[Discussion] On Television, Cinema and Race

Thread for race issues in media.

Birth Of a Nation
This movie isn't do so good. I think this is because black people are tired of slave type movies, white people don't want the white guilt, and everybody else is turned off by the rape case. I mean this in general. This is just a perfect storm for the downfall of the movie.

Surviving Compton
Straight out of compton left out the ladies. This lifetime show means to correct that. I believe all of the production was done by women.

Mulan live.
All Chinese cast. Maybe the dumb choices of Gods of Egypt are over.

My only pushback to that idea (love that I have accidentally turned this into a HIMYM thread, but genuinely, there's a lot of meat on that bone RE: race/gender/sexuality) is that

1.) Barney never actually gets his comeuppance for his duplicitous misogyny. And that's not me calling him misogynist, I'm pretty sure Lily or Robin use that exact word at some point. The closest thing is the episode with Jennifer Lopez, who he, of course, ultimately seduces. Yes, the show does say a few times that for every Barney success story there are 9 failures, but those are generally brief and for gags.

2.) He genuinely was the show's breakout character. Like, he had a book and everything.

So I never really read him as a satire, I read him, juxtaposed with Ted, as "the writer's room publically working out their issues with women."

Prederick wrote:

My only pushback to that idea (love that I have accidentally turned this into a HIMYM thread, but genuinely, there's a lot of meat on that bone RE: race/gender/sexuality) is that

1.) Barney never actually gets his comeuppance for his duplicitous misogyny. And that's not me calling him misogynist, I'm pretty sure Lily or Robin use that exact word at some point. The closest thing is the episode with Jennifer Lopez, who he, of course, ultimately seduces. Yes, the show does say a few times that for every Barney success story there are 9 failures, but those are generally brief and for gags.

2.) He genuinely was the show's breakout character. Like, he had a book and everything.

So I never really read him as a satire, I read him, juxtaposed with Ted, as "the writer's room publically working out their issues with women."

They at least cover his daddy issues which, along with his mommy issues, seem to be a part of his resulting sex goals. But I agree, any time they seem to take a step forward with some self-reflection, it is usually immediately rushed back to status quo (that's network tv for you).

as requested, I'm bringing Dave Chapelles' Closure comments from the Netflix thread over here.

I think Netflix blundered and will pay dearly for years to come.

Yes, you protect your secret sauce. But Netflix needs to get on top of the situation. The reason why this (pregnant, black) employee grabbed the third rail is because of Netflix's handling of the situation.

1. Why does it matter if the person is black or pregnant? Why put that in the article other than to try and fire people up more?
2. If the person really did leak internal data then they should be fired.
3. If the didn't leak data and Netflix is using this as an excuse to fire this person than shame on them.

pizzaddict wrote:

1. Why does it matter if the person is black or pregnant? Why put that in the article other than to try and fire people up more?

Because marginalized folks (PoC, queer and/or trans folks, disabled folks, women) are more likely to be discriminated against and already have the cards stacked against them.

I really liked this article in Slate, it does a really good job of braking down the special and it explains what disappointed me about the special and Dave Chappelle as of late.

I watched Dave Chapelle's Closure and didn't like it for the most part. I did laugh a few times. This is actually the only show of his I didn't like. I think he failed on multiple points but will only address a few. I also don't agree with all the negative things said about him but will only address a few. I also spent a few hours looking up reviews of his show from black cis people and black LGBTQ people. Mostly everything I heard up to now has been from white cis people.

I don't think he is homophobic or hates LGBTQ people. This started from his previous shows which I think was mainly brought about by racists that don't like seeing a black man succeed, mainly not only. In Chapelle's jokes it seems he believes that some maybe most of the attacks to cancel him are coming from racists many of whom are also part of the LGBTQ community. Every black person in media gets lots of mindless racist hate. The problem where Chapelle failed is not addressing the fact there are BLACK LGBTQ people. He doesn't see telling jokes about LGBTQ people as punching down because in society they are above a black man. That would only be true if all LGBTQ were white but they aren't. To me this comes off as tone deaf considering black LGBTQ people are mainly being victimized by black men. Every LGBTQ joke applies to black LGBTQ people. These people have to put up with racism for being black and the discrimination for being a person in the LGBTQ community. Can't punch down any more unless they are also non Christian. Unless you are in that community I don't think you should be telling jokes about them. I will note though none of the black lgbtq reviews I watched had a problem with his show or rather they didn't have major problems. They all liked the show. The black cis reviewers were split.

Someone on the other thread took issue with Daphne Dorman being brought up. I believe they said that they thought it was going to go somewhere but didn't. I couldn't disagree more. This was the best thing about the show on par with his show on George Floyd. And as much as I liked this part of the show there were problems with some of his conclusions from his interactions with her.

Now Daphne Dorman is trans woman that came out in defense of Chapelle a couple of shows back. She also was a comedian that Dave had open for him. She also defended him for the last show. She killed herself last than a week later. She received a ton a hate for her defense of him which Dave believes drove her to commit suicide. He also equates the attacks on her as being from the same actors that attacked him.

Now why did Dave bring this story up at all. I believe he cared about her. I have hard time believe someone that watched his show can't see that on him. Then he was also making a point that the people that claimed to care about Daphne never brought her up, never talked about what she went through. To him how much could they really care if she didn't seem to exist until he talked about her.

This was the best part of the show but it still brought up of some issues. Dave seems to think the he and Daphne ae on the same level. I don't think he understands that being a BLACK TRANS WOMAN mean she is taking on a lot more hate than he is. So I do see bringer her up as a good thing to do but at the same time it is pandering because we can't know if she killed herself because of hate she got defending him. Maybe it had nothing to do with him all. This was his opportunity to bring up all the other things killing black trans women. He could have done this in addition to what he believes it was which it honestly could have been.

On one of the reviews or rather I guess it was a news spot with a cis white lady and lesbian black lady going through his jokes. One joke was about how someone was only gay until they needed to be just white to attack a black person. Cis white lady thought it was an example of his hate for LGBTQ people and the black lesbian didn't. To me it looked like the black woman was going out of her way to not upset the lady. I don't think she explained why she was upset over it. I honestly think she is one of those people that don't think racism is real. I think she was making it more about her than LGBTQ people. If I was up there with them I would have pointed out there are black LGBTQ people that can't be just white. I can also see why the black lesbian wouldn't have a problem with the joke since she has been on receiving in racism from racist white LGBTQ people.

At the end of the show Dave says he wont tell any more gay jokes which is for the best. I don't really get why he needed to go on a hour long rant even if he believes most of the people trying to cancel him are racists or misguided. I mean why do a hour long set on anything. There are like a billion things to talk about.

I don't think the show will do anything negative for Chapelle or netflix except make them more money just like his last show. Even though I didn't care for the show I don't think it should be pulled because people found it upsetting or a attack on trans people. I don't think it was an attack and on trans people and many other trans people don't either. I think it is better to point out what the problems are let people judge for themselves. People think Dear White People attacks white people should we pull that show. And interestingly enough the showrunner for that show is a trans woman that is now boycotting netflix. I mistakenly thought she was black. I don't know if this is some epic irony or not.

I also watched the Chapelle special. Full disclosure that this is only the reaction of a cis male white het etc. etc. etc. so take it for that and nothing else. Would never presume to tell anyone else how to react, and I fully recognize that this special touches on issues where others' experience is probably more relevant than mine.

I thought the special was largely very funny. Chapelle is a talented and charismatic performer. That's not to say I agreed with or approved of everything he said; it's perfectly possible to find something very gut-level funny and still take a step back and say, "wait, was that really okay though?"

I dislike the concept of "punching up/down" in comedy, because it presupposes an orderly hierarchy in which one can always tell who is "up" or "down" in relation to whom. Real life is nearly always more complicated than that. It also incentivizes a perverse sort of "more oppressed than thou" competition in order to belong to the protected "down" class that, at minimum, is a distraction from the work of identifying inequities and correcting them. I don't need to know whether white trans people have it better or worse than black cis people to want things to be better for both of them.

I forget if it was here or on Twitter, but I read someone saying that the problem they had with the special was that often, the only joke was "this person is trans." So I watched it as a sort of mental exercise: in any given bit, can I find a point to the joke beyond just pointing and laughing? Given the most generous interpretation possible, is it actually transphobic?

Mostly it passed that test. With almost every bit, I found myself saying, "I see how someone could read this as transphobic, and I wouldn't call them wrong if they did, but I can also see a non-transphobic reading." The bit about bathrooms, for example, *could* be read as transphobic, but the joke could also be read as, "look, a lot of cis people are going to have a gut-level uncomfortable reaction to trans folks' anatomy no matter what bathroom they use, therefore these bathroom laws are obviously ONLY there as a means to harass trans folks because they obviously don't solve the problem they're putatively intended to solve, a problem which is a non-issue in the first place."

The one exception to that was the bit comparing trans' folks genitals to imitation meat products. Try as I might, the absolute most generous reading I could find for that bit was, "look, I'll use your preferred pronouns and I'll support you in using whatever bathrooms you want and I'll recognize that you are a group of human beings who are facing some very serious hardships, but at the end of the day I still only consider a trans woman to be a woman with an asterisk, and I reserve the right to make crass comparisons to make that point." I don't even necessarily disagree with the point, which would probably be grounds for turning in my ally card if I hadn't almost certainly lost it years ago. But I wasn't proud at laughing at the way it was made.

So is that transphobic? Depends on your definition, but probably at least a little, and I'm not going to argue with anyone who wants to upgrade that to "more than a little."

I watched it in part because I was made aware of the Netflix boycott and walkout yesterday, and I was curious. I know there's more to those things than just the Chapelle special per se, and it gets into issues of employee relations that I'd have to put a lot more thought into before I'd be willing to even tentatively offer an opinion on.

But speaking just about the special itself, there's a threshold of problematic above which something demands actions like boycotts and walkouts. Above which someone or something needs to be "canceled," for lack of a better term. And this special, in and of itself, didn't reach that level for me. Once again, not going to tell anyone who disagrees that they're wrong. Everyone's got to act according to their conscience.

Another reason I was curious about the special is because I saw someone on Twitter-- I forget who, someone who got retweeted by someone I follow-- try to make a case drawing a bright line between this special and anti-trans violence and use that to urge folks to support the boycott / walkout.

I really don't see it. If the special was transphobic-- and I'm inclined to be sympathetic to the viewpoint that it is-- it does not rise anywhere near the level of incitement to violence. And I think it's dangerous to conflate it with speech that does, in a "boy who cried wolf" kind of way. There are enough actual, physical threats of violence against trans folks that I don't think it's in anyone's best interests to be seeing them where there are none.

Anyway, that was today's edition of "Ben puts his dumb white nose in where it's not wanted or needed." I'll listen with interest to anyone who wants to tell me I'm wrong about any of that. (-:

Edit: Just read the Slate article Hobbes posted. It's a good one. Broadly aligns with some of my reactions, but also expands on them and puts them into context. Gives me some food for thought.

I watched the Invasion trailer and noted they used a song about lynching for the show. The song was Billy Holiday's Strange Fruit. She went to jail multiple times for singing it. I don't think the people that did the trailer knew what the song was about. I was going to ask but they turned off comments.

I thought this sort of thing didn't happen anymore. Maybe don't use real guns?

Man, I had such fond memories of (or at least, of parts of) Person of Interest.

Then I found out Jim Caviezel was a QAnon guy.

Personally I don't really care if there are bad people on a show. Given the number of people on any given movie or tv show one has to be horrible person. I'm pretty sure sure no one puts out a request for A hole actors. I dropped off of POI but I recall it having some good actors or at least actors that I know don't support evil groups. Also the group didn't exist when POI was on air.

Reminds me of the dude that plays Jane on Firefly who is a horrible person so probably also Q idiot but I'm not going to throw out my firefly bluerays or my buffy set because he was in those shows. Those shows have some wonderful people in it. Dude from Barney Miller, yeah I'm old. Gina Torres is wonderful person.

It would be more problematic when people hire people knowing they horrible people. On the surface I still feel the same but it a little different because everyone knows they are horrible. Oh coarse they might need the money so they might have to work with them. Like I'm not watching or buying anything harry potter because all I can think about it what a horrible person the author is. I know there are good people that will be in the new movie but they know who she is and most don't need the money. I don't know, maybe I am being stupid and contradictory.

It’s not just the Qanon stuff, apparently he’s just an all-around monster. The QAA ep has testimony from several people who worked on POI and *allegedly* Caviezal is an obnoxious super-evangelical who constantly tried to force his beliefs on everyone and repeatedly tried to actually hurt other actors during some action scenes because he thought it was something his character would do.