If you’ve seen Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, you may have noticed something a little weird about the semi-Biblical, semi-apocalyptic cast of the movie: they’re all white. Even the extras.
In an interview with The Higher Calling, Noah screenwriter Ari Handel spoke about the reasoning behind the lack of racial diversity in the cast.
“From the beginning, we were concerned about casting, the issue of race. What we realized is that this story is functioning at the level of myth, and as a mythical story, the race of the individuals doesn’t matter. They’re supposed to be stand-ins for all people. Either you end up with a Bennetton ad or the crew of the Starship Enterprise. You either try to put everything in there, which just calls attention to it, or you just say, ‘Let’s make that not a factor, because we’re trying to deal with everyman.’ Looking at this story through that kind of lens is the same as saying, ‘Would the ark float and is it big enough to get all the species in there?’ That’s irrelevant to the questions because the questions are operating on a different plane than that; they’re operating on the mythical plane.”
In summary, white people are stand-ins “for all people,” and no other race could possibly qualify for “everyman” status. Ari Handel’s reasoning is that the only way to dispense with the issue of racism is to remove everyone who isn’t white. Asking what happened to all the other races is akin to nitpicking about whether the arc would float or not. It’s just silly, OK? “The race of individuals doesn’t matter,” which is why they made absolutely sure that all of those individuals were white. Or something.
Unintentionally, Handel managed to illustrate everything that’s wrong with the ongoing attitude towards casting actors of color in major Hollywood movies. White people are the norm, and everyone else is just a distraction. God forbid anyone attempt to be as diverse as the cast of the Star Trek, which debuted in 1966 and included a grand total of two non-white characters.
1) Food. As the first of the laws, food may not be conjured, created or generate in any way shape or form.
2) Money. Similar to food, Money may not be created out of thin air. Contradictory to muggle belief, magical laws governing money prevent it from being created, moved or altered by magic
3) Life. The most prime principle of magic; there is no spell to reawaken the dead.
4) Knowledge. You cannot know something you’ve never heard of. Therefore, as the fourth exception, knowledge can be neither conjured nor generated by magic. Proof of this fact lies in that Aurors are unable to conjure the location of criminals, nor students conjure up the necessary knowledge to pass tests and the sort.
5) Love. The fifth exception is love. “Love Potions” are misleading in that they claim to generate love, however they do in fact only generate a deep sense of lust or desire. There is no way to conjure or generate love – it must be created from within.
The 5 Exceptions to Gamp’s Law of Elemental Magic; Transfigurations 101, Lesson 1.
“The weird, impenetrable nature of Homestuck has led to it becoming a kind of mini-culture on the fringes of the more mainstream fandom community, with no one quite sure how to classify it. “Webcomic” seems OK, but but only because it feels kind of pretentious to describe it as a “multimedia storytelling experience.” Even convention organizers don’t know what to do with Homestuck. Its fans show up in droves to virtually every anime con, but it very clearly isn’t anime. Basically, Homestuck needs a place of its own. And that’s where Paradox Space comes in.”—'Homestuck' creator announces a new website as fans celebrate (and mourn) 4/13
Among Star Wars aficionados, there is one age-old question that separates the wheat from the chaff: Who shot first, Han or Greedo?
If you say Han, you’re a true fan of Han Solo’s original characterization as a morally ambiguous rogue. If you say Greedo, then you’re clearly a George Lucas stooge with no respect for canon. (If you say “Who the hell is Greedo?” then just FYI, it’s this green alien dude from the first Star Wars movie.)
Now, thanks to Harrison Ford’s RedditAMA on Sunday afternoon, we can now know the definitive answer to Who Shot First:
Is Agent Jasper Sitwell’s lack of popularity is a combination of bad luck and unappealing characterisation, or was it influenced by racial bias?
When Sitwell was killed off in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it was clear that his character arc had many similarities to that of Agent Coulson, who was resurrected following the hugely popular #CoulsonLives campaign. But a week and a half after Sitwell’s death, his equivalent fan campaign, #IBelieveInSitwell, is not exactly taking off.
So, why does everyone love Coulson so much more than Sitwell? What makes them so different?
Well, while Joss Whedon bumped up Coulson’s tertiary role to that of a lovable everyman hero in The Avengers, Sitwell was revealed to be a sleeper agent for the evil HYDRA organization. But as we already know, being evil has nothing to do with a character’s popularity. Just look at Loki, who tried to commit genocide in Thor and attacked New York in The Avengers, but is still widely beloved throughout Marvel fandom. If being a mass-murdering alien overlord isn’t enough to put people off, then Sitwell’s apparent HYDRA defection can presumably be humanized as well.
The 1982 Atari game for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is famously the “worst game ever made.” In fact, it was such a disaster that all the unsold copies were rumored to have been dumped in a New Mexico landfill site, giving rise to one of the most popular unsolved urban legends in gamer culture.
Now, that landfill is going to be excavated. Meaning that we’ve already reached the point where 1980s video game history counts as archaeology. Feeling old, yet?
It took 17 episodes, but Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is finally the show we were all hoping it would be in the first place.
It’s no secret that many fans were disappointed by the show’s early episodes, complaining about simplistic villain-of-the-week storylines and bland characterization. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. began to turn around after a couple of months, but nothing could’ve prepared its audience for this week’s tie-in with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, during which (spoiler alert!) the entire S.H.I.E.L.D. organization was gutted by hundreds of HYDRA sleeper agents.
Imagine a TV series about the janitorial staff at the Death Star, all leading up to the realization that they’d been working for the bad guys all along. That’s basically what happened in this week’s episode, complete with the equivalent of Luke Skywalker blowing everything up at the end.
I used to wonder what about me made me “rape-able,” if I have an invisible sign that marks me. I know that’s the rape culture talking, but your mind can’t help but go to some pretty dark places. Sometimes the dark places are all you have.
After a friend of mine was assaulted, she used to fantasize about her rapist, dreaming that he was a minotaur or a Zeus-like god, her way to cope with what happened. She wanted a version in which what they had was beautiful. In my case, I just wanted him gone, and in the two years since, I had all but forgotten about it. It seems like the type of thing you would remember, but I’ve never been good at journaling, let alone starting a mental rape diary.
But then I saw his message sitting there, as simply as if he were catching up with an old friend. I looked at his easy words—“how are you?” he wrote, without even bothering to capitalize—and I hadn’t the slightest clue what etiquette was in this case. Emily Post never covered “Responding to Your Thwarted Sexual Assailant.”
According to the Guardian’searly review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it’s the first time Black Widow has got to be an “actual character” rather than a “voluptuous female mascot.” Unfortunately, chief Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw’s follow-up was a little less sure of this, with Black Widow then being described as a “leather-clad… ass-kicking ex-Soviet adventuress whose auburn hairstyle is matched by her distinctive fake tan-type maquillage and restrained ochre lipstick.”
I’m glad he told us about her makeup routine, because otherwise that description would teach us next to nothing about her character.
In the Independent, Black Widow is a “sultry femme fatale,” although theTelegraph gives her the inaccurate but far more positive rating of “the most (the first?) complex female role in the Avengers franchise to date.”
Just for kicks, I took a look at the top reviews for The Avengers, to see what America’s most acclaimed and respected cinema critics thought of Black Widow back in 2012. Bear in mind that most of these quotes are the only description of Scarlett Johansson’s performance in the entire review.
In the New Yorker, Anthony Lane wrote, “not to be left out, Black Widow repels invading aliens through the sheer force of her corsetry,” while the Wall Street Journal’s Pulitzer-winning Joe Morgenstern complained, “Black Widow spends lots of time looking puzzled or confused.” New York Times reviewer A.O. Scott referenced the 1960s British spy series The Avengers(no relation), writing, “those poor souls who cherish old daydreams of Diana Rigg in leather will have to console themselves with images of Scarlett Johansson in a black bodysuit.”
The PepsiCo-sponsored GAME_JAM started as a four-day, $400,000 event where game developers would collaborate and compete for prizes. It took just one day for the entire thing to go up in flames.
Filmed for YouTube and structured more like reality TV than a typical game jam gathering, the whole thing tanked within the first 24 hours, allegedly thanks to the behavior of PepsiCo media consultant Matti Leshem.
[Game developer] Adriel Wallick described the oppressive atmosphere during the first day of GAME_JAM, where contestants had to compete in a Mountain Dew sponsored film set, for Mountain Dew themed prizes, while drinking nothing but Mountain Dew. “Guys with secret service earpieces and disheveled clipboards barked instructions on how to properly represent branded products,” wrote Jared Rosen.
“You can literally trace back the entire crumbling of this show to one individual,” wrote Wallick. “Matti Leshem, CEO of Protagonist.” Protagonist has been Pepsi’s primary branding and media consultancy for the past decade, and Leshem was a constant presence on the GAME_JAM set.
According to accounts from several people present at GAME_JAM, Leshem’s behavior was brash and inappropriate throughout, culminating in a bizarre line of questioning where he attempted to get GAME_JAM contestants to admit that having a woman on their team put them at a disadvantage.
Along with a petition to send to Marvel, supporters of an Asian American Iron Fist are sharing posts from sites like Nerds of Color and Comics Alliance, explaining why casting an Asian American actor would be a good idea for the new Netflix show.
Nerds of Color makes a good case:
“My call for an Asian American Iron Fist is not meant to displace Danny Rand from the story,” wrote Keith Chow, a contributor to the site. “It is, in fact, the opposite. In my mind, casting a young Asian American in the lead role does nothing to change his classic origin: He can still be the son of a wealthy businessman. He can still accompany his family on an expedition to seek out K’un L’un. He can still train under Lei Kung, the Thunderer. He can still seek revenge against the man who killed his father. Danny being Asian American precludes none of these things.
What does change, however, in making Danny non-white is that it removes the white savior syndrome of the original story.”
Chow goes on to add, “if Danny is Asian American, the scenes of him embracing the ways of K’un-L’un can be viewed through the lens of cultural reconnection.”
Robert Downey Jr. is Marvel’s cash cow, and is well known in industry circles as an aggressive negotiator. He brought his price up to $50 million for The Avengers—a paycheck that may have been a direct result of his original contract being slightly looser than the others.
Since then he’s demanded more money for each successive Marvel appearance, with a lengthy Deadline.com industry analysis characterizing him as a kind of father figure/financial advisor to the younger and less experienced Avengers actors. At least one member of the main cast was reputedly paid $200,000 for The Avengers, with relative newcomer Chris Hemsworth getting $1 million for Thor and Avengers combined. (To put things into perspective, Thor grossed $181 million at the box office, while Avengers famously made well over $1 billion.)
This may all sound pretty ridiculous. A contract for $200,000 isn’t pocket change, after all. But for actors like Johansson and Evans, who often go for this type of high-profile movie to stay on the A-list and fund a career doing low-budget indie movies, what’s the point in spending six months Avenging when you can earn 10 times as much on a different summer blockbuster?
While promoting Captain America: The Winter Soldier this week, Johansson actually described the experience as like being in “a gilded cage.”
The turtles are an Uncanny Valley nightmare, guaranteed to terrify the movie’s supposed target audience of children. Megan Fox spends most of her screentime pouting and looking confused, before fainting into the arms of one of those weirdly photo-realistic CGI turtles.
Strangest of all, Michael Bay seems to be under the impression that he was hired to make pizza-eating cartoon turtles look as gritty as as the