I stand by you my fellow readers a very out and proud nerd. The passions which I have built for myself over the many years I’ve existed on this planet ring very deeply and truly for me. I read comic books, play video games, watch nerdy TV shows, go to conventions etc. I am very much steeped in this culture and wouldn’t have it any other way. It is in large part what lead me to the happiest moment of my life. I met my wife because of our mutual love for all things geek. Though we get into spirited debates from time to time, I love the fact that my wife and I are fellow nerds and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Geek culture is my way of life and it’s one I cherish with the utmost respect. However… These days there seems to be a dark undercurrent that is making its way through this sub-culture and it’s never been more prevalent than the recent backlash that has been rising up over the news and eventual release of the all female Ghostbusters reboot.
In the interest of full disclosure, I was also against the reboot at first. Not for any sexist reasons but more along the lines of purist thoughts. The original Ghostbusters film is the foundation with which all of my nerdom is rested upon. I owned all the toys, had all the cartoon episodes recorded on blank VHS tapes, every book or comic or video game that got released was in my possession. It was the first fandom that I had ever been a part of, so the thought of changing anything at all from a property I hold near and dear to my heart scared me in a pretty profound way.
So I resisted the thought of seeing it at first because classics are timeless and don’t need to be restructured. The very nature of classic cinema is as such because the movie in question still holds up to modern cinematic standards. Ghostbusters is a perfect picture because despite being created in an age of limited technology at the filmmaker’s disposal, they still managed to craft an entertaining laugh a minute thrill ride that many people still hold as a benchmark when making a good comedic film.
So what right did Paul Feig have thinking he could come even close to recapturing the magic of that first film? That was the thought running through my mind every time discussion of the reboot popped up. However, there’s a small subset whose resentment of this new film is more based in rancid sexism over the change of the all male cast to a female one.
Now I haven’t seen the new movie yet (I will have at the time this article sees the light of day) but I can almost assuredly tell you that if it fails in any way it won’t be due to the gender of the lead actresses. It’ll be because at a creative level Feig and screenwriter Kate Dippold failed to bring anything new to the table or produce the best possible version of a modern Ghostbusters story with the tools at their disposal.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with clinging to your beloved properties with a tenacious passion. That’s kind of what being a nerd entails right? I mean even I am a purist to a certain extent when it comes to the things I love. On the flip side, change doesn’t ultimately have to be a bad thing. If you can honor the source material while bringing in some fresh and exciting ideas that move your creative vision in a bold and new direction then huzzah for everyone!
I mean… Think back to when the 1984 original came out. At the time it was a new exciting kind of film that married comedy with a light horror aesthetic. While it wasn’t the first outright horror comedy film, I would wager to bet that it was the first one to perfect the mix. It melded elements of slapstick comedy, science fiction and ghoulish horror. For slightly different reasons than the new one does now, the original Ghostbusters paved the way for a whole new genre of film. It’s gonna be harder for this new reboot to break any ground when it comes to story ideas, but in an age where male dominated super hero tent pole flicks rule the landscape, the studio took a chance on 4 super funny ladies to anchor a mid summer action comedy.
The sad part is that before we even saw even the tiniest bit of footage, internet trolls took to various social media platforms and started lambasting the idea of a female driven version of their beloved Ghostbusters. While my issues with the idea of this new film stem from a worry of the fidelity to the original, the idea of four super talented comediennes headlining a new version of this world I had been a part of since my single digit days tickled my fancy immediately. If you can’t do something new on a story level, reinvent the wheel behind the camera.
Boy did the misogynistic internet trolls have a field day with that one. Stories started to break out all over the place of how this new lady led Ghostbusters flick was destroying childhoods left and right. While these GamerGate wannabe infants will claim that it has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with being angry over a classic being tampered with… You and I know they are absolutely full of shit.
As of the writing of this article, they’ve officially taken it way too far. SNL star Leslie Jones who plays city transit worker Patty Tolan in the new flick has come under some of the most vile and disgusting internet trolling I’ve heard of in recent memory. People have hacked her Twitter account in an effort to post racist and homophobic slurs. Pictures of people excreting bodily fluids over production stills of her face and sharing them to her Twitter page, they’re even showering the page in the most base and regressive racist slurs you’ve ever heard of.
So, tell me, other than staring in a movie that everyone has a right to dissenting opinion on, what in gods green earth did she do to warrant that kind of behavior? She’s a human being just like the rest of us who was given an opportunity to extend her talents to the widest possible audience and shit like this is what she gets for it.
I know these racist basement dwellers don’t represent all of geek culture but it makes me sad that I have to share an umbrella with this sort of transgressive thinking. Just because they take umbrage with the way something they cherish is being treated doesn’t give them carte blanche to act like assholes on any sort of level. It’s not like Feig and Co set out to take a steaming dump on an Ivan Reitmans beloved original film. It’s not like the studio set out to raise their middle fingers to GB fans everywhere.
What it comes down to is entitlement. These people feel that just because they love and hold something dear, they have some sort of say or ownership when it comes to further iterations of that original product. While I personally wouldn’t change the original Ghostbusters or rework it in anyway, that doesn’t mean that if a good enough idea comes along that makes me change my stance I wouldn’t be open to it. Plus, if you think about it we already got a Ghostbusters 3 featuring the original cast in the form of the Xbox 360 game that was released many years back.
At this stage with all the original principal actors at an advanced age coupled with the fact that Harold Ramis had sadly passed away a few years ago, I wasn’t sure I wanted a proper follow up anymore. They had tried so many years to get one off the ground and it never materialized. I’m guessing there’s a good reason why GB 3 never came to proper cinematic fruition and instead we got this all female reboot.
One thing I love about being a nerd is that we are largely an accepting community that welcomes all weird fetishes and fandoms. We bring together with open arms the uniqueness of every individual regardless of the thing they are passionate about. So when people feel the need to sling hate filled bile at someone who’s just trying to further the universe we love just because it differs from their opinion it makes me sad. Everyone deserves the right to tell a story regardless of what we say or feel. If it’s a good one then great, if it’s bad then it’s bad because the story tellers failed to maximize the potential with the sandbox they’re playing in… Not because the stars have vaginas instead of dicks.
I can’t comment yet on the quality of the flick because I haven’t seen it. What I can say is that this sort of classless debasement of the stars attached to the project is unwarranted and disgusting on every level. Don’t knock something until you’ve seen it and if you’ve seen it and still don’t like it… Remember that we aren’t owed anything in this world. The filmmakers don’t owe any sort of reverence to the original film. It’s up to them the kind of picture they want to make with the stars they want filling any particular role. Don’t go reversing years of gender and race progression just because it doesn’t jive with what your vision of the movie should be. If you really dislike the idea of this flick so much, go put your money where your mouth is and make your own damn movie.
While I’ll always be proud to be a nerd, it’s a sad day for geek culture when these senseless morons are given a platform to spread their hateful rhetoric and are left unchecked in doing so. I for one have now come all the way around to the idea of this reboot and will be happily seeing it shortly. Whether or not I end up liking the finished product is a different story, but at least I can say I was open minded enough to give it a shot.