Does Thor: Ragnarok Make a Joke About Slavery?

Tony Dillard

Culinary Jedi, Pop Culture Time Lord, Comic Book Curator, Book Reviewing Madman, Passionate for Pittsburgh…

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11 Responses

  1. gilgamesh says:

    I loved this joke. The one moment of truth in this otherwise ludicrous violence-promoting emotionally-dissociated film. It’s an emperor’s-clothes kinda moment. The audience is supposed to be uncomfortable. You’re watching this movie in a country that has 100% legal and strictly enforced slavery. Or, as we call it now . . . prisoners with jobs.

  2. Michael says:

    I loved the joke too! And I come from a country which was also built by slaves! And this didn’t bother us at all! We are all technically still slaves…of our jobs, of society’s pressure, of technology…etc… And that’s something we joke about a lot (congratulations, you’ve worked 70 hours this week, you can aspired to become a chartered slave!). Trying to understand why “professionals…with jobs” made you uneasy in a movie where the Goddess of Death was slaughtering people like Chuck Norris in his movies…

  3. Marcus says:

    Bad Guy is bad. Film at 11.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The joke isn’t about slavery, the joke is about the detachment from The Grandmaster and what he is really doing. By calling them “prisoners with jobs”, and asking his henchmen to do so as well, he doesn’t have to acknowledge what a monster he is. In his mind he is an entertainer, but in reality he is a despot.

  5. Anonymous says:

    it actually served to make a rather on-the-nose political comment about how modern day slavery is perpetuated through the prison system, so good on them.

  6. Randy Mang says:

    it actually served to make a rather on-the-nose political comment about how modern day slavery is perpetuated through the prison system, so good on them.

  7. ompus says:

    ” By calling them “prisoners with jobs”, and asking his henchmen to do so as well, he doesn’t have to acknowledge what a monster he is. In his mind he is an entertainer, but in reality he is a despot.”

    This is true, but the ‘joke’ is indeed about slavery and the fact that the U.S. pays corporations to run prisons that house prisoners convicted of petty crimes and who use those prisoners as, for all intents and purposes, slave labor. But the U.S. doesn’t want to acknowledge this monstrous, archaic practice, so we call it … ‘prisoners with jobs.’

    The ‘joke’ is that the USA and the despotic grandmaster are ON THE SAME PAGE.

  8. Daniel Schealler says:

    It was the best moment in the movie.

    It was a joke about slavery, yes. But it wasn’t a joke at the expense of slaves.

    It was a joke at the expense of the powerful people and systems that depend on slavery to function. Those people have a vested interest in denial that what they are doing is slavery, so they change the language. The joke in the movie just drew attention to that fact in a way that made it obvious and accessible.

    It doesn’t surprise me though that a lot of people didn’t get the joke. That, unfortunately, is kind of the point of what makes the joke relevant.

  9. Lynn says:

    The most memorable joke in the movie – it’s called satire. Much needed challenge to our complacency about the plight of African Americans in particular, and the socially and economically oppressed globally.

  10. Matt says:

    The joke can be seen as a play on our current capitalist society, noting that prisoners with jobs is the same as slavery. As money is our only way to access resources in order to survive, a slave is given resources needed for their survival instead of money. People may have felt uncomfortable because they can relate to this, as most people are essentially slaves, we just do not refer to them as such.

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