So, here is an attempt at a masterpost of why I hate Zen Pencils (and a chunk of other people do too).
- Caricatured portrayals of different races and colors - e.g. he has at times actually made Asians yellow and with slit eyes.(*He is East Asian, and it can easily be argued that he can draw his own racial group as he chooses. It still seems in poor taste to me.)
- This fucking Two Wolves story that he knows isn’t Native
- He continually derides people who work a regular 9-5 job that’s not their beautiful creative passion, (they are boring, not as special as you, and mindless robots) seeming to not understand that needing to pay bills is not just some frivolous thing we’ve been brainwashed into doing.
Removal of context
- The Bukowski ones. Oh my god, where to even start. A more accurate Roll The Dice is Bukowski, drunk and alone having cut everyone out of his life and in, you know, generally not a good situation but defending his choice to be a writer anyway, not someone fucking leaving their family to become Ned Stark. I don’t even know where to start with this one. I will never know where to start with this one. I don’t always acknowledge that this comic was not just a fever dream.
- Bukowski’s publishers made him take down the Air and Light and Time and Space one. I can assume they left Roll The Dice alone because they, like I, are too bemused to deal with it.
- Ayn Rand as a child piling up chairs to get cookies from the top of the fridge is one of the most unintentionally accurate portrayals I have encountered.
- Most of these quotes stand on their own (or stand on their own within the context of their source.) Throwing a schlocky story on top of that doesn’t seem to add to it but rather tends to rob the quote of its nuance, cheapen the quote and the actual difficulties it speaks to, and/or assign it a specific meaning to it that is downright contradictory to its original intent.
Doesn’t do his research
- Hayao Miyazaki (who, btw “a lot of you probably don’t know”) as… the opposite of Hayao Miyazaki because he is an Asian who makes animated stuff that is good (though apparently interchangeable with all other anime?) and that makes him the right man for the job of Zen Pencils Mouthpiece!
- A big old church to atheist Lennon? In a comic using a quote that includes how large organized groups drive wedges between/won’t provide answers for us? I don’t think that quote means what you think it means.
Derivative work profiting on the backs of other people’s life and works
- Malala Yousafzai’s story has been continually used to bolster a number of different agendas, usually ignoring what she herself has to say. In this comic her story is sensationalized and its shock value played up for someone else’s profit.
- Bill Watterson was famously vehement about creative autonomy - read: really really against other people attempting to reinterpret his work with any authority. Zen Pencils comic doing that is here.
Shitty artArt that does not appeal to me
- self explanatory
- Social media is just like doing heroine, while keeping a business via social media (Please also add to that what an offensive, dismissive idea of addiction that is. Also, that is a pretty messed up view of social media)
The growing sense that he is being a baby about criticism and critique
- Eventually all of the “don’t listen to the haters or be like other people” starts to sound like “No one understands me and I refuse to listen to what anyone has to say to me if it doesn’t line up with exactly what I want!” (To be fair, this fits in with how he treats a number of quotes - they are just there to say what he wants them to.)
- Wow, sir! You seem to have some really violent death fantasies about anyone who doesn’t like your work! (Or have a negative opinion, even an informed and politely put one, about any creative work!)
Please feel free to add to this!
- is a pacifist
- is a pacifist who has been openly critical of the actions of both his home country and the United States during war, to the point that he famously refused to go to the US to accept his Academy Award for Spirited Away because he disapproves of the actions the United States has taken during the War on Terror
- has been loudly and openly critical of the state of Japan’s animation industry, specifically about the fetishization of young female characters and the failings of made-by-otaku-for-otaku anime
- and despite all this the Zen Pencils guy decided that Miyazaki was the perfect person for the role needed to fill for a character who would design a giant robot with a Roosevelt quote emblazoned on it for the purpose of fighting a personified avatar for media criticism
- and i think that’s kind of beautiful