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Sorry, manbabies, the real problem with the Ghostbusters reboot isn’t misandry but racism

Oh, wait, wrong ghost movie
Oh, wait, wrong ghost movie

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Today will go down in history as a dark day for manbabykind. For today, the lady Ghostbusters trailer dropped. And there was much wailing and tweeting of tweets.

Let’s take a stroll amongst the wailing manbabies on Twitter, indulging their ridiculous rants.

And then let’s talk about what’s really wrong with the Ghostbusters trailer, which has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with race.

First, the manbabies:

There were those who pulled out the old “my childhood has been raped” nonsense.

https://twitter.com/M_Stewarr/status/705445173568868352

There were those who strenuously insisted that their anger at the female Ghostbusters had nothing whatsoever to do with misogyny, nuh-uh, but was rather a reaction to the trailer’s objective terribleness.

https://twitter.com/katmereMUFC/status/705463502278959108

There were the fat-shamers, because at no point in history has a fat person ever been funny.

https://twitter.com/NerdzurK1/status/705500568035397636

There were Trump fans:

https://twitter.com/easternmney/status/705506566758383618

https://twitter.com/jaesex23/status/705499814415486977

Hell, there were so many Trump fans that one observer made a helpful Venn diagram:

There were even a few Knights Who Say Cuck:

https://twitter.com/kcD___/status/705472132185202688

Some raised the specter of WHITE GENOCIDE:

https://twitter.com/TheSamGrady/status/705434158152224772

https://twitter.com/TheSamGrady/status/705496761662578689

Some worried where the evil feminazis would strike next:

Others offered somewhat less comprehensible critiques:

One Tweeter summed up the day on Twitter with a little haiku:

https://twitter.com/luketunderwood/status/705500826580594688

And another Tweeter left us with this existential question:

https://twitter.com/cleotrav/status/705505847129022464

Still another raised the possibility of a second reboot with a rather different cast:

And this guy helped us put it all in perspective:

https://twitter.com/GregorySantos/status/705462910714183680

So what happens once we step back from all the manbaby whining, and the jokes about the manbaby whining. and actually watch the trailer? Well, be my guest:

I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit underwhelmed.

There are a few funny moments, but the trailer sort of steps on them. It’s hard to tell if this is a terrible trailer for a good film, or if the Ghostbusters reboot will end up being, well, basically a female version of Adam Sandler’s godwful Pixels.

But the really distressing thing that the trailer reveals is that the three white gals in the movie are the scientists, while Leslie Jones’ Patty is relegated — or so it seems from the trailer — to the tired, stereotypical role of sassy black sidekick who may not be educated but who “knows the streets.”

This racial/racist failure has not exactly gone unnoticed; it’s already inspired thinkpieces and polemics on sites ranging from The Root to The Inquisitr, as well as in innumerable Tweets.

The original Ghostbusters, however hallowed it has become, was infamous for a similar racial failure. That movie’s “black ghostbuster,” played by Ernie Hudson, was so forgettable, and so obviously a token, that the designer simply left him off of this recently reworked Ghostbusters poster featuring his three white comrades.

Despite all the complaints by angry manbabies about the gender-swap of the main characters, it may well turn out that the real problem with the film isn’t that it’s too radically different from the original, but rather that it is too similar — at least in its inability to imagine a black character as more than a token or a stereotype.

The one thing that gives me some hope is Jones herself, an amazing comedian who may have been able to transform her character into something more nuanced and less stereotypical than what we see in the trailer.

I guess we’ll see.

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Nequam
Nequam
6 years ago

There’s apparently a fannish recut of the trailer that some folks felt improved it.

And yes, sometimes the first trailer misfires– in a discussion at RPGnet about this trailer that broadened to trailers in general, someone noted that between the first and second Suicide Squad trailers they went from “Eh, might be okay when it hits Netflix” to “OMG I wanna see this NOW!”

Jon
Jon
6 years ago

So I’m nervous about posting this comment, but I think the reason the trailer falls flat to me is the difference in comedy, not the fact that they cast women.

What made a lot of the original ghostbusters was Murray’s deadpan performance, and generally straight man reaction to everything insane going on in the film. But modern comedy seems to be more focused on over-the-top slapstick and…something I can’t quite put a name to.

A friend and I were discussing it and realized we (the two of us, not a collective) don’t want a reboot – we want a sequel that has an all female cast that builds on the original, rather than starting it over as a fundamentally different style of movie. Wed also like to see a more diverse cast (Grace Parra and Aisha Tyler both popped up in our discussion).

Of course, I could be completely wrong about the film. It is just a trailer. But that’s the impression that I got from seeing it.

Kreator
Kreator
6 years ago

Count me in as yet another guy who had Winston as his favorite ghostbuster, perhaps aided by the fact that his toy was the first one of the line I got. I was too young at the time to understand the racist elements, though. Another thing that has tarnished his image for me is the fact that the actor who portrayed him turned out to be “female-as-noun” sexist.

By the way,

a) Do you wanna know something egregiously racist related to the franchise? Back when the animated show “The Real Ghostbusters” was being aired, some clueless executives decided that they wanted to change the show; among the stuff proposed was to give each ghostbuster a defined role: Egon was the brains of the team, Peter was the mouth, Ray was the heart, and Winston… was the driver.

b) Something I like about the fact that this film is a reboot is that IMO there already is a perfect Ghostbusters III, Ghostbusters: The Video Game. It features voice acting by most of the original cast and has a plot which ties the events of both films together quite nicely, so much so that it’d be disappointing for me to have it retconned in an actual film. That said, if this one is actually in continuity but in the future, as the trailer seems to imply at one point, perhaps it wouldn’t need to contradict the game; and that would be nice as well. That said, this movie will join the others in my collection either way.

NiOg
NiOg
6 years ago

I think Patty’s character would be OK *if she wasn’t the only black main character*. This is a flaw of small ensembles in general, that writers tend to err on the side of ‘oh, we need one of everything’ instead of letting a larger slice of the cast be an ethnicity.

If Patty’s the only black character, she has to be everything at once, which is impossible. So her character’s a mess, with writers trying to stuff as much ‘relatable black culture’ stereotypes in as they can. Tokenism always backfires, though: Since everything’s in there, everyone has something to dislike. Instead of being relatable to all, she’s insulting to all.

It’s only the first trailer, though. There could be other black characters in the film, that have lines, that take some of the heat off Patty. I have some hope that it’s not as awful as it looks at first blush. (Honestly, I kind of hope Winston’s in there as a secondary character. There are hints of continuity in the trailer; that it’s a sequel and not a remake.)

Things I like: They’re all different heights and sizes. That’s f*cking amazing in a Hollywood movie. It’d be nice to live in a world where that idea was, y’know, normal instead of mindblowing.

mockingbird
mockingbird
6 years ago

I haven’t seen it here, but I’ve seen some of the “MUH CHILDHOOD!” types complaining that the first movie stands up and they’d hate even an all-male remake.

OK.

You know, I love the first movie.
It came out when I was 4. I grew up with it.
Hell, I even like the 2nd – it came out when I was 9 and was just about exactly on my level of humor.

But, guis…1984.

That was 32 years ago.

Remakes are what they are – some are good, some are awful, but they do for the most part strive to bring something from the past into the present (if not in fact, then in “feel”).

Something tells me they wouldn’t be so up in arms about a remake from 1984 of a movie originally released in 1952.

If I’m being my most charitable, I might think that perhaps (for some, at least) this is mostly about their not being able to accept the passage of time.

http://i.imgur.com/YSF7aZH.jpg

Marionette
Marionette
6 years ago

@Scented Fucking Hard Chairs, dorky old goth five!

I don’t care what anyone says, I liked it and you (not you, specifically) can’t make me not. Plus I’ve had a girl crush on Kate McKinnon since the Big Gay Sketch Show.

Of course, no one has yet said anything (that I’ve heard) about whether Kate’s character is straight or gay, so that may be a Thing…

iknklast
iknklast
6 years ago

Can we not body shame please? Just because fat people (myself included) get way more hate for their bodies than skinny people doesn’t mean it’s okay to shame skinny people. Or make assumptions about their health.

Mels – I was in no way intending to body shame; I was merely rejecting the idea that the Hollywood dynamic has it right.

As a former anorexic, I empathize with people who are skinny. As someone who has since then gained an excess of weight, I empathize with people who are fat. The thing is, these are terms that, like so much else, exist along a spectrum, and the classification is very much lacking in rigor.

That said, I apologize to any skinny people that might have been offended. That was not my intent.

Monzach
Monzach
6 years ago

I liked the callback of having a harmless-looking ghost do a jump scare. It gave me shivers down my spine due to it reminding me of the first time I saw the original movie, on my own, way back in the early 90s. 🙂

I’m also a little worried that the only character from the original movies whose name I can’t remember at all is Dan Ackroyd’s. I guess this makes me both a misandrist and a selfhating white man…

The third thing I should mention is that I’m going to see this movie and as long as it’s better than the second one, all is pretty much good. My hopes are not very high, but they are mine. 😀

guy
guy
6 years ago

Forgive me if I come across as a bit snippy, but the word “pandering” has really lost its meaning from being abused by GooberGobbers and other manospherians who believe that anything that isn’t “cishet white male protagonist” (in other words, anything that panders directly to them) is “pandering” and is therefore bad.

So, who is this “pandering” to, might I ask?

I feel fairly confident that they went with an all-female main cast because they want to sell more tickets to people who want more women in major roles. Doesn’t make the movie bad, but that’s probably why.

Also, it does raise some concerns about quality: there hasn’t been a major changing of the guard in Hollywood over the past couple years, so an all-female cast for an action/comedy flick seems likely to be a cynical gimmick by the people who brought you cishet white male protagonists by the truckload. Specifically, they likely think there are lots of people who wouldn’t watch the movie if only three of the ghostbusters were women, or they’d have swapped one of them for a cishet white male protagonist.

It seems likely that it was in part a bid to deflect exactly a bunch of WHTM commenters complaining that the trailer isn’t funny, hoping that everyone here would automatically watch and support it out of social justice group loyalty. That doesn’t actually work, but there are people who think it does. Of course, that means we’re potentially looking at a lose-lose situation unless the final movie turns out to be actually good: if the movie fails it’ll get interpreted as meaning movies need male protagonists to sell, while if it succeeds it’ll get interpreted as meaning all-female casts sell movies regardless of quality.

On a vaguely-related note, there’s a live-action Ghost In The Shell coming up, and, well…

It’s been known for a while that Scarlett Johansson was slated for Major Kusunagi, which has attracted complaints of whitewashing. I’ve been somewhat dismissive of that based on just the one casting because a full-conversion cyborg with purple hair and red eyes can look like whatever ethnicity and Scarlett’s performance as Black Widow indicates she’s personally a good fit for the role and has star power. Obviously there are Japanese actresses who can fill the role, but none of them were in The Avengers. However, they’ve also cast white actors for Batou and The Laughing Man. Okay, fine, there probably aren’t that many six-foot and muscular Japanese actors who can carry a lead role, but The Laughing Man is under no such constraint and that’s the top three roles filled with white people.

They have cast Takeshi Kitano, a Tokyo native, for Chief Aramaki, but I’m inclined to view that dubiously. His role is always somewhat secondary; he commands Section 9 but most of what he actually does is handle legal issues so they can arrest people with diplomatic immunity and high government officials or override other departments when they’re being suspiciously unhelpful. It’s the sort of role that’s pretty easy to marginalize.

Valentine
Valentine
6 years ago

Kurt Russel Busters sounds amazing.

David Johnson
David Johnson
6 years ago

What I think everyone has forgotten is that the original Ghostbusters was not all that great of a movie. Yes, it had its funny moments and that fucking song was endlessly played, but in the end, GIGO.

Valentine
Valentine
6 years ago

To be honest Melissa mcarthey is the only actress I recognise out of them and at first she wasn’t in very good films but after the heat and spy she really shows how funny she is. I’d go see it just for this reason. That said the racism just puts me off ghostbusters remake as a whole. I don’t want to be one of the dudes supporting the system to carry on making stereotypes.
What is the picture of Whoopi Goldberg from?

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

@ valentine

You seen “Doomsday”? Brilliant film. Basically it’s Rhona Mitra as Snake Pliskenn.

Marionette
Marionette
6 years ago

Wait a second. Are these manbabies the same ones that consider rape 1) no big deal, and/or 2) something that should be legalised?

Because if I’m reading it right then what they are saying is that the change in gender of Ghostbusters is either of little importance or something they actively want to encourage.

Right?

kale
kale
6 years ago

I hate remakes and reboots, and the original GB had problems – with racism and sexism primarily, tone issues, like creepy not really consensual ghost sex in a movie primarily watched by kids. It was great and funny, sure, but lots of great and funny movies also are deeply fucked up in some aspect and otherwise imperfect, with some parts that are just… “stupid” (is that an ableist term? what other word could I use?). Like, Ewoks for example.
Honestly the only reason Im comsidering seeing this movie is because it pisses off misogynistic fanboys so much.
but the news that its just as racist as its predecessor is so fucking disappointing, I dont really wanna waste what for me is a lot of money to find out. Bummer.

kale
kale
6 years ago

btw, there was an all-male Little Women written by Alcott herself called Jo’s Boys.

Ktoryx
Ktoryx
6 years ago

Why… why is the childhood so sacred? This has to be part of the manbaby psychology; not only can we not put our toys away, we must defend them to the death. If you’re stuck in a romanticized past, it makes sense that you would wish nothing to change, critique, or add to that past.

This made me realize how pathetic these people are. I’m sad now

And that they never learned the adult skill of empathy. “You may not think exactly the way I do, but that’s OK and you’re still a fine person and your different opinions do not hurt me”

Not only can they NOT accept a new movie that might be different from the one they loved in their childhood EVEN EXISTING IN THE WORLD, anyone else who wants to see the movie is suspect. Everything must be preserved EXACTLY. NOTHING can change because CHANGE IS SCARY. And the people that are OK with change are EVEN SCARIER.

tedthefed
tedthefed
6 years ago

I always thought they put Winston in because they were nervous about having three main characters who were all scientists. Like, “Hey everybody they’re not total snobs to poor, uneducated (black) people, see??”

Still, god bless Ernie Hudson, making a real character out of what he was given.

lightcastle
lightcastle
6 years ago

A friend and I were discussing it and realized we (the two of us, not a collective) don’t want a reboot – we want a sequel that has an all female cast that builds on the original, rather than starting it over as a fundamentally different style of movie.

I am pretty firmly in that camp as well, I thought this franchise would benefit from a sequel more than a reboot. The trailer does seem to imply at one point it is in the same universe, but the fact they do the library joke almost exactly makes me think it isn’t.

The trailer was deeply underwhelming I found. However, I’ve seen two recuts that made it better. One cuts out all the dialogue, and uses the Extreme Ghostbusters theme, which I think is ok pacing wise, but I can’t help but notice Reddit and such are all excited about it and it also happens to mean the women don’t talk. Another one just tweaks the pacing and such, keeps some of the jokes in (which land better) and excises others. That one has the original Ghostbusters theme and is much better in my opinion.

Noadi
6 years ago

It was great and funny, sure, but lots of great and funny movies also are deeply fucked up in some aspect and otherwise imperfect, with some parts that are just… “stupid” (is that an ableist term? what other word could I use?). Like, Ewoks for example.

I’ll defend the little murder bears to the death. I love them.

The frustrating thing with Winston is that he was supposed to be more than he was in the original script but the studio wanted more Peter Ray and Egon time so his backstory as a former marine with multiple degrees that made him the most capable of the team was all cut. I think the trailer referring to “four scientists” was meant to refer to that fact. (Can you tell I have huge Ghostbusters fan as friends, as in they have elaborate movie accurate cosplay.)

kupo
kupo
6 years ago

I feel fairly confident that they went with an all-female main cast because they want to sell more tickets to people who want more women in major roles. Doesn’t make the movie bad, but that’s probably why.

Well Feig already said it was because he enjoyed working with these actors. If a director cast a bunch of dudes (s)he found funny and liked to work with, no one would bat an eye, but cast funny women and suddenly the only possible reason anyone can think of is that they are pandering.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Jackie; currently using they/their, he/his, she/her pronouns)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Jackie; currently using they/their, he/his, she/her pronouns)
6 years ago

btw, there was an all-male Little Women written by Alcott herself called Jo’s Boys.

Yes, as someone stated, they even had a movie and TV series but I guess none of these assholes would know that because girl cooties.

And I think the movie shows promise. I rolled my eyes at the stereotypical nonesense of the trailer but it looks good to me. I was more worried about it being more action/comedy than action/drama/comedy but it looks like it won’t be all jokes and action but still have a decent story in it.

I’m gonna watch it for sure.

WeirwoodTreeHugger
WeirwoodTreeHugger
6 years ago

Yeah, studios fund movies with white leads, male leads, and cis het leads all the time because they think that’s what sells. Nobody calls it pandering because it’s just the default state and people don’t notice.

leftwingfox
leftwingfox
6 years ago

I think it’s fair to separate the part of Winston Zeddmore with the character dynamics of Winston being the sole African-American in the group.

In the movie, Winston is the everyman who can be a Ghostbuster. In the cartoons, he helps create a spectrum of plot-elements. Egon and Ray talk about the ghost science, Ray and Winston work together on the mechanical/engineering side, Winston and Peter crack wise to process the supernatural on an emotional level, rather than the academic level.

Making the least educated person on the team black plays into racist stereotypes, as does the general exclusion from the plot and marketing of the film, as did the generally poor treatment Ernie Hudson got in comparison.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
6 years ago

Cracked did a great (and rightfully exasperated) piece on this today. Just, y’know, don’t read the comments. 736 angry MRA sockpuppets and counting!

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