I’m going to get controversial, but if you’re part of the so-called “woke crowd” you may want to see this because frankly you’re the ones being played by mainstream media. Conservatives, this is something for us to think about as well, because there’s something here I think is being lost in the political discourse that everybody is sleeping on.
I haven’t seen Strange World and I don’t plan to. This trailer above (if it’s still up when you read this) is the most I know about this movie and frankly it doesn’t look very interesting. Apparently people who can afford to go to the theater agree as the movie has been failing at the box office. As Disney keeps putting out live-action de-makes of the animated films of the “Disney Renaissance” 1990s due to being hurt that Hollywood shoved animation into their own category and wants their famous movies to be Oscar-Worthy with the media snob of the Academy Awards and the ego-driven celebrities who think a movie is only good if their face shows up in it, they seem to have also lost the heart and effort that made those movies so beloved alongside the classics made or supported by Uncle Walt himself.
Where we get controversial is something I realized in the discussion about this movie. I can’t comment to how “woke” the movie is or isn’t, but I saw this tweet…mostly because everyone who discusses this movie brings it up…from Brianna Wu.
Who is Brianna Wu? No, really, I’m asking. Apparently she’s a big deal to somebody and a huge joke to others but I literally have no idea who she is. This tweet has been used as an example of the poor marketing surrounding this movie. This is apparently all the poster thinks is important to the movie. Well, whether I’m conservative or libertarian (my friend says the latter but labels are BS) I can see that we’ve rewritten the word “target audience” to something more like “targeting with our anger”.
Biracial marriage? Hell, I’ve been advocating that for years on this site. I’ve seen advertisements for laundry detergent and Crohn’s medication that did it right: just a couple who happens to be of two different skin colors. Gay characters? Yeah, they’re all over the place now, including shows for kids. In fact now you can’t win an Oscar without at least one. Literally; that’s a rule along with a quota of minority characters…like the ones I grew up with and could fill this with links to articles talking about that if I had time, along with the women heroes I grew up with. Climate change metaphor? Something doesn’t have that nowadays? Disabled dog?
This is Rex. He rescues dinosaurs. He’s a good pup. I come from the 1980s, where heroes in wheelchairs happens a lot. What does the dog in this movie do? The thing is Hollywood and other sectors of the entertainment industry are selling the usual suspects a lot of bull, and in their dash to see representation, and I’m not even against that in general, they don’t realize they’re being used…and if they do know, they’re okay with it. That may make them the biggest suckers. What do I mean when I say Hollywood is using representation as a gimmick rather than actually changing how they’ve approached minorities in the past? Allow me to explain my point of view, then judge…if you have the guts, and the internet has proven neither side does.
Wow, that was a long intro section.
Okay, let’s start with the big one: race. Yeah, there could be more people of color in various roles. However, think about how those people of color are depicted: (swearing incoming in this video)
I could have used the “could you be more black” or “black acting school” but this was funnier and still makes the point. Hollywood Shuffle is hilarious and still relevant commentary about how black characters are treated and promoted as stereotypes rather than a person. Everyone should watch it. Can you honestly tell me that the commentary doesn’t also work for modern depictions of black characters? Funny thing is when Robert Townsend (the reviewer on the right) made a superhero movie with an all black cast…nobody blinked. Townsend was known for a particular form of comedy, namely the raunchy kind, and when he made The Meteor Man the movie got no push. Had it been made today it probably would have gotten pushed solely for having an all black cast rather than the story, which was shunned because Townsend wasn’t going sex jokes or dropping the “N” word like an Eddie Murphy ripoff. He wanted to make a black superhero for black kids, which he would do again for Disney Channel in Up, Up, And Away. (Both movies are also anti-superpowers in the end but that’s another discussion.)
Why is it whenever a movie is about black people they’re all stereotypes? Why is the marketing about them being black, or gay, or both, while the white people can be in any kind of situation possible and nobody cares except to complain there aren’t enough black people. There’s also a kind of tier to which minorities we’re complaining aren’t there.
- “Asian” (ask a Chinese person if they like being lumped in with a Japanese person…and technically Japan isn’t in Asia, it’s an island nation apart from them–“Asian” is just “Oriental” with better promotion)
- everyone else
Nobody complains about the lack of Hawaiians in fantasy or action movies. A movie features brown Asians and somehow it’s better because they’re brown. And yet no matter how little it makes sense for the world depicted we now have to have mixed race…if it’s a white fantasy world. If they ever make a fantasy world where instead of European folklore it was inspired by African folklore…good luck with that because nobody in charge seems to care while I’m hearing that a story based around Anansi would have a lot of support…you can bet the usual suspects would throw a fit if a white dude showed up. Rightfully so, mind you, but we aren’t talking about them, we’re talking about Hollywood elites.
Have you noticed that most of the complaints around The Rings Of Power is how it contradicts Tolkien’s characters? Yes, critics (of all races and genders by the way) who love the Middle Earth franchise comment on how ridiculous it is for a woman of average size and strength can flip a 350 pound man or a 450 pound orc like he’s a department store mannequin (that’s exaggeration for the sake of a poor humor attempt but you can do your own math) but it’s the fact that the character this is supposed to be wasn’t a badass warrior but strong in other ways that they’re upset about. It’s not the existence of other races, it’s that they wouldn’t exist in this part of the world based on its inspirations, but might in other parts that haven’t been explored because nobody is sending a ring of deadly magic to Notafrica or whatever those regions are called. How do a race of wanderers who shun everybody they come across and even leave their own to die (a)become the beloved Hobbits of the main story and (b)have anyone of a different race when they shun other races? You need to be consistent to your own rules or you might as well start a new property with new rules.
And that’s when the “getting played” gets pulled in. The race swaps, the gay characters, the new hotness of trans and non-binary characters…none of it is really being done in good faith, folks. Oh, some of the creators are but think of what we know about Hollywood and adaptations even before the current political discourse. They didn’t want to make a proper adaptation or series continuation, and they didn’t care about the source material. The name was being chosen because it was popular and they don’t have enough faith in their original ideas to sell it as an original product. That or we’ve been seeing their outright hostile to source material and think they can do better. We’ve seen it with Star Trek, Star Wars, superheroes, and other cultural icons. It’s not even political, which is why I keep harping on Todd Philip’s poor excuse for the Joker, the movie that fooled potential audiences that it would be an adaptation of Jem instead of a generic musician movie that threw a robot in there for reasons–then got those fans to push for it hard, or the remake of Battlestar Galactica. The former is the director hating comic book movies, and we’re seeing a lot of that from “auteurs” lately, the middle one was a scam pulled by the creator on Jem And The Hologram fans, and the latter was “I have a better approach than the creator”. Neither was done for the love of the original.
When you break out the race, orientation, and gender cards, however, you end up with an immediate defense so you don’t have to admit you made a bad product. The failure of Bros is being blamed on homophobia instead of “your gay romance movie just wasn’t very good”. Here’s a rule: if you replaced the characters with straight white people and every complaint still stands then audience bigotry isn’t the problem. Not that it matters because Hollywood is using the race war for cheap promotion. “See The Woman King or you send the message that you hate strong women” instead of “maybe making the tribe known for selling their opposing villages to white slave traders to acquire wealth and power into the HEROES of your movie by lying about their history was a bad move”. There was a popular (I say that sarcastically) video going around by some black lady who tried to make it seem like going to see Wakanda Forever would be a bigger bloodbath than taking a black kid into a white school in the 1950s and you were racist if you didn’t give a poor black person your movie ticket instead of buying them food. No, popcorn doesn’t count!
Now you can’t say the movie is bad because they’ll portray you as evil…but think about what else is being said here. “I don’t know how to make a GOOD movie with a black trans lesbian so I’m just going to call you a bigot for not loving my movie as a cinematic masterpiece instead of pointing out how bad my story is”. Again, replace the character with a white person, have them do the same stuff for a similar goal, and if it still sucks the problem is you, not the critics. They’re using you to hide the fact that they can’t make a good movie. I’m still convinced the only reason Jon Kent is gay (sorry, “bisexual but he won’t be dating women ever again”) in the comics (yes, I know the media snobs hate comics) was to attempt to continue making a Superman they didn’t have to deal with the estates of Clark Kent’s creators. Now they’re being forced to bring Clark back AND bring back the secret identity as part of Dawn Of The DCU. Like a famous flying squirrel once said, that trick never works.
The other reason is a different kind of ego stroke: they want that praise. GLAAD gives out awards for movies with gay people, so let’s make gay people. Instead of making a good black character and putting them into a good story, the same thing that made white characters popular, just change the race because that’s all you need to have your praises sung. Make a character gay and the press will fawn all over it. Comics have done this since Batwoman was brought back into continuity and made gay as a middle finger to Fredric Wertham…and then they proceeded to do jack with her for years because after that cheap bit of promotion they couldn’t decide what to do with her. Tim Drake was the other way around. They couldn’t figure out what to do with the former sidekick who happened to be a great detective and still young enough to attach to the younger generation, so he’s bi-gay now too so the press will talk about how progressive and cool they are.
Then you have the actors. I’ve chronicled how actors do not approach a movie the same way the audience does. They see a role they want to play, believe they’ll get praise for it, and defend the part no matter what. Alternately, they want to work with a particular director or someone already announced in the cast. It’s still ego because it’s what they want and they hope queer or minority fans will praise them like crazy. While there are people who see this as an opening for queer actors, it’s not really acting if you’re just playing yourself. Unless your Will Ferrell or Kevin Hart. They aren’t doing it for the cause, they’re doing it for the praise.
So the studios and directors bring in activist writers, people who don’t really know what they’re talking about and couldn’t tell a good story if they tried. They’re part of the same group that will call you a bigot or a “hater” for putting down their totally obvious cinematic masterpiece or comic run. Even some of them just want to show how wonderful they are for supporting your cause or think only a certain type of story is all that matters. The ones that actually care still think their story is more important than the one you came for. So Iceman’s adventures aren’t about him protecting mutants or battling supervillains, they’re about how gay he is. Superman Junior is bisexual (though they’ll never let him be in a straight relationship now so he might as well be gay…bigayxual if you will) and that’s the focus of his stories. If you want to write about a teenager’s journey of sexual discovery, fine. If you want to write about a superhero, fine. If you can’t do both, pick a lane and let someone else take on the task. But again, he’s only bigayxual because it would get DC’s name in the papers or some activist writer is hoping to affect the movies and shows, which is all Warner Brothers cares about.
Apolitically, Todd Philips would fit in there. Superheroes no, tortured failed comic that shares the name of a famous supervillain, yes. This is where I warn my fellow right-leaners that we can have the same scam pulled on us. Joker isn’t woke, and the woke crowd attacked the movie as something that would promote incells. I forget if The Batman from Matt Reeves had the same issue, but being non-woke doesn’t excuse a work from being utter crap or failing as an adaptation. Now we’re getting a Joker sequel with Lady Gaga as Harley Quinn. Take Margot Robbie’s version, go too far the other way, and that’s what I’m expecting this to be, and Harley makes even less sense in this misadaptation than Joaquin Phoenix’s take on Mister J. Any comic you back should be because it looks like something you want to read or see a movie because it’s something you’d want to watch otherwise, not to piss off the SJWs. Don’t make the same mistake they are, or you’re just going to make an opening for bad stories or bad ideas just as much as they are. Supporting your cause doesn’t make it good any more than supporting their cause. Push for good stories!
Look, I grew up with black heroes and female heroes, but in those cases their race or gender rarely mattered. I’m not calling for a ban on LGBTQ+ characters, though the way they’re being used and demands you like them simply for their orientation and not being well-written and well-performed isn’t helping your case whatsoever. If anything it pushes against it. Straight white characters never focus on being straight or white. They just make characters and the good ones have fans and inspire people regardless of the audience’s race or gender. Take it from someone who can relate to a five-year-old orange Heeler dog from an Australian preschool show: what will always matter are good characters who happen to be this or that and the stories told about them. There is no “white man” or “black man” way of telling a story. There’s just a way (or a few different ways) to tell a good story, to make a good adaptation that pleases fans while drawing in casual and new fans. It worked for centuries and failed just as long. Don’t fall for the gimmick, fall for a good story that has whatever group or topic you support in it. Otherwise you’re saying there’s no way to tell a good story with a gay black trans lesbian…and that shows how little you care about a good story. I say it can be done, even if it’s a story I’m probably not interested in personally. Quality isn’t based on my enjoyment, or yours. It’s based on being good.