By David Futrelle
Is Netflix’s Bird Box — set in a world in which the only way to defeat evil is to literally never look at it — just a post-apocalyptic horror flick with a premise that’s equal parts terrifying and ridiculous? A sort of mashup of A Quiet Place and The Happening that’s nowhere near as compelling as the former but still a decided improvement over the latter?
Or is it a sinister SJW assault on straight white males?
That, in any case, is the central claim of a YouTube video by a would-be Western Civilization defender called Black Pilled, a video that’s been viewed more than 100,000 times since it was uploaded on New Year’s Eve.
“This is clearly an anti white propaganda film dressed up as a post apocalypse film,” Black Pilled charges.
It was just an excuse to repeatedly demonize white people while the audience is under the stress induced by the suspenseful scenes.
Black Pilled is outraged that the straight white male characters in the film tend to be assholes and/or villains; meanwhile, most of those who behave in heroic or selfless ways are women, people of color, and, in one case, gay.
This is a movie about a single white mother who is confronted endlessly by dangerous evil white men and then repeatedly saved and protected by non-whites. It’s laid on so thick that the whole … end-of-the-world aspect of the film is reduced to a subplot.
Weird that this alleged “subplot” pervades every instant of the film. But never mind,
Black Pilled is especially disgusted by John Malkovich’s character in the film, the only Trump supporter in a house filled with a multicultural assortment of characters trying to ride out the end of the world together, a hugely arrogant asshole played in the grand Malkovich style.
Black Pilled isn’t just bothered by the character; he’s appalled to see Malkovich cast as a Trumper. “John Malkovich [has] always kind of given off a feminine vibe,” he complains,
It’s kind of a ridiculous casting choice, and quite frankly he was probably only chosen because he’s bald and it plays into the whole skinhead aesthetic.
No, I’m pretty sure they cast him because they needed an asshole and there are play assholes with as much relish as Malkovich.
Meanwhile, while Malkovich malkoviches, the most prominent black character in the film, Trevante Rhodes’ Tom, is portrayed as selfless and heroic, a “random black superhero man” who’s unrealistically “flawless,” in Black Pilled’s view.
Black Pilled isn’t the only one with a racist critique of Bird Box. Indeed, over on the One Angry Gamer blog — you may remember it as the source of the worst sentence ever written in the English language — the aforementioned angry gamer (a.k.a. Billy D) offers up an even blacker white-supremacist pill.
As Billy sees it, Bird Box doesn’t just demonize white men; it actively pushes an agenda
encourag[ing] interracial, homosexual, or non-traditional relationships, all while criticizing the depiction of traditional hetero marriages and anything related to straight, white males being heroic or admirable.
Billy reports with horror that
the only romances that appear in the film are interracial …
There are no minority villains in the film. …
All of the main antagonist aggressors in the film are straight, white males. All of them.
The straight, white males also don’t get to engage in any heroics, and what sparse moment of heroics they do have are undermined in some way. …
This fits in line with the articles above about how straight, white males need to have the rug pulled out from underneath them in terms of appearing on-screen as empowered, admirable characters, even if it means defying all the odds, breaking immersion, and disrupting the suspension of disbelief in order to do so.
Even if we set aside the central racist premises behind Billy D’s argument — that there is something inherently evil about portraying white men as villains and people of color as heroic, or that films featuring interracial relationships are somehow racist attacks on white people — a lot of Billy D’s complaints about the film simply aren’t based in fact.
While the only relationships shown on-screen are interracial ones, most of the relationships alluded to in the film aren’t. There are several “minority villains” in the film, one a survivor who betrays fellow survivors, another a diabolical marauder.
And there is one (presumably) straight white male character in the film, one who doesn’t get much screen time but who’s nevertheless central to the plot, who’s as selfless and morally spotless as that “random black superhero man.”
Oh, but he’s blind, so somehow his whiteness and maleness don’t count,
Billy D. evidently remembered this character’s existence just before he wrapped up his post, amending his earlier critique of the film as an attack on all “straight white men” and declaring the film instead an attack on “[a]ll straight white males who aren’t disabled.”
It would be one thing if this loopy critique were limited to a single YouTuber and a rather eccentric “angry gamer.” But both of these critiques seem to be resonating with a wider audience. Black Pilled’s video has inspired nearly 5000 comments on YouTube, many of them bristling with open racism and anti-Semitism.
“Jews cannot touch mainstream media propaganda without making it degenerative to society,” wrote one YouTube commenter.
“Hitler should’ve won.,” declared another.
In a thread on 4chan’s /pol/ forum inspired by Black Pilled’s video, the regulars were especially exercised by the relationship between Sandra Bullock’s character and the aforementioned “black superhero man,” with the thread-starter dwelling on the film’s depiction of his “black hand over pregnant Sandra bullocks tummy.”
Another anon declared that
It’s like an SJW watched A Quiet place and got mad that there wasn’t enough interracial cuck scenes and caricatures of Trump supporters.
These people have broken minds.
Meanwhile, in a discussion of the film on the MGTOW subreddit, one commenter echoed Billy D’s charge that the film was propaganda against “straight white able bodied males.”
While Bird Box has managed to outrage some of the internet’s worst people, from YouTube to 4chan to the MGTOW subreddit, this particular outburst of manufactured outrage hasn’t reached Lady Ghostbusters levels, and it seems highly unlikely that it ever will. Even on 4chan and in the MGTOW subreddit, numerous commenters thought the claims of anti-white-male propaganda seemed faintly ridiculous.
But 4chan being 4chan, some commenters managed to work some racism and misogyny into their critique of a racist, misogynist conspiracy theory.
“This is your brain on pol,” wrote one anon
where even a shitty netflix movie triggers your micropenis because a black guy is with a used old used up white woman, who raises her white kids, making him the cuck.
On the MGTOW subreddit, by contrast, the critiques of the conspiracy theories were almost reasonable.
“I mean it wasn’t bad to me,” wrote one MGTOW Redditor of the film,
[It] wasn’t amazing or anything but I certainly wouldn’t express it as being feminazi ish or politically corrected to fuck.
Sandra Bullock was pretty good tbh …
Wasn’t much that particularly stood out but again, I like the overall premise.
There was some pretty dumb plot choices but those were just dumb plot choices nothing really more, even the dumb shit wasn’t THAT bad.
I’d give it a 6-6.5/10
I’m a little stunned to find myself saying this about a comment in the MGTOW subreddit, but … that’s actually a pretty fair assessment of the film, if slightly harsher than my own.
But I’m an SJW cuck, so what do I know?
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