To start with, I hope that the reference in the title is apparent.
If not, let’s flashback to September 2005 and A Concert for Hurricane Relief. It was during this live star-studded benefit concert that Kanye West very famously said:
“George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”
The following week, on The Ellen Degeneres Show, West elaborated on the incident. Given the immense loss caused by Hurricane Katrina, he explained that “[it was] the least [he] could do to go up there and say something from [his] heart, to say something that’s real.” At the risk of misrepresenting him, my takeaway was that there’s something very pure and genuine about personal emotional reactions that makes them worth expressing. While the facts may reveal otherwise, their having elicited this response speaks for itself, in a way.
It’s a sentiment that many readers of Marvel comics may strongly agree with given the fallout of Guardians of the Galaxy #18, which hit stands this past Wednesday. Continue reading
Posted in comics, internet, lgbt, relationships, writing
Tagged America Chavez, Aneka, Angela, Angela: Asgard's Assassin, Angela: Queen of Hel, Ayo, Bendis, comic books, comics, couple, Friends Forever, gay, Guardians of the Galaxy #18, lesbian, lgbt, Marvel, outrage, relationship, Sera, trans, Women's History Month
I began the first installment of this two-parter making note of the long and ultimately wearying experience it has been, starting with Doctor Strange going into pre-production and continuing on to the recent exposure of the Swinton-Cho Letters. While I spent time describing the ups and downs of casting news what I neglected to mention, and what I’m going to focus on today, is the outset and ultimate resurgence of an argument in defence of whitewashing.
That’s right, an argument defending what Wikipedia helpfully defines as “a casting practice [. . .] in which white actors are cast in historically non-white character roles.” The very faint silver lining is that the justification here does not revolve around star power and A-list draw, or the idea that “the best person for the role” was hired, the latter of which rarely ever swings the other direction. In spite of not being deeply rooted in these ways of thinking, however, the argument is remains deeply flawed.
Before we get into that, however, we should probably get to its origin story.
Like I Said Last Time, “It’s Always Podcasts”
Having to hit all of this again it’s important to be thankful for small blessings, with one being that I don’t need to hear C. Robert Cargill’s voice again due to already having done the research for another post. The person in question was one of the screenwriters for Doctor Strange, and dropped in on the Double Toasted podcast mid-April to answer a few questions about it.
Eventually, and and unsurprisingly, the issue of the Ancient One’s casting was brought up. Cargill’s response, as transcribed by CINEMABLEND’s “The Blunt, Yet Difficult Reason Doctor Strange’s Ancient One Isn’t Asian”, is as follows:
“The Ancient One was a racist stereotype who comes from a region of the world that is in a very weird political place. He originates from Tibet. So if you acknowledge that Tibet is a place and that he’s Tibetan, you risk alienating one billion people who think that that’s bullshit and risk the Chinese government going, ‘Hey, you know one of the biggest film-watching countries in the world? We’re not going to show your movie because you decided to get political.’ If we decide to go the other way and cater to China in particular and have him be in Tibet [. . .] If you think it’s a good idea to cast a Chinese actress as a Tibetan character, you are out of your damn fool mind and have no idea what the fuck you’re talking about.”
In essence Cargill chalked the reasons for the casting decision up to politics and economics, implying that having the character played by a Tibetan would cause Marvel Studios to lose out on Chinese box office sales. He also suggests quite strongly that, conversely, having a Chinese actor play a Tibetan would cause a large amount of controversy. This was picked up by sites from IndieWire to ScreenRant to The Hollywood Reporter, with several using words like “reveal” in their headlines, as if a longstanding mystery had finally been solved.
The justifications he laid out were to become the go-to response for every commenter looking to defend the Swinton’s casting, and why not? After all, as one of the screenwriters of the film Cargill should be a direct and dependable source. The answer to that hypothetical starts with what happened a few short days later- Continue reading
Posted in art, Asia, bizarreness, comics, film, geography, lgbt, politics, race, writing
Tagged Ancient One, argument, Asia, box office, C. Robert Cargill, Cargill, casting, China, defence, defense, Doctor Strange, Double Toasted, film, George Takei, justification, Kathmandu, lesbian, lgbt, Nepal, Overwatch, Political, politics, Rogue One, Scott Derrickson, Tibet, Tibetan, Tilda Swinton, Tracer, Urgyen Badheytsang, whitewashing
One of the most common adages on the internet is “don’t read the comments”. While this global network that we’re all currently using [unless you somehow managed to snag a printout of this post] has given us all the ability to share and discuss everything under the sun, the unfortunate truth is that a lot of that conversation amounts to hot garbage. You could scroll down past an article to see what people are saying about it, but chances are that it won’t be a particularly uplifting experience.
As someone who spends much of his time online reading about entertainment there’s a type of comment that I’ve seen crop up time and time again. It’s existence ties directly into a lot of the recent trends in comic books, television, and film, the push towards inclusivity and the people who are actively working to make that happen. A perfect example [of a handful I’ll be referencing throughout this article] is:
I’ve been compiling these for the past few months, originally with the intent of putting together another “For Your Consideration” and allowing readers to look them over and come to their own conclusions. A general [and accurate] takeaway would be to note them as being typical of inane online comments and move on, but I’d like to spend a little time breaking down the idiocy they represent.
They Perpetuate the Default
The default person, in case you needed to be informed of who generally holds the most power and screentime across the board, is a straight able-bodied cisgendered White man. I’m painfully aware that simply listing those words in successive order like that marks me as being one of the SJWs [my thoughts on that term here], but every one is important to take note of.
Take the following:
To look at the list and mark it against the checklist of what makes a default human being, in the eyes of at least a few, we have:
- straight ≠ “gay lesbian”
- cisgendered ≠ “transgender”
- White ≠ “black Asian”
Other comments I’ll be including later on will add examples that include disabled people, but the general gist of every one capitalizes on the absurdity of a person who doesn’t match the standard cutout. A straight able-bodied cisgendered White woman? Not a terrible strain of the imagination. Once you start to tick off more items that don’t coincide with the norm, however, things apparently get a lot shakier.
I don’t even think that many of these commenters are aware of the implicit message behind the words they type. By listing these adjectives and identifiers they end up with a person who most of them share absolutely nothing in common with, which exposes the very reason we need diversity at all. Everyone should be able to relate to entertainment, and for too long the industry has catered to an audience that gets smaller every day. Continue reading
Posted in comics, film, gender, internet, lgbt, race, television
Tagged believable, black, character, comment, comments section, complaints, default, disabled, diversity, gay, internet comments, lesbian, lgbt, marginalized, minority, possibility, race, realistic, representation, straight, Transgender, transgendered, visibility, white, why not have
Just as in most forms of media LGBT representation has been lacking in comic books, both in the content created and those responsible for its creation. It’s a conversation that will last for decades until such a time that we can look to art and see that yes, it does reflect the world we live in, such as it is. In regards to all of this there are times when a person will look at their pull list and decide that the stars have aligned just right, and that it’s time to dust off a blog feature of sorts that hasn’t been used in years.
It began with “Homosexuality In Comics As Of May 20th”, a post in 2012 that shone some light on DC Comics’ announcement that they would be introducing a previously straight character as gay, having that person become “one of [their] most prominent gay characters.” One year later there was “… As of July 26th”, in which I revealed the aforementioned hero-
Alan Scott, the Green Lantern of Earth-2 [an alternate universe]
-and shared my personal opinion on how not
to introduce LGBT characters [ie. as a revelation after decades of established straightness]. That was where I left things, saying that we need more gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, etc. men and women and others in the medium that I love so dearly without offering much of a solution.
Thankfully two of this week’s titles helped a) me out in this regard and b) improve the pop culture landscape of which comic books are only a small part of. Continue reading
Posted in art, comics, lgbt, relationships, sex, writing
Tagged Alan Moore, Alan Scott, characters, Cindy Moon, comic books, comics, Dave Gibbons, DC, Elmo Bondoc, everyday, G. Willow Wilson, gay, introduction, lesbian, lgbt, Lola, Marvel, Ms. Marvel, normal, normalization, orientation, Rafferty, Robbie Thompson, sexuality, shoehorned, Silk, Stacey Lee, watchmen, writing
For those of you who don’t already know, I grew up in a very Christian community. And I had an amazing experience. For any of those people who may be reading this, thank you for helping create such a safe and loving environment for me to grow up it. I still look up to so many people in that community because they are kind and loving people who live their lives striving to serve God and love others.
That being said, it’s really frustrating to see a lot of really amazing people re-posting memes like this.
Because I’m pretty sure when any homosexual person reads this meme, what they are going to immediately understand is that you care more about the reality show of a multimillionaire than you care about actual abuse happening to members of the LGBT community around the world. Continue reading
Posted in Christianity, lgbt, morality, television
Tagged abuse, abuse in Russia, anti-gay vigilantes, bisexual, brothers and sisters, Christian, Christianity, civil rights, Duck Dynasty, freedom of speech, gay, God Loves Uganda, Jemar Tisby, lesbian, lgbt, love the sinner hate the sin, millionaire, othering, Phil Robertson, Russia, television, Tony Compolo, Transsexual, violence towards gays, wal-mart
Look, let’s be clear, I’m not a fan of DC. To be a little more specific, I am not a fan of DC’s business practices and editorial decisions. All of that being said, yesterday the internet perpetuated one of my least favourite of its trends: snap judgement from journalists fishing for hits.
Late Wednesday night W. Haden Blackman and J.H. Williams III, the writer and artist of Batwoman, respectively, posted a message on the former’s blog that they would be leaving the title. Here’s the section of that post that has received the most attention [emphasis added]:
Unfortunately, in recent months, DC has asked us to alter or completely discard many long-standing storylines in ways that we feel compromise the character and the series. We were told to ditch plans for Killer Croc’s origins; forced to drastically alter the original ending of our current arc, which would have defined Batwoman’s heroic future in bold new ways; and, most crushingly, prohibited from ever showing Kate and Maggie actually getting married. All of these editorial decisions came at the last minute, and always after a year or more of planning and plotting on our end.
From what I can tell, the news was first broken by The Outhouse, and was soon followed by all the other major comic book news outlets. ComicsAlliance and Newsarama both likewise delivered the news straight, but elsewhere this wasn’t the case. Continue reading
Posted in bizarreness, comics, internet, lgbt, news, writing
Tagged Batwoman, comics, DC, gay marriage, internet journalism, J.H. Williams III, Kate Kane, lesbian, Maggie Sawyer, Mary Jane, Mephisto, One More Day, sensationalism, Spider-Man, W. Haden Blackman