Bobbin Threadbare, on 06 June 2010 - 01:36 PM, said:
But what is it about Peter Parker that precludes him being non-white? He's almost literally intended to be an Everyman, defined by his deeds and not his heritage.
What precludes Peter from being non-white is the same thing that precludes me from being non-white: I am
white. It's the same thing that precludes Luke Cage from being non-black, or a non-black actor from playing him: Luke Cage is
Granted, I exist, and Peter and Luke don't. As I said, though, Spider-Man fans have a long-established relationship with our hero. Look. Imagine that you show up at school one day and sitting at your best friend's desk is this kid you've never seen who totally looks nothing like your friend, and he says "Hi Bobbin, it's me, your best friend." Um. No. No you're not. I know my best friend, my best friend is a friend of mine, etc.
Some kids were traumatized when Darren on "Bewitched" was suddenly Dick Sargent instead of Dick York, but at least they had similar hair (heck, they were even both named Dick). I can accept that Dick Sargent is playing the same character as Dick York. If they had cast Sidney Poitier, it would be a whole different character, wouldn't it? Unless, like, Endora turned one of the Dicks into Sidney Poitier. I hope that Peter Parker isn't going to undergo a race change operation before his fateful date with the spider.
Consider this: If Peter Parker is defined by his deeds and not his heritage, then why would the filmmakers want the name Peter Parker? They want it because of its heritage.
Peter Parker has a heritage. That heritage includes Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Forest Hills, Empire State University, Grantray-Lawrence Animation, Nicholas Hammond, John Romita Sr., various Marvel Productions series, various computer game series, Todd MacFarlane, Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire, that Universal Studios ride, the late, great "Spectacular Spider-Man" on Kids WB and Disney XD, and a Broadway musical that may or may not make it to the stage.
By and large, throughout most of this heritage I am able to accept that it is one character in all of these incarnations. A black actor might easily create a much more interesting character than Tobey Maguire (it wouldn't be hard); it would not be the same
character. At all. If it were a character I cared less about, I might not mind. I do care and I do mind.
It's not just race. Peter can't be blond, because he isn't a blond. I know that the Peter Parker clone Ben Reilly bleached his hair; I could accept a storyline in which Peter bleaches his hair. But Peter has dark hair, because he does. I'm blond, and I identify with Peter, but I don't want Peter to look like me.
When you say Peter Parker to me, I know what he looks like. Countless panels drawn by Jack Kirby, Romita Sr. and Jr. and others have shaped my picture of Peter Parker. Nicholas Hammond and the 1967 "Spider-Man" series shaped it from before I was ten. Todd MacFarlane, Tobey Maguire and "Spectacular Spider-Man" didn't exactly shape my picture -- it was already set by then -- but they basically conformed to the right picture. No black actor could ask me to accept him as Peter Parker, any more than a white actor could ask me to accept him as Luke Cage.
Ryan H., on 06 June 2010 - 02:46 PM, said:
Separate but equal, then?
I'm so not laughing. I have no idea how you meant that, but it strikes me as neither funny nor appropriate, and a smiley doesn't really help.
Edited by SDG, 06 June 2010 - 03:00 PM.