No, not really. But I’m assuming somebody on the left is currently concocting that #HotTake, so I figured I’d put it out there first.
This is the Marvel superhero Iron Fist, as conceived during the kung fu craze of the early ’70s:
Note that he’s a white dude. He’s been a white dude for over 40 years. He learned how to punch and kick really well, even though he’s pale of skin. Crazy, right?
I never really liked Iron Fist as a kid. Not because he was a white guy appropriating Asian culture, but because he wore capri pants and bright yellow slippers. Who cares if you can punch through a brick wall if you dress like that? But now Marvel is premiering an Iron Fist show on Netflix, and they’ve cast a white actor in accordance with the longstanding character from the comics, and so of course that’s racist.
The thinking goes something like this:
“I notice you’re Asian. You must do kung fu!” This is RACIST.
“I notice you’re doing kung fu. Why aren’t you Asian?” This is NOT RACIST.
Some people were bound to complain regardless of which white dude was cast as Iron Fist, because complaining is what they do. But the more I see of Finn Jones in the role, the less impressed I am. He just doesn’t look credible as a kung fu master, and his American accent is iffy. And based on the early reviews, the writing isn’t up to snuff either. Sounds like a big mess, and it might be the first Marvel Cinematic Universe offering I’ll be skipping in almost 10 years. (Well, other than Agents of SHIELD. Does that one even count?)
So it looks to be a bad show that people are protesting for bad reasons. Can you guess who Finn Jones is blaming for all this? I’ll bet you can guess.
“I think the world has changed a lot since we were filming that television show,” he said. “I’m playing a white American billionaire superhero, at a time when the white American billionaire archetype is public enemy number one, especially in the US.
“We filmed the show way before Trump’s election, and I think it’s very interesting to see how that perception, now that Trump’s in power, how it makes it very difficult to root for someone coming from white privilege, when that archetype is public enemy number one.”
See? It’s not that the show is bad. It’s not that he did a bad job. Everybody just hates white American billionaires now! Well, except for 60 million Trump voters. But they didn’t matter before the election, so why should they matter now?
We’ll see how well this “America suddenly hates white billionaires more than usual” theory holds up when Justice League opens in November. Maybe Affleck will run with that one.
Finn Jones was pretty good on Game of Thrones, playing a gay knight who was tortured and humiliated by the
Inquisition Faith Militant before getting blown up in a terrorist attack just as I was saying, “Wait, which one is he again?” But it looks like accepting the role of an American karate man with super-punch powers was a mistake. Even if it does piss off the social justice warriors.