peabody97 asked: Any chances of seeing Karla Sofen in Captain Marvel? Or you writing Karla Sofen or the Thunderbolts/Dark Avengers in any other book?
Seriously, though, this sentence: “They are generally great people who are kind and accepting in the way that is forged only through a lifetime of mistreatment and bullying.” No, shut up. They are just great people, full stop.
If you want to fix “fandom” and “nerd culture,” you have to start with this notion that victims of bullying develop a morality superior to everyone else. That’s bullshit for a lot of reasons.
First, it puts a premium on self-pity. I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever feel sorry for yourself. But it shouldn’t be a contest, where the guy who feels sorriest for himself wins. How upset you are about an offense isn’t always proportional to the severity of that offense. This is how you get people comparing their problems to slavery or war crimes.
Second, it creates this variation of Godwin’s law: The moment one party decides another party is like Biff from Back to the Future, all rational discourse between them is impossible, butthead. There’s a dehumanizing effect when you dismiss people as “jocks” or “those mean girls” who bullied you in high school. It’s a two-dimensional way to look at the world, that ignores the genuine problems of people who aren’t sufficiently like you.
Third, it conflates empathy with tribalism. You got bullied for being a dork, so you banded together with the other dorks, where everybody got along great. That doesn’t mean the dorks are better at friendship, it just means you fit in with them. It’s easy for a “tribe” to be kind and accepting to its own; the true test is whether they can extend that kindness to outsiders. Empathy is a skill that has to be developed; being a social outcast is not a cheat code to unlock it.
Most importantly, being bullied doesn’t automatically mean you’re a good person. It doesn’t even make you a better person than your bully. That’s not to say anyone deserves to be hazed. But you can get picked on and still be a colossal asshole, or a bully yourself, or a self-absorbed loser who has to make the world pay for your suffering. Appealing to pity won’t prevent that; you have to work on being a better person, just like the rest of us.