Memphis Columnist Smears Critics of CWs Fiercely Feminist Batwoman

The Fort Smith Times-Record published a dreary puff piece about the now flagging Batwoman adaptation on the CW network, and oh my, it seems like columnist Andrew Smith opportunistically smeared the viewership with the usual propaganda tactics that have become so common today, without giving serious focus to the product’s own merits, or lack thereof:


Ruby also has some friction/sparks with former flame Sophie (Meagan Tandy), who is apparently not strictly lesbian, as she is married to a man.

What? Oh, yes, Kate’s ex is a she. I guess I buried the lede: Kate is openly gay, just as is the actress portraying her. So that’s some TV history being made right there.

That’s freaking out some people, who review-bombed “Batwoman” on Rotten Tomatoes in what appears to be a deliberate campaign. It was pretty obvious, given that last week the average of critics was 72%, whereas the popular average (where the campaign took place) was less than 10%. Not subtle, guys. (And I’m assuming it’s all guys. Maybe the same guys who review-bombed “Captain Marvel.”)


Interesting how he asserts a critic can do no wrong, and not be tilted in favor of a film or TV program for the sake of the studio producing it. All without delivering a convincing opinion on the artistic results in the finished product. This kind of assault on the audience is an embarrassment to representatives of pop culture, delegitimizing the audience’s opinions, and a definite failure to recognize that there are rank-and-file pop culture enthusiasts out there with valid opinions on these kind of creations. Not that this should be surprising an establishment journalist would take the side of other would-be professionals from similar careers over the viewership though, which could explain why no mention’s been made about the tanking ratings. Also, why does he think women couldn’t or wouldn’t be disappointed by this program? As it so happens, it’s entirely possible they could.

Smith then seemingly tries to prove he can mend his historical errors as he’d made in a prior column with Batwoman’s role origins:


The first Batwoman appeared in 1956, a female version of Batman that turned out to be Kathy Kane (no relation), a former trapeze artist and motorcycle stunt rider who unexpectedly inherited a lot of money. Accustomed to the excitement of the circus, and familiar with wearing costumes and tempting death, she put her skills to use as a scourge of Gotham’s crime — and also to attract Batman, of whom she was enamored.


Yes, that’s correct, in contrast to the time he made it sound like Greg Rucka created the role and costume as much as the character wearing it. But then, what does he say about Bette Kane, who originally debuted in the pre-Crisis era as Bat-Girl with a hyphen in the codename (her own name may have been spelled with a Y at the end too), and later became Flamebird:


Betty, too, disappeared around the same time in Bat-comics, but proved more tenacious. She later reappeared in “Teen Titans,” eventually changing her nom du combat to “Flamebird.” She disappeared again after “Crisis on Infinite Earths” in 1986, along with a host of other characters deemed superfluous or irrelevant by DC editorial. But she was revived again in 2005 briefly, and then again in 2011, both times as Flamebird. In her current gig, she is “Bette” Kane, cousin of the current Batwoman.


This is unintentionally funny already. Bette turned up again in 1989 in Secret Origins Annual #3, with her background mostly reworked as a tennis pro in Los Angeles, but still a member of Titans West, and she made several appearances over the following decade, without the writers waiting 15 years to get around to it. No mention made of how the Flamebird codename – and even Nightwing’s – drew from 2 characters who’d appeared in Superman stories during the Silver Age. If he was trying to prove he could fix his historical errors, he didn’t. At the end of the article, he says:


It’s a shame that so much of this fiercely feminist Bat-female has to rely so much on a male’s equipment and reputation, and it’s even worse that she’s fighting a ghost, with Batman totally absent. (A ploy used in the TV “Birds of Prey” as well, and one I find deeply implausible.) We haven’t had a live Batman on TV since Adam West (except for some glimpses in “Gotham” and hallucinations in “Titans”), and the received wisdom is that Warner Bros. is reserving the Bat for movies alone — which explains his TV niche being filled by Green Arrow (on “Smallville” and “Arrow”), and now Batwoman.

But “Batwoman” is certainly an able replacement. It’s not a perfect show yet; there are some obvious growing pains. But if we can’t have Bruce — and evidently we’re never going to — I’ll gladly take Kate.


With the politics and social justice propaganda it’s built on, along with the flagging ratings, I doubt it’ll ever become a “perfect” show. If the US army’s being villified on it, we could decidedly do without that. Plummeting ratings, again, suggest anybody who watched the premiere thinks so.

In addition, we could also do without these press smearings of the audience, which do a horrible disfavor even to those who may think highly of the products and won’t guarantee any long term success.


Originally published here.

Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1