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Author Topic: James Rolfe, Social Justice Warriors, and Political Correctness run amok  (Read 806 times)
Chairman Goodchild
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« on: July 13, 2016, 04:59:01 AM »

With the movie coming out soon, I figure I'd better say my piece now or else I'll lose my opportunity.  

I've been following James Rolfe on Youtube for years, watching him in the character of The Angry Video Game Nerd, as well as the other stuff he does out of character, like movie reviews and video game playthrus.  He's a very personable guy and has a likeable charm about him when he's out of character.  About a month ago, James Rolfe came out with a video saying why he was very disappointed with the upcoming Ghostbusters film and why he didn't want to see it or review it.  He wasn't in character, and listed his points in a calm and reasonable manner.  

This is Rolfe explaining his reasons for not wanting to see the film.

I have to see I agree wholeheartedly with what Rolfe has to say.  The trailers look awful, and the movie is directly ripping off the title of the original movie for the remake.  People can't even discuss Ghostbusters without specifying which Ghostbusters they're talking about.  And I feel his pain.  I love the 80s Fright Night Movies to death.  Both of them are absolute classics for me.  I even love the second more than I like the first, and I love the first.  I didn't think the remake was very good, and the new Fright Night II was just awful.  Other people feel the same way about Robocop, or Total Recall, and the list goes on.  

As a result of James Rolfe calmly stating his opinion about the new Ghostbusters, he became a giant target for the Social Justice Warrior crowd.  The Daily Beast, Salon, even The Atlantic tore into him for his well thought out opinion, largely because Rolfe has committed the sin of being a white male.  And these articles were just rabid against him.   Even a few days ago, I saw a new attack in Kotaku website.  Here's an excerpt.


The timing of [Rolfe's] video, with its very stoic titling - “No Review. I Refuse.” - and what seemed like a lack of awareness of an already volatile wider discussion made it easy for some people to consider it sexist. The video hit at a time when sexist backlash against the new movie’s female cast was building online, and splitting the videos up obfuscated his points, leading some to construe the video as soft-sexism toward the idea that the new Ghostbusters team is all female. With that one vlog, James became aligned with those angry, white nerds whose content he had both influenced and satirized for years.

...Embedded in all of these preemptive and logically flimsy complaints is an obvious subtext: that the issue of appearance matters more than actual quality, and that the idea of a female cast taking up the mantle of a very male film series is just somehow wrong.


I don't even know where to begin with this.  Rolfe doesn't like the new Ghostbusters for non-sexist reasons he clearly states, and other people who are sexist don't like the film for sexist reasons.  Well, Kotaku will just lump you in with those people.  Next time, try not to be so white, or so male, and they may just judge your argument on its own merits.  

Let's take a look at the trailer of the new Ghostbusters.

One of the featured jokes of the trailer is one of the Ghostbusters complaining that she got ghost ectoplasm in her vagina.  Since all the Ghostbusters are women and dick jokes won't work, the producer made a lateral move.  It's true, the original Ghostbusters movie made dick jokes, but it didn't feature them in the trailer like they were the funniest part of the movie.  


And there's the black Ghostbuster, who's not "really smart about this science stuff," but she knows New York and she can get the team a car, which is a huge stumbling block for them for some reason.  And she has this joke where she makes a reference to The Exorcist, a movie that's 43 years old.  Does the large black woman get to say, "Aw, hell no!"  You know she does.  And is this racist?  Aha, here's a chance for me to Social Justice Warrior the Social Justice Warriors!  No, I don't think that's racist.  But beyond any argument, that's definitely racial stereotyping, and that just reeks of laziness.  

And this is the first new Ghostbusters film in 27 years.  27 years.  And it's a reboot, when it really, really didn't have to be, and shouldn't have been.  All this new film needed was a few scenes of Ernie Hudson and Dan Aykroyd showing the new team around the Ghostbusters facility, and then letting the new team take over.  That would have shown some respect for the source material, and would have gotten a much different reaction from the fans.  Myself included.  Imagine if Jurassic World had called itself Jurassic Park, and removed all references to the original.  Would the fans have been pissed?  Yes, they would have.  This is exactly what happened with Ghostbusters.  Genre fiction doesn't need the Social Justice Warrior crowd hanging around and attacking people for not being politically correct enough.  It's an embarrassment, and it's harmful to the medium as a whole.  
« Last Edit: July 13, 2016, 08:41:34 AM by Chairman Goodchild » Logged
Thunderscreech
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« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2016, 07:27:53 AM »

Considering all the other reboots that have come and passed with minimal kerfuffle, I don't really think it's credible to say THAT'S why there's so much vitriole about this one.  Even if it were so, it's a remarkable coincidence that the movie that's the 'camel that broke the straw's back' on reboot JUST HAPPENS to have women cast in the main roles.  Wouldn't you agree that it's a wild coincidence that the breaking point for all of the reasonable non-misogynists (who happen to have huge overlap with the MRA/Gamergate/etc crowd) would be a reboot with women?

I'm not buying it.  I'm not buying the 'it's not because they're feeeemale, it's because cherished childhood memory!' narrative especially considering the wildly-hostile-to-women bedfellows people making that argument have.  To repeat myself, it's just not credible.
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eytanz
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Posts: 5848



« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2016, 05:41:53 AM »

I've moved this thread to Gallimaufry as while it's possible to make an argument that Ghostbusters is Science Fiction, this post doesn't touch on anything relevant to that in any way.
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wintermute
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Posts: 1291


What Would Batman Do?


« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2016, 02:31:25 PM »

I'm not sure why it took until the fourth paragraph to say what movie you were talking about. Maybe there was some context lost when this move boards?

Quote
And there's the black Ghostbuster, who's not "really smart about this science stuff," but she knows New York and she can get the team a car, which is a huge stumbling block for them for some reason.  And she has this joke where she makes a reference to The Exorcist, a movie that's 43 years old.  Does the large black woman get to say, "Aw, hell no!"  You know she does.  And is this racist?  Aha, here's a chance for me to Social Justice Warrior the Social Justice Warriors!  No, I don't think that's racist.  But beyond any argument, that's definitely racial stereotyping, and that just reeks of laziness.

I'd be interested (disclaimer: I would not be interested) to hear what you think is the difference between "racist" and "racial stereotyping". And I assume you have the same problem with the original movie, where the main cast was three white scientists and one "street-smart" black guy who got a bunch of stereotyped dialogue? You don't mention it, but surely you're doing more than grasping at straws so you can say you have non-misogynistic reasons for not liking a movie you've never seen.

Quote
the movie is directly ripping off the title of the original movie for the remake.  People can't even discuss Ghostbusters without specifying which Ghostbusters they're talking about.

As Thunderscreech says, "it has the same title as the earlier version and than confuses my tiny brain!" never seemed to be a problem for Point Break, Ocean's Eleven, Dawn of the Dead, Robocop, War of the Worlds, The Wicker Man, Annie, Assault on Precinct 13, Clash of the Titans, The Italian Job, Get Carter, The Hitcher, The Thomas Crown Affair, The Karate Kid, King Kong, The Longest Yard.... just to pick a few of the highest profile examples from the last decade or so. Yes, people certainly complain that the remakes aren't as good as the originals, which is always a reasonable argument, even where I disagree; but I have never once heard someone complain that a remake having the same name as the original is in any way a problem. If you genuinely can't grasp two related works having the same title, I'm not sure that's the studio's problem.
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Science means that not all dreams can come true
Chairman Goodchild
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Posts: 159



« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2016, 03:43:15 AM »

Quote from: Wintermute
I'd be interested (disclaimer: I would not be interested) to hear what you think is the difference between "racist" and "racial stereotyping".

This is exactly the kind of smartass, sophomoric comment that I was trying to avoid by bringing this topic up in this forum.  From the tone of your writing, you appear to be thinking that this kind of comment is clever.  If that's the case, you've set the bar very low for yourself.  

Quote from: Wintermute
And I assume you have the same problem with the original movie, where the main cast was three white scientists and one "street-smart" black guy who got a bunch of stereotyped dialogue?

Since you've explicitly told me that you're not interested in what I have to say, my advice to you would be to not ask followup questions after that.  I'm not very interested in anything you have to say either, from the juvenile tone of your post.  Despite this, I'm assuming you're an adult.  So my other piece of advice to you is to stop making juvenile attacks like this on people with differing opinions.

Ironically, the exact thing I was posting about was people acting like you, Wintermute.  I am done communicating with you.  





Quote from: Thunderscreech
Wouldn't you agree that it's a wild coincidence that the breaking point for all of the reasonable non-misogynists (who happen to have huge overlap with the MRA/Gamergate/etc crowd) would be a reboot with women?

That's a pretty loaded statement.  First of all, rather than responding to Wolfe's arguments, you're lumping him in with a group of people, "the MRA/Gamergate/etc crowd," and then declaring him guilty by association with a group he's not even part of.  You're doubling up an Association Fallacy and a Traitorous Critic Fallacy.  That's very unfortunate.  I'm not even going to spend much time addressing this, other than to say it's not a valid argument, and you should stop that sort of thing.  

As for the wild coincidence part, it's not a coincidence at all.  Ghostbusters fans have been waiting 27 years for a sequel that continues the original movies.  Instead they got a reboot.  Fans didn't want a reboot, they wanted Ghostbusters III, they wanted their franchise to stay alive, and not be co-opted by a different series with the same name.  When that's exactly what happened after a wait of so long, they got very vehemently angry about that.  That's a very different story from, say these remakes:  Point Break, Ocean's Eleven, Dawn of the Dead, Robocop, War of the Worlds, The Wicker Man, Annie, Assault on Precinct 13, Clash of the Titans, The Italian Job, Get Carter, The Hitcher, The Thomas Crown Affair, The Karate Kid, King Kong, The Longest Yard.  Most of these were not series, but one-off movies, and even the ones that were series, like Robocop, lent themselves much better to a remake than a sequel.  

One exception, not part of the above list, was Fright Night, which could have very well had a third part rather than rebooted.  Unfortunately, Fright Night just doesn't have the fanbase of Ghostbusters, so that wasn't a big a deal.  I am a true Fright Night fan, and believe me, I was pissed.  There were so many ways to continue the story and reward the fans, and they didn't even bother.  I felt very much like Ghostbusters fans do now.    

Screenwriter Max Landis wrote an incredible treatment of Ghostbusters III.  It's a crying shame nothing will come of it now.  


As for reasonable non-misogynists, here's someone else with a Youtube channel that I like, Comicbookgirl19.



Here's ComicBookGirl19 talking about why it's important to be honest about Ghostbusters, and she re-iterates Wolfe's and my points.  Maybe she's one of those crazy Men's Right activists, but I doubt it.  

Here's another woman's opinion of the trailers.  It's not good.

Here's another female genre fan with a movie review.  She doesn't like it.  

Here's another review by a woman.  Guess what?  She doesn't like it either.

And on and on and on.  And I'm done here.  The current level of Social Justice Warrioring in pop culture is terrible, when people can't even express their opinions without being grouped and labeled and then being subjected to a Politically Correct ad hominem beatdown by people operating on the level of schoolyard bullies.  




I came in here to respond to that, and instead, I'm subjected to the same treatment myself.  This is terribly disappointing to me.  I've wasted too much of my time already making this post, especially considering what I'm replying to.  But I didn't want to leave this unsaid.  Now that I have, I'm not going to waste any more time getting sucked down replying to juveniles.  I was expecting something better out of the forum and fans here at Escape Artists, but apparently the PC torch-and-pitchfork crowd is thriving here as well.  
« Last Edit: July 22, 2016, 10:32:25 AM by Chairman Goodchild » Logged
Tango Alpha Delta
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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2016, 09:21:58 PM »

I don't understand why people who complain so much about "political correctness" have such thin skins, and flounce out so quickly after undermining their own points.

(Psst: If the thrust of your complaint is that it's wrong to lump Rolfe in with the thousands of sexists he superficially resembles, then it's also wrong to lump anyone apt to disagree with you in with the Social Justice Warrior crowd - for the same reasons. Also, if that Kotaku quote was an example of an "attack," I hope you are never actually attacked by anyone because, my god, you will be destroyed. Let me know if Kotaku starts doxing Rolfe, sending him death & rape threats through a crowd of Twitter sock-puppet accounts, SWATTing him, or actually criticizing his points instead of making excuses about his poor timing.)


I've seen the complaint voiced that "the movie shouldn't have had to make all the male characters look and act stupid to make the female characters look funny." I don't know - that sounds like a pretty on the nose satire hitting the intended mark, to me.

In fact, it sounds like someone taking a cue from Jim C. Hines If We Wrote Men Like We Write Women.

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