I have a question for you!
When did diversity become a dirty word?
As an aspiring writer, I always thought that diversity was the key to telling a good story. One of my favourite books is The Three Musketeers by Alexandra Duma. This book on the surface is just an adventure story set during the rule of King Louis IV. It has a mixture of amazing characters, with twists and turns that allowed me to finish the book in a week. The reason I believe this to be, is because of its many diverse characters. Starting with D’Artanian Described as Young and Foolhardy and based to a large degree on Dumas Father, Thomas-Alexandre Davy de Le la Pellenterie. His father was the son of a slave that went on to become one of Napoleon’s greatest generals. Forgotten by history Duma clearly saw his father as a hero.
Dumas not only uses his father as a template for D’Artanian in the Three Musketeers but also in many of his other books. For me the works of Dumas are not only a joyful romp but an amazing gift to the wiring of heroes and to how diversity make stories amazing and to a degree timeless. It has been said that characters from Luke Skywalker to Wolverine that Dumas has influenced heroes of many genres. The outsider that rises to the top and will not stop until victory is complete.
These days I have become a bit confused. A few years ago, it was announced that Writer Brian Michael Bendis would be changing the main character Peter Parker to the Afro-Latin Miles Morales. The Ultimate comic was set in a different setting to the mainstream Marvel universe. Characters had different traits and the approach was much more modern and dear I say ‘edgy’ to me it made sense and gave the character a new lease of life. Some folks were in happy but the change became so popular that he is now in the main Marvel Universe and has appeared in Cartoons and will possible(hopefully) appear in the new Sonny animated feature that was announced recently.
More changes to major properties have followed, but as more changes happen more internet rage has been directed to toward the concept of diversity. Gammergate which I still don’t get, was a popular hash-tag that stemmed from perceived misconduct by women in the gaming industry. As far I have been able to figure a large amount of has been targeted at Anita Sarkeensian who for her sins merely produced some insightful video blog about tropes about women in games. You can find the videos on YouTube as well as 100’s of videos denouncing her.
The reason why I bring this up?
well it's like this is because as an aspiring writer I was led to believe that diversity is the key to not only originality but also good storytelling. Without diversity you do not have story. You see the Three Musketeers is a story about diversity. Four very different men, A Lord, Holy man, Dandy and young Hero come together. They have different outlooks and opinions. They have had different backgrounds but bond because of these and become some of the greatest heroes of literature.
Without diversity, you do not have a story. Characters need different voice otherwise, you have a bland story. When it was announced that Sony were reviving the Ghostbusters franchise with a female it team, some on the Internet fans reacted with fury and rage. Accusing Sony of doing a money grab but for my understanding I films have always been about making money. Sony was accused of bowing to SJW’s(Social Justice Warriors).
Now when I was younger, the announcement of a female team of anything just filled me with excitement. I remember being excited to hear of a Daughter of D’Artanian film being made and like to think that Dumas would have been happy to see his works still having presence in the modern world. However when even a change to properties including people of colour, sexuality or sexual orientation is announced the fans seem to act like their childhood is being torn away. Ghostbusters, a great kids film back in the day is still great and can be re-watched as many times as you want. Now, I admit the first trailer was appalling but does that mean it is bad due to women being in it.
Even recently, once ‘Star Wars’ Episode VII was released howls against SJW increased accusing them of hating ‘White Men’. Take into account the lead in the majority of these film has been male with white men having the majority of the screen time and words said on-screen. The accusation that a culture war is taking place between SJW and the defenders of ‘common’ sense is a foolish one and just feel like battle that has already been lost. Diversity is not just something that brings different characters into stories, it is also how you bring money into media companies. How you sell more product. It won’t always work and can sometimes seem forced, however considering how many of the top grossing films of 2015 had diverse casts there is money in them there hills.
Recently released Ghostbusters has arrived with a barrage of Love & hate I will be reviewing this shortly. I don’t know if it is good but look forward to finding out. Marvel recently announced Iron Man would be replaced by a 15-year-old MIT drop out called Riri and who is also black written by Brian Bendis. So its obvious either companies don’t care about what the P.C.S.B.O.T.I.(Peoples Common Sense Brigade of the Internet) think or at the very least love the publicity they give them. Like I said, this culture war if it ever was one has been lost and Storytelling will be the winner long-term.
I managed to get a mini review done after I had completed this interview so without further ado please enjoy.