White male Ben Kuchera feels that “It’s time to start ignoring the Star Wars haters.”
Mr. Kuchera writes at Polygon:
Mr. Kuchera writes often about lack of evidence in his opinion piece, but fails to offer evidence himself as to the size or lack thereof of any potential backlash, or that such a backlash has organized a concerted effort to make itself appear larger than it is.
“You can find good conversation and criticism of Star Wars online, but you have to wade through the small number of very loud, very angry and often very male “fans” who try to spread the message that Star Wars is ruined due to its inclusion of actors and characters who aren’t also straight, white males.”
In fact, little if any of the criticisms involve genuine sexism. The quotations that Mr. Kuchera provides, show a criticism of feminism and social justice politics, not women. As I wrote previously, feminism and the female gender are no longer inextricably linked in the modern era, so criticism of feminism does not automatically translate into criticism of women.
I’ve not read one single commentator complain that “Star Wars is ruined due to its inclusion of actors and characters who aren’t straight, white males.” Not one. It seems that Mr. Kuchera suffers from the same basic misperceptual problems that all SJWs suffer from, which I wrote about previously, that causes him to make things up in order to serve a false hyperbolic narrative.
It would be outlandish for anyone to complain that Star Wars is ruined due to its inclusion of actors and characters that aren’t straight, white males, given that the Star Wars franchise has always featured non-white and non-male actors and characters since its very beginning. Rather, Star Wars has been ruined by feminist and social justice ideology instead.
Is Mr. Kuchera contending that the actors and characters of Carrie Fisher/Princess Leia, Billy Dee Williams/Lando Calrissian, Natalie Portman/Queen Amidala, Samuel L. Jackson/Mace Windu, among others, catered exclusively to white, straight males? If not, is he then attempting to “let the past die” so that his hyperbole matches the false narrative that he’s crafting? “Irrational ranting” indeed.
Doesn’t Mr. Kuchera’s assertions marginalize the plethora of critical reviews by non-whites and non-males? Here’s a small selection of them:
Are these non-white and non-male reviewers also angry that the film doesn’t cater exclusively to white, straight males, according to Mr. Kuchera’s logic?
“There has been much ink spilled about the difference between the reaction of the fans and the reaction of the critics, but we don’t really know what the fans think of the movies outside of things like review bombs and social media.”
“And there’s little evidence that this backlash extended through the fandom or even hurt the movie at the box office. The Last Jedi is the second most successful Star Wars movie in the United States, behind The Force Awakens.”
“You can argue about numbers not being adjusted for inflation or the different, streaming world we’re in now and how it impacts these numbers … but in the end it’s clear that The Last Jedi is doing very well for itself financially. There was no boycott that caught on, nor did fans stay away based on the attempts of trolls to spoil the word of mouth.”
“But the idea that there is a massive and monolithic set of fans that is leaving Star Wars or hates the new film is wrong. There’s not much evidence it exists outside of a few loud voices screaming the word “smoke!” until everyone else believes there’s a fire.”
In fact we do know what many fans think, in what Mr. Kuchera mischaracterizes as “review bombs” in an attempt to discredit and dismiss opinions that he doesn’t like.
Furthermore, there’s actually oodles of evidence to demonstrate that the backlash is very real and sizable, both in the box office numbers which show diminishing returns after the opening weekend indicating a reluctance to take in multiple viewings, and in the waning toy and merchandise sales, which I wrote about previously. At least, the evidence is there for those who care to look. Not evidence of any grand boycott mind you, but certainly evidence that large numbers of fans are simply shrugging their shoulders, walking away from the franchise, and saving their money. One would think that might constitute smoke.
What character exactly is Mr. Kuchera talking about here?
Kylo famously said, “Let the past die, kill it if you must.” So he certainly doesn’t want the past back. When Luke confronted Darth Vader with the name Anakin, Vader replied, “That name no longer has any meaning for me.” So it wasn’t Vader who wanted the past back.
So who then?
This, along with Mr. Kuchera’s fundamental misunderstanding of the diversity in Star Wars since its very beginning, indicate that in all likelihood he simply hasn’t even bothered to watch the films that he’s writing about. A common theme in most SJW diatribes.
Interestingly, Kylo Ren’s sentiment to “let the past die” which Mr. Kuchera seems to have embraced, was also once expressed by a known historical figure:
“Never before have the young men had so good a right to clean up the debris of the past.”
Or maybe they’re just not as articulate.
I did attempt to engage in dialogue and/or discourse with Mr. Kuchera in regards to these real criticisms and genuine evidence in the comments section of his article. But rather than engage in a civilized debate, he instead chose to silence these contrary opinions by deleting my posts and banning me as a spammer. I guess silencing the opposition is certainly one way to win a debate, particularly when you’re fully aware that you possess the inferior and faulty argument.
In the end, I’m not sure that publishing a rant about haters is a good first step in ignoring said haters. Regardless, Disney can certainly choose to ignore the demonstrable backlash if they so choose. However, they do so at the peril of the franchise that they paid $4 Billion for. But just because the backlash may be ignored, doesn’t mean that it will magically disappear, even if some people want it to.