Dr Strange v Dr SocJus

Doctor Strange is not only the first comic I ever read, he is the first comic book character I ever drew. In high school I had page after page of Doctor Strange comics I drew in pencil on white, unlined paper merely for my own enjoyment, hours and hours of work.

Marvel is doing damage control on their decision to give the role of the Ancient One (an old Tibetan man) to a young Scottish woman for fear of offending the Red Chinese, by publicly announcing that, no, indeed, their purpose was clear and honest:they wanted to offend all fans of the original comic, by implying the original Stan Lee/Steve Ditko yarns were racist bigotry, and we fans racist bigots.


“We make all of our decisions on all of our films, and certainly on Doctor Strange, for creative reasons and not political reasons. That’s just always been the case. I’ve always believed that it is the films themselves that will cross all borders and really get people to identify with these heroes, and that always comes down to creative and not political reasons. The casting of The Ancient One was a major topic of conversation in the development and the creative process of the story.

“We didn’t want to play into any of the stereotypes found in the comic books, some of which go back as far as 50 years or more. We felt the idea of gender swapping the role of The Ancient One was exciting. It opened up possibilities, it was a fresh way into this old and very typical storyline.

“Why not make the wisest bestower of knowledge in the universe to our heroes in the particular film a woman instead of a man?

“We made changes to some of the other key characters in the comic for similar reasons. Specifically, casting Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo….

“The truth is, the conversation that’s taking place around this is super-important. It’s something we are incredibly mindful of. We cast Tilda out of a desire to subvert stereotypes, not feed into them. I don’t know if you saw [Doctor Strange director] Scott Derrickson’s tweet the other day. He said we’re listening and we’re learning, every day. That really is true. As long as we’re starting on this topic, it means so much to us that people know that. We also know that people expect actions and not words in a Q&A, and I’m hopeful that some of our upcoming announcements are going to show that we’ve been listening.”

My Comment:

Ah, so the stereotype into which you did not wish to play was to portray the character that I have loved since childhood in a fashion that was dramatic, that made sense, and that is not deliberately offensive both to reality and to normal sensibilities.

A young man learns from an old man because generally old men know more about what a young man wants to know than a younger woman. And Tibetans know more about Tibetan mysticism than Scottish Calvinists. Just saying.

I am wondering what exciting possibilities are opened up by having the Ancient One be a Scottish woman. If the only difference between men and women is plumbing, then the only way for having a woman play a man’s role and play it in a mannish fashion to be new and exciting is to have the story line be about plumbing, not about personality.

And now that the decision is done, filming is done, and it is too late to change anything, now you are listening and learning, is that the plan? Now, when it is too late to change your mind, it is super-important for us to have a conversation?

You would have been better off claiming that the Red Chinese bribed you.

Then, at least, the fans would have known you had some principles, that you were willing to whore for money. The capitalist side of my soul would have disapproved, but understood.

SocJus makes men insane as well as stupid.

If you would rather subvert stereotypes than take the money a lifelong fan of Doctor Strange was willing to shove into your wallet, to the devil with you.