When Marvel Studios began working on their upcoming "Doctor Strange" movie, the creators found themselves in a bit of a pickle.

See, the character of Dr. Strange as he was originally created involves a once-arrogant surgeon who shatters his hands in an accident then travels to Tibet and learns magic from someone called The Ancient One and becomes the planet's "Sorcerer Supreme."


GIF from "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "Doctor Strange." Kind of.

That's all good and well and comic book-y, but it also reeks of the whole "white savior" trope, which is, erm, kinda really colonialist in a way that may have been overlooked 50 years ago when the character debuted.

But not so much in 2016.

Mind=BLOWN. GIF from "Doctor Strange."

Which makes their casting decision for the role of a Tibetan magic man even more puzzling.

According to the movie's screenwriter C. Robert Cargill, the filmmakers were concerned that acknowledging the Tibetan aspects of the story would anger China, the second largest movie market in the world, to the point of banning the film. And casting the part with a non-Tibetan Asian actor could, itself, be seen as cultural erasure.

Hence, the pickle.

In the end, the filmmakers made the choice that was best for their bottom line.

GIF from "Only Lovers Left Alive."

While the blow was somewhat softened by casting a woman — specifically the amazing Tilda Swinton — the decision also highlighted another glaring, grievous Hollywood problem.

Quite frankly, there aren't a lot of parts for Asians. In fact, there were no Asian actors in 40 of the 100 top-grossing films from 2007 to 2014. At all.

The roles that are available are already extremely limited, often to stereotypes or minor roles. The number of leading roles for Asian actors has actually shrunk over the years because the roles are whitewashed instead and given to marquee actors.

And don't even get me started on this:


GIF from "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

The reaction to the casting was swift and forceful. Prominent Asian entertainers like George Takei and Margaret Cho took to Twitter, where the hashtag #whitewashedOUT gained fast prominence.

"So let me get this straight. You cast a white actress so you wouldn’t hurt sales … in Asia?" Takei wrote on Facebook. "This backpedaling is nearly as cringeworthy as the casting. Marvel must think we’re all idiots."

"We have been invisible for so long we don't even know what we can do," Cho told IndieWire.

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GIF from the Webby Awards.

Marvel Studio and the "Doctor Strange" creative team tried several times to double-down, but the hole just keep getting deeper — until director Scott Derrickson issued his own response:

Certainly Marvel has and continues to make tremendous strides in the diversity department — heck, they cast Chiwetel Ejiofor as the Transylvanian Baron Mordo in "Doctor Strange." Would they have consciously participated in the whitewashing of Asian culture if not for those perceived political-economic pressures? Who knows.

The simple truth is that there's no magic that can change the multilayered oppressions of the past. There's not necessarily one "right choice" in these situations, but that's because it's not a zero-sum game.

It's not a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't scenario because the damning has already been done throughout history.

All there's left to do is help in righting the course of the culture.

GIF from "Doctor Strange."

Derrickson's simple statement is a humbling acknowledgement that sometimes when you screw up, all you can do is learn, move forward, and do better next time.

After all, that's basically how the arrogant Dr. Stephen Strange becomes the Sorcerer Supreme.

Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


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Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy asked his Senate colleagues the questions millions of Americans have after a mass shooting.

Another school shooting. Another mass murder of innocent children. They were elementary school kids this time. There were 18 children killed—so far—this time.

The fact that I can say "this time" is enraging, but that's the routine nature of mass shootings in the U.S. It happened in Texas this time. At least three adults were killed this time. The shooter was a teenager this time.

The details this time may be different than the last time and the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that. But there's one thing all mass shootings have in common. No, it's not mental illness. It's not racism or misogyny or religious extremism. It's not bad parenting or violent video games or lack of religion.

Some of those things have been factors in some shootings, but the single common denominator in every mass shooting is guns. That's not a secret. It's not controversial. It's fact. The only thing all mass shootings have in common is guns.

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Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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