Young-adult author John Green has done an amazing job mobilizing a generation of readers and writers through his “nerdfighter” campaign. Kids from all around the country shout from the rooftops that they love to read and learn and make art. One day Mr. Green will undoubtedly win a MacArthur Fellowship, or something similar, for the groundbreaking online community he’s created (as well as for his fiction). But not every kid is able to own his or her creativity in this way. In many working-class neighborhoods, the “nerdfighter” label just isn’t gonna fly. Self preservation won’t allow for it. I’m sensitive to this because it’s the way I grew up, too.
Really worth reading the whole article.
Not only do you not know shit about actual history,
but you’re also being racist.
The thing that I’ve increasingly come to realise about the people who do this is that, yes, they are, in fact, just being extremely racist. Especially with children’s movies like Tangled, Brave, and Frozen (which are all, ultimately, FANTASIES that are only inspired by real places) and with straight up fantasy movies like LOTR or The Hobbit, I’m convinced that a lot of people truly prefer to fantasize about worlds without people of color (and women, in the case of the Middle Earth films). These people feel actually threatened by the prospect of people of color (or women) intruding on their fantasy worlds.
Tangled might have been a German-inspired setting, but there’s magic and a chameleon (obviously not a German animal). The filmmakers also lifted the paper lanterns tradition from Asian cultures, and it’s a little troubling that the villain, Gothel, with her black hair, dark eyes and comparatively swarthy complexion could be perceived as racially Other, playing off of ancient stereotypes of Jews and Traveling People as child-stealers.
When Brave was criticized for lack of racial diversity, many people replied, “But it’s in 10th century Scotland!” Okay, fine. Here’s the thing: There were people of color in the British Isles at least as early as the Romans were there—because some of them were Romans. At least a few of them were floating around Scotland by the 10th century. You know what wasn’t in Scotland in the 10th century, though? Bears. They’d been extinct in Scotland for at least about 500 years. Witches. Because they are not actually a real thing. Tartans. Because the tartan as we know it, and as portrayed in the film, didn’t really exist until about the 16th century. Ditto for kilts. Corsets like the one Merida wears early in the movie didn’t exist until at least the 17th century—the word “corset” didn’t even start to be used before the late 18th century. Will-o’-the-wisps. Which, while they appeared in Welsh stories, weren’t really part of Scottish traditions. And Queen Elinor’s dress is basically copied from a costume worn in an 1889 production of Macbeth that was later painted by John Singer Sargent.
Frozen isn’t out yet, so I’m not going to pick apart the historical accuracy of it, but I’m pretty sure that nowhere in history have actual talking snowmen existed.
The Middle Earth films are even easier. They’re pure fantasy. Apparently of a world with only like half a dozen women (all white) and no people of color at all (with the possible exception of the nameless bad guys who rode the elephants and got murdered in scores in The Return of the King). The Uruk-hai, however, are dark-skinned and monstrous, as are the goblins and regular orcs. Nearly all of whom are nameless. And none of whom have any actual motivation for their evil other than that they are orcs or goblins. The Uruk-hai, at least, are created with Saruman’s magic, so it can be argued that they have basically no free will. In any case, the war for Middle Earth is between the exclusively white people of Rohan and Gondor—all of whom are portrayed as generally good (Even Denethor is shown as a sympathetic and tragic figure.)—against hordes of orcs and goblins and the mystery people from the south who are all portrayed as fundamentally and senselessly evil. There’s, honestly, a racist subtext here so obvious that I hate to even call is “sub.”
But of course people love these films. Hell, I love these films, in spite of historical inaccuracies and troubling messages. Here’s the thing, though: “historical accuracy” is not a valid argument against including basically anything in these types of films. Ever. I’m also convinced that people who try to use that argument KNOW this. Indeed, I think they are, generally, just being cynical and/or disingenuous by even bringing it up.
No reasonable person really believes that these films are historical. But a lot of unreasonable and extremely racist people like to fantasize about a world with only people that look like them, or at least all the “good” people. A lot of extremely sexist men really like to fantasize about a world where the few women only exist to be love interests, sex objects, and rewards for male heroism. And of course people know that these fantasies are fucked up, but they like them anyway, and they hate being called out on them. Most of all, they hate the prospect of someday being deprived of pop cultural support for those fantasies.
Movies (and other media) that present fantasies of worlds without people of color validate the already existing fantasies of racists. And racists hate the idea of losing that validation.
bolding some really interesting things uvu
Note also that these arguments apply equally as well to historical and fantasy fiction lacking queer representation.
Look, without our stories, without the true nature and reality of who we are as People of Color, nothing about fanboy or fangirl culture would make sense. What I mean by that is: if it wasn’t for race, X-Men doesn’t sense. If it wasn’t for the history of breeding human beings in the New World through chattel slavery, Dune doesn’t make sense. If it wasn’t for the history of colonialism and imperialism, Star Wars doesn’t make sense. If it wasn’t for the extermination of so many Indigenous First Nations, most of what we call science fiction’s contact stories doesn’t make sense. Without us as the secret sauce, none of this works, and it is about time that we understood that we are the Force that holds the Star Wars universe together. We’re the Prime Directive that makes Star Trek possible, yeah. In the Green Lantern Corps, we are the oath. We are all of these things—erased, and yet without us—we are essential.
The first is that you have a text that, dispute being very sympathetic toward Erik, is in the end ambiguous about his moral alignment. His final conversation with Shaw can be read in many different ways, for one.
And there’s a VERY heavy-handed message that people who seek vengeance only end up hurting those they care about - Charles suffers a double-dose of that dubious medicine.
It is quite easy for the noncritical viewer to walk away with the idea that Erik has picked up Shaw’s mantle, and it seems very likely that this was exactly what we are meant to take away from the film.
So that’s one problem, and it is a big one.
But the second issue - and this one is more pernicious - is that you have a large segment of the viewership/fandom who is quite willing to accept that reading, no questions asked.
You have people who watch the film and never think to ask why, in a story that is literally about how a Holocaust survivor confronted his torturer to avenge the murder of his mother and to avert the complete destruction of all life on Earth, there is any moral ambiguity about whether or not this character is a hero.
This is a social question, a political question. Why is the bar set so high for a character like Magneto?
Why is there such an insistence within our media that a marginalized person who dares to be angry or to fight back must be by necessity discredited as a hero?
That is the question that I am trying to get at.
I feel like this is getting at the heart of what gets so frustrating about these arguments. Fandom often goes in circles having Watsonian arguments (“what about when Erik or Charles did this thing or that thing which seeming contradicts your point x, y, z”), when everything they do is potentially contradictory and they both have incoherent philosophies because of decades of comics and movie canon and multiple writers. But really we need to have more Doyalists arguments about like why is this particular movie trying to say x, y, z and here’s why I like or dislike that theme or statement or character interpretation.
Also, because I have a lot of feelings on this apparently, this is why there is always a “gotcha” moment for Magneto where he does something horrible. So when people are like “what about in X2 when he tried to commit genocide” like okay, yes, that canonical happened, but it is partially because HE IS FUNCTIONALLY A VILLAIN IN THE X SERIES and he has to do horrible things to fulfill his narrative requirements as said villain BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT VILLAINS DO. Especially sympathetic villains who are written specifically to undermine their own stated noble goals and intentions in order to act as a mirror for the protagonist who is ultimately right.
Never mind that the end of X-2 wasn’t even in the original script. The studio had Singer put it in because they felt Magneto was coming across as too sympathetic.
Which brings us back to the point that a radical character - especially one that is part of a marginalized group - will almost always be discredited by the narrative as a means of discrediting their views.
You can show an angry Jewish person but you’d better come back at the end and make sure that the audience understands that his anger makes him a danger to everyone else. People are supposed to walk away feeling “He had a point, but I can’t support him because…”
And I mean, the other issue about FC and Magneto is that he is a legacy character and it is hard to break that established history even if you want to, because the timeline is already set. We’ll see if DOFP goes anywhere new with that.
And, if, despite his function as a villain in the narrative and the way that stacks the deck against him, if despite all that, if you still can’t see why he is an appealing character as a radical angry member of a fictional minority who is frustrated with assimilationist politics and as an admittedly flawed metaphor for the struggles of real people with real anger then—*throws up hands* that’s just a fundamental failure of empathy.
MCU!Asgard and sexism, Loki and Natasha and quims…
Once upon a time, Romanovasledger asked this:
Confession: I’ve spent a considerable amount of time creeping on your blog like a creeping creeper who creeps. Apparently worldbuilding is like porn to me. Who knew? Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I was wondering if you have any thoughts on Loki’s misogyny? I know Whedon and Hiddleston have both commented on it, and I have an interest in reading your interpretation (if it’s not too much of a bother, that is).
Creepy? Creepy? Oh, dear. I can tell you that not only is worldbuilding my kind of porn, but it is the kind of porn I publish on the Internet to be peeped at by other creepers – Creepers United, we are: meeting up every night on Tumblr to exchange wet dreams about Asgardian furniture. It’s fun, for a creep.
Anyway, I am, as ever, quite happy to oblige. Too happy, some might say – we all know how I am actually supposed to finish that damn Malekith post, and that if Tony Stark ever wanted private lessons in stalling, dude, I’m all about
And you had to ask that question about Loki and sexism. Squee.
Before anything, I dearly hope you will forgive my (relatively short) period of silence, it was mostly due to my waxing pages after pages of vibrant prose on the topic, then shoving them all down under the Drafts carpet, as I couldn’t find the proper angle to reply.
My main issue had to come from the fact that aforesaid subject has been debated ardently throughout the year(s) in fandom, and rather hotly so; as you know, there are those who wanted to butcher Whedon for introducing American audiences to the word “quim”, and those who wanted to murder him for altering Loki’s persona so definitely, making him such a misogynistic
cunt. I meant dick, pardon. Others? Meh.
This is why I am going to state my thoughts on this, and afterwards - eh, if there’s any place left - I may well debate stuff with myself, as I do, but in the meantime - grand world première, y’all - this is me being concise.
I think maybe the thing I deeply loved the most about Pacific Rim is that Del Toro expects his audience to figure things out on their own. There’s not a huge scene about how Raleigh is a changed man after Yancy dies, you pick up on it in the subtle fact that his face says he wants to beat Chuck over the head with a crowbar the minute he starts goading him, but he DOESN’T for a very long time. There’s no flashback to Mako and Stacker interacting, but you can SEE how much they mean to each other. Raleigh honestly doesn’t say a huge amount about how wonderful he thinks Mako is, but it’s written all over his face and read through his actions. Del Toro expects you to keep up and reach your own conclusions. He expects you to surmise that there’s something deeply wrong with Chuck and Herc’s relationship more than just Chuck being a jackhole (and there is). He allows you to just get the dropped hint that Stacker piloted a jaeger by himself for some reason with no explanation, not because he has time to go into detail about Stacker’s past, but to establish Stacker is a ridiculous badass and that Raleigh has some sort of deep force of will of his own to do the same thing. Del Toro lets you piece the snap shots together and gives you enough information to do that. So this one two hour movie feels like it has a world built to it that tv series can’t manage a lot of the time. And he picks actors who perfectly embody what they’re supposed to, not big names to bring in crowds.
If you’re not a Del Toro fan, you should be. He’s Tim Burton’s nightmare fairy tale brother without the dose of whimsy and more a dose of hallucinogens. He’s Hans Christian Anderson from the bad part of town.
Other lovely implied bits off the top of my head:
- They don’t need to hit you over the head with the Becket relationship and the dynamic between them — Raleigh, the explosive happy labrador swigging OJ straight from the bottle Yancy, older, tolerant, affectionate, a little more guarded, but under that sleepy exterior, pretty fucking into being a Jaeger pilot, too.
- The introduction of Stacker on-screen, when you see Tendo’s posture radically shift and the tone of the whole conversation between him and the Becket boys shifts — before, it’s the Becket boys cracking jokes about Tendo’s life live. After that, it’s all business. Marshal Stacker fucking Pentecost, guys.
- The relationship between Stacker and Mako, where the first bit of interaction you see between them is that long-off shot where Mako is standing in the rain with her umbrellas. There is almost a foot in difference in height between them, and Stacker comes out of the helicopter first. You see him duck his head down a little. Mako simultaneously tilts the umbrella up some more. They’re the boy from Tottenham who learned to speak Japanese and the orphan from a tiny island who remade herself into steel and strength, and they would’ve had so little in common if it hadn’t been for the kaiju. But there were kaiju, and there Stacker and Mako are, and it’s clear from the VERY FIRST SHOT IN WHICH THEY BOTH APPEAR.
- The relationship between Stacker and Herc. Sure, Stacker introduces Herc as an old friend from the Mark-1 glory days, but even before then, you know they’re friends from the little smile that Herc shoots Stacker, from the way Herc greets Mako and lets the dog run towards her, and it’s carried through in the way that Stacker and Herc wrangle K-science together, the way Stacker and Herc stand shoulder to shoulder in LOCCENT, the way Herc fiddles with his ring in nervousness before Mako’s first Drift with Raleigh.
- AND SPEAKING OF THE DOG: Chuck and Mako, Chuck and Mako, Chuck and Mako, and how the only words they directly say to each other in the movie are “You’re a disgrace” and “Stop. Now.” And yet you’ve got Chuck’s dog running to Mako when she calls him, and Chuck’s dad knowing enough to let the dog off the leash, and Chuck showing up to the Kwoon only after Mako steps in against Raleigh, and Chuck’s eyes tracking Mako when she leaves and her hunched-up, do-not-want, clear avoidance of him, and how, when Chuck can’t get a rise out of Mako by insulting her but she reacts when he goes after Raleigh, Chuck sorta smiles. And then directs his subsequent comments mostly to Raleigh. You can feel the deep, ugly past there, and when Raleigh Becket suddenly busts out with a leg-takedown of Chuck in the hallway that is straight out of the playbook we saw Mako with in the Kwoon? MAN. MAN. MAN.
In short, Pacific Rim is amazing. WHO TOLD GDT YOU COULD PUT THIS MUCH CHARACTERIZATION INTO A MOVIE ABOUT ROBOTS PUNCHING GODZILLA?
So I saw Thor: The Dark World again (FINALLY) and man, there were so many subtle things I did not pick up on the first time I watched it. Also, I didn’t think it was possible, but after watching it again, I love Jane EVEN MORE.
Lupin’s failing is he likes to be liked. That’s where he slips up — he’s been disliked so often he’s always pleased to have friends so cuts them an awful lot of slack.
Mik Artie e Leech explicam para Adolf Impossible como as cores definem o caráter no Universo Marvel em Future Foundation #12, por Michael Allreed.
Cores primarias: vermelho, amarelo, azul = HERÓI
Cores secundárias: verde, roxo laranja = VILÃO
This is actually really useful. A kid’s who’s who of the Marvel U…
(Also Artie Maddicks was always one of my favorite mutants)
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