I’ll post a few shorts here every now and then. Some touch on topics that are generally considered serious but are rendered silly. In an episode of Fatman Beyond or whatever iteration of it on the Kevin Smith youtube channel Marc Bernardin (Castle Rock) was hosting and at about 1 hour and 49 minutes in the conversation got on my raw nerve. That podcast needs a voice from at least the middle of the political spectrum. Tactics matter. Mr. Bernardin advocated what he calls “Trojan Horsing” an element that a target demographic would not like into something they do like. A horse by any other name could be bait and switch.
He went on to use as an example the Solo iteration of young Lando Calrissian said to be “pansexual” as if that is a step forward. (Never-mind Billy Dee Williams more recently responding by saying “What the hell is gender fluid?” since his iteration of Lando is heterosexual (as are the depictions in three novels from the early eighties, a number of other books that include the character and comics where unusual traits would have come up by now if anything other than the default of straight behaviors were part of his character.) Ret-conning a character to pander to a perceived shift in social media or the whims of people who live on Twitter disrespects characters, especially those that have been around for a while.
Black Panther was used as an example of under-represented audiences coming out to support something they rarely see, but Black Panther was part of the juggernaut MCU, introduced in Captain America: Civil War, and had a decades long legacy as a comic book hero so there was nothing compromised or co-opted about the character. He diminished nothing and replaced nothing and only added to the MCU. It was an example of doing right by a property. The same director, Ryan Coogler, had previously provided another rare example of getting something right, the Rocky sequel Creed which respected its history and added new dimensions to the ongoing drama.
I don’t know about representation for the sake of representation. I am not James Bond or Lando or Rocky Balboa. If I buy ice cream I don’t want someone Trojan Horsing crushed cauliflower into it.