Gipsy Danger – That’s Racist, You’re Racist

Tumblr. Right. So you’ve read the article’s title. You’ve read the first word of the article. Why do I get the suspicion that I don’t need to tell you any more? For all those who aren’t in the know, here’s what happened. And then I’ll follow it up by what everyone on that forsaken website got wrong.

First thing’s first. “Who or what is a Gipsy Danger”, you ask? Simple, it’s one of the Jaegers – giant fighting robots battling aliens known as Kaiju – in Guillermo del Toro’s movie Pacific Rim that opens in Swiss cinemas next week. Having not seen the movie proper, I can only say what I have seen from production stills and artists’ renditions of the mecha. Its design is basically just a giant, humanoid figure and it punches things because it can. That in and of itself is awesome.

The paintjob on Gipsy Danger is heavily reminiscent of the airplanes during the early decades of the 20th century. As is the font used to write its name. You’ve had a good look at it on top, right? And you thought this was awesome, right?

According to tumblr, you’re wrong. “Wait, what is this tumblr you speak of”, you ask. Simple. It’s a website that people use to network socially. Much like Facebook, you have your capital-F Friends on there ony that they go by nicknames instead of real names and they are not called capital-F Friends. But the principle is the same. So one person writes a tumblr-entry, another person shares it with his Friends and so on. This is called reblogging.

In addition to that, tumblr has become, for reasons that have not been fully explained as of yet, the one platform where crusaders for social justice gather. You name a minority, you will find an active community combatting the discrimination of your named minority. You name a majority and you’ll find a ton of people who will claim that this majority is being discriminated against.

A typical Tumblr-post

Gender-neutral pronouns? Check. Overreaction? Check. Social Justice? Oooh yeah!

Popular minorities on tumblr include the transgender community. Sympathetic tumblr uses have gone as far as to create gender-neutral pronouns to not use casual slurs such as “him” or “her” anymore, because apparently a “vagina is a mindset” as opposed to something the girls have and the boys don’t. By now, I expect you to have raised at least one eyebrow. So let’s get back on the topic of our favourite giant robot who gets to punch aliens in the face. Let’s get back to Gipsy Danger.

Seriously though, I’m not the only one who has a problem with one of the mechas being called Gipsy Danger, right? #pacific rim #it’s kinda racist

Wrong use of hashtags aside, this message made the rounds on tumblr and caused a bit of a stir, as does everything, to be honest. So Guillermo del Toro is apparently some racist prick who has to force his agenda onto people.

Here’s a secret: Tumblr is wrong. Guillermo del Toro is not racist. In fact, Guillermo del Toro is a history buff. Here’s how that goes.

First, if it were against the Sinti and the Roma people, then it would be spelled Gypsy. While Gipsy does exist as a spelling of the same word, it’s almost never used. But you know what’s called Gipsy and has been spelled Gipsy ever since it first appeared on this planet? A plane engine.

Racist engine

This is the de Havilland Gipsy. This is why Gipsy Danger is called Gipsy Danger.

The de Havilland Gipsy was an engine invented in 1927 by the British engineers Frank Halford and Geoffrey de Havilland which was at first named Tiger Moth. The motor was infamous for being small but very powerful. As such, it was used in racing planes. While the Gipsy-powered planes weren’t too successful as racing engines, they did manage to hold the world record when it came to speed. They accelerated a plane to 300.09km/h. In 1927. Using rotors. Whoever flew that thing must have been insane.

This caught the attention of people and a production model of the engine was built. Thus, the Gipsy Engine was had. It’s an air-cooled four-cylinder that weighs in at 136kg, which is incredibly light for an engine with that output.

Development didn’t stop there, though. Soon, the Gipsy II was on the market. Whereas the Gipsy I had only 100 horsepower, the Gipsy II had 120. And even there, de Havilland and Halford didn’t stop. In 1932, the Gipsy Major IIIA came about. And with it, biplanes suddenly had a whopping 220 horsepower in their fuselages. To compare: The newest model of the VW Golf, in production since 2012, has 226 horsepower. And that’s 80 years after engines of this power were built into planes.

And not even that. While you send off your VW Golf to the junkyard or to some third world country after a few years, there are still Gipsies being used. Currently, 17 planes in the United Kingdom are still powered by Gipsies. Granted, not all of them are airworthy, but they’re still awesome.

That’s where the giant fighting robot known as Gipsy Danger got its name. So, dear tumblr, you’re wrong.

So why am I writing about this? Because on the first official meeting of the Uncanny Book-Club, we’re going to see Pacific Rim. We’ll score some good seats and then watch the carnage unfold. However, before we do this, we’ll sit down and discuss where we’re going with this Book-Club. And you can be part of that! Check either our Facebook-Page or our Event-Calendar for details!

About Dom

Possessing nigh-encyclopaedic knowledge when it comes to comic books and movies, Dom is one of the co-founders of the Uncanny Book-Club. He also enjoys movies, and going to the cinema.

2 Comments

  1. I’ve been searching for the reason that the engine was named “Gipsy”.

    So, hey, sublime job not including it but instead making a defence on the basis of a now-archaic spelling, you fucking twonk.

    Then again, shouldn’t expect any more intellectual vigour & rigour from someone unironically whinging that social justice is a bad thing.

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