In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments. This week we are participating in a cross-blog event conceived by Alert Nerd and dedicated to the question What is your ‘Scott & Jean? — i.e., the fannish issue you can’t discuss because you are too passionate about it and it makes you too crazy. The Multiblog Scott & Jean Masterlist is found here:
Disclaimer: the whole point of ‘Scott and Jean’ is to let geek-bloggers get our rant on about things that we just might have trouble discussing in a rational manner. So please take any less-diplomatic-than-usual comments (i.e., references to attacking characters with shovels) in the spirit they are intended. Comments are welcome, as always, but if we can’t answer them rationally, please accept our usual ‘Thanks for joining in the discussion’ as a given.
What is your “Scott and Jean”?
Batman does not use guns.
Here is why.
Here is the counter-argument: Batman has appeared at times with guns in canon and if it’s canon, it’s canon.
No. Batman exists because Bruce Wayne is against guns. It is his defining trait. His core value. Guns kill people, Bruce Wayne does not kill people, Batman does not kill people, Batman does not use guns to kill people. Ever.
I hate the psychic affair. That is, I hate the storyline in Grant Morrison’s New X-Men series that resulted in the current relationship between Scott Summers and Emma Frost. I don’t hate Scott/Emma, I don’t think Scott and Jean have to be together forever or the world will end. I just hate that particularly storyline.
I would like to be able to write a well-reasoned critique of why the affair didn’t work for me. It would include analysis of pacing, character logic, the positive and negative aspects of continuity, and the nature of comics as a narrative versus a dramatic medium. It would also, based on past experience, take about two comments worth of discussion for me to get to a point of saying, “SO YOU THINK PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE IS AN AWESOME BASIS FOR A RELATIONSHIP? AND YOU WOULD LIKE IT IF YOU WERE JEAN AND SOMEBODY THOUGHT YOU DESERVED TO DIE BECAUSE YOUR SWEATERS AREN’T SEXY ENOUGH?* AND ALSO — AND ALSO — CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE KILL EMMA FROST WITH A SHOVEL?”
So I tend to avoid the topic, and I’m not going to use this forum to try to write the well- reasoned critique, because it might happen I’m in a position to do it properly one day.
Instead I’ll give you (1) this visual:
And (2) this bit of free advice: If your relationship with your current boyfriend was achieved, in any part, by dressing up like his wife and talking about her at length, prior to and perhaps while you were having sex with him, telepathic or otherwise. . .Well, if that happened, and if you ever tempted to complain about how he thinks too much about his now-dead wife when you are together? IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THIS IS YOUR OWN GODDAMN FAULT.
There. I wrote that and I didn’t mention death-by-shovel once. I think that’s progress.
*Nowhere in any X-Men comic does anybody say that Jean Grey deserves to die because her sweaters aren’t sexy enough. The fact there is a clear and obvious connection between these things, in my mind, is one reason I’m not supposed to talk about it.
I call it the Patrick Wilson Problem.
Patrick Wilson, in his admittedly limited film career, has played two roles with a lot in common. The first was Raoul de Chagny in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera. The second was Dan Dreiberg in Watchmen. Both of these characters are generally nice, quiet guys trying to do what they think is right. Both of these characters are somewhat impotent in their attempts to achieve great success, but they’re extremely well-meaning. And both characters are slandered and vilified by the fanbases of their respective texts, while the psychotic mass murderers in the stories are glorified beyond all reason. The Phantom kills people and abducts Christine against her will to his crazy underground lair, but that Raoul — how dare he wear nice clothes and try to protect a girl he’s loved since childhood! How despicable! That’s the reaction I see, time and time again, and it makes me want to reach out and throttle everyone in sight, which isn’t usually a productive plan when the internet is involved.
I love nice guys. I love them. Raoul de Chagny, Dan Dreiberg, Duncan Kane, Simon Tam, Steve Rogers, Scott Summers — these are the characters I adore above all others. Because even when they screw up (sometimes horribly), they’re still TRYING to do what is moral and right. They’re trying to be good people. They don’t kill. They’re polite. They strive to be nice to others. And yet, for all of this, they’re derided as fops and wimps and other words I won’t repeat on a family-friendly website.
It’s not just the fans — the source material can be just as bad, pushing aside the nice boys in favor of yet another spotlight on the tortured antihero (hi, X-Men: The Last Stand). And God forbid these characters become involved in a love triangle with a bad boy and the girl they both love. That just produces the corrollary to the Patrick Wilson Problem — the James Marsden Problem. No matter how good and caring and perfect the nice boys are (see the X-Men movies, The Notebook, etc.) the girls in the stories always go for the rebels. And I am left FROTHING WITH RAGE.
It’s not that I don’t like bad boys. It’s not that I don’t see the appeal. I do. During my time in comics fandom, I’ve even become a Wolverine fan, and he’s the quintessential bad boy rebel. But I can never forget the reason I came into comics in the first place — to look for a place where nice guy Scott Summers was given his due respect (as he certainly wasn’t in X-3). As a fan, I’m constantly fighting to defend the nice guys who are hated just for trying to be decent human beings, to the point where I frequently lose all rationality. And it seems to be a losing battle.
Remy LeBeau is an emotional abuser.
I . . . I don’t voice this opinion very much. It’s an opinion, and there are many fans of Gambit out there. In fact, I’m pretty sure I can name some of you reading this that like the Cajun mutant quite a bit. But I can’t stomach him.
See, here’s the thing — and I don’t normally explain all of this. The thing is — Remy is the kind of relationship and romantic partner that I think is perniciously and subtly abusive. I want none of my friends to know him, I want no-one I like to be hurt by him, and I have difficultly stomaching his flirtatious overtures to the characters I like. Remy is a liar. Duplicity is his oxygen. He lies about his past, the fact that he’s married, his past with Apocalypse and the Mauraders and Sinister. He lies about his purpose with the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men, in X-Men, and in X-Treme X-Men. Why would I want a friend to hook up with him? No one in a relationship with Remy could ever trust him, could ever believe that they knew what was happening. The entire relationship would be a cycle of doubting oneself and listening to Gambit’s lies, trying to quiet the voice in one’s head that said “something’s wrong.” Moreover Remy uses compliments and sexual desire to manipulate women against their better judgment. Yet how can one believe his compliments? He says sexual things to every woman with a pulse — his avowed sexual partners could never know whether he meant them. And after seeing him seduce someone for a goal — in a fight, or on a mission — how could a partner of his have any confidence that he wasn’t also using or abusing them?
The thing is, a long-term relationship like this — constant doubt, constant erosion of one’s instincts trying to believe a liar, constant undermining of one’s self-confidence and self-pride — this relationship is a soul-killer. It makes strong people weaker, it places a flaw at the heart of Gambit’s partners. And I half-think he does it on purpose so they won’t leave. I can’t abide the character. Watching him court Rogue fills me with a white-hot rage, a rage, a fire in front of my eyes, and then there’s the frothing and the yelling and the throwing comic books.
This is my geek mental block, my comics sacred cow, my deeply held belief regardless of how Gambit is written or what he’s doing. I will forever view him with distaste.
What about you? What is your “Scott and Jean”?