With the controversy over Zendaya playing Mary Jane in the latest Spider-Man movie, we once again see the frantic policing of what is considered the “holy writ” (the original or “prevailing” version of a particular character or story).
People on the “outside” of that particular reality tunnel can’t understand how others could be so close-minded. People on the “inside” of that particular reality tunnel feel such a debate is *everything*—impacting not just the representations of imaginary people but crossing-over into real-world politics, sociology, and even matters of life and death.
If you are not already used to these continual “controversies,” you really ought to just buckle-up and do. Pop-culture has turned into politics, and you cannot simply “enjoy” the latest smash-em-up unless you also “pick a side.”
Bystanders like director James Gunn then weigh on these debates with long posts expressing disbelief and dismay at the bigotry.
And then I think of the way aging “geek” icons like Gunn, Kevin Smith, Patton Oswalt, Felicia Day, Joss Whedon, and so on get attacked by aspects of the current “geek” community—how Whedon got called out, how Smith’s daughter got cyberharassed, how Oswalt’s recently deceased wife got dragged through the mud when he defended the new Ghostbusters, etc.
It just feels like the culture is eating itself, merging with politics and ideology, turning on its creators, and no longer being as much fun as it used to be. It kills all the joy. This is why I just collect vinyl records* nowadays.
* I’m sure there are controversies within vinyl collecting community as well, but my music is pretty sacred to me & I’m very guarded about having that hobby ruined by getting too involved within the politics of the fandom (if there is any outside of hate for Crosley players). Ditto for cult movies. I learned a pretty big lesson being a comic book fan the first 30 years of my life.