How Wonder Woman and Tilda Swinton Became Enemies of the Left

Two items of note:

First, Wonder Woman was recently defrocked of her position as an “honorary U.N. ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls.” Evidently, the United Nations is such a serious place these days that it appoints fictional ambassadors to represent what it deems to be critical issues. I kid you not: In March of this year the U.N. made one of the characters from the game Angry Birds an “honorary ambassador” for climate change.

Because feminism is at least as important as climate change, the U. N. granted Wonder Woman her honorary title in October. But employees in Turtle Bay revolted and had the title revoked less than two months later. Why? They explained in a petition,

Although the original creators may have intended Wonder Woman to represent a strong and independent “warrior” woman with a feminist message, the reality is that the character’s current iteration is that of a large breasted, white woman of impossible proportions, scantily clad in a shimmery, thigh-baring body suit with an American flag motif . . .

Thousands of people signed the petition and less than two months into her term, Wonder Woman was officially defenestrated.

In other news, the semi-famous liberal comedian Margaret Cho got into a public spat with the semi-famous liberal actress Tilda Swinton over Swinton’s role in the recent Doctor Strange movie.

In the comic-book source material for Doctor Strange, the lead character is mentored by a mystical Tibetan man known only as “the Ancient One.” In the movie version, the Ancient One was re-imagined as a mystical Celtic woman, played by Swinton. This small victory for feminism was seen, higher up on the pyramid of grievances, as a micro-aggression against Asians. And so, upset at finding herself on the receiving end of some social justice, Swinton reached out to Cho over email to ask her advice on what to do.

Swinton did her best to prove her bona fides as a fellow traveler to Cho. For instance:

The biggest irony about this righteous protest targeting this particular film is the pains the makers went to to avoid it.

A—personal—irony to my being even remotely involved in this controversy is what I stand up for and always have. Whether it is challenging the idea of what women look like, or how any of us live our lives, or how we educate our children, diversity is pretty much my comfort zone. The idea of being caught on the wrong side of this debate is a bit of a nightmare to me.

I am as sick as anybody at the lack of a properly diverse cinematic universe. Pretty much sick of the Anglophone world in general, sick of all the men’s stories, sick of all the symmetrical features and Mattel-inspired limbs.

But Cho was having none of it. She told an interviewer that, at the end of the exchange, she felt like “a house Asian, like I’m her servant . . . like I was following her with an umbrella.” “Asian actors,” she said later, “should play Asian roles.”

As amusing as this red-on-red violence is, there’s something interesting going on sociologically. Both Swinton and the people behind the Wonder Woman ambassadorship thought they were acting according to progressive principles. Instead, they found themselves attacked and vilified by their allies for deviationism. This suggests that among today’s left, intra-squad disagreements will be settled in the same manner as fights with the actual enemy side (i.e. conservatism).

Scott Alexander is a psychiatrist and blogger (think of him as the liberal version of the great Theodore Dalrymple) and earlier this year he wrote a long essay in which he argued that the classic in-group vs. out-group paradigm has been warped by the creation of “near groups” and “far groups.” He uses the example of ISIS: Viewed through a long-enough lens, both liberal and conservative Americans are part of the same in-group, with the same value set. ISIS, on the other hand, represents a classic civilizational out-group, with different and violently conflicting values.

But ISIS is also a far group—located on the other side of the world with minimal impact in the day-to-day life of most Americans. So the large-scale differences between liberal/conservative Americans and ISIS shrinks in our imaginations while the small-scale differences between the two near groups—conservative and liberal Americans—becomes magnified. That’s why most political partisans see their opposite numbers as a greater threat than ISIS.

What Alexander posits is that the bubble-ification of America has led to “people dividing into political tribes, and cutting off contact with people on the other side.” Which has an interesting effect:

Cultural, geographic, and social differences isolate people so completely that, for example my Facebook feed tends about 95% liberal; I’m sure there are other people out there with the opposite problem. I think that as bubbleification increases, the other party becomes less and less of an outgroup and more and more of a fargroup. . ..

I have yet to meet anybody in person (other than my patients) who supports Donald Trump. On the other hand, I’ve met a bunch of people on both sides with strong feelings about Bernie vs. Hillary. The Bernie vs. Hillary conflict is real to me in a way that the Hillary vs. Trump conflict isn’t. It has the potential to split my friend group. There are social advantages for me of taking either side, and I could reasonably take either side without people looking at me like I went to work stark naked. This is the kind of socially relevant conflict that produces ingroups and outgroups in a way that America vs. ISIS never will.

I doubt that either Margaret Cho or anyone at the United Nations has much contact with people who fundamentally disagree with their worldviews. So their out-group—conservatives—becomes a far group; and the people in their near group with whom they have subtle disagreements (Wonder Woman, Tilda Swinton) now get treated like an out-group.

And unless something in the culture changes, this ugly hyper partisanship is the future.



44 responses to “How Wonder Woman and Tilda Swinton Became Enemies of the Left

  1. Just raid the biology pantry

    Instead of island biogeography and genetic drift, just substitute (or more appropriately culturally appropriate)
    new words
    Island poligeography and narrative drift

  2. Do these people realize how badly this should backfire? After all, how many parts are written for minorities as opposed to the majority. White parts for white people.

    Then again, I read somewhere that the musical Hamilton was cast with no white people.

  3. Whaddya know, end decades of so-called cultural appropriation by the white, Western Doctor Strange comics by swapping out the ‘Tibetan’ for a Celt and get pelted by loons who demand that the cultural appropriation of Asian culture be resumed!

  4. once upon a time, people used make-up and costumes to portray people other than themselves and it was called, ‘acting’.

    1. Johan Verner Ölund who became Warner Oland, a nice Swedish boy, ends up playing Chalie Chan. Liberal heads explode in delayed action.

      1. Yet, black actors playing the Founding Fathers in the popular play, “Hamilton,” is considered perfectly progressive.

        1. The Left’s rules about the ‘cultural appropriation’ that must be condemned and that which must be applauded change with every break in the wind.

        2. It is of course “Cultural Appropriation” of the very worst kind and it should be shut down tomorrow.

          The left needs to be made to live by its own rules.

  5. More “ugly hyper partisanship” please. The only new outcome will be leftists destroying each other. This is a good thing. It won’t feel or be any different for conservatives, who are accustomed to being dismissed, disdained and othered by the sanctimonious Left.

  6. united nations is a good idea in theory but like many good ideas on paper a failure in real life. dissolve the in or run it out of the USA and let President Elect Trump’s business redevelop it.

  7. Tilda Swinton’s deviationism has been dealt with well by earlier commenters, but I feel the need to add this: Wonder Woman became an enemy of the Left because of being played by a proud Israeli Jew.

  8. For several decades, Progressives and their MSM lap-puppies have been predicting that “ugly hyper partisanship” on the right would destroy the Republican Party, leading to Progs running the Dem Party and controlling the federal government and most state and local governments. We were assured the belief in conservative values and personal responsibility was “on the wrong side of history.” Groups like #NeverTrump were given extensive coverage.

    This always struck me as Projection. On the left, the various sub-groups each demand ideological purity. Any deviation risks vicious attacks and expulsion. Because social media tends to expose more about its users, more differences are shown, causing greater fragmentation among leftists. Unlike the AstroTurf reports of fights of the right, the leftist fights are no quarter given, to the death matches. It’s wonderful to watch.

  9. The bubble is far more pronounced on the left. Leftism is a second language for those on the right who grow up in a progressive academic and cultural world. Progressives have no similar exposure to the right and never learn the language.

    1. Leftism may be a second language but Marxism is a religion. Only the true believers are allowed to set the rules. Ask the NYT. Keepers of the flame.

      1. It doesn’t all come from Marx. Modern American Progressivism have its roots in Woodrow Wilson’s ideas, which he set forth in the 1880s, long before he became a governor and President.

        He felt that the American constitution did not represent the best form of government and timeless and universal values, but that it was an impediment to transform the United States through government, their march of constant progress to a chimera in the distance.

        1. At this point it may be more Gramsci and his March through the Institutions, not to mention the 60s radicals/terrorists that now wield influence (either themselves or via proxies) than Marx himself that’s the key influence of the Left.

    2. Second language. Well put. Yes, conservatives cannot escape confronting the left’s ideas, while the places where the left rules ban ideas they don’t agree with. Politucal correctness is simply a denial of relatity through the imposition of rigid and unbending speech codes, which are necessary to keep leftists from confronting uncomfortable truths. Thus we are to understand that “Islam is the religion of peace,” and if you disagree, you will be prevented from expressing your opinion or physically attacked.

  10. Radical groups are naturally fractious being control freaks who antagonize each other. The Bolsheviks and Mensheviks were both Communist factions, but murderously opposed to each other. You see the echo of that fractiousness in ANSWER and UFPJ, both commie groups, who organized all the big anti-war demonstrations during the Bush years. ANSWER was so power mad, dishonest, and controlling that, after a couple years, UFPJ refused to work with them any more.

    The Founding Fathers noted that, even in the absence of any divisive issue, people will divide themselves up into factions and fight over nothing. In ancient Rome, people watching the chariot races divided themselves up into colors, the Blue and the Green, and fought with each other to the death for nothing.

    This endless grievance-mongering by the Left, even within the Left, is a cultural throwback to barbarism, where every caveman wanted to dominate his tribe.

    1. Well put, and basically what I was going to comment on. The radical activists exist only to be activists, they serve no other functional purpose. If they didn’t not complain they would cease to exist as meaningful. So they complain to complain and seek to further purify the revolution by destroying all that deviate from THEIR perceptions even one bit.

      To take your examples a bit further, remember the French Revolution and its inevitable end. After destroying all the radical’s recognized enemies; the aristocrats and the bureaucracy, they turned on each other vying for recognition and power. In the end, they killed themselves. Same with the last great revolution of Mao in the mid-sixties to mid-seventies. That gave us the “Red Guard” who were mostly school aged children, but lethal nevertheless. There, they sought out people who betrayed the revolution and “capital roaders” who were thought to be dangerous. Even one word of complaint would result in your death or loss of livelihood. What people don’t realize is the progressives are the least tolerant and by far the most dangerous. They should never be allowed any power.

  11. The UN version of an ideal woman is a mixed-race bipolar lesbian womyn’s studies major with an eating disorder.

  12. College Encourages Lively Exchange Of Idea
    Students, Faculty Invited To Freely Express Single Viewpoint

    BOSTON—Saying that such a dialogue was essential to the college’s academic mission, Trescott University president Kevin Abrams confirmed Monday that the school encourages a lively exchange of one idea. “As an institution of higher learning, we recognize that it’s inevitable that certain contentious topics will come up from time to time, and when they do, we want to create an atmosphere where both students and faculty feel comfortable voicing a single homogeneous opinion,” said Abrams, adding that no matter the subject, anyone on campus is always welcome to add their support to the accepted consensus. “Whether it’s a discussion of a national political issue or a concern here on campus, an open forum in which one argument is uniformly reinforced is crucial for maintaining the exceptional learning environment we have cultivated here.” Abrams told reporters that counseling resources were available for any student made uncomfortable by the viewpoint.

    From The Onion, which often reads like real news rather than ‘”ake news.”

  13. We should protest though official channels the defenestration of Wonder Woman.
    Make the biggest stink that we can, as if we actually cared about it.

    Force the feminazis to take sides, and with the chuckles muted enjoy their mini Hitler vs Stalin power struggle.

  14. For Cho to come up with the “House Asian” bit sounds like some emails are missing or she’s got some emotional issues she’s adding to the conversation that aren’t really there.

  15. I can understand why Cho was so upset. Comic book Asians are so authentic special care must be taken to represent them faithfully.

  16. Anyone who goes to a psychotic professional basket of grievance like Margaret Cho for advice deserves abuse from her. Or should at least expect it. She was abused as a child, she says, and dispenses abuse to the world as twisted compensation.

  17. This is a result of the Left’s destructive and deliberate pursuit of identity politics – dividing people into tribes that must compete for money and favors from the Democrat party leaders – and their accompanying destruction of e pluribus unum , the American Melting Pot, which was the most successful ethnic and cultural integration model in the history of the world.
    They may yet succeed in destroying the entire American Idea with their policies of hate and social destruction.

  18. ‘Diversity was always about creating divisions- splitting people into politically exploitable factions. The left is ‘The Society of The Perpetually Offended’, as the goal is not unity or understanding, just the divisiveness they have created.

    To Ms. Swinton- Welcome to the party pal.

    No matter what you do, folks on the left will take offense. It is what they do, it is who they are.

  19. Seriously, seeking absolution from Margaret Cho? And actually thinking she would receive it?

    Does anyone actually think a Social Justice Fascist would give up such a great opportunity to virtue-signal and step on the neck of someone who makes a “misstep” – no matter how penitent? Has there ever been a case where an SJF ever forgave?

    Besides, Swinton is nothing more than a target of opportunity. Simply put, she’s white, and by Left Wing logic, she’s fair game.

    If Margaret Cho was really about Asian actors playing Asian roles, she would sending her vitriol to Chiwetel Ejiofor as well – Mordor is also supposed to be Asian, not Black.

  20. This is what happens when politicians try to co-opt or identify themselves with pop culture. Of course, it’s also what happens when liberals are allowed to reproduce.

  21. Margaret Cho offended on behalf of Asians, actually Orientals? Cho is an embarrassment to Koreans everywhere. (Then again, she’s an embarrassment, period. Take a look at her life choices.) These are the same vile creatures who make trashy ethnic jokes every chance they get, never forgetting to throw something vulgar in each time. Cho’s not even married to an Oriental. I always love it when people act like they’re some advocate for their ethnic group but don’t even want to date/marry within it because “reasons”.

    But I do think that most of this idiocy from Hollywood is people just saying it at the behest of their bosses, or to gain positive attention from said bosses who’ll hire them for their projects. Say something that the rubes will be offended at, that’ll give our movie press attention!

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