Ghost in the Shell Thoughts & LinkSpam

Here’s a roundup of thoughts and feelings  from Asian Americans (and a few others) on Ghost in the Shell, Hollywood, and Whitewashing:

Orientalism and the Ghost in Hollywood’s Shell

The Incomparable Differences between Whitewashing and Racebending

https://thirdtwinmusings.wordpress.com/2017/04/08/stolen-brilliance-whitewashing-and-the-white-mind-as-perfection/

https://screenalicious.wordpress.com/2017/04/06/how-to-end-hollywood-whitewash-in-10-easy-steps/

https://amazingrace350.wordpress.com/2017/04/06/how-get-out-proved-that-minority-actors-are-marketable-hollywood-just-refuses-to-make-it-work/

Exorcising Ghost in the Shell

https://haleyjb.wordpress.com/2017/04/11/entertainment-media-a-white-world/

http://www.gq.com/story/the-whitewashing-playbook

http://www.motherjones.com/media/2017/02/history-whitewashing-asian-american-hollywood

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2017/03/24/filmmakers_and_actors_keep_defending_casting_controversies_but_here_s_why.html

https://theringer.com/ghost-in-the-shell-scarlett-johansson-63bd6503af72

http://www.tor.com/2016/04/20/why-are-we-still-white-washing-characters/

 

 

And also check out  the site:

http://blog.angryasianman.com/

For intelligent discourse on issues pertaining to Asian Americans in Popular media, and a list of similar blogs:.

http://blog.angryasianman.com/2017/04/read-these-blogs_9.html

Asian American Month begins in May.

 

Ghost in the Shell Reviews Are In

*So far, the consensus seems to be that Ghost in the Shell is  a merely okay film. I haven’t seen it and had no plans to do so, not because of the Whitewashing, although that’s a big issue, but because I’m more than a little tired of looking at Scarlett Johansson.

There’s quite a lot of spectacle but yeah, there’s the little issue of Whitewashing, not just of the film itself, but actually referenced in the plot, where the identity of an Asian character, Motoko, is erased and placed in the body of a White woman. 

According to the critics, it is possible to watch this movie and not care about any of the social issues involved, but this movie is never gonna be a classic, and doesn’t have the depth of the original anime. It’s never going to be Bladerunner, or The Matrix either, no matter how much it apes those movies aesthetics. According to the critics, it’s a gorgeous film that lacks warmth. It’s at about 51% on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. The reception of the movie, even by audiences,  has been rather lukewarm.

There are a handful of reviews giving it a rousing endorsement, like Variety, Entertainment Weekly, The Telegraph and The Chicago Tribune (Roger Eberts old employer). But the critics who panned it, come from more Geek oriented online sites, that skew much younger than the ones mentioned above, with a millennial audience who grew up watching the original movies and series, and I guess they’re unimpressed by the story.

http://www.salon.com/2017/03/29/scarlett-johansson-and-the-perils-of-white-feminism/

http://www.avclub.com/review/beguiling-ghost-shell-more-replicant-remake-252941

http://www.theverge.com/2017/3/29/15114902/ghost-in-the-shell-review-scarlett-johansson

https://www.dailydot.com/parsec/ghost-shell-review-remake-2017-johansson/?tu=gav

http://www.gq.com/story/ghost-in-the-shell-review

http://www.ign.com/articles/2017/03/30/ghost-in-the-shell-review

http://www.polygon.com/2017/3/30/15121524/review-ghost-in-the-shell

http://www.businessinsider.com/ghost-in-the-shell-review-2017-3

 

*And because apparently I’m just not finished bashing Iron Fist for what we could have had vs. what we got:

http://io9.gizmodo.com/heres-the-important-stuff-that-happens-in-iron-fist-so-1793445273

http://www.theverge.com/2017/3/21/14980216/iron-fist-problems-marvel-netflix-writing-villains-optics

http://www.polygon.com/2017/3/17/14958828/finn-jones-and-iron-fist-have-one-thing-in-common

*Bottom line: if your character’s backstory features him punching a gobdamn dragon, to obtain his superpowers of being able to punch shit, and you don’t show that shit on screen, you need your entire ass thoroughly kicked. So far, we’re stuck with Finn Jones as Danny Rand but this can be fixed. He’s never going to look good as a martial artist until he gets some serious training. Put him in some intense stunt training, so that he can at least look as competent as the actors from The Matrix. Get a brand new showrunner. And this time find someone who gives a shit about Danny’s Rand being Iron Fist,  cares about his martial abilities, and is willing to do the research to make it look good.

 

*Just to cheer us all up, here are some Logan reviews. I loved this ugly, bittersweet movie, so much.

http://www.theverge.com/2017/3/6/14829768/logan-movie-wolverine-hugh-jackman-patrick-stewart-discussion-highs-lows

http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/why-we-needed-logan-to-kill-the-modern-superhero-movie-w470501

https://theringer.com/logan-and-conquering-pessimism-through-fatherhood-86d377ae85b9

Ghost in the Shell/Iron Fist Backfire

Fed-up fans turn ‘Ghost in the Shell’ meme generator against itself

The Major may be a cutting-edge cyborg capable of taking down even the most dangerous criminals, but even she’s no match for the withering disdain of the internet.

Ever since Paramount shared the first image of Scarlett Johansson as the Major in Ghost in the Shell, the film’s been under fire for its decision to whitewash the lead role, who is Japanese in the source material. So when the studio launched a viral campaign encouraging people to upload their own images and captions into a meme generator, some fed-up fans seized the opportunity to make their displeasure known.

And not only did Ghost in the Shell get a thorough roast, a few people made sure that Hollywood didn’t forget about Emma Stone and Iron Fist.

View image on Twitter

And then there’s the recent media implosion over Iron Fist, which got totally trashed by critics who were allowed to watch the first six episodes of the series.The actor Finn Jones, who plays Danny Rand, put his foot in his mouth both before and after the show’s debut and has now left Twitter after being dragged by the public.

‘Iron Fist’s Finn Jones Says He Left Twitter After Diversity Dust-Up To “Stay Focused” On Filming ‘The Defenders’

 

The Implosion of “Marvel’s Iron Fist” and Finn Jones Continues

Marvel’s Iron Fist Cultural Appropriation Casting Crisis Drives Finn Jones Off Twitter — What’s Going On?

Iron Fist actor leaves Twitter after confronting racial issues in series (update)

Yeah, I think someone needs to close their Twitter account and shut the Hell up before they dig a deeper hole.

Here’s the thing, if the public can’t get Hollywood casting agents, or moviemakers, to understand that we want more and better diversity and inclusion, then I guess the public is just going to shame the actors who contribute to the problem. Especially when those clueless actors go on social media to make excuses for what they just did.

Both Tilda Swinton and Scarlett Johansen have both made remarks about supporting diversity, and both of them were subsequently  roasted on Twitter, and Facebook. The bottom line is that actors are no longer getting a pass about their ignorance of these issues.

In the past, Hollywood actors have managed to get by by just speaking on some issue, without actually doing any of the real work, or being informed, and sometimes actually contributing to the perpetuation of said issue. Well, not anymore. From now on if an actor is going to talk about a social issue, they had better know what they’re talking about, and have put in the work on that issue. Its  simply not enough now to simply appear progressive and get points.

Unfortunately, the irony is that Hollywood is a conservative industry, and actors who speak out too much, or are too bold with their actions regarding social issues, can sometimes find themselves with the reputation for being troublemakers, and damaging their careers. I’m not saying they can’t have opinions, but they’re caught between the Scylla and Charybdis of the film industry and public opinion, and if they’re not A listers, they can’t serve both. They work in an industry that will allow them to be bold enough to speak out on things, if they have some amount of cache, but they can’t be too bold in their actions, or their careers will suffer.

This is the hole that people like ScarJo , and Finn Jones have fallen into. They’ve done something that genre fans do not approve of and have let them know it. At the same time, the actors can’t be too bold in their support of the issue by doing things like, trashing their own productions, or turning down roles.

As for Finn Jones, I don’t know what’s going to happen here. People are strongly objecting to his presence in this role, yet he is what we have. He’s what we’re going to be looking at in The Defenders, too, as don’t think he is going to be replaced.

As for one of the major arguments against casting an AA as Danny Rand:

Marvel did not seem to have any problem finding plenty of Asian Martial Artists to play villains in its productions. Casting Asians as Martial Artists because it might be stereotypical isn’t the problem. The problem is Marvel not wanting any of those Asian Martial Artists to be  heroic.

bigskydreaming:

LOL please skip that ‘Marvel just didn’t want to do the stereotypical Asian martial artist’ argument in regards to casting Danny Rand as white.

Like, if that were true….why would the rest of the cast be full of characters who are….Asian….martial artists???

Also, member that time Daredevil was filled with evil Asian ninjas?? Cuz I member.

And you’ll notice nobody was remotely concerned about casting a Cambodian actress to play Elektra, who has always been Greek in the comics. If not stereotyping Asians was such a concern for Marvel, why’d they go out of their way to make one of their only non-Asian ninja characters Asian? LOL.

And Elodie was AMAZING as Elektra, and there was nothing remotely stereotypical about her character at all, because shocking – that’s what happens when you don’t reduce or limit a character to one specific character trait. THAT’S the danger of stereotyping, and you don’t address that by denying characters access to something that’s actually legitimately a part of their cultural heritage and something they’d have every reason to pursue should they so desire. You just make sure they’re nuanced, three dimensional characters who have a lot more elements to them besides just the one stereotypical element. And Elektra was so much more than just her martial arts skills in Daredevil.

Like, Daredevil the show is heavily racist in a lot of ways, and a lot of that is tied up in their use of the Hand, Madame Gao and Nobu…..and that’s not because they’re mystical Asian ninjas. It’s because that’s ALL they are in Daredevil, that everything we know about those characters revolves around stereotypical characteristics with not much else besides that. And before people go ‘oh well they’re the villains, what do you expect’…..lmao pleeeeeeeeeeeeease. Compare what Marvel did with the Kingpin’s character in Season One to how they used Nobu in Season Two, not to mention Killgrave over in Jessica Jones. Marvel LOVES their nuanced, complicated villains, and yet for some reason, Nobu and Madame Gao remain just secretive Asian martial artists with vaguely defined mystical connections and whose motivations seem confined to uttering cryptic pronouncements but also drugs and taking over the world, we guess.

With Elektra, they actually bothered to breathe some life into her character and flesh her out beyond a two dimensional secretive ninja, and voila….suddenly, shockingly….she’s a full fledged character instead of a stereotype. Imagine that!

Asian American Danny Rand would only have been a stereotype if his characterization began and ended with ‘zen martial artist who barely talks because did we mention how zen he is’.

Of course, its not like this particular bullshit argument is new for Marvel. Remember how when Tilda Swinton was cast as the Ancient One instead of a Tibetan man, Marvel and the director both claimed it was because they were trying to stay away from Asian stereotypes?

And yet, in every still I ever saw from the movie, Tilda Swinton’s character (despite supposedly being Celtic, I heard?) has her head shaved and is wearing brightly colored garments traditionally associated with Tibetan monks in Western perceptions.

Like….umm….again….if you’re worried enough about stereotypes that you cast a white woman instead of the elder Tibetan monk seen in the comics….THEN WHY DID YOU GO OUT OF YOUR WAY TO EVOKE EVERY SINGLE STEREOTYPE ABOUT ASIAN MONKS WITH THE VISUALS YOU CHOSE FOR HER?

 

This Week On Geeking Out

These are the shows I watched this week. Only three of these shows are actual premieres: Channel Zero, Legends of Tomorrow, and Wolf Creek. Aftermath has been on the air for two weeks and the Exorcist has been on the air for about three. Supernatural also aired this week but will get a separate review, along with American Horror Story. I haven’t even tried to review Luke Cage, preferring to let more eloquent writers approach this topic, but I’ll have something o say about it, very spoilerific, by the end of the month, when I think most people have seen it, and somewhere during this time I promised reviews of some of my favorite horror movies.

American Horror Story:

We begin this episode, Chapter Five, with backstory on the Shaker House, that Matt and Shelby bought in episode one. It turns out the original owner has a connection to the fifth season of AHS:Freakshow, with the story of how Phillipe Mott, ancestor to the Motts mentioned in that season, bought the house in 1792. He was a closeted gay man  and a recluse, who eventually got killed by Thomasina and her minions, after he locked his servants in the cellar, when  some of his  prize paintings were vandalized.He screams a lot, even when he’s not actually in  physical pain, and you can see just a touch of the madness of the Mott family that touched them down through the centuries, culminating in Dandy Mott in 1952.

In the present day, we spend most of the episode running around the forest with Matt and Shelby, as they try to escape The Butcher, save Flora, and get repeatedly kidnapped by the Polks, who are Thomasinas aides and abetters. They made a deal with her to protect their family, and provide the sacrifices Thomasina says she needs, to consecrate the land. They escape from the Polks several times that night as the Polks attempt to deliver the two to Thomasina. At one point, since this is during the blood moon, Phillipe Mott comes to their aid. During all of this, Lee is in jail, answering questions about her husband’s death.  I’m still pissed off at Shelby for calling the police on her. That was a total dick move, Shelby! Anyway, Lee is released, and after getting one of Matt’s texts saying Flora is safe, she shows up just in time to give them a ride to freedom.

Thomasina is killed by one of her own people, who turns on her after having tired of all her killing. So it does seem as if this particular chapter of the story is over. Matt and Shelby’s story is wrapped up, Thomasina has been killed again, and Frances Conroy (Yayy!) put in her appearance as Mama Polk. The Polks also turn out to be inbred cannibals, straight out of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, as we find Elias still alive, but missing a limb. When one of the Polks gets sick, they blame him for having rancid flesh and kill him in front of Matt and Shelby.

The episode was especially gory, as we see Elias get his head bashed in, Mott get stabbed through the chest with a wooden pole, and Shelby’s leg is broken by Mama Polk, in a scene straight out of the movie Misery. There are a lot of movie references this season, with a little bit of J-Horror thrown in this episode, when Flora gets snatched by  one of the black haired ghosts of Ju-on, in a pointless scene thrown in just to have action. Thomasina and her followers are a reference to the movie The Wicker Man, where out of town strangers get burned alive by a modern day cult of Celtic worshippers., to consecrate the land. The Amityville Horror, Insidious, and The Hills Have Eyes get a shoutout, as well.

Next week, for episode six of season six, we go behind the scenes of the reality show, as finally, my precious cinnamon bun  Cheyenne Jackson😘, puts in his first appearance this season.  Hopefully, we will see the film crew visit the house in the present, and see what fresh Hell occurs then.

Supergirl:


So yeah, I went  and watched the season premiere of Supergirl, and while I can’t say I’ll ever be a fan, or regularly watch this, I can see it’s appeal to a certain segment of the population, namely very young, white women. Like The Flash, it’s not a bad show, it’s just not to my tastes. It’s a little corny/cheesy in the dialogue area, Flockhart’s character is still an asshole, but gives some of the most excellent career advice I’ve ever heard, and Hoechlin looks really weird (he has a funny face) as Superman, but he’s not bad. I think his pants are waay too tight as Clark Kent,  but okay. Speaking of clothes, I don’t like how Kara and Clark just rip open their shirts when they’re getting into character. I mean, that’s losing a lot of buttons, and as far as I can tell, Kara can’t sew.

Kara is still too young and twitchy for me. Like Flockhart’s character, Cat Grant, I  just want to shake her really hard, sometimes. She’s not a bad character, but she’s wishy-washy when she’s not being Supergirl, and I find women like that highly annoying. I understand why they’re like that, I just don’t like it. On the other hand, I like her relationship with Jimmy, who is really cute, and patient with her, and her relationship with her sister is really cute. I’m glad they’re shown getting along instead of some manufactured drama.  I just wish Kara acted a little more sure of herself, and it wouldn’t make my brain twitch. Nevertheless, she made a couple of command decisions in this episode, as Kara. I didn’t necessarily agree with all of the decisions, but at least she made ’em.

I’ve never been a Supergirl fan, I’ve never even read the books, but I am a huge J’onn Jones fan, though. I got most of his backstory from reading the Justice League books. I can’t articulate why, but I just love this character. Maybe it’s nostalgia for the comic book version. I like the actor who plays him, and I’m sure I’ve seen him somewhere before, but it escapes me, now. Kara’s sister started out pretty boring but became a lot less so when I saw her kicking  ass later in the show. What can I say, I love a good fight sequence. The best ones are like watching good dancing.

In this episode, Kara gets a visit from her cousin, Superman, and their relationship is really cute. Kara seems to get along with everybody. Last year she got a visit from The Flash and they seemed to hit it off pretty well. She’s like “the everysister”. Yet another dropship from Krypton falls out of the sky, delivering who knows what, or who. Superman and JJ don’t get along because JJ is a pragmatic paranoiac, who keeps Kryptonite at his facility, and Supe doesn’t want anything to do with that. Lex Luther has a sister, Alex, and someone has been trying to kill her. Well, really it was just murder attempts all night, really. Everything gets resolved though. Kara breaks up with Jimmy, decides she wants to be a reporter like Clark, and Metallo gets created. I was never impressed by Metallo, in the comic books either, but he looks kinda cool in the show.

I still don’t see me ever being a fan, or regular viewer of this show. It just wasn’t galvanizing for me, but it’s not a bad show, as it has improved a lot since that first episode.  Supergirl, and The Flash, are really kind of middle-of-the-road type characters for me. Watching these shows is like watching Superman’s best budds, when what I really want is to just watch a show about Superman. It’s just not powerful or exciting enough for my tastes.

Although, I might need to watch it again next week, just to be sure.

Channel Zero:


I hate to be a wet blanket but this show needs to step up the scares and mystery if it hopes to keep my attention. It has the feel of the first season of American Horror Story, except with more lackluster acting. I didn’t know what to expect going in. I thought maybe it was an anthology show. It’s not. It’s about yet another guy who goes back  to his old hometown where something tragic occurred to him when he was a child, and finds that maybe it’s starting all over again. It’s one of those slow burn mysteries, where you have not one damn clue what’s happening, except that it involves an old tv show that’s back on the air and is influencing the town’s children, and this show ain’t trying to hard explaining shit. Nor are the questions that arise, compelling enough to keep me watching this every week.

One sure way to get me to not like your show is to torture a child. At one point one kid bullies another kid, breaking his finger, while a bunch of other kids stand around and watch. As someone who always intervened when I saw other kids being bullied, I was enraged by this. (Not just the bullying but the standing around watching it.) Apparently, such scenes are one of my few triggers. Having been on the receiving end of a few of these sessions, as a young girl, I have no shame in confessing that I hate bullies with the passion of a thousand fiery suns, and cannot tolerate watching kids harm each other in movies and tv shows. (One of the reasons I refuse to watch movies like Hunger Games, or Battle Royale.)

I also had the impression, from the  trailers, that it was supposed to be scary, but I wasn’t scared. I was however, very irritated. This was not helped by the acting. There are a lot of awkward pauses, and greetings, and  significant glances with no explanation forthcoming, other than maybe nobody likes Mike.  Mike, the guy who goes back home, is quiet and creepy and not one person has a natural sounding conversation with another person. Everything sounds portentous, and ominous for no particular reason that I could discern. Maybe some of you guys will have better luck and then come back and explain to me what the hell I just watched.

I’ll wait!

Aftermath:

I still haven’t watched this show, but I plan on it. It looks like it might be fun, like The Walking Dead, with added demons. I probably won’t get to it until something goes on hiatus in November. Until then, it’s just sitting on my DVR. For my Non-American readers,  Fall premiere season happens in the space of two months (October and September) and there were a lot of genre shows (a good thirty plus) released this season, at least 5 or 6 of them on Tuesday night, alone. Aftermath airs on the same night as Brooklyn 99, From Dusk Til Dawn, Channel Zero, and Agents of Shield, so my dance card is pretty full, and Aftermath, no matter how interesting it looks, is going to have wait it’s turn.

Legends of Tomorrow:


Okay, I watched this but I don’t have much memory about it. Not that it was bad, just kind of lightweight , I guess. So, now the team isn’t superheroes anymore, but time lords, or travelers, or something, trying to right the various wrongs throughout history, being committed by Damien Darhk, like giving nuclear weapons to the Nazis so they can blow up NY city. That’s all  I managed to get out of this episode beyond Jackson feeling salty for being left on the ship all the time,  Rip Hunter being his usual dickish self in having contingency plans he keeps refusing to tell his crew about, and somewhere in there, Albert Einstein was involved.

I kinda like this show because its mindless good fun. I can knit while watching it as its not something I’m going to get particularly angsty about all week. I like the characters, who are dealing with problems just deep enough to keep them interesting, and of course, I love Firestorm whenever he gets to come out and play.And hey! next week…Vixen! and the Justice Society, who all look pretty awesome, even if I have no idea who they are.

Rip Hunter is still a jerk, though.

Wolf Creek:


As a general rule, I don’t watch serial killer movies, except when I do. Wolf Creek, the TV show, is based on a 2005 movie, which is based on a true story of a family that got lost in the  Australian Outback, and claimed they encountered a serial killer, sort of like in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, another movie I find annoying. (Whew! Thank you run-on sentence gods!) Anyway in the pilot episode, a family gets lost in the Outback and gets attacked by a serial killer. What a surprise! Anyway, I was dubious about watching this because torture-porn is boring, and its difficult to turn lack of character development and torture and killing into a good mini-series. I’ll get back to you guys in this one when I get around to viewing it.

Westworld:


If Westworld is going to cause more questions then answers every time it airs, I can’t keep watching this. Nevertheless, I’m hooked on it, for now. Most of the humans on this show are total assholes, but the robots are kinda cool. Last week we started the story from the Host angle. This week we get a glimpse of what it’s like for the Guests, and mostly I’m just deeply repulsed. I’m not sure if it’s the setup, or the Guests themselves, which I find more distasteful. I’m guessing that’s on purpose by the writers. We’re meant to hate the people as much as the robots would?

Two guys, one of  whom is a jerk, and the other a classic milquetoast (although there’s nothing wrong with that) visit Westworld. The jerky one seems mostly interested in fucking and/or killing the robots, so right away, his story is uninteresting. The other guy though, encounters Dolores (corrected from Dorothy, in my last post), and is immediately smitten. Apparently he’s looking for True Love. There was some girl on girl action in the saloon, and the jerky Guest likes both men and women, and I’m all for LGBT representation, except for how it’s presented in this show, as something that’s risqué, or taboo. It’s something the characters can engage in clandestinely, at Westworld, because it’s unacceptable in the real world, like all the raping and the killing they get up to. I don’t like the idea of gay representation being equated with all the other shitty behavior we see the Guests committing against the robots, especially when there’s no such representation outside of Westworld.

I’m still not clear about how people choose their adventures, how long they can stay, how much it costs and why don’t we see more women Guests being gunfighters, because I would totally choose to be a female Sheriff or something. How do bullets work there, and how do they keep Guests from killing Guests when you can’t tell who is  a robot and who isn’t? Also, the show is working really hard at getting us to believe Ed Harris guy is human but I’m still hedging my bets. I’m not completely convinced, as most of the statements he makes about himself are somewhat ambiguous. But he does know about “the world outside the world”,so I’m still confused, (and will remain so for some time apparently.)

The robots comtinue to be the most interesting characters in the show and behave in an offbeat manner. The “reveries”  code  is contagious because Dolores passes it on to Thandie Newtons character, Maeve, who starts to have flashbacks to a previous existence, where she’d been killed by Indians. One of the Indians morphs into Ed Harris’ Man in Black, and it’s been posited that he might be some kind of icon of death for the robots, like the boogeyman, or the devil, someone they’re universally afraid of. Dolores passes along the contagious code by whispering her father’s phrase into Maeve’s ear.

“These violent delights have violent ends.” Definitely a pronouncement of the future.

Maeve is set to have a diagnostics check, and be decommissioned, but unexpectedly wakes up on the operating table, using the very same technique that the techs have been using to put her to sleep. I think what she does, during her little freedom walk, is a precursor to everything that’s going to be happening later in this season, only bloodier. She comes across the lab techs, hosing down the dead bodies of a roomful of robots, and one of the techs explicitly states that they hope the robots never start remembering what the Guests do to them, which makes me feel disgusted all over again, because based on what I’ve seen of Westworld so far, the humans (even the ones working at the facility) deserve it.

Jeffrey Wright’s character, and Anthony Hopkins don’t seem especially worried about  these malfunctions, and even seem to be encouraged by them, as we see when Wright’s character secretly interviews Dolores about her thoughts. And Hopkins guy may be considering adding religion to the Westworld program. Earlier in the episode, one of the robots mentions God in an offhand manner, and I perked up, wondering if the robots had religion. If they get coded to believe in a God, they already have a devil. The Man in Black.

I have to mention the opening credits here. They’re just incredibly lovely, with its robot horse and rider, and Leonardo Da Vinci’s  ideal man imagery, and it heavily  reminds me of both the opening credits of the original Ghost in the Shell, with its contemplative, percussive theme song, which helps to set the existentialist mood, and its slow stately music, which reminds me of my favorite Bjork video, All is Full of Love, which is about a robot falling in love with itself.

Hollywood : Whitewashing (Part III)

Normally, I like to celebrate and geek out about the things Hollywood is getting right but lately there has been a number of serious fuckups, that have been pointed out to us, that shows that the PTB in Hollywood are seriously out of  touch with the rest of the American people, and need to get their shit together, and undergo a serious diversity overhaul.

I know I’ve mentioned before what a huge behemoth Hollywood is, how its so large that it can be slow to change. The problem with that theory is that even in situations where Hollywood has the time, to make different types of choices, it doesn’t. I understand that often films are years in the making and the films that have been released this year are sometimes cast months (in some cases years) in advance, so I will give a tiny bit of leeway in that direction, as Hollywood probably has not fully understood just how seriously their fuckups have been on the diversity front. What I do not give a pass to are movies that have been recently cast.

For example:

MCU: The Marvel Cinematic Universe keeps falling down on the diversity front. Given an opportunity to cast anything other than White men in heroic roles in the films it continues to get this  wrong. There are almost no Women of Color in the MCU, outside of Agents of Shield (two Asian women), and Daredevil’s Elektra (its depiction of Asian women is  a  problem that was just discussed). There is one Afro Latina in the MCU as Claire in Daredevil.  I guess they figured with an Afro Latina they got all their bases covered and don’t need to cast any more women of color.

Hopefully we can get some representation with Luke Cage, which is coming out in the Fall, and hopefully it won’t rely on a bunch of tropes, since Hollywood seems to find writing for black female characters to be one of the hardest things in the universe. (Perhaps if they had some black women writers behind the scenes in Hollywood, this might not be a problem.) My argument though is  we shouldn’t have to wait for a Black vehicle to see black women in the superhero universe. We should’ve been included all along.

Jessica Jones went a long way towards depicting white women in the MCU and I say white women because the one depiction they had of a black woman in that series (Luke Cage’s wife) was ignominiously murdered by the white heroine of that series, which mostly served to send the, I’d like to believe unintentional, message to its audience that there is no room in this universe for black and white women’s stories to exist together.

Agent Carter too, is a prime example of heroic white women existing at the expense of women of color, as if there’s no room for both to co-exist. Perhaps the writers of that show think Peggy will look less heroic next to women who are actually experiencing some next level hardship? Or maybe the writers are too lazy to write the kind of story that would make Peggy look heroic by helping the lives of women who don’t look like her?

Its as if Hollywood refuses to understand that White women and  WoC don’t have to be pitted against each other for a good story to be told. Their stories can and often do exist side by side and doesn’t detract from the the other’s story.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of white female heroes that I love. Like Black Widow, who has yet to get her own movie, even though the MCU was willing to make yet another film featuring a white man: Antman. A movie no one was asking for. We’ve been asking for a black Widow movie for over three years now and  it would also be nice to see a White Tiger (Latino),the original Captain Marvel (African American), or even Storm. (Catwoman doesn’t count. That movie was shit.)

Instead of giving us a Black Widow movie Hollywood has decided to make the puzzling decision to keep casting  Scarlett Johannson in worse and worse vehicles, as if they’re trying to destroy her career before they have to make that Black Widow movie we’ve been asking them for. What is their plan exactly? Keep making worse movies with her in them until her career flops and then use that as an excuse to call off the Black Widow movie they have no intention of ever making?

The less said about the DC Universe films, the better. The TV shows, on the other hand,which seems to exist exclusively on the CW, are at least trying, which is more than I can say for Marvel’s TV universe, which is incoherent and scattered all over the place.

While we are on the subject of Marvel, lets discuss: Whitewashing

Iron Fist/Dr. Strange: Whitewashing/White Savior trope:

I think I mentioned on another site that Hollywood has spent decades creating trope after trope after sterotype about PoC, so now that they have the ability to cast persons of color in movies, their castings are almost always going to be problematic no matter who they choose. Hollywood is an incredibly lazy and unimaginative place at times. They can be just as traditional and hidebound as that Auntie who spends all day/every day in church and walks around the house humming gospel songs to herself.

I know, I know, they are in the business of making money and they  like sure things, and don’t like to take many chances which is a great business model when your business doesn’t depend on being imaginative.

Ghost in the Shell: Whitewashing

Okay this photo gallery is for that asshole writer of Ghost in the Shell, who pretty much just killed his fucking movie by saying that they chose Scarlett Johannson because there are no good Asian actresses.

 

 

Or it could just be that their lazy asses couldn’t be bothered to look for any to star in their movie.

 

Gods of Egypt:Whitewashing

Nina Simone: Colorism

 

 

 

Ghost in the Shell #whitewashing

Every week,  Hollywood does something to make me giddy, and then they counteract that, with something that makes me wanna smack a bish! I guess they don’t want me gettin complacent.

Hollywood just refuses to learn. In their defense though, Hollywood is like the  Titanic, compared to the tugboat of TV. Think of it this way: you’re driving a Ford escort which can stop on a dime, and turn on a knife. Hollywood, the behemoth of modern media, can’t do anything quickly. Its going to take some time for the the ideas of inclusion and diversity to  trickle up to the white men who run these companies (and their investors). But that is the only (and I mean THE ONLY) excuse I’ll give them.

One of the reasons for Hollywoods inertia on these issues is also the overseas markets. The PTB continue to hold onto lots of myths about what the global market wants to see in American films. (That’s not an excuse. That’s  just lazy.) Hollywood is still being run by white men, and women, who are too old, and too out of touch with current socio-political beliefs for them to make coherent decisions about those beliefs. The problem isn’t the Oscars. The problem is the Hollywood machinery.

Well, let’s just say, I hope that’s what it is, rather than sheer, stupid, meanheaded, truculence. I proposed an idea that every time casting choices get made, that whoever made them, should be required to write a several thousand word essay, to the public and fans, on the history of whitewashing in Hollywood, and explain in detail, why they made their choice, with bibliographical references, to show they did the reading. Because they have to know what fans are asking them for, and the only reason they’re being so obtuse about it is, they really don’t get it, or they’re deliberately thumbing their nose at fans, out of sheer contempt, and as a generally positive person, I don’t want to assume malevolence, where there is none.

That said, I will not be going to see Ghost in the Shell. I love the anime and I love Scarlet Johansen, but I don’t want to see Scarlet in vehicles where she is clearly not wanted or even needed. They had at least a  dozen Asian women who would be more than happy to have played Motoko Kusanagi in this movie, but chose to give the first four primary roles listed in the credits to white people, with Japanese actors as  auxiliaries in their own movie. If you could get that many Japanese people to star in the movie, in the first place, why couldn’t you get a Japanese lead? So, in solidarity with other PoC who keep getting their nose tweaked by “The Machine”, I’m opting out.

I don’t blame Scarlet for this, any more than I blame Zoe Saldana for the Nina Simone disaster. I blame the PTB that made such awful choices, and if there was more diversity within the machinery of Hollywood, some of the long held myths Hollywood believes about the public, would be questioned and/or  debunked by those people, because this is what happens when too many people within an organization, all think alike because they all have the exact same backgrounds.

This is why we need the Star Trek ideology: IDIC -Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. We need all kinds of people behind the scenes. ALL KINDS! Not just middle class, suburban, straight, cis-gender, white men and women, who are pathologically incapable, it seems, of seeing anything beyond their own personal experiences and fantasies, or just don’t want to. I mean just count, in the past ten years alone, how many movies have been made about some guy’s all American boyhood, or his teen years looking for sex, or lusting after his hot neighbor. (Now count how many of those movies had a black, Latinx or Asian lead character. )

PoC want to be able to tell those same boring ass stories about our lives. We don’t just want to see movies about slavery and Civil Rights. Latinos don’t just want to watch movies only about immigration, or surviving gangs, and Asian people don’t want to see only movies about them knowing martial arts. (That’s what the Chinese action movie industry is for, and even they break that shit up sometimes, with romances and police procedurals.) Many Asian people are seriously pissed at the erasure in this movie and in Dr. Strange. (I feel like Dr. strange is something much more complicated than GitS, though and I’ll discuss that at a later date.)

Nobody is boycotting GitS.  Nobody has said that word. I have heard from a lot of people, that though they are fans of the original anime, they won’t be seeing this movie. I know I won’t be seeing it. I like the actress and know she will do a good job but I would’ve preferred someone else. I cannot in good conscience give them my money, as that would be encouraging Hollywood to keep doing shit like this, and they gon’ learn.

If any of my readers wish to see it, its up to you. Some people, who are unaware of the controversy, will enjoy it very much, but I would feel like I was sitting in a theatre full of the ghosts of what this movie could’ve been.

http://mic.com/articles/140911/scarlett-johansson-and-tilda-swinton-got-cast-in-asian-roles-and-people-are-pissed?utm_source=policymicTBLR&utm_medium=main&utm_campaign=social#.84C98tFNF

 

Addendum:

Okay, I feel like I’ve just been going on and on about Hollywood disappointments all week, and even I’m g thing tired of it, so as we don’t dwell too much in melancholia, here’s some fangirling, about shit they gettin’ right:

 

AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Okay, one more for the road…no. Oh, alright!

 

 

<yaaahhhhhhhh!>