On the Topic of Mutants and a Lack of Pollutants

I find my self sympathetic to Magneto's cause.

Let me explain. You see, I've been quite sick over the past two weeks. Sick enough that I considered visiting a doctor regarding said illness, something which I can remember doing about once (not counting the "illness" of a gash requiring 5 stitches, sewn in by one Dr. Butcher... seriously) in the past decade. So, last Tuesday I went home to Brampton for my Dad's birthday and stuck around because I wasn't in any shape to work. I brought with me a selection of movies, as my parents would be gone to work, and I would be rather bored, especially with no computer to entertain me (though my parents' recently acquired cable television helped somewhat as well). One thing I brought home was my X-Men trilogy. I hadn't seen any of them since I bought it last year, so I watched them all.

Now to the point. When I concluded my viewing of the movies, I began to realize that there was something far more realistic in Magneto's response to the mutant situation than in Professor Xavier's. Now, I'm not talking about the mass genocide (see Appendix A) of all humans or any of the other extreme ways that Magneto actualizes his ultimate goal. He is the villain, and he does evil things. No, what I am talking about is his general philosophy regarding the relationship between human and mutant.

Well, actually, its not even that. I just find myself taking issue with Professor Xavier's relentless optimism. Now, you could argue that being against some of Magneto's policies would probably put me closer to the response of the humans, such as the Senator from the movies. That's not entirely true either. You see, while I would be against mutant registration because of the restriction of freedom, I understand the need for it. Plus, in the X-Men universe, I would probably have to concede that mutants are, indeed, the future. Ultimately, my problem with the human stance is I don't think the problem can be solved through political means, and I'm not on someone like Stryker's side, where I think the mutant "problem" should be eradicated.

Now, I'm going to tread lightly here, because I know that there have been considerable parallels (both inferred by readers and put in by writers) drawn between the mutant/human situation from X-Men and many race-related conflicts from the past. So I feel I should mention that what I am talking about is the fictional world of the X-Men only, as I think the parallels work on one level, but on another we are talking about an actual difference (I mean, he can contort metal with his mind...) not one imagined by racists and bigots.

I mean, how can mutants and humans live in peace and equality? We are talking about people who can move objects with their minds, change the weather, blow stuff up by looking at it, and so on. It isn't as if you can just ignore that. I mean, would it change hiring policies? I mean, you can't honestly suggest that equal opportunity employment would really work in a world like that.

Who wouldn't hire Wolverine as a stuntman, because he can heal extremely quickly, or as a chef or landscape architect because of his claws? You can't tell me that Storm wouldn't become a local weather forecaster or Mystique an actor or undercover cop. Magneto would probably work construction or something similar, while Cyclops and Gambit might be demolition experts. Iceman could work the local hockey arena, while Professor X could be a ridiculously successful telemarketer. Now, of course, this is assuming they take honest work (although Professor X's exploitation might be ethically suspect...) but you see where I am going with this. How could you not hire these people over average Jack and Jill Everyhuman? I mean their physical capabilities make them much better candidates for these positions. That's not even to mention the fact that many of these mutant powers betray both of the laws of thermodynamics, and thus something akin to a perpetual motion machine could be created by Pyro using a single spark to spend an 8-hour work day creating vast amounts of steam energy (or Magneto or Jean Grey could simply move a turbine with their mind, and so on) and so they could take up employment that way, creating an easily renewable energy source. Al Gore would be so happy. And that is why I find myself sympathizing with the villain (not because of Al Gore's level of contentment, but because of my lack of belief in a proper co-existence and equality between humans and mutants).

Appendix A: I hadn't really thought of this before, but it is interesting to juxtapose the beginning of the first movie with Magneto's general philosophy. He is a Holocaust survivor and is adamantly against mutant registration (he mentions at one point that ink will never again touch his skin, referencing the concentration camp tattoo on his arm). However, his genocidal (is that a word?) approach combined with his essential belief in a master race really put him much closer to the Nazi's he so loathes than even the government who was opting for registration. Interesting hypocrisy there.

Appendix B: Here I am going to go on a bit of a rant regarding the mutant classification system introduced in X-Men: The Last Stand. I have some difficulty with it. I'm not sure if it is true to the comic books and if they would do a better job of explaining it, but it just doesn't make any sense to me. In the movie a character refers to Magneto and Pyro as Level 4 mutants. The level is based upon the power of their... well, their power. My problem is that if Phoenix is a Level 5, and Magneto a 4, then I think we can assume that Professor X is also a 4. The problem is that Pyro is also listed as a 4, which is where I take issue. Because there is no way that Pyro is on the same level as Magneto. Plus it would make most of the rest of the X-men on that level too. I can probably see Storm being a Level 4, and perhaps even Mystique. Iceman could even be a 4, I think. I wouldn't have a problem with Pyro being a Level 4 if he could both make fire and manipulate it, but he needs a source. The rest I see as Level 3, I think, because their powers may be cool, but they aren't nearly as remarkable or useful. Though I should mention that Wolverine's level would certainly betray how dangerous he is, as his power is essentially the quick-healing, which might be a Level 2 or 3, with the claws and titanium reinforced skeleton not being part of his power, per say. Anyways, this rant is over.

Now, did this post come off as nerdy as it seemed?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If by "nerdy" you mean "awesome", then yes. It filled me with great joy.