Sunday, December 02, 2007

Living Up to the Stereotypes

I noticed recently that the Rome News-Tribune ran an editorial critical of the Rome district attorney's possibly re-trying Gordon Lee, owner of a comic shop in Rome, for distributing offensive material to minors on a Halloween trick or treat giveaway. I'm not surprised that the RNT took the stand it did; in their reporting this July, they were so obviously biased that I took the liberty of writing them and the publisher and expressing my dismay at the deterioration of their reporting standards.

Some people have asked if I'm supportive of Gordon, and the simple answer is: no. Gordon already has one conviction for distributing pornographic material, so he should know well enough to make sure that material he gives away to kids on Halloween is age appropriate. Thing is, Gordon has written enough stereotypical "sex is good, war is pornography" knee-jerk stuff in other places that I can't say whether he distributed the material because of error, because he thought it would be clever, or because he didn't care enough to put any time into checking the age-appropriateness of the material he was handing out.

Trick or Treat on Broad Street is a promotion designed to bring families back to Rome's once-thriving shopping area, which is trying to re-establish itself as a family-friendly venue. Actions like Gordon's hurt all the retailers on Broad because they turn a positive, family-friendly event into another political cause, and it hurts the efforts of all other retailer to do the right thing.

I'm obviously a biased source here, since I own a comic shop that has done a great deal to establish itself as a clean, well-lighted, inviting, all-ages friendly business. I am always bothered by squalid comic shops that harken back to the stereotypical image associated with comic shops in the past. I am always bothered by dismal, dingy, dark stores that contribute to the continuation of that stereotype.


bentcorner said...

Wow! I couldn't agree more. That is something I don't get the pleasure of doing all that much when it comes to the Gordon Lee case.

Doug said...

It's amazing to see the vast difference in the coverage of this case, from the national CBLDF-oriented approach of Newsarama to the local press of the News-Tribune. I don't know Gordon Lee, but it sure doesn't seem like he's a martyr of any sort, despite how some media reports have presented him.

Your last sentence is interesting to me, too - the stereotypical comic shop is unfortunately still a reality. In other cities, I've stopped by shops that are still cramped, disorganized collections of longboxes and sloppy racks, with surly, unhelpful clerks right out of the Kevin Smith movies. I enjoy going to Dr. No's because it's fun, clean and well-organized.