There are a lot of things to feel icky about these days. Most emanating from the fact that we have an ickier president than Frank Underwood. The idea that Netflix’s breakthrough show has been rendered irrelevant rings in your mind as you watch Iron Fist, the network’s latest offering. Partly because the Marvel series is god-awfully slow with badly choreographed set-piece fight scenes that your minds tends to wander. And partly because you think, “Fuck, have I transported to the 1970s? Why does David Carradine have curly brown hair?”

Kung Fu was 40 years ago. Do we really have to relive that?

Thank God I can eat, do computer work and watch my security camera misfiring at the same time as watching Iron Fist. I still feel icky.

Why? Just Why?

Why does he have to quote aphorisms–to a dead man no less.

Why does he have to speak Mandarin to an Asian woman who speaks perfect English?

Why does he have to walk around New York City barefoot?

Is that somehow Asian? I’d tear my hair out and wrap my feet with it rather than walk around barefoot in New York? Have you been to NY? Have you smelled NY?

Why does he think he has simpatico with an Asian woman just because he knows some Kung Fu tricks?

Why is he white?

So far there’s no justifiable reason why he is white other than the fact that the producers will think people will say, “Ooh, there’s a white guy doing martial arts.” Not unusual because all Asians know martial arts, right? There’s no justifiable reason why Marvel chose the character to be part of Netflix’s Defenders which will team up Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage with the white guy who does martial arts. All the others are brawlers, and the team needs a blaster, not another fist fighter.

But that’s the thing. Danny Rand, the lead character, is supposed to have a magical blasting fist. We don’t see any of that in the pilot.


Where’s the Diversity?

Another thing that rings in your mind as you watch the show is Finn Jones tweets that his series is the most diverse out of the three Netflix-Marvel shows. How the fuck is it more diverse than a show that has a lead character who is African American and that is set in Harlem. There were three villains that were African American, and one was female. The flunky was Latino as was the love interest.

What did Iron Fist have in its first episode? A scene set in Chinatown. The African American hitman was more of a drive-by. Beyond the aforementioned Asian woman, I didn’t see any other diversity. True, maybe I was distracted in watching my hedges sway in the wind to notice all the colors of the rainbow, but all I could see were white people. White people dying. White people berating each other for not acting more badly. White people barefoot. In the park.

Barefoot in the Park was a Neil Simon play made into a movie with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. There was a televised play edition with Bess Armstrong and Richard Thomas. Bess Armstrong was in the Raiders of the Lost Ark rip-off High Road to China. Another Raiders rip off was Tales of the Golden Monkey with Steven Collins. Eel, I feel icky again. Damn.

Need more distraction.


UPDATE: On Episode 4. What the hell is Finn Jones’ definition of diversity? Where it can be found only in the horde of Asian bad guys, sometimes even faceless or relegated to the shadows? This is pure Orientalist bullshit.

–Ken Choy


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