At the EarthFair Festival in San Diego this past weekend, I was struck by the logo for the San Diego Pagan Pride organization. All these pagan religions united against discrimination and prejudice, reminding us all the while that crosses and Stars of David are fine as religious symbols, but if you’re really looking for iconography to rally behind, consider the ankh or… the hammer of Thor!
Which then made me wonder whether or not the half-dozen or so people in San Diego who actually claim to be adherents to the Norse faith had any problem with Marvel Studios’ upcoming summer blockbuster. Was Thor being seen as a trivialization of their beliefs? An insulting depiction of their deity dealing with the modern world like, I don’t know… The Book of Mormon or something? Or was this going to be their Passion of the Christ? Would Teutonic neopaganists start losing their shit in theaters nationwide (starting at midnight on May 6, naturally) watching their God of Thunder suffer at the hands of the divinely crafted Destroyer armor?
For answers I turned to the internet. If there were grumblings regarding the film’s authenticity or a boycott movement afoot, I knew I’d make my discoveries there. Wackos of every possible perversion have helped make the internet an incredibly diverse, and often hysterical, soapbox to the universe. Religious zealots, conspiracy theorists, and intestinal doomsayers have embraced the world wide web and we, as rational, thoughtful adults, appreciate the cushion it affords us: allowing us to marvel at the lunacy, without ever needing to get in close to the minds that harbor said lunacy.
It didn’t take me long. The Boycott Thor by Marvel Studios site has a very singular purpose, and after my initial scan spotted this comment from a reader named Muninn, “May Odin give these people the wisdom to reconsider slandering my religion, its [sic] disrespectful and will breed contempt from the few followers left,” I figured I was on the right track. They even have a Facebook page racking up the “thumbs up” boycott pledges.
Upon further investigation, however, I realized that I wasn’t dealing with pious devotees to a vanishing religion. There’s another group of fanatics that take advantage of the same worldwide whining capabilities that the more entertaining nutjobs have utilized so successfully: the racist idiots.
The crux of this boycott effort regards the casting of Idris Elba as Heimdall, one of the divine Asgardians. For decades, since Stan Lee and Jack Kirby gave life to Marvel’s version of Thor in Journey into Mystery, the goldilock’d god has spoken in an embarrassing approximation of Shakespearean verse, been turned into a frog, and replaced by a cyborg simulacrum by those secular scientific saboteurs, Reed Richards and Tony Stark (sacrilege!)… and you’re pissed off because the guy blowing his horn at the foot of Bifrost the Rainbow Bridge is being played by a black guy?
For the record, if the movie version of my life starts shooting anytime soon, I’d be thrilled to be portrayed by the same badass who brought us Stringer Bell. The Mike Di Gino purists might be, like, “oh but he’s supposed to be a little white guy with a really bad fake British accent” and the movie executives would have to support the casting with “yes, well, we felt that Elba brings an amazing range to the role and will be better suited to depict Mike’s famous standoff against the muggers on the 44 O’Shaughnessy…” to which the Mike maniacs would be all “um, no, that never happened; he got his ass kicked” and the controversy would explode into guaranteed millions in the box office!
Waitaminute… that’s what’s really going on, isn’t it Marvel? Very clever. Piss off the racists, mount a media drive to stir the pot, and watch people line up to see your silly little film. Well even though I might be one of those lined up on opening weekend, you can bet I won’t be buying the DVD. At least not the special edition. Just the bare-bones inexpensive one. Not lining any fat cat’s pockets with my hard-earned dollar you conspiring bastards.
Actually, I probably will get the special edition. I hope it’s packaged in a little plastic hammer.