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Fine, I'll Write About Politics 3: Ghostbusters, Ghost in the Shell and Mob Movie Making
Ugh, I Did Not Want to Do This
So picture me, it's 1:45 pm on a Tuesday and I click on my Hubpages account and behold, everything has gone down in traffic.
Well no shit, the bitchy little fairy-like voice inside my head tells me, you haven't written any articles this week, you stupid c***.
Yeah but like, uh, writing is haaaaard...says the little whiny, lazy, emo, 13 year-old voice also living in my head.
The evil scientist lady who resembles but is legally distinct from Ritsuko from Neon Genesis Evangelion gets an idea, marked by her glasses looking more like flashlights than like lenses. We could just write something exploiting the clickbait potential of a current controversy!
But everyone else has like, already said everything about it that needs to be said,
the girl-voice insisted. She has a point. She happily rolls over and pulls blankets over her head, still listening to her Pink Floyd CD on repeat, coolade-colored hair spilling out of the blanket in various directions. She goes to sleep, angst having subsided into apathy.
Ritsuko-like lady beams. She's clearly won. She crosses and uncrosses her legs and then crosses them again seductively in triumph, crotch aimed proudly at the camera. What if, she intones to the other voices in my head, we talk about not just one controversy in the geek fandom vs. social justice war, but two!
Impossible, the me that writes thinks.
NONSENSE! Oh no, not that me... I haven't seen this me since... well... Acen.
Now, now, confidence-having me, I know how like you say nothing is impossible, but that position is demonstrably false. I can't for example, twist my head around 360 degrees like an owl and, well, they probably can't do a full 360 degree rotation either, I'm not sure, I'm not an expert in owls or anything but like, you know, like, um,
SILENCE! Confidence-having me was, to summarize, sure that I should write this article. I think I'd rather be the part of me in my covers listening to Pink Floyd.
This controversy happened because SJWs made a movie happen for solely ideological reasons and then are upset that people are thinking the movie in question:
1) Does not look like it's going to have good entertainment value.
2) Looks like it is going to be an embarrassment to the Ghostbuster franchise.
3) Is stupid in changing characters that were already male into females for no real reason.
Now, with things like this, I try hard not to judge a movie before I've actually seen it. But I am also going to say I am very critical of this push to shove more minorities and women into leading roles by simply taking over franchises that already exist and switching the race or gender of the main characters. There are plenty of franchises like Twilight and The Hunger Games that have strong female leads, and plenty of franchises like Game of Thrones and The Avengers that have strong female supporting characters, so I don't really get what they think making the Ghostbusters a bunch of unattractive, unappealing, pissy-looking women is going to accomplish.
They don't look like the Charlie's Angels or like Catwoman, they don't exude confidence and grace. They don't look like the original Ghostbusters either, they don't exude self-deprecating nerdy awkwardness. They just look bored and mad. And let's face it, ugly. I don't want to say unattractive people have NO value, but they're not what I want to spend money on watching. I'd rather watch a movie with a lot of really attractive people in it and no plot than a movie with no attractive people and some kind of classic heartwarming story. I'm not saying the Ghostbusters move to female leads would be helped if they didn't look like 4 sacks of angry potatoes, but it couldn't hurt to have given them some damn style and femininity (because why do a be-vagina-ed version of an old movie without showcasing what's special about them being women) and FUN. The original Ghostbusters movie was above all else about fun.
So maybe the movie is going to be good, maybe it's not, but I'm not holding my breath, because I don't think making and promoting any movie purely on ideological grounds makes for a good movie. They're making this movie this way because they're trying to do cultural engineering, not because they're trying to give the people what they want or express themselves artistically. So I think it's pretty safe to say that it's going to probably be a bad movie.
Ghost in the Shell: Live Action
Now, I know that I was against a proposed Akira live-action movie proposed by Hollywood a few years ago, but for one, I was more influenced by Cracked.com at the time, and they did an article about that, but also, many of the changes proposed would have completely undercut the original themes of the movie. For example, they would have moved the location of the film to New York, when its Japanese cultural identity as a movie is the reason for much of its symbolic references to WWII and the atomic bombs used against Japan. They also would have used middle-aged actors, which doesn't make sense because Akira is a coming-of-age story designed to explore themes unique to adolescence.
But what I don't have a problem with, but some people do, is when they take a previously Japanese story and do a live-action adaptation of it. Previous attempts like Dragon Ball Z failed, but one could argue that that movie failed because of a lack of budget, or because it deviated too much from the source material to make it recognizable to fans of the anime.
I don't see either of those problems with the proposed Ghost in the Shell movie starring Scarlett Johansson. People are hating on the movie just because it's taking an Asian story and adapting it for a white country, using a white lead actress. When I hear their vitriolic comments, they just sound like they're being negative about white people. The Japanese people who made Ghost in the Shell do not think it's offensive, in fact, they're happy that their work has the potential to hit it big in the US. I think Scarlett Johansson is a perfect choice to play Motoko Kusanagi because she tends to play similar characters, like Black Widow. ScaJo has this great ability to be hot, graceful, classy, dignified, and confident under fire that Motoko also has.
So, while I'm of course not sure that this movie is going to be great, I don't like the knee-jerk reaction of "this is racism!" that I see happening around me. It's not racist to make a movie where the leading actress is the same race as the majority of the country. It's not racist to adapt a character who was once one race and allow her to be played by an actress of another race (which is why I am not among those upset about the Hermione change for the sake of allowing a black actress to play her in a play).
Also, Motoko Kusanagi is a cyborg. Her mechanical body could be made to look like the image of every race, and I think Ghost in the Shell represents a globalist, post-racial future dominated by cybernetic transhumanism. It doesn't represent a world where people are tied to national or racial or even gender identities, because of the freedom many of them have to change their bodies. This is the society I hope we're headed to, one where race truly doesn't matter at all.