Quick Notes: A Rude Aphrodite, Polytheism in A Song of Ice and Fire, and Black Heimdall

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  April 21, 2011 — 66 Comments

Just a few quick news notes for on this Thursday.

Aphrodite’s Middle Finger: Der Spiegel reports that nine employees of the German magazine Focus are being ordered to appear in an Athens court for “accusations of defamation, libel and the denigration of Greek national symbols.” Six Greek citizens are bringing the complaint, partially for the article, which discusses tax fraud and failed construction projects, and partially for the satirical cover image.

“The Focus cover featured a photograph of the famously armless statue Venus de Milo, which depicts the Greek goddess Aphrodite, that had been doctored so that the deity was showing her middle finger to the viewer. The story, titled “Swindlers in the Euro Family,” included a detailed description of what the authors claimed was “2000 years of decline” in Greece, including reports of tax fraud and failed construction projects. The six Greeks who are now suing the journalists maintain that the article included false claims and was also insulting to the Greek people.”

If I didn’t know better, you’d think the charge would be blasphemy and not “denigration of Greek national symbols.” Is having Aphrodite flip the bird denigrating? I would like to think the goddess has a sense of humor about the whole thing. Magazine founder Helmut Markwort says he has a clean conscience, and does not believe he’ll see any jail time for the article or cover photo. Denigrating or not, I’m sure that any number of satirical web images and icons based off this photo are currently being made. So long as electricity and the Internet persevere Aphrodite will be flipping someone the bird, somewhere.

The Gods of Westeros: With Game of Thrones now a successful HBO series (already renewed for a second season after just one episode has aired), and the next volume of A Song of Ice and Fire due out this Summer, Tor.com looks at the religions and gods of this fantasy setting.

“The gods of the children of the forest, the nameless deities of stone and earth and tree, the old gods seem like a sort of animistic religion. The greenseers of the children, shamans of a kind, were said to be able to talk with all beasts and birds, and to see through the eyes of their carved weirwoods. When the First Men arrived, they first warred with the children, and cut down the weirwoods where they found them. In time, though, they made peace with them and adopted their old gods. The North is the only real stronghold for the old gods, however; south of the Neck, the Blackwoods are the only known noble house to still follow them.

There are no priests, no holy texts, no songs of worship, and practically no rites that go with the worship of the old gods. It’s a folk-religion, passed from generation to generation. The closest thing to a ritual we’ve seen is prayer before the heart tree in a godswood, holy groves contained within castles throughout the Seven Kingdoms, and often the only places where living weirwoods still remain until one goes north of the Wall. It’s said that the sigh of the wind and the rustle of leaves are the old gods speaking back to worshippers.”

It should be interesting to see how much emphasis and detail the cable series puts into the polytheistic religious tapestry weaved by author George R. R. Martin. Sadly, I don’t have HBO, so it may be awhile before I get to see for myself.

Once More About Race in Thor: Salon.com looks at the small movement to boycott “Thor” (opening May 6th) for casting a black man (British actor Idris Elba) as the god Heimdall. While some are sympathetic to those who are upset at this “racebending”, like African-American fantasy author Charles Saunders, Bob Calhoun at Salon notes that there’s actually a long history in cinema of including black characters in Viking movies and that the comic-book version of Thor was crafted by a New York Jew.

“Marvel Comics artist Jack Kirby along with writer Stan Lee first put Thor into a comic book in 1962, and had him doing things that were decidedly inauthentic. During Thor’s early four-color adventures, he fought the Stone Men of Saturn, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Mr. Hyde, and even the Greek gods. Four years later, Kirby integrated Marvel’s characters with the creation of the Black Panther, the first black superhero. “There were plenty of white superheroes, so I thought there should be a black hero too,” Kirby told me unpretentiously during one of the times I was fortunate enough to speak with him. After Kirby jumped to DC Comics in the early 1970s, he created that company’s first black superhero as well in the debut issue of “The Forever People” (1971). Ironically, that character’s name was Vykin the Black.”

Which goes to the point I’ve been making about this controversy over and over again.  That this not an adaptation of the Norse Eddas, or even really based on Norse mythology, but an adaptation of a comic book that used Norse gods as a starting point and went completely wild from there. Alien technology, extra-dimensional beings, a horse-faced alien Thor, frog Thor, and the current Marvel company-wide crossover where we learn that Odin hid the existence of a “god of fear” called “the serpent”. Now, you may still want to be offended, or be critical, but that feeling has to be grounded in the literature that the story is based on to make sense.

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

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  • Star Foster

    I like the Aphrodite cover. It's clever and I think that passionate Goddess would approve.

    Thor is going to be a huge deal because the names and images are iconic and evoke emotional responses. I think Thor may be for Heathens what The Craft was to Wiccans. I rather like the actor playing Heimdallr but I can understand the controversy. If Jackie Chan was cast to play the Dagda, even a comic book version, eyebrows would be raised.

    • Bookhousegal

      I dunno, Star. I think the Aphrodite bit just don't sing right. I think it does cross a line from heedless commercial disrespect to something worse, and I won't speak for Her devotees, nor do I intend to come off like I support the rather staid cast-in-solemn-white-marble view of Classical Gods, either, but that one does raise a few hackles, cause it seems like an *abnegation* of what the Paphian One's all about, or at least how She'd be seen to express it, even in contemporary times. (Sounds like stronger terms than I really mean, but at the same time, there's a wrongness there about it that does I think at least merit an indignant, 'Not Cool.' )

      (Course, I could see the Maiden Huntress showing some archery fingers in this day and age, no problem) :)

      By the same token, I kind of have the opposite opinion on the Heimdall portrayal (Both in terms of the comics and my respect for Heathen Gods: I don't presume to claim *He's* a marble statue, either, but I'd be more concerned if said movie portrayed Him as *behaving* all kinds of 'wrong,' and, frankly, as someone who's supposed to know people's *hearts,* I think the racial concerns themselves, if anything, are more unseemly. It's about if the actor can wear it. )

      When it comes to these portrayals of the Gods and all, it's not to me about how light, or serious, or 'accurate,' they are, but it *does* irk me when They're portrayed as 'monsters,' or when They're portrayed, say, like when Hercules or Xena just made the Morrigan out to be some whiny prissy little overextended skinny girl or something.

      There's humor, and there's 'casual,' and there's *art,* and there's … stuff that's actually kind of demeaning, offensive, defamatory, or just plain *nasty-wrong.* I can see this cheesing reasonable people off.

      Comparing this to a favorite example: when a version of the Odyssey had Athena portrayed by Isabella Rosselini, I was initially like, 'I'm a fan, but are you just there to be pretty?' But she carried it all ..unconventionally but meaningfully. With a few looks and smirks, there was a certain amount of, say, Wisdom back there, being like, 'Yeah, I'm more than your brazen-helmed AWACS. :)' (Do love that portayal, though: Not what I expected, though, …but that's *why,* being the point there.)

      I'm not a big one for declaring 'Sacred stuff, hands-off,' but there *is* to my world, such a thing as sacrilege, (And as Aphrodite goes, I'm a little more wary, myself, precisely because She's blessings and dangers a little outside *my* personal comfort zone, I suppose, and I'm less sure in myself of the boundaries. ( I do feel pretty certain She wouldn't behave coarsely to make someone else's point like that, right? For one, She wouldn't *have* to. I'm open to correction on this point: I have a lot of respect for Her kids: they make me glad to be a polytheist, but I've seen em operate, and I'm *just* quick enough on the uptake about that to see how much is involved. ;) ) And whatever that famous statue is, it's probably *not* Her face as Aphrodite Urania, and whoever did the photoshopping probably isn't begging that for a reason. What I do know is that this bit actually triggers a sense of *protectiveness* toward all that, and I think I'm old enough to not go off half-cocked *about* it.

      As for comparing 'Thor' to 'The Craft,' that may be exactly what a lot of Heathens (Even those that love the comic themselves) may be afraid of. They're still pretty 'poser-sensitive' in a lot of ways. But, hey, the Celtic fad was a tad annoying, but I can get a Guinness long after the knotwork is toned down. Ain't all bad. :)

      • http://twitter.com/Mjausson @Mjausson

        I'm pretty involved with Aphrodite and I'm not a fan of that magazine cover. For one thing, the Foamborne would be extending herself for a mere mortal, when most of the time it's the other way around. It's not like she doesn't have leverage, if you catch my drift.

        For another, the issues at hand are tax fraud and failed construction projects. So far those aren't exactly topics She's chosen to address with me.

        Then again, when you worship the Cyprian you get to grow a thick skin. If I'd be upset every time somebody misused Her name or countenance, I wouldn't have time for actual worship. So I just go "meh" and ignore it. What's blasphemy and hubris to me, is a clever boast about liberal education and status for others.

        Now if they'd used Eris, the image would have made more sense. Remember that apple? But most people wouldn't recognize an image of Eris and associate it with Greece. So it wouldn't have worked from the magazine cover artist's point of view. As I said, "meh" and move on.

        • http://xkcd.com/285 Eran Rathan

          I was thinking they should have used Eris instead, because she would definitely give the world the finger!

          fnord.

        • Star Foster

          As a devotee of Hephaistos I can totally see her giving "the finger" to Gods and mortals. She's gotten pissed at a lot mortals over time, especially pretty ones. I see her hand gesture as a very clear statement there is no love in this issue. I think it's clever. *shrug*

    • Brenda Daverin

      Actually, since most Asatruar know the comic book has nothing to do with their mythology, it's highly doubtful Thor will mean a darn thing to them.

      As for Jackie Chan playing An Dagda, speaking as a Celtic pagan, I'd only be concerned at the miscasting because Chan's too skinny.

      • Nicole Youngman

        My thoughts exactly re: Chan, you beat me to it. :)

      • Lonespark

        It doesn't have nothing to do, does it? It's got bits and echoes, all put in a blender. At least as I understand it. Seems like Lord of the Rings, in some ways. I've met many Heathens who hate it, whereas I have deep affection for Tolkien's work because I feel like it put me on the road to my spiritual home, and yet the weird uses of names and wights and myth-bits are jarring.

    • harmonyfb

      I find it a little impious, myself. I find myself scrolling quickly past it because it does bother me a bit. However, I'm sure the Shining One is more than capable of letting them know if She disapproves.

    • Kevin NOrwood

      You,ve gave me a reason to hate The Craft I used to like it before some people took it so seriously,

  • Terry Thrasher

    While I understand both sides of the issue, the Movie is not supposed to be an accurate version of the mythos so I really don't have a problem with it.

    • brainwise

      This is pretty much my stand as well.

      • Lonespark

        Mine too, and I really can't resist a superhero movie, nor Idris Elba for that matter. But my four-year old son is really confused.

        • brainwise

          Oh, yeah, I bet he is. But here's the thing: We cannot control how media represents — or distorts — the world around us. It is for this reason that movies and television make for poor babysitters (and I am NOT saying you use visual media in this manner; I am making a general statement). So it is of the utmost import that parents, as well as other adults close to children, remain on hand to scrutinize the images that are fed to young minds so that we can qualify and clarify the things they see. While I was growing up, one or both of my parents were there while I watched, for example, the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote or the Three Stooges. So they were there to help my young mind sort out the differences between the portrayed world and the real world (hint: dropping anvil on cartoon coyote is funny; dropping anvil on a real cat … not so much). It seems simple, but it was probably of untold value to my development as a reasonable person (and fan of classic comedy).

  • Don

    The Greek government has no room to speak about denigration when it has actively suppressed traditional Greek religion and is currently attempting to rebury the Altar of the Twelve Gods.

    • Deb

      The Greek government isn't speaking about denigration, 6 Greek citizens are.

      • http://norsealchemist.blogspot.com NorseAlchemist

        Yes, but are these 6 those who follow the Greek Gods, or are they simply six Greeks who are using it to hit the magazine that is correct in showing the state of Greek politics?

  • Storm Coder

    I really have no problem with the Thor movie. People so narrow minded that they can't accept a work of fiction should be shunned by the community. They are simply an embarrassment to everyone else. I remember when Jesus Christ Superstar came out. There were a bunch dumb asses that went ape shit over that movie/musical. Fundy heathens are just as dumb as fundy Christians.

  • Florence Edwards-Miller

    I truly think that one of the maturation stages our religion/ religious movement must go through is letting go of the fictional/entertainment versions of the same characters or ideas that are in our mythology.

    As Jason explicates in his post above – this Thor has almost nothing to do with ‘our’ Thor, or the Thor of old. I’ve observed similar ‘blurring of the lines’ with other fantasy books, games and movies – including the novels of Mercedes Lackey and Susan Cooper, role playing games like Changeling: the Dreaming, movies like The Craft (as was mentioned above), anything Harry Potter, Charmed, Buffy, and of course the Mists of Avalon.

    Some of these (like ‘Mists’ or Lackey’s books) are Pagan inspired, but inspiration or common roots don’t make these works of fiction part of our religion. At best they’re ‘thematic’ fun but at worst they leave us open to accusation that our religious beliefs are themselves fictional concoctions of people with a poor grasp on reality. Trying to claim fantasy fiction as Pagan also adds fuel to the fire of Christian religious conservatives who are trying to label anything imaginary as satanic or anti-Christan.

    We as a group need to understand that A) we don’t have a monopoly on the cultural heritages that also inform our religious practice and B) it’s confusing for the rest of the world when we try to claim that anything having to do with magic and old gods belongs to us.

    • Nicole Youngman

      Nicely said Florence. As another example, I was profoundly annoyed with how Stephen R. Lawhead insisted on Christianizing Lugh and the Dagda (turning them into Christ and xian-God figures, respectively) in his Song of Albion series, however well written it was otherwise…but, well, "meh."

    • Bookhousegal

      I'm going to beg to differ on the Mists of Avalon: (At least the original,) … this is *important myth* for both ourselves and the Christians: if people would stop being fussed about trying to ascribe 'accuracy' to Arthurian story, (Which has been a dubious and tangential thing for centuries,) ….. 'Mists of Avalon,' is, I think, really a model (Oft-echoed, btw) for a lot of how Pagans and Christians alike can actually *reconcile* a traumatic history to the present and each other: It's 'truer than footnotes' in some ways that arguing history and theology, while important, can't do socially. I don't intend to be arguing across a computer screen about it for centuries: this is a *story* (And many following after) that may be very helpful to the future.

      If we're all to get along, here has to be a *myth* to explain why there was conflict, and this one holds possibilities for *reconciling* some shattered cultures and so much fallout from *that.* I feel confident saying this, cause it's already out there. And it's not copyrightable.

      Doesn't even take Spandex or a degree in Celtic studies. :)

  • Alex Pendragon

    Damn, next thing you know, they'll be casting Christ as a Jew! Go figure!

    • Lonespark

      This is a wise comment. I raise my glass to you, sir.

    • http://norsealchemist.blogspot.com NorseAlchemist

      From the Borgias:

      "Don't you know it was Jews that killed Christ?" -Chesare

      "Really? I thought it was Romans." -His Holiness, Jeremy Irons.

  • http://badassbard.blogspot.com Thomas

    The Roman slave Onemaus, a general in the 3rd servile war was a Gaul but is but he's portrayed on Spartacus by a Black man. Has anyone in France made a stir about this?

    • http://norsealchemist.blogspot.com NorseAlchemist

      Does anyone in France remember when they were the Gauls and did battle like that?

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Ditto.

    • http://norsealchemist.blogspot.com NorseAlchemist

      Hail and Well said. I'm sure all the Greek Gods and Goddesses would be flipping them off.

  • Amy Hale

    I think Idris Elba is a God anyway. And Jackie Chan would probably make a great Dagda. He'd at least have the physical comedy down.

    • Bookhousegal

      I dunno about the Dagda, in particular, I don't think Jackie Chan's quite the type. I bet he could do like Caoilte MacRonan or something. What with all the running around all over the place. :)

      • http://norsealchemist.blogspot.com NorseAlchemist

        What's this about Jackie Chan and Dagda?

  • http://www.mindonfire.com xJane

    Before I discovered mythical gods and goddesses I could devote myself to, I often got lost in the beautiful myths in books—the Song of Ice and Fire's is no different. The structured and repressive Seven, the powerful Red God, and the peaceful Old Gods are all wonderful myths (and ways to look at our own religions with different eyes).

    • Lonespark

      On a similar note, the Three plus godlings in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and follow-ups by N. K. Jemisin really resonate with me.

  • Vivianna

    The Aphrodite cover does not bother me. It’s simply a sign of a symbol doing that they are (unintentionally) intended to do: EVOLVE! I guess I just took it in the spirit in which it is intended. It’s clearly someone trying to be clever, get people’s attention, and buy magazines/get their point. I just did not think it was that deep. Then again, Aphrodite and I don’t work together that often.

  • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

    Oscar Wilde once said that people who are intelligent and brought up well never unintentionally give offense. I seriously doubt that the publishers of Focus intended to insult Pagans, but many of us do find this cover offensive.

    If it is meant to be funny, it is not. If it is meant to make some kind of point, it fails. It's asinine. But of course they have every right to be asinine.

    And they made Her ugly. That is the greatest blasphemy of all. When Venus gives the finger She is still radiantly beautiful. One would never wish to look away from Her, and yet, like harmonyfb, I cannot stand looking at this.

    • deerwoman

      I do not see how they made her ugly in this representation. After all, they are using an actual photograph of the Aphrodite of Melos sculpture as the base. The only real Photoshopping I can determine is the addition of the lower arm and hand as well as the blue stripes on her garment. I'm sure they did some overall color correction of the photo and they probably messed with the contrast, etc. but the alteration to the original statue is, in my opinion, minor. Unless you happen to feel that sculpture was already a poor representation of the Goddess, I don't see how the additions drastically alters her appearance. It's not like they gave her a "man hand" or something ;-)

      • deerwoman

        (My apologies, I just realized I forgot to capitalize the pronouns referring to Aphrodite. It was not intentional.)

      • Tom

        Perhaps you missed the hand gesture that indicates a big, fat "fuck you?"

        • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

          Yes, Tom has this one right, or at least this was also my reaction. Aphrodite's facial expression is sublimely ambiguous, as befits a Goddess. But when this ambiguous expression is combined with this particular gesture, the whole becomes something quite unpleasant to look at, to the extent that I cannot stand to look at it.

          • http://norsealchemist.blogspot.com NorseAlchemist

            I think the point is to make it unpleasant. If the Goddess Aphrodite is flipping you off, you really shouldn't be getting….well…..

            Something else should not also be rising.

          • deerwoman

            "when this ambiguous expression is combined with this particular gesture, the whole becomes something quite unpleasant to look at"

            I see. I was interpreting your original statement to mean that the alterations made Her representation physically ugly rather than ugly in a symbolic sense. By "symbolic" in this case I'm referring to the generally accepted meaning of the gesture as Tom so elegantly described. I would agree that Her facial expression is jarring in contrast to the meaning of the gesture, but I would think if they altered it further, giving Her a sneer or some other facial expression more in line with the corresponding hand expression, it would be much worse.

            Viewing the entire altered image just as it is, without taking the cultural significance of said gesture into consideration, I personally do not feel they made Her physically ugly in appearance.

  • Neorxnawang

    As Heimdallr is attested as “the whitest of the gods” in Norse mythology, this casting seems to be some kind of in-joke among the makers of the film. I don’t know why this isn’t widely reported. I also wonder if the lead actor was informed that his race was an evident factor in his casting (“Hey, what about this, let’s get a black dude to play ‘the whitest of the gods’—that’d be soooo funny!” . . .).

    That said, who cares? This is just another popular cultural reference meant to move action figure units. Further, comparing yet another adaptation of a Marvel comic book to “The Craft” is also absurd; the general reaction to this in the heathen community is likely to be pretty much null, whereas “The Craft” was largely a demonization of Wicca (and I would be cautious indeed when attempting to put Germanic neopaganism together with Wicca in any sort of similar categories).

    On the positive side, this dubious controversy does mean that more people will be finding the Wikipedia article on Heimdallr, and thus raising awareness of this complex and ever-fascinating god and Germanic mythology in general.

    • Star Foster

      Sif is cast as a brunette as well. Just plain weirdness.

      • http://norsealchemist.blogspot.com NorseAlchemist

        Well, I think Sif was originally a brunette in the myths, it's just Loki shaved her head and she got the wig of spun gold.

        As for the "Race Lift" it is possible it's an in joke. I find it more likely that it's a direct slap in the face, especially to "white supremacists" as if to say, "have a 'white power' movie now that there's a black god."

        Who knows if they intended to slap the rest of us non-racist heathens when they did it. All I know is that this movie isn't accurate, I'm seeing the midnight premier, and I am a little saddened that one of the most recognizable European pantheons didn't even rate any thought about what strikes me as an attempt to "hate the haters" But we shall see how this man does playing our Heimdall, and if he does well, then that's all that matters.

        • Nick_Ritter

          "Well, I think Sif was originally a brunette in the myths,"

          We actually never learn about her hair color before the head-shaving incident. It's not mentioned.

  • http://threeshoutsonahilltop.blogspot.com gorm_sionnach

    If at the end of the day, some kid is inspired to pick up the Eddas because of this film, great. If it is going to be a decent film based on a popular Marvel property, great. If someone is vapid enough to attempt to learn about Norse mythology solely through a film adaption of a comic, loosely based on said mythology, well there's already no helping them.

    It could be worse, they could be trying to make a film about the Celtic inspired Marvel U. A male hero named Banshee, plus Shamrock and Caber; best heroes ever! And that time they resurrected Cúchulain to keep the demon Samhain from destroying the Book of Kells, graphic literature at its finest.

  • Noumenia

    Personally, I do not find the image offensive and I honor Aphrodite. I'm not that easily ruffled by some inoffensive photoshop that had a different aim. But at the same time I wonder why "our" stuff is suddenly untouchable while defending the liberty to be blasphemous in the name of art, at the same time, to another religion – an example to Andres' Serrano's piece "Piss Christ" being vandalized in France. I've seen pagans find that 'maddening' – and yet this is just horrible?

    • harmonyfb

      Well, this Pagan finds "Piss Christ" to be puerile, shallow, and offensive – I'm just astonished that anyone would give that "artist" the time of day, let alone a gallery showing.

      That said, I understand the value of the shocking image as a way for artists to challenge our assumptions and deepen our understanding. But there's a difference between exploring the shocking and being too damn lazy to think of anything past the toilet-training stage.

      Aphrodite giving the finger is hardly high art. It's a Photoshopped image meant to convey a political message. Should the magazine feel free to use it? Of course. I still find it impious – though not as impious as the "Zeusball" McDonald's gave away with happy meals during the run of the movie Hercules. But, as I said above, the Gods are perfectly capable of signaling their displeasure to the graphic artist in question if they dislike the image. I haven't seen any here decry it as "horrible" (horrible is the torture and death of so-called "witches" in places like Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.)

      • Noumenia

        See that's where I find issue with. To say that the image is lazy in its attempt at "art" is fine, but then you enter into the murky realm of trying to define what "art" is (I've seem a sofa covered in melted cheese in an art gallery). One is entitled to find them lazy or a poor attempt at graphic design, the matter still stands that what one deems shocking or lame, another finds inspiring. It holds some message, as asinine as some might deem it. I listen to a lot of music that has some tasteless imagery (some banned or resisted in certain countries) but if I can accept it as a form of expression, then I cannot be hypocritical and decry that my religious imagery cannot be touched.

        Would it have been art if it were better photoshopped? If Banksy had spray-painted it against a building? If someone hung it on a gallery? Slapped it on a CD as cover art for an album?

        And I take issue with assuming how the gods would react. Otherwise there wouldn't be art. Or people like Richard Dawkins or bands like Deicide and the writers of Clash of the Titans would've had a stroke by now. Rome was built over ruins of temples and sacred places and it seems to be doing fine, to the chagrin of some of us.

        • harmonyfb

          Would it have been art if it were better photoshopped?

          If I can bang it out in five minutes on my home pc, it's not art. Or to put it in my idiom: A clever insult does not make one Shakespeare.

          • Noumenia

            So I guess I can disqualify Jackson Pollock from being an artist. ;)

          • harmonyfb

            Well, don't get my art-student daughter started on Pollack, for sure. ;)

  • http://military.pagannewswirecollective.com Lori Dake

    And that's what *I* have been saying all along. The movie is based on the comic book, and therefore, I expect the characters in the movie to look like the ones in the comic book. I would have been equally annoyed if Mary Jane been a blondie, just as I was when Nicholas Cage, an Italian guy with black hair, showed up to play a ginger. Wasn't Eric Stoltz available?

    I also didn't like Jessica Alba in Fantastic Four, because she makes a very obvious fake blond. (There's that, and I personally don't her as a person anyway, as I've heard her in interviews before where she comes off as a complete drama queen bitch.) Now before anyone accuses me of not liking her because she's Hispanic – no. I adore, absolutely adore, Salma Hayek, but I think we can all agree it would be nothing short of blasphemous to have her play that role with bleached out hair. OTOH, Christina Aguilera, while I have no knowledge whatsoever about her acting abilities, does *not* look like a fake blond, so she would have made a better Invisible Woman by looks alone.

    **However** in certain cases they can make it work, but only when **no visual** was already set. When Morgan Freeman was cast as Red in the Shawshank Redemption, the book character was Irish. In the movie, they made it a joke but using the same line:

    "Why do they call you Red?"
    "Maybe because I'm Irish." (LOLz added)

    And Tara in True Blood is black, but in the books she's white. But again, we've never been ~predisposed~ to physically seeing her as white, so it works out okay. Now I'm really hoping Alan Ball brings in Bubba, and Bruce Campbell would be AWESOME for that role (see Bubba HoTep haha). But, because Bubba = mentally challenged vampire Elvis (due to being turned too late in the game), we all know what Elvis looks like and therefore have expectations of what Bubba should look like – he should be 70s Elvis, who was overweight, white with dark hair (graying?) but yet still has sex appeal.

    In other words, call it a fanboy argument, and I'll agree with you. Call it racist, and I'll get really pissed.

  • http://vermillionrush.wordpress.com Vermillion

    See THIS to me is a legitimate reason for having an issue with Hemidall's casting.

  • Daniel

    I could definitely see the Morrighan give the finger–I am pretty sure Brighid would, too, in some cases. I am more sure about the former than the latter. Kind of funny being a devotee to my Lady Brighid :)

  • Tom

    My Platonic proclivities force me to find the Venus-Aphrodite depiction in poor taste and even impious (though I'm not "offended"). The Gods are good, beautiful, and true; but this cover depicts a Goddess engaging in a vulgar motion.

    • http://norsealchemist.blogspot.com NorseAlchemist

      She's the Goddess of Lust and Sex, I'm sure a lot of things she does would probably strike many people as "vulgar."

  • http://twitter.com/Mjausson @Mjausson

    Trigger warnings for Game of Thrones: sexual assault, sexual assault on minors, incest between adults and probably more. This is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_culture in action.

    • http://vermillionrush.wordpress.com Vermillion

      While GOT does need some trigger warnings I don't know if I'd put it into the rape culture, especially considering the latter things that go on.

  • Fire

    "…..nine employees of the German magazine Focus are being ordered to appear in an Athens court for “accusations of defamation, libel and the denigration of Greek national symbols.”

    Ordered to appear in an Athens court? The last time I checked Athens wasn't a part of Germany. I'm interested to know what jurisdiction this court thinks it has over a foreign citizen?

    This reminds me of something. This
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tor_Borg
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40963869/ns/world_new
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12139150
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/12/world/europe/12

  • http://sari0009.xanga.com KarenAScofield

    Aphrodite flipping the bird is a long overdue (!) breath of fresh air compared to any arrogant, unmagical "written in stone" binding that Aphrodite should always display either a frozen ambiguous expression or an ever-so-subtly smiling face.

    I can't imagine Aphrodite would stand for everything becoming so strangulated, stale.

    • rhondda

      Thank you. Just thank you.

    • Nick_Ritter

      In other words, far be it from people who actually worshiped her in a cultus spanning at least several centuries to have a say in how she might be portrayed?

      "New" doesn't always mean "better"; far less often than people think, actually.

  • Kevin

    I think some people go to far Thor is based on the comic & nothing else anyone who takes it as seriously as norse mythology worries me. Young girls got into Wicca because of the Craft & they started running around dressed as goths. Making not just Pagans look bad but all religions.

  • http://www.bryonmorrigan.com BryonMorrigan

    I'm more "miffed" that Sif is a brunette (as opposed to having "golden hair"), really…as I think it is a bigger example of something actually IMPORTANT to the mythos being portrayed incorrectly. Frankly, the movie was directed by Shakespearean super-hero Kenneth Branagh, who has a long history (as with most modern Shakespearean directors) of casting people based solely on their ability to ACT the part, rather than their physical characteristics. Look at some of his previous movies if you want to see proof.

    • http://norsealchemist.blogspot.com NorseAlchemist

      But the "golden hair" was something she got later, after Loki shaved her head and then replaced it with dwarf spun gold, so there's no reason to be miffed about that just yet.