[...] Charles Xavier is skeevy. Privileged, isolated, sheltered and skeevy. His causal all up in other people's minds in the show is only maybe on or two ethical rules away from his casual all up in other people's minds in other media.
YES. I came to love comics!Charles over the years, but I would hate to be in a situation where any version of he was deciding what to do with me "for my own good". Yet Charles (comic and film 'verses) makes countless decisions like that about mutants and humans as if from an objective god's-eye viewpoint despite the fact that you can't possibly be so enmeshed in others' minds and personalities and NOT have that affect your decisions. In a weird way it would be less skeevy if he admitted how compromised he is.
(Tangent: during the film I found him kind of attractive at first. Then I realised he reminded me of a young David Cameron and the horror has never quite left me. It's a visual coincidence, but by god, is it a telling one - we're talking about someone who's SURE he understands people from drastically different backgrounds, and can make judgment calls about them, and everything's hunky-dory. Maybe that's why the coincidence of appearance caused me so much unease...)
Though in this movie, there were possible hints, for example, that for all he had 'promised' Raven, never to read her mind. It's likely he always was, whenever there was a roadblock and just wasn't telling her - instead coming across as insightful.
Which is a whole 'nother dimension of skeeviness - he gets to benefit in his interpersonal relationships and has probably never even analysed that. It's very Nice Guy, in a way.
I always thought the person who ended up showing the most ethical concerns about telepathy was always JEAN, and that because she felt other peoples thoughts quite palpably as intrusions into HER space [...]
That makes a lot of sense - she never seemed to make assumptions about her exercise of her power. I think that in big ways it's easily and often ascribed to the whole Phoenix Saga, but I find a lot of truth in it being rooted in her personal, visceral experience of being invaded by her best friend's death when her powers first manifested.
FirstClass did do one other thing for me though; in the past I've always tended to side with Magneto. But this time, I realized, he'd just as soon 'rise up', over currently oppressed peoples, as long as they were non-mutant. Wouldn't matter what else they'd been through as a people. [...]
I had the opposite experience because I was processing some UK political stuff at the time (the whole disability rights issue had led me to revisit the question of whether violent protest is ever justified, and if so when, etc.), but you're right about Magneto; his perspective just wipes clean a very complex slate of overlapping allegiances and oppressions, and makes it "us" vs. "them".
Like, when Erik's all 'Mutants First!'; what happens to non-mutant Jews? Yes? My personal head cannon Erik was not that oblivious in the slightest. But First Class Erik is, and made me realize that 1st Movieverse Erik was too. In X2? When he was messing about to end non-mutant life? Non-mutant Jews were dying left. right. center.
Not that Jews can't be oppressing (see anti Black riots in Israel right now). But still - lack of nuance. So much lack of nuance in the movieverse Eriks (both of them). And no one calling him on it at all.
Do you think he doesn't get called on it because the writers haven't noticed the issue, because they assume that hypocrisy on Erik's part is self-evident/that the debate has been had in the comics already? Because the more I look at it now it indeed feels like a huge thing for them not to address...
At least Kitty Pryde once pointed out to him, that in his plans? Her Jewish parents would die and asked him how that was different than the Nazis. But y'know, that was wwaaaaaayyyy back in the mid-late 80's comics.
Thanks for reminding me of that moment. I definitely have that in my reprint anthologies somewhere and I want to go back and look for it/see how he reacts...