A Response to the Movie and Comic Book Kick Ass (Trigger Warning Based on Material)

Dear readers, this post and the aforementioned movie and comic book should all come with a trigger warning. I felt I should post this down here because I am going to try and write this with as few triggers as I can but Mark Millar seems to be one hell of an abusive person and therefore there is plenty of abuse to talk about.

I am an avid comic book reader. I like pretty much any comic you hand me. I’ve even managed to enjoy Archie comics. I did not enjoy Kick Ass. I read it because of the hype. I also borrowed it because of the hype. Hype usually means patriarchy. In this case it was formulaic patriarchy with racism, tons of homophobia, and of course as much child abuse as possible. That’s pretty much all Kick Ass is.

You see the writer, and I use that term loosely, creates (again a term used loosely) a world where superheroes kill everything as violently as they can. Wait what? It gets better. Super heroes kill everything that moves, and a father shoots his daughter repeatedly so she knows how it feels. Yes she has Kevlar. Does that make it any less triggering? NO. Does that make the training that Hit Girl endures to become someone that can kill with a smile less child abuse? No, it actually adds to it.

You see in reality I have had enough training that I could ostensibly have pulled off running around and killing people ala Hit Girl. Except that I didn’t want to kill people. Except that anyone that can kill with a smile has some serious psychological issues. Except that yeah my body sucks now and a huge component of that disabling pain comes from those same abuses. A child’s body will not handle the effects of being beaten in the same way as an adults. The damage is longer lasting.

So, right off in both the comic book and the film I was triggered. The film was in some ways less homophobic, and in many was more racist and anti woman. I realized as I watched Hit girl slaughtering a bunch of black men that Hit Girl is designed to reenforce the patriarchy. You see, if a woman has the power to kill you she will do it with a smile. She will lose her innocence (a lot of the blood shed metaphores of yore work out for this movie. Hit girl is rarely touched by males and is cold. Hard.) A woman that is capable of violence is instantly a killer. There are also elements of the madonna whore in a school girl outfit given. There were attempts made by Hitgirl to flirt. Yes, an eight year old or whatever she is was trying to flirt her way around.

Healthy imagery. In fact everything in this series is a carefully selected trope of what makes a man a man, what makes a woman great, and all of these are cliches. One of the worse changes between the comics and the movies was the reason that the big evil black man dies introducing Kick Ass to Hit Girl. In the comic book Kick Ass is going to save a stranger from domestic violence. (More triggers, and tons of racism). In the comic book the woman is black, the man is black. There is a part of this that is rare, as usually the black man is the predator after the young white girl. Of course there is also tons of racism since the man is a thug for the mafia and is apparently deserving of a katana through the chest…

Cue the movie. Any gaping void that was there in the isms was filled in. In the movie the high school girl that is with Kickass as his friend because he is supposedly a gay prostitute (she likes to save those poor people who aren’t with in the patriarchial boundaries you see) is now the victim. This is ahuge change of reason for both the characters. Kick Ass loses an element of heroism because he is just taking care of the girl he wants to have sex with. The black villain cliche o’ racism loses an element of being semi-original but still super duper racist because of course Hollywood cannot sell us something that isn’t made to reenforce the patriarchy so fully that I end up almost puking before the end of the film.

Mark Millar fans that see this as an attack, go ahead. It is. I am attacking his racism. I am attacking his homophobia. I am also attacking his comic book writing credentials. I can do better. Know how I know? I have WRITTEN COMIC BOOKS. If the villains kill less people than the heroes how are people supposed to identify with them? My issues with this film were so high I had to talk it out with a friend, and he had a great quote.

“the fight scenes which kind of sound cool…really bored me…there was no emotional reason behind the last hour of the film…yes her father was killed…but it almost didn’t feel like his death was truly acknowledged and rather it just went into super vengeance mode which no superhero should do. Where the hell was morality in all of this?”

You see, what makes a super hero heroic, as the movie Hancock tried to tell us between it’s cliches and tropes o racism and bad acting was that a hero will not be accepted by the world if they act with baseless violence. You may think so Mark Millar but you aren’t the world. I understand a great many people think this movie is great. Those people aren’t looking at this film and aren’t identifying which origins and characters you plagerised. Spiderman without powers, the Punisher, Batman/owlman/bluebeetle, oh and even your movie didn’t have a consistent soundtrack because the soundtrack was a mishmash of all previous heroing movie sound tracks. Could you BE more obvious with your movie,comic.videogame baiting cycle?

No. The answer is no.

There are people who like this film. The majority of people that like this film are stuck in the patriarchy unaware by choice of how baselessly ridiculous this film is. They have to work at it. You see, there isn’t anything original about Kickass. We’ve had better gore from Saw, we’ve had the same origin stories over and over. Except that the difference between Robin and Hit Girl lies in how they were trained. Yes Frank Miller tried to make Batman a violent abuser, but the public panned that and this was undone. Robin was trained carefully, so that he would know how to fight without killing. Hit Girl was trained to be an assassin without morals.

Kickass doesn’t. If anything the fight scenes are full of so many stupid choreographic moves that would get the characters killed, the set physics of that world are destroyed, and wait a rocket pack? Anyone that actually saw the film is probably wondering what Kickass coated his suit in so his butt didn’t catch on fire. This movie is not worth my share of the almighty dollar, the comic book s aren’t. In general, I don’t read or pay for anything with Mark Millar as the writer or creator. This will only continue until he learns how to write past a formulary, past the patriarchy, and with in the boundaries of what makes a Superhero SUPER.

Oh and if you have seizures, they use a strobe light in the film to try and make the fight scenes look cooler after they go video game baiting in one of the “climactic” scenes that felt so anticlimactic for those people I know.

So to recap, Movie bad. Mark Millarr is a hack. He hasn’t written anything I can think of that didn’t scream, “Hollywood, make me a movie because I am a pile of Cliche! Steaming RIGHT HERE!” This is just my opinion of course. An opinion I will back with my money and my mouth. Millar, if you want to ever have a write off let me know. Here’s your Corkscrew of Justice, you know where to shove it.


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Advocacy (Trigger Warning)

In conversation with one of my young friends I had a revelation. This was about thirty seconds ago. Sometimes advocating triggers flashbacks while I am trying to function. My mind lept then to other people who have to self advocate through PTSD symptoms. It isn’t always a flash back. If you do not have PTSD it might be harder for you to understand being jerked around by past trauma. Therefore I am going to explain, and this is why there is a trigger warning on this post. Sometimes reading about PTSD or other issue related things can trigger people.

This is not from the DSM (Diagnostic Manual thingy) but is from my experience. I may leave things out that apply to you or tell you things that don’t. The problem with labels is they are often not enough to truly explain what something means. Lets say someone shoots a gun. My first impulse is to be very still, not breathing, and praying that my father won’t make the shot. Even typing that sentence my head went into the land of fuzz and my chest is tight. I am taking slow breaths to focus and clear my mind. The trigger is not always a gun but just a loud pop. My brain is stuck on certain points of the abuse I suffered, it has a programmed loop that it likes to play. I have warning symptoms for my flashbacks now, and can often circumvent them.

My reality is in jeopardy from these loops. the weakest symptom is a tingle, intense fear, sometimes I start randomly bleeding. Why do I bleed? One theory a psychologist offered is somatic symptomalogy. Basically my body remembers, and it reacts so strongly to what my brain signals, that it thinks it is injured. This adds to the pain I feel. The pain from invisible injuries is far from phantom. I feel it. The next step after that is the sensation that I am floating, I disassociate and can see the entire world, but I am not connected to it. Usually I then go back in time. I see and feel at the same time, from multiple vantage points my father with his brand new gun, me and my siblings on the couch. I feel the cold metal of the gun pressing against my forehead. My nose stings with the tears I cannot shed.

The loud bang comes, I feel the heat of the bullet, my skin is burned by muzzle flash and I feel a horrible pain as the bullet grazes my temple. I don’t move. I don’t scream. I just stare up into that black hole, smoke pouring out of it and avoid looking into my father’s eyes, knowing he is going to be angry that he missed. I hear every word he screams again, how worthless I am, how I should be dead and must have moved. My sister starts to scream, my brother too but I can’t move. I look into his eyes and I see the blackness.

I still do not remember what happens next, though I have been told he decided to shoot at my sister, but I pushed her aside. I just know he tried to shoot his children, sitting on a couch that smelled like pee, and nearly killed his neighbor because the bullet went off. The cops were called but I took the blame. I said I was playing with his gun when it went off. I lied, to survive.

When I come back to myself I always want to vomit. Instead I focus on breathing. If the nausea is really bad I will take some Rolaids. Sometimes now, after years of effort, I let myself cry. Usually I manage a tear but my brain has yet to grasp the concept of tears. If I am not at home, it is worse to recover. At home I control my environment, I have a bed to curl up in, two soft fluffy cats, and my Person can go elsewhere more easily giving me the time I need to recover.

When I am advocating and flash back, I never know what to do. I try different things, and usually they work but the vulnerability can be debilitating. I flashed back my first time having to seriously advocate to that scene. That is why I chose to relate it to try and explain what PTSD is like. I wish I had simpler words but none can encapsulate just how much there is to it. Sometimes the flashes are different, sometimes I am still an adult but I am trapped, it is worse in some ways because I still feel the pain but I am completely aware that my world has vanished. I am never certain if I am going to hurt someone. I have before, but it has been a long time.

That first taste of advocacy was so bitter. The cops came, and one fondled his gun and my brain shut down. I was afraid, in pain and exhausted. I was being yelled at and deprived of my prescription because I needed my service animal. The cops even saw Sprite follow her training. When I flash she has three tasks, beyond her instinct to comfort me. First, she signals to my Person for help. Sometimes a conversation can end it. So she chirruped at the person of the day, and I had to form the words, “I need you to deal with them for me. I can’t.” Then, she helps me to sit. I had to wait fifteen minutes for a chair, I wanted to scream at them but I tried to stay calm. I was hyperventilating, they took this as my being dramatic. Then, she moves to my shoulder. Her instinct is to sit on my chest, but she might get flung there, I do not handle pressure on my chest well even when not panicking or flashing. Her instincts tell her to purr, to rub with just her face against mine. This grounds me.

The police threatened to arrest me if I did not leave the facility. I knew enough to know they couldn’t but they refused to acknowledge that I had rights. I couldn’t fight, but I had to. I chose then to repeat the law over and over. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t see their real faces for half the time. All I saw was my father and his eyes that reflected no light.

What can you do if you have PTSD and are an advocate? Here is the how to portion.

Step 1. Before you get to the point of advocating, have a support structure. This is a difficult process, because not every person can truly understand what it is to lose your reality. You need to have someone you trust availible, at least to call.

Step 2. If you have medications used to treat the symptoms of your PTSD in an emergency make sure to carry them with you, to keep a back up dose with your support person, and to keep your doctors number handy.

Step 3. Create a kit of items that help forestall your flashbacks. Nothing works for me beyond my cat. I can give her the signal she is trained for when i feel the warnings coming and ground. This is all I have right now, beyond my Person. No meds, just those two.

Step 4. Remember to breathe. Sometimes if you focus on just breathing you can help yourself.

Step 5. If you flash back during advocacy, try and focus on the responses that do not match the memory. This has worked for others, pulling them out.

Step 6. Advocate anyway. I did get the illegal policy over turned at the Pharmacy where I was threatened with arrest. I had to fight for a long time to do it, but, they relented. It is worth it even though it you might feel endangered or might BE endangered by your flashbacks.

Step 7. If you have to, stop. This opposes Step 6. Not every incident can be worked through. You might need to call your therapist, you might need to let your support person advocate for you. This is not a failing, this is merely the team network that advocacy should be.

I am glad to write this how to. I never considered how important it could be, but, in my mind my broken back, my asthma, and my failing eyes are not my most dangerous disability. The worst disability I have is PTSD. At times during flashbacks I have hurt myself, my friends, and reliving the painful memories can also cost me emotional, physical, or mental progress.

Keep in mind the time you are most fragile is just after a flash back. Some people can be triggered more easily, often it is easier to react in rage. Do not minimize your pain either. It is okay to cry, scream, and sometimes to just walk away.

I have done all of the above. Not every incident with advocating will cause a flashback either. Most of my time advocating I am left with memories of victory. My first taste of advocacy is as sweet as it is bitter, because I still succeeded, despite my unabiding terror of these men. My greatest cause was also revealed to me. I am actively fighting to get the local police trained in how to deal with enforcing the ADA. I want my rights protected, I do not want to fear being put in jail, dumped out of my wheelchair and my service animal being put into Animal Control’s care.

That was the threat, and so often is. My heart goes out to any other advocates who suffer from PTSD. I know each person’s PTSD is varied, some may not flash back, some might just panic. Others might not be able to stop their flashes. You can still advocate. Just prepare yourself as best you can.

Advocacy and Pain

Today, after finding out that the worst person I have ever known died I had to do some internal evaluation. You see, by advocating for the rights of the ill, the disabled, and the person in need I advocated for the rights of the worst person I have ever met. I questioned why I do it. It turns out, it doesn’t matter. When I say I will advocate for anyone, I really do mean everyone. After the initial shock of realizing I had helped him, I felt a mix of emotions and realized, I cannot let his actions endanger the person I am.

When you become better than what you were told you could  be, it feels good. Often you have to fight to retain awareness of why you are the way you are. Sometimes it looks easier to revert to basic training. This means you try and force yourself back into the role of victim. This means you try and become the abuser. Feeling the urge to hole up and let the world have it’s way with my Civil Rights, hurts.

When you choose to become an advocate, you might help someone you do not want to. Dealing with that awareness is also painful. I do not want to make the life of a child rapist better. You never know who might benefit from your actions beyond the faces you see daily. Dealing with the struggle means you must get past this.

No matter what your main cause is, I say main because I do not believe in discrimination from a single facet, you must accept that people who are not necessarily the people you want in your cause, may benefit. It is not wrong to help them. I felt like I did something wrong by helping my father. This is ludicrous and this is thinking that can poison the movement.

To advocate means to risk facing people who could hurt you. Many people run into this daily. The advocate is the person who takes an extra strain, so that the innocent people of this world can be uplifted. My father suffered in his final days, but his Widow, who loves him and is in emotional agony, did not suffer as much because he recieved proper care.

So, as you advocate for your self and others, be aware, sometimes you might help someone, and the benefit is not always just for the good or the bad.


Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (Trigger Warning)

Bette Davis, Joan Crawford…A movie about the horrors disabled people can face with an abuser.

This is one of the most wonderful but horrific films I have ever seen. Joan Crawford plays an actress with a jealous sister who not only tried to kill her but is now her only caregiver. Bette Davis plays all of my worst fears brought to life. She forces Joan to either starve or eat rats, her pet bird, or possibly poisoned food. Their maid, a beautiful African American woman, is the hero in this. It is she who sees the potential for something wrong and refuses to leave the day she is fired, instead insisting on seeing Joan’s character. It is she who saves her from embezzlement, being isolated, beaten, and left to die a slow and horrible death. She was cut off too, no telephone, stuck upstairs, the bell for help taken away. It is horrible to watch.Bette’s performance is that of pure evil, in the loveliest of forms.  The genius of this film is that they use clips of the actresses when they were younger. They build the story up and you feel the pain involved with Joan’s treatment.

This film also highlights the incompetence of others, enabling the abuse. The teller who illegally (possibly not at the time of the film being made) gives cash when a deposit is required. The neighbors who ignore the weak cries for help, though they may not hear. The doctors who ignore the patient’s panicked cry when she could under duress be recanting. I will not spoil the climax of the film, but needless to say, this one touched a nerve. There is murder in this story, no one wins. Hope is torn from the viewer and Joan’s character.

Gaslight with Ingrid Bergman is another film that taps on true life abuses. The abused housewife is not beaten, but is instead told over and over until she believes it that she is insane. His greed is what drives his crimes, polygamy, identity theft, and murder among them. He uses the technology of the day to prove to her she is insane. He too plays on my worst fears. He proves to me that men are evil, a blanket statement that feels utterly true while I watch this movie. It isn’t, but it feels that way. He abuses his wife, publicly and privately humiliating her, forcing her into things that were against her nature.This film was so effective it gave it’s name to an entire term in psychology. Gaslighting is the proper term for causing someone to think they are insane. There is more to this of course, but this is the best I can do to explain right now.

Why am I posting about two films made before my birth? They touched me. They burned my heart up and left me shuddering with memories. They triggered responses in me that were deeper than perhaps intended. I felt the trappedness from my previous experience. I felt the worthlessness of knowing I am wrong at all times, and that my only value to others was at their own pleasure, my own wants and needs coming last. I felt the fists of my father in me again. I felt the harsh words of burden.

I am not a burden, I am not insane, and I am free. I had to chant this at times, the wheelchair a prison during the entire time. I could see even one stair trapping me. I can only remember too well  how few people actually listened when I cried out for help. The cold stabbing feeling of being told my case was not compelling enough to prosecute, that no one wanted to protect a child from  her rapist father.

Caregiver abuse is one of the worst crimes I have ever heard of. Some call it elder abuse, but, elderly folk aren’t the only ones trapped by their bodies. Many are vital and amazingly resiliant. I am posting about these films so that you can perhaps try to feel the things I felt, in lesser measure. These films raise awareness of the plights of the hidden victims in this world. Perhaps even someone you know is enduring secret abuse. You might not be able to save them, but raising awareness even by one, can help them save themselves.

Whatever happened to Baby Jane? Be glad you are not so evil, and if you are, may you see your reflection and set your victim free.

  • Polls

  • Ye Olde Archives of Fury

  • Top Rated

  • Top Clicks

    • None