Unpopular Opinion: Incredibles 2 wasn’t worth the wait. (Spoiler Free)

Yeah… this was a major let down.

torch-and-pitchfork.jpg

Oh, bring it on!

I went to see it with my family the other night at a drive-in. My kids loved the original and watch it ad nauseam.  I admit it’s a fun movie and definitely an entertaining take on Superheroes.

I actually got a laugh out of Samuel L. Jackson’s character when he’s arguing with his wife…

“It’s for the greater good!”
“I am your wife, I’m the greatest GOOD you’ll ever get!”

(No matter how many times I hear that, it still gets a laugh.)

So the movie takes place seemingly immediately after the first movie… despite 14 years passing. When the screen lit up and the cast appears on the screen to pathetically apologize for taking so long to make a sequel, I admit that was funny. It set the stage for what should have been a good movie.

What came after was… underwhelming. The story was a fairly run-of-the-mill paint by numbers superhero story. The “Surprise” bad guy that Disney seems to try to unleash on their audience lately has become so predictable… I had to resist the urge to point at the screen and be like, (okay, okay, ONE small spoiler! Skip to the next paragraph.) “Yeah, she’s the bad guy.”

It’s not that it was a bad movie, it just didn’t bring anything new to the table. Not helping matters though, was the voice acting…

Some of it was fine, as usual, Samuel L Jackson was his normal self and did a good job, but the rest of the cast sounded tired and out of it… except for one character, who arguably was even worse than that…

MV5BMTAzNzI3NTU4NTNeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU3MDIzNDg5MjM@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,589,1000_AL_

This character is being portrayed by a 49-year-old woman… and it really shows. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against older actors playing younger roles… as long as they can pull it off. At no point did I believe that was the voice of a teenager. She actually sounded older than Elastagirl, which was kind of cringy, to say the least.

All in all, I didn’t enjoy this movie at all. It’s fun for little kids, I suppose, but it really doesn’t bring anything new or exciting to the table. Save your money and rent it when it comes out.

Readers, what did you think? Was Incredibles 2 good? Do you want to see it? What did you like about it if so? Let me know down in the comments.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

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The Great Studio Ghibli Hunt: A Review!

 

If it’s not plainly obvious at this point, I love Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s work. There’s a sense of adventure and excitement in the stories they produce, and even when it’s a dark story, the animation is always colorful and fun.

After watching Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (Yes, I know, not Ghibli, but made by many of the same people, so it counts), Laputa: Castle in the Sky, and Howl’s Moving Castle to the point of memorization, and enjoying Kiki’s Delivery Service with my kids, I decided I wanted to branch out and bring some of the lesser known Ghibli movies into my house for my family to enjoy. Hense I started the Great Studio Ghibli Hunt. During this time, I will be buying one movie a month, and I will review it here for you.

This doesn’t mean they’re all getting a review. I already own about 10 of them and IMHO, they are the more well-known ones that really need no review.

So today I’m going to start off with a family favorite… one that my wife and kids absolutely love, but honestly… is fairly low on my list of beloved Studio Ghibli movies.

Ponyo:

Yes, I know… while technically not one of the lesser known Ghibli movies, I did kind of want to address this one as a way to start off.

So the story is basically about a little boy who lives near the ocean with his mom in Japan. The boy loves playing down by the water and one day stumbles across a tiny fish with an almost human face. This fish is Brinhylda, a daughter of… what I can only describe as an underwater alchemist. He keeps her safe in his lab, but eventually, she finds a way to escape and finds her way to the little boy.

Eventually, her father locates her and steals her back. However, she gets into his potions, sets off… some kind of a chain reaction that’s never well-explained, and throws nature out of balance.

At this point, Ponyo’s mother shows up. It’s revealed that… I guess she’s the Goddess of the Ocean. Apparently, the only way for the balance of nature to be restored is for the little boy to agree to love and care for Ponyo as she lives between to worlds. At the end, she transforms permanently into a human and… everything is back to normal.

Scratching your head yet? I’d be surprised if you weren’t. The major problem with Ponyo is the story telling. It’s definitely the weakest of the Ghibli movies thus far. Too little is explained and as a result, not a whole lot makes sense. It can be a little tough to follow and… well… let’s address the Elephant in the room.

It’s the Little Mermaid!!!

Pretty much. It’s a modern re-telling of the Little Mermaid. Honestly, that’s not a bad thing. I actually prefer this version to the bastardization of the original as told by Disney.

Let me just be clear on this, I don’t dislike this movie at all. I think it’s a great movie, but a great movie placed with legends. In essence, it’s so far the least great of a library of amazing movies.

Up Next will be When Marnie Was There.

The list of movies to recieve reviews are as follows:

Grave of the Fireflies
Only Yesterday
Porco Rosso
Pom Poko
Whisper of the Heart
My Neighbors the Yamadas
The Cat Returns
Tales from Earthsea
From Up on Poppy Hill
The Wind Rises
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
When Marnie Was There
Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter
Ocean Waves

I’ve already ordered When Marnie Was There and plan on watching it in short order. So if there’s one in particular you’d like to see out of the above list next month, let me know. I was planning on doing Porco Rosso, but I can change that! 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Off of My Writing Playlist

This was quite possibly the first song on my writing playlist. I don’t remember for sure, but it’s been on there since before I can remember… Skip ahead to 4:20.

 

This is a destiny piece and it is absolutely fantastic. There’s a reason it’s played right as Simba steps onto Pride Rock for the first time as king. I play this when my hero first ‘picks up the sword’ and begins his journey, or after the final struggle is over and the heroes claim victory.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

And We Did It Again!

Two writers from Star Wars have now done what Trek Against Trump did to Star Trek:

“Chris Weitz tweeted the following Friday morning: “Please note that the Empire is a white supremacist (human) organization.” Gary Whitta, the original writer on the project, responded in kind, tweeting: “Opposed by a multi-cultural group led by brave women.”‘

The Hollywood Reporter

UGH… this has gone too far. REALLY too far. First of all, you’re alienating a huge part of Star Wars’ fan base by doing this. I know you’re probably going to say ‘Well they’re bigots and misogynists so who cares?’

Well you know what? That’s your narrow-minded opinion, and frankly it’s not accurate. There are people out there who are anti-establishment voters who went for Trump for reasons that had nothing to do with hatred or racism.

Also, the Empire is a White Supremacist Organization? What does that say about people who like the Empire because they enjoy bad guys, and people like the 501st who dress up like them for comic cons and reenactments?

My geekdom just died a little more… The worst thing is that Disney will not stand up against this… why? Because if they do, suddenly Salon and Huffington Post articles will come out slamming Disney and we’ll start seeing a ton of whining from the regressives.

All I can say for those of you who find this offensive, like myself… Take solace. This isn’t Star Wars or the characters saying this. This is the senseless ramblings of one or two writers with two much time on their hands attempting to pander to social justice, perhaps for some kind of credibility… and if I need to point out the irony there…

This shameless shilling is NOT Star Wars, and anyone who tells you otherwise is pushing an incredibly one-sided, politically driven agenda, and nothing more. Its a fact. Just so you know where I’m coming from, I personally don’t care if each of these people come out in against Trump. That’s fine, I’m not fond of him myself. I don’t even care if they create a sci-fi internet guild bringing them all together to lobby for Hillary. What I care about is the fact that they’re using Star Wars as a base to push their agenda. That is wrong, it is blatantly wrong and it makes fans like me who don’t agree with the extreme left feel left out, disenfranchised, and alienated for our beliefs.

As I’ve said before, people, PLEASE do not buy into this. Do not give these people the time of day or let them think that they have taken the moral high ground here. If anything, go onto facebook or twitter and let them know why you’ve voted the way you did. Let them know that what they’ve said and done is wrong on a multitude of levels and why. SHOW THEM! Giving into this and falling for the rhetoric does nothing other than create more division. As fans, we’re finally coming back together after Star Wars took a royal beating with the prequels.
We’re here, finally coming together and all this does is create division amongst the fans. It’s unnecessary and it’s wrong…

But people like Weitz doesn’t care. Why? Because he, like so many others are blind to everything beyond the bounds of their own politics. They have a need to inject their political beliefs into everything they do, otherwise life has no meaning for them. To them, Star Wars CANNOT be its own fun-filled story into fantastical nonsense. No it has to stand for something, it has to show who the good people are and who the bad are…  They can’t grasp that this is not the way to promote their political beliefs, but in the end, all it does is damage the franchise they’re working on, hurt them at the box office, and insult the fans.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go rewatch The Force Awakens. I don’t usually condone swear on my blog but… as with Trek Against Trump… FUCK THIS NONSENSE!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Custom Action Figures

I want to talk a little bit about action figures once more as I’m an avid collector of them. They’re fun to display, fun to collect, and certainly fun to play with your kids with… unless they’re the $30+ ones with fragile parts… then yeah, just the first two!

But what about characters that don’t have action figures, either because they’re just not popular enough or they’re just starting out… or they’re from a medium that generally doesn’t produce action figures? Or how about the problem I had with the Spider Gwen action figure that I felt was cheaply made?
_58(Yes, I’m still mad about that.)

Well for those of you who really want something like that… your options are fairly limited. Take me for example…

I have a character that I downloaded for Skyrim, then did a lot of extra modifying to. This character was tough, badass, and someone who literally never left my party. In fact, she was in part, the inspiration of a lot of really fun fan fictions dealing with Skyrim and other universes:
2014-07-26_00002

She followed my character on many adventures… and even stole kills from me on a regular basis. She was definitely the most bad ass out of any of the companions I used.

2014-08-20_00002

Anyway, I know that Skyrim has action figures, but what are the chances that they’d create a non-canon figure based on a mod? More importantly, this specific mod… the answer is, of course, NONE!

However, I really wanted one of her as she was hands-down one of my favorite characters in any medium. So I started looking into the possibilities of making her. I ruined a few Arwen and Tauriel action figures in the attempt… I’m sorry to say.

At that point, I’d given up. There was no way that this was ever going to happen. It was at this point that I came across an interview  with a toy customizer named John Harmon. I went through his page, checking out the other impressive work he’d done… and come to find out that there is actually a huge community of people that do this kind of work. Like actual message boards, contact pages, etc.

SWEET!!! So with excited fingers, I fired off a message to John as his were the most impressive I’d seen in my search about doing this figure. He replied to me pretty quick saying that he’d be happy to work with me, and asked for images of the character in question. Thankfully, I’d just finished about 10 hours of modding (no, not consecutive, I HAVE A LIFE!!! 😉 ), and so I sent him off some more high definition images:

(Yes, this is what Skyrim CAN look like with the right attention to detail, patience, and the right system)

At that point, we got down to the basics;
What size action figure?
Any weapons?
What the base figure would be?

So basically, he takes an existing action figure, uses as much of it as he can… though usually not very much, and creates a brand new one. He does this using parts of other action figures that look similar or when there isn’t any, he makes the parts custom.

So perfect, now we have a way of getting action figures we otherwise wouldn’t get, right? Eh… two things I need to mention here…

  1. This isn’t cheap. Most of the time, if you want a decent action figure, you need a high-quality base action figure. Those can run from $30-$100+ so factor that into the price, plus labor and other parts. Thankfully mine was… somewhat affordable? I have no regrets, being a geek doesn’t usually come cheap when you get down to collectibles.
  2. It takes time. A lot of these customizers, John included, do this as a career and usually have a lot of requests. Be prepared to wait 6+ months for your figure. I submitted my request on December 1st, I received my figure in late June, I believe?

Was it worth it? You be the judge:

And again:

So if you have a character you really want to see made into a figure and your geek cache is plentiful, I’d definitely look into it.

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Why Does Preachy/Safe Book and Movie Writing Fail So Badly?

Okay… I’m going to try to put a stop to this, because my focus on movie writing lately has taken my blog WAY off topic, almost to the point of Hollywood Advocacy, and it needs to stop. So hopefully this will be the end of it. However, there were some things that I needed to get off of my chest about the effects of political correctness, ‘safe writing’, etc. and movies are perhaps the more glaring examples… thankfully!

Anyway, here goes. I covered this a little in my topic ‘Why do we cater to Political Correctness in our Writing?‘ but I wanted to delve into this a little more. Think about it. Look at the movies and books that are overly politically correct, that cater to Social Justice demographics, and are extremely preachy in their message. Name one that really did all that well… Can you? Maybe I don’t see enough movies or read enough, because I can’t.

Now, let’s go and take a look at movies that weren’t ‘safe’ and weren’t necessary politically correct, and trusted their audiences to make their own determination…

Well, that’s easy for me. Disney’s the Hunchback of Notre Dame tops the kid’s movies list. Think about it, it’s dark, it deals with Christianity and the Christian God… which is something we don’t usually see in visual media much any more. Think about it, the main characters came under the protection of the church, and it’s even because a priest steps in that the Hunchback even survives!
The movie goes even further, prejudice against gypsies, hypocritical blind faith, lust and the dark side of desire, murder, and even genocide  are prevalent themes of the movie. It is edgy, interesting, and an absolutely beautiful film which still remains very high on my favorite movies list.

When this movie came out, was it panned by critics? Did people flock to social justice for protection? Hell no, the movie was a critical success and became the 5th highest grossing film of 1996. The audiences absolutely loved it! Heck, some even went so far as to say that the movie didn’t go far enough with the dark themes that are in the original source material.

Another good example? Well this one is a little more obscure, but Nuremberg, starring Alec Baldwin is a little-known gem that can be watched on Youtube. Too often today, we see historical bad guys needlessly over-vilified in order to drive the point home that they’re the bad guys. (Japanese pilots firing on the Hospital in ‘Pearl Harbor,’ which didn’t actually happen, is a perfect example of this). Nuremberg was the story of the trials surrounding the top Nazi’s that survived the war, and focused greatly on Hermann Goering. I’ve seen many movies that deal with this subject, and one thing that makes this movie different from so many of the others… is that not only do they humanize Goering, but they actually make him likable. Seriously, if you didn’t have the historical context of what he and the Nazi Party of WW2 were responsible for, you might actually find yourself hoping that this character is found innocent.
To be clear, they don’t do this to try to deny the Holocaust or try to downplay how evil this people were, far from it. The movie shows them, in my opinion, as they were. When I think of Nazis, I don’t think of vicious killers covered in blood running around like barbarians… well… okay I don’t think of the top Nazi officials and High-Ranking officers that way. No, I think of them as charming, soft-spoken, deceptively polite, manipulative, and even on some level, even likable. I know that sounds awful, and it is, but think about it… how did the Nazis come to power? Did they seize control? Did they attack the Reich in a violent coup and take control of the government? No, they tried that and failed. They actually took over almost completely legally through voting and politics. You cannot accomplish this by being a rude, hard-lining barbarian. You have to suave, you have to be likable, and you have to be able to be able to bring people over to your side. That is how this movie portrays them. It let’s you see things from their perspective, it let’s you develop a relationship with these characters because it trusts its audiences to remember that, even though Goering can suck you in with his charm, he was still an evil, despicable, man who was responsible for the deaths of literally millions of innocent people.

So the question then is… why do safe movies that cater to the Social Justice crowd fail, often overly politically correct, fail so miserably? Honestly… It’s because they don’t respect their audience! They don’t trust their audience to be able to handle controversial subjects and fear the threat of backlash. It’s sad, but that’s how it goes. People go to the movies for an escape, they want to be drawn in to fantasy worlds and allowed to use their minds to a certain extent while following the story. Unfortunately, too often, that’s not what we get…

Think about it… Do you think Disney would put out a movie like ‘Bambi’ today? Would they really risk showing the scene that launched a thousand tears with Bambi’s Mom getting killed? Well… maybe, but I somehow doubt it. That was a different time. At that point, the studios trusted their audiences. They trusted children to be able to handle things like that and respected them to be able to process it instead of coddling them like ‘pweshous widdle snowfwakes,’ but what’s more, they trusted us parents to be able to raise our kids and put everything into context so that they know, ‘Okay yes, it’s terrible, it’s awful, but that’s life. Yes it’s bad, but it’s something that happens.’ instead of sending them angry letters saying ‘Don’t show our kids bad stuff, we don’t actually want to have to parent them!’
Today? If you need proof that studios like Disney don’t trust their audience to put things into context, look at ‘Song of the South.’
s-l1000
I own one of the few legal VHS copies that pop up from Europe on Ebay every now and again and I can honestly say that the movie is harmless. It’s a pleasant little story, dealing with mythos and the stories passed down by freed slaves in the south. Again, it doesn’t hold back. It speaks of race relations and shows the difference in living conditions and status of the different races during The Reconstruction Era… and Disney refuses to release it. Why? Because they view it to be racially insensitive and are concerned about backlash. The problem here? YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO RACIALLY SENSITIVE WHEN YOU’RE DOING A PERIOD PIECE!! If you’re going to do a movie about the Reconstructionist South, you’re going to be showing racism. You’re going to be showing black poverty and the different in living conditions. You’re going to show racial epithets… and you know what? Even in a kids movie, you shouldn’t be ashamed of that! Let us show the movie to our kids and put everything into context, TRUST US TO DO THIS!

As for the controversy surrounding this movie and the fear of backlash? What backlash? The movie received mixed reviews and the only complaint of racism came from Walter Francis White, the executive secretary of the NAACP:

“The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People recognizes in “Song of the South” remarkable artistic merit in the music and in the combination of living actors and the cartoon technique. It regrets, however, that in an effort neither to offend audiences in the north or south, the production helps to perpetuate a dangerously glorified picture of slavery. Making use of the beautiful Uncle Remus folklore, “Song of the South” unfortunately gives the impression of an idyllic master-slave relationship which is a distortion of the facts.”

Okay, now my own opinions of the continued relevancy of the NAACP aside, White later admitted that he’d never even seen the damn movie! So there goes the backlash. One complaint from an ill-informed individual, who wound up making himself look like a fool.

Did Gone with the Wind face the same criticism? Did it fail? No, it’s a time-honored classic? Okay then.

Moving on…

The other reason these things fail is because people don’t like being preached to. We don’t like being told what to think and how to do things. We read stories and go to the movies to have fun and get a little vacation from reality. I cite an example that happened to me a few years ago…

When District 9 came out in theaters, it was advertised as  Sci-Fi movie, that was on par with Star Wars. The trailers certainly backed this up and the marketing was great, so I went to see it… The result was a grotesque movie that was essentially a metaphorical docudrama of Apartheid. I was furious. I tried to give the movie a chance, but couldn’t. It was horribly written, unbelievable, and completely unforgivable. I marched out half way through the movie and demanded my money back. The manager came out and talked to me, trying to explain away why he can’t give me my money back. I told him that the movie was falsely advertised as a science fiction movie and there  was no mention of a political documentary and I wanted my money back. In the end, they gave it to me… mostly I think to shut me up.

This is what I’m talking about… if you wanted to make the movie as a political metaphor, fine, great, TELL US! Don’t trick us and then preach at us. People don’t like that. The movie had a good premise, but unfortunately went to a director who is known for his one-note stories that deal strictly with class warfare and apartheid. It shows you one side of everything and does not give the audience a chance to make any decision for themselves. No, you’re going to sympathize with the Aliens without any thought to ‘How did we get here, why are we at this point?’
No, we’re given a narrative story, told how to feel, and given no opportunity to decide anything for ourselves.

Sadly, things like this have been happening for a while now… so why am I so vehement about it? Well because when we don’t let the younger generation deal with Bambi’s death, when we aren’t respected enough to be able to take care of our families and think for ourselves … that’s when the thought police and the disrespectful coddling become relevant and even more so PREVALENT in our society… I don’t even want to think about what the end result will be when people who have been treated this way, or those who have been raised this way, attempt to stand on their own two feet against a cruel world when they’ve never been given the chance to even grow strong legs.

So what do you think, readers? Am I right, am I wrong, am I misguided? Let me know what you think, below…

Thanks!

(P.S. You may notice that I didn’t touch on the censorship of Mark Twain’s writing… well honestly, that’s because that is a separate issue all together, yes it touches on the points I made about people not being able to handle the terse language, but that’s dealing with more of a 1st Amendment issue and really I could write a full blog piece about that alone.)



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Why do we cater to Political Correctness in our Writing?

This is something I’ve seen, not only in writing, but also movie-making, and comic books. It’s something I can say that I’m guilty of as well.

What do I mean when I say we cater to the PC (Politically Correct) crowd? Well… honestly, we spend a lot of time concerned with the ethnicity of our characters, who get’s killed off and/or who gets center stage… not based on who is the strongest character, but rather which character isn’t going to make us look in any way bigoted.

Example: (SPOILER ALERT) I killed off a female character of Asian decent in one of my stories. In my next novel, I plan  on replacing her with another female character because it suits my narrative, but she’s not Asian or any sort of minority. She’s a very perky country artist that’s going to be more of a nuisance than anything. This, I admit gave me pause… and maybe it’s just me… maybe I’ve been affected by the mass-media because of incidents like what happened with James Rolfe, but even knowing that, it’s hard to get passed. In the end, I decided that it’s my story and I’ll write it however I want. DAMN THE TORPEDOES, FULL SPEED AHEAD!!!

Now I know what a lot of people are thinking… what, you have a problem with diversity? We should be adding more minority characters into stories! We don’t want to alienate people!!

That’s very true. People of all backgrounds should have someone like themselves to look up to. However, forcing/pressuring someone to write a character a certain way for the sake of diversity can have a damaging effect…

Consider this… you’re writing based on your experiences. You’re using fantasy to  make your story a lot more interesting and decide that you want to represent more people. As a result, you write in a character of an ethnicity, who’s culture and background you may not have enough information on. The result is a stereotypical character that some would consider something to the affect of a ‘black-face’ character and guess what? You’ve now offended the very audience that you’re trying to include.

So why not immerse yourself more in the culture! Take the time to learn more about people.

Very true. That’s good advice that I was actually going to allude to later on, but that’s not always an option. Put it this way, a writer living in Greenwich CT, who has spent their life there, is not going to be able to properly represent a person from… let’s say New Orleans. Even if they visit it for a little while. Immersion into another culture isn’t always possible unless you have the time and money to do it… which I can honestly say most authors starting out don’t have.

My point is that you should write what you know, do your best to learn, but don’t feel pressured by societal norms into writing characters certain ways. If you want to write in a character of another ethnicity or religion, just make sure you represent them correctly. Otherwise, you’re going to turn people off to your work.

Seriously dude, how can diversity in writing honestly be THAT damaging?

Well let’s take a look:

Most recently, Ghostbusters 2016. This movie was absolutely blatant in its girl power message… blatant to the point of being offensive to all 5 senses. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with a strong female as one of the leading roles in a story. (See Damnation and Soul Siphon). The problem was that Sony was obnoxious about it. Instead of making the women in the story equal with everyone else, they pushed something closer to a social justice warrior narrative where they promoted the women in a rather derogatory way. Instead of having them work with male characters side by side, they created a ‘Separate but equal (kinda)’ team of all-women, and from what I saw from the reviews, the male characters were weak, evil, or grossly incompetent.
This is where Star Wars and Fury Road worked where Ghostbusters failed. They made the female/minority characters work alongside their male/non-minority companions. They didn’t try to force any diversity message down anyone’s throats, they just wrote a great story with great characters.
As I stated in a previous review, a female Ghostbusters cast could have worked. If they had a Rey or a Furiosa on the team and maybe had them working alongside two male Ghostbusters (not even the majority) it would have been great, but that’s not what they did. They brought in a director that’s known for his ‘girl-power’ feminism agenda, which he then proceeded to force down everyone’s throats.
What’s worse, Sony and Feig double-downed on this and went so far as to paint the main fan-base of Ghostbusters as misogynistic and ‘assholes.’ Yeah… not the way to get butts in the seats. The result was a consistent controversy, critics of the film getting needlessly attacked for their opinions, key spokespeople having to do damage control, and the movie chalking in a multi-million dollar loss internationally.
Now the big money question: Have I seen the new Ghostbusters?
No, and I have no plans to. Sorry, but I was greatly offended by what Paul Feig said about geek culture and the damage Sony did to it, that I’m pretty much sworn off any of Feig’s work, past, present, or future. Geek culture and it’s progress over the last 20 years is something very near and dear to my heart, and I don’t appreciate us being painted with a wide, hypocritical brush as ‘assholes’ and misogynists. Sorry, but they’re not getting a dime of my money and I sincerely hope Sony studios gets flushed down the drain they’re already circling. (Hostile, I know, but oh well. I’m human.)

Second Example:
Marvel Comics… I’ve already gotten into this in a previous post, so I’ll just give a brief quote on it:
“I still enjoy Captain America with someone else holding the shield and Thor being a woman, because it’s explained well. It works and it all comes together. However when you make one character gay with no explanation (Colossus), or randomly change a character’s race (Nick Fury, Psylocke, and Spider-man), and do so with little explanation simply using the ‘Alternate Universe’ defense for poor storytelling, that’s where problems arise. It’s at this point that the pandering and blatant tokenism becomes obvious. For me, it was when they took arguably the most diverse team in comic book history,  a team that has literally had members from almost everywhere on the planet and actually dealt with bigotry and hatred, and made that team all women. Essentially, they took the X-Men, THE most diverse team and made it less diverse in the name of diversity. How does that even make sense?”

This may be why Marvel Comic sales are going down.  Honestly, that X-Men series didn’t last long, thankfully.

Next up…Disney’s The Frog Princess. This movie had controversy around it from day 1. Disney worked on the film over and over, altering characters, roles, even the jobs that these characters had, making it even less historically accurate in the name of not offending anyone.
Probably with little surprise… this movie didn’t do very well, which is a shame as the visuals and the villain are absolutely spectacular!

Fire Emblem has also come under fire for removing anything Nintendo thinks an American Audience might view as offensive and potentially misogynistic in some cases. It has drawn a lot of criticism and anger from the gaming community… which is sad because I absolutely love the series.

Another good example is the Character Percy from Pokemon. Percy was created because the show’s creators thought a western audience might find Brock racially insensitive… 4Kids, was also known for carefully censoring certain parts of the Japanese dialogue and editing it for… what they viewed as a more sensitive, American audience. Again, geeks and kids are far more intelligent than people like this give them credit. The backlash was pretty bad.

There are plenty of other examples, but I think I’ve made my point.

So… why did each of these projects fail? Was it the result of racism/misogyny/bigotry/sexism? Maybe in part, as certainly those can play a role in why select audiences might not waste their time with something… however I don’t think that’s the main reason. We currently live in a country that is extremely politically divided on almost every issue, and people are getting tired of it.
Political correctness was originally a term that, in modern usage, was used to describe language, policies, or measures that are intended not to offend or disadvantage any particular group of people in society. On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with that… however, over time, the term has been used as a crutch by people who are either WAY too sensitive, or are essentially looking for a reason to create a divisive issue… Sony’s response to the Ghostbusters criticism is a good example of this. PC now comes with a negative connotation as it has become the war cry of the now euphemistically-named Social Justice Warriors, AKA the type of people who quote Martin Luther King Jr. or Susan B. Anthony without a firm grasp of the meaning behind what they were saying or what their main goals were. It’s become a tool of these groups used to stifle creativity and Freedom of Speech and thought under the guise of empowering it. Their actions continuously become less and less righteous, and more like they’re seeking either handouts, self promotion, or superiority of their select ‘under-privileged class’ instead of seeking equality. They are extremely hypocritical in their arguments and usually impossible to engage in a critical debate. (Look up the feminist argument of Barbie vs. HeMan and their response) They insert racial issues into controversy where they have no place, and create other controversies when they have nothing to complain about. Basically, many of the more extreme of these regressive people would rather us go back to the 50s-60s or earlier, as long as they and their group is the one on top.

The problem is… these are the people that our media is now catering to. The result is politics being inserted into movies, books, etc. where they have no place and it is turning people off. I liken it to a comedian I saw recently who stopped in the middle of his act to get on a soapbox give his opinion on various political issues without cracking a single joke. The result was boo’s, heckling, people telling him to ‘Shut up and tell a joke!’ and people walking out demanding their money back… myself included. That’s the real problem here. People are tired of politics and regressive views, they are tired of political correctness and the hypocritical views that come with it.
When we go to see movies, listen to music, see a comedian, read a comic or a book, there are political options out there. You can easily find media that is political in natures. However, unless these people specifically want politics forcing it on them in a movie, book, or other medium, will make you loose the majority of your audience. People are tired of this level of BS and it is starting to show in the  backlash that comes as a result.

In closing, if you want to right about another culture or person of another walk of life, go for it, just make sure you get it right. Do your homework and make sure you’re accurately portraying that person’s background. If however you don’t want to or don’t think you can properly portray that group, don’t. You are under no obligation to. Don’t let anything or anyone intimidate you or pressure you into changing who you are or how you create.These people are not the biggest threat to your Freedom of Speech… your fear of them is.This type of nonsense only has power if you let it.

Anyway… I know I said that I’d do my best to keep politics off of my page, and I apologize for going back on that, but this is something that I had to get off of my chest.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim