Hey Flux readers, for those of you unfamiliar with me, I’m Odrán de Bhaldraithe, the new editor of Flux.
First off, I’ll get to the changes that are planned for Flux: this section will no longer be used to explain what is in the issue (aside from right now of course), it will generally be used for examining things in the arts world in a societal tense. We are abandoning the archaic five-star system for reviews and going with the more comprehensive score out of ten, closest to one decimal point. The mission statement for the new version of Flux is to examine more things in a societal sense, like Emily Bodkin’s fantastic article on the media and the fear of feminism in issue ten of this year’s run, and to provide interviews with the best possible stars. With all that out of the way, I’d like to get down to this week’s issue.
There has been controversy recently about the lack of racial diversity in Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic Noah. The movie, shockingly in 2014, features an all-white cast. It almost beggars belief to say, or to write; here we are, a major film being released by a major distributor in Paramount Pictures, made by a major director and starring major actors such as Russell Crowe and Emma Watson, and every single member of the cast is white.
Ari Handel, the film’s co-writer, has attempted to satiate any claims of racism he and Aronofsky may be facing in the aftermath by saying that the cast were “supposed to be stand-ins for all people”. He explained further that they were worried about the issue of “tokens”, saying they didn’t want their work to look like “a Benetton ad or the crew of the Starship Enterprise”. In what world is the elimination of all other races better than a Benetton ad or the crew of the Starship Enterprise?
In Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel’s world presented in Noah, black people don’t exist. Asians don’t exist. Latinos don’t exist. No race other than white exists. Handel’s assertion that the movie works on a mythical plane and as such, the cast represents “everyman” is an assertion from the highest echelons of white privilege and cannot be accepted.
The white-centrism of Handel’s defence is telling. In a perfect world, an all-white cast could possibly be seen as neutral, but we do not live in a perfect world. Whiteness is not neutral and anyone trying to argue otherwise clearly does not realise what whiteness represents to those of other races. Whiteness represents a special kind of privilege only achieved through generation after generation of genocides, gerrymandering and the destruction of any social norms that don’t conform to white society’s norms.
Not everything is doom and gloom in relation to racial issues in the world of arts though; it is fantastic to Dreamworks’s announcement of Home, starring Rihanna. The film will be the first major animated film to feature a black lead.
Odrán de Bhaldraithe