Ruby Nation

Ruby Nation
Ruby Nation: The Webcomic

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sonichu Episode 13 Critical Review: Frank Lloyd Wrong

Because Mall Are Such Great Political Offices

It's really hard to think of Christian Weston Chandler as a creator in any sense of the word other than the most technical. Though he does write (badly) and draw (badly), his characters are all plagiarized from his childhood fandoms, he never expanded his tastes beyond what he enjoyed as a kid, and his plots consist of his real-world personal problems repurposed to make him look better. But all of that wouldn't be so damning were it not for the fact that he refuses to learn from his mistakes, or even acknowledge that he makes them.

This is still the phase where Chandler is obsessed with Megan Schroeder, to the point of telling Sonichu about his love for her. Sonichu, dutiful imaginary son that he is, says that he and all the other electric hedgehogs wish Chris-Chan the best of luck. But before Chris-Chan can convene with his entire council of imaginary friends, he discovers that Mary Lee Walsh has waged her latest assault on the emotion of love. He learns of this thanks to an announcement on the CWCVille Radio by DJ Jamsta Sonichu (SERIOUSLY), who interrupts the latest Anime Hits block to break the news. Ideally Chris-Chan would actually pay attention to what's going on in his city, so the station could finish playing Nakagawa Shouko's "Sora iro Days" from Gurren Lagann. However, there's no time for something more interesting, because Chris-Chan has to remind us that the real police wear Black and Blue, while the evil Jerkop impostors wear brown.

Chris-Chan makes this arbitrary distinction to indicate that he doesn't have a problem with authority in general, just when they try to cock-block him. And he does that to himself better than anyone else could.

Anyway, Chris-Chan tracks down Mary Lee Walsh with his special Sonichu DS, which is a hi-tech satellite surveillance system in this universe (though presumably it didn't inform him about Walsh's return before the radio announcement, presumably because he had it in Sleep Mode amidst a game of Pokemon Platinum. This is another unintentionally symbolic representation of CWCVille's ethos; the mayor is too busy living out his childish fantasies that his main line of communication to his constituents is first and foremost his handheld game console. But Chris-Chan and Sonichu are pretending that they have no time to lose, so they jet over (Chris-Chan on a hoverboard) in one of the most atrocious uses of perspective in human history.

They're joined by the Chaotic Combo and Crystal Weston Chandler, but face Mary Lee Walsh's latest minion; CADD Chef Keneru Meneth. And this is a new middle for Christian Weston Chandler (as his lows are so improbably low).

Keneru Meneth is based on Kene Meniru, Chandler's Computer-Aided Drafting and Design teacher at Piedmont Virginia Community College. Meniru apparently gave Chandler an F on his CWCVille Mall class project. Most students would have taken this as a sign that they needed to change something, because what they submit didn't fit the class guidelines. Chandler, of course, not only recycles the hideous mayoral mall for his webcomic without any improvements to its haphazard structure, but makes his teacher into a giant monster partially modified off of Chef from South Park.

Chandler picked Chef, a parodically stereotypical black man, as the inspiration for his portrayal of the black Kene Meniru. It's established that Chandler has a very narrow range of tastes, and that toilet humor-featuring animated sitcoms like Family Guy and South Park are about as "mature" as he likes to venture. It's also established that Chandler is (despite his claims to the contrary) somewhat racist, even though he'll deny it. And Chandler has never created a unique character that doesn't have grafted, Frankensteinian parts from other materials. So the only black character he knew to steal was Chef, down to "Hey there Chicos" as a catchphrase (derivative of Hey There Children).

Chandler doesn't call himself racist, and probably doesn't even see himself as bigoted against other races (though gender issues are another matter). But bigotry transfers through ignorance, through people repeating stereotypes and acting before reflecting. Chandler's knowledge of non-white people (given how his main fandoms are Japanese childrens' shows with non-racial or even non-human worlds) comes from these adult-audience animated sitcoms, but his field of interests so narrow and fixed that he probably isn't even aware of African-American identities outside of Chef and Cleveland Brown from South Park-- and Cleveland wouldn't work as well as a giant, rampaging monster.

I can't call Chandler a creator, but I can call him an ideological contortionist. His talent is finding ways to distort and dismember reality to fit his worldview. He takes a teacher who gave him a bad grade for his lazily-constructed CWCVille Mall and makes him a giant monster and racial stereotype. He takes Megan, a woman who was willing to be his friend but not much more, and makes her lack of attraction to him due to inner turmoil and a troubled past that Chandler doesn't bother to explain. And this doesn't even touch his depiction of Mary Lee Walsh.

At least he admits that the Attraction Sign was a bad idea, but it's a case of one step forward and a hundred backwards.

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