Gillespie & Welch in the LA Times: X-Men Movie Reminds Us We're All Mutants Now!


Reason's Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch in today's Los Angeles Times:

Though populated with superpowered "mutants" such as Magneto (who is able to control all sorts of metallic objects), Storm (capable of flight and creating crazy weather), Banshee (an Irish American tenor who can kill with his voice) and Raven (a blue-skinned shape-shifter), "X-Men" perfectly captures social reality and social aspirations in a post-gender, post-racial, post-mainstream, post-everything America. The multicolored, polyglot heroes and villains of the X-Men universe may be able to communicate by reading minds rather than using Skype, and they may be able to fly anywhere without booking tickets in advance, but make no mistake: That's us up there on the screen.

The X-Men have captured the public imagination in a world where we can tailor what we drink at the local coffee bar, personalize our online newsfeeds and are increasingly OK with people who look and sound and think different (to paraphrase Apple Inc.'s slogan of a few years back). That's because the X-Men incarnate what anthropologist and author Grant McCracken has called "plenitude," or the "quickening speciation of social types." No one is simply white or black, or even male or female, anymore; we revel in our ongoing mongrelization and hybridization….

It's not only easier now for all of us to let our freak flags fly, it's easier to find somebody who will help us design and produce them in the first place.

Read the whole thing.

Welch and Gillespie are the coauthors of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America, which will be published on June 28 by Public Affairs. This op-ed is drawn from material in the book. Go to for early reviews, book tour news, and to pre-order the book from your favorite online vendor. And watch this short trailer for the book now:

Reason's resident movie reviewer Kurt Loder gave X-Men: First Class a rave review. Read it here. And Peter Suderman analyzed superhero movies in an age of human enhancement here.