Tag Archives: “Confederate”

Jesus fuck: Amazon.com plans black-separatist series called ‘Black America’

 

I found the (rather poor) graphic above posted with a 2010 blog piece on black separatism, but Amazon.com reportedly plans to put out an alternative-history series called “Black America,” in which black separatists create a new nation called “New Colonia” out of three former slave states. Black separatism is A-OK, but HBO’s “Confederate,” in which the Southern whites no doubt would be the villains, is not. This situation is not sustainable.

“I hope that these what-if-history-had-turned-out-differently television series don’t proliferate too profusely,” I wrote very recently of HBO’s plans for an alternative-history series called “Confederate,” adding, “but I don’t recall Amazon.com being called anti-Semitic for having resurrected Hitler [in its alternative-history series ‘The Man in the High Castle’], so I think it’s incredibly bullshit for the creators of ‘Game of Thrones’ to be called racist for planning to resurrect the South.”

I was, unfortunately, prescient. 

Slate.com reported yesterday that “now Amazon has revealed that it’s planning ‘Black America,’ a series created by Will Packer and ‘Boondocks’ cartoonist Aaron McGruder in which, as a form of reparations, black Americans have annexed three former slave states and founded a country of their own called New Colonia.”

Just: Wow.

Very apparently, Amazon is planning a series that glorifies black separatism when the Southern Poverty Law Center identifies black-separatist groups as hate groups along with white-separatist groups.

I mean, would Amazon, HBO, Netflix or any other mainstream entertainment corporation put out a series called “White America” about white separatists who had succeeded in gaining a portion of the nation for whites only? Methinks not, even if the whites in the series clearly were the uber-villains. It would be way too radioactive.

But in the current sociopolitical environment, black separatism apparently is A-OK.

Don’t get me wrong. Of course I get it that whites enslaved and then continued and still continue to oppress blacks, not vice-versa, at least at the institutional level (although sometimes it is vice-versa at the individual level, and I long have believed that one-on-one interactions are much more important than are groups, since we interact with others as individuals and not as entire fucking groups). And of course I get it that throughout U.S. history whites (as a group) always have had the numbers, the money, the power and the resources that blacks (as a group) have not, so that it hasn’t been a level playing field. And did I mention that whites enslaved blacks and not the other way around?

But while the early descriptions of HBO’s proto-embryonic “Confederate” give me the clear impression that the whites in “Confederate” will be the villains, Slate.com’s description of “Black America” sure sounds like a ringing endorsement of black separatism.

Slate.com further notes:

“Black America” was first announced in February, but Amazon kept the show’s details under wraps, saying only that it would be vaguely along the lines of “The Man in the High Castle.” But the controversy over “Confederate” has prompted the company to show their hand, undoubtedly because the premise of “Black America” sounds a lot like some of the things that critics behind the #NoConfederate campaign have suggested as possible alternatives.

The Deadline article focuses on the issue of reparations, saying “Black America” “may have a sense of wish-fulfillment” for, as Packer puts it, “black Americans who are suffering from the effects of slavery in various ways.” But the idea for the series verges on more intriguing terrain yet, suggesting how a U.S. devoid, or at least largely evacuated, of people of color might founder and fail, while the nation of New Colonia prospers. …

Wow. I could point to many nations in the real world that are run by blacks and not by whites that, to put it very mildly and charitably, don’t prosper, and then we could have the discussion as to how responsible whites (and white supremacism and white anti-black racism) still are for failed black nations and how much responsibility the black people in those failed nations should take for that failure, but I’m still blown away by the very idea of a black-separatist fantasy series being put out by any large, credible media company.

All of that said, as I have established, I am a strong supporter of the freedom of expression, and so no, unlike the self-serving, free-speech-hating, “safe-space”-loving assholes who already are protesting “Confederate” — no, actually, they’re not really “protesting” it as much as they’re trying to kill it before it even is born — I have no plan to join any public backlash against “Black America” that might materialize before it even airs (emphasis, of course, on “before it even airs”; we’ll see how I feel after it airs).

“Black America” sounds much worse to me than “Confederate,” but I don’t believe in prior censorship and I believe in the marketplace of ideas. Let Amazon do its thing and let the chips fall where they will. (I do a lot of business with Amazon and so I’d hate to have to boycott Amazon, so I’m hoping that if “Black America” actually materializes, it has cultural/social/artistic merit and isn’t essentially just a hate-whitey fest.)

And also as I have stated, I think that it’s fine for historically oppressed groups to have their own culture, their own novels, their own songs, their own television shows, their own movies, etc. As a gay man who always has been in a heterosexist dominant culture, I know how important it is for a subculture to have its own creations of artistic expression.

But separatism is something else.

The whole hate thing aside, how incredibly boring and soul-arresting it would be to be surrounded only by others who look, think and act just like you do. It sure might feel great at first, but then the soul rot would set in.

Yes, indeed, visit with the members of your own tribe regularly and often.

But then, at least on occasion and with some regularity, come back to the whole to share what you have to offer and to receive what others of other tribes have to offer.

The early description of “Black America” doesn’t seem to share that sentiment at all, and while I think that I can understand the appeal of black separatism to those blacks who have felt the grinding effects of white anti-black racism the most, I don’t see that black separatism ultimately is any better for them than white separatism is for whites or for the nation or for the world.

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‘Confederate’: Save your ammo for the real battles ahead of us, snowflakes

I find it ironic that I recently wrote about what I called “the cultural war on white people” and that with the piece I used a graphic from “Game of Thrones” (specifically, the Night King, a blue-eyed devil who leads the “white walkers.”)

Because this past week’s tempest in a teapot was the fact that the creators of “Thrones” plan to create next an HBO television series called “Confederate,” which examines an alternate universe in which the South successfully seceded from the Union.

This would be no big fucking deal if we didn’t live in an era of smug, pearl-clutching outrage addicts, but we do, so it is.

So addicted to their self-righteous outrage are the snowflakes supposedly on the left that now they don’t hesitate to engage in attempted prior censorship — the dooming of a creation, of an expression, before it even has been substantially started by its creator or creators.

These aren’t true leftists, because true leftists value the freedom of expression.

“Confederate,” if and when completed, might suck ass. It might be corny. It might turn out to be tone-deaf, although I rather doubt that it will. I mean, “Game of Thrones” over the past several years has matured. Sex scenes apparently meant to appeal mostly to young heterosexual males have diminished with each passing year as the show has grown more serious, which includes the development of its female characters from sex objects to the show’s true leaders (heroines and villainesses and somewhere in between).

And despite criticisms apparently from those who haven’t seen the series, “Game of Thrones” is diverse. True, it’s set in a Medieval-like place and time and so you see a lot of white characters, but it has important black characters (but, if we’re keeping count, not any Asian characters that I can think of, and while the series has featured at least one Latino actor, it hasn’t had any explicitly Latino characters, since there is no Spain or Latin America in Westeros, the mythical land in which most of the series takes place).

But if “Game of Thrones” isn’t racially diverse enough for you, snowflake, well, go yell at George R.R. Martin, on whose series of books the television series is based.

But that said, no creator of a poem or a short story or a novel or a song or a television show or a film or of anything has to practice affirmative action in his or her creation.

We can and should argue for a diverse workplace and for the equality of opportunity in our society and in our daily lives, but artistic creations are something else. They exist in a special realm that needs to be protected, even from “harmless” snowflakes.

If you want to create something that features predominantly or only black people or Asian people or Latino people (or gay people or women or men or transgender people or…), knock yourself out; maybe your story or your movie or your song lyrics are focused on that group of people and you don’t want to drag a lot of other people into the mix just to make some snowflakes happy.

If you want to create something that features predominantly or even only white people — gasp! — you can do that, too, especially if the time and the place depicted in your creation warrant it.

And the “Thrones” co-creators seem to be well aware of what they’re getting into with “Confederate.” “Thrones” co-creator D.B. Weiss recently told Vulture:

… [I]t goes without saying slavery is the worst thing that ever happened in American history. It’s our original sin as a nation. And history doesn’t disappear. That sin is still with us in many ways.

“Confederate,” in all of our minds, will be an alternative-history show. It’s a science-fiction show. One of the strengths of science fiction is that it can show us how this history is still with us in a way no strictly realistic drama ever could, whether it were a historical drama or a contemporary drama.

It’s an ugly and a painful history, but we all think this is a reason to talk about it, not a reason to run from it. And this feels like a potentially valuable way to talk about it. …

Many black Americans say that they’re beyond sick and tired of the slavery theme. I can understand that; as a gay man, my entire life I’ve seen that in most movies gay male characters are acceptable only as flamboyant, easily identified, non-threatening nelly queens, as the deserved victims of violence (up to, of course, murder), and/or as the mentally ill perpetrators of violence (up to, of course, murder) and/or of other depraved crimes, and usually the only acceptable ending for them is to commit suicide, to be murdered or to die of AIDS.

You want a happy ending from time to time.

But the Civil War never ended. Look at “President” Pussygrabber, his Nazi elf of an attorney general from Alabama, his oily secretary of state from Texas and the rest of his Cabinet members who hail mostly from the South, and the map of the 2016 presidential election results:

Image result for map 2016 presidential election red blue

This is a valid, still very relevant topic, and “Confederate” would, I think, only further the discussion. And on board “Confederate” are the husband-and-wife television-writing team of Malcolm Spellman and Nichelle Tramble Spellman.

As Malcolm Spellman told Vulture:

… For me and Nichelle, it’s deeply personal because we are the offspring of this history. We deal with it directly and have for our entire lives. We deal with it in Hollywood, we deal with it in the real world when we’re dealing with friends and family members.

And I think Nichelle and I both felt a sense of urgency in trying to find a way to support a discussion that is percolating but isn’t happening enough. As people of color and minorities in general are starting to get a voice, I think there’s a duty to force this discussion. …

Nichelle Tramble Spellman said:

… I think what was interesting to all of us was that we were going to handle this show, and handle the content of the show, without using typical antebellum imagery. There is not going to be, you know, the big Gone With the Wind mansion. This is present day, or close to present day, and how the world would have evolved if the South had been successful seceding from the Union. And what was also exciting to me was the idea that in order to build this, we would have to rebuild world history …

Malcolm Spellman adds:

This is not a world in which the entire country is enslaved. Slavery is in one half of the country. And the North is the North. As Nichelle was saying, the imagery should be no whips and no plantations.

Read the entire Vulture interview with the four creators of “Confederate”; I think that it’s clear that, as “Thrones” co-creator David Benioff put it, “anyone who thinks that Malcolm and Nichelle are props have never met Malcolm and Nichelle,” and that, as the interviewer worded it, “Confederate” is not going to be “almost pornography or wish-fulfillment for white supremacists and the alt-right.”

If “Confederate” sucks for whatever reasons — if it’s artistically lame and/or it’s tone-deaf or even offensive to the reasonable members of its audience — then let it die deservedly in the marketplace of ideas, but let’s not kill it in the crib.

As Benioff said:

… [W]e haven’t written any scripts yet. We don’t have an outline yet. We don’t even have character names. So, everything is brand-new and nothing’s been written. I guess that’s what was a little bit surprising about some of the outrage. It’s just a little premature. You know, we might fuck it up. But we haven’t yet. …

Coming from the creative minds behind “Game of Thrones” and the Spellmans, I expect “Confederate” to be more like “Game of Thrones” in quality than like “The Man in the High Castle,” Amazon.com’s series that imagines that the Germans and the Japanese had won World War II and that I have tried twice to get into but just haven’t been able to, as it’s just not that good.

I hope that these what-if-history-had-turned-out-differently television series don’t proliferate too profusely, but I don’t recall Amazon.com being called anti-Semitic for having resurrected Hitler, so I think it’s incredibly bullshit for the creators of “Game of Thrones” to be called racist for planning to resurrect the South.

Pick your battles and save your ammo for the battles that matter, snowflakes. You’re only turning off far more potential allies than you are doing yourself any good by attacking popular culture that is enjoyed by millions of Americans — and that is not actually “racist” — such as Bill Maher’s show and the not-even-born-yet “Confederate.”

It’s pretty clear that you’re making it all about yourself and your supposedly easily hurt pwecious widdle feewings, and that’s not a winning strategy. Nor is prior censorship in a nation that has valued the freedom of expression since its inception.

Keep trying this bullshit; you’ll see.

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