Two weeks ago, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD produced an Asgardian-themed Thor: The Dark World tie in episode in which a character mused that if the Asgardian gods had turned out to be real aliens, whether other belief systems might also have extraterrestrial origin, adding “Vishnu for sure, right?” While I myself wasn’t certain whether I’d forgotten some relevant detail about Hinduism since my middle school days that would make that a cleverer joke or the creators merely picked a deity name out of a hat, the Universal Society of Hinduism takes issue with the insinuation.
USoH president, Rajan Zed, is calling for an apology, presumably from Marvel, Disney and/or ABC:
“Rajan Zed stated that Hindus were for free speech as much as anybody else if not more,” a statement from the Society said. “But faith was something sacred and attempts at debasing it hurt the adherents. Television and Hollywood should be more conscious while handling faith related subjects, as television and cinema were very mighty mediums and these could create stereotypes in the minds of some audiences.”
As it turns out, the context for SHIELD name-dropping Vishnu that I may have been missing was that the Supreme God has appeared in Marvel Comics alongside Odin and Zeus as the leader of a pantheon. Of course, with Hercules as a well known Marvel superhero who’s even had his own title from time to time, one wonders why SHIELD didn’t name drop Zeus rather than a Hindu god. Seems safer to mention religion without a truly widespread modern following that’s connected with a better known character. Of course, my objection is primarily just about basic common sense. The Universal Society of Hinduism coming from a somewhat different, more personal angle.
(via The Wrap.)
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