Little peeve of the Day

Trigger and Content warnings:

I can understand the need to warn readers that the work may have a disturbing event in an article or story. Unfortunately, disturbing things like violence, rape, and abuse are part of life. Even if they all ended tomorrow, there’s still plenty of people carrying scars. Even in the future when we are all gone, you cannot fully understand an era or people if you are ignorant of how violence or the threat affects people.

So these things will remain in our psyche for a long time. Ignoring them will not make them go away. In fact, ignoring them leaves victims less able to react in disbelief and shock. Nor does it provide ideas or hope. Better to show survival and coping, that being a victim is not the end.

Trigger and content warnings allow people who have issues with a particular trauma skip over sections or an entire story. It is a kindness, a bit of the golden rule, and good business. Kindness that a trauma isn’t refreshed. A golden rule as you don’t need people picking at painful areas for mere amusement. And really good buisiness for a writer. Fool me once, slipping in a trauma I wasn’t ready for and YOU are the abuser. I will leave a comment sometimes, I won’t be back for more stories, and I will not recommend it.

Once Broken, some things may not be easily fixed

Tags and warnings are important.

But warnings spoil my story! How can I shock or surprise my readers if I tell them bad things are about to happen? It will weaken my story, real life doesn’t warn you! Stories, older stories don’t have warnings!
You just have to deal with it. Older stories were far less graphic, things that need content warnings were mentioned in euphamisms and happened off camera. The character will still be surprised their hand is amputated by the villain, the reader will still feel their shock and pain, so the warning will not harm your target reader who likes angst, and it gives a fair chance for readers bothered by that violence to skip over a section. It’s a win-win, for a tiny bit of spoilery if handled well, you don’t tick off readers.

Okay, Okay. I’ll put warnings in, but I’ll put them at the end of the chapter in the footnotes so it doesn’t spoil the story… They can skip to the end of the chapter to see the warning, then its their own fault.
Now that is just cruel. (and a little obsessive about refusing to warn) You care so little for the readers, you think they want to skip back and forth because you are too lazy to properly tag and do a postscript half-a apology for being offensive? You do not respect their agency, and think lying by omission is just great. It’s not that important and the story is SO good they won’t care. Don’t fool yourself, you are breaking their trust with this deceit. If you cannot be honest why should I have to zig zag, when you missed the meaning of ‘warning?’

Warning tags won’t stop people who trust your tags are accurate or don’t care, but do you really want to alienate those who do care about their pain? (they have money to, young author) Tag your stories.

It’s not the battle…

In the press of adult life and holding a budget, I had to give up some hobbies.  Sadly, reading comic books was one of them, but that doesn’t mean I don’t value the archetypes and characters.  Both Superman and Captain Marvel are orphans from a time without many protections for children.  Clark’s parents were originally old and Billy has no known parental influence.  They both are pure good, considered too good to be interesting.

That is bullshit.

I saw a section of a comic that illuminates why Superman is the model hero, despite the occasional misstep in individual projects and titles:  Superman and Captain Marvel

It’s the aftermath.

Some say Clark is a flat and boring character.  He has so many powers and no great tragic flaws.  Some believe that he has nothing to say for today because he is too nice.  But what he keeps over most of his peers is that he retains his compassion and empathy.  That isn’t for the approval for the crowd, isn’t because of a lack of standards, but because of his compassion.  What happens if the near gods in these universes forget compassion, mercy, and respect for those who don’t have such powers?

Billy has possibly the most tragic origin because he didn’t just have tragedy, but that he is that tragedy.  Traces of his 1940’s origin story are still there in the food cans and bare mattress, but he is the product of not just harsh or unfeeling events, but cruel ones made worse by a ‘wise’ man.

Here Shazam throws it back on Clark for Clark to fix, never admitting that he was wrong. The wizard chose Billy, who is expected maintain a standard of good that the wizard cannot.  Deprived of emotional support and forced to act beyond his maturity, the wizard is the villain in this tragedy; fate should not require that it arrive today.

Billy is in pain and too much of a victim.

Because this is Clark, he will try to help. He will reach out to help someone in pain. Not because it requires his Kryptonian powers, but because it requires his humanity.  There may be stronger characters, there may be character with more exotic powers, and there are many characters who fight their own demons, but Clark helps people.

Superman may be filled with a just wrath but he overcomes that to help a lost boy.  Clark doesn’t keep that aggressive entrance to give readers yet another fight.  He was enraged a minute ago, but he doesn’t give away his humanity.  It may be hard, but he does it.  That maturity is his greatest strength, to do the right thing even if it’s hard.  He is what we should try to be, someone to help a weeping child in over his head.

That’s why they are called superheroes!