NYT makes deranged political assault on the Avengers movie
SCOTT But comic book fans need to feel perpetually beleaguered and disenfranchised, marginalized by phantom elites who want to confiscate their hard-won pleasures. And this resentment — which I have a feeling I’m provoking more of here — finds its way into the stories themselves, expressed either as glowering self-pity or bullying machismo. There are exceptions: Mark Ruffalo’s soulful Hulk (though not Eric Bana’s or Edward Norton’s); most of the X-Men. But even that crew of mutant misfits turned protectors of humanity exists in a circumscribed imaginative space. As Ta-Nehisi Coates pointed out in a New York Times Op-Ed article last summer about “X-Men: First Class,” that film noticeably refrained from connecting its chronicle of prejudice and outsider-dom in postwar America to the contemporaneous drama of the civil rights movement.Is that supposed to be an assault on comic fans who take offense at how the original four color pamphlets have been hijacked by politically correct snobs with some of the most awful ideas of how to tell a story? Strangely, I'd figure it is, and he must really have a low opinion of both the fans and the original source materials.
DARGIS They’re certainly avatars of reaction in how they justify and perpetuate the industry’s entrenched sexism. You just have to scan the spandex bulges in “The Avengers” to see that superhero movies remain a big boys’ club, with few women and girls allowed. Yes, there are female superheroes on screen, like Jean Grey from the “X-Men” series, but they tend not to drive the stories, while female superheroes with their own movies never dominate the box office. Most women in superhero movies exist to smile indulgently at the super-hunk, to be rescued and to flaunt their assets, like Scarlett Johansson’s character in “The Avengers,” whose biggest superpower, to judge by the on- and off-screen attention lavished on it, was her super-rump.Gee, did it ever occur to them that if superheroines don't dominate the box office, it's due in part to how there's almost never been any good writing to accompany them? And how strange that this is all she sees in Johansson's Black Widow role, even after she was given some effective fighting scenes and spirit, and even an intelligent mindset. Apparently, she did not want to see past that part and give the screenwriters any credit for giving Johansson an effective role.
And though she does mention that the comics industry has often been male dominated for many years, I doubt she's talking about the kind of vile sexism and misogyny that's been prevalent in the comics industry, and that led to 2004's two horrific publicity stunts, Avengers: Disassembled and Identity Crisis, or even to Mary Jane Watson-Parker being injured during the Clone Saga in the 90s, and later shoved out of Spider-Man's life as his wife in 2007. If it weren't for those kind of horrors, maybe there'd be more women who'd actually want to work in mainstream comics and to read them. Dargis ends the op-ed with the following:
For all the technological innovations, the groovy new Bat cycles and codpieces, superhero movies just recycle variations on gender stereotypes that were in circulation back in the late 1930s, when Superman and Batman first hit. The world has moved on — there’s an African-American man in the Oval Office, a woman is the secretary of state — but the movie superhero remains stuck in a pre-feminist, pre-civil rights logic that dictates that a bunch of white dudes, as in “The Avengers,” will save the world for the grateful multiracial, multicultural multitudes. What a bunch of super-nonsense.A description better applied to her own stupid op-ed. As far as I know, Scott was the one who reviewed the movie back in May (and didn't seem impressed with it in the way only a liberal can), but though Samuel Jackson is mentioned in this piece, she doesn't pay any attention to how there is a black performer in the cast, playing the role of Nick Fury, originally a white protagonist (this movie's version may draw partly from the Ultimate line's take). And just how does having cast members of black, Hispanic and Asian backgrounds alone make the movie work? Isn't it good writing and character driven scripting, plus plenty of action and mayhem, that's made the movie work so well? Yet in Dargis and Scott's deranged bias, they ignore every bit of this most important factor, just like much of today's comics medium is sadly doing. In fact, as someone on the Breitbart comments thread says:
We may laugh about this, but whenever some snooty critic lambasts comic books for not meeting a diversity quota, the comic book world takes notice. They *cringe* at even the faintest accusation of not being politically correct.And then they proceed to destroy good writing for the sake of so-called diversity, as DC Comics is particularly hell-bent on doing now, and the new Ultimate version of Spidey is also a product of. And it's people of Dargis and Scott's upbringing who're partly responsible for leading to this whole mess. This is just why the NYT is culturally irrelevant today, and they should be ashamed of themselves for their part in desecrating serious writing in favor of "diversity" solely for the sake of it. I've got a feeling that if they became comic book critics, all they'd do is complain about lack of "diversity" even if it's already there, and there wouldn't be a whisper of complaint about the horrible writing and publicity stunts that take up much of today's medium. In other words, they'd be just like much of the specialty press, which is already biased by and large in the favor of all that's wrong with how today's medium is marketed.