Post by anothermanicmondas on Aug 25, 2018 21:19:51 GMT
Going at a little tangent, I believe that the biggest problem with Fu Manchu is the bad reputation and bad versions
Aug 24, 2018 21:13:25 GMT @seaniesbeanies said:No, people shouldn't apologise for liking something, that's pretty stupid. What people should do, however, is stop trying to make excuses for the serial. It doesn't matter how much context someone can give ("Ooh, but it's a Fu Manchu pastiche!"), the result is still offensive to a great number of people.
I'm usually the first to pound on the 'Context' drum in terms of discussion of older media, but even that doesn't excuse. In fact it makes it worse because
A) There's a good reason why Fu Manchu has been a dead property, and that death started not far off from this story.
B) Doctor Who already had cast Asian actors in Asian roles before this, like in Mind of Evil six years earlier. There's even Asian actors in Talons! There was no excuse in 1976/77 on Maloney's part not to find an Asian to play Chang. It's really arbitrary that Fu has to be a white guy because 'well, that's how it always was'. Funny how Dracula is not played exclusively by East European actors, then...
John Bennett did a great job, in terms of being menacing, but he's still a white guy with yellow paint and taped slant eyes. You can't get around that if you're intereted in honest discussion, and it's irritating because, Talons' high quality aside (and make no mistake, it's a damn good mystery Gothic historical), it's really the only out and out stereotype of this nature in Classic Who: they at least had sense not to do red faced Native Americans or grass-skirt cannibals.
While the first book was excessive by today's standards, later books progressed away from that
in the first book Fu Manchu is described as the Yellow Peril Incarnate but in the Golden Scorpion (a spin-off between the third and 4th book) the term "yellow peril" is laughed at over it's racism
Fu Manchu's motives in later books include trying to prevent the Second World War, trying to block dangerous scientific research and trying to blackmail America into helping him overthrow the communists and return China to imperial rule (the Chinese seem to be quite capable of fightng him off without Western help)
Fu Manchu is significant in villain history not for being an offshoot of the pre-existing Yellow Peril concept but for popularisng the notion of a villain who is ruthless but also has a strong code of honour.