Lazarov'd: When They Ask Patton Oswalt To Speak For Dead Gay Puerto Ricans - Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movie, TV News
As you may have heard, Marc Andreyko put together an IDW/DC Comics fundraising anthology to honor the LGBT Puerto Ricans who died in the Orlando attack and to fundraise for them. I applaud effort to feature LGBT Puerto Rican comics creators who can represent the LGBT Puerto Rican experience in Orlando like Daniel Lindelof.
Actually, I don’t mean that. As is usual when it comes to crony anthology projects, I heard of a white straight male artist from the Bay Area who was “recruited” — his word, not mine — to contribute to this anthology in a timely manner by a straight white male writer he’d collaborated with years ago…and who helped get the project together.
The white straight artist told me I could participate in the IDW/DC Orlando anthology by *promoting it*…immediately after I told him that *I was snubbed for it*.
As you can imagine, this patronizing stance made me go from disappointed to Gay Puerto Rican Spitfire With a Ph.D. Is Going To Read You To Filth In Public. The snub is unintentional, I am told; I was just overlooked. Yes, because the intentionality was elsewhere. Love is love but the fraternity of social privilege and patronage gets to speak all of it. That’s who gets to represent. That’s who gets a reasonable deadline for their contribution. Everybody else gets overlooked unless they speak up and, even then, things will be set up for them to fail to participate. After my complaint became public, I was offered a week to turn in something. I cannot make this happen as a) I have to turn in a 64-page graphic novel script I signed a contract for on the same deadline, and b) imagine how impossible it will be to find an LGBT Puerto Rican artist, hopefully from Orlando, to do the art to that deadline with the time I have to find him or her. (Finding a queer Puerto Rican illustrator for the comic was my heart’s desire when I first pitched my contribution to Andreyko.) I even offered to Andreyko that I’d write about the gay Puerto Rican experience in Orlando since I know it directly. You would think that my participation would somehow legitimize the project — I mean, I have had latino gay sex with gay latinos of and in Orlando at least 16 times in the past year — but apparently, once you get the one gay latino comics guy everyone’s heard of, you don’t need any more.
The straight white male writer who helped organize the anthology project, and was my first contact with someone involved in it after the straight white male artist patronized me, did not understand how the anthology wasn’t “good news”. What was good news is that someone, like the straight white male writer, who works in academia, doesn’t get it, because he is a perfect evocation of how straight white men have no fucking idea of how privilege works and how patronizingly they employ it.
No, I am no saying that I have a problem with Patton Oswalt speaking for people who are not his exact peers even though he’s the most ungaylatino person listed in advance publicity for the anthology. That’s silly. The problem is that ONLY Patton Oswalt and his peers get to speak for the LGBT Puerto Rican dead because he has the privilege of having written one JLA graphic novel and playing the second banana in the MST3K relaunch. Most comics cronies are white straight guys with white straight guy cronies. Which is why it’s more likely for Patton Oswalt to write on behalf of dead LGBT Puerto Ricans than a live LGBT Puerto Rican. It’s standard for crony culture to maintain its privilege while looking generous and taking the brave stance of helping the underprivileged…by…wait for it….rounding up privileged folks who already have a voice in the culture to speak for the underprivileged. This is probably why I was expected to be happy: hey have no idea that they’re hijacking silenced voices to make theirs louder. Because that’s the norm.