benicio127: (Default)
[personal profile] benicio127 posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Scott Lobdell does an interview with Newsarama on Red Hood, Starfire, sex and gender inequality.



I honestly had a particularly negative reaction to this interview. So did some others, including Ragnell, who I don't always agree with, but I thought had a great post and criticism of it.



The good thing is that the story has gotten people to talk about issues they are passionate about — and that can only ever lead to a better understanding on everyone's part.


It.... kind of sounds like he's saying it's a good thing he wrote this problematic portrayal because it's helped to foster discussion!

More and a bit that really made me grate my teeth:

Nrama: The character is obviously very comfortable with nudity and sex, which isn't exactly new to her character, but was really played up in the art here. Was that the intended message behind the way she was visually portrayed?


Lobdell: I'm not really sure one draws a Koriand'r in a bathing suit on a tropical island without making her sexy.



Also, I don't think a beautiful and confident woman needs to apologize to anyone for the way she dresses, on a beach or off.


Nrama: How do you see Kori in the first issue? Was she meant to come across as a little weak as she leaned on Jason for decisions and offered sex to Roy, or was there another meaning behind her actions? What can you tell us about how she acted in the story — and why? 


Lobdell: I think in a courthouse this would be called "leading the witness. "

In the first issue Kori shows up only when she is needed to rescue the guys. Once that is accomplished — between panels as a way to show how her sudden appearance completely changes the power dynamics present so far in the story — she politely asks her friend if there is anything else she can do to help. Polite is the new weak? Would it have been a better portrayal of the character if she had said "I will fly ahead and kill everyone in your path, Jason?" 




Yep, so if you had concerns about that part, you just interpreted it wrong! Personally, I did not find any friend-type behaviour in that scene, particularly not on Jason's side of things. This was also the part I had the most problems with; where Jason made a joke about Kory's boobs and then talks about using her dislike/distrust of soldiers to his advantage and then it just... got worse from there.

And one more bit for good measure!


Nrama: What was the thought behind the story description of Tamaraneans as not seeing humans as much more than sites and smells? Does that mean she doesn't remember things that may or may not have happened in the past? Or was there another meaning behind that statement?


Lobdell: I love the fact that Kori is an alien. She and the rest of her race have been described of being descended from felines and we all know that humans and cats have different ways of perceiving our environment — so it stands to reason that Humans and people from Tamaran see things differently.



Now, as Humans we might fall into the prejudicial and xenophobic trap of applying a judgment onto other races that they are somehow lacking or even "stupid" because they see the world from another perspective. But I'd like to think that as comic book fans we can all accept that not everyone in the galaxy sees each other as we do.
 



/FACEPALM

For legality: Kate Beaton's STRONG FEMALE CHARACTERS!!!









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Date: 2011-10-21 11:33 am (UTC)
kirke_novak: (Marvel: Caiera)
From: [personal profile] kirke_novak
Yesterday, I read comments about the overuse of the word b***h in the new Arkham City game and every third comment was how it's coming from the bad guys (not true, some guards use it as well, including one protagonist) so it's ok because this is how the bad guys speak.
I am NOT in the mood for more of that "you see, you don't get it, because [...]" nonsense. I get it, YOU don't.

Date: 2011-10-21 01:30 pm (UTC)
rocketlindy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rocketlindy
This is one thing that doesn't bother me at all. Most people out there, when pissed off by a woman, will pretty quickly get to calling her "bitch," "whore," etc.

It's irritating in real life, it can be really awful, but as background chatter in a game or a movie--I think it makes sense. Because, in the end, you know who still has more power, who decides how they feel about themselves, and who gets the last laugh.

If it were a less confident character, or one with whom we're not supposed to sympathize, I'd be annoyed. But, I feel like since we're supposed to root for Catwoman on at least some level, having others try to demean her or act badly towards her does more to make her feel powerful and strong as she keeps on going and doesn't let that sort of thing stop her.

Caveat: it's early in the morning and I may or may not make sense right now.

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Date: 2011-10-21 11:48 am (UTC)
shadeedge: (Default)
From: [personal profile] shadeedge
Also, I don't think a beautiful and confident woman needs to apologize to anyone for the way she dresses, on a beach or off.

See, this just seems like someone attempting to position themselves as a champion of women, but once you actually read it, it doesn't truly work. What do beauty and confidence have to do with whether a woman should apologise for what she's wearing? If she was ugly, she'd need to apologise? If she was shy, she'd need to apologise? Oh, and "confidence" does not equal simply being blunt when she asks to have sex with you.

Polite is the new weak? Would it have been a better portrayal of the character if she had said "I will fly ahead and kill everyone in your path, Jason?"

Quite possibly. But without excluding the middle, a better idea might have been not to either defer or command, but offer an option. It's a team, after all. But by and large, personally this particular point is only a problem in combination with everything else. If Starfire hadn't been a terrible character in the other ways, I think i'd not be too bothered on this one point.

Now, as Humans we might fall into the prejudicial and xenophobic trap of applying a judgment onto other races that they are somehow lacking or even "stupid" because they see the world from another perspective. But I'd like to think that as comic book fans we can all accept that not everyone in the galaxy sees each other as we do.

Oh, fuck off. Something is only prejudicial or xenophobic if we apply a generalised rule to an individual - "all those people act like that". It's not prejudice to say that a character acts in a stupid way - if, indeed, people claimed that in the first place - if the character is acting in a stupid way.

And a general "fuck off" to the "Aha! People who called her a slut, you're the bad guys in this!" Yes, those who went for a slut-shaming route are twats. But that doesn't mean the guy who creates a character who basically seems to be a cipher with T 'n A whose purpose in story is "blow up things when the male characters say to" and provide said male characters with fodder for innuendo and fuck-buddy-ism is not a bit problematic. One of the reasons why people are focusing on the sexual aspects of her character is because - dun dun dun - there are, apparently, no other aspects to her character. And if this is because her character will be fleshed out in a future issue - guess what, you've still got an issue where we have no reason to think that will be so.

Date: 2011-10-21 02:20 pm (UTC)
quatoria: An extreme close-up of my eye, with the blade of a knife just barely touching the bottom edge of my pupil. (Default)
From: [personal profile] quatoria
I'm pretty sure that someone who's trying to be a 'champion of women' doesn't tell their artist to put their Strong Female Character in a transparent bikini, because she'll totally seem much stronger if we can all see her nipples, guys. STRONG. Man, do I wish someone would have called him on that - just because editorial overruled them and had the art recolored doesn't change the intent.

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Date: 2011-10-21 11:54 am (UTC)
eyz: (Default)
From: [personal profile] eyz
Blah :/

*will wait until a reboot of the reboot or until I become EIC of DC in 204X*

Date: 2011-10-21 11:58 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: Batwoman, red/black/white art (Batwoman)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
If DC is a democratic nation by then, I'll vote for you!

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Date: 2011-10-21 12:09 pm (UTC)
meowshi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] meowshi
So tired of this argument.

Date: 2011-10-21 12:09 pm (UTC)
jeyl: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jeyl
Lobdell: I think in a courthouse this would be called "leading the witness."

Yep, and it's usually permissable depending on certain circumstances. But the best part here is that we're not in court, and observations on comics are usually the key component when one wishes to understand how characters are treated. Sure he asked:

"Was she meant to come across as a little weak as she leaned on Jason for decisions and offered sex to Roy, or was there another meaning behind her actions."

But mainly he was asking:

"How do you see Kori in the first issue? What can you tell us about how she acted in the story — and why?"

You don't answer those questions. Instead, you answer the question that you're all "Ooo, you can't ask that in court!" and ignore the real question outright.

Date: 2011-10-21 11:24 pm (UTC)
nezchan: Navis at breakfast (Default)
From: [personal profile] nezchan
I think he means in a movie about courthouses this would be called "leading the witness".

Date: 2011-10-21 12:11 pm (UTC)
mrstatham: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrstatham
Jesus, some of DC's writers should really just stick to explaining themselves through the books, because they've got all the PR skills of a dead cat.

I also think Lobdell's a bit of an idiot for continuing to do interviews that deal with that first issue, because any improvements made in the second issue or even later are gonna be overshadowed by repeatedly bringing attention back to that clusterfuck. And whilst some writers could actually answer the questions smartly, Lobdell's just going to dig himself a grave over a few pages.

He should just let the book speak for itself, now it's supposedly improving.

Date: 2011-10-21 03:37 pm (UTC)
shadowpsykie: Information (Default)
From: [personal profile] shadowpsykie
He should just let the book speak for itself, now it's supposedly improving.

i agree. this last issue was actually really enjoyable. when ever he is asked questions about the first book he should just say "You know what. we are on book, 2. I want to let the story speak for itself. we are going to learn more about kori as the book moves along." and leave it at that

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Date: 2011-10-21 12:17 pm (UTC)
tauruschick12: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tauruschick12
"The good thing is that the story has gotten people to talk about issues they are passionate about — and that can only ever lead to a better understanding on everyone's part."


Well, to be fair, that line came right after this:



What surprised me was that it almost caused the Internet to melt. Mostly, what has surprised me has been the very vulgar way that people believe they are coming to the defense of Kori: they hurl words like “slut” and “whore” and expressions too disgusting to repeat here that are only used to demean women.

Lets consider an imaginary woman who has more than one or two lovers. Is it fair to label her with dismissive and derogatory language? Because we disagree with the choices she makes, to do what she wants with her own body? Are we still at a place in society where we’re going to call a woman — any woman — names that reinforce gender inequality?



So, in context, I think he was talking about more how people can get into a discussion about what is wrong with those kind of statements and how people could learn to understand why calling a female character vulgar things is wrong and problematic.


Yeah, the other stuff he says though...egh.

Date: 2011-10-21 12:43 pm (UTC)
abriel: (pic#855858)
From: [personal profile] abriel
See what really pissed me off about this whole clusterfuck was just the awful stuff being hurled at Starfire and then the whole denial mostly from so-called "feminists" claiming they weren't slut-shaming.

At the same time claiming that Starfire was being written like a slut or a whore.

If you call a female character a slut or a whore, that's slut-shaming.

If you say that a female character is being written as a slut or a whore, that's slut-shaming.


Referring to a female character in any kind of derogatory way, whether calling the character that outright or saying that they are being written that way, is a good way to completely contradict any argument you just made about gender equality and female empowerment, especially if it follows "I have no problem with women enjoying sex, but..." Which I have seen a lot in blogs and such discussing this and it has really pissed me off. Never follow your main point with "but", it cancels out everything you just said before it.

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Date: 2011-10-21 12:27 pm (UTC)
nezchan: Navis at breakfast (Default)
From: [personal profile] nezchan
What is it with the DC guys, whenever they produce something like this and get called on it, the responses always end up as "you're whining" and "we're right in the first place" and then proceeding to demonstrate they don't understand the objections in the first place. It's like they've all got a variation of .

Date: 2011-10-21 05:25 pm (UTC)
lascoden: Anarky (Default)
From: [personal profile] lascoden
To be fair, not owning up to mistakes isn't really exclusive to just them.

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Date: 2011-10-21 12:28 pm (UTC)
dr_archeville: Doctor Arkeville (Default)
From: [personal profile] dr_archeville
This is an issue I've grappled with for some time. I've always felt it is appropriate -- to a degree -- to show bad guys doing/saying bad things, thus establishing that they are bad guys. Show they're bad guys, rather than just having someone say they're bad guys. But where's the line between "establishing this character/this group of characters is Bad (and worthy of being trounced by the Heroes)" and "egregiously offensive to some percentage of the audience"?

Date: 2011-10-21 01:26 pm (UTC)
drmcninja: (Default)
From: [personal profile] drmcninja
It's trying to find the middle ground between the ten-eyed man and... and... I can't hunk of anybody at the moment, but yes you are correct.

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Date: 2011-10-21 12:37 pm (UTC)
nagaina: (Kanda Yuu Cannot Believe This Shit)
From: [personal profile] nagaina
So, basically he's saying that we're interrogating the text from the wrong perspective?

OH, SCOTT LOBDELL, NO.

Date: 2011-10-21 12:40 pm (UTC)
littlepunkryo: (Default)
From: [personal profile] littlepunkryo
I am not the least bit surprised that his answer to everyone's criticism is basically "it sounds like a personal problem to me" and "I think you'll find that it's YOU who's sexist/xenophobic." I really just wish that DC hadn't "suggested" he use Kory in this book because I've been reading all of his interviews and he'll go on and on about his plans for Jason or his plans for Roy (although Jason gets more attention) and Kory will get like one paragraph that says really nothing at all. He has no idea what to do with her or how to integrate a female character into his "buddy" story at all.

Date: 2011-10-21 01:06 pm (UTC)
nezchan: From Spirou et Fantasio a Tokyo (spirou facepalm)
From: [personal profile] nezchan
Then there's this little gem where Lobdell talks about "the constant wailing and gashing of teeth" from the fans and how they have no effect at all on his writing. Except to make him defensive, I guess.

Saves me some trouble, now I know Lobdell doesn't give a shit about readers or their concerns, I can happily not buy any book he takes on.

Date: 2011-10-21 04:06 pm (UTC)
fifthie: tastes the best (Default)
From: [personal profile] fifthie
And while I know this is going to make some people angry, the constant wailing and gashing of teeth and tearing of clothing and the shouts of "Unclean! Unclean!" that have made their way across the internet have not altered the pending storyline at all.

wwwwow

Date: 2011-10-21 01:21 pm (UTC)
drmcninja: (Default)
From: [personal profile] drmcninja
See, this is why first impressions are so important. Even if you believe everything Lobdell just said, people will still be extremely skeptical about this book, look at it with that always in mind, and he lost a ton of new readers who may have otherwise stuck with him considering how much better the second book was.

Date: 2011-10-21 01:48 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] hyperactivator
He does realise that if he has to explain his story in a forum outside of the story then he has failed as a writer right?

If most people people find your story offensive, sexist and badly written then they didn't interprete it wrong you most likely wrote an offensive sexist badly written story. It doesn't matter if you didn't mean to. Scott Lobdell failed in the eyes of thousands of readers to write Starfire and no amount of explainations is going to change what he wrote.

Date: 2011-10-21 01:51 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] laddical
It's maddening - I find myself torn. I want to just cut this guy off at the knees in terms of the books I'm buying, but... but... Superboy and Teen Titans have actually been, ya know, interesting, easily two of my favorites from the New 52. But the more this guy opens his trap about the one book I didn't buy from him, the less I can ignore the fact that it's him writing the books I did.

Date: 2011-10-21 01:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sparkysharps.livejournal.com
Don't you get it guys? It's just part of her alien culture! It's only coincidence that said culture just happens to match up perfectly with adolescent male fantasies. Also, she's posing like a pinup girl for no reason because that's part of her alien culture too. What? This makes you uncomfortable? Well, you're senselessly attacking a BEAUTIFUL ALIEN CULTURE, you xenophobic bigot!

I believe this marks the point where I will actively refuse to buy anything Lobdell has had any involvement - past, present, and future.

Date: 2011-10-21 03:00 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
See, I have no problems with them making Starfire's mindset more alien, it would be an interesting notion to explore. Her people did evolve from felines rather than simians so, even allowing for space feline /= human feline, there could be some scope for a different outlook on things.

The problem was using the tropes used, AND throwing it into the middle of a semi-reboot with no context.

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:D

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Date: 2011-10-21 02:16 pm (UTC)
kagome654: (Bored now)
From: [personal profile] kagome654
Also, I don't think a beautiful and confident woman needs to apologize to anyone for the way she dresses, on a beach or off.


Except she's not a beautiful and confident woman, she's a fictional character. Written by a man. Drawn by a man. Intended to (mostly) appeal to the male readership. Sorry for being slow to applaud, Lobdell.

Date: 2011-10-21 03:33 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] darkknightjrk
I honestly don't understand this argument, because if you use it with any other kind of situation, it starts to fall apart. "Superman doesn't believe in justice, he's a fictional character written by someone who believes in justice." "Batman's parents didn't die, he's a fictional character, written by someone who killed his parents."

With these characters, when they've been written in a semi-consistent way for almost 40 years, in Starfire's case, it does start to become part of who that character is. And while this is a more amped-up take of what was done before, this Starfire does feel like, to me, the same character that Wolfman and Perez created.

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Re: Got longer than I expected

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Date: 2011-10-21 02:43 pm (UTC)
aeka: (Huntress [whatevs]:)
From: [personal profile] aeka
Either this interview confirms that Lobdell is a terrible writer who doesn't know how to convey his message effectively on pen and paper, or how badly he fails at math if he thinks any number greater than 10 means "you're reading it wrong."

Sorry mate, but if MORE than 1% of your readership calls you out on bad writing, AND they back it up by pointing out the same problems that many others pointed out, it can't be that they're "reading it wrong." Just saying.

Date: 2011-10-21 02:51 pm (UTC)
jaybee3: Nguyen Lil Cass (Default)
From: [personal profile] jaybee3
How about addressing some of the other complaints where he doesn't have a leg to stand on - like the behavior of our "heroes" Jason and Roy, who basically treat her like some kind of sex toy (and no, I don't think issue #1 showed any "respect" for her from them). The first thing Jason mentions is how she is "with" him (and has been in the biblical sense, many times) and how she's going to fight those guys but still be thinking of HIM. He then seems his conversations to get off on "having her" especially in relation to the loathed Dick Grayson. Then Roy, seeing something may be OFF with her (she has no memory of any of her former friends) and hearing Jason say she has the memory of a goldfish (I don't care what Lobdell thinks he intended that's the impression readers got) who can't tell Jason or Roy apart (THAT actually appears in her text box from her POV) and he immediately instead of being concerned goes off to have sex with her (after she propositions him in the most dispassionate and blase manner I've ever seen in a super-hero comic). And we're supposed to root for these two guys?

And of course we get the whole - "if we made you angry we're doing our job" line that seems to be something DC has ALL its employees say (is it some style manual over there I wonder) whenever confronted from readers about bad stories (they used the same exact line about Cry for Justice, Rise of Arsenal and Ryan Choi's death). It didn't work then and its not going to work now.

Date: 2011-10-21 05:41 pm (UTC)
whitesycamore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] whitesycamore
One thing I was really, really grateful for was how Jason's attitude to women seems to have done a 180 in the second issue.

I'm convinced that Lobdell must have rewritten at least part of it, because in #2 Jason seems downright embarrassed and irritated by some of Roy's fratboyish (but toned down since last issue) comments.

Date: 2011-10-21 03:00 pm (UTC)
crabby_lioness: (Default)
From: [personal profile] crabby_lioness
I'm especially annoyed by how Lobdell equates self-confidence in a woman with promiscuity. Anyone who has spent any time around high school teenagers knows that the most promiscuous teenage girls often have the least self-confidence. Quite often they are promiscuous because they fear rejection. It's the teenage girls who have more self-confidence who have no problem saying "no" when the boys want sex.

Date: 2011-10-21 05:33 pm (UTC)
whitesycamore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] whitesycamore
It seems to me that *you* are also equating promiscuity with self-confidence - it's just that the relationship you're proposing is inverse.

"It's the teenage girls who have more self-confidence who have no problem saying "no" when the boys want sex."

That sort of assumes that, deep down, all teenage girls really *want* to say no, and that the ones who don't are merely acquiescing to male desires.

Which is not the case, actually.


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Mod Note

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Date: 2011-10-21 03:24 pm (UTC)
fifthie: tastes the best (Default)
From: [personal profile] fifthie
Nrama: So uh, Scott, what's with the shovel?

Lobdell: Oh I just thought I'd dig myself a little deeper

Date: 2011-10-21 04:29 pm (UTC)
ext_944154: (Default)
From: [identity profile] crimsondude.livejournal.com
Yeah, here's my retort to that: http://crimsondude.tumblr.com/post/11096295373/on-writing-intent-vs-interpretation

---

If you need to explain, clarify, backpedal, or otherwise say something that should be in the published material then you have fucked up and told an objectively flawed story.

...

But the problem is that Lobdell, or any other author or creator, can say whatever the Hell they want after the fact. That is not what is in the material that people have bought and read and discussed. The story MUST stand on its own.

LIke I said at the beginning, if you feel the need or are forced to explain, clarify, enhance, “fill out,” or otherwise tell the story that you meant to tell then chances are that you fucked up. More to the point, if you feel compelled to do that then you’ve poked people in the eye who bought your product as-is expecting that the story that was published was the final word. It was published. It went through you, your editor, your other collaborators, and everyone else before it reached the consumer.

Date: 2011-10-21 04:48 pm (UTC)
thefiretonight: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thefiretonight
I should probably point out that I didn't do an interview with Lobdell. I keep repeating myself that I only spoke to as him as a fan and I am NOT a reporter or interviewer.

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Date: 2011-10-21 04:39 pm (UTC)
thefiretonight: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thefiretonight
This, like, all of his interviews on the subject comes off as he's being stubborn and defensive about the first issue. Which is fine to some sort of extent but he probably should let it be from now, at least.

I've enjoyed everything that he's written out of the new 52 expect for the first issue parts on Starfire. If I'm measuring staying along with the book based on improvements, then I'd have to say that I'm sticking with the book since issue 2 was a definite improvement.

Also, I really don't like the term Hoodie. I am not a sweatshirt, Mr. Lobdell. Heh.

Date: 2011-10-21 05:53 pm (UTC)
meowshi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] meowshi
Does anyone actually believe him when he says that the outcry didn't affect their characterizations? I read the second issue, and Starfire/Red Hood certainly seem to have had radical personality shifts. I think he did bow (somewhat) to the pressure and is too proud to admit it.

Reposted because I forgot to mention...

Date: 2011-10-21 06:06 pm (UTC)
thefiretonight: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thefiretonight
I'm not exactly sure since 1) the time needed to get the issues printed on schedule and 2) when I had talked to him, the spoilers he gave me were the same he told me about and that was about a week after the book came out, so that leads me to believe that it was already written long.

The spoilers being that Jay wasn't honest about Kory being 'his girl' and the plane/limo scenes.

Re: Reposted because I forgot to mention...

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Re: Reposted because I forgot to mention...

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Re: Reposted because I forgot to mention...

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Re: Reposted because I forgot to mention...

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Re: Reposted because I forgot to mention...

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Date: 2011-10-21 06:03 pm (UTC)
starwolf_oakley: (Default)
From: [personal profile] starwolf_oakley
So, it all boils down to "Starfire is an alien"? Sheesh.

Sometimes that arguement works, but only sometimes. I recently got around to watching John Carpenter's The Thing, and a lot of the Thing's behavior is confusing. The only excuse I could thnk of was "Well, it's an alien."

Date: 2011-10-21 06:20 pm (UTC)
whitesycamore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] whitesycamore
You can also explain much of Kurt Russell's character's behaviour (in any film, really) by saying "well, it's Kurt Russell." :D

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