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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Was A Jewish Norse God

Back in 1995, I attended fourth grade at a private school where we got to study the Norse myths. This culminated in a school play at the end of the semester, where the class played different gods. I was cast as Heimdall, guardian of the rainbow bridge Bifrost. Granted, this wasn't a significant part, as I was basically just the narrator who opened up the scenes for the other students. But I didn't see any reason why I wouldn't be Heimdall, and I still got to wear a paper mache horned helmet and wield a wooden sword.

It is also worth noting that I am partially of Jewish descent, and I don't recall hearing of Jewish people who worshipped Pagan pantheons. Similarly, I don't recall any African-Americans in the Norse myths, as many have pointed out regarding the casting of Idris Elba as Heimdall in the upcoming Thor movie.

Another thing I don't recall is anyone in the audience of that school play complaining about the casting of a Jewish student as Heimdall. If they did, they would be seen as completely foolish and/or bigoted.

So do you see where I'm going with this?


  1. Friendly Neighborhood Spider-ManApril 20, 2011 at 10:47 PM

    A multi-million dollar film production is a bit different than a school play, and unless you're actually a semetic Israeli Jew (which I doubt) you probably look more or less 'white.' I get your point, but that doesn't mean I have to agree with it.

    For the record, I'm not one of those people who's always opposed to interracial character casting. I thought Michael Clarke Duncan made a great Kingpin, and Samuel L. Jackson is perfect for Nick Fury. If they'd cast a black or asian woman as Jane Foster in the Thor movie, I'd have absolutely no problem with that. I just feel that the Norse gods themselves should be, y'know, Norse looking.

    The fact that your school had a play based on Norse mythology is pretty awesome, though.

  2. Speaking technically, the Norse gods weren't Norse either, but denizens of Asgard, who frequently miscegenated with the other races of the nine worlds. And Marvel Asgard is even more cosmopolitan, given the other concurrently-existing pantheons. Darker complexions can easily be justified.

    And yes, that was an awesome school :)

  3. When I heard the casting news, I figured they'd handwave it by using the old "the gods reincarnate" thing they've been doing in the comics. Apparently that's not the case, but so what?

    Elba's screen presence is generally so commanding that he'll be excellent in the role. This is an excellent argument for colorblind casting.