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  1. #1
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Default How should the media and Hollywood handle the changing superhero scene?

    TLDR: Michelle Rodriguez, the hot chick that actually did stuff in The Fast and the Furious and also had a very short career as a helicopter pilot on another planet, essentially said, "Minorities stop stealing white people superheroes!" because she thinks they're lazy trying to make a black or mexican person fit in where it doesn't fit from the comics and series when there's a plethora of shit we can use and make up where they do fit just fine. What is your opinion on superheroes on the big screen, current comic book story lines, and the increasing demand for diversity on the screen and dichotomy between 'keep it the way it was written' and 'forget that mess we already HAVE that, let's create something new'?

    Do you think she has a point, that she's racist for saying that, or that she's somewhere in between? Do you agree with her stance, or think it's naive/unrealistic/whatever else you might think, or that it's just plain flat wrong?

    Is it irrelevant because this superhero thing is just a phase and it'll pass and we won't care and we'll crave more realistic movies in the near future? Or is diversity in this sphere a super important thing right now for a damn good reason, long overdue for an overhaul that should match the current population more without turning it into an episode of Captain Planet? How big of an issue is the monochromatic domination of superheroes in the face of the fact that many people were impacted by the principles of their favorite heroes growing up?

    I'm just shooting questions everywhere aren't I?

    So. TMZ released this whole thing here. Michelle Rodriguez -- Note to Minorities ... STOP STEALING WHITE SUPERHERO ROLES!! | TMZ.com

    And essentially she said (both in the original video and on her FB apology video in way more detail) that she thinks shoving minorities that do not fit into superhero molds made about and for white people is ridiculous. A lot of people cried racist, and a lot of people cried over sensitivity. While the second video (I cannot for the life of me figure out how to link that one from FB) is indeed way more 'sensitive' about the way she is talking, the essential concept is that it is lazy and forced in some vague attempt to make up for the fact that superhero concepts, hollywood writing, and geenral audience demands are pretty monochromatic. Her stance is to stop trying to force minority characters and create all new ones that paint a more diverse picture. Or to at least run with comic books that create that diversity where it makes perfectly good sense. (I.e. why not have a young black kid take up the mantle of spiderman instead of a dorky white kid?)


    ~~


    There's a part of me that says, "really did you haave to say it that way?" but ... a rose by any other name too. I still completely agree with the sentiment even if it is too idealistic in reality. If it just so happens to have an anomaly where a black guy is a PERFECT cast for a role, then I don't really think I care at all. If they found an AWESOME peter parker, and he was like 5x better than these last two dweebs trying to pass and put him in the from the beginning, I'd have been okay with that no probs. But I think I'd be a bit annoyed and it'd look really forced trying to get a black man to play Thor for example.. I mean.. it's a Scandinavian God for crying out loud. It IS a little lazy and "Oh, let's just appease the minorities, we'll make green lantern black or something. Jeeze la-wheeze." ish.

    Indian superheroes calling on their own mythology. Black justice warriors ala Batman style born out of the savages of slavery. Haitian voodoo superheroes. When there are PERFECTLY good story lines existing, or that could exist, why try to force things? Why didn't hollywood say, "Hey, instead of ANOTHER Spiderman reboot, why not we go the route the comics are going and run with the black kid that's taken the mantle of spiderman? Why not something DIFFERENT for the audience to watch?" While the new spiderman is, admittedly, better than the old trio of movies, it still was the same god damn scenes. Why not try for a Batman Beyond movie? Why not create a whole new super hero that isn't in ANY comics yet?! Why not have the Avengers say 'Omg we need moar super heroes lets go find them!' and find these new guys?!

    On the complete and utterly realistic hand, a lot of things featuring new characters are flopping.. we're in this 'nostalgia' phase where we want to see all the oldies and anyone new or different is wrong somehow. In the search for new fans, old ones are crying a river, and the new fans may not ever be as die hard as the old ones. It's always a gamble what will stick and what won't. Time hasn't passed to determine this. Marvel and other comics and hollywood too are all trying to keep the crowds they have (and the stability they provide) rather than risking creating a whole new fan base. The demand for NEW characters isn't nearly as loud as the demand to see more of the characters people already know and love. I mean, Fathom is a fantastic comic book series and it was suppose to be a feature film and .. it sort of squashed and died as far as I can tell. Green light and everything. And nothing.. And it was a pretty well established comic with a decent fan base. There is a lot of reason to suspect that the only thing that would happen with new characters without heavy assistance from the 'white' ones would be flops and frowny-faces abound, along with pessimistic people crying the same old, "Waahh you're just trying to force this minority diversity thing on people waah" bull.

    So to me, I think they should use the current Marvel comics as they are standing and running to create these new characters and new story lines. Instead of letting these characters age, bring them up into the big screen NOW. Let Spiderman pass away, and get the new kid on the block. Let Thor get transformed into a woman. Let them come across an entirely new hero from a comic. Let the old characters meet, and lift up the new ones so that the comic book industry, the creative talents that are available today, and the current frenzy fad of craving old superheroes and familiar faces can all work together.
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  2. #2
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    Overall I'd just like to see more creativity in media and Hollywood period. I'm with her, but not for the same reason's she is, I'd just enjoy it if we came up with some modern stuff rather than lifting pages out of 1950's comic books. Yeah okay, they were great comics. But jeez it's almost 70yrs on now. Can't we find some new material?

    But the other difficulty I think the US has, is this ideal of being 'all American' when American includes so many minority groups as to make that ideal completely useless. Sooner or later someone has to put a face on the individual and that face can't possibly represent every single group that comprises the people of America. Someone, somewhere is going to object, no matter what that face looks like. So they opt for the least objectionable one.
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  3. #3
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    White people need to chill the eff out. Minorities have been deliberately excluded from superhero films (and mainstream film in general) since forever, so I don't want to hear bitching about it when they're deliberately included. I understand fanboys wanting actors to fulfil the physical description of a character as they imagined but there is an in-build tendency for people to see that character as white - it's a normative presumption. And there's something so messed up with people treating superhero 'genre' as the last bastion of white privilege in movies. It's time to wake up and live in the real world. Anyway, minorities need heroes too.

    Not a superhero franchise (but pretty much is), but the rumour is that Idris Elba may be cast as the next Bond. The guy totally fulfils every James Bond quality so I don't see why his race should be a factor. I remember people making a fuss about Daniel Craig playing the part because they were horrified by the fact he's blond. I don't hear any complaints now. Everyone just needs to give themselves a chance to adjust to change.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Passacaglia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post
    TLDR: Michelle Rodriguez, the hot chick that actually did stuff in The Fast and the Furious and also had a very short career as a helicopter pilot on another planet...
    And Lost. Don't forget Lost, in which Michelle plays the badass who dies a totally anticlimactic death.

    Well, alright, one of the badasses who dies a totally anticlimactic death.

    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post
    Is it irrelevant because this superhero thing is just a phase and it'll pass and we won't care and we'll crave more realistic movies in the near future?
    God I hope not!

    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post
    ...essentially said, "Minorities stop stealing white people superheroes!" because she thinks they're lazy trying to make a black or mexican person fit in where it doesn't fit from the comics and series when there's a plethora of shit we can use and make up where they do fit just fine. What is your opinion on superheroes on the big screen, current comic book story lines, and the increasing demand for diversity on the screen and dichotomy between 'keep it the way it was written' and 'forget that mess we already HAVE that, let's create something new'?

    Do you think she has a point, that she's racist for saying that, or that she's somewhere in between? Do you agree with her stance, or think it's naive/unrealistic/whatever else you might think, or that it's just plain flat wrong?
    I think that she did indeed put her foot solidly in her mouth, as she says in the second video.

    I think that the more diversity we have on screen, as well as in other facets of our society, the more honestly we as a nation and culture can say "We've moved out of the racist past and into a bright future." And I think that looking to new material to emphasize racial diversity is a great idea! For example I'd love to see a movie [series] about a group of supers from various ethnicities, orientations, faiths, etc..

    But logistically, there are potential problems. It takes real skill and talent to create a supers storyline that's super-y enough to recognizably belong to the superhero genre, while being original enough to not come off as a rip-off of the X-Men or whatever. And then there's the issue of producing the new supers movie; it's probably a lot harder to fund a movie based on a supers storyline that doesn't have 60+ years of cultural cache.

    So I can see why Hollywood is reluctant to leave the world of classic comic book history, rather than taking the greater chance on something new. Which makes the next best thing to give people a chance to adjust to change, as Southern Kross says.

    On the topic of Idris Elba...

  5. #5
    deplorable basketcase Tellenbach's Avatar
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    People don't buy tickets to see diversity. We want fun, exciting, original stories. Hollywood should concentrate on hiring new, writing talent. Few people buy tickets because of the cast (think Ishtar and that last Johnny Depp film).
    Senator Rand Paul is alive because of modern medicine and because his attacker punches like a girl.
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  6. #6
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Hmmm, I'm not a huge fan of comic book movies and I actually kind of resent the lock that Hollywood has on American and world culture. But, one thing that I'd like to point out is that it's my understanding that the comic book industry has always been socially progressive in this exact way. The industry has always in a way been run by societal outsiders. They were the first media outlets to put female characters as lead characters the same for minority characters, and they were always eager to insert controversial story lines into their plots reflecting changes in modern culture. They also haven't always done it in the most adept way, but they did it, damn it.

    I don't necessarily want to sit through comic book franchises all replayed with minority characters for the fact that they are minorities. But, like I said, I'm not a fan, and it is kind of what they've always done.

  7. #7
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    White people need to chill the eff out. Minorities have been deliberately excluded from superhero films (and mainstream film in general) since forever, so I don't want to hear bitching about it when they're deliberately included. I understand fanboys wanting actors to fulfil the physical description of a character as they imagined but there is an in-build tendency for people to see that character as white - it's a normative presumption.
    It isn't just a fantasy someone built in their head though like a book that never SAYS someone is white and then isn't turns out later on. It is 100% for certain, on there, in the pictures, that that character is white. And it isn't just that--there are backstories to these superheroes. Considering we ARE pulling from old generations, many of these backstories make more sense in white roles for the times. And we are seeing a lot more minority emerge in leading major roles as we progress into the future.. So while I can understand the sentiment a little bit... I can also understand why someone would be really pissed if a guy like Captain America, who was literally in the military as the face of the military during WW2 when we were just having break throughs for black people being equal in our world, would be portrayed as black and completely ignore things like genuine history of the times (good or bad, it exists), the complete back story, etc. etc. without having hate for black people.. just a die-hard love for comic book characters as who they are.

    I thought about if someone created a movie of me. And they casted a muslim girl for the role.. or a black girl.. or a 'insert minority here' for the role.. And honestly, it wouldn't make any damned sense. It isn't that I don't think a black girl could be a good actor--but the movie is inaccurate right off the bat. I never dealt with the pressures and issues of being a minority growing up. That did NOT shape who I was. It did shape my interactions with others, and my perception of the world, but the reality is I'm white, and I grew up with that aspect of society influencing me from day 1 whether I wanted it to or not. If the movie was purely about me being in the military and .. I dunno.. doing something? (what a boring movie this is already).. it probably wouldn't be different black or white. But if the movie is about my back story, how I came to be.. it really wouldn't make any sense to pretend I was black somehow when I wasn't.

    It has never bothered me in other genres to have random minority x in, say, royalty in the middle of England in medieval shows. Yeah, it doesn't make sense, we get it, but no one cares and it's all fiction and no one's childhood heroes are being represented by this person. It's a show. I think that makes a big difference for fans... the characters having well established stories vs a new character you're getting to know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Passacaglia View Post
    And Lost. Don't forget Lost, in which Michelle plays the badass who dies a totally anticlimactic death.

    Well, alright, one of the badasses who dies a totally anticlimactic death.
    I never saw Lost, but she's cursed with dying pretty awfully boring and odd deaths.

    I think that the more diversity we have on screen, as well as in other facets of our society, the more honestly we as a nation and culture can say "We've moved out of the racist past and into a bright future." And I think that looking to new material to emphasize racial diversity is a great idea! For example I'd love to see a movie [series] about a group of supers from various ethnicities, orientations, faiths, etc..
    When they created the new star trek, they put just enough of the old for the old fans to be amused, and created their own story lines for the new fans. They deviated, but not enough to piss off old fans. At the heart of the Justice League, they go look for new superheroes to join the campaign against evil, help out fellow people with powers struggling in life, etc. It really is not at ALL a narrow push to expand the league outside of America (hell, they can go around the world in on time flat) to the rest of the world and create some pretty bad ass IRL 'what if super heroes existed with x issue' shows and movies. Interpretations of all kinds of things.

    But logistically, there are potential problems. It takes real skill and talent to create a supers storyline that's super-y enough to recognizably belong to the superhero genre, while being original enough to not come off as a rip-off of the X-Men or whatever. And then there's the issue of producing the new supers movie; it's probably a lot harder to fund a movie based on a supers storyline that doesn't have 60+ years of cultural cache.
    Unfortunately, some really amazing comic books have been created already that feature amazing well developed characters... but comic books aren't known for their popularity, we're just in a very odd nostalgia-is-cool-consumerism-I-choose-you phase. So many books, and comics, have amazing stories.. incredible details. Worlds built. They just aren't popular, so no one is going to green light the movie/show/whatever.

    So I can see why Hollywood is reluctant to leave the world of classic comic book history, rather than taking the greater chance on something new. Which makes the next best thing to give people a chance to adjust to change, as Southern Kross says.
    Yeah, but I still think the WAY they do it is lazy. Like a bad after thought of "Oh shit, the *blacks* will complain though.." which, to me, just perpetuates the whole issue vs addressing it. Like I said, if they said, 'Fuck this, Peter Parker had his time and chance. Let's do something new.' it'd have been respectable. Making a character black last minute is not my idea of getting people used to change.. it's pretty blatantly saying 'you know we're doing this because we have to' vs because they want to.

    And, to be rather frank and awful about it, I think they just want to make money at the end of the day while pissing off as few people as possible. It is sooo much easier and more profitable to go, "Okay, uh... Green Lantern is black. Done." and let people argue about whether they're being legit or just lazy shady stuff. They don't really care that much about the diversity issue there. At all. No one is going to risk the black kid spiderman because no one cares if he's black. They only care at all because they grew up with spiderman. Period. They don't even care if he's a good superhero or not (he is), they care that he's nostalgic and someone familiar and to see that imagination people used in childhood on a big screen is awesome. So of course, while people would go watch a black spiderman and argue about whether it's "ruining their childhood" or "a step in the right direction even though they got x and y wrong" ... It is soooo much easier to reboot it and throw in a black green lantern later.

    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    But, one thing that I'd like to point out is that it's my understanding that the comic book industry has always been socially progressive in this exact way.
    This is precisely why I loved comic books and books. The freedom of creating complex thoughts based on simple concepts (should the X-men have saved Beast, who was alive, at the cost of Morph's life?), challenging the normalcy of everything around you, and making you think you can make decisions LIKE that even if you don't have super powers. I didn't always love reading.. The first book I picked up to read on my own was called "The woman who rides like a man" by Tamora Pierce. It was actually the third book in the quartet, I had no idea at the time. I couldn't put it down. I picked it up out of boredom waiting in the library for my mom to pick me up after school. I was hooked and rented it, and turned it in waaay too late from reading it twice. Mainly because it was one of the first things I was ever exposed to that showed strong, independent women following their dreams and struggling with life decisions. I wish my mother had exposed me to comic books at a younger age, or bothered to try to show me different aspects of womanhood. I got hooked on comics almost immediately after, and I haven't stopped since then.
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  8. #8
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    What about the thinking of "What minority"?

    Surely they're all American or European. Why should skin colour matter?

    I can understand, for example, the lack of black superheroes because many were lame sidekicks or potential pr nightmares (black panther). The one exception is the excellent blade which was successful.

    To my mind, if you want equality then isn't it counter productive to keep on highlighting the divisions currently perceived? Get the person for the role as a person, not a set of vital statistics.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  9. #9
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Passacaglia View Post
    And Lost. Don't forget Lost, in which Michelle plays the badass who dies a totally anticlimactic death.

    Well, alright, one of the badasses who dies a totally anticlimactic death.
    Best. Episode. Evah.
    It anchored me as a huge fan of the show.
    (I think it was very climactic in terms of character dev.)

    Haven't read all the thread, but a lot of these superheroes were created at a time when white people dominated the culture and staffed the publication offices and created all of these superheroes. So they were "white" mainly by default. With comic books as the genre, it's also very clear that the narratives are mainly a "character concept" who is being riffed on by new creative teams every few years. There might be some established data about the character that people try to incorporate into their telling, but really what we are looking at are MODERN MYTHS (of the superhuman being) that are constantly being spun and respun even if the name is the same.

    So does it really matter what gender or color the character is? Really? It's just a new riff being done on the established myth. People want to play around to see what can be done. These aren't real people with real histories where a certain depiction is "right or wrong" per se.

    .... Didn't Rodriguez apologize at some point? I haven't even read the articles. I just saw the original headline, thought, "yeah, that's pretty par for the course with her," and then saw the apology headline and thought, "yeah, that's pretty par for the course with these situations." People say shit, people quote shit, people retract shit. The topic is interesting, but I don't really much care either way about Rodriguez shooting off her mouth, which she is known to do and in fact hired specifically based on that particular image of her.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    I think you can balance tradition and innovation, in all things, not just comics. I err on the side of tradition sometimes, innovation other times but usually only find myself so firmly in the tradition camp because innovation is mishandled and royally fucked up, I mean throwing the baby out with the bathwater, innovation is thy name, tail wags the dog, innovation is your second name, you get the idea.

    I've no problem at all with diversity, although its the same as when politicians come along and say there has to be competition for public services, or the private sector can out perform public delivery of services and all that, when what they are stating as a fact has happened already, hasnt been spontaneous, isnt likely to be and there's got to be huge changes, meaning cuts and sacrifices of the existing state of affairs, to test out their ideas or create something which more closely resembles what they think best.

    Diversity either is or, well, it isnt.

    I'm not passing a judgement, I personally like diversity, I've lived in something close to a mono-culture and witnessed people who want the imposition of a mono-culture and who're shite scared by the prospect of any alternative or rival to their mono-culture and its shit on a stick but its something which is organic when it does develop, usually unappreciated and easily lost were it exists but it cant be conjured up or realised simply by wishing and hoping or imposition. Equally I think there's a lot of crimes committed in the cause of supposed diversity which are likely to alienate people from the idea altogether, turn them against it when they actively couldnt have cared less about it in the first place and why even of apathetically adopted or adapted to it.

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