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Supergirl - To Refit or Create New Characters

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#41 Themis

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 08:43 PM



So I seem to agree with RJ Diogenes and most others don't.  I think we may have exhausted the subject.  As I've said, switching ethnicity of characters I've grown up with won't ruin a series for me.  I reserve the right to wonder "why?" and know that absolutely nobody involved in the production cares what an almost-70 female thinks.  None of these DC TV shows portray the characters as they were in the comics I was reading through college so they're all adaptations for me.  I still enjoy the heck out of them, mostly.  Maybe my "mind's eye" sees the characters as the artwork I remember.  Maybe it doesn't.  The characters and the comics are finding a wider audience so it's all good.  

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#42 BklnScott

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 11:02 AM

The suggestion that cynicism is what's behind this really bugs me - not just because it's untrue but also because that suggestion was (perhaps disingenuously) attributed to me.

This is not cynicism, guys. It is idealism. (For millennials, it's practically a crusade.)

People look to heroic fictions to see reflections of their best selves - this is one of the reasons superhero comics have attained such a deep cultural resonance in America. But when the heroes are white, hetero, mostly-male, where does that leave everyone else? What does it say to those who don't fall into the narrow privileged category? And let's be clear: the vast and growing majority of Americans do not fall into that category, including me. (For most of the 20th century, the only place for queer characters in these sorts of heroic fictions was as the heavy. This is also true for many nonwhite ethnicities. Those were the cultural resonances we were invited to embrace - and everyone else was invited to embrace about us - in most incarnations of these myths.)

Now it's 2015. Why should we all continue to be boxed out just because these myths originated in racist, misogynist, homophobic times? We are actually talking about contemporary tellings of these stories, right? Not period pieces. They are not set in the Silver Age or the Golden Age. The are set in the now or the five-minutes-from-now and therefore they need to look and feel like today - and speak to today's audiences.

It bothers me that some then say, "Fine, you're right - but at least make it a new character - don't change an existing one." So... Superman's Best Friend can't be black? Really? They should literally introduce a new character to play Superman's Black Friend? Gross. That is textbook tokenism and it's gross.

Just to be clear. People are saying Jimmy Olsen can go from child newsie in the Depression to time-and-space-traveler to Elastic Lad to Flamebird to gritty urban crime fighter and back to photojournalist - all of which is peachy keen, but don't you dare hire a black actor to play him or we're through.

Come now.

Edited by BklnScott, 05 June 2015 - 11:21 AM.

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#43 G-man

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 12:15 PM

Ummm :unsure:

So, does this mean you'd prefer that existing characters be reimagined to reflect a more diverse world rather than having new characters being created for the same effect?

Mind you, I'm not saying this is an either/or option, it can be both, but if you had your "druthers" which would you prefer?

I ask because this issue arose surrounding Michelle Rodriguez response on TMZ to the "rumor" that she was being considered to play Green Lantern. The general response that I saw echoed this conversation where most everyone was saying "why not?" and willfully ignored her point that she'd prefer playing a character that was specifically conceived as reflecting her minority and experiences, as opposed to simply being a different flavor of an established brand.

/s/

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Edited by G-man, 05 June 2015 - 12:23 PM.

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#44 Christopher

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 03:08 PM

View PostBklnScott, on 05 June 2015 - 11:02 AM, said:

The suggestion that cynicism is what's behind this really bugs me - not just because it's untrue but also because that suggestion was (perhaps disingenuously) attributed to me.

This is not cynicism, guys. It is idealism. (For millennials, it's practically a crusade.)

For me, it's simply realism. The demographic fact is that non-Hispanic white people are a minority of the global population, and will be a minority in the United States within half a century. The only reason to refuse to portray that fact is if one has an agenda to preserve the rapidly fading status quo of white privilege. The myth I hear from some people is that the ones casting diversely are the ones who have a racial agenda, but it's actually the other way around. If you take race out of the equation, if you stop pretending it matters, then diverse casts are what you get automatically. White is not the default. Diverse is the default.


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It bothers me that some then say, "Fine, you're right - but at least make it a new character - don't change an existing one." So... Superman's Best Friend can't be black? Really? They should literally introduce a new character to play Superman's Black Friend? Gross. That is textbook tokenism and it's gross.

Hear, hear.

Well, except for one thing -- there have, in fact, been a number of new characters created specifically as black characters to increase diversity, and some of them did start out as "the black sidekick" -- notably Falcon and War Machine, though we've also had others who weren't just sidekicks, like Black Panther, Luke Cage, Storm, Cyborg, Steel, Mal Duncan, Bumblebee, and most recently Miles Morales. So it's not like there's anything wrong with creating new characters specifically to be diverse (and it shows how ridiculous it is for RJD to keep asking "Why can't they create a new character?" as if that were something that had never been done -- especially since both Falcon and War Machine are now Avengers in the movie universe).

But you're right that it would become a problem to say that their existence should somehow preclude the diverse casting of previously white characters. The inclusion of Falcon, War Machine, and (coming up in the future) Luke Cage and Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe hasn't kept them from also casting black actors as Nick Fury, Heimdall, Mack McKenzie, Ben Urich, Claire Temple, and possibly others. Arrow's creation of the brand-new character John Diggle, and its inclusion of Amanda Waller (albeit in the slimmed-down supermodel form from the New 52), did not preclude them from casting Candice Patton as Iris West in The Flash. It isn't a choice between one or the other, and it never will be.


View PostG-man, on 05 June 2015 - 12:15 PM, said:

So, does this mean you'd prefer that existing characters be reimagined to reflect a more diverse world rather than having new characters being created for the same effect?

Mind you, I'm not saying this is an either/or option, it can be both, but if you had your "druthers" which would you prefer?

As I said, it's already both. It's artificial to treat them as opposing choices. Neither one precludes the other, so why would they be? The only reason I can see to invent the pretense that it should be a choice is if one wants to limit the inclusion of nonwhites in fiction.


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I ask because this issue arose surrounding Michelle Rodriguez response on TMZ to the "rumor" that she was being considered to play Green Lantern. The general response that I saw echoed this conversation where most everyone was saying "why not?" and willfully ignored her point that she'd prefer playing a character that was specifically conceived as reflecting her minority and experiences, as opposed to simply being a different flavor of an established brand.

Well, I can see the value in that perspective coming from her, but there's no reason it should be the only perspective. The whole idea here is inclusion and free opportunity. Yes, some actors of color are going to want to play roles that reflect their own experiences, but others are going to be eager to play their classic heroes, even those who were originally white. For instance, Samuel L. Jackson specifically campaigned to play Nick Fury, in exchange for letting the Ultimate Marvel universe use his likeness for the character in the comics. And others will just pick whatever role appeals to them based on the script. Actors are diverse in attitudes and goals as well as ethnicity. As long as you sincerely respect equal opportunity for every actor, instead of building walls based on race, then they'll all get an opportunity to pursue roles according to their own preferences.

Edited by Christopher, 05 June 2015 - 03:10 PM.

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#45 RJDiogenes

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 06:19 PM

View PostOmega, on 04 June 2015 - 06:27 PM, said:

I'm understanding a gimmick to be a change for no reason other than to make something stand out.
Exactly. Maybe not at the level of individual creators (or maybe so), but at the level of studios and networks-- yes. It's to get attention and manufacture controversy.  They don't care about women and minorities-- they care about the money that women and minorities will give to them.

View PostBklnScott, on 04 June 2015 - 06:49 PM, said:

That's… not at all what I said, but OK.  
Sorry, I thought you had brought up commercialism at some point.

View PostThemis, on 04 June 2015 - 08:43 PM, said:

As I've said, switching ethnicity of characters I've grown up with won't ruin a series for me.

Ultimately, it's all about the quality of the production.  Sleepy Hollow is my favorite show on the air right now, and it's the most egregious example of being unfaithful to the source material.

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None of these DC TV shows portray the characters as they were in the comics I was reading through college so they're all adaptations for me.
That's really the bottom line for me, and why TV and movie adaptations seldom interest me at all. Not only do they arbitrarily change the characters and water down the concepts, but they're missing the two things I loved best about comics-- the writers and the artists.  The individuality and eccentricities of the creators are gone.

View PostBklnScott, on 05 June 2015 - 11:02 AM, said:

This is not cynicism, guys. It is idealism. (For millennials, it's practically a crusade.)  
That crusade predates millennials by a long while.  It even predates my generation really, although it reached its peak in the 60s and 70s.

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People look to heroic fictions to see reflections of their best selves - this is one of the reasons superhero comics have attained such a deep cultural resonance in America. But when the heroes are white, hetero, mostly-male, where does that leave everyone else? What does it say to those who don't fall into the narrow privileged category? And let's be clear: the vast and growing majority of Americans do not fall into that category, including me. (For most of the 20th century, the only place for queer characters in these sorts of heroic fictions was as the heavy. This is also true for many nonwhite ethnicities. Those were the cultural resonances we were invited to embrace - and everyone else was invited to embrace about us - in most incarnations of these myths.)

Now it's 2015. Why should we all continue to be boxed out just because these myths originated in racist, misogynist, homophobic times? We are actually talking about contemporary tellings of these stories, right? Not period pieces. They are not set in the Silver Age or the Golden Age. The are set in the now or the five-minutes-from-now and therefore they need to look and feel like today - and speak to today's audiences.  
Have you heard anyone say anything different?  Maybe you read where I already said all that.

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IThey should literally introduce a new character to play Superman's Black Friend? Gross. That is textbook tokenism and it's gross.  
Well, this is where we'll probably always disagree. You think it's gross to introduce a new Black character to be Superman's friend and I think it's gross to serve leftovers to people who have had nothing but leftovers for generations.  I don't think this makes you a bad person or anything.  I'm sure you're quite sincere.  But I disagree strongly.

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Just to be clear. People are saying Jimmy Olsen can go from child newsie in the Depression to time-and-space-traveler to Elastic Lad to Flamebird to gritty urban crime fighter and back to photojournalist - all of which is peachy keen, but don't you dare hire a black actor to play him or we're through.
No, not clear. Through with what?

View PostG-man, on 05 June 2015 - 12:15 PM, said:

I ask because this issue arose surrounding Michelle Rodriguez response on TMZ to the "rumor" that she was being considered to play Green Lantern. The general response that I saw echoed this conversation where most everyone was saying "why not?" and willfully ignored her point that she'd prefer playing a character that was specifically conceived as reflecting her minority and experiences, as opposed to simply being a different flavor of an established brand.  
That's cool.  Except that Green Lantern is not a person, it's a role-- like policeman.  Is she rumored to be playing Hal Jordan or a Green Lantern?  There already have been multiple Earthlings as Green Lantern (including John Stewart, who is Black).  A role is different from a person.  Tony Stark's best friend Rhodey, who is Black, took over being Iron Man when Stark was brought down by alcoholism.   I understand that Sam Wilson is now Captain America (an idea I actually submitted to Marvel as part of a proposal I came up with around the turn of the century).  Or is it the very concept of Green Lantern that she objects to?
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#46 G-man

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Posted 06 June 2015 - 09:39 AM

I don't think Ms. Rodriguez objects to the concept of Green Lantern, but rather would sooner portray someone whom no one else had portrayed, than be one of a number who have portrayed him.  However, I suspect that if she is presented a distinctive role wherein it was the story of Helena Diaz who became the Green Lantern for Earth, she might well consider it.  The problem though is that while we had the likes of Alan Scott, Guy Gardner, James Stewart(?), and Kyle Raynor depicted as Green Lantern for Earth, it is still Hal Jordan that is/was the most commonly recognized as being Green Lantern.

Likewise, while it's nice that Marvel has introduced Miles Monroe to be Spider-Man, the fact remains that it is Peter Parker that most automatically think of when the name Spider-Man is tossed about.  At best, people may stop and ask "Which one?"

The same is true of Ms. Marvel, people will generally recall Carol Danvers unless Kamala Khan is specied (BTW the Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel is positive delightful and really worth the read).  

/s/

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Edited by G-man, 06 June 2015 - 09:49 AM.

Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus

#47 Christopher

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Posted 06 June 2015 - 01:19 PM

View PostG-man, on 06 June 2015 - 09:39 AM, said:

The problem though is that while we had the likes of Alan Scott, Guy Gardner, James Stewart(?), and Kyle Raynor depicted as Green Lantern for Earth, it is still Hal Jordan that is/was the most commonly recognized as being Green Lantern.

It's John Stewart, and the generation that grew up watching Justice League cartoons on TV is probably more familiar with him than they are with Hal. In fact, I thought I'd heard that John was the likely choice for the GL of the DC movie universe.


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Likewise, while it's nice that Marvel has introduced Miles Monroe to be Spider-Man

Miles Morales. He's Afro-Latino, not Scottish.


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, the fact remains that it is Peter Parker that most automatically think of when the name Spider-Man is tossed about.  At best, people may stop and ask "Which one?"


The same is true of Ms. Marvel, people will generally recall Carol Danvers unless Kamala Khan is specied (BTW the Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel is positive delightful and really worth the read).  

That depends on what "people" you're talking about. Among many readers, both young, new audiences and nonwhite audiences hungering for representation, Miles and Kamala are huge. It's amazing and heartening how successful Ms. Marvel has been, when just a few years ago people would've insisted that a new, female, Pakistani-American, Muslim superhero had no chance of selling. I recently heard Kamala referred to as the Peter Parker of the 21st century. Not to mention that Carol Danvers seems to be more massively popular as Captain Marvel than she ever was as Ms. Marvel, Binary, or Warbird. I think that both Carol as Captain Marvel and Kamala as Ms. Marvel have made such powerful impressions that they've completely overshadowed the previous usages of the names.
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#48 RJDiogenes

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Posted 06 June 2015 - 04:03 PM

View PostG-man, on 06 June 2015 - 09:39 AM, said:

I don't think Ms. Rodriguez objects to the concept of Green Lantern, but rather would sooner portray someone whom no one else had portrayed, than be one of a number who have portrayed him.  However, I suspect that if she is presented a distinctive role wherein it was the story of Helena Diaz who became the Green Lantern for Earth, she might well consider it.  The problem though is that while we had the likes of Alan Scott, Guy Gardner, James Stewart(?), and Kyle Raynor depicted as Green Lantern for Earth, it is still Hal Jordan that is/was the most commonly recognized as being Green Lantern.  
I suppose, but her character would still be an original character. I assume. Unless they intend to cast her as Katma Tui or something.

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The same is true of Ms. Marvel, people will generally recall Carol Danvers unless Kamala Khan is specied (BTW the Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel is positive delightful and really worth the read).  
I have the first TPB, but, every time I open it and see the art, I close it again-- must keep trying.  :lol:
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#49 QueenTiye

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 05:23 AM

Does anyone consider Shakespearean characters leftovers and hand-me-downs?

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#50 Christopher

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 08:12 AM

View PostQueenTiye, on 08 June 2015 - 05:23 AM, said:

Does anyone consider Shakespearean characters leftovers and hand-me-downs?

I once saw a stage production of Hamlet where Claudius was played by a black actor, and nothing was done to explain or justify it. He was just a member of the troupe, and that was the role he was judged most qualified to play. The audience was trusted to look past the surface and focus on the characters and ideas -- pretty much a necessary skill for enjoying any stage performance, really. Heck, after all, the female roles in Shakespeare were originally played by boys anyway.
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#51 G-man

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 08:46 AM

View PostChristopher, on 05 June 2015 - 03:08 PM, said:

View PostG-man, on 05 June 2015 - 12:15 PM, said:

So, does this mean you'd prefer that existing characters be reimagined to reflect a more diverse world rather than having new characters being created for the same effect?

Mind you, I'm not saying this is an either/or option, it can be both, but if you had your "druthers" which would you prefer?

As I said, it's already both. It's artificial to treat them as opposing choices. Neither one precludes the other, so why would they be? The only reason I can see to invent the pretense that it should be a choice is if one wants to limit the inclusion of nonwhites in fiction.

You avoided answering the question, Christopher.  If "BOTH" is an invalid response, then which would you prefer to see?

And, please note, this isn't about limiting the inclusion of non-whites in fiction, it's a question of the method to include them in fiction.  Some people simply prefer that new characters be created reflecting their own experiences, while others prefer the expedient of recasting existing roles.

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I ask because this issue arose surrounding Michelle Rodriguez response on TMZ to the "rumor" that she was being considered to play Green Lantern. The general response that I saw echoed this conversation where most everyone was saying "why not?" and willfully ignored her point that she'd prefer playing a character that was specifically conceived as reflecting her minority and experiences, as opposed to simply being a different flavor of an established brand.

Well, I can see the value in that perspective coming from her, but there's no reason it should be the only perspective. The whole idea here is inclusion and free opportunity.  Yes, some actors of color are going to want to play roles that reflect their own experiences, but others are going to be eager to play their classic heroes, even those who were originally white. For instance, Samuel L. Jackson specifically campaigned to play Nick Fury, in exchange for letting the Ultimate Marvel universe use his likeness for the character in the comics. And others will just pick whatever role appeals to them based on the script. Actors are diverse in attitudes and goals as well as ethnicity. As long as you sincerely respect equal opportunity for every actor, instead of building walls based on race, then they'll all get an opportunity to pursue roles according to their own preferences.

Yet, even as you acknowledge that she has a point, you dismiss it as irrelevant to your argument (ignoring hers) and thereby denigrate it. Which is precisely what the commentators were doing, to the point where they had all but said "that girl be crazy."

As an example of original characters:  Ms. Marvel ... instead of simply recasting Carol Danvers as a Pakistani-American Muslim; Marvel Comics created Kamala Khan who assumes the role of Ms. Marvel.  Kamala Khan is a distinct new character, and she is brilliantly succeeding in her own right.  

As for Col. Fury ... well, yeah, that was a recasting (and admittedly Samuel L. Hackson's a much better Nick Fury than David Hasselfhoff), but I'd hope they opted to make him a Vietnam (and later Spec. Ops) Vet as opposed to a WWII veteran -- thus redefining the character rather than taking the original version and simply altering his appearance.

/s/

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Edited by G-man, 08 June 2015 - 09:07 AM.

Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus

#52 G-man

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 08:48 AM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 06 June 2015 - 04:03 PM, said:

View PostG-man, on 06 June 2015 - 09:39 AM, said:

The same is true of Ms. Marvel, people will generally recall Carol Danvers unless Kamala Khan is specied (BTW the Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel is positive delightful and really worth the read).  
I have the first TPB, but, every time I open it and see the art, I close it again-- must keep trying.  :lol:

Well, yeah, that first page is a doozy ... but, trust me, this is one comic that's worth the effort.

/s/

Gloriosus
the G-man Himself
Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus

#53 Christopher

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 11:08 AM

View PostG-man, on 08 June 2015 - 08:46 AM, said:

You avoided answering the question, Christopher.  If "BOTH" is an invalid response, then which would you prefer to see?

No, I rejected the premise of question. Even formulating the question is offensive. People who don't happen to be white shouldn't have to justify their inclusion and participation in anything. They shouldn't be treated as some kind of outsiders whose participation is being approved or rejected by gatekeepers.

What I want to see is roles going to the best actors. It's as simple as that.


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And, please note, this isn't about limiting the inclusion of non-whites in fiction, it's a question of the method to include them in fiction.

And even that is treating them as outsiders who need to be granted an indulgence to participate. If you just cast people based on talent, you get diversity automatically. That's what's actually happening today as a matter of course in most superhero movies and shows. It shouldn't even be a controversy anymore. It's the new normal.


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  Some people simply prefer that new characters be created reflecting their own experiences, while others prefer the expedient of recasting existing roles.

And both sets of people are free to participate. It's not about imposing one option on everyone. Even formulating the question that way is artificial and missing the point.



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Yet, even as you acknowledge that she has a point, you dismiss it as irrelevant to your argument (ignoring hers) and thereby denigrate it.

I resent that. That is a total misrepresentation of what I said. I did not say her position is irrelevant to my argument. On the contrary, my argument is in favor of everyone having free choice. And that includes letting different people make different choices according to their own personal preferences and beliefs. You're trying to reduce this to the absurd, artificial scenario of having a single option imposed on every actor. You're asking whether all nonwhite actors should march in lockstep with Michelle Rodriguez or whether she should be forced to march in lockstep with, say, Idris Elba or Mehcad Brooks. And that is an absurd, arbitrary question that misses the whole point of inclusion and freedom. People are individuals. They're not races. They're just themselves. Different people that we artificially lump into the category of "minorities" are actually distinct individuals with the right to act and choose independently of each other. Rodriguez wasn't saying every minority actor should do things her way, she was saying she herself didn't want to do things a certain way. And she's perfectly entitled to that, just as Elba or Brooks or Jackson is entitled to take the roles they've taken. I reject the idea that they should all be forced to do things the same way just because they happen to have being nonwhite in common.
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#54 QueenTiye

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 01:42 PM

Yeah.  What Christopher said.

As a writer, I would hope that if I needed to create a character that was a specific ethnicity/background/look, that I could specify the same in the script and that if the character's key characteristics were NOT their particular "look" - that I would be ok with the casting folks making those determinations as well.  I would hope someone would ask "is it necessary for this character to be white/black/whatever"?  And that I would be able to say - yes or no depending on the character.

I want to go back to this "hand me down" notion.  One day, i would love to see a black "Little Women." Why?  Because there are a lot of similarities and differences in how such a story would play out.  AND, if I decided to cast the story as 4 black sisters March, I would also have to decide WHERE the setting was - rural black American community? African community? West Indian? Urban black American?  All of those settings would necessarily set up different dynamics - what disease takes Beth out may be shaped by the timeframe and the location.  Who plays Laurie might depend on how I want to portray the interaction between rich and poor.  Or, in an urban setting, more well-off, versus poor.  And would I cast Laurie as white in this setting? Maybe.... and it would certainly be controversial. OR, I could cast Laurie as black, in the same setting, and it would say something different, and open up a different line of storytelling.  SURELY everyone can see that who knows the story of the March sisters?

SO - here's the question: where does the hand-me-downness begin, actually?  Is someone going to ask why I have to have a black Little Women?  If someone asks that question the value of doing it is already apparent, and not at all "hand me down"  If the casting choice of a black or white male in this new treatment of the story opens up narrative lines  EITHER WAY just because of the change in setting of the story - in what way is the character "left overs?"

Ultimately, the WHOLE POINT of any adaptation is having something new and relevant to say.  Its 2015, not 1958 when Jimmy Olsen wished Supergirl into existence(!), and there's plenty of new story to tell, and new possibilities to explore with a brown Jimmy Olsen.  Or, has been repeatedly said, the casting call may have just happened to turn up a brown-skinned fellow as best for the job.  But in any case I think it is profoundly insulting to the actor to call the role leftovers and hand me downs.

QT

Een Draght Mackt Maght


#55 G-man

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 01:49 PM

No it's not, Christopher.  I asked a question and instead of addressing it, you ... how did you put it? Rejected the premise of it.  Alas, that is an invalid response because it very much ignores the issue that's being raised.  Namely, the paucity of minority characters in comics, and which method (if "both" is not an option) is preferable in trying to rectify the situation.

Quote

Rodriguez wasn't saying every minority actor should do things her way, she was saying she herself didn't want to do things a certain way.

Exactly, and the response from the commentators was essentially "That girl be crazy," because they felt she should want to do things a certain way, and had no interest in hearing anything that contradicted their views.  Like you, they rejected the premise of her objection.

/s/

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Edited by G-man, 08 June 2015 - 02:02 PM.

Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
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#56 G-man

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 02:17 PM

View PostQueenTiye, on 08 June 2015 - 01:42 PM, said:

Yeah.  What Christopher said.

As a writer, I would hope that if I needed to create a character that was a specific ethnicity/background/look, that I could specify the same in the script and that if the character's key characteristics were NOT their particular "look" - that I would be ok with the casting folks making those determinations as well.  I would hope someone would ask "is it necessary for this character to be white/black/whatever"?  And that I would be able to say - yes or no depending on the character.

I want to go back to this "hand me down" notion.  One day, i would love to see a black "Little Women." Why?  Because there are a lot of similarities and differences in how such a story would play out.  AND, if I decided to cast the story as 4 black sisters March, I would also have to decide WHERE the setting was - rural black American community? African community? West Indian? Urban black American?  All of those settings would necessarily set up different dynamics - what disease takes Beth out may be shaped by the timeframe and the location.  Who plays Laurie might depend on how I want to portray the interaction between rich and poor.  Or, in an urban setting, more well-off, versus poor.  And would I cast Laurie as white in this setting? Maybe.... and it would certainly be controversial. OR, I could cast Laurie as black, in the same setting, and it would say something different, and open up a different line of storytelling.  SURELY everyone can see that who knows the story of the March sisters?

SO - here's the question: where does the hand-me-downness begin, actually?  Is someone going to ask why I have to have a black Little Women?  If someone asks that question the value of doing it is already apparent, and not at all "hand me down"  If the casting choice of a black or white male in this new treatment of the story opens up narrative lines  EITHER WAY just because of the change in setting of the story - in what way is the character "left overs?"

Ultimately, the WHOLE POINT of any adaptation is having something new and relevant to say.  Its 2015, not 1958 when Jimmy Olsen wished Supergirl into existence(!), and there's plenty of new story to tell, and new possibilities to explore with a brown Jimmy Olsen.  Or, has been repeatedly said, the casting call may have just happened to turn up a brown-skinned fellow as best for the job.  But in any case I think it is profoundly insulting to the actor to call the role leftovers and hand me downs.

QT

All good points, QT,

Unfortunately, we're not privy to the thinking behind the casting, so it's hard to judge (prior to witnessing the performance) just why someone was picked for a given role.

/s/

Gloriosus
the G-man Himself

Edited by G-man, 08 June 2015 - 02:21 PM.

Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus

#57 Christopher

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 02:29 PM

On the issue of "hand-me-down" characters, what's so wrong with that? Different cultures have borrowed from each other throughout history. Heck, white culture stole jazz and rock and rap from black culture. What's so bad about giving something back?


View PostG-man, on 08 June 2015 - 01:49 PM, said:

No it's not, Christopher.  I asked a question and instead of addressing it, you ... how did you put it? Rejected the premise of it.  Alas, that is an invalid response because it very much ignores the issue that's being raised.  Namely, the paucity of minority characters in comics, and which method (if "both" is not an option) is preferable in trying to rectify the situation.

Rejecting the premise of a question is an entirely valid response, in a case where accepting the premise is implicitly endorsing a false idea. For instance, the archetypal question, "Do you still beat your wife?" If the question itself is unfairly or illegitimately formulated, the only valid response is to reject the premise.

I mean, why in the hell would both not be an option? That's an arbitrary and nonsensical condition. It's an illegitimate question, because we have overwhelming real-world evidence that both things are happening all the time. We're seeing an increase in inclusion both through the creation of new characters like Kamala and John Diggle and through the inclusive casting of characters like Nick Fury, Perry White, Lana Lang, Iris West, Ben Urich, Heimdall, Jimmy Olsen, and so very many others.

And the reason for that ties into the other invalid premise in your question: The premise that comics and sci-fi fans who aren't white males can still validly be described as "minorities." Nearly half the current comics audience is female, and there's quite a lot of ethnic diversity as well. Heterosexual white males are a minority of fandom now.


Quote

Quote

Rodriguez wasn't saying every minority actor should do things her way, she was saying she herself didn't want to do things a certain way.

Exactly, and the response from the commentators was essentially "That girl be crazy," because they felt she should want to do things a certain way, and had no interest in hearing anything that contradicted their views.  Like you, they rejected the premise of her objection.

Now, that is a damn lie. I'm saying the exact opposite of what you claim these unnamed commentators say, that her own position is entirely valid for herself and that we have no business saying she's wrong to have that preference. How in the world can I be calling her "crazy" by saying that I understand entirely why she feels the way she does? My point is simply that the validity of her position for herself does not affect other actors' freedom to choose differently. Because she and other actors are not the same just because they fall under the "minority" rubric. They're individuals with the right to disagree, and that is the whole point of inclusion.

Bottom line, given that I am myself a heterosexual white male, it's not my place to make that call, any more than it is yours. I have no business telling Michelle Rodriguez what she should think. It's her career and her right to choose.

I'll leave you with this post, which is about a different question of representation and retconning, namely about Marvel's decision to make the Thing Jewish. But its closing paragraphs are very relevant to this discussion:

Quote

That’s what it’s about. It’s not about creating new characters as tokens (like DC’s Seraph); it’s not about preaching or being a punchline (as in Sabra’s appearance in Peter David’s Hulk or his Marvel Holiday Special Doc Samson story). It’s about a kid looking at a hero and seeing him or herself. It’s about not living in a world where parents have kids upset when someone tells them certain heroes aren’t for them. (And, wow, do I want to go to this parade.)
In short? It’s not all about me. And that’s okay.

Edited by Christopher, 08 June 2015 - 02:30 PM.

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#58 RJDiogenes

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 06:31 PM

View PostQueenTiye, on 08 June 2015 - 01:42 PM, said:

SO - here's the question: where does the hand-me-downness begin, actually?  Is someone going to ask why I have to have a black Little Women?  If someone asks that question the value of doing it is already apparent, and not at all "hand me down"  If the casting choice of a black or white male in this new treatment of the story opens up narrative lines  EITHER WAY just because of the change in setting of the story - in what way is the character "left overs?"  
You're changing the characters and the setting-- you're writing a new story.  So why recycle another writer's title and character names?
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#59 RJDiogenes

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 06:33 PM

View PostG-man, on 08 June 2015 - 08:48 AM, said:

View PostRJDiogenes, on 06 June 2015 - 04:03 PM, said:

View PostG-man, on 06 June 2015 - 09:39 AM, said:

The same is true of Ms. Marvel, people will generally recall Carol Danvers unless Kamala Khan is specied (BTW the Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel is positive delightful and really worth the read).  
I have the first TPB, but, every time I open it and see the art, I close it again-- must keep trying.  :lol:

Well, yeah, that first page is a doozy ... but, trust me, this is one comic that's worth the effort.  
Yeah, it sounds like it will be good.  I'll keep trying.  :lol:
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#60 Omega

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 07:23 PM

View PostChristopher, on 08 June 2015 - 02:29 PM, said:

Rejecting the premise of a question is an entirely valid response, in a case where accepting the premise is implicitly endorsing a false idea. For instance, the archetypal question, "Do you still beat your wife?" If the question itself is unfairly or illegitimately formulated, the only valid response is to reject the premise.

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