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Thursday, 11 June 2009

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Ahistoricality

These do seem to be pretty serious errors, but do they affect the visual rhetoric aspect of the text?

On the Wolverine one, for example, it's entirely possible to read the entire X-Men milieu as a commentary on the kinds of exclusionism and eliminationalism which has made AIDS into a more or less global metaphor for stigmatizing. It's a bad translation of a theoretical stance into a factual error, but might not be unforgivable depending on circumstances.

John

"Scandously"?

Kathryn

also 'preferred'

SEK is of course probably obliquely commenting on the poor spelling of the student whose essay recalled the remark.

SEK

Gah. I think the real lesson here is that it's been a long, long year.

These do seem to be pretty serious errors, but do they affect the visual rhetoric aspect of the text?

History's part of the rhetorical context, though: I mean, this signifies much differently from the contemporary models. What's really odd about this book, though, is the way it frames its overall argument:

1. Kids actually read comics. 2. Comics are a unique, hybrid word-picture combination. 3. Let's talk about plot.

Suggested questions include "Compare race relations in the 1950s to those of today." Please, could we get a little farther away from the text?

It's a bad translation of a theoretical stance into a factual error, but might not be unforgivable depending on circumstances.

They argue that because he stabs Northstar, who's HIV positive, with his claws---which, obviously, break his skin---that he must be HIV positive now. Say what?

Ahistoricality

That's awful.

I'm convinced.

Jon H

"They argue that because he stabs Northstar, who's HIV positive, with his claws---which, obviously, break his skin---that he must be HIV positive now."

Well, when he retracted the claws, they'd probably carry some blood or virus particles into his body. If the claws were in adamantium sheaths, then there'd be nothing to worry about. If it were the Wolverine where the claws pierce the skin on exit, or 'bone claws' Wolverine, there might be trouble.

But only if he didn't have the healing factor.

(Hm. What if a character with HIV were injected with small amounts of Wolverine's blood, continually over time, creating the possibility of the HIV virus developing immunity to Wolverine's healing factor, or even coopting the mutant healing factor DNA into itself.)

Interested Lurker

Just out of curiosity, now that we sorta know what the book won't look like, would you mind telling us what it sorta will?

SEK

But only if he didn't have the healing factor.

That right there was the deal-breaker for me. I mean, you don't even have to be a True Comics Nerd to know anymore to know why Wolverine can't be HIV positive. Sure, someone could write a story along the lines you sketch there parenthetically, but that'd require a better understanding that these folks have.

todd.

If you assume that stabbing someone with retractable claws carries the same risk of infection as having sex with them, Wolverine would apparently only have a 1/2000-1/200 chance of being infected, even without the healing factor. ( http://www.ploscompbiol.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000103 )

j.s. nelson

In my recent studies I've found that stabbing with my claws carries about the same risk of infection as sex.

Martin Wisse

So which book are those mistakes from then?

Most of those errors, except the Latvia one, which is quite likely an overzealous copy editor, could've been prevented with a 2 minute Wikipedia lookup, but most are also the kind of mistakes you known you don't need to check.

Chances of Marvel ever doing a book in which Wolverine becomes HIV positive, for shock value or to shockcase the plight of AIDS: 1-5.

Ahistoricality

Martin, I don't think they'd bother for pedantic purposes, mostly because the whole mutant gene stigma issue is such a clear analogue for other social lessons that it would be redundant.

TM

I find these sorts of errors are commonplace with people who write books about material they have little to no actual experience with.

There was a semi-famous "social presence in computer-mediated communication" [is that vague enough?] scholar who referred to Dungeons & Dragons in a section of her book. She had so much wrong with it that I was horrified and went on a tirade about it in class.

After that I started seeing people getting published who repeatedly made the same sorts of simple, factual errors in many other instances as well. [If I really thought about it, I might even know to whom you refer above...if it's relatively well-known.]

I always got pissed when my own students did the same thing in their research papers. It sickens me when it's obviously not a mistake but rather ignorance made manifest in writing.

I remember being in mixed grad student/undergraduate class with a former student who wrote a paper on the X-Men, focusing on her favorite character: Storm. She got the character's history wrong! I was tempted to give a heads-up to the prof, but then decided to just keep my head down instead. I would have failed that paper so fast!

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