Thursday, July 16, 2009

Where Are the Others?

You may have noticed more letters from Scott Kurtz following recent posts. Perhaps you join me in wondering why his colleagues in HalfPixel never take up the sword.

  An unprinted letter from Kurtz, sent to me personally last winter, gives a hint. He speaks of Dave Kellett, Kris Straub and Brad Guigar as non-confrontational gentlemen, and faults himself a bit for being the group hothead.

  I've seen this before on the internet, and it's the antithesis of that Penny Arcade bit, the one that says given anonymity and an audience, people online turn into "fuckwads."

  Here, given facts that appear difficult for them to address, let alone admit, they vanish.

  Other webcomics people with dodgy conduct do this too: Gary Tyrrell from Fleen, Jon Rosenberg, R Stevens, Meredith Gran -- though the last two are arguably too daft to know the difference.

  Why does their conduct matter?

  It's amateurish, of course, and isolates us from colleagues in other comic media. It's boorish, and when it is intended to block the progress of others, self-centered. They have worked relentlessly to position themselves as people of significance in webcomics, but their behavior discredits the medium. Many of them have problems with honesty at a fundamental level.

  Science and academia and major publications worldwide are skilled at addressing policy, conduct, method and merit. Certainly, debates do at times turn bitter, even shrill. Most professional people are wise enough to evaluate the strength of their arguments before they start to type, and to concede gracefully when they must concede a point.

  In the world of online comics, where closing your eyes and hoping people will go away seems to be the prime coping method, it seems my argument that our most prominent people are  poorly qualified and lacking maturity is underscored by their unwillingness to address what I say.

  I can only figure that my comments are either irrelevant, of no interest, or too hard to counter.

  I am not eager to bring evasive, circular, emotional letters from conspiracy-theorists upon myself (don't bother, anyone, I doubt I'll print them here). I'm also under no illusion that these people are even capable of understanding why they are being held accountable, and why it matters to some of us.

  Still, I'd like to be awed by a well-reasoned, rational communication from these folks explaining their position. I would like to know how their behavior online advances the cause of comics, and what they are doing blocking the way if they are unable to defend their positions.

  I have reason to view some of these people as slick and manipulative, based on both observation and personal experience. I am not going to be swayed by a charm offensive.

  Nonetheless, anyone who is holding back, worried that my ownership of this blog is going to be used as a crass opportunity to humiliate them simply for standing up, is wasting an opportunity. As I have offered before, you can have a whole day's post to make your case, or more if you need it.

  But if only for your own dignity, this crawling under a rock stuff should stop.*


*Scott Kurtz can take the week off.