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From The Fleen Paris Desk

The inestimable Pierre Lebeaupin was good enough to leave an extensive comment on yesterday’s post on the dumbassery surrounding this year’s Grand Prix d’Angoulême. It was too good to be potentially overlooked, so I’ve copied it here. Please enjoy this bonus post for today.

A message from the Fleen French correspondent …

  • The FIBD published a communiqué telling that they are going to “without removing any name, reintroduce names of female creators in the list of nominees” (via everyone in France including mainstream media; Robot 6 post. Take it for what it’s worth, especially the communiqué is still quite on the defensive in this correspondent’s humble opinion.
  • Analysis from Isabelle Bauthian, via Boulet’s twitter; my translation:

    I had an inkling for a detailed article on this absurd lack of any female creator name on the list of nominations for the FIBD Grand Prize, but I am swamped with work, which is probably a good thing as it will avoid me a few blood tension spikes. So, we’ll make it short:

    • No one is asking for strict parity (about 12% female creators in the field. We’re not completely dumb), nor even quotas.
    • Yes, there is a good choice of influent female creators in the generation of some of the nominees (even just in manga, seriously …).
    • No, you don’t just have to “wait for society to change”. Society has already changed and the leading bodies in many domains do not correspond to it, that’s the very issue.
    • I do no condemn men unconscious of their “privileges”. We all are to some extent, or have been. But I find it fundamental that people can make their biases known to them.
    • To raise awareness the presence of discriminations and consciously correct them is not “favoritism”. Favoritism is what created them in the first place.
    • The decision from Riad Sattouf [correspondent note: first creator, and probably only one at that time, to have withdrawn in protest] forces respect (possibly even admiration), but I can’t help but witness that “feminist men” are considered classy, but “feminist women” are considered damn nuisances.
    • YES, this selection is also 100% white and Asian [correspondent note: and this argument doesn’t even stand if we consider Riad Sattouf, precisely, who is half mid-eastern, this is even the whole basis of “l’arabe du futur”]. I don’t know the percentage of black authors in comics [correspondent note: originally put as “bd”] (it seems to me very low in France-Belgique but I could be wrong) [correspondent note: it might even be illegal to make such statistics anyway], nor, among them, which ones have gained enough influence to earn a Grand Prize, but the fact is the FIDB is barely starting the earn its “I” [correspondent note: stands for “International”] and it should put a light on ALL comics [correspondent note: originally put as “bande dessinnée”].

      Let me remind you that, as late as last year, people would bemoan the presence of manga creators in the selection. If African author collectives have ideas to improve this situation, I am certain that a bunch of female creators will support them, individually or through their collective. But here, right now, this is not the case, so thanks for wanting to save the world but let us start with helping those who are struggling against an issue rather than tell them to shut up because they are not the only ones with a problem, thank you very much.

    • Yes, creators have other issues, starting with an iniquitous reform of their retirement pension system and, especially and more complex, their increasingly lowering revenues. The good news is that talking about the lack of women in the selection does not prevent from tackling those. The bad news is, if we stop talking about the lack of women, it will start becoming apparent that the bulk of your actions for “authors in general” just amount to complaining on Facebook.

      So don’t blame us for multiplying the struggles. Rather thank us for putting a veil on your passivity (And if I’m wrong concerning you, let me remind you that the SNAC is recruiting, hey, friends. Punchy, coordinated and exhaustive actions are not set up in 15 days between 10 voluntary suckers).

    And on that, allow me to take my leave, I’m going to go ahead and improve the percentage of “women’s books” to be published in 2016.

Now from the correspondent analysis:

  • Gotta concur on the somewhat parochial aspect of the FIDB, in particular your correspondent was not particularly aware of the general importance of EW as compared to, say, Megan Fox Tits Wolverine [Editor’s note: how we at Fleen refer to that onetime exemplar of comics news, Wizard magazine], so he wouldn’t be particularly surprised if the head of FIBD wasn’t either. Not an excuse, but not a scandal either.
  • Double checked his comments on Le Monde and Télérama, and yes, he did actually say that in the original French. His comments about Tintin and Pilote are disingenuous, in particular, given that the most late breaking of the nominees broke out in the 90s, while both Tintin and Pilote went under in the 80s.
  • Raina Telgemeier (haven’t checked the other female creators you mentioned) may indeed however be of a later generation than any of the nominees; it’s indeed not about creators “running around today” (except, as Télérama mentioned, for Zep in 2004 …). Takahashi-san however would certainly qualify by that measure.
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