The Ghostbusters controversy: unraveled


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By Rob Stoakes

If there’s something strange in the neighbourhood, who you gonna call? Outraged MRAs and disappointed movie fans, that’s who.

So, Ghostbusters is yet another film where the controversies surrounding it have significantly more ink on paper devoted to them than the film itself. Increasingly common, it seems, in this age of instant controversy and easy offense. Remember Mad Max Fury: Road? That had THREE gender-based controversies.

Standing on the outside looking in, all of the wailing and gnashing of teeth over Ghostbusters seems kind of dumb. It isn’t kind of dumb, though. It’s actually a ten-car pile up of idiocy. I struggle to think of a stupider thing, maybe Michael Palin making a documentary based entirely on Pokemon Go locations in Milton Keynes. Some of the cars in this pile-up are significantly more bashed up than others, however, so here are the four lowest points of the Ghostbusters debacle!

Disclaimer: So, I haven’t actually seen the film as of time of writing. Some reviews rate it pretty good (like Adam’s) and some rate it pretty bad. As such, some of the points on this list are liable to change… though only some. Opinions change, but stupidity is forever. Also, this article is only one writer’s OPINION and not necessarily the views of the Movie Metropolis. It’s one man’s opinion, not fact, opinion not fact, opinion not fact, onions not farts, onions not farts…

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Photo by Sony Pictures.

If you don’t like this film, you’re sexist!

Good film, bad film, people can’t seem to agree. What everyone can agree on is that the first Ghostbusters trailer was more poorly received than rat corpses laced with anthrax at a charity bake sale and half as easy to stomach. Now, marketing departments do not make movies, so this still didn’t mean that the film was bad. What did start setting off alarm bells was that the studio and actors became more stubborn and reactionary than a criminal in Phoenix Wright, digging in their heels and squawking over and over that they were totally in the right.

“Nuh uh! Only fat basement dwelling nerds hate this film because they’re sexist, so if you hate the trailer then you MUST be one of them!”

Now, the controversy had grown enough that a reaction was necessary, and being comedians the first instinct is to poke fun. But if your reaction to “this is not funny,” is to call all of your audience losers, maybe it’s you we should be making fun of. Especially now that it’s caused people to start believing that…

If you like this film, you were bribed!

I’m corrupt, you’re corrupt, everyone’s corrupt.

So because Ghostbusters was given a political angle by Men’s Rights Activists, a group who think that feminism is a conspiracy orchestrated by Jews to ruin pop music (trust me, we’ll be revisiting them later), any perceived positivity towards the project is seen as propaganda shilled out by… ummm… a-a-and their end goal is to get rid of all men so… ummm…

This particular argument is a pitchfork of idiocy because it has two points. One, sorry, Mussolini, that your opinion doesn’t match with those of others. At least the trains run on time with you in charge. And two, if anyone desperately wanted to conquer the world, movie criticism wouldn’t be the place where they’d start. Movie critics have all of the power of a gnat in the film world.

Ah hope dere ain’t no ghosties, Masser!

Yeaaaaaaah. Let’s talk about the racism thing.

So back to the trailer, which we have previously established is the worst thing in the world. One of the more egregious elements of that wide-awake nightmare pretending to be a marketing campaign was the black woman. See, I don’t even need to say the woman’s name because all I needed to say is “the black one” and the entire room has filled with groans.

I mean, wow. Winston was not a scientist in the original film, but he wasn’t portrayed as a moron. The only thing that comes close to relating to his race was the brilliantly funny “I’ve seen **** that will turn you white!” which was a clever way to tie his race into his character. Very admirable, old film, you get a gold star. New film?

“Well, y’all may be scientists and know about physics and chemistry and ghosts, but Ah know New York! Ah’m from the streets where we all listen to rap music and click our fingers with moving our heads to the side! Sass! Catchphrase! Thomas! Chris Rock! Wooo! Hope we ain’t dealin’ wi’ no poh-lees!”

So the stand-in for the black community is portrayed as a thuggish, sassy, temperamental idiot who’s only good as bulk. That’s nice.

There was a bit of a debate about whether or not a film that was under fire from sexists could be reasonable called racist. As if you can’t be both on fire and wearing a pink shirt. Now, there is a distinction to be had between racist and hateful. To hate is to genuinely despise, while racist can be benign and idiotic. Ghostbusters isn’t the Ku Klux Klan, it’s inviting the local gospel church over to a barbeque and not understanding why they’ve taken offense to all of the watermelons lying around. Not exactly hateful, but still racist. And really, REALLY, stupid.

However, the reason that this is really, REALLY, stupid, is that the whole controversy was kicked off of the ground by issues of gender and political correctness. Specifically, that…

Political correctness is Hitler and he has an army of Pandas!

The original Ghostbusters is the worst film ever made, because all it ever does is just pander to a politically incorrect crowd. I mean, they intentionally cast an all male cast just to court controversy, and even then only one of them is black. I’m not saying that we CAN’T have films about straight white dudes, no no no, I be no reverse racist, but why do they have to stick their nose into everything and make sure everything suits their needs alone.

Soon it’ll get to the point where all of our films about black wheelchair-bound lesbians will be banned because they’re not offensive enough. What’s next, mandatory spanking of women’s bottoms in the workplace? It’s political incorrectness gone mad, that’s what it is.

Now, see how much of a gibbering lunatic I sound like in the paragraph above? Isn’t that the stupidest argument you’ve heard in your life? Yet this is seen somehow as a completely valid argument to have against a film, that it’s too “politically correct.” As such, the all-female Ghostbusters cast was immediately accused of repressing free speech by a group who call themselves Men’s Rights Activists, and who the rest of the world call misogynistic oafs who can’t watch porn without the actresses turning to camera and telling them that a sword collection is not a substitute for charisma.

Look, I get it. Overzealous political correctness has led to creators self-censoring for fear of whiny oversensitive dolts with knee-jerk reactions. And I count gleefully tasteless flicks like Chocolate, The Devils and Team America as being in my top twenty favourite movies. But an artist making a conscious decision right from the get-go to cast their characters in their preferred way and it happening to be all women, or all blacks or all gay? If you are against that because you think it’d violate free speech, you are AGAINST free speech, and there are no two ways about it.

Besides, so what if they’re pandering to minorities? You’re a straight white dude, you’re not going to run out of movie executives bending over backwards to please you. Sorry, Japan, but if Scarlet Johannson doesn’t play Makato Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell, the white man might not watch it.

However, if you want to know what Rob Stoakes really thought, join him, Captain Cook and special guest Richard Thompson on the Battleship Potemkast! May contain naughty words.

One thought on “The Ghostbusters controversy: unraveled

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