of cosplayers, I feel it’s my responsibility to follow up.
Here’s the deal. Men’s Fitness posted a story where they basically made fun of fat people in costumes at the New York Comic Con. The piece was written by Jordan Burchette, a person who better have one amazing physique to cover up for his extensive exercise in douchebaggery, and general cockishness. Thus far, they have brushed off reasoned criticism by telling people to relax, and that it’s you just need a sense of humor. The writer, whose receding hairline and lower backhair, we can see in this photo, responded on Twitter that “I was waiting to be compared to Hitler and the internet alarmists did not disappoint!” because people took issue with his sneaky photos of people just out to have a good time. Also, he’s done the article before, somewhere else, where it was also not funny. I’m not going to link it, because they don’t deserve the traffic. They’re not internet alarmists. They’re people with feelings and human decency. What Burchette wrote was mean, plain and simple. It was juvenile. If any of the people in those photos were in on the joke, maybe it could have all been done in fun, but they clearly weren’t.
“Why are you crying mom?”
“I just wanted to have a good time at Comic-Con, but some really mean person secretly took my picture, and posted it on the internet while making smartass cracks about my weight.”
“Why would someone do that?”
“Because he’s a heartless cunt, dear.”
Quite seriously, fuck that guy. Fuck that magazine. You want to get people in shape? Tell them to get in shape and tell them how. You’re going to make fun of fat people? Is the place run by 14 year olds? If this is the best attempt at humor you’ve got, it’s time to pack it in.
Yes, there are worse problems in the world, but going after people like that is divisive and hurtful. They likely think their stunt isn’t going to affect their bottom line, because of different markets, or just general stupidity. But I would ask anyone reading this, or really anyone who knows how to act like a decent person, to avoid the magazine and website. Perhaps Men’s Health is more your speed. I’ve found it to be a fine magazine, full of helpful tips and information about male well being.
The thing is, the people at the conventions, like it or not, they’re my people. Me and the team here go to a lot of comic conventions, and the one thing about them I’ve always liked is that they’re relatively safe places for people to be themselves and celebrate the things they like, regardless of social stigma. They’re a place where, at long last, people can forget about the experiences of their teenage years when everyone was judged on whatever perceived weakness the bullies found in them and used to hurt them. That’s all this is. It’s bullying. But it’s widespread bullying by a mainstream media outlet. That can’t stand, because it’s just plain wrong. This isn’t Robert Smigel and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. These people didn’t know they were the butts of jokes. They were just there to have a good time. Most of the people in the pictures aren’t even egregiously overweight. They’re just normal people. Not that that makes this any more acceptable, but it just shows that they’re willing to pick on anyone. And they’re going to get hits and pageviews and people are going to snicker. And it’s not OK.
Still, the bullies and assholes aren’t going to win. They’re going to laugh this off, and talk about the “crazies on the internet” and how they “can’t take a joke” but the fact is, the comic-con folks wearing costumes, and doing whatever else it is they like are going to keep going to shows, and dressing up, and having fun, and they’re going to feel no shame. That is the biggest middle finger you can give to a jerk, by being happy, and reading your comics, and dressing like whatever character you feel like, regardless of your Jenny Craig situation.
Have fun out there, and don’t let the bastards get you down.