A Law Student Creates A Dishonest List Called “100 Times A White Actor Played Someone Who Wasn’t White” And Begins Another List Called “Times The Washington Post Published A Race-Baiting Piece Of Lazy Research And Sloppy Reasoning By Someone Who Looks Like She Will Be A Terrible Lawyer”

I didn’t set out to make the news media’s tolerating unethical race arguments the theme today, I really didn’t. While I was researching ESPN’s decision not to hire whites on its new website, to which the Wall Street Journal shrugged and said, by not saying, “Wait….WHAT?” in effect, “Sure, go ahead, discriminate!”, I came upon this piece of journalistic offal called “100 Times A White Actor Played Someone Who Wasn’t White” on the Washington Post website. It was authored by Meredith Simons, a law student and freelance writer. Well, Meredith, free-lance writers get away with these miserably researched and unfairly gathered articles a lot, but if you try to sneak this kind of crap past a judge or a senior partner, you’re going to have a rude awakening.

The fact that her article is incompetent and unfair in myriad ways doesn’t mean that Hollywood has been an equal opportunity employer throughout decades past. It hasn’t, but it has reflected the society and tastes in which it operates, and often has been a leader in race attitudes, as in the film “Imitation of Life.” There is work to be done, but careless articles like Simons’ just causes ignorance and confusion.

The immediate impetus for her hit piece on Hollywood casting was apparently the controversy over the casting of white actor Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson in a planned biopic. Simons calls him “African American icon Michael Jackson,” which is the lawyer’s trick of framing an issue to rig the debate—good one, Meredith—but skin-bleaching, child-molesting, whitebread pop star Jackson is hardly an “African American” icon: he’s a national pop icon who went out of his way to reject race and racial labels. That is what the song “Black and White” was about, right? Sure, the casting was a gimmick, but it’s a clever and legitimate gimmick that I would guess Jackson would have approved of enthusiastically. When they make “The Rachel Dolezal Story,” will Simons complain if a black actress gets the part?

So based on a phony race controversy—two, in fact, with the Oscar nomination spat included—Simons comes up with an even more phony list. “Despite decades of protests over racially inappropriate casting and the recent protests over the lack of diversity among Oscar nominees, filmmakers continue to cast white actors as minority characters on a depressingly regular basis,” she writes.

(A tip  for Social Justice Warriors: don’t write about the performing arts and casting if you don’t know a damn thing about either. The purpose of the performing arts is 1) to make a good product and 2) to make money. Anything that in any way interferes with either is irrelevant. There is no such thing as “racially inappropriate casting” if it furthers either of these objectives, or ideally both. It is not Hollywood’s job to eradicate racial inequality in the U.S. If it helps, that’s responsible and ethical of the movie-makers. This is, however, neither its art nor its business.)

Simons’ list is the epitome of the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy done badly. The fallacy consists of cherry-picking facts that support a predetermined argument and “drawing a circle around them” as if they are the sole relevant facts, while intentionally or mistakenly omitting equally relevant facts that would tend to disprove it. Bad lawyer that she is, she draws a metaphorical circle around “facts” that don’t even support her argument. I’m not going to go through the entire hundred  (say “thank-you, Jack!”) but I’ll point out some of her most egregious botches.

To begin with, either she didn’t see the movies on the list, or intentionally misrepresents them. My favorite, and typical of her terrible research:

“The Jazz Singer,” 1927: A white actor, Al Jolson, played the lead role in blackface. Black audiences weren’t necessarily opposed to the portrayal, which they saw as potentially paving the way for (actual) black performers to take leading roles in future movies. The Amsterdam News, the oldest black newspaper in the country, called “The Jazz Singer”  “one of the greatest pictures ever produced” and wrote that “[e]very colored performer is proud of” Jolson.

“The Jazz Singer” is a movie based on a Broadway play about a talented Orthodox Jewish kid who defies his rabbi father and becomes a stage performer. Al Jolson, a white, Jewish actor, plays the white, Jewish singer. Yes, he sings some songs in blackface, but there was and is nothing wrong with a movie portraying a white man singing in blackface in that period, because white singers sometimes sang in blackface. Would Simons also argue that Larry Parks, the white actor who played the white Jolson playing the white Jewish singer in “The Jolson Story”  also “Played Someone Who Wasn’t White”? It would make as much sense, as in “None whatsoever.”

Didn’t the Post editor realize how factually wrong this was? Why was this allowed to be published?

Her bogus list contains such supposed “offenses”—she actually calls them offenses—as white actors playing Middle Eastern Jews, Egyptians and Arabs, who, though dark skinned, are not and have never been considered “black.”  She even includes Jews playing Arabs on the list! This is not a race bias argument, but a “no fair using make-up” argument, and the movies listed—there are a lot of them—really belong on the “Times Hollywood Cast Actors Who Weren’t the Same Ethnic Mix or Exact Skin Shade Of The Characters They Were Playing” list, and I’d guess Meredith is capable of creating that stupid list too. Since when is differing skin shades anything to make a list about? It has nothing to do with racism. See, Meredith, actors get to do that, because they are actors.

You probably should have checked that out before making a fool of yourself.

She also cheats. In order to count Yul Brenner twice—and would anyone, black or white, wish that his memorable performances as Ramses in “The Ten Commandments” and the King in “The King and I” had been sacrificed to some ridiculous, “No, we have to find the best Thai musical comedy performer we can, and that’s that” casting insanity? —she calls Brenner Russian-born and “white.” First of all, Brenner was no more white than Ramses was, and second, the actor went to great lengths to attribute his unusual multi-racial appearance to having all sorts of ethnic DNA, including gypsy and Mongol. To this day, nobody’s really sure what Yul was, and properly, nobody cared, because he made one hell of a King of Siam and foil for Moses.

See, it’s called acting. Did I mention that already?

Typical of the list is that she Meredith faults  Hollywood for casting the stage actor regarded at the time as the greatest Shakespearean performer alive as Othello, a dark skinned Moor. Lawrence Olivier had played two other Shakespeare leads in very successful and much honored films, and giving him the chance to play Othello was 1) what audiences wanted to see, 2) completely appropriate, as the part has been played by white actors in make-up (not “black face”—they couldn’t get those white gloves in Elizabethan England, just as they couldn’t find black actors), and 3) no more “inappropriate” than allowing a great black actor like James Earl Jones play the Celtic King Lear…which he has, and very well too.

Then there are the entries on the list in which the screenplay didn’t preserve the ethnic or racial background of a character. She includes, for example,

“Starship Troopers,” 1997: White actor Casper Van Dien played Johnny Rico, a non-white character who was of Filipino descent in the book on which the movie was based.

Ah, Meredith, Meredith. You do know that the character an actor plays in a movie is not the same as the corresponding one in the book, but the character in the screenplay? No? See, when Denzel Washington played  “Gray Grantham” in the movie of “The Pelican Brief,” he wasn’t playing a white character named Gray Grantham, even though in the book, he is a white man. He was playing a black character, because that’s how the screenplay was written. Books and movies are different works of art, and characters in movies do not have to be the same as those in the books they are based on, have the same names, be the same color, do the same things, or even be in the movie at all.

Many of her arguments for placing  movies on the list are just flat out stupid, like this one:

“Show Boat,” 1951: Ava Gardner played a mixed-race character who was passing as white, making her marriage to a white man both dangerous and illegal. Lena Horne, an actress who was actually mixed-race, was considered for the part but ultimately rejected due to discomfort over interracial love scenes.

No, that’s why Lena wasn’t considered in the previous “Show Boat.” She wasn’t considered for the role in this re-make because 1) she was too old at 41; 2) Everyone knew she was black by then. 3) She looked black. She was just light-skinned. 4) Lena was a great singer, but nobody ever mistook her for a great actress. 4) If you haven’t seen “Show Boat” and are going to be surprised at the revelation that Julie is a mulatto, the part has to be cast with someone who doesn’t give away that plot point by her very presence in the movie. 5) But most of all, Ava Gardner was a major star and box office draw, and that’s why they chose her. I would have too.

Then there are the entries on the list that I find offensive in their willful ignorance, like this one:

“Swing Time,” 1936: Fred Astaire appeared in blackface in a musical number that most people read as a tribute to, rather than a mockery of, black tap dancer Bill Robinson.

Despicable. The number was a homage by one great dancer to another. Nobody  compos mentis saw it, as the ignorant,  race-baiting writer does, as “mockery.” Moreover, Astaire was not in “blackface.” He was made up as Bill Robinson, who was black, and he danced using Robinson’s special style. You can’t portray a black dancer without using make-up, and a black dancer can’t have the greatest dancer of the era honor him in a film and have anyone understand what he’s doing unless the dancer doing the homage looks like the dancer he’s honoring.

And I have to mention this one, which is offensive and stupid:

“The Year of Living Dangerously,” 1982: Linda Hunt, a white actress, played a male Chinese-Australian dwarf. We don’t know either.

“We” don’t know what, anything? Who was the male Chinese-Australian dwarf actor those racist Hollywood types should have cast? Let me get this straight: a film engages in brilliant non-traditional, cross-gender casting of the sort actresses beg for, casting a woman to play a male role, and also casting an unusual performer who might never have received a shot at stardom otherwise. She performs brilliantly, wins an Academy Award, and as result of being boldly cast goes on to a distinguished career…and this ignorant woman ridicules the decision to cast her?

You can go through the rest of this atrocious list if you want. It is apples, oranges, broccoli and steamships, makes no valid or coherent point, misrepresents Hollywood history, shows a stunning ignorance of what casting is about, is disrespectful to actors who deserve better, and demonstrates a tendency toward deceit and laziness.

The Post should be ashamed of itself for allowing such garbage to reach its readership.

[ UPDATE: Wikipedia is also at fault, as it often is. I just encountered a page there on “whitewashing,” the term correctly used when a non-white character is transformed into a white one for a movie. Obviously Simons cribbed from it, and picked up many of the page’s false assertions, confusion and errors. The worst one is Wikipedia’s muddled and overly broad definition of “whitewashing.” The term is properly applied when a real person’s ethnicity is altered in a screenplay, which misleads the audience and is unfair and disrespectful to the individual involved. Casting Yul Brenner as the King of Siam is not “whitewashing.” Making a movie that represented the King as Russian rather than Siamese would be; whitewashing occurs in the script. I wrote about unethical whitewashing here.]

As for Meredith, I am giving her Professor Kingsfield’s metaphorical dime…

55 thoughts on “A Law Student Creates A Dishonest List Called “100 Times A White Actor Played Someone Who Wasn’t White” And Begins Another List Called “Times The Washington Post Published A Race-Baiting Piece Of Lazy Research And Sloppy Reasoning By Someone Who Looks Like She Will Be A Terrible Lawyer”

  1. Where is it written that some actor or actress cannot play someone of a different ethnicity? This woman has a pc bug up her rear end. She should be forced to see the Waymans brothers, who are definitely black in “White Chicks”.

  2. Did she bring up the time Billy Dee Williams played Harvey Dent (albeit briefly); or when that Aussie Mel Gibson played the Scotsman Willam Wallace.

    Oh, the humanity!

    -Jut

  3. I never got beyond the “casting” argument: the best actor for the role; the best person for the job. Period. Jackie Robinson, W.E.B. DuBois, Jessie Norman, Paul Robeson, Althea Gibson, Serena Williams, Thurgood Marshall, and on and on … none of them were put in their places by affirmative action (which is the unspoken goal of the race-baiting going on now); they were there because they they earned their places, usually against opposition and other interests.

    Thanks for the glimpse of “Paper Chase,” especially for Houseman’s mid-Atlantic English accent parenthesizing those magnificent wait-for-it pauses.

  4. ‘Middle Eastern Jews, Egyptians and Arabs, who, though dark skinned, are not and have never been considered “black.” ‘

    I think social justice warriors consider all these to be “people of color” these days, regardless of their skin color. Oh, except Middle Eastern Jews, of course. Middle Eastern Jews are oppressors, kind of like white Hispanics.

  5. She is an idiot , and that’s putting it mildly.

    ““Lawrence of Arabia,” 1962: Repeat offender Alec Guinness played the Arab Prince Faisal.”

    Guinness played him so well, that on the set in Jordan people who had known the real life Faisal mistook Guinness for him.

    She also brings up the last Lone Ranger movie attacking Depp, his performance alone is reason enough to attack him it was horrible, but completely ignores the fact that the real life Lone Ranger was Bass Reeves. That to me just shows that she did no research nor put any thought it to it. All she did was skim through IDMB looking for names that didn’t match and wrote her puff piece.

    • Actually, it would be fun to take apart the whole list, but she doesn’t deserve the effort, and the post would be 10,0000 words. The Guinness example was one of many where she criticized casting that resulted in amazing, legendary performances or were in all-time classics. The message: the art is secondary to literalism. I don’t think people who think like her even go to movies.

    • She also brings up the last Lone Ranger movie attacking Depp, his performance alone is reason enough to attack him it was horrible,

      When the roles are called Out Yonder, Johnny Depp’s highly underrated performance as Tonto will be there.

  6. She also complained about a Chinese actor playing a Japanese Geisha and a British actor of Nigerian descent playing what was the role of an Indian man in a book. I fail to see how these are “white” actors playing someone who was not white.

      • Isn’t that the truth. Maybe they have no staff left and are desperate for copy. Maybe the people on the staff are no longer not journalists. Perhaps they’re simply “curators” (my least favorite over- and miss-used term, currently, except for ‘community’). Ugh.

  7. You know… Recently, SJW’s have been pushing hard for diversity in genres that admittedly haven’t had much historically. But they aren’t pushing for new, unique characters, they’re black-washing history. Give us an Hispanic Spiderman, a female Thor and a Black Nick Fury! (Of those three, only the latter really worked, Jackson made an awesome Fury)

    But you’ll never hear about those, because discussions about cultural appropriation really aren’t about making sure that the cultures that created something have a monopoly on their traditions, and “diversity” isn’t really about wanting diversity. It’s about tearing down whiteness. Facts be damned, consequences be damned, tear it down. Burn it and salt the Earth.

    • “Give us an Hispanic Spiderman, a female Thor and a Black Nick Fury! (Of those three, only the latter really worked, Jackson made an awesome Fury)”

      If you’re speaking of the comics, general fan popularity, and sales, all of those “worked;” female Thor is outselling the previous title and fans love Miles Morales. Neither of them have been in movies yet, so we can’t say whether they worked or not.

      • I responded with links, and forgot that two or more links cause comments to be eaten pending release. The tl|dr version in the meantime is that the new Thor has seen more than a 60% decrease in popularity since her first run and in recent polls of comic book fans, Peter Parker beats Miles Morales in a 70/30 split.

        SJW’s think these characters are great, and SJWs have platforms to tell that to the world, but the actual fans don’t.

        • I’m sorry, you seem to be using some generalities that I don’t quite understand. Are you saying “SJWs” can’t also be “actual fans?” That when they say they like these characters, they’re…what, lying? Or that they only like these characters because they are females/minorities and not because they’re cool characters featured in cool stories?

          70/30 isn’t bad when you compare a beloved classic character with decades of history to a character that is less than a decade old. Morales must be fairly popular among some “actual fans” if they brought him from the Ultimate universe to the main titles, and I doubt Marvel made that choice just because some activists on Tumblr said they should.

          • “Are you saying “SJWs” can’t also be “actual fans?””

            There might be exceptions, but generally yes. The people I consider actual fans enjoyed the medium for what it was, and the people I label SJW’s entered into already existing space and tried to change it. Almost by definition, SJWs can’t be actual fans, because if they were, they wouldn’t be SJWs. I rarely ever deal in absolutes. There are situations where there could be overlap, especially now that parts of the medium have changed.

            “That when they say they like these characters, they’re…what, lying?”

            Oh yes. Often. Again, not always…. But they tend to express interest a relatively short time before and after the change they’re attempting, and then abandon it. Case in point: Thor. SJW’s tend to do everything in their power to influence the mediums they have issues with, short of actually putting their money where their mouth is and becoming part of the target demographic. Short bursts of false interest is more the rule than the exception.

            “Or that they only like these characters because they are females/minorities and not because they’re cool characters featured in cool stories?”

            This is as close to an absolute truth as you’re going to get. Yes. A black and white comic would confuse them because not being able to gauge skintone, they’d be unable to figure out whether they were interested or not. If they wanted stories, they would have accepted the stories.

            “70/30 isn’t bad when you compare a beloved classic character with decades of history to a character that is less than a decade old. Morales must be fairly popular among some “actual fans” if they brought him from the Ultimate universe to the main titles, and I doubt Marvel made that choice just because some activists on Tumblr said they should.”

            70/30 is atrocious, and you said “fans love Miles Morales,” This is subjective, but I think you’re spinning.

            And do I think that Marvel bows to Tumblr? This is from the last edition of Angela: Queen of Hel. No, those are not post-production censor strips. Marvel printed that.

            • “There might be exceptions, but generally yes. The people I consider actual fans enjoyed the medium for what it was, and the people I label SJW’s entered into already existing space and tried to change it… If they wanted stories, they would have accepted the stories.”

              I’m trying to wrap my head around your argument, but I’m having a hard time doing so. Are you saying that “real fans” never criticize the material they are fans of? In my experience, “real comic book fans” bitch about EVERYTHING. Part of being a fan of media, especially genre media, is critically engaging with it and always trying to make it better. SJWs (and I really hate that term) generally think a way to make comics better is to include more diversity.

              Some of these are latecomers to the party–understandably so, as comics haven’t always been the most welcoming environment for women and minorities–but others are lifelong fans who simply think the medium could be improved by having more diverse characters. And for that they aren’t real fans? That’s absurd.

              “But they tend to express interest a relatively short time before and after the change they’re attempting, and then abandon it. Case in point: Thor.”

              Except there was no attempt by SJWs to “change” Thor into a woman; that decision was made by Marvel independently, as a creative/marketing decision. Why is that wrong? They were not pressured into this decision.

              “70/30 is atrocious”

              When comparing a character that has been beloved for decades against a brand new one? No, it isn’t.

              That scene you posted is hilarious. Why do you object to it?

              • “I’m trying to wrap my head around your argument, but I’m having a hard time doing so. Are you saying that “real fans” never criticize the material they are fans of? In my experience, “real comic book fans” bitch about EVERYTHING. Part of being a fan of media, especially genre media, is critically engaging with it and always trying to make it better.”

                Don’t be obtuse. There’s a difference between being productively critical critical and SJW tactics. They don’t write articles in the media accusing the creators of racism because there weren’t enough black storm troopers and try to get people fired, they don’t organize letter writing campaigns to sponsors to pull support from somewhere that employs someone that ate at a Chik-fil-a, and they don’t boycott. Fan criticism is: Do better or I’ll take my money elsewhere, SJW agitation is: Do what I want or burn. Fans bitch as a national pastime in an environment they enjoy, SJW’s agitate for change to something they can’t stand, but put themselves through in a combination of spite and envy.

                “SJWs (and I really hate that term) generally think a way to make comics better is to include more diversity.”

                That’s the SJW (And your hate only makes it stronger) answer to everything, isn’t it? And it’s a really neat dichotomy: If there isn’t enough minority participation or representation in a traditionally white pastime, it’s a problem and we need more diversity, but if there is even the least bit of white participation in a traditionally minority activity, those assholes are guilt of cultural appropriation!

                “Except there was no attempt by SJWs to “change” Thor into a woman; that decision was made by Marvel independently, as a creative/marketing decision. Why is that wrong? They were not pressured into this decision.”

                Two things: First off… While there might not have been a coordinated effort on Thor in particular, Marvel is under a constant stream of pressure from all sides and internally (More on that in point two) to conform with SJW demands, and SJWs have been temporarily placated in the past from appropriations of old franchises. It was an obvious solution to the immediate demand, but it won’t work in the long run. Nothing ever does, because there’s always some new frontier of Social Justice to push. Eventually they’ll have The Flash remade into a transgendered obese furry in a wheelchair. Isn’t that Empowering, Stunning and Brave?

                Second: Replacement Theory. As social media gained popularity, companies were unsure of how to treat coordinated attacks from platforms like Facebook or Twitter. They couldn’t identify what was the constructive criticism from fans as opposed to blowback from people who had never even seen a comic book in their life, but happened across them on the internet. So they assumed that anyone sending them feedback was a fan, and because of that, early attempts at Twitter campaigns had some early success at not only getting people fired, but replacing those people with placeholders for their ideology. What has been produced since those replacements have come in often have small bouts of success when SJW themed content comes out, but invariably is neglected and replaced by the next attempt. Because if at first you don’t succeed: Try the same damn thing until it’s all gone.

                “When comparing a character that has been beloved for decades against a brand new one? No, it isn’t.”

                So what? You said that the fans “love” Morales, and I pointed out that more than 70% love him so much they want Peter back. The point wasn’t to explain why Morales is less popular, it was THAT he is less popular. What kind of business decision is deemed a success when the majority of your customers want the old model? (Answer: A politically motivated one.)

                “That scene you posted is hilarious. Why do you object to it?”

                Qualia. I believe you, when you say you enjoy current-event progressive talking points being copy/pasted from Tumblr into comic books in a blatant shattering of the fourth wall. I could try to explain that the comic isn’t Deadpool. I could try explaining that awkwardly shoehorning political ideology into a medium that isn’t receptive to it is really rubbing it into the faces of loyal, long term customers. But I doubt you’d understand it.

                • [quote]They don’t write articles in the media accusing the creators of racism because there weren’t enough black storm troopers and try to get people fired, they don’t organize letter writing campaigns to sponsors to pull support from somewhere that employs someone that ate at a Chik-fil-a, and they don’t boycott.[/quote]

                  [quote]If there isn’t enough minority participation or representation in a traditionally white pastime, it’s a problem and we need more diversity, but if there is even the least bit of white participation in a traditionally minority activity, those assholes are guilt of cultural appropriation![/quote]

                  [quote]Eventually they’ll have The Flash remade into a transgendered obese furry in a wheelchair.[/quote]

                  Humble Talent, I’d be very interested in having a conversation about the pros and cons of SJW activism in comics, in which examples were given of real things that real SJWs have said and done in the real world.

                  You clearly aren’t interested in having that conversation, and would rather have a conversation about imaginary things that imaginary SJWs have done in a dystopian fantasy world you’ve invented. I’m not sure why; if SJWs are really so awful, you shouldn’t have to do this.

                  You also show a lot of indications that you don’t know what you’re talking about:

                  “So what? You said that the fans “love” Morales, and I pointed out that more than 70% love him so much they want Peter back. The point wasn’t to explain why Morales is less popular, it was THAT he is less popular. What kind of business decision is deemed a success when the majority of your customers want the old model? (Answer: A politically motivated one.)”

                  Marvel can’t bring Peter “back,” because he didn’t go anywhere; both he and Miles are currently operating as Spider-Man. The white hero was not cast aside for affirmative action. I would think “real fans” would know that; I know that, and I haven’t read a Spider-Man comic in years.

                  (For the record, I’m sure the SJW “fan” who’s never even read a comic but insists on adding diversity to comics exists, but you have me wondering if there are also anti-SJW “fans” who’ve never read a comic but insist that comic books are being ruined by calls for more diversity.)

                  If you’d like to have a more constructive conversation, let me know.

                  • It’s funny… Of course those examples were perhaps overly dramatic. But it’s like you think that calls for resignation over inconsequential slights, letter writing campaigns and organized boycotts weren’t the three most commonly used tools in the SJW arsenal. You don’t get to bemoan the lack of honest conversation by conveniently ignoring most of it. Would you like examples? WordPress limits responses to one link before casting them into purgatory, give me an Email address and I’ll have 100 valid links to you by Friday. Ass.

                    And I’m sure you meant:

                    “Marvel can’t bring Peter “back,” because he didn’t go anywhere; both he and Miles are currently operating as Spider-Man.”

                    and

                    “(For the record, I’m sure the SJW “fan” who’s never even read a comic but insists on adding diversity to comics exists, but you have me wondering if there are also anti-SJW “fans” who’ve never read a comic but insist that comic books are being ruined by calls for more diversity.)”

                    To hit me as some kid of passive aggressive got’cha. But that only works if you’re y’know…. Right. Actually, Marvel killed Peter to make room for Morales, but after Morales performed less than adequately, it was “revealed” that Morales was actually from an alternate universe when the Peter Parker we knew and loved was re-injected from the original universe by deus ex machina to save the flailing franchise. But you knew that already, didn’t you?

                    • “But it’s like you think that calls for resignation over inconsequential slights, letter writing campaigns and organized boycotts weren’t the three most commonly used tools in the SJW arsenal.”

                      No, it’s like you gave me imaginary examples of SJW using such tactics when you could have given me real ones, and then expected me to bring up the real ones for you.

                      “You don’t get to bemoan the lack of honest conversation by conveniently ignoring most of it.”

                      Ignoring most of what? You didn’t give me anything to ignore.

                      “Would you like examples? WordPress limits responses to one link before casting them into purgatory, give me an Email address and I’ll have 100 valid links to you by Friday. Ass.”

                      Yes, I’m an ass for expecting you to back up your statements here.

                    • “Actually, Marvel killed Peter to make room for Morales, but after Morales performed less than adequately, it was “revealed” that Morales was actually from an alternate universe when the Peter Parker we knew and loved was re-injected from the original universe by deus ex machina to save the flailing franchise. But you knew that already, didn’t you?”

                      No. Almost none of this is correct.

                      Peter was killed in the Ultimate line to make room for Miles, but was still the main Spider-Man in the main universe. It was never “revealed” that Morales was from an alternate universe, because everyone already knew that, because the Ultimate line has been an alternate universe since 2000. Both characters headlined Spider-Man comics for a few years, until Peter was killed in the main universe to make way for another white character–Otto Octavius–who took over his body and started operating as Spider-Man. Peter came back about a year later, in time for Secret Wars, which saw Miles injected into the main universe. Now both operate as Spider-Man.

                      If you’re going to criticize SJWs and Miles Morales fans for not being “real fans,” you really should know what you’re talking about.

                    • “Films like this have always portrayed negative stereotypes against indigenous people as brute savages. These films have psychological effect as indigenous people have been through colonial trauma assimilating to white culture being taught self hate. “Westerners are unfortunately ignorant about Amazonian indigenous cultures and depicting them in such a violent story dehumanizes their peoples and couldn’t be farther from reality. Shame on you. As a storyteller you hold a great responsibility to influence others. Propagating such hate towards peoples who have been ravaged and raped for decades by white supremacist culture is not constructive in our fight to save the Amazon. Most indigenous communities are more in tune with nature than you’ll ever be, and would never conceive of such violence for profit. It’s a shame, we should be creating stories than accurately depict indigenous way of life which is holistic, sustainable, spiritual and harmonious with our earth and brothers and sisters. If you want to save the Amazon and stop China from buying leases to drill oil, make a story depicting the corporate shills for the murderers that they really are. You don’t have to create racist, offensive, inaccurate crap to get people to care about the most biodiverse place on the earth. And if you really want to make a difference, give your money to organizations like ours who are the people on the ground standing up for indigenous rights and making tangible change. Indigenous peoples are the key to preserving the Amazon. If we don’t respect and empower them, we will lose the lungs of our planet. They should be honored and respected.” – Amazon Watch”

                      It’s like satire decided to write itself.

                    • Some of the rhetoric in that link is over the top, but are you really objecting to the idea that negative stereotypes of indigenous people exist, and are harmful?

                    • “Some of the rhetoric in that link is over the top, but are you really objecting to the idea that negative stereotypes of indigenous people exist, and are harmful?”

                      I laughed. I really did. Thanks.

                      What’s your point? I mean… Really. Mine was that the default position of SJWs is to assume the worst intent possible, label it something with the suffix -ism, and follow through with scorched earth online campaigns. I gave an example.

                      Your response is: “Well, they have a point.”?

                    • It may serve you well to laugh less and think more. My point is that stereotypes like those portrayed in Green Inferno do have a negative effect on the world, and should be questioned. I’m not sure exactly how calling for a boycott of a movie is a “scorched earth” tactic–you act like the protesters are calling for censorship or even actual violence against the filmmakers, when really they are responding to speech with more speech.

                  • And now that I’ve had the night to sleep on it, I wondered to myself: Could I find examples of SJW’s who complained that there weren’t any black storm troopers? Could I find someone who tried to get someone fired for eating at Chik-fil-a? I bet I could.

                    http://www.themarysue.com/star-wars-black-stormtroopers/
                    http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/02/star-wars-lessons/

                    It was harder than I thought. Finding someone who wrote that the inclusion of a black storm trooper was a necessary and positive step towards diversification in Hollywood was easy… And if you read between the lines that could imply that all the storm troopers being white was “problematic”. I admit that’s weak though,,, so lets go just a little further:

                    Some of the fans had a poor reaction to a black stormtrooper. It’s interesting. The assumption is that this is an axample of racism… But that’s really the default position for SJW’s. In reality, fans didn’t like Fin being black because it was inconsistent with the franchise. The storm troopers were clones of Jango Fett (Who was actually Maori, with an australian accent.), and so a black storm trooper seemed like shoehorned political correctness. What the fans didn’t know what that this was actually addressed in one of the spin off book series (And they can be forgiven, no one read the books and that’s probably the only bit of the books JJ actually used. Chewie apparently died in them. Spoilers?)

                    http://downtrend.com/71superb/heres-why-the-star-wars-black-stormtrooper-controversy-has-nothing-to-do-with-race

                    But easier to find than the “White stormtroopers don’t reflect diversity” angle (Because even I admit my links don’t really do a great job of proving that is the “Darth Vader is black and the bad guy” angle.

                    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/msnbcs-melissa-harris-perry-star-wars-is-racist-because-darth-vader-is-a-black-guy/

                    Now that was the most current example, but the meme has made rounds around the internet for years. And it makes you wonder… If Darth Vader wearing black armor made him black and his blackness juxtaposed with being a bad guy was problematic… Why isn’t the reverse true of the storm troopers?

                    Regardless. Chik-fil-a.

                    That happened. Kind of. Raven Symone was in hot water for a couple of other things, but after eating Chik-Fil-A on The View, there was enough added pressure that people actually thought she`d be canned.

                    https://www.change.org/p/barbara-walters-petition-to-remove-raven-symone-from-the-view?recruiter=293473025
                    http://news.yahoo.com/raven-symon-ate-chick-fil-200526000.html

                    Some of those reactions…

                    ‘Alleged lesbian Raven-Symone is eating Chick-fil-A live on TV;homegirl has a chicken sandwich in 1 hand & her #Out100 issue in the other;UGH’

                    Because not holding a business responsible for the CFA`s political donations means you can’t REALLY be gay.

                    ‘Chick-fil-A cows on The View stage with Raven Symone: Bigotry, Bullshit & Biscuits.’

                    Because nothing says tolerance like calling women who don’t agree with you cows.

                    • The objections to a black stormtrooper were racist, plain and simple. There was never any indication in the original trilogy that the stormtroopers were all clones, and using basic common sense and reason, the people complaining could have realized that at some point, maybe the Empire stopped using clones and started employing regular Joes. Or, since at that point it was only a trailer, they could have taken a moment to wonder whether, like Han and Luke, Finn was simply posing as a stormtrooper. The fact is there were plenty of plausible explanations for how a black stormtrooper didn’t violate continuity, but their brains shortcircuited at “black stormtrooper.” I doubt we would have seen this reaction if Finn were played a white actor who did not look like Temuera Morrison.

                      You’re also aware of the group that suggested boycotting Star Wars because it advocated “white genocide?”

                      The “Darth Vader is black” argument is thin, but I’ve seen it based more on James Earl Jones’ voice than just his suit.

                      The Chick-fil-A thing was definitely stupid, and an example of SJW overreaction.

                  • I’ll thank you to deal with what I say, and not what you desperately want me to say. When you say “Some of these are latecomers to the party–understandably so, as comics haven’t always been the most welcoming environment for women and minorities” You’re admitting that until very recently your politics haven’t found fertile ground in geek culture, and the group as a whole still thinks SJWs are screaming, toxic banshees. You don’t get to forget you wrote that a post later and change the type of politics in discussion just because they better make your point.

                    • I misunderstood you. You said:

                      “I could try explaining that awkwardly shoehorning political ideology into a medium that isn’t receptive to it is really rubbing it into the faces of loyal, long term customers.”

                      I understood this to mean that any political ideology has no place in comics, which obviously isn’t true. But now I see you’re talking simply of “SJW” politics.

                      I admit that I’m unclear on your definition of SJW; the most common definition I’ve been able to work out in my experience with the term has been “People who care about things I don’t.” It definitely seems to apply to people who want more racial and gender diversity in comics, and who believe comic books can and should include messages of equality and tolerance. Stan Lee would seem to fit into that category; what is the X-Men without that particular political ideology?

              • God…. What a mess of text. I realized as I was typing out my last response just how far we’d strayed from the original premise, and how many places we’d gone. It also became very clear very quickly, once I realized that, that we weren’t having a discussion. It’s a pitfall of having a discussion with someone who has made up their mind. In online discussions with people I have the feeling aren’t going to change their mind, I like to flex my ideas a little, and most importantly, do it assuming an audience… Using that person as my Watson, at the risk of them using me as theirs. At this point… I’m just about done. I feel that anyone who happens across this series of posts can read them and make up their minds for themselves. But I’m tired. I have better things to do. And debating you is like sword-fighting air. It’s a frustrating combination of misdirection, goalpost shifting and feigned ignorance.

                If you respond to this with a direct question, I’ll get the notification and I’ll answer… But barring that, I’m out.

                  • Oooh…. Good question. I try not to make my mind up about much of anything, but this is a close one. Ultimately, no… My mind is not made up, the goal of diversity in general is noble, but I have a hard time reconciling that goal with the actions. There will be a heavy burden of proof for an SJW to convince me that their activism has positive outcomes, as opposed to divisive ones, because the obvious outcomes so far have been so polarizing and generally destructive.

                    The one example I can point to of SJW`s getting it right is actually Angela: QOH. Made by SJW`s for SJW`s, and even if the toxic political ideology breaks through… At least they’re peeing in their own swimming pool. If the goal was diversity, and the vehicle was new content that filled whatever predetermined quotas they set… Go hard. I wouldn’t care. I might still point to it and say ‘Jesus these people are insane.’ but I wouldn’t have any issue with it existing.

                    • “My mind is not made up, the goal of diversity in general is noble, but I have a hard time reconciling that goal with the actions.”

                      Interesting. I ‘m genuinely surprised to see that you feel “the goal of diversity is noble;” I hadn’t picked up on that in your writing, and I seem to have misjudged you.

                      I’d also like to ask you: how exactly do you distinguish between sensible people who advocate increased diversity and “SJWs?” Is it just a question of tactics? And where do you draw the line? Some of the arguments and tactics you showed examples of–the Raven Simone thing, and the “Darth Vader is black” thing–were genuinely terrible, but others I have a hard time seeing as unfair. If calling for diversity in and of itself isn’t wrong, then what makes SJWs so terrible?

                      “the obvious outcomes so far have been so polarizing and generally destructive.”

                      Which outcomes, specifically? Some of the outcomes you’ve pointed to–Black/Hispanic Spider-Man, Female Thor–couldn’t be characterized this way. Raven Simone wasn’t fired. The Green Inferno dustup didn’t seem to ruin anyone’s career. So what are some examples of SJW activism having destructive outcomes?

                    • “Is it just a question of tactics?”

                      Basically. The problem is the “SJW” is a big tent, just like feminism is a big tent, progressive is a big tent, and to be completely fair conservative is a huge tent. And all of those big tents have a certain percentage of toxic, crazy people in them. It’s…. Hard…. to call out the worst in those groups without offending the group as a whole, more so because in some of those groups the toxic crazy portion is larger than with others.

                      “Some of the arguments and tactics you showed examples of–the Raven Simone thing, and the “Darth Vader is black” thing–were genuinely terrible, but others I have a hard time seeing as unfair. If calling for diversity in and of itself isn’t wrong, then what makes SJWs so terrible?”

                      Outcomes. The moderate people interested in Social Justice for whatever reason don’t seem to get the same kind of traction…. That could actually be a good thing, because I think the progress they make is actually better in a lot of ways… It’s less toxic, it’s longer lasting, and it might actually address the issues.

                      But Symone’s petition had 130,000 signatures and Melissa Harris Perry is a broadcaster on the second largest news network in America. They matter. And they exemplify the worst SJW’s have to offer: Thoughtless, knee jerk reactions that ruin lives. Symone is a big enough personality to withstand that pressure, but I could give examples of people who weren’t. I could spend hours linking cry-bullys online who curl into the fetal position and start GoFundMe accounts when someone doxxes them, but gleefully dox people they don’t like, some leading to death threats. (Best example I can think of: Milo Yiannopolous had a box mailed to him containing a dead mouse with a razor blade stuck in it’s neck, he’s a twat, but no one deserves that.*) or various petitions to get people fired for holding the wrong political opinion. That is the face of Social Justice that I’m familiar with. It’s mean and petty and angry and… sad. Really fucking sad.

                      At the end of the day, movements have to be judged on their outcomes, and their actions, and not their goals. The goal can be noble, but if you approach it wrong and burn things down around you, you’ve failed.

                      * http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/04/22/how-i-ended-up-starring-in-the-most-violent-video-game-of-the-year/

                      “Which outcomes, specifically?”

                      We disagree on the relative constructivity of the changes Marvel made, apparently. It’s hard to make the argument either way. The SJW’s say that sales are up, I point out that if you look at the graphs, sales are usually up for maybe a quarter, and then settle somewhere lower than they were originally, and the SJW’s rebut that with: “Well, comics are a dying medium anyway.’

                      All of that is true, by the way. And so the question is whether the comics sales did better or worse than they would have without the change, or whether the change effected them.

                      But that’s kind of secondary to the cultural issue. We’re being told that we need diversity for several reasons…. It gives people role models to aspire to, icons to identify with, Among other things, Sure…. But why does that require replacing white role-models and icons with minority ones? And does simply coloring a white person black really accomplish what you set out to do?

                      Ach…. I’ve already responded more than I wanted to. Just when you think you’ve gotten away, they suck you back in.

                    • Obviously death threats and harassment are unacceptable, but I don’t know if that’s any more common among SJWs than others. You even allude to doxxing by anti-SJWs, but you seem to have less of a problem with anti-SJWs as a whole.

                      “Among other things, Sure…. But why does that require replacing white role-models and icons with minority ones?”

                      It doesn’t, and it hasn’t. Again, Peter Parker hasn’t gone anywhere. Male Thor is still appearing in comic books, and has a major blockbuster movie scheduled. Carol Danvers is arguably more successful as Captain Marvel than she was as Ms. Marvel, and we have a cool new Muslim Ms. Marvel now too. I’m not seeing how anyone is being “replaced.”

                      “And does simply coloring a white person black really accomplish what you set out to do?”

                      I think the recent push for diversity has involved a lot more thought and effort than “simply coloring a white person black;” Miles Morales, Jane Foster and Kamala Khan are all fantastic characters that have struck a chord for many fans. Part of this is because of diversity, but certainly not all of it.

  8. Oh my. So much to say, so little time. In no particular order, and not covering all the issues:

    1. It is clear to me that Meredith Simons got her law school degree from the back of a matchbook. But that’s just one of my nasty — what a moron! — comments.

    2. I gave up on the Washington Post long ago, but really, with their subscriptions so low and presumably money tight, have they hired 10-year-olds to do their vetting? Where the hell are the editors here? This should be an embarrassment to Post; but then again, have they gone so far left that they just don’t give a damn? Likely the latter.

    3. I really think that Ms. Simons should write a follow-up editorial taking blacks to task for playing white roles. How dare they deny their race? In such an article, she can craw all over Denzel Washington, e.g., who for most of his career has played characters who were in fact white in the novels/screenplays. Why? Because he’s a terrific actor. Period. It’s not non-traditional casting; it’s just great casting. And there are others. Oh please, Meredith, do this follow up editorial; we wait with bated breath to see your exemplary analysis of this particular topic.

    4. No more time this morning, but: Fred Astaire paying homage to a black dancer he admired can never, ever, be criticized. Yul Brenner is another icon who should be left alone, though I venture to guess that Ms. Simons never saw him act, in anything. (By the way, how does Simons know what ancient Egyptians looked like, anyway? Today, they are Caucasian.) Finally, just for now, Linda Hunt — as amusing and witty as Maggie Smith — must be having a tremendous laugh. At least I hope so.

  9. I really, really, REALLY* want to believe that the whole op-ed was tongue-in-cheek. Could it be that she was trying to show the inherent fallacy of multiculturalism? Please tell that is what she meant. I beg you. Otherwise, we have two recent examples of lawyers doing the legal profession a disservice (she is a soon-to-be lawyer and the other extolling the virtues of abortion is a tall-building lawyer).

    jvb

    Byt the way, Yul Brenner wasn’t Egyptian? Or Siamese/Burmese? Whoddathunk? What’s next? Roger Rabbit wasn’t real, either? Say it ain’t so.

    jvb

    * I am taken to believe/understand that if you type in all capital letters, it adds emphasis. I don’t really know, to be honest. I just looks weird.

    • Even if he was born on Russia, there’s a lot of mixed ethnic influences there. Yul was something unusual, that’s for sure. In the Magnificent 7, he’s supposed to be Cajun. THAT, he doesn’t look like at all.

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