Huge huge fan, I can't wait to see this movie. A old-school kung-fu movie with some personality and modern sensibilities, approved by Tarantino...the Iron Fists ain't nothin to fuck with : )
Also, the way Bob talked about San Andreas on the Game Overthinker led me to believe that he had this hatred for "urban" culture, rap music, or whatever it was specifically that bugged him. I'm really glad that he did this piece, at the very least it makes him appear to have broadened horizons. Also he's a lucky bastard.
I saw the movie just a little while ago, it was pretty good.
When it comes to Movie Bob's comments I don't think he's exactly saying his opinion on urban culture has changed, so much as just conveying what RZA was saying. Having a respect for talent also doesn't mean you appreciate all the uses that talent is put towards. I could be wrong but that's how it reads to me, Bob seems to appreciate the talent involved, and like the genere of the movie more than I see him coming out as a Wu Tang fan (which he might be, but I didn't get that impression, he seems fairly neutral if anything).
That said, as far as the article itself goes I've read quite a few things over the years talking about 70s kung-fu/action movies and connections to black culture. Something I started paying attention to when I found out why "gangstas" were stupid enough to hold their guns sideways (which is inviting a jam or malfunction). The reason being that in a lot of Chinese made action movies the characters would hold their guns sideways. Back during the people's revolution/communist takeover, the commies wound up importing a lot of cheap european machine pistoms from Germany including a style that involved an experimental (failed) side ejection action. The idea was to hold the gun sideways so the ejection would come straight out of the gun. Later a number of Chinese knockoff pistols apparently kept the sideways ejection action. A few old books have even referanced needing to fire "chinese style" to make use of a weapon properly, oftentimes being a disadvantage due to not being able to use the gun's sights and aim traditionally. The thing is you wound up with a lot of gangstas wanting to seperate themselves from "whitey" and thus adopted a style of shooting or at least holding guns that was tied to other ethnic origins, albiet this being VERY stupid due to a lack of understanding of why someone would hold a gun like that, leading to retards both IRL and on screen holding their glocks with normal ejection systems sideways.
At any rate, as far as the meat of what I was going to say goes (which is more in response to RZA's comments than Bob's, though he does seem to agree with some of them), I don't think there is any connection between a "poor urban upbringing" and Kung-Fu movies because "that's all there was that they could afford to see". Truthfully Kung-Fu movies and the HK Action Cinema (and Asian Trash cinema in forms of sexploitation films and such) has been a staple of entertainment for most people a generation or so ago. A lot of this stuff was cheap to put on TV, and things like "Kung Fu Theater" became so well known and watched that the jokes play well to almost everyone, including faking bad dubbing, the classic "gong" sound for intermissions, and cracks about the opening fortune cookie conveying Chinese wisdom. White, Black, Hispanic, or anything else chances are during the 70s and 80s you watched plenty of these kinds of movies, since they were pretty entertaining to most people. Such movies along with fodder like monster movies were also cheaply produced in droves during the VHS era where even early on where most "real" movies were going for top dollar, you could pick up a few of these relatively cheap to use your new machine, not to mention the price made them and other B and C grade movies from overseas a great way for video rental outlets to beef up their catalog where renting some really cheezy movies became part of VHS culture. I'd imagine a good portion of fans of guys like "Dario Argento" became aquainted with his work largely for theese reasons (Italian horror guy if you don't know him).
The actual reason for tie between "Black Culture" and kung-fu movies and oriental culture is simply because it isn't white, yet it represents something everyone can understand and appreciate to some extent. Not to mention the entire idea that there is this whole "eastern world" which has been around thousands of years and managed to proper without white people being involved. A backlash to "culture envy", which is especially problematic when dealing with blacks due not just to the whole slavery issue, but the general triviliazation of the entire part of the world where they are from. Africa more or less being a hell hole, that one can't exactly point back to with any kind of pride. On some levels anything differant than the guys who are at the top becomes embraced, it's part of the counter culture.
I used quotes around "culture envy" because I have mixed opinions about it. It refers to the sociological belief that the less a given people have contributed to the modern world the more unintentionally intimidated and oppressed they wind up becoming. It's similar to "invisible knapsack" arguements. The basic idea is that when you look at the major inventions of the modern world like electricity, the telephone, and pretty much everything around you, it all came from the inventions of whites (no matter where they are produced). Exceptions exist, but they are few and far between comparitively to the point where it becomes intimidating to know that people like you might have to look back centuries or even thousands of years for any kind of equal contribution. To a white person it doesn't even bother to enter their mind how someone might view everything else around them, or arguements over which country rightfully claims someone like Alexander Grahm Bell (who was born in Scotland, chased out, moved to Canada, and then the US). You can find innovations from India, Africa, Asia, etc... but not as many of them, and few that are as prominant or omni-present to the modern world. Something which unintentionally fuels racial tensions, and to an extent Anti-Americanism since the US has more or less spearheaded most of the developments of the modern world since we created such a positive climate for innovation to begin with that people from other nations came here to do their thing (though fairly Europe as a whole was pretty influential).
This doesn't apply so much to the specifics here (so don't misunderstand there being a direct analogy as opposed to explaining a concept some people might not have run accross before, actual sociology is not big on these forums I've found, even things like the above which I don't 100% agree with can have some bearing however), other than to say that at least when it comes to the white/black equasion, there seems to be a decided effort to move towards/embrace anything that isn't white on principle, and then adapt it into the counter culture. The parallel evolution of "The Eastern World" especially centuries ago being a paticularly intrigueing thing to someone raised to hate the dominant force of the culture they are in, even if the reality of this alternative isn't much better and would probably treat them even worse than how they feel that they have been mistreated if they were in power.
Or in short, it's a counter culture drawn along racial lines, doing what counter cultures do. There isn't any deep, abiding, reason behind it.
None of that matters in the scope of the movie though, "Man With The Iron Fists" is pretty decent, and it was very much a homage rather than any kind of social "message movie" or tool for a counter culture.