Monday, 31 January 2011

A British Superman...why you shouldn't care.

No other article has me gunning to reply like this one . Its by a 16 year old and for a 16 year old it is very good but it screams indoctrination. So, I'm going to raise a few rebuttals.

For a start, I'm going to state the obvious. Superman isn't American. He is often called the ultimate immigrant but he is what Fox News rallies the ignorant to persecute and eradicate, an illegal immigrant. He comes to this planet as a baby and as far as I'm aware he doesn't have legal papers citing his citizenship. He goes over there, taking your jobs and stealing your women!

Secondly. He was co-created by a canadian based on the work of german philosopher Nietzche. He protects Metropolis. I'm sure you all noticed the greekness of that word and there was a german movie called Metropolis that pre-dates Metropolis. Metropolis itself was based on Toronto.The creators himself were inspired by Moses, a key figure of their jewish faith. I contrast from the 'christian' identity of America which has subsequently tried to remodel him on Jesus. Its OK folks, you believe in Moses too.

Superman is looking very worldly right now. In his own words (in Superman and the Legion of Super-heroes) 'Superman is for everyone'. In that story a future Earth was persecuting non humans who lived there, victims to propaganda that says Superman was not actually an alien but an earthling with powers. The fact that Superman is alien is important because it represents an openness that America did once represent. Doesn't the french made Statue of Liberty say

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Emma Lazarus, 1883

By shutting out the concept of a British Superman people are showing a lack of understanding of who Superman is? Is this acceptance and generosity not the American way?

Now onto the specific points raised.

The Three Symbols of America: A symbol is what you make it. I could argue JFK is as symbolic with America as Superman. Whatever happened to uncle Sam? A symbol is open to interpretation. As I've shown above, Cavill's casting can be very symbolic. Like Superman himself he is thrust into a culture he doesn't fit in with and he will try to show it at its best. I also don't agree that Batman is a symbol of America. Surely Captain America takes that final spot in the American Super-hero triumverate?

He compares this 'outsourcing' of American roles to Bond. A character not exclusively played by British people. In fact an Australian (George Lazenby) and Irishman (Pierce Brosnan) have played the role. I don't remember the riots that ensued! There are people who believe he should be played by Brits only but lets not generalise. Bond isn't a British icon like Superman an American one. I'm British. I disavow Bond as a sexist representation of a male ego. Lets talk real British heroes. King Arthur, I don't believe a foreigner hasn't played Arthur! Sherlock, Robert Downey Jr is filming a sequel as Holmes. Then the big one, the one you should compare to Superman. The Doctor. An alien from Gallifrey who, for 10 times has regenerated into a white British man. That is some luck! Again, you will have people say he should always be a British man but I wouldn't be one of them. I don't mind a foreign Doctor, I mind a foreign production. They filmed the Doctor Who TV movie in Canada and set it in San Francisco. They will start the next series with a story set in America and filmed in America. British productions look and sound different than American ones and that I would be sorry to lose.

We Brits discovered long ago that patriotism is dangerous. Look at what Hitler did in the name of NATIONAL socialism. He invaded what he considered German, then what he thought was owed Germany, then he defined what German actually was and if you didn't fit it you died. Before I go Godwin I'll look at other examples. Glenn Beck and Fox News wrap themselves in the US flag. They evoke the words of the founding fathers and if you don't agree you are unamerican. Who defines what American is? McCarthyism is this taken to its zenith, horrifying victimisation of people with differing viewpoints.In Britain our flag was used by racists and homophobes who sought to define Britishness as heterosexual, white Christians. Patriotism is reserved for sports events and royalty these days, then it goes back in its box. We are not special snowflakes, we are no different from people suffering in Sudan or the victims of censorship in North Korea. These artificial barriers, created by the French Revolution need to be torn down and we need to remember we are all in this together as lifeforms on this planet. Hiring a British Superman shows a world community based on similarities and not differences. This character crosses these boundaries and can show common human decency that we all subscribe to. American values are human values.

2. Movies as an export: Has everyone seen the Oscar shortlist. A British movie called The King's Speech has 12 nominations. At the SAG awards yesterday, Colin Firth, Christian Bale and the ensemble cast of The King's Speech was celebrated. Think of distinguished British actors:Antony Hopkins, Ewan McGregor,Sean Connery, Ian McKellen, Michael Caine, Hugh Grant, Jude Law, Gary Oldman, Alec Guiness, Sir Lawrence Olivier, Christopher Lee, John Cleese, Ben Kingsley, Cary Grant, Daniel Day Lewis, Charlie Chaplin,Kenneth Branagh, Oliver Reed, John Hurt, Ralph Fiennes, Richard Burton, Jeremy irons, John Gielgud, Terrence Stamp, Kate winslet, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Catherine Zeta Jones, Keira Knightley, Rachel Weisz, Kate Beckinsale etc. Some of the biggest names in Hollywood history are in there. Then there are the canadians and the australians that make up 'your' industry. I guess its OK to cast a British person as your villains, dare we be heroes!

I notice that the writer has pointed out Harry Potter and how a lack of 3d keeps Warner's dignity. Yep, the going on $300 mill domestic gross is lining that dignity very well. An all British cast, made in Britain and based on a book by a British author making heck loads of money for an American corporation. How about the Chronicles of Narnia, by British CS Lewis, with a British lead cast and filmes in various countries that aren't the US for 20th Century Fox. How about the uber British Lord of the Rings trilogy, which will spawn 2 prequels, that the American Academy lavished awards on and that was filmed in commonwealth darling New Zealand? American studios seem to love how foreigners can make them money.

These actors got the roles because they are damn good at what they do.

3. America's Reputation: Has gotten better now that you don't have a blatant fool running your nation. Fictional characters spouting jingoistic American slogans aren't going to help. Neither is casting British actors when we are considered to be up your arse for invading a country with no legitimate motivation (WMD's, please!). The UK is currently legally investigating whether the electorate and government was decieved by Tony Blair. Which brings us to our orignal point, we are not special and our way isn't the best way. As for the British way, what is that? Why is it for some reason inferior? I remember just a few months ago Supergirl was flying under the mantle of 'the Kryptonian way' and it was much better because she's not American.
Posted by Nikki at 18:05 |  


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