Contrary to what you might have read in some Paul Cornell comic, it’s not all about cosy moderation in modern Britain. In fact, anyone with a functioning TV internet connection set of eyeballs could tell you that the citizenry have spent much of the last year very loudly rejecting the actions of their current government.

See:

New Statesman columnist and freelance journalist Laurie Penny has provided the most incisive ground level commentary on these events. She also pisses all the right people off, so you can imagine how thrilled I was when I got the chance to interview her about geek culture and politics for this very site!

Anyway, that’s enough of my blather. Here’s Laurie:

Firstly I wanted to say how honoured I am to be asked for an interview. I’ve been reading Mindless Ones on and off for years, and I love this blog. I rarely ever get the chance to talk about geek stuff, and I got a bit carried away.

Illogical Volume: You’re best known as a political journalist and riot grrl about town, but we noticed the Warren Ellis quote on your blog and the mentions of white badges and Battlestar on your twitter so we were wondering how much of a geek you are in your, uh, secret identity?

When I tell people ‘I’m actually quite geeky,’ they usually don’t believe me. Then I mention tabletop role playing and they go quiet and change the subject. Dungeons and dragons was my gateway geekery when I was about thirteen, progressing swiftly to Vampire: The Masquerade, in which I played Ravnos-Malkavian and every male member of the team played a sexy bass-guitar playing vampire lesbian. D’D was literally the only way for a weird, spekky, nerdy teenage girl to meet eligible men at that age: you could be, just for instance, the kind of strange gothy nutcase with unbrushed hair who hides in wheelie bins reading and jumps when anyone speaks to you, but walk into the play room with a packet of biscuits and you’re a godess. One of my teammates introduced me to Sandman and Buffy and that was it, really.

I’m a comics geek, a SF geek, a telly geek – my favourites are Battlestar and Babylon 5 – a Dr Who geek, which is quite separate from other telly, a sex geek, and a roleplay geek. I’ve even done LARPing, though I couldn’t quite take it seriously. Although sometimes I have watched police laying into kids at protests and thought, ‘fuck, double strikedown!’

Illogical Volume: Which comic or comic creator speaks most to you politically and why?

Politically? Warren Ellis. I first read Transmetropolitan when I was about 17, and knew instantly that this was a hugely important work – it spoke directly to the bit of me that was already writing articles and editing underground student papers, that believed that something in this society was deeply, weirdly off-kilter, that culture was cannibalising itself and that fearless journalism really could save the world, or at least a tiny part of it. It was and is romantic, but I don’t think there’s any harm in that, particularly not at that age.

Later on, when I left uni and started making a shot at writing full-time, I re-read the series. I remembered how much I loved the Yelena Rossini character, and as I happened to be short, gothy, stampy and foul-mouthed anyway, I decided to go ahead and start writing as if Yelena lived in London in 2007, was a feminist and had a blog. That was the model I had in my head when I started and I just ran with it, because it made me a little braver and more confident. I’m now actually friends with Warren – he’s doing the foreword for my new column book, and gives me lots of avuncular advice via intermittent exchanges of drunken emails. Which is weird and squeeful. I’ve been incredibly lucky in how things have turned out, really.

Elseways, I get something new out of The Invisibles and The Filth every time I read them. Also, book four of Morrison’s run on X-Men is one of the most perfect dissections of nascent adolescent political rage and iconoclasm ever done, although Quiteley’s art has a lot to do with that. Alan Moore’s take on the Cold War in Watchmen is wonderful, but at the moment the comic everyone seems to be referencing in the anti-cuts movement is V for Vendetta. Which is a little bit fucking worrying, really. But when you look at the photos of the Westminster Bridge kettle on the 9th of December you can’t help but get a bit of a chill. England prevails…

Illogical Volume: How close are we to V for Vendetta territory are we, in your estimation? D’you find any significance in the Anonymous masks, the internet troll culture? Or is that just for antagonising $cilons?

Well, V for Vendetta is a vision of how fascism would look in Britain. There are a lot of problems with the way this country is run, but we are not yet a fascist state. Some of the aesthetic hallmarks have a great deal of resonance, as does the constant invocation of the threat of terrorism to punish resistance and manufacture consent. The book and film are incredibly prophetic in that respect.

The model of resistance offered in V4V strikes a far more coherent chord. Anonymous is its own separate thing, an anarchic and brilliant thing, but the wider concept of anonymity itself as a political statement – whether online or offline – is gaining more and more ground as a way of rebelling against a political culture that not only seeks to root out unsavory elements with surveillance but which mandates individuality as a form of rigid conformity. Think about it: it you grow up being commanded to self-actualise, to be the best individual you can be, to define yourself by buying things, to be yourself and find your special centre and compete with your neighbors and colleagues, then choosing to be anonymous is an inherently revolutionary act, quite apart from the organising possibilities the phenomenon offers. Plus, there’s a growing sense that there is a great deal of power in the collective, in sharing a sense of solidarity, symmetry and protection in anonymity. The internet doesn’t change that, it just makes it all a hell of a lot easier to do.

The question of whether or not it is moral, politic or practically a good idea to cover one’s face whilst doing direct action is one that entire theses have been written on. The notion behind the black bloc shares some fundamental similarities with the idea behind the V masks, as I’ve said, but there are differences – in V4V, you have a character, a consciously created revolutionary storybook figure whose motions anyone can mimic. Black bloc is anarchy (in the philosophical sense of anarchy) without personality, and that’s a different kind of political statement.

Illogical Volume: Just how fucked are the Lib Dems, do you think? Have they been successfully used as hate-sponges by the Tories, or are they just returning to the low poll number they’ve received in the early ninties?

The Liberal Democrats are ruined as a political party. It’s the entirely unsurprising death of liberal England. The Tories decided to use them as a human shield, soaking up the worst of public dissapprobium and rubber-stamping the most poisonous and innhumane of their policies with a bit of liberal legitimacy, and it worked. But Liberal reformism isn’t enough any more – far more radical changes are needed to stop most people’s lives becoming rapidly and permanently worse in this country. The Lib Dems put themselves forward as a party of protest, they turned around and reneged on all their important promises and behaved like all the other equivocating smiling Westminster bastards, and then they have the temerity to wonder why nobody likes them anymore.

Illogical Volume: You’ve been accused of dealing in “fiction” by some of the more rabid internet commentators, particularly in relation to your write-up of the events in Trafalgar Square on 26th March. This brings to mind two questions, (i) Do you think that the actions of the police in the miners strikes have already become forgotten history, just more grizzly details from a David Peace novel instead of something that actually happened?, and (ii) It seems hard to imagine that you might have the time in between your other commitments, but do you write any fiction?

I used to write a bit of fiction – and a bit of fanfiction, although none of it was ever on the internet, so don’t bother looking. I’ve always wanted to write a dystopian novel, and have one all planned out in my head, but I’ve no idea when I’ll ever find time to set it down.

In journalism, it’s always important to deal in the truth as far as possible. That’s why I don’t, despite all the smears, make things up in any of my reports: I tell the truth as I see it, it’s just not always the truth that gets reported in the Daily Mail. I don’t mind admitting to a bit of partiality: I am a person on the left, and solidarity has to mean something, but partiality is not the same thing as fabrication. Nor is fiction the same thing as narrative: good journalists don’t tell lies, but they do tell stories. It’s right there in journo shorthand: it’s never ‘what happened?’, it’s ‘what’s the story?’.

People live their lives through narratives and stories, the tales we tell each other to help ourselves deal with our short lives on this fucked-up planet, or the stories we’re told to persuade us to swallow all that right-wing bullshit. The Big Society is a story; the Royal Family is a story; the resistance movement is also a story, and they all contain important truths. Sometimes you pick those stories apart, sometimes you reject their terms, and sometimes you offer a different story altogether: but you never hide in half-truths. There’s no need to.

Illogical Volume: We joked about your “secret identity” earlier, but it now occurs that we first knew you as Penny Red. Reading your recent piece, on Riots and Romance, I was wondering how much you had consciously created a persona for yourself, and either way how that impacts on your statement that “A real campaigning journalist should be able to amplify unheard voices without distorting them”?

See above on Transmet, really. Penny Red was a cartoon character I created back when noone read my blog, a sort of armour, a way of writing about ideas and events that make me feel angry and powerless as if I really could be a hero and change things. Now I mostly write under my own name, which means using that persona a little less.

Laurie Penny has only been my name for a few years, though – my given name was something else – so I suppose that’s a bit of a persona, too. That’s the geek thing, really. It’s all about personas and stories, costumes and scenarios that give you new perspectives on the savage reality. As long as you don’t let yourself disappear into a fantasy world, it can be incredibly liberating. I reckon being a geek can makes you a far better political thinker, as long as one as one avoids the tendency to self-isolate, or to fall into the pattern of thinking that computers and the free market will save the world. Also, geeks are much better in bed. They’ve read the manuals, and some of them turn out to have exciting kit.

Illogical Volume: You were on 10 O’Clock Live recently. Did you get to touch Charlie Brooker – you know, him off the telly? It’s not that we’d be deeply envious if you did, but..

I didn’t get to touch him, but I did accidentally sit on his bag and coat in the Green Room. He called me a ‘fucker’. Twice. It was one of the proudest moments of my life.

Illogical Volume: What about prose writers, either in the traditionally “geeky” territory of genre fiction or outside of it? Is there anyone whose work is particularly resonant for you, politically or otherwise?

Oh fuck, so many. Politically, China Mieville, Cory Doctorow and Ken MacLeod are my absolute favourites – all different flavours of comrade. When I worked for the Morning Star, they let me interview all of them. I usually don’t get nervous about meeting important people, but when it’s sci-fi writers I go completely squeeful and fangirly. Having said that, one of my best friends and mentors in the whole wide world is the critic, poet and sci-fi writer Roz Kaveney, whose magnum opus is finally coming out next year.

Back when I used to be a teacher, I ran special classes on feminist science fiction, books like Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness and Suzette Haden Elgin’s neglected Native Tongue Series. In terms of interesting ideas about gender, politics and sexuality, Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series is fascinating – some of the stories are based on Shulamith Firestone’s discourses in The Dialectic of Sex – as well as just being addictively trashy space-opera romps.

Ultimately though, all science fiction is political – it can’t help being political, because it’s all about imagining and creating new worlds, and new ideas for how society could function. If you’re inclined to believe that redistribution of wealth is a great thing, you will write one sort of sci-fi book; if you believe the market will one day give you an Invisible Hand Job, you’ll write another. What would the world look like if we had solved the energy crisis, if we were a post-scarcity or post-singularity culture? What would the world look like if men and women were truly equal, if we had cured cancer? What would happen if the Soviet Union hadn’t collapsed, or if the Act of Union had? Those are questions only science fiction can answer. It’s about expanding one’s political imagination to the limits of the possible.

Oh, and the best political satirist of our age, bar none, is Terry Pratchett. I’m a lifelong fan, I’ve read them all.

***

Big thanks to Zom, Botswana Beast and bobsy for helping with the questions, and to Laurie for agreeing to this in the first place then taking the time to write such brilliant, in-depth answers!

40 Responses to “Year of the Bastards: The Laurie Penny Interview”

  1. bobsy Says:

    Excellent work IllVol. I likes the cut o’ her jib and yourn too.

  2. Queen B Says:

    Great interview!

    It’s nice seeing Mindless Ones getting a little more overtly political.

  3. Zom Says:

    Cheers. We need to do more of this kind of interview

  4. Dan Says:

    This is fantastic. The comments on anonymity and personality are priceless. That’s also an area which comics have long explored far, far more deeply than any other medium — thanks in part to the superhero traditions. Now it’s (again) becoming a political hot topic, it’ll be interesting whether any of those ideas cross over into the mainstream.

    For me, it was Grant Morrison who really opened my eyes to the political possibilities of pseudonymity and of living alternate identities. He distilled the waffle of PoMo into a guide to the most intense, committed form of collective political action — and then nobody except a few of us geeks noticed, because he did it in comic form. So I’m delighted to see Laurie namechecking him, whether or not her comments on anonymity owe anything to him.

  5. Thrills Says:

    As a mentally-ill dole scum fan of comics who is living under a Tory government, I am also very happy to see Mindless Ones getting more overtly political, as Queen B says above. This is good stuff, this interview!

  6. Andrew Hickey Says:

    Great interview, as I’d expect (I’ve liked Laurie’s writing for years) but, as you’d expect, I disagree radically with her assessment of the Lib Dems. Firstly, I think she’s wrong about what we have and haven’t done. Yes, we fucked up over tuition fees, but we are getting far, far more of our manifesto through in government than you should expect given the numbers.

    But more importantly, I think she mischaracterises the Lib Dems – as many people on the left do – because she sees us as being ‘reformist’ and moderate rather than radical. To quote from, of all places, ConservativeHome:

    I disagree with the Labour Party about many points of detailed policy. Labour wants to spend too much, to regulate too much, it undermines elitism (and hence opportunity), it is captured by destructive equality doctrines, and it is occasionally even incompetent. But Labour is my honourable foe. If Labour wins, that’s a pity, but I shake my opponent’s hand and say: “Well done, I’ll beat you next time.” Labour is my opponent, but an opponent I can strive against and live with losing to.

    The Lib Dems, by contrast, are not my opponents but my enemy. The Lib Dems must never, ever win, because victory for the Lib Dems would mean the rules of the game changing. Victory for the Lib Dems would not simply mean some errors of policy that I would need (with some pain for society) to undo in a few years time, and some lost opportunities to implement other improvements. Victory for the Lib Dems constitutes destruction of the system, overthrow, constitutional revolution, the end of the game as I and my Labour foe have come to play it. Lib Dems are not my opponents, and though they might compromise to work with me, I cannot compromise to work with them. I would far, far rather form a coalition with the Labour Party, nationally, than with the Lib Dems.

    Lilico is a Tory, and understands the Lib Dems, and that’s why he hates us. I wouldn’t venture to suggest that Laurie’s disagreements with us are only to do with her lack of understanding of what motivates the Lib Dems (she’s far too sharp a political commentator for that), but I’d not be surprised if it was a big part of it.

  7. Andrew Hickey Says:

    (I really must write my series of posts about Liberalism, once I finish my series of posts about 7 Soldiers).

  8. Zom Says:

    Just so you know, Andrew, I quite like the Lib Dems

  9. Andrew Hickey Says:

    Thanks. Don’t worry – I know your opinions (and those of Illogical Volume and Botswana Beast) and am not going to go into a huge rant every time one of you says anything even slightly derogatory about the Lib Dems…

  10. Zom Says:

    Well, I often wonder if I’m more liberal than I am lefty, but then I go back to thinking I’m more lefty. And then I start to worry about political categorization fullstop. And then…

  11. Andrew Hickey Says:

    Yeah, I’m not keen on labels myself. But I’ve found that being Liberal and left actually complement, rather than contradict, each other as I develop more of my own ideas of political philosophy. Accepting Liberalism leads eventually, if one follows the principles behind it, to a version of socialism – just one that is based more around mutuals and workers’ co-operatives than around state ownership.

  12. Illogical Volume Says:

    Thanks everyone!

    It’s clichéd to say, but interviewing Laurie was a total pleasure, and she deserves all the kudos here – for once, I managed not to get in the way of my subject!

    Having groused a bit about geek culture, then taken myself to task for my weird projections in my KAPOW! write-up, it was pretty great to talk to Laurie about geek shit and then have my fellow Mindless Ones throw around lots of ideas about the potential for geek culture to provide useful models for modern social activism, or a range of “Non-Princessly” role models for young women.

    “Culture is what we make it/Yes it is!” and all that.

    Re: the Ruddy Lib Dems

    I hate our current government with fists of fire, but there’s probably a degree to which I’m relieved to be able to hate a Tory government instead of a Labour one now. Having been raised with the idea that the Tories were the baddies and Labour were the goodies, the Blair years were pretty fucking depressing for me. For my parents too, actually – they went to the SNP a long time ago, and I doubt Labour will be getting them back anytime soon.

    The Lib Dems, I actually have a great deal of sympathy for, as Andrew knows. Like I said, I hate the coalition government, but think it’s probably better than the all-Tory alternative, and I appreciate that the Liberal Democrats are trying to work their own agenda in there. Still get the anger and frustration though, and am very much on the side of those kicking against the pricks…

    There’s probably another conversation to be had about the way that mapping politics left(Labour)/right(Tory) exaggerates the differences between those parties as they exist now and obscures the details of where the LDs are actually coming from, huh?

    Would normally identify myself as a socialist, but broadly concur with both Zom and Andrew about the limits of such labels and the ways liberalism can bleed into socialism – that’s nicely expressed there, Andrew.

  13. plok Says:

    Liked this a lot; love reading Laurie, Mindless ditto, did not know you were able to combine!

    Left and right only ever had a limited utility, not that there’s any other poltical classification system that’s mindblowingly more subtle/powerful. Sometimes left/right is a real pain in the ass though, isn’t it? Me, I’m partial to the Order-Freedom-Equality grid, where you can be a liberal (equality > freedom > order), a conservative (order > freedom > equality), a libertarian (in the, you know, actual sense: freedom > everything else), or a great big terrifying populist mob-member (equality > everything else). But to these old fortune-teller eyes it isn’t much of an improvement on the LR polarity even if it is mildly fun to contrast with it — neither of these mapping-strategies rises to the level of sophistication that ASTROLOGY possesses, for heaven’s sake!

    On the other hand maybe that’s good, because if they were better they might fool us into thinking they’re worth more than they are. Was interviewed once and asked if I was raised as a liberal or a conservative, I said “in those terms, I was raised as both.”

    (Darn, now I am going to have to re-read those bloody Vorkosigan books, looking for intriguing gender politics…curse you, Laurie!)

  14. Thrills Says:

    Illogical Volume, your comment there from “Re: the Ruddy Lib Dems” onwards is EXACTLY how I currently feel, so now I don’t need to try and articulate my own political thoughts (Not that I ever really did need to, what with comments section-posting being completely optional).

  15. werdsmiffery Says:

    Excellent interview! LP’s writing on politics is always worth reading, and I enjoy reading her similarly clear and articulate opinions on comics/pop culture, as the synthesis of the two is (I think) a very Mindless concern. Keep up the good work!

  16. gault Says:

    What does ‘stampy’ mean?

    Also it’s ‘opprobrium’.

  17. Chris T Says:

    I finally got around to reading this. Great stuff. I’ve enjoyed her columns from the thick of the fray at the various demos in the last couple of years.

    You have finally convinced me to pick up the first volume of Transmetropolitan. I’m working through The Filth now based on a previous post.

    You will never convince, however, me to think that the liberals are anything but stupid and naive. They did a deal with the Tories. Did anyone think that would turn out well? Oh yes, the liberals did.

  18. Chris T Says:

    dammit I pasted the “however” in the wrong spot…

  19. Andrew Hickey Says:

    Chris – yes, because the alternative was… do a deal with the swivel-eyed warmongers who went on TV the night of the election to say they wouldn’t do a deal? Prop up a Tory minority government for six months, getting nothing in return, before another election which the Tories would win decisively (after the last election Labour were several million in debt, the Lib Dems had no money, and the Tories had a few million left over)? I can see that both those would have been much better, oh yes.

  20. Chris T Says:

    To make things clear: I am not a UK national nor do I think that any party that supported a war criminal as leader for as long as Labour did deserves any sympathy let alone votes..

    This seems like a good piece on the coalition: http://bit.ly/kbREuO

  21. Queen B Says:

    Andrew, I think it’s a little disingenuous to imply that the LDs had essentially no option other than an alliance with the Tories. Are you implying that the LDs would have entered coalition with any ideology in that situation?

    The fact seems to be that quite a number of LDs, Orange Booker or otherwise are entirely sympathetic to Conservative ideology and policy.

  22. Zom Says:

    Entirely sympathetic might be a bit of an overstatement. I doubt many of them are social conservatives, for example.

  23. Queen B Says:

    Even if the majority of LDs aren’t sympathetic then they’re hardly mounting an effective buffer on the actions of the Tories. The LDs have been utterly politically outmaneuvered by Cameron who has made them into a shield to absorb negative public opinion. It’s over for the Lib Dem.

  24. Steve Peterson Says:

    “Illogical Volume: How close are we to V for Vendetta territory are we, in your estimation?”

    Sorry – did he ACTUALLY ask that question? Wow. Just…just wow.

    Was this post supposed to have something to do with politics? People’s comments seem to suggest so but…

  25. Illogical Volume Says:

    Steve – Yes he did!

    We were (literally!) dealing in comic book politics with that question, no doubt, but I’m not bothered by the implicit melodrama.

    I mean, I’d have been surprised if Laurie had answered by saying we were already living in a fascist state, but the question follows on from Laurie’s description of the Westminster bridge kettle, it keeps comics and politics in the frame, and it let us connect our concerns about the way the police have handled the recent protests with a question about Anonymous, so… yeah, it’s OTT, but it’s in context and we got a good answer out of it.

  26. Zom Says:

    While that’s not my favourite question, I don’t think anyone round here actually thinks that we’re about to tip over into V territory. What I do think is that Laurie’s answer was a good, interesting one, especially her comments about anonymity.

    There’s plenty of politics up there, Steve, it’s just that most of it is filtered through geekery, as maybe you’d expect given that this is a bloody comics blog.

  27. Rowan G Says:

    Thank you so much for this. Wonderful interview.

    Really glad to see the Mindless Ones bringing in more explicitly how these things we love connect to the neon-reflecting muck. It feels like the solidarity of the early 20th century in their seeds (only cool and not drab b&w sepia shitsville) – I mean, so much is already copy-pasted from that era, why not the nice solidarity bits as well as we go down that familiar Tunnel of Hate?

    And Morrison is a poopyhead for not making at least one issue in AllStarSuperman about a cosmic version of New Deal Superman – punching out blackwaterPinkertons into the eye of ManagementGalactus-whatever (planets stop their rotations on strike due to lack of proper distribution of whateverKirby) and turning off the lights of the Sun Of Capital into newGods’ blacklight etc. At least we got its uber-abstract mythscape version of the whole anti-nihiilism of the post00s shtick.

    “(…) one of the most perfect dissections of nascent adolescent political rage and iconoclasm ever done, although Quiteley’s art has a lot to do with that”

    There is so much right here I… I can’t… process it…

  28. Zom Says:

    I thi-ink Morrison has said in interviews that he’d like to tackle New Deal Superman

  29. Andrew Hickey Says:

    Queen B:

    “Andrew, I think it’s a little disingenuous to imply that the LDs had essentially no option other than an alliance with the Tories.”

    It’s not disingenuous at all. It’s simply a fact.

    “Are you implying that the LDs would have entered coalition with any ideology in that situation?”

    We’d have gone into coalition with any party with which it was possible to come up with a workable coalition agreement. In the case of the Tories they agreed to implement more of our manifesto than their own.

    “The fact seems to be that quite a number of LDs, Orange Booker or otherwise are entirely sympathetic to Conservative ideology and policy.”

    Bullshit. And I can tell you’re talking bullshit because you use the phrase ‘Orange Booker’. This phrase is *ONLY* used by people who have never actually *read* the Orange Book and who have no idea what its contents are, and is code for “I talk shit about things I don’t actually know.”

    But David Laws, for example, who is *BY FAR* the Lib Dem MP closest to the Tories ideologically, was asked by the Tories to defect to them in the last Parliament, and offered a safe seat and a Shadow Cabinet post. He refused.

    People who are ‘entirely sympathetic to Conservative ideology and policy’ join the Conservative Party. That’s kind of the point. Unless you’re suggesting of course that they joined the Lib Dems despite disagreeing with everything the party stands for, merely to take advantage of its awesome election-fighting skills, which would certainly propel them into power?

    “Even if the majority of LDs aren’t sympathetic then they’re hardly mounting an effective buffer on the actions of the Tories.”

    Again, see this.

    “The LDs have been utterly politically outmaneuvered by Cameron who has made them into a shield to absorb negative public opinion. It’s over for the Lib Dem.”

    Cameron has, yes, handled the public relations side of things better than the Lib Dems. And it’s lost us some support. About a quarter of our support, in fact – taking us back to the place we were electorally in the mid-1990s. Which, in return for being in peacetime government for the first time since 1922, seems a reasonable deal to me.

  30. Steve Peterson Says:

    Andrew Hickey –

    Don’t worry about it – this *IS* only a comics blog. Of course people here will mouth off whilst knowing very little.

    After all this is just a comments section of an interview done with a very young, naive blogger being asked questions about how much modern Britain is like V for Vendetta.

  31. Zom Says:

    Tell you what, Steve, as you know precisely fuck all about any of us, have been consistently needlessly rude and patronising since you got here, and obviously have nothing better to do that get into fights with strangers on the Internet, why don’t you do us all a favour and fuck off?

    Just an idea.

  32. Duncan Says:

    Oh, well, that was inevitable – Laurie does seem to attract massive, cowardly wankers to all her comment threads, it’s like magnetic poles in a way.

    Thanks for adding yr tuppen’orth to the bottomless nothing-well of the internet, Steve.

  33. Zom Says:

    Yeah, our commenters are such a fine bunch of souls I tend to forget that rude-on-the-Internet cliches like Steve exist. It’s slightly depressing, really.

    For the (public) record, I haven’t banned his IP. I like to give people the chance to explain their bad behaviour.

    Naive, I know. But then I’m just a young, no-nothing comic fan, what do you expect?

  34. Steve Peterson Says:

    “There’s plenty of politics up there, Steve, it’s just that most of it is filtered through geekery, as maybe you’d expect given that this is a bloody comics blog.”

    Isn’t that Zom saying “it’s a comics blog, what do you expect?”. Sorry but I thought that was his point. I just repeated that.

    I can’t see why anyone would be offended or would question anything else I wrote. Is 24 (I believe) not very young for a political commentator? Is not saying stuff like “The Liberal Democrats are ruined as a political party”(etc) not very likely to be seen as naive? Is it simply *rude* to call her naive? And anyway – what’s wrong with being rude? (If I was). Should such sensitive souls be broadcasting to the world?

    Should this comments section be labelled Positive Comments Only?

    I *was* genuinely sympathizing with Andrew Hickey – someone who appears to be a little more informed than the people who throw around and repeat lazy, silly, unfounded “commentary” about That Lying Bastard Nick Clegg Off The Telly. The kind of stuff that had apparently got him quite annoyed.

    (Not that I have great love for the Lib Dems)

    Don’t worry – I am most definitely fucking off.

    Sorry if I hurt anyone’s feelings.

  35. Zom Says:

    No that’s not Zom saying “this is a comics blog what do you expect?”, it’s Zom saying that “this is a comics blog so we’re – obviously – not going to run an interview which is solely about cut and dried politics”. We’re interested in geeky matters here, so a bunch of questions were asked and answered with that locus in mind.

    And yes I do think it’s rude to offhandedly dismiss the content of a post without bothering to explain why. I can see plenty of politics up there, Steve, as, I suspect, can you. The truth is that it’s just not the sort of politics that you want to see written about and/or agree with.

    I also think it’s rude, not to mention stupid, to imply that people who write about comics (like Andrew Hickey) are necessarily ignorant. I think it’s doubly rude to do it in their own backyard.

    Not only that but I think it’s patronising, and stupid, to use someone’s age as ammunition in an argument unless it is self-evidently relevant. Had enough of that this morning whilst listening to Trevor Kavanagh slag off “70-year-old judges with out of date morals”, thanks.

    And yes I do think being rude is more often than not a bad way to go. Civil conversation, unless you’re dealing with real arseholes, is in my book preferable 9 times out of 10.

  36. The Beast Must Die Says:

    Yeah, your content-free entry level internet snarkery will really be missed.

  37. Illogical Volume Says:

    “Should this comments section be labelled Positive Comments Only?”

    Right, no, you can fuck right off with that shit.

    Your first comment here was a snidey wee dig at one of our questions that was responded to thoroughly and reasonably. To be honest, I now think we were unnecessarily reasonable with you first time round, but that’s normally how I like to play it.

    I notice that you’ve not touched the responses that Zom and I wrote, except to claim that you were rephrasing something Zom wrote when you were actually saying something entirely different. I’d get into that little shitweasel manoeuvre of yours in more detail, but I think Zom’s already covered it.

    What’s more, this isn’t about anyone’s feelings being hurt. This is on you being a knob instead of actually engaging with either the post or any of the comments that have followed it.

    If you’ve got any actual criticisms, I’d love– no, that’s too strong, but I’d be up for hearing them.

    If you just want to go on being yet another annoying wee dick on the internet? Well, it’s not like I’m going to stop you, but I can’t pretend that I have any fucking interest in reading you yammer on about how politically naïve person X is when so far you’ve shown all the insight of an enraged stoat on a Sunday morning.

  38. Andrew Hickey Says:

    Steve, I’m afraid I agree with everyone else here. You may have been ‘sympathetic’ towards me, but you’ve been needlessly insulting in the comments to an interview which consists of a good friend of mine interviewing someone who is an amiable acquaintance of long standing.

    While “Queen B” in the comments was talking uninformed nonsense, and I got angry at her, I was not angry at Laurie because she *wasn’t* talking uninformed nonsense. I happen to think some parts of what she had to say consist of *informed* nonsense, but while I think she fundamentally misunderstands the Liberal Democrats, it’s a misunderstanding that ranges far and wide across the left commentariat.

    Laurie may be only 24, but that hardly makes her unworthy of respect. Brian Wilson was only 24 when he made Pet Sounds, Paul McCartney when the Beatles made Revolver. Orson Welles was 25 when he made Citizen Kane. If people of that age can create artwork as mature as that, I have no problem with believing they can have political opinions that matter too (my own opinions have not changed much in the 8 years since I was Laurie’s age).

  39. Mindless Ones » Blog Archive » The 3 Bawbags of Xmas-yet-to-come present: Tue Massacre: Beyond the New 52! (featuring Mister Attack) Says:

    [...] platonic ideal of this comic is pretty much, “What if Laurie Penny could kick fuck out of a tank?”, and believe me, I would love to read that comic! [...]

  40. Mindless Ones » Blog Archive » Flashing Back To Action Comics —-> “The place is here, the time is now” Says:

    [...] at face value the idea of “Clark Kent: Blogger” is dull dull dull, but positioning Kent as a Laurie Penny style crossover journalist makes a lot of sense to me.  The appeal of Superman has always been [...]

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