[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.

From cheeze's linked interview:

What they need to be imagining is how f*cked up things are today, and a story that allows us to now dramatize it in a more tangible matter.

One of the few ways I could imagine this working is if the modern day slavery in the Confederacy is bolstered and enforced by, I don't know, overenforcement and targeting of minor legal infractions against slaves and using poor education, segregation, fines, and prisons to uphold their social order? Perhaps a subtle play on insecure, armed white folks going on about the universal right to bear arms while swift retribution falls on the slaves who even look too long at a weapon?

Possible bonus points for Apartheid South Africa still existing as a strengthened world power and a military presence in the Confederacy for supporting them in the 2nd or 3rd Civil war as mentioned? A growing industrial Chinese nation, rebuilding after a horrendous defeat by the Japanese in WWII, upset with all the cheap manufacturing coming out of the Confederacy? Who knows, this will probably go terribly and I have every expectation that it will, but per the twitter thread linked above an actually realized alternate world where 100+ years of American world influence is erased/reversed could ask some interesting questions.

I have absolutely no faith that it will, though, or that the inclusion of any of the above wouldn't already diminish the horrible racism involved in the idea from the get go.

Robear wrote:

GoT is not a libertarian utopia. It's a *Monarchist* utopia...

Given the rate at which monarchs perish, I would disagree...

The idea was that there's no real difference between feudalism and libertarianism. At least not from my perspective. Libertarians disagree, natch.

karmajay wrote:
NathanialG wrote:
karmajay wrote:
Seth wrote:

We should remember that in context, the show is proposed by the creators of arguably the best television show in history, a show that fundamentally changed television forever.

They made The Wire?

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/RwyC8Mu.gif)

Legion would be very happy with me right now :)

IMAGE(https://media.giphy.com/media/I4rMfRmx9Kebu/giphy.gif)

Where do you think one of those Likes on that post came from?

Seth wrote:
Robear wrote:

GoT is not a libertarian utopia. It's a *Monarchist* utopia...

Given the rate at which monarchs perish, I would disagree...

The idea was that there's no real difference between feudalism and libertarianism. At least not from my perspective. Libertarians disagree, natch.

Heh--the difference is one of the major themes of GoT.

Seth wrote:

The idea was that there's no real difference between feudalism and libertarianism. At least not from my perspective. Libertarians disagree, natch.

I don't see how you can make that work. You must be misunderstanding one of the two systems.

TheGameguru wrote:

I have no issue with the show being made.. It's depressing but that's the reality of the world we live in.. just look at all the recent Oscar nominations for black people.. most of them dealt with Slavery. I wish it could be different but I suspect its never going to be.

That's going to continue until the people in Hollywood stop believing that casting someone other than a standard-issue straight white cis man somehow makes the movie about the experience of not being a SWCM. Sure there are exceptions- maybe we're at the point where you can say "casting more than one non-SWCM" instead- but that seems to be the idea.

Malor wrote:
Seth wrote:

The idea was that there's no real difference between feudalism and libertarianism. At least not from my perspective. Libertarians disagree, natch.

I don't see how you can make that work. You must be misunderstanding one of the two systems.

I understand exactly what he means, but this doesn't seem like the thread to make that stand.

qaraq wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:

I have no issue with the show being made.. It's depressing but that's the reality of the world we live in.. just look at all the recent Oscar nominations for black people.. most of them dealt with Slavery. I wish it could be different but I suspect its never going to be.

That's going to continue until the people in Hollywood stop believing that casting someone other than a standard-issue straight white cis man somehow makes the movie about the experience of not being a SWCM. Sure there are exceptions- maybe we're at the point where you can say "casting more than one non-SWCM" instead- but that seems to be the idea.

I have high hopes for Idris Elba and The Dark Tower.

*Legion* wrote:
karmajay wrote:
NathanialG wrote:
karmajay wrote:
Seth wrote:

We should remember that in context, the show is proposed by the creators of arguably the best television show in history, a show that fundamentally changed television forever.

They made The Wire?

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/RwyC8Mu.gif)

Legion would be very happy with me right now :)

IMAGE(https://media.giphy.com/media/I4rMfRmx9Kebu/giphy.gif)

Where do you think one of those Likes on that post came from? :D

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/i66othb.gif)

I was just watching the SDCC panel on the new Star Trek . They were talking a lot on diversity but only had one non white person on a ten person panel. So I guess they don't have any non white people behind the camera and the non white actors shown in the trailers might not be regular cast members. Or the non white members couldn't make it to SDCC. Just kind of odd to be talking about diversity and have almost none on stage.

Baron Of Hell wrote:

I was just watching the SDCC panel on the new Star Trek . They were talking a lot on diversity but only had one non white person on a ten person panel. So I guess they don't have any non white people behind the camera and the non white actors shown in the trailers might not be regular cast members. Or the non white members couldn't make it to SDCC. Just kind of odd to be talking about diversity and have almost none on stage.

They probably have plenty of non-white people behind the camera. You know like grips, caterers, wardrobe, cameramen, interns, etc.

Just not writers. :p

So a black woman will be playing Domino in Deadpool 2. There has been the typical racist response to it. The only thing is Domino's race is unknown in the comic. She has been depicted in many ways that makes here race uncertain. In the comics she is two tone mostly clown white with a black dot over her eye which is why she is called Domino. The actress however will not be wearing body makeup, instead she will just have a white circle over her eye, so like a black domino.

I get people might not like the look because it is different from the comic. However, I think she looks great and Domino isn't a well known character. Most people have no idea who she is so the change doesn't matter much.

Rat Boy wrote:
*Legion* wrote:
karmajay wrote:
NathanialG wrote:
karmajay wrote:
Seth wrote:

We should remember that in context, the show is proposed by the creators of arguably the best television show in history, a show that fundamentally changed television forever.

They made The Wire?

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/RwyC8Mu.gif)

Legion would be very happy with me right now :)

IMAGE(https://media.giphy.com/media/I4rMfRmx9Kebu/giphy.gif)

Where do you think one of those Likes on that post came from? :D

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/i66othb.gif)

IMAGE(https://68.media.tumblr.com/6bfa71ddfc85bbebbc6335ed795ba2bf/tumblr_nu4h8stopJ1qdrcyyo3_500.gif)

Film Crit Hulk SMASH: On Criticism In The Intersectional Age

This isn't an essay, it's an admission.

Over the last month, I've got a lot of requests asking for commentary on the following subjects: Elizabeth Banks' Spielberg comment/criticism of Joss Whedon's old Wonder Woman script/Ana Lily Amirpour's shut down of a person in her Q+A and insisting there's no racism with the film/the discussion of James Gunn's handling of a possibly sexist running joke in Guardians 2/Sofia Coppola's Civil War set-film not addressing slavery whatsoever/and now the GOT/Confederate debacle. And what has my answer been to most of these queries?

Contemplative silence.

That's because I feel myself getting to this point where I've (somewhat) stopped rushing in to voice my opinions on a lot of intersectional issues du jour, not out of any real fear of doing so, but mostly because I've been second guessing my understanding of a lot intersectional issues lately. So instead, I've just been slowly letting it all start to gel and add up to something deeper in my mind. Not just in terms of having a better understanding of this complex crossroads in our critical industry (one that has been so largely dominated by white males), but understanding what that really means about how we engage with/write-for a movie-going audience that is rapidly changing. In short...

This is about realizing when you're in the way.

But nothing in my fancy university actually compared to moving to Los Angeles, where I had two discoveries. One, that the people who actually make it in Hollywood come from more wealth than even those at fancy university (we rarely talk about this). And two, writing a dumb character on the internet suddenly put me in touch with infinitely more people than I ever imagined. There are many who love talking about the internet as an echo-chamber, but I find the opposite to be true. People looooove to tell you exactly why they don't like you. And if you get in the habit of wandering around the internet, it's all actually there. The whole, ugly, beautiful, sincere, stinking mess just radiating like the beating heart of a being that barely understands it's alive. It's internet intersectionality and it's right at your fingertips. And it will tell you constantly, and without pity, exactly why it thinks you are wrong. Why it thinks you are bad. Why it thinks it knows better. And so, you are suddenly in a space where it is more important to be good than ever. To get it right. To be a good ally. To be flawless. And for years I have written with those goals. Because in the end, for all the good I may have meant...

It was really about me.

Well, it's football, but it's about race and it's on television, so maybe this is the right thread?
Colin Kaepernick Isn’t Being Blackballed Because He Knelt for the Anthem

Each layer peeled away common arguments — it’s nothing to do with politics; Kaepernick isn’t good anymore; the NFL is a meritocracy; he isn’t being blackballed — and now, as the timer beeps ever faster, we’re seeing increasingly comical reactions each time the saga lands in a new pair of hands. Certainly it has now become as laughable as it is frustrating.

Through it all Colin Kaepernick has remained silent. In his silence he has raised yet another mirror to reveal another ugly truth about another American institution. What’s left reflected is that Colin Kaepernick isn’t being blackballed because he knelt for the national anthem, he’s being blackballed because the NFL has (for decades) persuaded its patrons that what he is doesn’t exist: a three-dimensional, wholly human Black athlete.

So I listen to a podcast that comes out once a blue moon, Hardcore History by Dan Carlin. Recently he put up an episode titled "The Celtic Holocaust" and in the beginning he's talking about genocide. He says (my transcribing):

Dan Carlin on Episode 60 - The Celtic Holocaust wrote:

Imagine if only one of those things [such as being killed or having your family and freedom taken away] were going to happen to me in my cushy life here where I'm in no danger of, say, having my culture wiped out. I can't even imagine what that would mean, like blue jeans illegal, no more iPhones and they start destroying the Christian religion? I mean I'm not quite sure in the modern sense in the United States, where I live, how that even - you can't even get your mind around it.

And that just struck me as such a privileged white statement. I probably heard him say similar stuff previous episodes and it didn't register with me because of my own privilege but it just hit home when I heard that a few hours ago.

I don't really have a point, other than I'm questioning if I should keep listening to the remaining six hours of this thing. I just felt a need to say something and here seemed like most appropriate place I could think of.

Eh, I'd still listen. I'm sure the rest of it is fairly interesting anyway, noticing that someone said something a bit clunky doesn't necessarily invalidate everything they do.

Yeah, I'll probably listen to it eventually. I just know he's also really fond of saying stuff like "Can you imagine modern Americans doing that?" when talking about various hardships, believing that modern people are weaker and less able to handle problems than people from more troubled times, be it World War One or the fall of the Roman empire. So I'll get more of that as we go on, and if I keep listening today I'll just end up throwing my phone across the room.

You might give it a little while. Today is a particularly... fraught day. To be kind.

How can any person know what it is like to have their culture obliterated if it never happen to them personally. All he can do is acknowledge it happen. He didn't claim there are people alive today that don't know what it is like to have your way of life destroyed or outlawed. He said he couldn't know what it was like.

It sounds like you wanted him to lie and say he knows exactly what genocide feels like. He could have listed off some people that might know what it feels like but that wouldn't change the fact that until he personally experience his culture being destroyed he can never know what that really feels like. All he can do is try to imagine what that would mean.

Eh, it was the last line, where he took his own feelings and pushed them on the "modern United States" that really got to me, and I'm sure today's events didn't help.

But there are plenty of people in the US who do know what it's like to have their family broken apart, to have their culture under assault and their lives threatened unless they obey someone else's idea of how they should be. Those people just aren't straight white guys like him, or me for that matter.

And yeah, if he'd acknowledged something like that in some way in his opening I probably wouldn't have had such a negative reaction. Or if he'd stuck to talking about himself in the singular rather than expanding to try and include the audience in that.

IMO Most media has something problematic attached to it. IMO It is ok to listen/watch most stuff as long as you understand it is problematic.

I caught the same feeling from that section.

But for his audience (me), that's an appropriate statement. Like, I've studied history as a scholar but I did so from my giant white tower of privelage. I think Dan is just trying to get people to think about things differently.

That said, if you're not into it, cool. I get that.

He might have better insight into it if he advocated listening to people talking about their experiences having it done to them.

On a related topic I just found out how racist HP Lovecraft was in life. Sure most people of his time were racist but he seems to have been a engine for racism. His racism isn't always reflected in his works but it is there and not just in a way that reflects the time. So I decided to stop reading his stuff. There are plenty of authors that didn't publicly endorse racism that I can read.

On a slightly different note does this mean I should stop consuming anything that makes reference to Lovecraft's work. Do I not play the video games based on his work. Do I not look at the art based on his work. Do I not read the stories based on his work. At the moment I don't know. On one hand there are plenty of other stuff to consume so cutting this stuff out means nothing. On the other hand I don't know any racism being put out by the creators of these works. I haven't played Cthulhu saves the world but doubt there is any racism in it. In the end it might not matter if it reminds me to much of Lovecraft, may he rot in the hell I don't believe in.

I've known about his racism for a while but it hasn't really stopped me from reading his stuff. It's not like he's going to profit from it, everything has been in the public domain longer than I've been alive, and the expanded Cthulhu Mythos universe was beyond his control even when he was alive, so while I recognize it as being problematic and you should definitely go with your conscience, I also feel like shunning it at this point is a somewhat empty gesture.

I don't think I really shun his work. I would like to be able to read his stuff but I know every time I open his book all I'm going to think about is racist comments. I have the same problem with Card. None of the books I have read has any homophobia in them but every time I try to read a new one that is all I think about so I can't enjoy the book. I see it as a failing on my part. On the other hand I was able to watch the Ender's Game movie without thinking of Card. I think in that case I could accept that a movie is made by many perhaps hundreds of people.

Lovecraft is...well, you're not the first fan to discover just how deep his racism went. Which is mostly to say that you're not alone in wrestling with it. Might be worth checking out some of the other people who have been struggling with the same question:

'The Ballad Of Black Tom' Offers A Tribute To And Critique Of Lovecraft
Why We Still Write Lovecraft Pastiche -- Elizabeth Bear
THE MONSTROUS H. P. LOVECRAFT
Lovecraft’s racism & The World Fantasy Award statuette, with comments from China Miéville.

This list skews a bit towards authors who chose to still write lovecraftian stuff, given that they tend to talk about the issue more. There's a few writers who deliberate write stuff that Lovecraft would have hated. Plenty of others have chosen to walk away from his stuff entirely (or as entirely as they can). It's a difficult thing, for the people who loved his writing but hate his views.

Good read ups thanks for posting those links.

Catching up on the thread, my recommendation regarding Dan Carlin is that if you listen to his political show Common Sense you'll recognize he's one of the good guys. While it's definitely worthy to want all art to be as holistic as possible, I can see why Dan ignored race in a story about European history.

Regarding Lovecraft - the extended universe has been picked up by writers like Neil Gaiman, August Derleth, Stephen King and Brian Lumley whose works don't have the same virulent racism. And in recent times there are several diverse writers who have been subverting Lovecraft's tropes. For example, the "She Walks In Shadows" short story collection features modern women writers reimagining the motives behind some of HP's villianesses. So a witch who was evil because she was of African descent in Lovecraft's story becomes a woman getting vengeance against her former slave owners in the modern retelling.

TLD'R - there's plenty of good stuff in the Cthulhu mythos that I wouldn't feel bad liking the setting even if you don't like HP.

Here's a link btw to She Walks In Shadows.