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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

X-Men Q&A with Kieron Gillen

Here's a lengthy interview with Kieron Gillen, newly appointed as co-writer for Uncanny X-Men, with plenty of reflections about the meaning and future of the franchise.


Marvel.com: [...]  do you feel like the perception of mutants in the Marvel Universe has shifted from the traditional "hated and feared" to something else resembling more how we treat heiresses and celebrity television stars? Have they gone from being one form of curiosity to another? And if that's the case, are they really any closer to achieving Xavier's dream of acceptance, or has Cyclops just, like you said, settled for survival?

Kieron Gillen: Hated, feared and the object of total fascination. I think that's the fair description of the position of mutants in 2010, and, no, it's not enormously better. And I do think it's interesting that the character who most believed in the idea of Hope-as-Messiah, Cyclops, is the one whose cynical, pessimistic instincts most lean him away from trying to live like that. And totally understandably.

The X-Men as alienation/prejudice metaphor is something that's always been present. But I think we're interested in what actually underlies the metaphor, rather than tying it to a specific real-world struggle. The mutants are the future of humanity. What people hate and fear is that it makes them obsolete; the mutants will be the end of us and our power. It's the sort of thinking which underlies a whole load of prejudice anyway—that giving equal rights to a group who's been suppressed means that, relatively speaking, the power of the dominant group also falls. Mutants are that writ large. If they gain power, we will lose everything. But that's a lie. The mutants are us. They're us with talents we don't understand or really comprehend—which [is] where we get to celebrity. If the X-Men are celebrities, they're the ones whose abilities have put them in this insane position of world-wide fame rather than heiresses. They are the future. And we're trying to crush them or control them or ruin them. It's the old versus the new, and hurting the future just to keep the drip in the arm of the present. We make the new the Other because we're afraid of what it says about us, how obsolete it makes us.

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