Iron Fist creator and former Marvel editor-in-chief Roy Thomas has heard enough about all the claims of cultural appropriation when it comes to Iron Fist and its new television adaptation on Netflix.
Thomas spoke with Inverse where he laid it all on the line and didn’t give two bones about it. He fully tossed aside the political correct rhetoric that has infected the comic book industry. He gave an honest if not harsh opinion about what he thinks of the social justice warriors and their claims of cultural appropriation.
“People began making me aware of the fact that some people are complaining — as I think they have over the years — about cultural appropriation and crap like that, which just makes me furious.”
And Thomas wasn’t done there he was just starting. In fact, he had quite a bit to say about the “whitewashing” controversy that really isn’t.
I have so little patience for some of the feelings that some people have. I mean, I understand where it’s coming from. You know, cultural appropriation, my god. It’s just an adventure story. Don’t these people have something better to do than to worry about the fact that Iron Fist isn’t Oriental, or whatever word? I know Oriental isn’t the right word now, either.
I just think some people have too much time on their hands, I guess. They have an infinite capacity for righteous indignation. By and large, that tends to be misplaced quite often because if you’re becoming all upset over things that are just stories, and if you don’t like it, instead of trying to change somebody else’s story, go out and make up your own character and do a good job of it. That’s just fine, but why waste time trying to run down other people’s characters simply because they weren’t created with your standards in mind?
Thomas also explains that Iron Fist is a character from a different time. “You can argue about almost any character who came up then is bound to be not quite PC by some later standard or other.” And he’s right Iron Fist was created in 1974. That’s over 40 years ago. American culture has gone off a cliff since then. Now our culture is infested with politically correct speech Nazis that go out of their way to bring down hellfire and brimstone on anyone who disagrees with them. Hell, these people have “progressed” to the point where they are rioting on college campuses in order to stop people from speaking.
Interestingly enough, Thomas points out, “if they wanted to kill off white Iron Fist and come up with one who wasn’t Caucasian, that wouldn’t have bothered me, but neither am I ashamed for having made up one who was. He wasn’t intended to stand for any race. He was just a man who was indoctrinated into a certain thing.”
He elaborates on this idea further in the interview:
On the other hand, if they had decided to make Iron Fist an Asian, that would have been fine with me, too. I wouldn’t have cared. I didn’t consider myself the safeguard of some kind of Caucasian literary standard or anything like that. But I would have found it easier to write about a Caucasian, so that’s one reason I probably did it. If somebody had suggested, “You want to make it so he’s Asian?” Well, we could have done that too.
He could have a buddy who was Asian. It could have been a trio, like that group I just mentioned. You know, just make up a new character. Don’t worry about trashing another one. Just make up a new one. There’s always room for one, and it’s always better to be creative than to be a critic. I’ve been both. It’s better to be creative. There’s nothing wrong with being a critic, but after a while, you’re basically talking about other people’s work. That’s perfectly okay. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s a perfectly respectable thing, but I think you should try to put yourself in their shoes instead of constantly complaining because they didn’t do exactly what you think they should have done. Rather than having that, you should go out and do it yourself.
The group Thomas mentions is the Sons of the Tiger. They were three people, one white, one black, and one Asian that were used in one of Marvel’s old black and white kung fu comic magazines.
Probably, the best part of the interview is when Thomas really sticks it to the social justice warriors and calls them out for what they really are.
“I really don’t have much sympathy at all to trigger warnings or any of that crap. I think it’s overdone and nobody but a baby needs it, an intellectual baby.”
He’s exactly right. The people complaining about cultural appropriation about a fantasy adventure comic are intellectual babies. They lack any kind of sound basis or logic for their arguments. They purely scream and yell from a perceived emotional victimization.
Good on Roy Thomas for speaking his mind and calling out these whack jobs that have begun running rampant over American culture.