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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Things We Saw Today

Things We Saw Today: Tom Hardy Adopted the Adorableness. This Kid Was Born in It


Tom Hardy and a tiny Bane, making people all over the world want to have babies. Some of them with Tom Hardy. (Digital Spy)

Rose always did have the tenth Doctor wrapped around her finger. (Fashionably Geek)

  • Arturo at Racialicious examines the discussion (or lack therof) on minority identity and progressive social justice movements started by the problematic speech given by Alex Summers about the “M-word” in Uncanny Avengers #5, including the somewhat tone deaf reaction of the issue’s writer, Rick Remender.
  • Warner Bros. has started its own streaming service for hard to find movies and television it owns the rights to, including the 1952 Adventures of Superman. Interesting. (Deadline)

Game of Thrones, Facebook style. (io9)

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  • ACF

    Just finished Uncanny Avengers 5 (seriously, like an hour ago) and kind of wasn’t sure how I felt about Alex’s speech. I get that dividing ourselves up into different groups isn’t exactly the easiest way to get everyone to see everyone else as equal, and I know that Alex’s viewpoint is a real one some people hold in real life. That said, I’m not convinced that anyone who views some other group as being somehow inferior or dangerous or whatever is going to change their views because other people have stopped referring to that group by some specific name, and I think it hurts our ability to address discrimination if every time we want to talk about it, we have to say “that subset of humans whose members are disproportionately the victims of injustice, stemming from the bias held against them because of certain characteristics they possess”. Further, I feel like this idea lends itself to pretending systematic discrimination isn’t a thing, since it’s harder to talk about, for example, stereotypes in mainstream media if we’re not allowed to make note of the group that is being stereotyped. I’ll definitely check out that article.

    Although, part of me was hoping that, when asked what he’d like to be called, that Alex would respond with “Genetically Challenged”.

  • John Wao

    For all fantasy fans out there, there is a Ray Harryhausen documentary airing tonight on the Sony Movie Channel (I think it repeat at a later date).

  • Anonymous

    I think that’s exactly the problem with the speech. It attempts to sweep prejudice under the carpet and say, “Okay, from now on, no one is to be treated unequally! All better!” except that prejudicial treatment and attitudes STILL happen (not to mention ignoring prejudicial treatment and attitudes in the past and their reverberating consequences in the present), and it’s because you actually haven’t addressed prejudice at all. All you’ve done is try to ignore it, and you’ve simultaneously eliminated a means by which targets of prejudice can vocalize the prejudice they encounter (and a platform for people to disbelieve them since we now live in this “post-prejudiced” society).

    However, the viewpoint is complex, and Alex’s position would be interesting, given how Scott is being written as the polar opposite, as an effort to show how diverse identity politics play out in that microcosm of the Marvel U. Alex has espoused this public philosophy, so how do the other mutants on his team react to it? …But it’s pretty clear from Remender’s response to the criticism that’s not what he was doing or planning. :/

    The other issue that’s been discussed is how these are either Alex’s personal views (which, by extension are any person’s right to have about their own identity as a minority), or, since he’s giving a press conference as the Avenger’s PR mutant about how humans should treat mutants, it’s not just his personal identity he’s talking about, but rather a public platform he is espousing for others. The latter, in my opinion, is problematic. Alex doesn’t get to dictate mutant identity politics and what is and isn’t acceptable. If identifying as a mutant is “archaic and divisive”, suddenly any mutant who is happy to identify with an aspect of their identity is “archaic and divisive” to the public in attendance. And if that identity is developed due to years of systematic and violent prejudice and an effort to reclaim one’s self worth from that history of prejudiced treatment–which is the case for basically all mutants except for Wanda and Pietro–that’s a huge “fuck you” from a public that already doesn’t care about mutant prejudice and a mutant who really only cares about how his human teammates feel about mutant prejudice. Plus, the implications of someone like Alex, who has no visible traits that could expose him as a mutant, talking about how mutant identity is bad is really problematic. Easy for him to say, but what about any of the Morlocks, or people with “less acceptable” mutant appearance?

    It’s bizarre also to have Alex talk about how he doesn’t identify with anyone just because they’re a mutant and that his life isn’t dictated by his genes, when his entire life has. It may not be how he chooses to react to life, but yes, part of his identity is from the way life reacts to him. The better part of his life has been fleeing/fighting giant government robots designed to vaporize him with lasers, joining a group of people dedicated to fostering mutant-human relations, and developing relationships with friends and family who experienced similar oppression and victimization as he did. On top of that, his whole addition to the Avengers is to be their shiny, acceptable face of mutanthood.

    What annoys me about this is the way the Avengers have been portrayed is really unserious about their commitment to “end mutant prejudice”. To them, ending mutant prejudice was about tokenizing a few mutants, and then waving them in front of anyone who challenged their continued anti-mutant passivity (such as not questioning the continued presence of sentinels, not doing anything about aggressive, lethal action being taken against newly manifesting mutants, showing up full force at some new mutant girl’s home). They haven’t actually sat down to examine mutant oppression, or attempted to learn anything about what it means to be a mutant in a society that regularly tries to vaporize or imprison them. They’ve essentially taken the approach that ending prejudice is doing what you’ve always done, but just dragging some mutants along. Voila, everything’s better. That’s not a new platform for ending mutant prejudice. That’s just what you’ve always had with Wanda and Pietro multiplied by 3. That whole scene in Uncanny X-Men reeked of Captain America trying to play the “But Some of My Best Friends Are Mutant” card. Or that line from Luke Cage about how he kind of sympathized with the Purifiers when they tried to kill Emma Frost, despite the fact that the Purifiers were an anti-mutant hate group who blew up a bus full of mutant children and continuously killed mutants at every turn (including even more students) before any of that dumb AvX stuff went down.

    Blech.

  • Anonymous

    It gets a bit Newspeaky; you can’t really talk about something if you’re not allowed to use the word for it.

    And invariably people who want to eliminate these “divisive” minority terms want to do so by defining them against the majority. >_>

  • Anonymous

    Andrew Wheeler also wrote a really nice opinion piece about the “M-word” thing at Comics Alliance: http://www.comicsalliance.com/2013/03/29/uncanny-avengers-5-rick-remender-identity-politics-mutants/

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for writing this. Even though there are examples of this type of stuff every day, this got me thinking about an article written in Shakesville today, called Fixed Alley vs. Process Ally. The idea is that the first projects this “I am an ally,” onto others, instead of actually BEING an ally. The latter is of course, more fluid and self reflective. It’s interesting to see even super heros get it wrong, though frustrating, as you said, when it’s done in a way where even the writers don’t know what they’re really doing (not looking past their own privilege). It would be so awesome if there was actual conversation with these heros, and watch their viewpoint progress to something more, well, progressive. Maybe someday there will be writers who will take that journel along with the characters.

  • Genovesa Jervvis258

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  • Nick Gaston

    …isn’t the scientific term for mutants (um…big “M” or little “m”?) in the Marvel U “Homo Sapiens Superior”?

    ‘Cause, y’know, all other issues aside—in-universe, PR-wise, that’s probably something they should have tackled first.

  • Anonymous

    Wait – mutants are an allegory for minorities? Since WHEN?! /s

    Maybe it’s intentionally there to reflect real world sentiment to show us what our own reality is currently like and why we should improve up on it. That’s the primary, fundamental trope of science fiction.