One of the areas of pop-culture I love to come across are those moments when a fictional universe collides with the real world. Such is the case with one of my favourite stories to come out of the excellent podcast series Radiolab back in 2011 on the case of Marvel’s X-Men being classified as non-human toys rather than human-like dolls. You can listen to the podcast here.
What makes this story most interesting is that within the X-Men story the issue of people’s rights, tolerance, prejudice, classifications and registrations are core. It is well known that the X-Men comic, which debuted in 1963, is modelled on the debates and social tensions which occured during the US civil rights movement. Byran Singer who directed the X-Men movie has stated that he saw the issue of mutant rights portrayed in the film as having parallels to the contemporary gay rights movement.
You can read more about this story at Law and the Multiverse, and around the web. I think it raises three great issues:
1. How fiction isn’t seperate from reality, and they often collide to produce fascinating insights and reflections
2. It’s a low-risk way to debate central issues around in-groups/out-groups, faith for humanity vs intolerance and prejudice
3. Fascinating to see the unintended impact of policy decisions around trade, tax and classifications.