Marvel executive says emphasis on diversity may have alienated readers

How many things can be blamed on diversity?

Sian Cain’s article in today’s Guardian makes it clear that Marvel VP of Sales David Gabriel’s reasoning isn’t reasoned. Recently, Gabriel told a gathering that some comic store owners say their customers “have had enough” of new female and ethnic minority characters.

What customers?

Is there a limit to diversity?

Gabriel is not alone in the effort to make diversity appear unprofitable and to present good diversity practices as charitable acts. . .and bad business. Such false beliefs are widespread. Yet, they are counter to research that proves otherwise.

As always, the comments from Guardian readers are worth perusing.  There’re more than 1,000 of them to date. These letters provide great fodder for thinking about the power of representation and the shifts in visual culture.

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The Sounds of Race

 

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Quentin Hardy, ” Seeking a Choice of Voices in Conversational Computing,” NY TIMES, Mon., Oct. 10, 2016, B1, B4.

Cultures and ethnicities are represented–visually, orally, and in other ways as well.

Joseph Beuys proposed that speech is sculptural, and certainly, we do perceive the body “behind” the words that form them.

Asked the question “What can I do for you?” what image is formed in our minds?

[Voice over American actor Susan Bennett provides the voice of Siri for Apple.]

 

Watch and learn: the hidden messages in children’s movies

Ever suspected Frozen was more than a simple singalong? Have the false promises of Emerald City ever rung alarm bells? Here are nine family flicks that have been mined for underlying meaning

See ‘s article in The Guardian, Jul. 13, 2016.

The Visual Propaganda of the Brexit Capaigh

http://hyperallergic.com/310631/the-visual-propaganda-of-the-brexit-leave-campaign/

The world of “Tarzan” and ours

In a searching review from yesterday’s The New York Times, critic Manohla Darghis writes in the concluding paragraph:

“Part of Tarzan’s appeal–at least to some–is that he inhabits a world that resembles ours, but without the unsettling distractions of real suffering. It’s become trickier for pop entertainments to gloss over historical traumas, which may be why so many modern colonial struggles involve deep space or an alien invasion. Perhaps it’s easier to rewrite history through futuristic fictions, where worlds can collide before everyone moves on. . .”

I wish Dargis had written more about the intersection of contemporary Hollywood’s vision with Tarzan’s creator Edgar Rice Burroughs’, and about why the blond, muddied, bare chested Alexander Skarsgard (in the role of Tarzan), is a called-for element of our twenty-first century visual culture. Utterly fictive images of transcendent white masculinity have to written, consumed, and rewritten, I guess. . .

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“Tarzan has always had bad optics–white hero, black land–to state the excessively, obvious,” quips Dargis.

No kidding, and suddenly Hollywood gets it, too!

If only this was a case of better late than never. . .

 

Divided cities: South Africa’s apartheid legacy photographed by drone

See Johnny Miller’s photos in THE GUARDIAN, Jun. 23, 2016

Unequal scenes offers interpretations of inequality in contemporary South Africa

A Davila, “Latino/a Art: Race and the Illusion of Equality”

http://blog.art21.org/2016/06/20/latinoa-art-race-and-the-illusion-of-equality/#.V2omxstlBnE

What does diversity look like?

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Photo of Mary Seacole by Maull & Company (c. 1873). Photographer’s name not known. Source: Wikimedia Commons

On top of the Brexit vote, there’s another pitched battle being waged in the UK right now—it’s over a commissioned statue of Mary Seacole (1805-1881), a recognition for her aid and service to the wounded during the Crimean War (1853-1856).

Martin Jennings’s Seacole sculpture is scheduled to be installed at St. Thomas Hospital in London later this month. Opponents say it doesn’t belong at that hallowed site where Florence Nightingale established a nursing school. The opponents double-down when accused of racism by the artist Jennings and other supporters of the monument: Seacole, they claim, wasn’t a nurse nor did she–the child of a free, black Jamaican woman and a white Scottish solider–identify as “black.”

This is a row of great proportions. In the interest of Critical Race Art History, my raised question is “What does diversity look like?”

Amy Fleming, “Sculptor Defends His Mary Seacole Statue–‘If She Was White, Would There Be This Resistance,'” THE GUARDIAN, Jun. 21, 2016

Patrick Vernon, “Rubbishing Mary Seacole Is Another Move to Hide the Contributions of Black People,” THE GUARDIAN, Jun. 21, 2016

Patrick Usborne, “Mary Seacole v. Florence Nightingale: Who Should Have the Taller Statue?” THE GUARDIAN, Jun. 20, 2016

Jonathan Jones, “So Many Causes, So Many Heroes: Why Defame Them with a Statue?” THE GUARDIAN, May 11, 2016

Sandra Gunning’s essay of 2001, “Traveling with Her Mother’s Tastes: The Negotiations of Gender, Race, and Location in WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF MRS. SEACOLE IN MANY LANDS,” is a serious consideration of Seacole’s life and times.

Inge Hardison’s Realist Sculpture– ” more in-depth scholarship needed”

37343216_1_x“A Sculptor of Black Heroes Leaves a Legacy”