In a matter of months, the first X-Men film to feature Bryan Singer at the helm since 2003 will be released. This has brought forth a deluge of X-Men related posts on Fudgebook and other such publicity. But just like there is a How To Read Donald Duck in which analysis of Disney’s material is taken to extremes, I think it is worth taking a look at X-Men for similar reasons.
The creators, or at least one of them, of the original X-Men comic books have been quite open about what originally inspired the concept. Black Americans protesting outside of universities in order to be allowed to exercise the right that the United States government had officially granted them. That is, the right to attend unsegregated universities and other educational facilities. It is no coincidence that one of the most well-known X-Men is black (even if she is played horribly in film).
However, a problem has emerged in recent times. Or rather, a pair of problems. I will start with the one that pertains to interpretation of X-Men first. Since the 2000 film has been released, press and amateurs alike have written that the films are all about gay rights and matters relevant. Not to take away from the struggle of gay civil rights, but to call this as narrow and ignorant as the people on the wrong side of the educational access protests is an understatement.
From the get-go, the characters in X-Men have not shared one singular set of superpowers, but rather a collection as varied and diverse as the avian life forms of this planet.
If you are still wondering what my point about the shoddy it’s-only-about-the-gay journalism is, then stop reading and go to something more your speed, such as repeats of Play School. That was literally it.
Even the two principals in every good X-Men story, Professor X and Magneto, could not be less alike in terms of capability. One is able to read and control the thoughts of others as easily as he makes himself tea. The other can manipulate the magnetic fields of the world to make anything metallic move as he pleases. And the list gets more varied the further down the hierarchy you go. We have mutants who can heal themselves from almost any injury at a rate that makes our conception of miracle recovery into a joke. We have mutants that can create duplicates of themselves in order to confuse and deceive enemies. We have mutants that can turn themselves to steel. I could go on forever.
During the past thirty years, there has been a literal explosion of groups trying to throw off the chains of oppression. Disability rights and autistic civil rights alone take up millions of words a day on the Internet. Autistic and deaf people take up the call against separationist language. The mentally ill have turned protesting ridiculous stereotypes of them into an artform. Several of them, in fact. To limit a story about people as wildly variant as the X-Men to one real-world group, whom I might add are actually comfortable and well-off when compared to the autistic, is ridiculously arrogant and small-minded.
In almost all filmed, written, or other entertainments, there exists a basic structure. Protagonists are introduced. It is made clear what they want at the end of the story. An obstacle or set of obstacles to obtaining their desire is established. And the story then concerns itself with telling the audience how the protagonist overcomes or fails to overcome those obstacles.
Professor X’s goal is to show the regular folks of the world that his kind and theirs can co-exist peacefully, without the need for war and bloodshed. Generally speaking, he always comes up against one or more obstacles. Magneto is the most frequent obstacle, and one thing I find very amusing about the children’s cartoons based on the X-Men is that it is always about Professor X stopping Magneto.
X2 was a much more grown-up film than that. Trailers quoted from the previous film, beginning with Magneto asking Professor X if it keeps him awake at night, the thought that they will pass “that foolish law” and come after him, and the children. Professor X’s rebuttal to Magneto is that he will feel a great swell of pity for the idiot who comes to his school in search of trouble.
X2 touches upon something so beautiful it takes some thought to fully appreciate. The mutants in Professor X’s school are armed. Some more powerfully than others. But between Siryn’s ability to alert the entire household to intruders, Collossus’ ability to deflect bullets, and Magneto’s ability to kill everything that looks unfriendly, X2 illustrates the most powerful point about a minority group fighting for its right to exist.
If the autistic were allowed to carry firearms, and use them whenever they felt threatened with near to no consequence, Autism Speaks would go out of business tomorrow. Normies everywhere would not dare question the autistic individual’s right to exist anymore.
(Repugnantthugs are usually bitterly opposed to any form of gun control. Telling about the real reason for this is that when the Black Panthers started to arm themselves, they were in favour of gun control laws.)
This visible and significant difference between the mutants, as I have pointed out already, reflects the diversity of the struggle for minority rights. A social minority in the true sense of the phrase is a group that is subordinated by a social majority, has distinct differences from that majority, and is involuntarily a part of that group.
It can be said that the struggle of one social minority is the struggle of all social minorities. For when one social minority suffers, others suffer to varying degrees along with them. Probably the best example of this is when a press statement from the homosexual community came out with praise for autism pre-natal tests. The response of the autistic community was swift. You need us more than we need you was the basic theme. When the autistic are gone, and the normies come for you next, nobody is going to be there to save you.
They tried to tell us we were talking out of our hat. Then it became apparent that the pre-natal test for the autistic “gene” was originally meant to be a test for the “gay gene”. And to be quite frank, even if this were not the case, a civil rights organisation that is led by someone who is okay with the members of another civil rights struggle being exterminated is not one that should exist.
A favoured statement of many groups relating to what I will call real disabilities here (more on this anon) are fond of repeating the slogan that disability rights are Human rights. In this, they are a hundred percent correct. There have also been people who have stated that if you want to see how civilised a society really is, you should look at how it treats its prisoners and disabled.
(Anything disabling feels “real” to the disabled. The reality is not in dispute. I do, however, like to draw a distinction between serious physical disabilities such as paralysis (or diabetes) and disabilities that are only disabilities because the manner in which our society treats the disabled person makes it so. Autism is a classic example of the latter.)
The X-Men canon establishes well that different mutants feel differently about their mutations. Magneto, for example, feels very proud to be a mutant, confident that anything the norms send against him, he can destroy. Rogue, on the other hand, is depicted as full of conflict about the fact that just her touch can kill. (And whilst I can understand the upset on the part of comic book fans at the way Rogue is depicted in these films, to depict a woman of the age Rogue apparently is in the films any differently without showing cause is bad storytelling.) This is reflected in reality to a degree. Just look up names like O.J. Simpson, Bill Cosby, or even the very vulgar expression “house nigger”, and you get some idea of how much internal conflict there can be within a movement.
The element of internal conflict exists within the autism civil rights movement to a degree, and in a different sense, too. Whilst I have heard a lot of people calling Bill Cosby a house nigger, and recently, this is rare among the autistic. Autistic people, whilst violently disagreeing about the manner in which they should be defending their rights, are 99.99 percent unified in the knowledge that they are the way they are for a reason, and that changing that way is tantamount to murder.
I have long felt hostile to certain activists in the autistic mainstream. Lydia Brown to a lesser extent because she still seems, at least to my perception, a bit deaf to Assata Shakur‘s awesome words about the history of civil rights movements. People like Amy Sequenzia, more so.
It is established to some degree in X2 that the reality of being a mutant and the stereotype that norms have in their heads of being a mutant are two very different things. In one memorable, if somewhat PG-ified sequence, one mutant’s family gets a whole faceful of how differently and badly mutants are treated by society.
Sir Ian McKellen delivers many, many lines that practically made me want to rip my chair out of the floor and throw it in the air when I first saw X2. One of these is to Aaron Stanford: “You are a god among insects. Never let anyone tell you different.” The context is that Aaron‘s character, Pyro, is explaining how his powers work to Ian‘s character. Pyro talks down the efficacy of his powers, saying that he cannot create fire out of nothing, only manipulate it to do terrible things. Magneto’s line is exactly what should be said to all autistic people.
Many times, I have bemoaned the manner in which the norms out there seem to fall to their knees and worship mediocre things. Bugliosi‘s writings about the O.J. Simpson trial, a stick I will never get sick of beating, are a perfect example. Bugliosi practically goes apeshit naming all of the things that lawyers for both sides of the argument did wrong or badly. The manner in which the press corps. were lining up to blow the defense lawyers, on the other hand, still amazes me.
Vincent Bugliosi, you are a god amongst insects. Never let anyone tell you different.
(Anyone who can see mediocre performances for what they really are deserves to be told this.)
Is there already a mutant in the X-Men canon whose special ability is to see things as they really are, regardless of what illusions or lies they are fed? If not, there should be. Story opportunities for such a power, especially in a conference between Professor X and Magneto, are abundant.
You see, being able to see things with perfect clarity, to see the undiluted truth of a given situation, as opposed to all the bullshit “truths” that passives think deserve equal consideration, is a rare gift. Let us take for example William Stryker, the military scientist who appears in several X-Men publications, and of course X2.
Stryker thinks he is a hero fighting a mighty crusade against the mutant menace. He thinks this because his son, who happens to be a mutant, came home from Professor X’s academy and started projecting illusions into his and his wife’s mind. But in one horrifying sequence, we learn that if anything, Stryker provoked all of this and more.
I still cannot contemplate moving or even relocating slightly to this day without deep, powerful fears of being abducted and held in a place I would rather die than be (anywhere rural, basically). I will comment further on this point another day, but the point here is that if you happen to be the kind of sick, stupid fukk (that is often found in rural places, oddly enough) who thinks that William Stryker is a hero, then you forfeit your right to exist in my eyes. (And yes, Blizzard, I will be mentioning you in the previously mentioned “another day” when I elaborate further on this.)
You see, in the real X-Men films, William Stryker’s son, Jason, is depicted as having been severely surgically mutilated (not visible in this shot are nasty-looking brain-surgery scars).
(Apologies for the terrible quality of this capture, which I took off a web site.)
In a nutshell, Jason will do anything that William tells him, and it is not hard to work out that this is because William or someone acting under William’s orders chopped pieces out of Jason’s brain in order to accomplish this.
Abuse of autistic children by their parental units is a frighteningly common and condoned thing. Parental units can literally kill their autistic children and get a pat on the back in the media. I would not even be surprised to catch X2 director Bryan Singer doing this. (If he is out there and gets wind of this article, let it be known that I would be very happy with him if he proved me wrong.) It seems that the entire world is under the spell of belief that William Stryker is a hero.
Diverting away from the subject of the X-Men once again, there is one genuinely good (not great) sequence in the made-for-television fourth Omen film. Towards the end of the film, the little girl that we have been false-flagged into believing will be the new Antichrist holds up her baby brother and tells her adoptive mother to “really see him”. This results in the adoptive mother offing herself.
A mutant with the ability to make William Stryker see himself the way he really is would not require indestructible blades or psychic powers to kill Stryker. All it would take is enough time and enough viewpoints other than his own. He apparently has no idea that even amongst his own soldiers, he is the only one who sees an ounce of good quality in him. As is said so well in the (otherwise terrible) film version of The Neverending Story, confronted with their true selves, those men run screaming.
Does X-Men accurately reflect the nature of minority status in this world? Well, up to a point. It succeeds at demonstrating the huge diversity of minority status, that is indisputable. And the concept of minorities being so well-armed that even specialised soldiers are right to fear them is one that real-world minorities enjoy viewing. But Professor X’s borderline-obsequious attempts to coddle and protect the less evolved people is a bitter, difficult storytelling pill to swallow.
The third X-Men film adaptation as directed by Brett Ratner, which I mockingly refer to as X-Men In Name Only, shows people who wish to carry on Stryker’s work weaponising a “cure” for mutations. Into weapons specifically designed to negate Magneto’s powers this “cure” is placed, and mutants shot with it against their will.
I like to hope, even “pray”, that the real world’s Professor X would not lift a finger to save such people from the real world’s Magneto. Because I doubt very many of the real world’s mutants would support him in such an action. (This is why I call it X-Men In Name Only, in case you are dense enough to need this pointed out to you.) Or as Assata Shakur put it so well: