Orion's picture

    From X-Men to Mutants: Wokeism grows up

    Note: I didn't know whether or not to put this in the Creative Corner. It is a clearly a sociopolitical topic, but could go either way. If you need me to change its orientation, please let me know. Thank you.

    It has been a big couple weeks for "Woke" / Cancel Culture / #metoo, or whatever you want to call the pervading left wing zeitgeist, depending on who you are.

    Early in February, a litany of serious abuse allegations were levelled at Marilyn Manson, AKA Brian Warner, the gothic shock rock musician who dominated alternative rock in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Manson's time is largely over - his current music is a much more toned down cross between Tom Waits and David Bowie that is largely oriented toward his quite significant Eastern European audience.

    Whoever his audience is now, however, Manson made all the wrong associates and boasted openly of all the wrong activities to make it through #metoo unscathed. He was dropped from his record label and is also the subject of an FBI investigation. Manson is an interesting addition to the #metoo phenomenon, because when he was actually at his height of fame, it was largely social conservatives like Bill O'Reilly (also canceled!) who detested him. He was blamed for the Columbine school massacre. He was even defended in Michael Moore's movie Bowling for Columbine. The one man consistent in distancing himself from Manson is the legendary Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, who signed Manson in the mid-90s and then quickly kept his distance ever since. His words on Manson were harsh and it's hard to see why he would lie: 

    I have been vocal over the years about my dislike of Manson as a person and cut ties with him nearly 25 years ago. As I said at the time, the passage from Manson’s memoir is a complete fabrication. I was infuriated and offended back when it came out and remain so today.

    ... Back in 2009, Reznor had words to speak of Manson to Mojo magazine, saying "he is a malicious guy and will step on anybody’s face to succeed and cross any line of decency. Seeing him now, drugs and alcohol now rule his life and he’s become a dopey clown."

    Reznor is now a legitimate composer, having worked on the soundtrack for the animated film Soul. The culture has changed considerably since both him and Manson were big, and one made Manson a cult figure then is now a serious liability. 

    Later on, as noted by rmrd0000 here at Dagblog, several books by Dr. Seuss were dropped. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy made a show on his Twitter of reading from "Green Eggs and Ham," just as more serious matters like pandemic relief were being worked out.

    The pervading wokeness also took on two female actors from the Disney show The Mandalorian for something or other, with Gina Carano being fired for a social media post. When I looked up merchandise for the show, nearly everything I found was Gina related, a possible demonstration that canceling (or attempting to cancel) various people might actually backfire and give them added notoriety and a rebellious image they otherwise never would have had.

    While wokeness does seem to be massacring various art that people grew up on, there is one arena where it may pay off. Marvel announced, after years of fans complaining about the patriarchal nature of the title X-Men, that the Marvel film that will introduce mutant superheroes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be titled "The Mutants." (The previous X-Men films were all produced by Fox.)

    There is a very clear explanation for why this would work. The bulk of beloved X-Men content was created during the Chris Claremont run of the 1970s and early 1980s, a time which, like our own, saw the shift away from old cultural norms and in to a new set of rigid ones. The X-Men evolved along with those changing times, with their anxiety over new superpowers being an analogy for a generation that was finding itself more powerful after feeling helpless during the Vietnam era.

    Race and gender was really important during the Claremont run, as now, and 1975's Giant Size X-Men introduced an array of characters from different parts of the world. Storm donned a mohawk in one storyline, while female protagonists boasted of god like abilities. It was the same era of 1970s Marvel in which Black Panther was created.

    This never translated well in to Fox films because, when the first was produced in 2000, it was a very conservative time. That period of comic books was terribly sterile one, which incentivized various contracts with movie studios as the source material was simply no longer turning a profit. Works like Daredevil: Yellow, Superman: For All Seasons, Batman: Year One, Marvel: Heroes Reborn and Hulk: Gray (along with various "relaunches" where characters were simply given a new #1 issue in order to make it look like something new was occurring) retold the same tired origin stories repeatedly, employing talented artists like Tim Sale in order to breathe life in to something audiences were already familar with. Calling the X-Men simply "The Mutants" is daring and shows a creativity that has been uncharacteristic for Marvel Comics for quite a long time.

    In the Claremont run of X-Men comics, the power stealing character Rogue is despised by the other X-Men, especially Logan (AKA Wolverine), sports short hair and is largely viewed as a homeless youth who poses a potential danger to everyone after stealing the powers of Captain Marvel (a possible MCU spoiler right there).

    In the 2000 X-Men film, director Bryan Singer steered clear of any of that and Rogue instead was depicted as a socially awkward teenage girl scared of her own power and looking for a father figure in Wolverine (the same character who despised her in the comics). While the original Rogue seemed like a drug addict trying to restart her life after hurting people around her, the 2000 Rogue seemed like a suburban girl frightened over her own sexuality. 

    There's even more than a few very, very haunting X-storylines that would be disturbingly resonate today in a way they never could have been during the 2000s and 2010s. For one, there is the story of the "Mutant Massacre:" wherein the Morlocks, a huge community of homeless mutants (most less ascetically acceptable than the X-Men) that live in the sewers of New York City after being cast out by a scared and unforgiving society, are hunting down and murdered by assassins led by the villain Mr. Sinister. In a storyline published years afterward, it was revealed that Gambit, the mysterious X-Men member that the team never fully trusted, had been forced by Sinister to take part in the massacre. Neither Gambit or Sinister were ever fully introduced in an X-Men film (the former had only a minor appearance in X-Men: Origins) so this could be the perfect opportunity to make that storyline work. Most of the Morlocks were women and both Sinister and Gambit would fit various archetypes of "toxic masculinity."

    Another storyline that would be resonate would be the Legacy Virus. I don't even need to explain to readers how that would relate to our current times. Just read for yourself: 

    The Legacy Virus was a devastating plague that ripped through the mutant population, killing hundreds and mutating so that it affected baseline humans as well, until it was cured almost overnight by the sacrifice of the superhero Colossus, a member of the X-Men.

    Many attempts were made at trying to make X-Men work in the 2000s and early 2010s and it never quite worked because we were simply not in the sort of social climate that that material was produced in. We now are.

    Read "The Twisted Saga of Captain Marvel and X-MEN’s Rogue" at Nerdist for more on the material discussed in this article.


    Times change

    In the past, images of Sambo on products was acceptable 

    Now, there are comments about Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben

    The Seuss estate made a decision to pull 6 books.

    Sensitivities change over time

    Edit to add:

    Just checked "Little Black Sambo" and "Uncle Remus" are still available on Amazon

    The country is safe.

    2nd Edit to add:

    Some Black comic characters have the same powers as Superman

    There are Black Kryptonians in the comics and on television

    There is a Black Green Lantern

    We see the diversity on Star Trek

     Black Panther movie had a Black director and Ta-Nehisi Coates is writing the 25 issue run of the comic book series

    There are Black websites like Black Nerd Problems broadcasting comics like Nubia, an offshoot of the Wonder Woman serie

    It is a glorious time in the world of comic books

     several books by Dr. Seuss were dropped, including the beloved "Green Eggs and Ham." 

    Green Eggs and Ham was not one of the six books dropped. 

    The titles include his first book writing under the pen name Dr. Seuss, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” (1937), and “If I Ran the Zoo” (1950).

    The other books that will no longer be published are “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!” “Scrambled Eggs Super!” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.”


    Glad we can put our minds to productive use.

    Getting the facts right is important. They explain the show McCarthy put on for his supporters. He picked Green Eggs and Ham because it's probably the most well known Suess book. For many the only Suess book known. It's also totally benign. Reading the worst lines from the books dropped might have revealed the reasons they were dropped. Often telling the truth destroys the arguments put forth by the right. That's why they traffic mostly in lies and propaganda


    Orion,it's all easier to understand when you realize that in this brave new world, when you create entertainment for mass market, you are always, in some way shape or form, a colonizer, if not an appropriator as well. (Ideally, if we would all just stay "indigenous" and not try to interact with others outside our little "community"....)

    Colonizing Mars indeed. 

    I'm not kidding tho wink

    How a Single Anonymous Twitter Account Caused an ‘Indigenized’ Canadian University to Unravel

    by Jonathan Kay March 6, 2021

    In a recently published Quillette article, Political Science professor Frances Widdowson described the difficulties that Canadian university administrators face when they seek to “Indigenize” their schools. Everyone in academia...

    edit to add

    Decolonising Math is Rooted in a Decades-Old Conflict

     by Greg Ashman March 4, 2021

    For decades, a conflict has been simmering in the elementary school classrooms of the English-speaking world. On one side are those who place mathematics understanding above all else and...

    If the Woke are responsible for Black Lightning, Static, Far Sector, Blue Marvel, etc

    Bring me more Woke.

    This is faulty reasoning that you would only apply to your tribe. If there are some good things the woke have accomplished you ignore anything bad they might have done. You have the opposite standard for those not of your tribe. If republicans have done anything bad you ignore anything good they might have accomplished.

    not comics, but Woke suggestions on changing what narratives kids are taught, might interest some


    The lies current students are taught in history class right now needs to be addressed first.


    Brilliant, guy who studies problem uses dubious "facts"and ignores cause.

    First, it's no secret the effect conservative Texas has on textbooks.

    Second, by far the biggest thing students get wrong is the French and Indian War. That's where we 1) stole all the French land up to the Mississippi (including in Canada) and set in motion our manifest destiny move west 2) decided we were so kickass at fighting we didn't need the British anymore, 3) indebted both French & British governments via the 7 Years War leading to both revolutions in both countries (plus the French desire for revenge by helping the colonies beat the Brits).

    3) Author goes for the unlikely high number of 100 million pre-Columbian population rather than the much more accepted/likely but still a guess 50 million (earlier 19th century low numbers like 10 million based in lack of any real tools to scientifically estimate). However, that's all Americas, which are huge.

    It is difficult to estimate the number of pre-Columbian Native Americans who were living in what is today the United States of America.[64] Estimates range from a low of 2.1 million to a high of 18 million (Dobyns 1983).[16][65][66

    Take that high as quite doubtful - there's no evidence of big native metropolises like there was of Mexico City under Aztecs et al

    And nobody thinks there was no one here when Columbus landed, because that's covered pretty well (including Cortes in much more populated Mexico, of course), though some disease wiped out natives between returns.

    4) underestimations of racism stem partly from desire to make it a Southern thing only, and ignore wide-spread racist attitudes towards blacks across the country, even during the Civil War. 



    I said that the current lies need to be addressed 

    Your response

    4) underestimations of racism stem partly from desire to make it a Southern thing only, and ignore wide-spread racist attitudes towards blacks across the country, even during the Civil War. 

    As I said, there are lies that need to be addressed. The Texas textbooks have too much influence. Change is more likely to be forced by the Woke then the unwoke.

    You don't address lies with a guy who says most Americans think the land was empty when Columbus got here, and then tosses out a misleading 100 million as a figure, making it seem the Americas were as occupied as Europe + Russia + Ottoman Empire put together. Just another earnest  exaggerator with an agenda.

    That is a dodge.

    You explain away why the Lost Cause myth is still in textbooks.

    Deal with what exists now first.

    You are an ass, aren't you? No, i don't have to pick the topic you want, motherfucker. Now get bent.

    (I explained why there's a problem with his methodology or approach with significant backup. Just cuz he pushes the agenda you want to push doesn't mean it sheds more light. In fact, the more crappy arguments out there, the less chance the public he supposedly cares about understands actual history)

    Looking like Pepe Le Pew is up next if Charles Blow has any influence:

    As Charlie Sykes notes, Pepe is not a role model of any kind.

    Guys who sit around cutting farts? Guys who like intimidating girls? Did you ever see the movie "Scream"?

    So why is Charles trying to cancel him? He's an entertaining character of dubious behavior and one that girls especially should think about. It is good that kids learn to laugh at him, no?

    Daddy Stingray knows how to do Charles better than Charles does Charles wink

    You can always rely on a tweet snippet from Daddy Stingray

    This is hilarious

    Maria Bartiromoro invites a guest to have fun with the cancellation of Pepe Le Pew

    The guest from WSJ instead agrees that the behavior of Pepe is not acceptable in 2021

    Bartiromo quickly shuts down the segment 

    Fox Business Network host Maria Bartiromo was so excited Tuesday morning for her big segment on the Looney Tunes character Pepé Le Pew, declaring, “Cancel culture takes on cartoons!” 

    But that excitement quickly turned to visual frustration when her guest refused to echo her outrage.

    As Bartiromo explained to viewers, the upcoming Space Jam sequel decided to cut out a scene featuring the sexually assaulting skunk. She laughed off the notion that the animated character could be “promoting rape culture” and joked, “Bugs Bunny better watch out, they’re coming for him!”

    Wall Street Journal writer Jon Hilsenrath, who seemed to not quite believe this is what he was on the Fox Business Network to discuss, decided to shut her down instead of playing along.

    “You know, Maria, I’m watching those videos that you have of this and I always used to think that cartoon was funny, but he is kind of grabbing and groping in ways that are just totally unacceptable today,” he said in the segment first spotted by Mediaite. “So, you know, I kind of think norms change over time. And maybe it’s time for Pepé Le Pew to beat it.”


    Here's an example of the unwoke making their voices heard with cold hard cash that they appreciate the negative stereotyping of elderly females in folk mythology

    (hot off my Twitter feed--I do follow this market a bit, though I have like zero expertise in what's what; just to see how many zeros for what, compared to the traditional art market, I guess. "NFT's" are currently shaking it up. BTW.)

    You read comic books as relaxation and no one looks like you

    Star Trek comes along as you see characters who look like you

    You smile

    Black Panther comes to the screen

    You experience joy

    You really don't give a fuck if other people don't understand.


    More signs of changing times.

    Hot off the presses comes a book about Black comic book artists who produced work in the Golden Age of comics.

    They were forced to work in the background 

    How a 15-year quest to find the work of Black comic book artists became ‘Invisible Men’

    Ken Quattro's new book reveals the vibrant work of Golden Age comic creators.


    But you're not 13 presumably. I mean sure, Black Panther is rather breakthrough, noteworthy. But looking for the black element in *everything*? Doesn't that get more tiring than microaggression?


    Orion, since you are clearly into iconographic analysis of areas like the one you are writing on here, super-hero comics, I would like to share a Twitter thread which I feel has a very accurate analysis of the iconography of the Looney Tunes cartoon series.

    First, the Looney Tunes characters are obviously not designed as role models.

    They behave in the most insane, stupid, obsessive & reprehensible manner.

    Their flawed nature is why it's morally acceptable and so regressively funny to see them fail miserably over & over. pic.twitter.com/mrnaWhPjv0

    — Tim Soret (@timsoret) March 7, 2021

    I have been thinking about back when bashing David Brooks for the insipid nature of his commentary on American pop culture was a favorite thing for Dagbloggers of yore to do. Brooks now looks like an independent-minded genius compared to the cluelessness and absolute idiocy that Charles Blow is showing off on the pages of the NYTimes, reading messages exactly the opposite of those intended while in an earnest search for examples of Woke oppression. Blow has now fully proven himself capable of writing op-eds worth less than two cents.

    Aside: I do pretty much disagree with your interpretation of the 1970's. I was there, and I was in my prime. I just think you need to do more reading on it, I have confidence you'll get there, cause you're not an arrogant clueless type with a brain destroyed by outrage like Charles Blow.

    edit to add: Blow is so clueless that he does not recognize the significance of the "Loony Tunes" title; i.e., the general idea is that these characters are "loony" DOH.

    just FYI news:

    I hadn't read Orion's piece even though I commented on the thread, because as frequently happens we got off on some tangential well-trod argument over the usual suspects. Instead, Marilyn Manson, X-Men, other counter culture fanzine-like dissection takes place for our enjoyment.

    More, better, onward - thanks, Orion

     (I retitled to stick out better)

    Gen X-Men vs culture overlords - fuck off


    I saw some of those tweets but I had no idea how extensive it was, thought the whole thing pretty awesome: pretty much experts at short snark packed with nuance! It might be a hallmark of the generation?

    Not sure if "hallmark" expresses it, but it does seem to be a signal moment for some. I for one take it a bit personally, as i never felt like or identified as a boomer, especially not my loser brothers, and thought I was doing rockets, not howdy-doody,  so seriously don't know what happened to all these entitled non-punks. Yeah, i remember the "promise" of graduation as darkened Detroit factories and a short note on the fridge, "sorry 'bout the birthright and jobs, had to mortgage the house for a cruise, figured you wouldn't mind". Nice that the "greatest generation" kids got to live off the mantle a few more years and then tell everyone how great they were too. My generation (real or perceived) invented data analytics to measure and tell them just how full of shit they were, preferably just by clapping their hands so we wouldn't have to be in the same room.

    Marvel introduces a new LGBTQ+ hero, Captain America of the Railways

    I just realized that this post got so many views that it got its title changed around. I'm going to write another one on this subject, and I'll give only one clue:

    Actually i *hadn't read it* (even tho i commented somewhere down) cuz the title was too close to other woke pieces (actually this isn't really a woke piece - and happy you wrote something original, not cut-and-paste) so changed the title to separate it.

    Is that Blue Öyster Cult?


    Well there is clearly an audience if it gets almost 4000 views.

    Capt Underpants cancelleda

    Ook andGluk passuve racist to Asians?

    Wut does that mean?


    And b4 it disappears... contraband!


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