Maybe I’m just an old fart griping about the good old days, but some news out of the entertainment world recently has left me shaking my head and wondering what’s coming next.
A news item today (Tuesday) revealed that comic-book superhero Superman is now bisexual! Isn’t the fact that Superman can fly, survive nuclear blasts and is impervious to anything other than Kryptonite interesting enough without wondering if he has sex and with whom?
That little Superman tidbit comes just a couple of weeks after another superhero, Batman’s sidekick Robin, also was deemed to be bisexual. One is left to ponder the possibility that Wonder Woman is actually transsexual. And, given the apparent need to be up-to-date about the sexuality of characters, should H. Rider Haggard’s book She now be titled They?
What on earth are the creators of these comic strips thinking? Do they really think Superman and Batman fans care about the heroes’ sexuality? All I ever cared about was how – (not whether) – the heroes would overcome the villains and how they would escape from seemingly impossible situations. It never occurred to me to wonder if Robin wore leopard-print underpants or if Superman had a tattoo on his behind. Just as I never bothered to ask myself whether Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street were gay or whether the purple Teletubby was gay, something which perplexed a good many evangelists south of the border.
But that’s not the end of it. Now comes news that the iconic spy, James Bond 007, will be played in a future movie by a black female. Ian Fleming must be rolling over in his grave. And he likely will be joined by Henry VIII, since a new television drama in Britain has a black actress playing the role of Anne Boleyn. Since Anne Boleyn was the mother of Elizabeth 1, it will be interesting to see how the drama’s writers explain how the famously red-haired, pale-skinned Elizabeth could have had a black mother.
I’m all for inclusion, but not at the cost of discarding the roots of famous fictional and historical figures. Yes, I know that in the past white actors and actresses have played characters who were not white, but flipping the coin doesn’t correct that old sin.
If this trend continues, what can we expect in the future? How about Juan of Green Gables, where the Cuthberts adopt a Mexican orphan? Let’s have a new Robin Hood movie where the hero is played by a Chinese lesbian who spells her name Robyn. There have been numerous King Kong movies, so the next remake could have Kong played by Miss Piggy. Or The Old Man and the Sea could be reworked as The Little Boy and the Pond.
Ridiculous, right? But I would suggest the above-mentioned changes are equally ridiculous. And those behind these changes might someday discover the error of their ways. Not long ago, there was a local production of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. The director decided to set the time of the play in the 1920s – just because. However, the director’s choice soon ran afoul of the dialogue, which made reference to ration books, which only came into being during the Second World War, and “Japs,” another Second World War reference. There are some things that just can’t be changed.
I suppose those responsible for Superman’s bisexuality and Anne Boleyn’s dark skin colour want to think of themselves as being “woke,” a term that has been bandied about for a while now but one which I am not quite sure I understand. However, they are not “woke”: they are being controversial just for the sake of being controversial. In other words, just because. It tells me the writers behind these moves are devoid of any new ideas, so they just mess around with the characters to appear that they are “with it.” I think they would do well to spend more time on coming with new and original story ideas that are about those who have long been neglected in the entertainment industry. Don’t make Superman bisexual, create a brand new bisexual superhero, and a story to go along. Stop doing strange remakes, come up with a new idea or two. Don’t try to change the past – think for yourself and create a new, interesting future.
I am, of course, being very tongue-in-cheek here, but it seems to me that if these writers continue messing around with characters we’ve all come to know and accept, it won’t be long before we see Samuel L. Jackson playing the role of Peter Pan.
Tell me, am I wrong?
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