Doth Protest Too Much: Identity Politics
Doth Protest Too Much is the title of my new column series which will take place every month as a chance for me to speak more personally to my audiences.
The key difference between this column and my articles will be that the column will be far less historically analytical, and instead, more in tune with modern events or culture. It will be my platform, my soapbox to stand on and ramble about Ayn (ie) Rand (om) musings that pop into my little Libertarian head.
Given that I now have the opportunity to speak more clearly, I should warn you that I am an avid fan of film. I’ve seen all of the most contentious films including, Cannibal Holocaust (a Serbian film), The Interview, Romper Stomper and the worst of the lot… 2016’s Ghostbusters.
Regardless, it came to be quite a shock when I was inundated with “warnings” upon going to see Ghost in the Shell that there would be intense “white-washing.”
Completely unaware of the Frankfurt school’s new subversive slang, I did my fair share of googling and discovered that “white-washing” referred to the process of films altering the original content of their source material in order to racially undermine certain demographics. I did a double take, as I found myself hit with a visual montage of Nick Fury, the cast of Ghostbusters, Hermione and the Human Torch.
Putting aside the fact that different roles are often recast and re cut all the time, with different races, genders, and persuasions attached to each adaptation – how did these choices impact the film?
Ghost in the Shell is conceptually about individualism and how we can retain our own unique identity, body, and sense of self in a corrupt collectivist world. This is of course done symbolically throughout the film, as cyberpunk scenery and exaggerated corporate caricatures are drawn up.
The film pieces together a recreation of the anime in every facet of the world. Scarlett Johansson’s role as Major has pristine pale skin which is juxtaposed to the neon lights of a booming cyber-city.
Now, whilst this is accurate, casting a character from a Japanese source as white garnered a lot of controversy.
Among the controversy dished out is uproar towards the live-action Death Note film, which casts one of the leading roles as a white male, as opposed to the character originally being Japanese. The same voices which make up the lynch mob of modern cinema were noticeably silent about the quiet, pale and English character of L being played by California rapper Keith Stanfield. Nor did they kick up a fuss about the entirely Asian casting of the past four live-action Japanese films.
The worst part about this, is that those trying to stand up for the success of Asian communities are completely oblivious to the fact that poor reception of the film won’t do wonders for Shanghai Film Group Corporation or Huahua Media which both contributed to the making of the film. A brief waltz through the Tumblr tag will show you the absolute schadenfreude of social justice activists at the film which was initially projected to lose sixty million at the box office.
I think we all wait with baited breath to see how Christopher Obi, Yuta Kazama, Tawanda Manyimo, Rila Fukushima, Pete Teo, Yutaka Izumihara, Kaori Yamamoto, Takeshi Kitano, Ng Chin Han and Kaori Momoi handle having their careers tarnished through a film boycott based on diversity.
You may be wondering how this has anything to do with Libertarianism, but it paints a grim picture of the supply and demand relationship in film quality. If people swallow up anything that meets a quota, rather than something based on quality, then the market will provide stupid and inane drivel to meet that desire.
I find it ironic that a film which is so intent on promoting themes of individualism was hijacked by a cavalcade of racial collectivists. If you want to see something which highlights government collusion, capitalist successes, the reckless nature of war and the interesting relationship between man and machine, then I urge you to see this film.
It is ideal that people vote with their money. This may be a vegan buying cruelty free products or someone buying what they perceive to be the best version of an item, as it helps to establish enterprises which cater to people’s needs. These examples display how a methodological libertarian practice has been hijacked for identity politics.
Perhaps the left has swerved away from culture, or perhaps I doth protest too much.
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