I’ve been invited to dismiss, point by point, the… let’s beÂ kind and say “unsupported”Â notions in Heidi MacDonald’s essay yesterday. It’s quite tempting to do so, but to what end?Â You don’t get to write something like that and then play the “I was just trying to encourage debate!” card. Quite honestly, I don’t find that the arguments that Heidi has set forth are worth debating, or really, that they’re arguments at all. Further, I feel like even engaging it gives it an unwarranted weight, and I’m sorry for two posts on the subjects in as many days.
Essentialy, I feel like this commenter at The Beat got it:
“The vagueness of Heidiâ€™s argument (more like a collection of complaints) demonstrates the lack of intellectual rigor and attention to detail that so much comics â€œcriticismâ€ trades upon – particularly, but unfortunately not only, in an online forum such as this one. Only through generalizing conflations such as those employed by Heidi can one reduce an entire art form to polarizing binary categories, which then sinks the whole discourse to the dumb level of attacking and defending.
“Sweeping, provocative opinions need to be supported by analysis of detail in order to avoid coming off as mere gut reaction or the whims of taste.”
I can’t see saying much else about the situation as it currently stands. I just don’t think there’s anything worthwhile there, despite, as Tom mentioned, the ‘broad emotional appeal’ of the piece. It sounds a lot like my cartoonist friends bitching after a few pints at the bar, and I tend to hold that to a slightly different intellectual standard than criticism or debate. Usually I just order them another drink, secure in the knowledge that they’ll feel better in the morning.