marence: (Default)
 As a storyteller, wouldn't it be fun to make up an evil (or evil-ish) setting and throw in a bunch of protagonists to see how they handle it?
As a storyteller, wouldn't it be fun to take an evil world and set protagonists in it so they could make a Statement or send a Message to the world?
I dunno.
As a storyteller, I'd find the first fun, and the second tedious.
As a listener, I'd find the first fun, and the second tedious.
As a white liberal mom, I'd find the first interesting and the second Important.
Lately I've been seeing a lot of blog post and news articles about sexism, racism, and "Other"-ism in many of the science fiction and fantasy shows on the air now. I agree, in theory, to most of them - there should be no -isms to complain about, diversity should be acknowledged, bigotry is Bad and Evil.
I watch a few of these shows - mostly Doctor Who and lately, Game of Thrones. I don't watch much TV or movies, because I have 6 years of academic and practical analysis of how these things are made, and I get distracted by camera placement choices, costuming sets, and lighting. And lens flares. I hate lens flares. So when I watch my shows, it's with a willing suspension of disbelief and a hope for writing and acting good enough so I don't start analysing all the technical aspects.
Since I know about the making of these things, I know there's often a disconnect between the story and what appears on the screen. The show runner, or original author, or episode writer, may not have much or any control over what happens to their story. And the stories? Hey, I know they were written by middle-aged white guys, and therefore, I'm getting a bit of their worldview along with their writing. 
And I accept this. I don't always approve of it; I rail when obviously bigoted, or selfish, or even just plain bad characters aren't punished for their opinions and acts. Yet it's just a TV show. It's meant for entertainment, not for instruction or role models or moral guidance. When we see what we consider to be egregious acts that have no consequences, or storylines that denigrate entire races, classes, or genders, we should rail. We should rant, we should tell our friends. We should discuss it, online and in person, because if you think it's improper, explain why to those people who are ignorant. A lot of what are considered "privileged people" aren't even aware of their inborn status and prejudices. Talk about it. Go back and forth in the comments with people who has differing opinions, not to troll or bash people over the head with your dogma, but to have a civil discourse and share thoughts. Maybe you can learn something, maybe they can learn something, maybe the Internet can learn that people can have opposing views and still debate calmly and rationally. 
Okay, maybe that last part is as much a pipe dream as the people who think that tweeting about racism or sexism will solve anything. I love that people are noticing, and not taking for granted that there is a lot of subtle and not-so-subtle hatred, bigotry, and stupidity in media today, and too many people are getting their role models from there. After all, the #1 thing American kids want to be when they grow up is Famous.


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May 2013

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