Words matter greatly. I find the casual use of the word ‘bitch’ for women to be extremely disturbing and to be intimately connected with a lot of very unpleasant features of culture. But I thought this piece of dialogue worked perfectly; it fit the character and the scene and enhanced the general sense of Loki as weaker and more overreaching and Black Widow as tougher minded and more effective. So I am happy that the insult is there.

I’m not, of course, happy that some people are getting offended. But potentially giving offence is only sometimes a reason not to say things, or include them in art (even of the more commercial variety). Some people get concerned by certain words or images in such a way that the context scarcely matters. They have their arguments for such an approach; including views about psychological and cultural influence. I find the approach deeply unhelpful, however. And I don’t think that the best way to improve the world is only to produce art that represents a perfect world (whatever that would be).

The effect of Loki’s murders within the fiction on real people in the audience is unsurprisingly less than the effect of his words. If we are in a reflective mood, we have reason to cast a critical eye over all human behaviour; but taking offence at fictional evil characters saying wicked things where the overall point of their having said them is to undermine those evil characters, the things said, and the ideas and practices that they drew upon - well, I think it a mistake.

Maclay at Whedonesque about the “Mewling Quim” of The Avengers, art, censorship, and villainous characters.

To go with this post, naturally.

(via helshades)

Notes

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