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May 03, 2017

So #Woke It's Stupid: New York Times and Entertainment Weekly Contributor and Film Reviewer Blasts "Murder on the Orient Express" Remake For Not Featuring Any... Asians

Yup.


In case you're one of the few people who haven't seen any of the many high-profile movies, or read any of the popular books, about the Orient Express (Murder on the Orient Express, From Russia with Love being two major ones), you should know that "Orient" in "Orient Express" refers to what we'd now call the very near Near East, specifically Turkey. The line ran from Calais, France, through Paris and Vienna and Budapest and Zagreb to end at Constantinople.

And that's as "Asian" as it got: Turkey bordering right on the Balkan states.

In fact, someone on Twitter pointed out the train never even reached Asia, broadly defined to include "Asia Minor:" The train never crossed the Bosphorus Strait to reach actual sorta-Asia, but instead ended on the European side of the Bosphorus. If you wanted to travel on to Asia, you'd need to buy a ticket for a water-crossing.

But that wouldn't be on the train.

The Federalist's Robert Traczinsky reminded me of something else: None of the story actually even takes place anywhere in Turkey. The story starts at Calais, then they pick up some more passengers in Paris, and then they are blocked in by snow somewhere in Croatia. That is when the murder happens, and that is when all the detection happens, too. The story ends as the train is just breaking through the snow to move on to Constantinople, but they are never shown making it there or disembarking anywhere remotely "Asian."

But apparently this film critic -- whose name on twitter, "FilmFatale_NYC," is a reference to the dic-fic trope of a femme fatale, so you'd think she'd have at least head of the most famous story penned by the most famous detective writer of all time (well, tied for first place) -- thinks the Orient Express actually travels to Hong Kong or wherever so she's expecting to see a train filled with Asian faces.

I don't want to spoil this for anyone, but this story requires more than most a very specific set of characters (think: secret relationships), and you can't just cast a Chinese actress as the crown princess of Russia or a Latinx transsexual as a Hungarian countess.

This idiot, who is obviously pig-ignorant about the basics of her own alleged craft, quickly pretended to know all these things, but then began postulating that the film should be "race-bent" to include a racial makeover.

Again she demonstrates her incredible ignorance: A British soldier played in the Oscar-winning 1974 spectacle by Sean Connery is now played by a black actor, and a Swedish humanitarian relief worker played by Igrid Bergman (who nabbed an Oscar) is now played by Penelope Cruz.

Two cases where the film blackwashed or olivewashed a Historically White Role precisely to pre-empt complaints from the Society of Pig-Ignorant Racial Beancounters and Grievance-Mongers Pretending to Care About Art.

But -- no Asians on a train moving entirely through Europe in the 1930s.

I'm not complaining about the "race-bending" -- the Connery role is one of the few parts where you can have a black actor step in and not look completely anachronistic (though, still you know, pretty anachronistic), and there's no reason the Swedish woman must be Swedish.

But for most of the other parts -- yes, given that a lot characters have familial and/or romantic relationships, or are actual European nobility, it would be a bit too anachronistic to just say "Oh, the Hungarian countess is married to this Japanese guy. Because that's a thing that happens in the 1930s European nobility."

It is obvious that this "film reviewer" is absolutely ignorant of one of the most famous movies of the 1970s, and the most famous Agatha Christie movie ever, or else she'd know that Sean Connery and Ingrid Bergman played those White Roles in the original.

And she'd know that the Orient Express, one of the most filmed and re-filmed trains in Hollywood history, does not even cross into somewhere you could even kinda-sorta say is "Asia."

But that's the way the world works now -- you do not have to know actual facts, you just have to know the three or four Angles of Social Justice Attack and repeat those forever.

I remember reading an essay about Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory. I never read the Power and the Glory, but that didn't matter, because the post-modern "critiquer" never did either, or at least never gave evidence of having done so. Completely ignoring the characters, the setting, and the plot, the po-mo critiquer (a forerunner of today's SJW critics) just pointed out stupid shit like when one character hands an object to another character, that's a sign of a "power relationship" between them, with the giver showing Power over the givee, and shit like that.

And now "film critics" haven't seen any movies, or apparently haven't even heard of one of the most famous titles in history (so that maybe it would jog a memory and suggest a quick Wikipedia look-up), but they do know they're supposed to deploy one of their five treasured simpleton lines of racial attack against it, and that's enough for the New York Times.

But go on believing them about everything else they say -- after all, they're Experts.

They told you so, didn't they?


By the way: The porter for the Calais Coach (where all the action is) was played by a white French guy in the original (true to the novel), but now seems to be played by a guy named Marwan Kenzari, who is plainly Algerian or something. (I was wrong: I looked it up, and he's Dutch-Tunisian.) I figured "Algerian" so they could at least have a French-speaking guy play the part of a French-speaking porter.

But nah, get a Dutch guy. Eh, whatever. They're trying to "race-bend" the cast to the extent the plot will allow. (And it won't allow too much.)

So again, if this fucking idiot even bothered to familiarize herself with any news about this thing she was criticizing, she would have seen that yes, the producers had gone to some fair lengths to appease the SJW bean-counters.

By the way, Sean Davis that the first guy who responded to this pig-ignorant, never-read-anything-except-on-the-internet tweet, adding his own "funny" joke that the "[Asians] must be the ones taking the picture [of the white cast]" (how racist!) is, get this, a writer for the super-funny Samantha Bee program.


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posted by Ace at 05:30 PM

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