Tag Archives: The Man in the High Castle

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.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

‘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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Der Führer Trump hits new low with attack on physically disabled man

Updated below

A screen grab shows Repugnican Tea Party “presidential” candidate Donald Trump on Tuesday publicly mocking a New York Times reporter who has a congenital physical disability. The reporter’s “crime”? Telling the truth instead of supporting the dangerously fascistic Trump’s bold-faced lies against yet another already oppressed minority group. Reports USA Today: “Referring to Serge Kovaleski while on the campaign trail in South Carolina, Trump told a rally: ‘You’ve got to see this guy.’ He then ridiculed Kovaleski’s appearance by bending his wrists and jerking his arms around. Kovaleski has a chronic condition that affects his joints called arthrogryposis.” Kovaleski is pictured below, on the left.

Ken Belson y Serge Kovaleski (izquierda) atienden una recepción relacionada con el Día de la Tierra en el hotel Algonquin el 21 de abril de 2010 en Nueva York (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images).

Getty images

It should come as no shock to see Donald Trump make fun of a man with a congenital physical disability during a “presidential” speech. (Video of this wonderful event is here.)

The Nazis, after all — and Trump, unshockingly,  is of German descent — murdered tens of thousands of human beings with disabilities in a program that later was dubbed “Action T4.” As Wikipedia explains:

The program ran officially from September 1939 to August 1941, during which the recorded 70,273 people were killed at various extermination centers located at psychiatric hospitals in Germany and Austria. Several rationales for the program have been offered, including eugenics, natural selection, racial hygiene, cost effectiveness and pressure on the welfare budget. After the formal end date of the program, physicians in German and Austrian facilities continued many of the practices that had been instituted under Action T4, until the defeat of Germany in 1945. The unofficial continuation of the policy led to additional deaths by medicine and similar means, resulting in 93,521 beds “emptied” by the end of 1941. Historians estimate that twice the official number of T4 victims might have perished before the end of the war, exceeding 200,000.

So as not to be a hypocrite, and to provide full disclosure, I myself have used the term “fucktard” (and other iterations of “retard”). Many times. But my first job out of college was working with mentally and physically disabled individuals, and while I probably shouldn’t use the term “fucktard” to denote a person of low intelligence (who has not actually been diagnosed clinically with mental retardation, let me add, importantly), I don’t make fun of people with actual physical or intellectual disabilities, because to do so is to show a stunning lack of empathy for another human being who has challenges that oneself does not.

And, of course, I am not running to be president of the United States of America.

There long has been no way in hell that I would or could support fascist Führer wannabe Donald Trump in any way, and to some degree I suppose that I’ve become immune to the venom and bile that has been spewing freely from Trump’s pie hole for months now, but this latest Trumpism should be the one that finally takes him down.

The Amazon.com series “The Man in the High Castle,” based upon a Philip K. Dick dystopian novel that envisions a scenario in which Germany and Japan actually won World War II and divvied up the United States between them, is timely. (Just last night I watched the first episode. It even makes rather chilling reference to eugenics, which the Nazi Germans occupying the United States are still practicing routinely.)

Here in Donald Trump is a patently fascist presidential candidate (of German blood, appropriately) openly mocking, in a “presidential” speech, a man who has a congenital physical disability.

How will the masses respond to this?

How will the masses respond to such utterly shameless bullying? I mean, other groups of people Trump has attacked — “illegals” from south of the border, Muslims, women, et. al. — can, for the most part, defend themselves against Trump’s bigotry to at least some degree.

But attacking those with disabilities?

Really?

How low, exactly, can Donald Trump go?

Should the masses actually allow Donald Trump to sit in the Oval Office, I can guarantee you this: In the future, if we even still have anything remotely resembling a democracy left, presidential candidates might be asked: If you could go back in time, would you kill Baby Donald in order to prevent the crimes against humanity that he perpetrated?

The Germans claimed that they didn’t know what Adolf Hitler was all about until it was too late. Bullshit. The signs were all there all along.

With Donald Trump, similarly, the signs are all there.

If we actually allow this “man” to be president — whether we actually elect him or whether we just allow him to steal the White House, like we just allowed George W. Bush & Co. to do in 2000* — we won’t be able to claim, with any shred of truth at all, that we didn’t know.*

P.S. If you think that noting Trump’s German ancestry is out of bounds, well, apparently Trump possibly has had a problem with it himself, or at least his father apparently had a problem with it. Notes Wikipedia:

Trump’s paternal grandparents were German immigrants; Trump’s grandfather, Frederick Trump (né Friedrich Trump), was a successful Klondike Gold Rush restaurateur. In his 1987 book, The Art of the Deal, Donald Trump incorrectly claimed that Frederick Trump was originally called Friedrich Drumpf and of Swedish origin, an assertion previously made by Fred Trump for many years. Trump later acknowledged his German ancestry and served as grand marshal of the 1999 German-American Steuben Parade in New York City.

More disclosure: A while ago I participated in the Genographic Project, and my genes (if I interpret my results correctly) are a match for the dominant genetic populations first of the United Kingdom and second of Germany, so it seems quite possible if not probable that I have at least some German blood in me, as do many if not even most white Americans. That said, the Germans always have rubbed me the wrong way, even Nazism aside.

Update: Donald Trump has issued a lying, cowardly statement denying that he said/did what he said/did.

In the video I linked to above, Trump clearly says to his audience, “You gotta see this guy” (Serge Kovaleski, whom he has just called a “poor guy”) — this certainly indicates that he has met or at least seen Kovaleski, at least in a picture — and then Trump immediately mimics the distorted voice and gestures of someone with a physical and/or intellectual disability.

Yet now Trump alternately claims that he’s never laid eyes on Kovaleski and that “Despite having one of the all-time great memories, I certainly do not remember him” and “Serge Kovaleski must think a lot of himself if he thinks I remember him from decades ago – if I ever met him at all, which I doubt I did.”

The Washington Post has noted that “Kovaleski covered Trump while reporting for the New York Daily News between 1987 and 1993, a tumultuous period for Trump in which he struggled through several financial setbacks,” casting further doubt on Trump’s claim that he has no idea what Kovaleski even looks like. (Trump strikes me as the kind of individual who certainly would do opposition research; not only does he have the paranoia and the egomaniacal grandiosity, but he has the mean$ to have his henchpeople do this for him.)

Trump also took the page right out of the fascist/right-wing playbook in which he blames his victim; he proclaimed that Kovaleski “should stop using his disability to grandstand.”

Yes, it’s Kovaleski’s fault that Trump very, very apparently made fun of him and his congenital condition. Not only has Trump now attacked Kovaleski twice — Kovaleski, to my knowledge, has made no public statement, by the way (the New York Times has) — but Trump bizarrely has attacked the New York Times at length, criticizing its fiscal management and questioning its ethics, its quality and its relevance, which has absofuckinglutely nothing to do with the fact that Donald Trump very, very apparently recently publicly mocked a man for his congenital physical disability during a “presidential” appearance.

What started this whole fracas, of course, is Trump’s colossal falsehood that on television he saw “thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the destruction of the World Trade Center even as the twin towers burned and fell. This is a right-wing über-fabrication meant to further the wingnuts’ anti-Muslim agenda, of course.

But Donald Trump is too much of a fucking liar and a fucking coward to admit that he lied or, at the very minimum, very carelessly misspoke about “thousands” of Muslims celebrating in New Jersey on September 11, 2001. If he didn’t outright lie, which I think he most likely did, then he certainly didn’t care about the facts, the truth, because his overriding objective was to bash Muslims for personal political gain, not to tell the truth. Very presidential!

As I wrote above, we are seeing ample signs about what kind of “man” Donald Trump is. We ignore these flashing lights and sirens at our own peril.

And when I call Donald Trump a fascist, I mean it in the dictionary-definition sense of the term, not as a slam, although it’s perfectly fine with me if it’s also taken as a slam. (See Slate.com’s Jamelle Bouie on the topic of Donald Trump being a textbook fascist.)

Fuck the fascist Trump and the neo-Nazis who support him. They won’t turn the United States of America into another Nazi Germany without a fight.

P.S. I stand corrected; Business Insider reports:

… [Serge] Kovaleski told The [Washington] Post that he is confident that Trump remembers him and his condition. Kovaleski met with Trump several times when the reporter was covering Trump while working at the New York Daily News from 1987 to 1993.

“The sad part about it is, it didn’t in the slightest bit jar or surprise me that Donald Trump would do something this low-rent, given his track record,” Kovaleski told the Post.

The New York Times, where Kovaleski is currently a reporter, also had a response to the incident: “We think it’s outrageous that he would ridicule the appearance of one of our reporters,” a Times spokeswoman told Politico and confirmed to Business Insider. …

*Of course, after George W. Bush brazenly blatantly stole the 2000 presidential election, it couldn’t have come as a surprise that he would not protect Americans on September 11, 2001, or in late August 2005 (when Hurricane Katrina struck), and nor could it have come as a surprise that the “man” who had refused to accept that his opponent Al Gore had won the 2000 presidential election would go on to start the illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War, in which thousands of our troops died for nothing more than the treasonous war profiteering of the treasonous BushCheneyCorp and in which many, many more innocent Iraqi civilians, tens of thousands of them, have died — and which, of course, contributed to the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has caused even more death and destruction.

There are terms for these high crimes: treason, war crimes, crimes against humanity, etc.

That enough Americans not nearly long ago just enough allowed the fascist George W. Bush to rise to power anti-democratically should give pause to those who claim that Donald Trump couldn’t become president.

He probably won’t, but to ignore the possibility entirely is dangerous — and, dare I say, probably even treasonous.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized