Author Topic: EP233: Union Dues - The Threnody of Johnny Toruko  (Read 27693 times)

stePH

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Re: EP233: Union Dues - The Threnody of Johnny Toruko
« Reply #100 on: January 18, 2010, 04:18:27 PM »
My only gripe with the story is that two teens were running through NYC, then there was a large bang, and the girl was on the ground, her head smoking.  No one thought this might be interesting for the several seconds/minutes it took for that guy with the phone to show up?  Just a quibble. 

I guess there weren't any tourists nearby at the moment.  ;)
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CryptoMe

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Re: EP233: Union Dues - The Threnody of Johnny Toruko
« Reply #101 on: January 19, 2010, 10:19:27 AM »
Well, the "writing gays" side thread was really interesting to read. I must live in a very liberal city, because to me the only reason Johnny's gayness was important was to explain his love-interest choices (girl vs guy). If there had been no love interest, then it wouldn't have mattered, one way or another.

Basically, Johnny is going through what every teenager goes through; love/lust, confusion, alienation, anger at his parents for not being supportive. There is nothing intrinsically gay about any of these things. All those aspects of the story could have just as easily been explored if Johnny had some other "social stigma" - and honestly, what teen doesn't feel that they have some social stigma or other (geek, nerd, spaz, ugly, etc....)? So gayness in itself is not necessary for the story, except to explain the love interest.

That said, I liked the story. My favourite part was the end interaction between Johnny and Tam. Johnny played it just right. He opened himself up, got his answer with Tam's obliviousness (if Tam was interested, he would not have missed that cue!), and accepted it as it was. There was no need to push the point any further. Best of all, the fact that both Tam and Johnny are guys was irrelevant to the emotions. This scene could have played out the same way regardless of the gender of the two characters. That, in my mind is what made this a good story; I could identify with the main character despite the fact that, on the surface, he is so different from me.

Unblinking

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Re: EP233: Union Dues - The Threnody of Johnny Toruko
« Reply #102 on: January 19, 2010, 01:26:00 PM »
Basically, Johnny is going through what every teenager goes through; love/lust, confusion, alienation, anger at his parents for not being supportive. There is nothing intrinsically gay about any of these things. All those aspects of the story could have just as easily been explored if Johnny had some other "social stigma" - and honestly, what teen doesn't feel that they have some social stigma or other (geek, nerd, spaz, ugly, etc....)? So gayness in itself is not necessary for the story, except to explain the love interest.

I get what you're saying, but in my opinion I'm not sure that another social stigma could be substituted so easily for another.  For me much of the interest in the story came from imagining what it would be like to be gay and have a crush on a straight and oblivious classmate/coworker.  And the climax of the story involves Johnny thinking about coming out, at least among his teammates, and that event is a huge lifechanging event not quite like any other.  Even if he's pretty sure that everyone would take it in stride, that doesn't mean it would be easy or that it wouldn't affect his relationships with the others.

piercebuddy

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Re: EP233: Union Dues - The Threnody of Johnny Toruko
« Reply #103 on: January 19, 2010, 07:27:38 PM »
This was a great story like all the union dues. the only thing i dont like about it was that they never really explained all the powers of his crew and that the others in johnny's crew didn't really have an important part but over all this was another great story.

Darwinist

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Re: EP233: Union Dues - The Threnody of Johnny Toruko
« Reply #104 on: January 20, 2010, 09:25:21 AM »
Loved it.   Keep the Union Dues stories coming, Jeff. 
For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.    -  Carl Sagan

gwenicus27

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Re: EP233: Union Dues - The Threnody of Johnny Toruko
« Reply #105 on: January 21, 2010, 11:08:49 AM »
I enjoyed this story.  Just two comments:

1) I live and work in Harlem, so a correction: The Polo Grounds are up in the 150's, not at 110th and Lenox.  There is a NYCHA development around there, but it's King Towers.  Not a big deal, just in the name of making your local details more accurate.

2) Re: Gay characters.  As several folks have mentioned, I wish that there were more stories with "characters who happen to be gay" rather than "Gay Characters" (characters for whom the main action of the story revolves around their gayness).  And I don't count the other 3 Team Shakaragaki stories as containing a gay character, because Johnny was closeted.  We queer folk are multidimensional like everybody else.  If asked to tell you my life story, the fact that I'm queer would certainly be a part of that story, but it would certainly not be the overarching conflict in my life.  This is true for most LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered) people I know.  There is a time and a place for coming out stories like this one, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but I wish that LGBT characters were more often included in other contexts as well.

Megan Rose Gedris, a wonderful webcomics writer/artist wrote an extremely informative article about how to write gay characters.  I would highly suggest any author considering including one in a story check it out: http://www.squidoo.com/writing-gay-characters
And I would encourage any author to include LGBT characters in her/his work, even if they're not the main character of the story.  We're 10% of the population!

Also, if any listeners here are unfamiliar with Gedris' comic, I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space, you should totally check it out.  It is every bit as awesome as it sounds.  http://rosalarian.com/lesbianpirates/

tinroof

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Re: EP233: Union Dues - The Threnody of Johnny Toruko
« Reply #106 on: January 25, 2010, 09:38:45 PM »
There were three Union Dues stories with a gay character that didn't revolve around his gayness earlier in the series. This isn't the only story Johnny appears in, after all.

Yeah, but was he visibly gay at all in those stories?

When gay people, at least, say we want stories with gay characters that don't revolve around the gay, we mean we want the gay to be at least mentioned at some point. It's something of a massive copout to just keep it to subtext - see, for instance, Dumbledore, whom I see has already been brought up.

The assumed-to-be-straight thing is all well and good, but it's not relevant to the problem, which is simply one of representation. We want visible gay characters. We want people we can point to in the media who are living lives that are clearly gay and clearly have purpose outside their sexuality, because we are tired of other people assuming that everyone is straight. Or that gay people are only gay people and nothing else.

Sylvan, you've made some good points, but there is plenty of middle ground between "gay is the plot" and "gay has nothing to do with the plot". And the fact remains that that middle ground is not explored nearly enough, at least in mainstream stories.


Gwenicus - aaaah, Gedris! All her stuff is amazing. Definitely second the recommendation, and add Yu+Me Dream - if you can get past the old art in the early chapters, the story is utterly fantastic (and despite what it may look like from the outset, utterly unique).

Dave

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Re: EP233: Union Dues - The Threnody of Johnny Toruko
« Reply #107 on: January 28, 2010, 08:50:47 PM »
I am thrilled to hear that there may some day be Union Dues on my screen. Provided, of course, that They don't c*ck it up like They do everything else...

Also glad to hear Mr. DeRego is back up to speed (and then some, apparently!) Live long and prosper, sir!

And keep writing more Union Dues!
-Dave (aka Nev the Deranged)