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Old 05-07-2012, 08:52 PM   #121
EricQelDroma
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Originally Posted by JenM View Post
It was obvious the line was a reference to Loki and Thor was just trying to backtrack from his defense of him after being reminded that Loki was being extremely awful.

It was clearly not intended as a slam against adoption in general.
It's funny: what you call "backtrack[ing] from his defense of [Loki]" is exactly what I call "a slam about adoption in general."

There are only three possible meanings to the line:
  1. Loki is bad. He can be bad while we (the "real" or biological family) are good because he's adopted.
  2. Loki isn't "really" my brother or part of my family because he's adopted.
  3. Adoption is different and inferior to blood relations.
Either way, the line itself rips on adoption and/or adoptees. Now, whether you think the line is funny or not, whether you think any offense was intended or not, those three possibilities are the ONLY real possibilities as to the meaning of the line. My seven-year-old daughter caught #3 and #1 without a hint of reaction or prompting from me. She's never been taught that adoption is in any way inferior to typical arrangements, so she didn't find it funny.

It's a thoughtless line that is admittedly completely inconsistent with Thor's behavior toward Loki in both movies. It's not a deal-breaker for me with the movie, but having it in there is rude and insensitive. If it were about any other traditionally disadvantaged group (African Americans, women, gays, etc.) in this kind of context, it would have been widely and instantaneously disparaged and condemned. I'm sure that for Joss it was a throwaway line. For my daughter and for me, it's a comment on our family and our life.

I would have been perfectly okay with it if Stark had said it and Thor had reacted violently, saying, "Do Not. Presume. To Mock. My Family. Ever Again." or something like that. The "adoption" line from a thoughtless ego-maniac, coupled with that kind of reaction from Thor about his real (meaning "his forever-adoptive-whatever-positive") brother would have addressed the issue well and had the characters behave more consistently.
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Old 05-07-2012, 08:53 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by sparklynails23 View Post
Have you ever watched the Disney Channel? Cheerleaders are always ditzy. Kids with inhalers are always uncool nerds. Smart kids are uncool nerds. Etc. As the mom with an asthmatic son, the inhaler one really bothers me. If you make it uncool to use life-saving meds, kids die. Would they do the same with insulin shots? I'm sure I'm being too sensitive, too. It's probably really funny to some people
I'd like to see all of those stereotypes rolled up into a bag and burned on Disney's doorstep.
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:05 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by snarlingcoyote View Post
In other words

Cliche #1 Parents didn't tell child he was adopted.
Cliche #2 Adoptee has all kinds of problems dealing with the fact that he was adopted.
Cliche #3 Adoptee is just a Bad Seed to begin with and you can't change Fate.

And now that I've read this, let's add Cliche #4 Adoptive Parents are wonderful, it's just that Cliche #3 has come into play.



After all these years, you'd think maybe, just maybe, someone could come up with an original plot line about adoption in a movie, but no, they just keep on plugging the same old adoptee storyline, over and over again.
You are so right. Thanks for this.

I think it's especially difficult to impress upon people just how ubiquitous and pervasive these cliches are, and how strongly they can affect people, whether children or not.

My daughter is Asian in a predominantly Caucasian area. She's picked up on the "I'm not blonde, my skin is dark, my eyes are strange" vibe since she was two. We don't let her watch a ton of TV, and our whole extended family has been gung-ho on the adoption thing from day one. These attitudes are everywhere and it's very hard to pick up on them until you're the target.

Before my daughter came to us, I thought that people who pushed for an African American Disney Princess were being overly sensitive. After all, I thought Mr. T. was the coolest thing ever when I was a kid, and I'm white and he's black. It wasn't a problem for me! I didn't realize that I also hadn't had every single image in our society telling me that my color, my looks, my hair, my style, my clothes, my speech, my family was undesirable and inferior. Now I see how important it is for children's self-image for them to have characters and playthings that reflect their reality in a positive way. It's not something a four-year-old should have to "get over" when society is telling them that they're different and therefore bad.
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:08 PM   #124
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I might be more inclined to agree with you if this was a movie intended for kids. It was PG-13, and I think that makes a big difference. The intended audience for this movie should be able to understand the context of the line and not take it personally. Unless they are homicidal aliens who were adopted by a god and are trying to destroy a planet, and then they are probably right to take to personally.

There are people who are offended by almost everything. Short weak kids could be upset because Loki was abandoned by his family for being too small, but so far I haven't seen any parents of little kids upset about that. I don't like seeing kids hurt, either, which is why I think it's important to teach kids to pay attention to the context of comments like this so they don't take them seriously when they are intended to be jokes. Instead of trying to tell people what they should joke about, I think it's more important to make sure children understand that sometimes a joke is nothing more than a joke and shouldn't be taken personally.


ETA- Oops. Sorry I didn't respect the jazz hands. I posted before seeing them. Though to be honest I'm curious about how the backstory is offensive, too!


A big part of the intended audience is kids. We all know that. A PG-13 rating doesn't mean a movie isn't marketed to children.

Also, where do you draw the line at a joke? Is it okay to joke about women or minorities? And then tell them to understand that its just a joke?

I'm not completely devastated by the line (and I admit that I haven't yet seen the movie), but I was a little disappointed.
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:11 PM   #125
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Originally Posted by FlightlessDuck View Post
Think of it this way: When everyone is told that Loki killed 80 people in two days, everyone looked at Thor like he was a freak to have a mass murderer as a biological brother.

The implication of THAT is that bad blood permeates a biological family.
The difference is that society isn't churning out dog-whistle judgments of biological families 24/7. It does about minorities and differently-formed families. The implications about blood families in that scene lack power. The insult in the "He's adopted" line has centuries of prejudicial power behind it.
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:32 PM   #126
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Originally Posted by Jennasis View Post
Personally, it was one of the best lines in the movie. Clearly some disagree. I would suggest you avoid the sequels if Joss Whedon is helming them again. His writing style is entirely that way. Buffy, Angel, Firefly, FULL of self deprecation and pot shots.
I'm trying to remember when the heroic main characters of Buffy, Angel, Firefly, etc. made jokes about people being black, female, mentally challenged, etc. Adoption is something about a person that the person can't control or change, and society ostracizes that person for it. I don't see the difference, and I don't think that Thor's comment fits with Joss' typical characterization MO.

Had Tony Stark said the line and Thor sprung to his brother's defense, I would have been fine with it.

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Wonder if the surfers were offended when Stark called Thor "Point Break" or if the drama club kids are upset about him also calling Thor "Shakespeare in the Park"?
Oh, right. I remember now. Being a surfer is like being non-white/non-male/non-straight/non-orthodox/non-normal person in our society. You're certainly not trivializing those kinds of often abusive classifications to set up a straw-man argument here at all. Thanks for that.
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:35 PM   #127
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Originally Posted by billdob62 View Post
I think your fears are ungrounded in regard to what was said in the movie. Adopted children are loved as much as other children by their parents. After all...they were chosen.
This is another common adoption cliche that adoptees have to deal with. I honestly would have thought the exact same thing before we adopted. I honestly would. All I can tell you is that this kind of line ("they're so special - they should be grateful for being chosen") grates on the ears of adoptees and their parents.
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:37 PM   #128
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Wow that was rude. She was merely expressing her own opinion. And I kinda agree with her. Children, especially younger children pick up cues from their parents. If a parent laughs at something the child will more than likely laugh. If a parent is upset then the child gets upset. I see it happen a lot.
No, that response wasn't rude. She covered the other poster's points and showed where they were wrong. And where is this "my child's reaction at the movie was based on mine" argument coming from? I've been through this thread, and no one whose adopted child has experienced this movie and this line has made this argument. It's a straw-man argument that should be discarded so that we can get back to the original topic.
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:39 PM   #129
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So far only ADULTS have expressed offense. Your kid didn't even see the movie. The OP was offended for his kid, but made no mention if his kid was upset by it.
My kid DID see the movie and was definitely hurt by it without prompting from me. In fact, she was so hurt by it that it took ninety minutes of soothing and explanation from her mother and me to even begin to resolve the issue after the film.

One of her heroes from the movie had made an insulting joke about adoption, and she clearly understood that without any help or prompting from her parents.
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:40 PM   #130
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Originally Posted by EricQelDroma View Post
This is another common adoption cliche that adoptees have to deal with. I honestly would have thought the exact same thing before we adopted. I honestly would. All I can tell you is that this kind of line ("they're so special - they should be grateful for being chosen") grates on the ears of adoptees and their parents.

I agree with this. I never use the word "chosen" with my boys. I'm not totally sure why. It sounds too much like I picked them out, I guess . Like a puppy or something .

The whole grateful, lucky, blessed comments are some of the worst. Of course people that say them aren't trying to offend, so I gently respond with something like, "Actually, we're the ones who are blessed to have them!" It works fairly well.
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:47 PM   #131
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The whole grateful, lucky, blessed comments are some of the worst. Of course people that say them aren't trying to offend, so I gently respond with something like, "Actually, we're the ones who are blessed to have them!" It works fairly well.
Absolutely. The vast majority of folks who comment on our family are just trying to be nice and express support. That they're saying things that sound awkward to our family's ears isn't something I hold against them. We often do the gentle corrections, too. ("Well, they're really my children, even if they aren't biologically my children," etc.)

Now, if someone starts making snarky comments about my children? Like, say, my son throws a temper tantrum and someone explains it to a room full of people with a line like, "Well, he's adopted!"? That's different.

Last edited by EricQelDroma; 05-07-2012 at 09:47 PM. Reason: Bold and Italics added for clarity...
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:11 PM   #132
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I am personally more offended that I will never have the chance to have Chris Evans rescue me and be my personal Captain America than I am about an adoption joke.
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:14 PM   #133
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Originally Posted by EricQelDroma View Post
My kid DID see the movie and was definitely hurt by it without prompting from me. In fact, she was so hurt by it that it took ninety minutes of soothing and explanation from her mother and me to even begin to resolve the issue after the film.

One of her heroes from the movie had made an insulting joke about adoption, and she clearly understood that without any help or prompting from her parents.
I was being facetious about the "point break" thing. And there were plenty of cracks about sexual orientation, race (though maybe not a legitimate race) and religion in Buffy and Angel.

I'm always fascinated (and skeptical) when "lurkers" come out of lurkdom to jump into a controversial subject, miraculously with supporting anecdotal evidence when there is little support for the OP. Your kid seems to be the only actual child offended (the rest are parents). May I ask how old your kid is? It took 90 minutes to soothe the kid's ego? Really? Perhaps she was too young for the PG-13 movie. And if she was older than 13...NINETY minutes?

DH spoke to three coworkers today who saw the film this weekend. One is an adopted adult who was not offended. The other two are parents of two adopted children and neither the parents nor the children were offended in the slightest.

It's a rough world out there. I'm reminded of the saying "prepare your child for the path, not the path for your child."

However, let me bottom line my feelings on the matter for you(since I have already invoked the jazz hands)....I really am sorry you and your kid's feelings were hurt. I'm sorry some other's were as well. I'm sorry it tarnished for you what was otherwise a stellar movie. I am. It bums me out that something so seemingly trivial (and hilarious IMO) may have ruined the experience for you and to be honest, when I fork out another $13 to go see it this week, I won't get nearly the same joy out of that line as I did the first time I watched it.

That said, it was still possibly the best movie I've ever seen and I hope Joss Whedon does the same outstanding job on the next one.
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:15 PM   #134
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Originally Posted by EricQelDroma View Post
There are only three possible meanings to the line:
  1. Loki is bad. He can be bad while we (the "real" or biological family) are good because he's adopted.
  2. Loki isn't "really" my brother or part of my family because he's adopted.
  3. Adoption is different and inferior to blood relations.

It's a thoughtless line that is admittedly completely inconsistent with Thor's behavior toward Loki in both movies.
If this was about our society as it exists today, then you might have a valid argument. However, you are taking offense at a comment made by a character born in Norse mythology about another mythological character, both of whom existed in a fantasy world where there is a caste system and Asgardians are beautiful, dwarves are ugly and giants (Jotun) are duplicitous and deadly.

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Lines that insult my family aren't entertaining to me. Comic books are not inherently inferior to any other form of entertainment. Comic book movies are not made in a cultural vacuum that keeps them from being potentially offensive. I don't leave my pride at the door when I walk into a movie theater.
Unless your family are mythological creations, I don't see how you were insulted.
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Call my daughter "pathetic" again. I double-dare you.
I never called your daughter pathetic. However, I did call the sanctimony and outrage over something that will be forgotten in a month pathetic.

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I'm trying to remember when the heroic main characters of Buffy, Angel, Firefly, etc. made jokes about people being black, female, mentally challenged, etc.
Actually, I do recall quite a few jokes made about people not being beautiful and jokes about lesbians.
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:21 PM   #135
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Originally Posted by plutotek View Post
If this was about our society as it exists today, then you might have a valid argument. However, you are taking offense at a comment made by a character born in Norse mythology about another mythological character, both of whom existed in a fantasy world where there is a caste system and Asgardians are beautiful, dwarves are ugly and giants (Jotun) are duplicitous and deadly.



Unless your family are mythological creations, I don't see how you were insulted.


I never called your daughter pathetic. However, I did call the sanctimony and outrage over something that will be forgotten in a month pathetic.



Actually, I do recall quite a few jokes made about people not being beautiful and jokes about lesbians.
Very well said!
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