A Reply to Bill Reed

February 17, 2010 | Filed Under Book Reviews, Books, Entertainment, Magazines, Society/Culture, Warner Todd Huston | 2 Comments

-By Warner Todd Huston

I know you readers have tired of this comic book controversy, but a youngster wrote me another one of those “open letters” on CBR and he was much less unhinged than most of the folks over there. So, I’ll just post this reply to him here and move on. I promise that this will be the last word on this business… well, probably.

Bill Reed wrote his “A Really Open Letter to Mr. Warner Todd Huston” and this is my reply…

Mr. Reed,

Thanks for your letter and thanks for being the only one from the CBR site that even attempted to be even tempered and free of vitriol (unlike Carla Hoffman and all her sycophantic commenters). Unfortunately you make an awful lot of assumptions in your piece that shows a lack of greater perspective and this is a failure that most of your CBR folks are making. All this adds to your feelings about my “lack of courtesy, misconceptions about the comic book medium, and considerable errors of judgment.” In truth it is you and your CBR folks that are mired in these errors.

You begin by saying that you don’t want to “gang up on me.” I beg to disagree. If you didn’t you wouldn’t have bothered to write in the first place. In fact, one of the things I am amused at from your CBR fans is the constant refrain that they all don’t care what I have to say. “Who cares what Huston has to say,” is the oft heard refrain from you folks on CBR. Who cares? I submit that YOU guys care because of the many posts about me, the constant pot stirring, and the rehash seen here. If you guys truly didn’t care you’d have ignored the whole thing.

You said, “We all have better things to worry about than a political furor accidentally created by a work of superhero fiction. No harm was meant, no harm was done, let’s all get over it and move on with our lives. As Stan Lee would say, ‘’Nuff said.'”

You set up a false premise then proceed to knock it down. We call that making a strawman argument. First of all politics is my bag and that of my many thousands of fans. So, your assumption that the politics of this isn’t something to worry about is incorrect from the perspective of millions of Americans. Maybe you don’t care about politics (and I’d submit that this is an example of something is wrong with this country) but I do and so do all my readers. Secondly you assume that “no harm was meant.” I contend you are wrong again. Marvel meant to attack the tea party movement. THAT is harm meant.

Next you claim that you don’t have to worry about journalistic practices because you are “just a blogger.” Another sad commentary on quality. If you truly mean this, then you are saying that you don’t see any reason to worry about your own veracity, any greater truth, or good writing. You are saying that any old slop you spew out is just fine merely because you don’t accept money for your writing. I submit to you that you are shortchanging both yourself and your readers not to reach for excellence in your writing whether you get paid for it or not. But if you aren’t interested in striving for excellence, there certainly isn’t anything I can do about it but urge you to reconsider your base assumptions. On the other hand if you are interested in good writing, then your initial claim was disingenuous.

Of Hoffman you said, “I do not, however, appreciate you insulting the woman simply because she dared to be cordial with you.” Cordial? Certainly she was not being cordial! She employed a condescending assumption of personal superiority in her style of addressing me in her screed. She assumed I knew nothing of comics, she assumed she was smarter than I and she assumed she was better than I. I certainly understand you and your little commenter pals siding with Carla. She is on your team. But to ignore the obvious out of simple loyalty is fairly empty of principle.

Next you went on about trying to justify comics as high art. There is no accident in the fact that I finally lost my interest in comics in 1986, “the year many historians believe comics made a great leap towards literary and artistic legitimacy,” as you said. The reason? I wholly disagree with that newfound acclaim! I find that the whole of our culture has fallen to the lowest common denominator and the elevation of the comic book to the level of “artistic legitimacy” is a perfect example of this. Comics haven’t been raised to art, art has been lowered to comics.

Then you go on in a rhapsodic claim that comics helped your “reading comprehension skills, erudite nature, English degree, imagination, and passion for writing.” I submit to you that just about any reading does that. To assume that only comics can do that, like you did, is not a safe assumption. In fact, I’d say that all your above successes could have been increased several fold by reading the great books. Classic literature and history does the same thing but on a much greater scale. I celebrate the fact that you found interest in reading and that your education became one of your focal points, of course. But that comics was your avenue to that only shows me that our public education system is failing.

You next go on to claim that I think liberals are “idiots.” Not true. I think liberalism is idiotic. But I do not think that liberals are necessarily “idiots.” You wouldn’t call an ancient Mayan King an “idiot” because he didn’t know anything abut the automobile! That ancient may have been ignorant of cars, but he wasn’t an idiot. Similarly I find that most liberals are so badly educated that they don’t know how stupid their ideas are. Most liberals are ignorant. Few of them are venal, evil or idiots. Most are just highly misinformed.

Finally, I don’t consider you a “venomous little whelp.” That is reserved for your unhinged, half-wit commenters (as I see many of them at the bottom of your BCR post, once again. They cannot help themselves and they make you look bad, sadly). You tried very hard to be civil and you deserve kudos for that. You also sent me your letter ahead of time. Props for that, as well. Would that your Miss Hoffman had tired that.

I hope you guys at CBR, though, finally find something else to write about. I have anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 readers a day on any given article and they are tiring of this whole comic book controversy. Because of that, this one will be posted on PubliusForum, but won’t be sent out wider. My fans have tired of the story, for sure. As disingenuous as it was, most of them are content with Marvel’s “apology” and want me to move on to other subjects. I only reply to you like this because your letter was worthy of reply.

So, thanks and good luck
Warner Todd Huston

UPDATE 7PM Central

I sent our young comics fan this reply this morning and he’s since emailed me twice about it. Yet he hasn’t posted it on his site. In other words, he’s not interested in both sides being covered. That all sort of makes his protestations a bit hollow, doesn’t it??
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,,,,,, Human Events Magazine,, and the New Media Journal, among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events and is currently the co-host of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Conservatism” heard on BlogTalkRadio. Warner is also the editor of the Cook County Page for

He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on He is also the owner and operator of Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

Fair Use: This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my efforts to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. I believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research, educational, or satirical purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site/blog for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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