The latest victim group
May 16, 2006 3:22 PM   Subscribe

The latest victim group: Albinos. "There are no realistic, sympathetic or heroic characters with albinism that you can find in movies or popular culture."
posted by Steven C. Den Beste (87 comments total)
 
So who can you use as a movie villain any more without ruffling feathers? Well, there's old white men who are CEOs of major multinational corporations, and pretty much no one else.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 3:23 PM on May 16, 2006


That's because the lord has cursed them.
posted by 2sheets at 3:23 PM on May 16, 2006


Yes there are. But I guess Noi Albinoi and Julien Donkey-Boy are too edgy for Fox News.
posted by nylon at 3:25 PM on May 16, 2006


This is why we need an Elric movie.
posted by the_bone at 3:26 PM on May 16, 2006


Nobody jump to conclusions. This really isn't a black & white issue.
posted by chudmonkey at 3:26 PM on May 16, 2006


I didn't bother to click the link but as to the quote... what about Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melniboné?
posted by dobbs at 3:26 PM on May 16, 2006


"I think it's no more a comment on albinos than it is on monks, and no more a comment on monks than it is on people who wear sandals," Bettany said.

Yeah. You'd think that leather jacket companies would protest the bad boy image... oh wait. Now EVERY SINGLE KID is going to want to be an albino. Great. Next thing, having a bad haircut and listeing to moody, unpopular music is going to be "in". When will it end?
posted by GuyZero at 3:27 PM on May 16, 2006


See also
posted by the_bone at 3:31 PM on May 16, 2006


Something about the term "victim group" doesn't sit right with me. It seems like an easy way to dismiss these types of issues.
posted by HuronBob at 3:39 PM on May 16, 2006


Goodness gracious, why is it always so difficult for people to put themselves in other people's shoes? I'm not the expert on images of albinos in popular culture, but as a compassionate non-albino, I have to say that I've always wondered why albinos are portrayed as criminals or freaks in movies.

Albinism is very rare. Albinos can't hide their condition. We live in a world where people stare and make judgements even though they shouldn't. How annoying to have to turn on your television or go to the movies and see your kind portrayed that way all of the time. It would have to get exhausting.

All people are asking for here is balance. There's nothing wrong with an evil albino, russian, arab, gay person, white man, black guy, etc. etc. The problem is, there aren't any positive portrayals to counterbalance here. I don't think there's anything unfair with pointing that out or asking for balance.

Albinos obviously aren't the only group singled out in this way. Dwarves are rarely portrayed in positive ways either. There are many such groups. Nonetheless, each of these groups are comprised of real human beings who deserve to have their lives validated in the same way that most of us take for granted.

Keep up the good work, NOAH!
posted by PigAlien at 3:41 PM on May 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


There are tons of minority groups you've never heard of who receive subtle flak from you. Yes, I mean you.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 3:42 PM on May 16, 2006




and to think I had just finished watching The Albino Code
posted by pantsrobot at 3:43 PM on May 16, 2006



posted by gigawhat? at 3:44 PM on May 16, 2006


What about Johnny and Edgar Winter?

In case you don't remember they did Frankenstein and Free Ride.
posted by nyxxxx at 3:44 PM on May 16, 2006


nyxxx stole my comment.
posted by substrate at 3:45 PM on May 16, 2006


I don't think that Elric would be a good role model.

- Birth (arguably his "albino" birth) killed his mother.
- Slept with his cousin.
- Failed at being king of his people.
- Betrayed his people, attacking and killing them.
- Repeatedly killed his friends, sucking their souls out first.
- Only stayed alive by a combination of drugs, sorcery and soul-sucking.
- Made a pact with one of the most devious and powerful dieties of chaos - a demon archduke.
- Numerous other atrocities.
posted by melt away at 3:46 PM on May 16, 2006


I thought that Powder was a rather sympathetic and somewhat heroic character, actually.

And as an aside, I have a contact who is a porn producer who has a standing order for true albino nudity. Hell, I'd watch it.
posted by Kickstart70 at 3:51 PM on May 16, 2006


Why does america hate white people?
posted by blue_beetle at 3:54 PM on May 16, 2006


Outside of Omaha there is an Albino village and if they catch you they will kill you.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:54 PM on May 16, 2006


Johnny and Edgar Winter presumably have some opinions on appearing as villains too, since they sued DC Comics (and lost) over DC's vermiform albino "Johnny and Edgar Autumn" villians.
posted by mendel at 4:11 PM on May 16, 2006


Sure, melt away, go ahead and nit pick.
posted by dobbs at 4:12 PM on May 16, 2006


"There are no realistic, sympathetic or heroic characters with albinism that you can find in movies or popular culture."


Casper the friendly ghost.
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:18 PM on May 16, 2006


Seconded, the_bone - there should be an Elric movie (say, with a Peter Jackson-LOTR treatment) for just the reasons melt away mentions.

Blood and souls for my lord Arioch!
posted by porpoise at 4:21 PM on May 16, 2006


In the The Dark is Rising series, wasn't King Arthur's heroic son (not Mordred) an albino?
posted by unreason at 4:32 PM on May 16, 2006


What was wrong with that albino in Foul Play? He was realistically portraying an assassin, which, to tell the truth, is pretty much what you expect out of those creepy fuckers.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:32 PM on May 16, 2006


There was also an albino assassin in Lethal Weapon, but, since he was played by Gary Busey, I don't think he could help being creepy.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:36 PM on May 16, 2006


Well, at least Paul Bettany gives (relatively) good copy. More here.
posted by Sonny Jim at 4:38 PM on May 16, 2006


how do you pronounce "Melnibone?"
posted by Shike at 4:45 PM on May 16, 2006


Edward Scissorhands? His eyes aren't pink, but he's awfully pale, and all of the villains in that one are the 'normals'.
posted by eritain at 4:48 PM on May 16, 2006


Accent on the fourth syllable I believe.
posted by bardic at 4:48 PM on May 16, 2006


I loved "milky" in Me, Myself, and Irene. The Farralley Brothers are famous for casting roles for their hometown friends including those with Downs, Albinos, etc and making them the most human actors in the movie.
posted by mathowie at 4:49 PM on May 16, 2006


If it were up to me, it would rhyme with "Parsippany."
posted by staggernation at 4:50 PM on May 16, 2006


I take it there can be a person who is albino and "black"?
posted by edgeways at 4:51 PM on May 16, 2006


there will always be whiny liberal naysayers around who want to take away your movies and your SUV and your Murican rights as white males.

Really, really white males.
posted by the_bone at 4:51 PM on May 16, 2006


Fuck that pansy-ass Lord Of The Rings shit, we want ELRIC!
posted by Artw at 4:52 PM on May 16, 2006


I'm confused... weren't the conservatives those who railed against Hollywood and "indecent' movies.

NAY NAY NAY... where the hell is ceiling kitty when you need him most?
posted by edgeways at 4:53 PM on May 16, 2006


Nói albínói does not sound like a horror film about an eeeeviiiiiilll albino, no, no.

... and that one in the Princess Bride's Pit of Despair is not so bad, eh?

so-&-so "stole" my comment as well, backing me up in advance sans a priori, therefore increasing its relevance.... POWDER rules!!! Bow before the great POW-DARE or lose your precious melanin!! Muuhhuhuhuhhahahahahah!!!

Me, Myself & Irene appears to have a friendly albino, too, although I do not recall. *sic*
posted by gkr at 4:56 PM on May 16, 2006


Stephen Jay Gould once wrote an article about how albino negros represented a real conceptual problem for 19th century race apologists. Because there are indeed such people, and their skin is whiter than that of normal Europeans, just as you'd expect.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:56 PM on May 16, 2006


unreason: I think you're thinking of Bran Davies, the albino boy from "The Grey King" in The Dark is Rising. I can't recall the final details but apparently some chick called 'Gwen' turned up with him then disappeared - so he's probably either Art's or Lance's.

But definitely Albino Hero material, unlike Elric, who is merely an Albino protagonist.
posted by Sparx at 4:58 PM on May 16, 2006


I take it there can be a person who is albino and "black"?

Yes.
posted by the_bone at 5:02 PM on May 16, 2006


I can't recall the final details but apparently some chick called 'Gwen' turned up with him then disappeared - so he's probably either Art's or Lance's.

Wasn't it settled at the end that it was Art's? I seem to remember Arthur showing up at the end and interacting with his son.
posted by unreason at 5:03 PM on May 16, 2006


Edgewise-
Yellowman is an albino Jamaican (if memory serves), a reggae artist. I can't speak to the quality of his music or lyrics, but surely a musical would count as a positive role model?
posted by lekvar at 5:07 PM on May 16, 2006


edgeways - yep, just about anyone can be affected by albinism.
posted by porpoise at 5:09 PM on May 16, 2006


You're probably right, Unreason. A few too many years have passed since I read that sequence, I'm afraid. Time for a reread, methinks.
posted by Sparx at 5:12 PM on May 16, 2006


nice framing, there, den beste. "victim group." heh. jackhole.

I thought that Powder was a rather sympathetic and somewhat heroic character, actually.

yeah, and the stuff of pedophile wet dreams -- hairless, young, and powerful.
posted by Hat Maui at 5:13 PM on May 16, 2006


Steve Perry's novels The Man Who Never Missed and The Albino Knife feature a couple of positively portrayed albino characters.
posted by Lverner at 5:19 PM on May 16, 2006


No albino role models?
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:20 PM on May 16, 2006


Oh please. You don't hear the Ginger community complaining about how they're portrayed.
posted by itchylick at 5:26 PM on May 16, 2006


What about Kimba? He's such a widda cootie poo.
posted by maryh at 5:32 PM on May 16, 2006


The main character in "Geek Love" by Katherine Dunn was an "evil" albino-- but also a terrifically sad, independent, flawed hero that I found to be very sympathetic.

Then again that book also aroused varieties of nausea that I didn't even know were, like, possible. Brrrrr.
posted by hermitosis at 5:32 PM on May 16, 2006


McGowan said his group plans no boycotts or picketing. Instead, the group aims to use the movie's popularity to raise awareness about the realities of albinism. He said he enjoyed most of the book and plans to see the movie.
I'm so sick of being strong-armed by all these goddamn victim groups. When will it end?
posted by mph at 5:37 PM on May 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


I was enjoying this thread until an evil fat man came and forced me to stop reading it.
posted by ori at 5:39 PM on May 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


My brother's best friend is albino. Every so often I stumble across discussions about people with albinism, pictures of albinos etc., and I have to remind myself that not everyone grew up with someone who is an albino, and that some people think it looks weird. So this is kind of strange, to think about "good role models" for people-- although my brother's best friend was offered a role in the movie Ghost Story, but turned it down, as he and his parents thought it was to essentializing.
posted by oflinkey at 5:41 PM on May 16, 2006


I take it there can be a person who is albino and "black"?

I had a relative on the Puerto-Rican side of my family (the other side is black) who was an albino. Like some of the other members of my father's family, he had facial features that are common within the black population. The first (& last) time that I saw him was at my grandfather's funeral. Apparently, he and my grandfather were pretty close, and my albino relative ended up killing himself not long after. I'm sure he had other problems as well. You know, like being so obviously different in a world full of insensitive idiots.
posted by eunoia at 5:42 PM on May 16, 2006


"Too essentializing"...and please feel free to use those extraneous commas for yourselves.
posted by oflinkey at 5:42 PM on May 16, 2006


Albinos should get out and achieve, rather than sitting at home being very white and unsettling and moaning about it.
posted by fire&wings at 5:53 PM on May 16, 2006


James Romanesko from Obscure Store wrote a great article for Milwaukee Magazine on local albino people in an article he called The White Minority.

Here's a previous MeFi post on albinism. I don't know what the "victim group" talk is about, if you real the article NOAH is going about it pretty sanely
McGowan said his group plans no boycotts or picketing. Instead, the group aims to use the movie's popularity to raise awareness about the realities of albinism. He said he enjoyed most of the book and plans to see the movie.
Here's more information from them via their online community. They seem pretty happy with how it's gone so far and The Albino Code seems to be what they're really proud of.
posted by jessamyn at 5:58 PM on May 16, 2006


Both melt away and porpoise are right. You couldn’t do an Elric movie justice without an X rating, or at least an NC-17.
Gore, heavy drug use, incest, pedophilia (he later on marries a “girl wife”) diabolic sorcery, kinslaying and soul stealing aside (where else you gonna say something like that “aside”?) in the opening scenes you’d have his cousin - and other members of the royal family - bitching at him for not really getting into the depraved (but orchestrated!) torture of slaves.

Yeah, that’d go over well. Peter Jackson couldn’t make this. Ralph Bashki couldn’t make it man. David DeCoteau? Too campy.
Tarentino on acid maybe.
Or Vincenzo Natali. hmmm... although he’s got more of a J.G. Ballard (the writer) thing going on.

Whatever the case it’d wind up being Allen Smithee ‘cause who the hell wants the grief from the mothers incest moral value spiritual vampirism christian albino anti-defamation league?
(I’d do it if I knew anything about directing. Like I’m going to have a career in Hollywood?)

Still, albinos would have an anti-hero who really kicks ass.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:02 PM on May 16, 2006


There's a relatively well-known black albino blues singer from Texas called Malford Milligan, and he wants you to know something:

"Malford Milligan wants you to know that he is Black. Sure, he's not Barry Bonds-Black, he's not Samuel L. Jackson-Black. But, he is BLACK.

Malford was born March 29th, 1959 in Taylor, TX to Frank and Mary Milligan (who are both Black).
Both of his sisters and his brother are Black.

Malford Milligan:

Was born in a Black Hospital
Went to all-Black schools until desegregation in the '60s
Drank from the Blacks-Only water fountain
Ate at the Blacks-Only Restaraunts
Has a Birth Certificate that says his race is "Negro". (For those of you born after 1970, this is the same thing as Black).
Chopped cotton
Worked in a brick yard
Has been a dishwasher
Has been discriminated against
Malford Milligan is Black.
However, he is an Albino*....a Black Albino.

Any questions?

*Albinism occurs in about 1 in every 22,000 Blacks, and 1 in every 38,000 Whites.
Johnny and Edgar Winter are Albinos too, but they ain't Black!"

posted by Devils Slide at 6:05 PM on May 16, 2006


I think that there are plenty of movies where blacks are the evil ones to even out the injustice done to albinos...
posted by zeikka at 6:21 PM on May 16, 2006


Positive albino role-model:

Salif Keita
posted by asok at 6:29 PM on May 16, 2006


Clearly, this is a problem that should not be whitewashed.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:36 PM on May 16, 2006


Wasn't Roy Orbison albino?
posted by fshgrl at 7:01 PM on May 16, 2006


Mr. White from the Venture Bros.

Positive role model. He rules.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:17 PM on May 16, 2006


where the hell is ceiling kitty when you need him most?

Watching. And judging.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 7:24 PM on May 16, 2006


Once you'd phrased it that way Smedleyman, I went and searched for any animation treatments for Elric... surprisingly, there are none (that were successfully completed).

Wendy Pini (of Elfquest) apparently gave it a go but it never got anywhere.

CNN reports that the rights for the Elric Saga were optioned (back in 2003) to Depth of Field productions (the films that they've produced thus far, strange mix) and they plan on shopping for a writers.

Iiiiinteresting... if it (the Elric script) goes anywhere; although the "...a sort of 'Matrix' of the sword-and-sorcery genre..." quote is worrying.

Who'd be a good actor to play Elric?

Jake Busey (Gary's kid) would make a good Moonglum, if only he wasn't so tall. If it does get made I pray to the Dukes that they don't camp up Moonglum (like Conan's sidekick in the second movie - Subotai was bad-assed in the first one).
posted by porpoise at 7:32 PM on May 16, 2006


Elric is pretty much unfilmmable to my mind, though the Wendy Pini version would have been at least a good try. I just want a good Jerry Cornelius movie before I die. The Final Programme was crap. Ah well, the cultural moment's probably past at this point, it being the 21st century and all...
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:41 PM on May 16, 2006


fshgrl said 'Wasn't Roy Orbison albino?'

Urban myth, apparently. And a pretty weird one, given his decidedly not very pale skin and dark hair, though I suppose the tinted specs do link up with the eyesight problems albinos suffer.
posted by jack_mo at 7:43 PM on May 16, 2006


There is an albino moontanner in "He Died With A Felafel In His Hand" ... but he's not sympathetic as such, he's just a slacker/druggie like all the other characters in that (well worth getting) book and film.

It's a fair point though. It's such an unusual thing that it has to be a central part of a character's personality and development, and it's incompatible with any kind of outdoorsy lifestyle. An albino pretty much has to be a shut-in, and shut-ins might also be more likely to be villains in fiction, than the sporty, physical laborer or fighter type. (Interestingly Elric is very much a fighter type, but his sword can cure sunburn as easily as any other injury.)
posted by aeschenkarnos at 8:23 PM on May 16, 2006


I thought that Whitey from Me, Myself, and Irene was fairly sympathetic, if a bit of a psycho.
posted by bingo at 8:57 PM on May 16, 2006


Woah! Nineteeth Century images of Albinism.
posted by tellurian at 8:58 PM on May 16, 2006


Noí Albínói may be a sympathetic portrayal of an albino, but it was the single most boring movie I have ever had the misfortune of sitting through.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:02 PM on May 16, 2006


From the Albino Code site:

Dan Brown supposedly did his research in the area of religion

Ha. Dan Brown's research in the area of religion is just about as accurate as his research in the area of albinos driving at night; his decisions about what facts to include for verisimilitude and what facts to make up are almost hilariously scattershot and filled with dumb mistakes that have nothing to do with the fictional plot.
posted by mediareport at 9:53 PM on May 16, 2006


Not one but two: besides Yellowman, there was another albino reggae toaster out of Miami called King Mellow Yellow.
posted by bonefish at 10:51 PM on May 16, 2006


I loved Noí Albínói. It was beautifully boring.
posted by shoepal at 12:26 AM on May 17, 2006


Albino animals.
posted by geekyguy at 12:38 AM on May 17, 2006


I always felt that Albinos were represented as kinda crazy in movies because, well, you always kinda expect them to be a little bit crazy, due to having to grow up in modern society. I knew an albino kid growing up (whose last name, I kid you not, was "White"), and he was one of those kids who was always just a little bit... off. Like, you wouldn't be surprised to find out he had a collection of real animal skeletons that he reconstructed himself in his closet off. I wonder whatever happened to him?
posted by antifuse at 1:46 AM on May 17, 2006


So who can you use as a movie villain any more without ruffling feathers?

English people. Haven't you learned anything from Mel Gibson?
posted by biffa at 2:43 AM on May 17, 2006


Non-evil pop albino or just very very very Scandinavian?
posted by funambulist at 4:29 AM on May 17, 2006


Dwarves are rarely portrayed in positive ways either.

[Little person Tito is not happy with the dream sequence]

Tito: Why does my character have to be a dwarf?
Nick: He doesn't have to be.
Tito: Then why is he? Is that the only way you can make this a dream, to put a dwarf in it?
Nick: No, Tito, I...
Tito: Have you ever had a dream with a dwarf in it? Do you know anyone who's had a dream with a dwarf in it? No! I don't even have dreams with dwarves in them. The only place I've seen dwarves in dreams is in stupid movies like this! "Oh make it weird, put a dwarf in it!" Everyone will go "Woah, this must be a fuckin' dream, there's a fuckin' dwarf in it!" Well I'm sick of it! You can take this dream sequence and stick it up your ass!
posted by languagehat at 5:51 AM on May 17, 2006


And as an aside, I have a contact who is a porn producer who has a standing order for true albino nudity. Hell, I'd watch it.

So would I - I've been on a quest for albino smut for well over a decade. There's a Yahoo group dedicated to this same quest, so buck up, you powdery fanciers - we're not alone.
posted by davelog at 6:16 AM on May 17, 2006


An Elric movie, while probably not furthering the Albino cause, would be awesome. I always pronounce Melnibone like 'Count de Monet,' or 'John Bigboote': "Mel-ni-bo-nay! Nay, you idiot!"
posted by steef at 7:02 AM on May 17, 2006


I see someone already mentioned Salif Keita, a great African singer who happens to be an albino. He's also a direct descendent of Sundiata Keita, the first king of Mali.
posted by mike3k at 7:32 AM on May 17, 2006


Does anybody track this shit? Is there some sort of Indignant Viewers Association to which I could turn to find out what percentage of movie villains [or romantic leads or successful businesspeople or idiots or whatever] this year were black [or female or Jewish or Russian or hunchbacked or whatever]? Or what percentage of movie blacks [or females or Jews or Russians or hunchbacks or whatever] were villains [or romantic leads or successful businesspeople or idiots or whatever]? And compare those numbers to the representation in the general population?

It would be cool to discover that, for example, albinos actually are a lot more likely to be imbalanced unsuccessful loners with borderline psychopathic characteristics, and that you can really never have enough crazed albino villains in your movies.
posted by pracowity at 7:34 AM on May 17, 2006


English people. Haven't you learned anything from Mel Gibson?

Yeah, go ahead - we're actually kind of flattered.
posted by teleskiving at 8:38 AM on May 17, 2006


What about Rei from Evangelion? I know she's not OFFICIALLY listed as albino, but come on. She has super-pale skin and red eyes. It's pretty clear.

And she ends up becoming a mother-goddess-figure who remakes the world into a new and better image. How much cooler can you get?
posted by InnocentBystander at 9:13 AM on May 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


« Older Can't. Stop. Chewing.   |   Jorg Sasse Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments