Friday, June 2, 2023

It's 2023 and people continue to be mad and engaged with the ongoing culture war.

Yesterday, I was looking at the art for Magic: the Gathering's Lord of the Rings set for their collectible card game. It features some art that has enraged some folks, even though this is a non-canon take on the intellectual property. Namely, it has been these pictures of Aragorn and Eowyn where they have been drawn as black characters.

I'm trying to understand why this would enrage some folks, and why it doesn't seem to affect me all that much. These are certainly surprising takes on these classic characters. But does it really matter in the end? I wonder what would happen if Black Panther (Marvel character) were drawn as a white man. Would that matter at all? Maybe it would...maybe it wouldn't. I'm not sure I even understand what is going on in this country with regard to these kinds of things that I see popping up everywhere. Here's another (that I predicted by the way on this very blog).

These are the live action stars that have been cast for the How To Train Your Dragon live action movie. The one on the right is Astrid, who is going to be portrayed by a person of color. It doesn't bother me at all. I'm going to watch the show, as I love the story of How to Train Your Dragon. But people are going to be upset. And HTTYD is a relatively new story. It doesn't have the ancient history that Lord of the Rings does.

Another "recent" movie that did this was Disney's The Little Mermaid. I paid full price, saw the movie, and overall, I liked it okay. The girl they have playing Ariel has an amazing singing voice. But the movie was also overly long and I think it had too many dark areas and shadows which I think was used to hide bad C.G.I. This surprises me as Disney has access to the best C.G.I. that there is. And by far, Melissa McCarthy seemed to relish her turn as the Sea Witch with lots of gusto. She was a great Ursula. One conceit I will say though is that the diversity hammer did come on a bit strong. All of King Triton's daughters are a different race, and there's like eight of them. And Prince Erik is white (yes), but the Queen (his mom) is black and he's apparently adopted (washed up at sea). I think these are all interesting choices, and I wonder why there is such a tug of war going on with movies and television these days. And it all seems to be such a distraction from real issues which seem huge, like the onslaught of A.I. and climate change. The climate has become so unpredictable and hostile that State Farm, the largest insurer in California, has declared that they will no longer sell homeowner's policies in the state of California because it is too risky. Other states will follow. This should have been bigger news than it was yesterday. But instead people are enraged about black Aragorn. I wonder where all of this is going to end up.

I miss the relatively boring days when I was ignorant of how much people actually despised one another. I think I finally understand (at 51) the saying, "Ignorance is bliss."


  1. Sometimes I have to wonder if companies do that stuff because they know it's going to get a reaction. "Any publicity is good publicity" right? By now companies know making a previously white character black or some other race is going to enrage the right wing loonies and create buzz. Maybe I'm just too cynical that I can't help seeing all of this as a marketing ploy.

  2. State Farm is avoiding California? Don't blame them, I sure would.
    If a white guy played Black Panther or Shaft, there would be an uproar.
    Which is a shame. People are people. Although Pat may be right about some of it being a marketing ploy.
    Although a female James Bond would be weird. A woman wouldn't fit the profile. And I mean that in a good way.
    You're right, ignorance was bliss.

  3. Oh yes, the State Farm thing is well-publicized in California. I guess it's more of a local story? I think we're in a time where the white supremacists have been poked, so they're pushing back with all their might. This country is no longer going to have a majority of white people, and they don't like this. They don't like having the special privileges they've had for ages. So, they're embracing fascism. Sigh.

  4. Didn't I comment here? I thought I commented here. (I've been ending up in the spam folder a lot lately.)