Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"Evil Images"

I found an old email I'd been thinking about recently. The details of all this aren't really important other than this is in response for a request from someone to do a story about me. Keeping in mind this is a journal that supposedly does stories on small business that were created through a similar process of funding as my own - that sounds vague and all, but it's too long and uninteresting to explain.

Well, the story idea was rejected by the editor/manager, or whatever, of this journal, here's the actual, unedited email response to the writer interested in doing the story:
"I looked at the website and I must say I am uncomfortable with what he sells. We can talk about it further next week but from what I can see I would not want to profile the business in our paper. I am very fortunate to have the position to decide on businesses we profile. I don't like to profile businesses with alcohol being the focus, tatoos, or night clubs and in this case evil images. I know you might find this narrow minded but there are some things that I find I do need to take a stand on. Talk soon."

Okay, do I really need to point out how a person like this should not ever be in any position of power of any sort? I don't care that some folks don't care for what I do, that's a completely dull topic of conversation, but this is a kind of utterly pathetic dismissal in a supposedly professional context. This journal, as I mentioned, supposedly has a story focus on businesses that came about through the same assistance program my own did and it's a unique business to the Island, as well. But no, this person would prefer to make a tired, sad judgement call based on exactly the typical prejudices that the entire mythos behind what I do mocks.

"Evil images" What the hell does that mean even? Demons hanging out in a completely innocuous manner is evil? Or, is this person simply an old school, puritanical, close-minded prude? That might be a bit harsh of a description, but it does seem to fit. I've never taken a picture wherein the idea was to create "evil images", the idea was to show demons as exactly the opposite for the most part, but this person wasn't interested in learning about the story behind the images, but to simply judge them out of ignorance and apparently feel good about it. That is so incredibly sad. The fact that this person points out that the "focus" of my business is "evil images" is such an dismissive, ignorant insult, that I actually can't find the right word to describe that way of thinking.

Why did they feel these were "evil images"? Let's face it, religion is the only thing that can possibly explain a distaste for the concept of demons and the generalization of them as evil. So, my conclusion here is that a story on my business was rejected because of someone's personal religious beliefs? How does this sort of thing have any place in a supposedly professional context?(I use the term "supposedly professional" as a thinly veiled insult towards the typical attitude of professionalism local to where I live.)

And bearing in mind, if you take a look at my website ( I only had about 12 prosthetics for sale at that time, no props or anything else you see there now and the only images were the headshots of the pieces. How is that overtly evil? Could this also be a peek behind how judgmental and potentially racist this person is? Oh look, that creature has horns - obviously evil. Seriously? So goats, cows, bulls, unicorns and anything else with horns, fictional or otherwise, are flat out evil? Or it is just because it's not an animal but sort of looks human and has horns that makes it evil? Doesn't that all sound ridiculous to have to make these distinctions? a chitinous protrusion from the flesh is a sign of evil, but only in humanoids. So cats with horns - adorable and acceptable? A beautiful girl with horns - an evil slut monster to be burned by the hand of god.

Or maybe it's not the horns, not everything I've made has horns. Maybe it's not a religious thing at all.So what's the deciding evil factor if we're not considering horns or religion? They look different? They don't look like us so they must be evil? I certainly hope it's not as simple as that, because that says so much worse than what my original thoughts on religion were.

See, there's no way out for this person. The statements they made in calling out my business for featuring "evil images" in no way makes this person look good. They didn't take the time to understand the context, they didn't take the time to ask me anything, they simply made a snap judgement after looking at about a dozen very simple headshots based on their own personal beliefs, be it religion or even racism. I'm not going to call this person a religious fanatic or a racist, but you really have to wonder if it's not either of these factors - what else does explain the labeling of them as "evil".

The images on the website do not feature: guns, violence, sex, blood, gore, hate, racism, homophobia, bullying, anti-social behavior, smoking, drinking, tattoos, satanism, anti-religion, any political agendas or anything of that sort. It looks like a high school year book of demons at best and worst. Now, you might think you're being a clever little troll and point out some of the photo shoots I've done that, yes, have featured guns, tattoos, drinking and smoking, and there was even a demon priest at one point - but those shoots came long after this incident and were not featured on the website at that point - nor are they now to any great degree. I'll point out again, all I had at the time were about a dozen prosthetics from very early photo shoots.

And, you might also want to point out that I'm being a whiny little asshole because someone didn't like my monster pictures - you would be an idiot who doesn't understand what I'm talking about. I don't care this person doesn't like my "evil images", my entire point here is to focus on what professional context this person judged my business unworthy of featuring an article on. Honestly, I don't even really care they didn't. There is no local market for what I do, so an article in a small local journal isn't going to hurt or help.

The whole thing boils down to one simple point, how can a person can feel good about themselves, in a professional context, possibly using their own religion to discriminate against what someone does. (And if it's not religion, then some weird form of racism.) They can't, what this person did was wrong - religious discrimination is no better than flat out racism, KKK, white power bullshit. Religion is supposed to be about tolerance, this person was far from that. My business was discriminated against because of this person's personal religious beliefs, that's what I think. And if this isn't the case, than it's something a whole lot darker and people like that should never be in any position of power, no matter how insignificant it is.

There's so much more I could go on about when reading that email that just boggles my mind. So much. I appreciate that a person is allowed to make judgement calls based on personal opinion, that's fine. What fuels that personal opinion though? Being homophobic and racist are personal opinions too, doesn't make them viable or just. People rail on against big businesses flaunting their stance against gay marriage, it's their business and their opinions - just because it's an unpopular one doesn't it make it any less so. Makes them assholes, but it's their opinion to do with what they want.

So that's really all I'm saying I guess and it's funny that this person's opinions towards a fictional race of beings ties in so well with the entire mythos I've created. A mythos that holds up humans as the real monsters because of intolerance, racism and personal agendas and demons as a peaceful, enlightened race that are just victimized and vilified by us because of our ignorance and fear of what we don't understand.

Well played editor/manager of small local journal that no I've ever spoken to has ever heard of - that "stand" you took against "evil images" has paid off so well.

NOTE: I'm not really all that upset about this, just that in the midst of working on ideas for a mockumentary about demons on the very subject about discrimination and racism towards them, this old incident came to mind and I thought I'd revisit it - really just for fun.

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