Thor's "He's Adopted" Joke In THE AVENGERS Comes Under Fire

Thor's "He's Adopted" Joke In THE AVENGERS Comes Under Fire

As we know, some people are just looking for an excuse to hop up on their high horse, and apparently they found it in Marvel's The Avengers. Have a look at a particularly silly response..

I'm sure we all remember Thor's response to Black Window informing him that his brother Loki had killed a whole bunch of people in The Avengers. The God Of Thunder replies - "he's adopted". Funny yes? Well, not everyone thought so. See, apparently this was seen as an attack on adopted people, because if Loki is evil, and Thor said he's adopted, that must mean he is implying..all adopted people are evil! Umm, no.

Quite a few organizations and outlets have made it very clear that they have no idea how to put things in perspective, and were quick to express their outrage at such an insensitive attempt at humor! But one article in particular just took stupidity to a whole new level and prompted me to write up this response. In an piece entitled "The Avengers attack on adopted children is mean and unfunny", Andrea Poe of The Washington Times suggests that thousands of adopted kids the world over have been horribly scarred by the line, and writes..

The hope now is, of course, that enough media attention has been brought to this unfortunate episode in this blockbuster movie that such blatant ignorance and bias won’t turn up again. Sadly, that hope is unlikely to match reality anytime soon. Far more likely, this line is likely to be joined by many other offensive, stupid, callous jokes in future. Hollywood has increasingly become a place filled with writers who are insulated and isolated from mainstream America and who find sophomoric bullying humor that wouldn’t be tolerated in a middle school as a pathetic excuse for a career.

But that's nothing, here's the best part..

I like to do something I call “the substitution game,” whereby if I want to check whether or not a line is acceptable I simple swap out whatever word I have questions about with either the words “Jewish” or “African American.” If the line sits well using both of these, the line passes the test. So let’s try that here to find out if people would think the line was so funny if these words were used instead of “adopted.”

So here we go:

The Black Widow character says, "[Loki] killed 80 people in two days." Then Thor, Loki's brother, replies, "He's Jewish."

Ugh…awkward, isn’t it? Doesn’t seem quite so funny.

OK, let’s try again:

The Black Widow character says, "[Loki] killed 80 people in two days." Then Thor, Loki's brother, replies, "He's African American."

Thud. Not funny, right?

Actually Miss Poe, it's hilarious. Don't you understand that Thor's reason for coming out with the line "he's adopted" was to distance himself from the evil Loki had perpetrated? It had nothing to do with the character BEING adopted, nor was he implying that he was evil BECAUSE he was adopted. How the Hell is that the same as substituting the word for "Jewish"? Would Loki being Jewish mean that Thor wouldn't have to bare the shame of being blood-related to such an wicked man? No, it wouldn't. I'll play devil's advocate here and admit that a very young child might not understand the context of the scene, and perhaps might be confused about the exchange, essentially not "getting the joke". But I'd argue that a child that young probably shouldn't be watching the movie in the first place, and in all likelihood would be too young to be sat down and have the fact that he was adopted revealed or explained to him/her anyway. I just think that with so many things actually worth kicking up a fuss about, this type of reactionary, faux indignation should be held up for scrutiny. Thoughts?

Oh, I almost forgot, there was one part of the movie that really took things too far. When Thor says "You people are so petty, and tiny". My God, I was in shock. How dare they imply that shorter people are in some way small-minded or spiteful! Won't someone please think of the Hobbits?

Posted By:
Mark Cassidy
Member Since 11/9/2008
Filed Under "Avengers" 5/17/2012
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