Irksome thing number one: At Dragon Con, I attended a panel of writers, and the question came up: "What is your biggest pet peeve as a writer?" One of the writers, when it was his or her turn, immediately said something to the effect of "I absolutely hate it when someone interrupts my writing, and when I tell them I'm working, they're like 'Aw, c'mon. It's just writing.'"
Listen, I know a lot of non-writers don't get this, but writing time is important, especially for those of us who have day jobs. When I get off from work, I have dinner with the wife, spend some quality time, and then I'm upstairs for my second job. It's fun work; it's awesome work. I love writing. But. IT. IS. WORK.
If your friend/relative is an accountant or a doctor, would you go to that person's office and tell them to blow it off to go drinking with you because "It's just numbers," or "It's only surgery?" And yes, real writers take it that seriously. Writing isn't easy. I know for me, I have to get my mind into a zone to get the words flowing. Interruptions break me out of that zone. That's why the phone is off, that's why I don't answer the door. That's why I won't go to a bar with you, not even on a Friday night. If I tell you I'm working, respect that, please and thank you.
The second, and entirely unrelated irksome thing: casting black actors as white characters. Idris Elba as the gunslinger in the movie based on Stephen King's Dark Tower series, Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm in the box office dud, The Fantastic Four. Whyyyyyyyyyyy????
Now, understand that I am not always against such changes. Sometimes, I even approve. Nick Fury, leader of S.H.I.E.L.D., was white in his earliest incarnation. I love the new one, not because he's black, but because he's just a cooler character And sometimes, it makes sense that you wouldn't pay attention to such details, either because there is an overriding message to be delivered, or because the work is experimental and not meant to be accurate to the source material. Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton: an American Musical is the best example of that.
As a black man myself, I totally understand the argument that there aren't enough black superheroes on the screen, or blacks in general. But the answer (to me), isn't to randomly turn a well-loved character black for no reason. The answer is to use the black heroes and superheroes that are already out there - Luke Cage, the Black Panther, and Blade all prove that it can be done - or even better, to create them. Turning well-established characters black - even in a "reboot" - seems almost patronizing to me.
Anyway, that's it for the rants. The fact is, the Gunslinger's going to be great. Idris Elba is going to be great. Denzel Washington as The Highlander, or Luke Skywalker, Ghandi, or Emperor Hirohito, will probably be fine. But really...must you?
And now, for the rave. And speaking of Luke Cage: I just binge-watched all 13 episodes over 2 weekends, and loved it! It was well-written, well-acted, and unapologetic in its representation of black people in Harlem. If you have seen and liked Daredevil and Jessica Jones, this is a great addition to the franchise.
Also, one of my favorite characters, Doctor Strange, comes to the big screen next month. Like Thor, Strange is one of those characters that can be incredibly cheesy, or amazingly cool, depending on how he is treated. With Benedict Cumberbatch as the good Doctor, I am very hopeful.
And finally, if you go to the Howling Season tab, you'll see my latest cool Halloween treat that you may not have heard of before.
Well, that's all. Sorry, if I've offended. It's not my intention. I welcome all comments and dissenting opinions (as long as they're respectful). Make me think. I can take it!