Monday, October 9, 2017

"Creative Differences" or White Male Privilege at Work

If you follow any Star Wars news at all, which I do...
Okay, that's not exactly true, as such. I don't actually follow Star Wars news or do any searching out of Star Wars news or follow any Star Wars sites. This is much different from my younger years when I did all of that stuff but, mostly, these days, I don't want to know anything ahead of time about the movies or what's going on, so I don't keep up on that stuff. Or any of the Marvel stuff, either. However, when there's news that makes the mainstream media cut, I notice it and, depending on what it is, I might go read it. Never, though, if it's talking about plot stuff or leaked stuff or anything stuff that has to do with the content of any project still in development.


If you notice Star Wars news at all, which I do, you might have noticed recently that a couple of projects that are in development have lost their directors. The first was Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow and the second was the directing duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller who were set to direct the upcoming solo Han film. [no, I'm not apologizing] The reason given in both circumstances was "creative differences."

But what does that even mean?

Or, you know, what does it mean in this particular circumstance? Because, based on things said, especially by Lord and Miller, I can tell you. It means that the directors believed, based on the fact that they were hired at all, that they should be allowed to do whatever the fuck they wanted to do with the movies without any regard to what Disney hired them to do. It was white privilege at work (because the guys who do this kind of shit are always white dudes who start whining about how they're not being allowed their creative freedom).

Now, I'm not going to get into the minutia of how Disney catalyzed the problem by trying to hire hot, new directors and offering them some amount of creative control (like allowing them to take part in the writing process (something that has had two non-successes so far)), because this is about doing the job you're hired to do.

So let's start with Lord and Miller, the guys behind The Lego Movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street, and a bunch of other comedic offerings. Yeah, in hindsight, maybe not the best fit for a Star Wars film, but Disney wanted the Han Solo film to be a bit heavier on the humor than previous Star Wars movies, so they hired some guys who had shown themselves capable. And Lord and Miller were riding a popularity wave after the Lego thing.

Here's your analogy:
Disney hired Lord and Miller to paint their Han Solo room. They told Lord and Miller they could paint the room however they wanted to do it as long as they stayed within the provided color palette and didn't include any clowns. And, so, Lord and Miller start painting neon green (not an acceptable color) clowns everywhere. When confronted about it, they do the classic, "Let us do what we want or we're gonna quit!" Disney showed them the door.

And Trevorrow? His claim to fame is that he wrote and directed one of last summer's biggest movies, Jurassic World. Of course, he "wrote" it by re-making Jurassic Park. Yes, they are basically the same movie. Who knows what he wanted to do with Episode IX, but it wasn't what Disney told him they wanted, but he figured he was a big enough hot shot to not have to listen to Disney, so they let him walk, too.

And I get that some of you might think I'm reaching when I say this is white privilege at work, but you don't get this kind of attitude from little nobody people unless they're white dudes. Seriously, Trevorrow? I'm still trying to figure out why they thought he was a good idea in the first place. The guy's a hack with almost no experience. And, while Lord and Miller have been around awhile and made some movies that have been noticed, they're not exactly household names. All of them were hired to do fucking Star Wars, and they couldn't get their heads out of their own asses long enough to realize what was going on.

Probably some of you are going, "But millennials...," right about now, but none of these guys are millennials. They're all gen-x white dudes. Really, it's not millennials who think they're all special; it's mostly just white dudes. Of all kinds of ages.

I mean, seriously, you have to think pretty fucking highly of yourself to try to hi-jack a Star Wars movie to make a name for yourself. Outside of the fact that if you're hired to do a job, a specific job, you DO THE FUCKING JOB you were hired to do. You don't get to do some other job that you'd rather be doing. And when it's Disney and Star Wars... Did someone hit these guys in the heads with a hammer?

But, then, that's the kind of culture we've put in place, a culture where white cops get to shoot people of color and walk away from it. A culture where a white man brags of sexually assaulting women and white men vote for him to be president.

White dudes are always going on about millennials and how they think they're all "special snowflakes," but the only ones I see out there acting as if they're special is white dudes, which just makes me sad to be a white dude. And when you're such a white dude that you can't manage to collaborate on a Star Wars project... Well, there really aren't any words for that kind of assholery.


  1. I'm still just trying to figure out how they watched 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie and got the next Star Wars spinoff out of that. Han Solo - the raunchy, slapstick comedy featuring the hit pop song "Space Travel is Awesome"?

    I Googled what happened with Lord and Miller, and it reminds me a lot of the director that Pop Star hired for her music video. He was cocky, he showed up late, he was very laid back to the point of being lazy (which resulted in almost nothing being shot), and he insisted on doing everything his way and improvising a lot, despite having a tight script that was written for him. One of the scenes that he filmed even ended up being overtly racist - Pop Star, dressed in a hijab, dancing on an exploded car. She was furious, and she fired him.

    Now, I should mention this guy was Mexican, but still, I get what you mean.

    1. ABftS: Yeah, I don't know that. But, then, I'm still trying to figure out how they picked most of these guys. I'm a little bit scared for Last Jedi.

      And that's the exact attitude.

  2. Ever seen Shit People Say to Women Directors? There are so many stories there of women trying to do their jobs and having the men who work for them either undermine their orders or just act like they know the job better, especially when they don't. When the men aren't in charge, they still act like they are.

    1. Jeanne: My wife has to deal with that all the time at work even in areas where she is the acknowledged expert.

  3. It's interesting how this has become part of the national conversation. Would it have happened if the election had not been hacked? Probably not. Sorry to say that some good things are coming out of that debacle.

    I'm glad this conversation is happening. A lot of white guys are having issues with this, and that's understandable. I'm so happy that you're not one of them. That just means that the problem isn't so deeply entrenched that there's no hope for us as a culture.

    1. Liz: Well, the conversation was already happening, which is part of the reason things went the way they did. White dudes have been feeling under attack because they want to be more equal than others.

      And, clearly, as far as white guys go, I'm not in the mainstream.