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The United States of inclusivity
#1
The United States of inclusivity
So I am watching The Alienist these days—a series showing pursuit of a series killer in 1896 New York City who exclusively kills boy-prostitutes dressed as girls.

Few episodes in and there is murder of a boy prostitute Ali who was dressing as Fatima, who was from Syria.

I am not an expert on US immigration, but I imagine that finding a Syrian in 1896 NYC are pretty marginal compared to finding an Italian or Irish immigrant. I am not saying it cannot happen but I think this contrivance has more to do with recent wave of Hollywood inclusivity than reality.

I think inclusivity is great— as a first generation immigrant myself whose children are second generation USA citizens I am a direct recipient of this inclusivity. We live in a pluralist society and its wonderful but this strife for inclusion in every thing worries me sometimes.

I think it’s takes away from reality itself—the best course, what I have learned from classical liberalism, is always to reflect on reality and learn from it. It is only in the face of reality and oddity the tested successful ideas can emerge. 17th century Enlightenment and subsequent scientific humanism is a proof of that.

However there is also an argument to be made in favor of cultural reformations—forces that derive culture and make long lasting changes—humans are animals of habits and learning. We pass on knowledge from generation to generation and it’s incremental—later generations don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time—they build upon it and society moves forward. As generations learn lessons of inclusivity, issues of racial and other discriminatory nature tone down with every new generation—which is what we want as liberals.

So there seems to be a bit of paradox here—I do believe some lessons are best learned when learned the hard way (freedom of speech for example) or else we lose sight of their core value and take them for granted— and yet every new generation improves only when it builds upon the progress of the previous generation—so when we show a person of color or homosexual doing normal things like white straight people do, we normalize them as just people like anyone else—not to be discriminated or resented but accepted and embraced.

Thoughts?
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#2
RE: The United States of inclusivity
Syrian immigration to the us kicked of right before and after ww1. By 1924, a quarter million syrians lived in the us. They were located almost exclusively in ny, boston, and detroit. In the same span of time, for reference, there were about as many irish immigrants to the us yearly.
I am the Infantry. I am my country’s strength in war, her deterrent in peace. I am the heart of the fight… wherever, whenever. I carry America’s faith and honor against her enemies. I am the Queen of Battle. I am what my country expects me to be, the best trained Soldier in the world. In the race for victory, I am swift, determined, and courageous, armed with a fierce will to win. Never will I fail my country’s trust. Always I fight on…through the foe, to the objective, to triumph overall. If necessary, I will fight to my death. By my steadfast courage, I have won more than 200 years of freedom. I yield not to weakness, to hunger, to cowardice, to fatigue, to superior odds, For I am mentally tough, physically strong, and morally straight. I forsake not, my country, my mission, my comrades, my sacred duty. I am relentless. I am always there, now and forever. I AM THE INFANTRY! FOLLOW ME!
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#3
RE: The United States of inclusivity
(December 6, 2020 at 2:17 am)The Grand Nudger Wrote: Syrian immigration to the us kicked of right before and after ww1. By 1924, a quarter million syrians lived in the us. They were located almost exclusively in ny, boston, and detroit. In the same span of time, for reference, there were about as many irish immigrants to the us yearly.

Thank you for that—being the lazy self that I am I didn’t look that up before posting so your point is right: Syrian immigration happened in two waves, 1889 and 1914. So series is trying to portray history more accurately—kudos to them.

I would say however that the core point of my original post stands though: the new Oscar’s guidelines for 2025 for example, or the direction many of the movies and series have going for past few years etc—this is all great by the way but at the same time it can also blindside us from other forms of bigotry within those minority groups—which is what some people call bigotry of low expectations—ie accepting bigotry of a minority group for the sake of inclusivity.
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#4
RE: The United States of inclusivity
(December 6, 2020 at 2:07 am)Apollo Wrote: I think it’s takes away from reality itself—the best course, what I have learned from classical liberalism, is always to reflect on reality and learn from it.

One thing maybe to keep in mind: no TV or movie from Hollywood is historically accurate in the least. I think it might be better to go completely Brechtian, and overemphasize the anachronisms and artificialities, in order to make it clear that it's not really about the past. 

This is clear if you look at older movies. In a Western from 1958 which is supposedly set in 1858, the clothes and the hairstyles and the lighting in the rooms is all completely 1950s. Science fiction set in 2160 but made in 1960 looks exactly like 1960. 

Any movie made today is about today's issues. It might be set in a different time, but it won't be historical. 

I mean, it would be interesting to try for accuracy, but it wouldn't get made by a major studio. 

Quote:so when we show a person of color or homosexual doing normal things like white straight people do, we normalize them as just people like anyone else—not to be discriminated or resented but accepted and embraced.

There was a recent TV series about Catherine the Great that had a very diverse cast. Russia has lots of ethnic minorities, of course, but this looked more like modern California. 

I agree that representation is good, and it's valuable for all kinds of people to see their own kind of face in a show like that. But it's done to teach a social message, which we would call propaganda if we didn't like it. 

Again, historical accuracy is not an important value for them. The main goal of any show in the mainstream media is profit.

Edited to add:

For directors and designers, you kind of have to choose between accuracy or equivalency.

So for example, in the Tale of Genji, Genji is supposed to be irresistibly handsome. But from what we know of the fashion of the times, he would look a lot like Kim Jong Un. So if you made a movie today in which modern audiences found him convincingly attractive, you'd have to get someone who looked completely unlike the real [model for] Genji. Otherwise it would just look weird and unbelievable that any of the girls liked such a gargoyle. And the same is true of the women, who plucked out their eyebrows and painted them high up on their foreheads.

So I guess that if a Hollywood director wants to make an emotionally convincing presentation of a lively New York, it has to look more like modern New York than like the real 19th century version.
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#5
RE: The United States of inclusivity
I'm sure that there are people who will accept minorities for any number of reasons, and many people who need no reasons at all...but for whatever remainder might be left, if they accept minorities for the sake of inclusivity alone, I fail to see the problem.
I am the Infantry. I am my country’s strength in war, her deterrent in peace. I am the heart of the fight… wherever, whenever. I carry America’s faith and honor against her enemies. I am the Queen of Battle. I am what my country expects me to be, the best trained Soldier in the world. In the race for victory, I am swift, determined, and courageous, armed with a fierce will to win. Never will I fail my country’s trust. Always I fight on…through the foe, to the objective, to triumph overall. If necessary, I will fight to my death. By my steadfast courage, I have won more than 200 years of freedom. I yield not to weakness, to hunger, to cowardice, to fatigue, to superior odds, For I am mentally tough, physically strong, and morally straight. I forsake not, my country, my mission, my comrades, my sacred duty. I am relentless. I am always there, now and forever. I AM THE INFANTRY! FOLLOW ME!
Reply
#6
RE: The United States of inclusivity
(December 6, 2020 at 3:51 am)Belacqua Wrote:
(December 6, 2020 at 2:07 am)Apollo Wrote: I think it’s takes away from reality itself—the best course, what I have learned from classical liberalism, is always to reflect on reality and learn from it.

One thing maybe to keep in mind: no TV or movie from Hollywood is historically accurate in the least. I think it might be better to go completely Brechtian, and overemphasize the anachronisms and artificialities, in order to make it clear that it's not really about the past. 

This is clear if you look at older movies. In a Western from 1958 which is supposedly set in 1858, the clothes and the hairstyles and the lighting in the rooms is all completely 1950s. Science fiction set in 2160 but made in 1960 looks exactly like 1960. 

Any movie made today is about today's issues. It might be set in a different time, but it won't be historical. 

I mean, it would be interesting to try for accuracy, but it wouldn't get made by a major studio. 

Quote:so when we show a person of color or homosexual doing normal things like white straight people do, we normalize them as just people like anyone else—not to be discriminated or resented but accepted and embraced.

There was a recent TV series about Catherine the Great that had a very diverse cast. Russia has lots of ethnic minorities, of course, but this looked more like modern California. 

I agree that representation is good, and it's valuable for all kinds of people to see their own kind of face in a show like that. But it's done to teach a social message, which we would call propaganda if we didn't like it. 

Again, historical accuracy is not an important value for them. The main goal of any show in the mainstream media is profit.

Edited to add:

For directors and designers, you kind of have to choose between accuracy or equivalency.

So for example, in the Tale of Genji, Genji is supposed to be irresistibly handsome. But from what we know of the fashion of the times, he would look a lot like Kim Jong Un. So if you made a movie today in which modern audiences found him convincingly attractive, you'd have to get someone who looked completely unlike the real [model for] Genji. Otherwise it would just look weird and unbelievable that any of the girls liked such a gargoyle. And the same is true of the women, who plucked out their eyebrows and painted them high up on their foreheads.

So I guess that if a Hollywood director wants to make an emotionally convincing presentation of a lively New York, it has to look more like modern New York than like the real 19th century version.

I don't really feel that filmmakers have any particular obligation to make historically accurate films. While some of the ahistorical stuff they get away with is pretty egregious, overall this is a non-issue for me.

As you said, the goal of movie studios is profit, which is what it's supposed to be. These people are entertainers, not educators.  There's nothing wrong with that.

Boru
‘Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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#7
RE: The United States of inclusivity
(December 6, 2020 at 5:13 am)BrianSoddingBoru4 Wrote: I don't really feel that filmmakers have any particular obligation to make historically accurate films. While some of the ahistorical stuff they get away with is pretty egregious, overall this is a non-issue for me.

As you said, the goal of movie studios is profit, which is what it's supposed to be. These people are entertainers, not educators.  There's nothing wrong with that.

Boru

Like Ryan Murphy's recent Hollywood series.

It is historically accurate in some senses, yet fictionalized in others in order to appeal to the audience for entertainment purposes.
“The man who can't visualize a horse galloping on a tomato is an idiot.”
~ André Breton
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#8
RE: The United States of inclusivity
(December 6, 2020 at 5:15 am)Eleven Wrote:
(December 6, 2020 at 5:13 am)BrianSoddingBoru4 Wrote: I don't really feel that filmmakers have any particular obligation to make historically accurate films. While some of the ahistorical stuff they get away with is pretty egregious, overall this is a non-issue for me.

As you said, the goal of movie studios is profit, which is what it's supposed to be. These people are entertainers, not educators.  There's nothing wrong with that.

Boru

Like Ryan Murphy's recent Hollywood series.

It is historically accurate in some senses, yet fictionalized in others in order to appeal to the audience for entertainment purposes.

Exactly. I think insistence on historical accuracy goes too far.  I recall a scathing review of Spielberg's 'Lincoln' based solely on the fact that Daniel Day Lewis is 6'2" while the real Abraham Lincoln was 6'4".  I mean, I could understand criticizing the film if it had portrayed Lincoln winning the Battle of Trafalgar or inventing the phonograph or something, but Lewis being 2" shorter than Lincoln?  Come on.

Boru
‘Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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#9
RE: The United States of inclusivity
I can't enjoy a Shakespeare play where English nobles are played by non-Caucasians.  It's simply too jarring and distracting. 

Your mileage may vary.
Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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#10
RE: The United States of inclusivity
(December 6, 2020 at 7:37 pm)Chas Wrote: I can't enjoy a Shakespeare play where English nobles are played by non-Caucasians.  It's simply too jarring and distracting. 

Your mileage may vary.

No one can enjoy Shakespeare plays where Italian people speak English. It just isn't realistic.
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