The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Flash - Super Rapist!



I often see "Justice League Unlimited" hailed as the best written superhero cartoon of all time. I have disagreed with that ever since I first heard it. Aside from the fact that I can think of several superhero cartoons with much better writing, I cannot give that title to a cartoon that "accidentally" wrote a rape scene in. I can hear you all now. "God damn it, Greg. Not this again." But, I refuse to let this go.

For those of you that don't know, "The Great Brain Robbery" involved Flash and Lex Luthor switching bodies. Lex as Flash spent the episode trying to avoid capture on the Watchtower, while Flash as Lex tried to avoid detection and in the process, Lex's friend with benefits initiated sex believing it was Lex Luthor. As Lex, Flash could have said no, could have said he had work to do, but he didn't. He allowed it, and by Tala's own words later, he was into it. But, as I and most sane humans have said for a long time, rape by deception is still rape.

But people defend Flash's actions here. Worse than that, they say it's not rape. Tala consented, she initiated. And, the dumbest of them all, she's a villain so it doesn't matter. I've heard all the excuses. And it sickens me that we, as a society, still can't agree on the simple concept of what rape is. Wait, let me walk that back. I think that we, as a society, have agreed on what it is, but certain types of people refuse to agree to the concept for reasons that I wish escaped me, but don't.

So, for those of you that continue to defend Flash's raping of a woman, let's alter the situation a little bit. Honestly, I shouldn't have to do this, I feel sick about this, but I think it's the only way to hopefully make some of you understand.

Let's say Lex Luthor, in Flash's body, managed to make it to one of the Watchtower's teleporters and escape. Let's say Luthor transported himself to Flash's hometown, Keystone City. Let's say Luthor somehow figured out who Wally West was, where Wally West lived, and decided to hide from the League in Wally West's home while he plotted his next move. Let's say when he got there, Wally West's long time girlfriend, Linda Park was home. Let's say she was feeling frisky. Let's say Lex Luthor, disguised as her boyfriend, did nothing to stop her advances. Let's say afterwards, she said he was quite enthusiastic. Now, let's say after Flash and Lex Luthor are restored to their bodies, the real Wally West has to break the news to Linda over who she had just spent the night. Was Linda Park raped? Do I even have to ask?


What's different about this situation? Nothing. Any asinine excuse you can conjure up to justify what Flash did to Tala can be conjured to justify Luthor doing the same thing to Linda. In as such that there is no justification. What Flash did was rape, the fact that he is officially a superhero doesn't make it any less a rape. It was rape. There is no gray area here. No debate. Bruce Timm's "Justice League Unlimited" turned a hero into a rapist, and rewarded him for it.

The last time we see Flash in the series another supervillain, Giganta, plants one on him for no reason.


Yes, I know. Flash is funny, he's pleasant to be around, and many of you don't want to think about him committing a horrid act like this. But he did, whether the show acknowledges it or not. Now, I could say that the worst thing about all this was that no one at Warner Bros caught it; but that wouldn't be accurate. The worst aspect of all this are all the people making excuses and justifications for it.

Authorial intent or not, your hero is a rapist. This isn't an opinion, it's a fact.

29 comments:

  1. So this was like the "Jaime rapes Cersei" of it's day, I guess?

    I actually think you could very well cover a whole post about this JLU season, really. You did one on the Cadmus arc, and that arc was at least a nice attempt at a good idea prior to the ending (which I didn't even dislike as much as you did, but I could see your points on it). This last one was just LOUSY, as was clear ever since they decided to actually bring in the Legion of Doom and set us all the way back to the Super Friends era!

    And I'm sure you'll agree that the handling of Lex Luthor was one of JL's weakest points. I just really loved his depiction in Superman: TAS and felt he got watered down so much in this show.

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    1. Except everybody (rightfully) called GoT out on that.

      I am beginning to think that the world we live in is one gigantic fanfic and Bruce Timm is the Mary Sue. He can do anything he wants, any boneheaded thing, and people praise him or just look the other way. A lot of people.

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    2. That's right - a live action drama does it and there's a big uproar, giving that show and it's writers a rightful chewing out for what they put in their show. Yet an animated series did something like it years before but it got glanced over and when it actually did get called out, it gets defended? What sense does this make?

      Thankfully there are some critical minded people who see that Timm can do and has done wrong and point out whenever he does it. I don't think Timm and his work is *bad* at all and he's to be commended for the effort he put into his work and the things he got right, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't also have his bad points acknowledged and discussed in detail by those who wish he'd done certain things better than he did.

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    3. Yeah, that Jaime/Cersei scene was just downright idiotic. Have they even said anything in response to the backlash? What exactly were they thinking?

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    4. Also, just so you know I'm Peanut. Tried logging in here through OpenID but it says something about credentials each time.

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  2. As an addendum, the ancient legends of Merlin involve him performing a "rape by deception" as a part of the King Arthur legend. I could be wrong but I sincerely doubt the impression is supposed to that such a thing is underhanded or sneaky at best. And that was the middle ages, when it was socially acceptable to burn a woman alive for having a mole.

    I understand the nostalgia to this animated universe for various reasons (many stemming from how awesome "Batman: the Animated Series" was) but the time for its legions of fans to claim it is flawless is long since over. Even if you like a work or universe overall, you can still acknowledge the flaws.

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    1. Yeah, the Arthur legend was mostly long ago. Centuries ago. "The Great Brain Robbery" was written in the 21st century.

      I love "Batman the Animated Series", but I don't love the rest of it. Outside of that first show, I can only say I genuinely like maybe 10% of it. But that's a whole other blog entry, and I'm not going there.

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    2. Jeez, this is why I shouldn't type at work. I meant to say that even in the middle ages myths, Merlin's "rape by deception" of someone else was considered (at best) to be sneaky and underhanded, and that was at a time when it was okay to stone people for the slightest thing. I was trying to suggest that those who defend what happened in "Great Brain Robbery" are are behind even middle ages mythology audience members. My kingdom, for one wrong word.

      I agree with your article here, and your sentiment that it's past time to call out "the DCAU" for its many faults.

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    3. It was time to be doing that when it was still coming out. But the power of group think was strong with it.

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    4. I still remember those days. They were annoying.

      As far as the DCAU goes, I too love "Batman the Animated Series" best (who doesn't?) and also liked "Superman the Animated Series", some episodes in "The New Batman Adventures", and the first season of "Batman Beyond" plus "Return Of The Joker." Everything else was hit-or-miss, particularly JL/JLU, which is certainly one of the most overrated animated series I've ever seen too.

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    5. With the exception of the pilot, the first Brainiac and Metallo episodes, and most of the Darkseid episodes, I pretty much hated Superman TAS.

      First season of Batman Beyond was great, as was "Out of the Past". Loved Return of the Joker.

      As for JL/JLU. I liked the two-parter with Darkseid in JL, and the three-part finale of JL. Also the Dr. Destiny episode. That's about it.

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    6. If you hate Superman, you're probably not going to like Superman TAS, so that was a given. I personally thought it did a lot of things well beyond Clark himself, who rarely engaged me as a character.

      Yes, Batman Beyond had a lot of potential that really went to waste outside of those things.

      I liked those and the episodes that had the Joker in them because it's Mark Hamill as the Joker. As for JLU, I liked Project Cadmus and all the promise it had, but not much else.

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    7. The Toyman episode and the first Mixy episode were hilarious (one of the few times Gilbert Gottfried was tolerable)

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  3. I agree this was rape by deception. But by that same token why does shayera raping john Stewart by deception at the end of wild cards receive no mention?

    She clearly only had Jon's consent by lying to him about her relationship status. If he had known she was spoken for, no way does he give her consent.

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    1. You don't know what rape is, do you?

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    2. And why does that not qualify? Jon would never had done what he did if he knew she was taken. She lied to him. Doesn't matter if its the same person.

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    3. That'd be cheating you're thinking of, not rape.

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    4. I'm thinking of both. It would be cheating WITHOUT it being rape IF John had known about her being spoken for but consented anyways (ala the "Ancient History" versions of John & Shayera)


      By the way, there is precident for this. In Israel in 2010, a man misrepresented himself as jewish to gain a woman's consent, and was charged.

      Yale law professor Jed Rubenfield wrote in a 2013 edition of the Yale Law Review, "Rape-by-deception is almost universally rejected in American criminal law. But if rape is sex without the victim's consent - as many courts, state statutes and scholars say it is - then sex-by-deception ought to be rape, because as courts have held for a hundred years in virtually every area of the law outside of rape, a consent procured through deception is no consent at all."

      And there is this site:
      http://rapebyfraud.com/


      There are many out there, besides me, that believes that not telling someone something about themselves that would make-or-break whether someone consents to sex, such as relationship status; is rape.

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    5. You are only saying that to defend Flash, but here's the thing. That just makes Shayera a rapist. It doesnt free Flash from responsability.

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    6. No I'm not saying that to defend him. I'm saying this because it strikes me as a double standard for someone to go out of their way to say "this one superhero is a rapist", then ignore when another superhero has done it before. Both Flash and Shayera committed rape. But only one of them here is being accused.

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    7. I'm pretty sure that Shayera suffered more for the entire affair than Flash did.

      Personally, I don't think she should have been let back in. But they retconned that Superman was the deciding vote to allow her back... when, if you watch the episode, he was more pissed off at her than anybody outside of Diana.

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    8. That was before she switched allegiances that superman was pissed at her.

      Also her suffering doesn't mean she was any less of a rapist. Why is whether one suffers afterwards the deciding factor in which someone is villified for committing rape?

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    9. Pretty sure Supes was pissed at her until the very end of the episode. Unless the episode changed since I re-watched that scene an hour ago and I don't know it.

      But, okay, sure... she's a rapist. If that's what you want to hear.

      Also, troll and probably MRA asshole confirmed.

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    10. Wait, by this logic doesn't that make all superheroes rapists? Whenever they sleep with someone and don't tell them their secret identity beforehand it makes them rapists. These people aren't consenting to sleep with them knowing the full details of their lives, and the heroes actively lie to preserve their identities.

      It's rapists all the way down!

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    11. No, because when x person has sex with x superhero, they do consent to doing it with THAT superhero. Its the fact that she thought he was another person that makes it rape.

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    12. "No, because when x person has sex with x superhero, they do consent to doing it with THAT superhero."

      I had no intention of commenting in this topic for specific reasons. But I have to disagree a bit here. Your implication seems to imply that they are consenting to a superhero KNOWING they are a superhero. And that doesn't fit every case.
      If someone consents to Bruce Wayne NOT knowing they are Batman, but that person knows Batman has alot of enemies that might affect him in different ways beyond direct physical confrontation, but she agrees to go back to Bruce's place. Doesn't that person have a right to informed consent to someone who might put them in danger? Even if that danger is unintentional?

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  4. Obvious troll is obvious.

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  5. Rape by deception refers to one of two things. Lying about the nature of the sex act (doctor saying he is performing a medical procedure when he really is raping the patient) or completely pretending to be an entirely different person such as the flash in lex luthor's body but still being the flash and tala consenting to lex.

    No Hawkgirl isnt a rapist. Yeah she lied to John about being a spy, and she had a relationship with anotber man but it doesnt make her a rapist by deception. Claiming so minimizes rape period.

    Same thing with superheros, they arent rapists just because they hide their alter or super hero identities. People lie or hide or dont reveal things to their partners. This is not right but it doesnt make it rape. And that case regarding Israel and that site rapebyfraud are pretty much trash.

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    1. The Israel case was I agree since it was a plea agreement by him to avoid a larger crime, but saying rape by deception rests solely on those two things is bs. Just because you say a site is trash doesn't make it so. Also the state of Missouri pretty much disagrees with you.
      https://www.google.com/amp/amp.kansascity.com/news/local/crime/article110787327.html

      "Part of the problem many have with recognizing the problem of sex by fraud is getting people to change the way they look at consent in sex cases, experts said.

      Patricia Falk, a law professor at Cleveland State University who has written on the topic, said there are many other ways besides force that a perpetrator can use to overcome a victim, such as coercion, blackmail or deceit.

      “We shouldn’t have such a narrow understanding of what constitutes sexual assault,”"

      Saying that what shayera did in her case doesn't meet the deception part in rape by deception, is dangerously problematic.

      If you have someones consent by lying about a key element that determines whether they have intercourse with you, thats rape. Doesn't matter if your flash (who lied about who he really was) who couldn't say no tala despite avoiding her in a number of situations beforehand. Or shayera (who lied about her relationship status) who couldn't say no to John in that situation despite avoiding intercourse for 5 years before that.

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