Disney, Adoption and The Avengers...

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by Doug7856, May 6, 2012.

  1. EricQelDroma

    EricQelDroma Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    May 6, 2012
    Messages:
    25
    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.
     
  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement


    to hide this advert.
  3. EricQelDroma

    EricQelDroma Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    May 6, 2012
    Messages:
    25
    I'd like to see all of those stereotypes rolled up into a bag and burned on Disney's doorstep.
     
  4. EricQelDroma

    EricQelDroma Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    May 6, 2012
    Messages:
    25
    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.
     
  5. skater

    skater <font color=blue>Change sometimes stinks.. doesn't

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    4,641


    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.
     
  6. EricQelDroma

    EricQelDroma Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    May 6, 2012
    Messages:
    25
    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.
     
  7. EricQelDroma

    EricQelDroma Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    May 6, 2012
    Messages:
    25
    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.

    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.
     
  8. EricQelDroma

    EricQelDroma Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    May 6, 2012
    Messages:
    25
    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.
     
  9. EricQelDroma

    EricQelDroma Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    May 6, 2012
    Messages:
    25
    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.
     
  10. EricQelDroma

    EricQelDroma Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    May 6, 2012
    Messages:
    25
    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.
     
  11. skater

    skater <font color=blue>Change sometimes stinks.. doesn't

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    4,641

    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 :confused3. Like a puppy or something :goodvibes.

    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.
     
  12. EricQelDroma

    EricQelDroma Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    May 6, 2012
    Messages:
    25
    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.
     
  13. Dr.Girlfriend

    Dr.Girlfriend DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Messages:
    2,370
    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.
     
  14. Jennasis

    Jennasis DIS life goes on

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2000
    Messages:
    25,321
    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.
     
  15. plutotek

    plutotek DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    1,727
    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.
     
  16. Scurvy

    Scurvy Kungaloosh!

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Messages:
    4,291
    Very well said!
     
  17. ZachnElli

    ZachnElli <font color=green>Is it Spring yet?<br><font color

    Joined:
    May 21, 2001
    Messages:
    5,499
    Unfortunately, that line is most likely the result of someone actually feeling that way. I have 3 children and my in-laws fully embrace......one of them. If you think that my other 2 didn't notice that they were excluded at a very young age, you would be wrong. Making some people feel like they don't quite belong seems to be quite entertaining for some. On a lighter note, we loved Despicable Me, my youngest got what being adopted meant from that movie and in a positive way! :thumbsup2
     
  18. EricQelDroma

    EricQelDroma Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    May 6, 2012
    Messages:
    25
    Fair enough about being facetious. I've been known to get a bit shrill with these sorts of things. I don't know if you'd noticed. It'd be an interesting paper to write to go through Buffy/Angel and check all of the jokes to see which ones would qualify as "offensive" from which characters. Maybe tomorrow.

    1. I don't lurk here. I found this particular thread on Google and became incensed by the people arguing that "it's just a joke" is okay for this sort of thing. I get what you're saying, though.
    2. My daughter's seven, soon to be eight.
    3. See my comment on the rating above. That's not the issue here. My wife and I were equally offended (although we're older, more mature, and more aware of the prejudices against adoption, so we didn't require soothing the same way my daughter did), and we're more than old enough for the movie.
    4. It's not an "ego" thing. I can tell you're trying to be polite here, so I'll respond in kind, but that's the sort of comment that shows the insensitivity that adoptees and adoptive parents have to deal with all the time. More on "ego" below... maybe. (It's late.)
    5. "Ninety minutes." We have thorough discussions in our house. We let the talk go where it would, and we discussed all sorts of prejudices and comments that people would label as "just jokes" that would hurt feelings. Our daughter IS young, and she has yet to experience most of the ugliness that life has to offer.
    Good for them. It's still offensive and insensitive. I'd honestly like to see what Joss would say to my daughter that would justify the second-most noble character in the whole movie insulting the make-up of our family.
    Sigh. Really? This is your answer? "It's okay for everyone else to be total jerks. It's all on your kid to deal with the crap they say." Sorry, I ask for more from the world. I don't always expect to get it, but I'm not going to stop demanding better.

    I was more ignorant twenty years ago than I am now, and the world is a better place for me having learned to keep my trap shut about some issues like this. The fact that disgusting racial and mental epithets are being used less frequently because people have called others on their usage is a good thing.

    Must each child be prepared for the harshness of the path? Yes. There will always be harshness. Should we as a society stop improving the path as best we can? Never.
    I don't lurk, and I'm BRAND new here. I don't get the "jazz hands" thing. Please enlighten me. (Seriously.)

    I agree with you: the movie was otherwise pretty darned good. I hope you enjoy the 99.9% of the movie that ISN'T that line. I did. At the same time, I'd just ask that you listen to the laughter around you at that line, and ask yourself what people are really laughing at.
    I hope he does even better and doesn't reinforce baseless and damaging cliches about people whose families are formed differently than others.
     
  19. Planogirl

    Planogirl I feel the nerd in me stirring

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2000
    Messages:
    42,977
    I see mostly people here not understanding the story of Loki and what he actually is. Adopted or not, his lineage helps make him what he is in this particular folklore.

    Could the comment have been left out to avoid hurt feelings? Yes, it could have. However this info is still true and relevant when it comes to Loki. The Norse gods are not like us in storyline. I could see how some could project that they are however.

    EricQelDroma, you actually sought out a Disney website to complain about this comment? Wouldn't it make more sense to complain to the filmmakers themselves?
     
  20. Chernabog#1fan

    Chernabog#1fan DVCOwner

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Messages:
    516
    My son who is adopted was confused by the joke and is 9. I think what got to him in the theater was hearing that Loki was adopted and people laughing, as if people laughed at people who are adopted. Hopefully that makes sense how I am saying it.

    He told us that he did not understand it in the theater, so we said we would explain it after, so I brought it up today with him. At first, I could not explain it in a way that sounded remotely funny. Then I said to him, it would be like you are at school telling your teacher that so and so is your best friend. The teacher says, well so and so just punched a child, so you say, well I do not really know him all that well. He started to laugh and then said, basically Thor did not want to take the blame for his actions.

    I really think what may set a child off is just hearing people laugh and thinking thy are laughing at kids who are adopted. My daughter is a few years older and while she did not laugh, she did not make an issue out of it either.

    Off topic, can you explain jazz hands to me?
     
  21. EricQelDroma

    EricQelDroma Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    May 6, 2012
    Messages:
    25
    Oooh. Please. Please continue to assert that fantasy situations don't reflect "real" life in any appreciable way. Please continue to argue that a movie written in the 21st century should reinforce stereotypes from a thousand years ago or more. I think it's funny how wrong you are here.
    The joke wasn't about myths. The joke was about adoption. My family was formed through adoption, and we are insulted. Your inability to understand this is sad.
    My daughter was confused and angry about this. She's too young to turn it into proper "outrage." I'm outraged for her and for myself, so it sounds to me like you're calling us (and anyone else offended by the line) "pathetic" as well.

    And the only people who will be forgetting about this outrage in a month are those who don't live through these kinds of insults on a daily basis and who choose not to see how they hurt others by perpetuating and allowing those insults to continue.
    From Buffy? From Angel? Insulting jokes? What I really remember from Buffy is the way she took time for Jonathan in Season 3, how she always tried to help the helpless, and how she stood up to Cordelia's attitude in the early seasons. I'll admit that I'm several years removed from these series though, and maybe I'm remembering them through rose-colored glasses.
     

Share This Page