Monday, May 13, 2013

Five reasons I should punch J.F. Sargent in the face.

What is it about comics these days that pushes all my piss-off buttons? I think the fact that the medium has been hijacked by a bunch of Lefty propagandists who have no respect.

Latest annoyance courtesy of Kathy Shaidle at Five Feet of Fury, who posted an excellent snarky comeback in response to this piece of Leftist hipster assholery by  :
News has broken that Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle) is being considered to play Johnny Storm (The Human Torch) in the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot. Naturally, comic book fans across the Internet are furious, because they've had it with all the reboots and just want to preserve the magic of the 2005 original -- oh, wait, no. They're angry because Michael B. Jordan is black. And in the comics, Johnny Storm is white. But these Fantastic Four fans aren't mad because they're racist (they insist). No, their reasons are much more complicated, because ...
...and then he goes on to list five completely bullshit excuses to call ME a racist.

Because yeah, I used to read a lot of comics. and yeah, I liked Fantastic Four. And hell yeah, I think the notion of casting Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Freakin' Storm in an FF movie makes exactly as much sense as casting Latoya Jackson to play Harry Potter. Or John Hurt as Shaft.

Oh wait, I'm not allowed to make that argument, because its RACIST!.

#1 "Why Don't We Make Black Characters White, Then?"
"The thing is, the only reason these characters were white in the first place was that comic books were created in a time when nobody would have printed a book about a non-white superhero (having female superheroes was difficult enough, and they were handled with something less than dignity). But nowadays, the people responsible for these characters are trying to make their properties as inclusive and welcoming as they possibly can, because everybody likes comic books, not just white people."
Uhm, dude, the Fantastic Four was created in the 1960's, not during Jim Crow. So really, just fuck off.

Of course what its really about is power tripping studio corner office types who think they're smarter than... well EVERYBODY. Smarter than Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, for sure. Smarter than the audience, who all either know who Johnny Storm is supposed to be or don't care at all about the Fantastic Four. That would be ladies more than eighty years old like my mother, or recent immigrants who don't know what a comic book is. Illiterate goat herders from the Somali desert, for example.

Everybody who would ever give a shit to see a Fantastic Four movie knows Johnny Storm is a blonde white guy. But some RETARD is trying to make his way up the greased pole at Disney by playing PC politics with characters. That is the -only- reason for making that decision.

Why does this upset me? Because I like the Fantastic Four. I would like to go see a Fantastic Four movie that does not SUCK. I would like to see a Fantastic Four movie that is fun and exciting the way Iron Man was. The way Spider Man was. The way The Avengers was. Hell, even Superman.

A Fantastic Four movie with a black guy playing Johnny Storm? That will not be the movie I want to see. It will suck, because clearly the production will have no respect for the source material. It will suck even harder than the Thunderbirds movie directed by Johnathon Frakes back in 2004. And that's saying something, because that flick lost thirty million bucks due to sucking like a two dollar hooker.

Johnny Storm as a black guy? Genius! They can cast RuPaul as The Thing, Carol Pope from Rough Trade can be Susan Storm (what do you mean she's too old? Ageist!)  and Mr. Fantastic can be George Takei  in a wheelchair! Cover all the bases.

No? It'll be stupid, you say? You're such a racist.

On the bright side, when the new Fantastic Four movie crashes harder than John Carter of Mars, and for exactly the same stupid ass reason, and  loses a hundred MILLION dollars, and ends up in the $5.99 bin at Walmart six months after its release, Disney will fire the living shit out of Mr. Corner Office. All I have to do to ensure that happy outcome is stay the hell home and save my money. Which I will most certainly do.

The Racist Phantom. (Whatcha gonna do about it, hipsters?)

 Update: Welcome hipster dweebs. Please read the arguments -carefully- before spouting off in the comments section. Work on that reading comprehension, gentlemen

Upperdate: Well, here we are in July 2014 and this post is still getting traffic. Comics movies are if anything even more full of shit than before. The new Pinacle of Perversity is DC's Wonder Woman. First teaser picture of Princess Diana is a skinny little girl in bondage leather. Because OBVIOUSLY the Amazons would be right into the S&M scene, right? And obviously a woman who was practically born with a sword in one hand and a bow in the other would have little teensy arms like pipe cleaners and delicate little clavicle bones like a sparrow.

Upperupperdate: I'm confused now.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow. You just proved his point. Great job!

The Phantom said...

Perhaps you could be more specific?

Probably not, given that you are clearly an anonymous drive-by troll. But it never hurts to ask.

Kier said...

So disagreeing with someone over pop culture is license to punch them in the face now?

The Phantom said...

Certainly not.

Somebody calling me a racist though, that's definitely punch-in-the-face material.

Kier said...

I disagree. Even in the words were meant as an insult directly to you (and they certainly weren't) that's all they are-- words. The way I read that article was as a critique on how we as a society view the portrayal of race in popular culture and it's shockingly accurate.

As for punching the author in the face just because you perceive an insult that's not even there, no man. That's ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

"...and then he goes on to list five completely bullshit excuses to call ME a racist."

Yeah... you know he wasn't specifically addressing you right? Like how commercials and TV aren't also specifically addressing you.

"Uhm, dude, the Fantastic Four was created in the 1960's, not during Jim Crow. So really, just fuck off."

But 1960 was during Jim Crow, so...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Crow_laws

Anyway. Best of luck with your debilitating anger toward the world! Ranting about people in wheelchairs sure makes for a fun read!

The Phantom said...

Kier, your reading comprehension is challenged. According to the author:
1. Comic fans are "nerds".
2. Objecting to a black actor playing a white character is "nerd racism".

So whatever you "got" from the article, it isn't what the author was trying to convey. His thesis is that comic readers are small minded racists so its ok to push them around. Words aren't just words, kid. I suggest you look up some of the principles of propaganda and then get back to me.

As for the anonymous troll, hiding behind technicalities is the mark of the weak minded. Yes, Jim Crow was not outlawed until 1964. The social movement to outlaw it was at maximum strength in 1960.

I'm pressed for time here, so stay tuned. I'll crush your arguments at some length on Wednesday.

Alyric said...

@Kier

No, Phantom is right. Falsely accusing someone of racism is punch-in-the-face material. Not a "break someone's nose, shatter their jaw, or fracture their eye socket" kind of beating, but definitely a punch.

If more people had the... equipment... to do just that, society would be a bit more polite.

Robert E. Howard said it best, after all: "Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing."

To paraphrase for you: When people know they can be an asshat to other people without consequence, guess what most of them do? Take a look at the average internet forum for an answer to that question, if necessary.

The Phantom said...

Hi Alyric. There's another pithy saying that applies here. Sargent's mouth is writing checks that his ass can't cash.

I don't think these two little hipster boys have run into that saying before. Or R.E. Howard either.

DaveP. said...

Phantom, if hipsters ever met Bob Howard... they'd cry. The man grew up in Texas oiltowns at the turn of the century and had seen plenty of barbarism first-hand. He'd cut a swathe as wide as he wanted through any number of whiny manchildren.
Good article, though.

ColdFusion said...

I just read something by Sargent about how the pacific rim kaiju were bad because they weren't demonizing america like kaiju are supposedly meant to. He's a psychotic liberal that's intolerant of any differeing viewpoints. That article made me so mad I had to find an outlet to go express my general hatred of him, and thankfully you've provided one.

Anonymous said...

J F Sargent is a shitstain on the information superhighway.
Can you imagine the look on his face when he dies and realizes Hell exists? HAW HAW!!

The Phantom said...

Link to the follow-on.
http://phantomsoapbox.blogspot.ca/2013/05/face-punching-jf-sergant-redux.html

Anonymous said...

I'd love to punch mister Sargent in the face because he and David Wong are responsible for the piss-poor quality of cracked articles right now.
Cracked used to be the greatest site on the web. Now all it is clickbait catering to assmad lefties.

The Phantom said...

Isn't it amazing how fast a good thing can turn to shit when you put a Lefty in charge of it? Its like lightning!

Anonymous said...

I'm not trying to argue, just wondering.

You said you like the Avengers, i did too. Nick Fury was made black, and the Hulk was played by someone who is of Italian descent. Did that ruin the experience for you? They were both my favorite characters, and I cant imagine many other actors playing them better.

I guess what I'm asking is, does it matter if Michael B. Jordan is black, as long as he nails the role. Its not like turning spiderman into a woman, I mean that would totally change the character.

The Phantom said...

In the Avengers, it doesn't matter if Nick Fury is black. It doesn't effect the story, and Samuel L. Jackson fits the character being portrayed. He's been black in the comics for a while too.

In Thor, it doesn't matter if Heimdall is black, except in the kind of jarring 'there's no black people in Nordic legend' way. We can accept Idriss Elba as Heimdall, it doesn't effect the story.

Johny Storm is a blonde white kid, a jock and a wise ass. He's got a blonde, white kid sister. If you make Johnny Storm a black kid, it's not the FF anymore, and it will suck. Why not make Thor black? It makes as much sense, right?

Lord of the Rings. Can Frodo be black? How about Gandalf? How about Gimli? They might be able to get away with Gimli, right? But it would be bullshit.

Witness the massive suckage of that FF movie. Michael B. Jordan could have been the greatest actor in world history, and it would have still sucked. One guy cannot rescue the Titanic when it's steaming full throttle for an iceberg.

If you're going to make a movie out of a comic book, you have to respect the source material. That's why the Avengers rocked and all the Superman movies sucked. No respect for the source material.

Benny said...

I guess I don't really understand your argument about "source material". Does it only pertain to comic book stories? Does it pertain to hair colour as well as skin colour? It's unclear because you use the example of LOTR which isn't a comic, you focus on Johnny Storm's blondeness on two separate occasions, you concede Gimli the dwarf can be black... and then sharply withdraw that comment with the ambiguous statement "But it would be bullshit." Finally, your response to why Heimdall and Fury are acceptable as black men, while Johnny Storm isn't, is inane or incomplete. I would argue that in none of these examples does having the character's ethnicity change deeply affect the story. A black man can be a 'jock, wise-ass'as easily as a white man.

What is more difficult to justify as 'faithful' is if entire characters are missing from the new story - which is where your beacon of adherence to source material, The Avengers, sadly falls down. If it were truly a faithful adaptation of the original source material, Hank Pym, The Wasp, and Antman would all have made an appearance, while Black Widow and Hawkeye would have been conspicuously absent.

I honestly think you're making a weak argument in any case. The Watchmen film changed the entire ending of the book and I loved the shit out of that movie. Troy can only be said to be loosely based on the Iliad and yet that was a good film, too. V for Vendetta, Star Trek, Constantine, The Flash... all examples of significant departures from source material that work well as their own stories.

I'm also waiting with interest for you to 'crush' the anonymous fellow's arguments from three years ago. Your citing of the Jim Crow laws was not a technicality, it was a major point of your argument, and one you should have taken greater care to research before shooting your mouth off about it.

Your comment about 1960 being the time a social movement to outlaw it was at its strongest is irrelevant and shows a complete failure to understand how prejudice and social semiotics work. What Sargent is saying is that the socio-political environment of the time meant that artists and writers were predisposed to creating white characters - because what they had seen and experienced all their lives were white, male heroes. It makes sense that they would shape heroes in that image, as they were a product of their time. Things do not simply stop occurring because they are outlawed or frowned upon. If this is difficult for you to grasp, go and ask a woman if she feels sexism still exists even though women are now 'equal under the law.' Better yet, ask a gay man if he feels all homophobia ended on June 26, 2015. Social norms and practices have far reaching consequences, even if they have been amended.

I read a lot of JF Sargent, and I don't agree with everything he says, but at least he has formulated a defensible and structured argument. If nothing else, and I mean this sincerely, you should take some tips from his writing.

The Phantom said...

Benny:

"I guess I don't really understand your argument about "source material".

Sure you do. You just hate that it goes against your beliefs. You and Sargent are both trying to make this about race, and you are both trying to pretend that I am a racist because I hold this view. This is clearly -not- about race, I'm clearly -not- a racist, and its pissing you off.

"Does it only pertain to comic book stories? Does it pertain to hair colour as well as skin colour? It's unclear because you use the example of LOTR which isn't a comic, you focus on Johnny Storm's blondeness on two separate occasions, you concede Gimli the dwarf can be black... and then sharply withdraw that comment with the ambiguous statement "But it would be bullshit."

This is what I like to call arguing by being deliberately obtuse. My argument is simple. If you take a story from a book or a comic which has been successful, and then you chop and channel it into a movie by adding all sorts of political shit that was not in the book or comic, the movie will suck. Making Gimili black would not affect the plot of LOTR much, if at all. But it would add a -political- component to the movie that was not in the book. Politics is inherently boring and it fucks things up in stories. It makes characters do things for stupid reasons that make no sense except politically.

Politicizing Tolkien for gratuitous PC brownie points would be bullshit, and would annoy the audience. Can there be black Dwarves? I suppose. Should there be, just because you need to tick off a box on the PC-Approval list? No.

"Finally, your response to why Heimdall and Fury are acceptable as black men, while Johnny Storm isn't, is inane or incomplete. I would argue that in none of these examples does having the character's ethnicity change deeply affect the story. A black man can be a 'jock, wise-ass'as easily as a white man."

Did the FF movie suck? Yes it did. Did the Avengers suck? No it did not. Can you make Johnny Storm a black dude with an adopted white kid-sister? Sure. Will it work? No, because I didn't pay to see -their- version of the FF, I paid to see the Stan Lee version. The original version.

It doesn't matter what race Johnny Storm is. Unless the customer, me, paid to see the original story. Then it matters. That's the point, and you know it.

Benny said...

Mate, this is what I have an issue with:

"A Fantastic Four movie with a black guy playing Johnny Storm? That will not be the movie I want to see. It will suck, because clearly the production will have no respect for the source material." - You, 2013.

You made that comment two years before the movie came out. The movie DID suck. Incredibly. But it sucked because of a poor script, pacing, sub-standard performances, and a nutcase behind the camera.

Do you notice the difference in my criticism as opposed to yours? Mine are all comments on the finished product. You made a comment on something you hadn't seen because a casting choice was what you perceived to be 'PC.' You don't address, (and I don't think you can, really,) my arguments above listing several great films that SIGNIFICANTLY depart from the source material.

It's a copout, and I think that you know it, to claim that I don't like your argument because it goes against my beliefs. My main issue is that you can't structure or maintain an argument. In short, I don't like your argument because it makes so goddamned sense. You claim that your 'argument is simple'. That you don't like politics because it 'fucks things up in stories', and yet The Avengers is DECIDEDLY political. It has some incredibly poignant political overtones about invasion and the right to build and maintain weapons of mass destruction. In other examples, Tolkien on more than one occasion asserted that dwarves were his (somewhat racist) imagining of Jewish people in Middle Earth, and Watchmen is a brilliant story about how heroes would exist and be regarded within the socio-political structures of the real world... the list goes infinitely on.

You must understand that your argument doesn't look like 'politics is bad in film', seeing as you clearly enjoy films with political messages, it looks like 'black people in roles that were originally for white characters is bad', which - yes - makes you sound kinda racist. You say you 'paid to see the original story', but what original story? You seem only to object to departures from source material when it has to do with someone's skin tone. And frankly, that bothers me.

And while we can both agree that this fact is an absolute travesty - the truth is that 'Mr. Corner Office' from your original post made a festering pile of a film that made a $48 million profit against its budget... so he probably has ocean views and a robot secretary now.

Mate, you seem like you have something valuable to say, but the PC argument just doesn't hold water. You have to come to terms with the fact that Sargent was right... this anger about a re-imagining of a character is ridiculous... as he asserted, and as I've shown numerous times now.

You end by saying:

"It doesn't matter what race Johnny Storm is. Unless the customer, me, paid to see the original story. Then it matters. That's the point, and you know it."

Essentially, to your mind, it DOES matter what race Johnny Storm is. If that matters to you so much, especially in the face of everything else that is wrong with the film, then you are living a life that is going to be plagued by disappointment, while missing the larger point entirely.

THAT is the point. And you know it.




Benny said...

Mate, this is what I have an issue with:

"A Fantastic Four movie with a black guy playing Johnny Storm? That will not be the movie I want to see. It will suck, because clearly the production will have no respect for the source material." - You, 2013.

You made that comment two years before the movie came out. The movie DID suck. Incredibly. But it sucked because of a poor script, pacing, sub-standard performances, and a nutcase behind the camera.

Do you notice the difference in my criticism as opposed to yours? Mine are all comments on the finished product. You made a comment on something you hadn't seen because a casting choice was what you perceived to be 'PC.' You don't address, (and I don't think you can, really,) my arguments above listing several great films that SIGNIFICANTLY depart from the source material.

It's a copout, and I think that you know it, to claim that I don't like your argument because it goes against my beliefs. My main issue is that you can't structure or maintain an argument. In short, I don't like your argument because it makes so goddamned sense. You claim that your 'argument is simple'. That you don't like politics because it 'fucks things up in stories', and yet The Avengers is DECIDEDLY political. It has some incredibly poignant political overtones about invasion and the right to build and maintain weapons of mass destruction. In other examples, Tolkien on more than one occasion asserted that dwarves were his (somewhat racist) imagining of Jewish people in Middle Earth, and Watchmen is a brilliant story about how heroes would exist and be regarded within the socio-political structures of the real world... the list goes infinitely on.

You must understand that your argument doesn't look like 'politics is bad in film', seeing as you clearly enjoy films with political messages, it looks like 'black people in roles that were originally for white characters is bad', which - yes - makes you sound kinda racist. You say you 'paid to see the original story', but what original story? You seem only to object to departures from source material when it has to do with someone's skin tone. And frankly, that bothers me.

And while we can both agree that this fact is an absolute travesty - the truth is that 'Mr. Corner Office' from your original post made a festering pile of a film that made a $48 million profit against its budget... so he probably has ocean views and a robot secretary now.

Mate, you seem like you have something valuable to say, but the PC argument just doesn't hold water. You have to come to terms with the fact that Sargent was right... this anger about a re-imagining of a character is ridiculous... as he asserted, and as I've shown numerous times now.

You end by saying:

"It doesn't matter what race Johnny Storm is. Unless the customer, me, paid to see the original story. Then it matters. That's the point, and you know it."

Essentially, to your mind, it DOES matter what race Johnny Storm is. If that matters to you so much, especially in the face of everything else that is wrong with the film, then you are living a life that is going to be plagued by disappointment, while missing the larger point entirely.

THAT is the point. And you know it.




The Phantom said...

"You must understand that your argument doesn't look like 'politics is bad in film', seeing as you clearly enjoy films with political messages, it looks like 'black people in roles that were originally for white characters is bad', which - yes - makes you sound kinda racist."

What I understand is that there is a whole industry made of priggish little nutsacks like J.F. Sargent, and apparently you, who comb the internet looking for things to be offended by and cry RAAAAACIST about.

Two years before the movie came out, I and -many- others predicted it would be crap, because you can't replace an entire section of a well established comic book pantheon like Fantastic Four and expect it to be anything but utter crap. It doesn't matter if the actor is black, Chinese, Indonesian, Indian. You make that switch, it's going to suck. And it did. But I'm still a racist? Fuck you.

Now, if you decide to make Susan storm black too, THAT could work. But they didn't do that. They went with the Token Black Guy, which is like a flaming sign one hundred feet high that the studio has no respect for the story, and they are going to wreck it.

It's not rocket science. It's just that you're desperate for me to be some kind of racist. Sorry to disappoint, old bean.

Doctor Strange trailer just came out. Dr Strange's story, by the evidence of the trailer, is following the lore. Car accident, broken hands, fall from grace, redemption, etc. Awesome astral projection visual. All good.

The Ancient One is Tilda Swinton. Not an old Oriental guy. Am I going to predict suckage based on that? No.

Because:
1) Side character. The Ancient One doesn't drive the story, he's an explanation for how Strange becomes Sorcerer Supreme.
2) Side Character. The identity, race, sex, etc. of The Ancient One does not change the story. Same as Heimdal in Thor, it doesn't matter.
3) Tilda Swinton is eerie as shit, she'll play it like a boss. She's got the power to rescue the thing from being crap, even if it is crap.

Would it be -safer- to have an old Asian guy be the Ancient One? Absolutely. Wise Old Asian Guy is a trope. It'll work because it is expected.

Can this work anyway? Maybe. Because it is -un-expected, it could be amazing. Or crap. We'll see.

Bottom line, Disney, -so far-, is respecting the lore and playing Dr. Strange as written. Signs are positive that the movie will be fun.

According to more than a few on the Interwebz today, this makes me a racist because now a White woman is taking a part meant for an Asian.

Netflix is casting for Iron Fist. There's a movement afoot to get Daniel Rand cast as an Asian. Half the point of Daniel Rand is that he's a spoiled rich White kid who finds himself in Kun Lung. Casting him as an Asian would be a dumb idea. Almost guaranteed suckage.

That makes me a racist, even though the twerps calling for Rand to be Asian are doing it for purely racist reasons. He has to be asian because its Kung Fu!!! Only ASIANS are allowed to be in Kung Fu movies!!!

And yes, of course it matters what race a character is. Why did the writer make them that race in the first place? Why has the story been successful all these years? Because its a good story, and if you start fucking with it it won't be.

I don't know why this is so hard for you punks to understand, one might almost suspect politics were involved.

Benny said...

OK.

Firstly, stop assuming that I 'want' you to be a racist. I don't. The chip on your shoulder about this is huge and I've never called you a racist. I don't really think Sargent did either... read his article again. Carefully.

Your characterization of me combing the internet looking for things to be offended about is both unfair and untrue. This all started because I was looking for some more writing by Sargent, having enjoyed his most recent effort on Cracked, and stumbled onto your site. I was curious about why someone would want to punch him in the face. Also, stop the name calling and insults. It belittles us both.

You seem to make a glaring contradiction in your second and third paragraphs. You start by saying you can't 'replace an entire section of an established comic book pantheon and still expect it to be good.' You then immediately state that if they turned Sue black as well, that could have worked. So you can't replace a quarter of the team... but half is OK? Look... maybe we'd understand each other better if I simply asked questions:

1. Why is a token black guy a flaming sign that the studio has no respect for the story, but a pair of black siblings acceptable?

2. If Tilda Swinton can play this role 'like a boss' why weren't your comments about Michael B Jordan about your concerns he didn't have the acting chops to play Johnny Storm? THAT is an argument I can get behind. But you specifically argue the opposite of that. Observe:

"Michael B. Jordan could have been the greatest actor in world history, and it would have still sucked." So what gives, Phantom?

3. How does Johnny Storm 'drive the story' of Fantastic Four?

4. How does changing ANY character's race change the STORY?

5. If 'of course it matters what race a character is', why did you say, 'it doesn't matter what race Johnny Storm is'?

6. "Can this work anyway? Maybe. Because it is -un-expected, it could be amazing. Or crap. We'll see."

This is what you say about Tilda Swinton. Why is it a 'we'll see' with her, but a solid 'Fuck off' for Johnny Storm? Couldn't one say it would be 'safer' to have a white Johnny Storm, but it 'might' work to have a black one? You may answer this question with your response to question 5, by the way.

Mate, the reason, and I can't stress this enough, that 'we punks' don't understand your argument is because it is full of contradictions! And I agree that while it SHOULDN'T be rocket science, wading through and trying to understand what you are saying does require some sort of higher degree.

I'm intrigued by your response about Iron Fist. He's not a character I know well but I totally understand your argument for why he needs to be a white kid. THAT argument makes sense. 'Fish out of water' trope. Essential for a character driven tale.

I asked you before, respectfully, to stop assuming that you know my politics and simply engage with the argument. You have ignored several points of mine where you clearly contradict yourself. If I'm wrong, that's fine. But you need to tell me WHY. Answer my questions.

If you've made a mistake and dug yourself in, that's fine too. It's a fine man who can admit when he is wrong.

Looking forward to continuing this little joust.

The Phantom said...

"I asked you before, respectfully, to stop assuming that you know my politics and simply engage with the argument. You have ignored several points of mine where you clearly contradict yourself. If I'm wrong, that's fine. But you need to tell me WHY. Answer my questions."

I am answering your questions. You're not reading the answers. The Ancient One is a -side- character. Johnny Storm is a -main- character AND one of a sibling pair. One of these things is not like the other.

Consider: Can Tilde Swinton play Doctor Strange? Sure. Will it suck? Absolutely 100% guaranteed to suck. Dr. Strange is a guy. It's an established story. Can Tilde Swinton play Harry Potter? Sure. Will it suck? Et Cetera.

"Firstly, stop assuming that I 'want' you to be a racist. I don't. The chip on your shoulder about this is huge and I've never called you a racist. I don't really think Sargent did either... read his article again. Carefully."

Oh, I think he really did: "Revealing that a big chunk of our fans are racist cockholes" doesn't seem like a great publicity stunt to us, but that's probably why we're not big-city publicists."

1. Why is a token black guy a flaming sign that the studio has no respect for the story, but a pair of black siblings acceptable?

Because using siblings shows they give enough of a shit to at least -try-. Token Black Guy shows they just don't care.

2. If Tilda Swinton can play this role 'like a boss' why weren't your comments about Michael B Jordan about your concerns he didn't have the acting chops to play Johnny Storm?

One actor cannot save a doomed production. When the property owner has contempt for the property, it is all over before they even approve the script.

3. How does Johnny Storm 'drive the story' of Fantastic Four?

For that you'll have to read an FF comic. The movie writers clearly didn't care.

4. How does changing ANY character's race change the STORY?

How does a black Johnny Storm have a white sister? Major story change from FF comics that takes screen time to explain, and it adds nothing to the narrative. Making a change like that is stupid, and a sure sign the production is doomed.

5. If 'of course it matters what race a character is', why did you say, 'it doesn't matter what race Johnny Storm is'?

It's a comic book. It doesn't matter. But if a comic has been successful, and you want the movie to work, you better stick with the comic as much as you can. Changing it from the Fantastic Four to the Fantastic Huxtables, for absolutely no reason, will surely make it fail. And it did. Massively.

And that is why it failed. Because everybody wanted to see the Fantastic Four fighting Dr. Doom, nobody wanted to see the Fantastic Huxtables fighting some hipster dickweed they called Victor Von Doom but who looked like an escapee from 90210.

6. This is what you say about Tilda Swinton. Why is it a 'we'll see' with her, but a solid 'Fuck off' for Johnny Storm?

I explained that already, at considerable length, twice. Go back and read again.

Now, about the Iron Fist thing. You approve and cite "fish out of water" trope as the reason. What tropes are introduced by switching one (1) character in a sibling pair with a different race? What tropes are removed? Does the rest of the story have a construction that can tolerate that switch?

Comics are nothing but tropes and bright colours. Their stories can't tolerate being changed like that, because all the underpinnings of the story are -unspoken-. These are archetypes, you can't change them without changing the entire thing. When you change the entire thing, it isn't what the fans wanted to see, is it?

Benny said...

Good. This is much better.

Plainly, I don't think you're right about the Storm siblings. One black and one white sibling changes nothing, for me. Unless it was a way to engage real world kids who have been adopted into new families... which I think is kind of a noble decision.

It's interesting that you use the Harry Potter example, because in the stage production Hermione is being played by a black woman. Do you object to this?

So what I'm mainly going to address here is the piece of evidence you use to prove that Sargent called you a racist, because I think that this understanding underpins the whole thing.

"A big chunk of our fans" does not necessarily include you. You have located yourself in that 'big chunk' all on your own. I, for instance, am a comic book fan. I don't think Sargent was addressing me. Your mistake was trying to attack Sargent's argument - which is already pretty strong, and without pulling any punches, you did very badly - instead of just saying, 'He's not talking about me. I'm not a horrible racist.'

For the record, I DON'T think you are racist, now that I can understand your argument, but you positioned yourself against an argument against racism, which is a dangerous thing. I think you are just a guy who likes what he likes and can't really articulate why. There is nothing wrong with this, it's just a really boring way to live, in my opinion.

The reason for this is that I think it's horribly limiting and reductive to say that departures from source material = crappy films. I have shown evidence that this isn't the case again and again in my argument. Would a Tilda Swinton Dr. Strange suck? Who knows? She's a damn fine actress. Maybe she could pull it off. Would it be the same story you read when you were a kid? No. But why the hell does that matter? Hank Pym is not in Avengers, Thor has no mortal host, Hulk can control his rage...somehow... it's all equally non-canon.

Whether Dr. Strange is a woman, Johnny Storm is black, or Spiderman is a goddamned soccer referee - it shouldn't matter so long as the story is good. Your mistake is that you think you can predict how awful a movie will be by judging its cast, and I don't think you can.

Finally, just to clarify, I'm not arguing FOR the introduction of new tropes. I'm arguing that the no tropes are removed, and I'm further arguing that if the rest of the story can't tolerate that switch, it's a shit story.

I don't really understand your final paragraph, but I disagree from the outset that comics are just 'tropes and bright colours'. The Killing Joke, Whatever Happened To The Man of Tomorrow? Watchmen... I think all of these would handle subtle shifts to the characters, because they are all fantastic stories that go beyond the ink on the page. Great stories that move human beings. That's what I care about.

The Phantom said...

"Whether Dr. Strange is a woman, Johnny Storm is black, or Spiderman is a goddamned soccer referee - it shouldn't matter so long as the story is good. Your mistake is that you think you can predict how awful a movie will be by judging its cast, and I don't think you can."

Of course I can. I DID predict it, accurately.

Watch as I do it again. Captain America comes out next week. It features the Black Panther, King of Wakanda. I have avoided knowing anything about the production because I want to see it fresh, I expect it will be excellent. Therefore I don't know who's playing T'Challa.

If they put a white guy in there as the Black Panther, it will SUCK. It will suck even if they put the greatest actor of all fucking human history in there. Because that level of disrespect for the already existing story means they will fuck everything else up as well.

Now, if you still misunderstand me, I suggest you seek remedial reading instruction.

Benny said...

I think you can drop the 'remedial reading' thing. It is a bully boy tactic and it reeks of disrespect. I've shown that I am more than capable of keeping up with you. It's you who conveniently ignores your inconsistencies and poor arguments, and I who politely let's them go. You're better than this.

Your above claim is an example of specious reasoning. To quote Lisa Simpson - "I have this rock. It keeps tigers away... no it doesn't. It's just a rock. But I don't see any tigers, do you?"

This is you. "This movie will suck because it has a black actor in a traditionally white role. The movie sucked... It was exclusively because of this. No it wasn't. It sucked for many other reasons. But yes, it had a black actor." That is literally the only thing you've proved.

To put it another way, correlation does not equal causation.

Now, if you can tell me how you still have a case when other stories like the ones I have listed before and you have summarily IGNORED are great when they depart from the source material, I'd be very interested, but you have not done this through our entire debate.

The Phantom said...

"This is you. "This movie will suck because it has a black actor in a traditionally white role."

This is why I suggested remedial reading courses. Because after how many passes at this thing, you're still not getting it. It has literally nothing to do with the race of the actor. If it was done well, it would be fine. If the story was compelling and the dialogue powerful, humorous, enjoyable, it would be a good movie.

My point is not that you can't have a black dude taking a white role, and I believe I've made that perfectly clear over the course of our conversation. The Ancient One CAN be played by Tilda Swinton. Didn't I say that? I did! Repeatedly.

My point is that when a movie company buys an existing comic story, then ignores everything about the property and makes up a brand new thing based on political correctness and focus grouping, it will most assuredly suck. The hubris alone guarantees it. Changing the race of a main character in a franchise like FF is a neon sign flashing a red danger warning.

It will not be done well. Because they don't care about the story. They'll hack something together, plaster a coat of CGI on it and move it out along side all the other crap they're making that month. Could it be good? Maybe. Will it be good? No way.

New example, the Ghostbusters reboot. All female cast with Chris Helms as the Office Boy. I don't think Melissa McCarthy can save it, and I say that having seen and liked her movie "Spy".

That level of meddling with the -existing- storyline indicates we've got some wise ass corner office creep who thinks he's soooo much smarter than everyone else in the world, he can do whatever he wants and the sheeple in the audience will lap it up. I predict massive suckage, and delete bin within six months, same as FF.

I will be delighted if I'm wrong, because I like the Ghostbusters. But really, it's got that twerpy focus-group vibe.

Remedial. Reading. Right away. Your university career depends on it, and I'm not kidding.

It's like putting spinning rims on a classic 1965 Buick Riviera. It won't work, unless you do it very, very carefully and spend months planning it, with custom paint and bodywork. They never do that. They open the box and bolt 'em on, and then wonder why everybody walks past their car with a sneer at the car show.

The reason is because they don't respect the classic car. Get it yet?

Benny said...

OK pal, you asked for it.

Your issue is this: You were angry because you felt JF Sargent was calling you a racist, (he wasn't) and you responded by putting a whole bunch of stuff that can be interpreted as racist on your blog. People have been smacking you about it and you're too proud to acknowledge your mistake. That's YOUR hubris. And it cometh before the fall.

Here are some examples of the contradictions you have made in your OWN argument.

"It has literally nothing to do with the race of the actor!"
"Everyone knows Johnny Storm is a blonde, blue eyed white guy..."

"Can Tilda Swinton play Dr Strange? Sure. but it will absolutely, 100% guaranteed totally suck."
"(Spinning rims on car) It won't work. UNLESS YOU DO IT VERY,VERY CAREFULLY."

"A Fantastic Four movie with a black guy playing Johnny Storm? That will not be the movie I want to see. It will suck, because clearly the production will have no respect for the source material."
Paraphrased - "I like Avengers!" (No Hank Pym, no Antman, no Thor host, AND A CRAPLOAD OF OTHER 'SOURCE MATERIAL', which you seem to think needs to be protected like the goddamn Holy Grail.)

But wait! You then say it's OK to change *some* source material, so long as it doesn't interfere with the story... as long as they're *side characters* But now you're pissed the Chris Hemsworth is playing the Office Boy, who is about as side character as you get. You continually suggest remedial reading, but look what I have to work with here! You make some clear points, (Good!) and then use examples which contradict them, (Bad!) It's frustrating.

Look mate, I've engaged in this debate with you to give you an opportunity to explain yourself further, to both me and your wider reading audience. You made a mistake in taking on Sargent's argument in the way that you did and were rightly criticized for it, and I get if you're too proud to admit that, but don't bring my capabilities into question, particularly when, as I've shown above, your argument is all over the place.

I actually agree with some of what you have said in the previous post, but I'll be fucked if I let you get away with acting like a jerk when I'm doing you a favour.



The Phantom said...

"I actually agree with some of what you have said in the previous post, but I'll be fucked if I let you get away with acting like a jerk when I'm doing you a favour."

Seriously? All you're doing is the same thing Sergeant did, which is misread, misinterpret and rules-lawyer your way into some kind of racist argument where I'm the bad guy and you're the hero.

Can you put spinning rims on a classic Riviera and not have it come out looking stupid? No, not really. Can they make Johnny Storm a black dude and not make it suck? No, not really. Michelangelo working with George Barris might pull it off. Some schmuck at Universal Studios? No.

That's the argument I'm having. You're having some kind of "But that's RACIST!" melt down. When idiots fuck comic book properties around to cram them into some kind of PC agenda, it always sucks. Sorry if that's racist, but really, it's still true.

Example this week of them NOT fucking the comic story around and getting in trouble for it, Captain America!

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/05/captain-america-civil-war-steve-rogers-sharon-carter-bucky-barnes

See, the problem is Cap has too much "heterosexual virility." Too much testosterone, not enough estrogen.

This is the same damn thing you're busy telling me here, about how Johnny Storm can be black, and it could be great. Cap could be a post-millennial feminist, and it could be great.

No. Sorry. It couldn't. And Thank God for Marvel, telling the Joanna Robinsons of this world to go fuck themselves. No mere mortal could write that script and not have it come off preachy and stupid. Apollo himself couldn't write that script.

Switching the race/sex/whatever of major characters is -always- primary evidence of talentless hacks doing a cheesy cut-and-paste job which will suck every time, barring a miracle. Miracles are known primarily for their rarity. All of us racists called FF Reboot a turkey as soon as the casting was announced, and we were right. Talentless hacks, fucking up another comic story, for PC points. JF Sargent was 100% dead wrong, as he usually is.

Now please, go ahead and misunderstand me, again. Go on. You know you want to.

Benny said...

OK. One question at a time then.

"Now, if you decide to make Susan storm black too, THAT could work."

Explain this. You said it. I don't get how you're not contradicting it now.

The Phantom said...

"Explain this. You said it. I don't get how you're not contradicting it now."

Because if they're both black you don't have to introduce the whole "adopted sibling" narrative into the story. It's a movie, you don't have time for that, and it detracts from the attention that's supposed to be spent on the super-heroing.

They replace one member of a pair and it indicates they just don't care a damn about the story. That's one of the reasons such a replacement predicts suckage.

Now answer me this: why is it important to change the race of the characters in an existing story? WRITE A NEW STORY, would be the solution.