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Am I missing something?

Am I missing something? published on 37 Comments on Am I missing something?


In addition to this week’s comic, readers who want to spoil the mystery for themselves could do worse than trotting over to Ross Wittenham’s blog History Mine, where he asked us if we’d like to chat to him a little about the comic:

More important than our rather presumptuous trumpet-blowing mind you, is that it’s a thoughtful blog that might be of interest to anyone who enjoys historical fiction/media.


Hello. I’ve been reading your comics, and I have to say, they are pretty goddamn funny. I love it.

However, an Anon in my Tumblr pointed out how there are no people of colour in the comic. This triggered me and other people on Tumblr as most of my followers are PoC. I request that you guys please make comics with people of color. I will still visit this site, but not as often. This offends me and a lot of others. I would be grateful if you people could please add people of colour in these comics.

I’m a 4chan troll with few pulls on my time, and I’d like to ask you how you managed to grow up to be such an intelligent, witty person – and with such insight and compassion! I would dearly love to be as awesome as you, but somehow I find myself behaving like a despicable, disingenuous shitbag on all the days I don’t spend crying into my pillow about how nobody likes me. How is it that you manage to treat all people with a baseline level of respect? Are people of colour actually anything like me? As hard as I try, I find it impossible to treat them as anything other than the punchline to a joke.

Please respond, as my self-esteem is at an all-time low right now, and I feel like I might spend the rest of my life bitterly trolling on the internet if I don’t get some sort of help.

There, fixed that for you.

Cheap shot, Mo. For all you know, that really was a person-of-color you dissed.

Of course Jane Austen characters are lily-white and filthy rich. That means that, by the law of self-invisible privilege, they’ll be racist and classist without even knowing it.

That’s this whole website’s meta-joke… isn’t it?

I am nowhere near that careless or stupid. I was watching this thread (archive) on 4chan. I watched this comment get drafted there, edited by committee, and submitted.

My favourite part is later down the same thread where they post a screenshot of this comment glorifying the fact that they’re ‘turned tumblrites against tumblrites’ by inciting paranoia, without noticing that the comment came from their own thread.

Shortly after that, the thread was deleted from 4chan. Which could of course be a complete coincidence, or could be because it made them look like total morons.

(On the race/class thing, I’m very aware that there’s only so intersectional you can be with Austen as your source art, but I wouldn’t try to speak for feminists of colour anyway.

No one has come to me saying they felt erased by MP, but ultimately, this comic is just a tiny (and very sarcastic) part of a conversation, not the conversation itself. I would expect that people who don’t find what they need in this comic simply don’t read – apart from the folk who hate-read, which y’know, I’ve hate-read stuff, I get it.

As to the meta-text, I think that the fact that the Bennet sisters, say, in all their impending destitution, are nevertheless incredibly privileged compared to the majority of people in the country at the time, is absolutely a meta-text to Austen. I don’t think it’s a particularly relevant meta-text to MP except insofar as we all have our privileges as well as our disadvantages, and that’s as true here as it is in real life.

The vast majority of people reading this will be white and middle class. A clean majority, odds-on, will be straight, able-bodied and cis. These are facts, but they are facts that the target audience of this comic will already be all-too-aware of. This comic is not secretly designed to hit white middle-class feminsts over the head with their own privilege, and I don’t think you truly think that anyway. It’s designed to laugh at silly boys on the internet. If you’re looking for the meta-joke, I can only point to the comments section.

One last thing, though: privilege doesn’t have to be self-invisible. I can gain awareness of my privilege – indeed at times I feel it keenly. I will never understand what it’s like to be a person of colour, or trans*. I COULD one day understand what it’s like to be homeless or disabled or chronically ill but let’s be honest, I hope I never do. But that doesn’t mean that my privilege has to remain invisible to me. With work, we can all learn to at least see and understand and appreciate our privilege, even if we’ll never truly understand what it’s like to NOT have that privilege. It’s just that lots of people never bother.)

We agree about the intersectional limits of your source material, where race is absent, class is invisible, and gender is upfront.

As for comment sections… life itself is the meta-joke.

I recommend reframing privilege-access issues as rights-denial issues. For white people to not fear the police is a right, not a privilege; a right systematically violated for people of color. The difference between privilege and rights is that, by definition, privilege is for only a few, but rights are for all. The solution to a privilege problem is equalizing everyone downwards. The solution to a rights problem is equalizing everyone upwards.

Unfortunately the solution to our current problem DOES involve equalising downwards as well as upwards toward a mid-point. However, I’ll be sure to table your motion at the next International Oppression Olympics Committee AGM.

“Equalizing downwards” is like the “lesser evil”; you can never be sure the lesser evil’s lesser, but you can always be sure that it’s evil. Similarly, you can never be sure that equalizing downward equalizes, but you can always be sure that it’s downwards.

That’s a contradiction in terms wrapped up in a value judgement smothered in assumption sauce, but I’m afraid that in line with my policy on not engaging too deeply in the comments, I’m going to sink back behind the curtain now. Perhaps someone else will take you up on this one.

What’s the joke?

I, too, struggle to understand comics unless they are constructed like Garfield

where are the lafftrax yo

“Oh honey” does not disprove anything the man said. He was completely correct and you just dismiss it all with two words and then act like your opponents are all over emotional children when in reality you leftists need “safe spaces” and trigger warnings to fucking function


I think she means “oh honey, you foolish man; you’re not supposed to take us seriously; we just like whinging because it’s what we do for kicks. Nothing you can do will be right; nothing, don’t you understand? You only make yourself more absurd by trying to comply to our absurd demands.”

That’s what she meant, isn’t it? Is it?

Pretty certain that what she actually means is his argument is so convoluted and nonsensical as to be painful. But okay–just chalk it up to whining and power plays: that absolutely isn’t dismissively sexist.

Oh good. I’m glad. I figured it wasn’t sexist to accuse someone of whining because what I do when I try to work out if something is sexist or not (I don’t know if you ever do it; it’s a thing feminists used to do back in the days when it was an egalitarian movement) is I reverse the genders and see if my attitude to it changes, and I find when I reverse the genders on accusing someone of whining I find voila! A depiction of every frickin’ comments thread on any men’s issues article anywhere!

I’m a rig welder in the Oil fields (midstream pipelines a www yeah). So I can tell you that there are indeed women working on the rigs in Oil&Gas and in the mines. It’s always am pet peeve of mine when men who don’t know my profession try to tell me that “only men take dangerous tough jobs, women never work in the oil fields or mines!” Well, shit, I suppose I’ve just been doing nothing in those oilfields for six years, eh?

I love the comments on this site. It’s like a bird looking at a mirror and being confused by what it sees.

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