Moral Guardians, Why They Should Be Ignored

I don’t usually get involved in politics or social issues on here, save for the occasional effects it has on geek culture and for good reason. Most of us are looking for an escape from such issues. However, there has been a major trend recently where such issues have invaded nearly every facet of our existence, including unfortunately, our escapism. As such, it would appear that my participation in such topics is not optional, hence the title of this post.

In many previous advice posts, I have said that a writer should write stories that they want to read and enjoy, let the audience decide later if they want to read it. If the writer spends all of their time worrying about what their readers or viewers want to read/see, then the work will likely be a lot more lackluster and forced in many places. Not only that but no matter what you do, you will never be able to please everyone.

So let me start by posing the question; should fiction cover controversial issues? I think most people would agree that it absolutely should. However, there are some out there that disagree because covering such issues would be uncomfortable. Unfortunately, these people tend to rail against anything that lands outside their comfort zone like Christian purist from the 40s.

Now I think that the appropriateness of covering a controversial issue should be taken on a case by case basis, and even then will be in the eye of the beholder. When Mark Wahlberg put out a movie about the Boston Bombing, a lot of people thought it was in bad taste, especially because of the timing. Others thought that those people were being oversensitive. As someone who experienced the Boston Bombing first-hand in that I wasn’t far away from the area when it happened, I’m on the fence with this one. I’m no fan of Mark Wahlberg by any stretch and the fact that he’s become a local hero is disgraceful to Boston, IMO, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think this movie should have been made. Those that say otherwise are what I refer to as ‘moral guardians’. The fact is, no one has the right to tell a creator what they can and cannot create. The exceptions to this are, of course, deliberate slander, threats, and incitement of violence. Everything else resides in the purview of the creator’s morality. Creators should be able to tackle any topic they want in any way they want and then the audience can decide with their dollars if the creator went too far. Telling someone before-the-fact that they shouldn’t be able to experiment and try out something new or uncomfortable is counter-productive in the worlds of fiction and fantasy.

Pandering to Moral Guardians and/or Culture Warriors is never a good idea. For starters, because they’ll often go into writing, video games, and several other mediums that tackle controversial issues and instantly label them as bad without any context such as… actually reading or experiencing the full work. Like it or not, feminist frequency has done this on several occasions with their attacks on video games while bolstering really bad characters simply because of their appearances and genders.

Polygon in their article “Stop using extreme violence to sell your game

Heavily criticized the abuse of women that were put in, as they called it, extremely violent situations.
“The violence is particularly upsetting as it features the assault of women. Violent attacks on women, many times for perfunctory purposes, isn’t new. The Killing Joke saw the Joker torture Barbara Gordon in a statement that reinforced the notion that gender influences violence. The volatile imagery used in the trailer to underline the heinous acts being committed are familiar scenes to us. We’ve seen this play out in other TV shows or movies before, and in real life. 35 percent of women have experienced violence at the hands of another person in their lifetime, according to 2017 report from the United Nations.”

However, these are the same people that complained about the under-representation of female protagonists in these stories. The problem is that… you got what you wanted; more women in fiction. The problem is that fiction can in many cases be extremely violent and as such, the more you put women in the forefront of these stories, the more you’re going to expose them to these situations. It is not avoidable if they’re going to get the level of equality they want.

Simply put, there is no pleasing these people. No matter what you do or how much you try to cater to them, they will find something to complain or faux virtue signal about. There will always be something that they find offensive. They want fiction to tackle controversial topics and then get mad when it does.

Another example I want to tackle is an article by Eurogamer. This time dealing with the imminent release of a game that both I and my wife are really looking forward to; Detroit Become Human. This game looks like its going to be amazing! A narrative-driven story where the choices you make have major consequences on the plot, perma-deaths, etc. A creator’s dream!

Before reading on, I’d advise everyone to watch the most recent trailer for the game. NSFW just as a heads-up:

(I smell a movie starring Jennifer Lawrence if this game does well…)

So… as awesome as this is, of course there are going to be some detractors. Eurogamer does not disappoint me here:

David Cage on Detroit and its depiction of domestic violence

I want to explore a couple of the questions:
The concern I have is that it’s using something like domestic abuse and child abuse – which is a very real issue for unfortunately far too many people – and using it as window dressing rather than exploring the ramifications of those issues.”

Okay, one it’s a trailer. It doesn’t really give you a lot of time to explore the ramifications. Literally, it’s a three-minute taste of something that many writers would have trouble adequately explaining in a 500-page book. Trailers are meant to give you a sample of what you’re going to be experiencing. If something dealing with child abuse bothers you too much that you don’t think this is something you would enjoy, that’s fine. Don’t purchase the game. I have no issue with that, as a child rights advocate, I admit that this put me outside of my comfort zone.

That being said, right after that scene, there is one sentence in the video that makes me think this writer didn’t actually watch the trailer ‘Things could have been different.’ The trailer actually shows you how the decisions you make in the game can change the outcome of this situation for better or worse. The child doesn’t have to end up abused, you as the gamer have the opportunity to prevent it.

However, even if you didn’t… so what? Child abuse is a very real thing. As someone who has experienced it both first and second hand worked at a program for children taken out of their homes, etc. I can honestly say that what goes on in the trailer is not far from reality for too many children. It’s uncomfortable, but it is definitely not something that should be ignored. If fiction can help bring a light to the discussion on this topic, I applaud any attempt made to.

The other question the writer asked that irked me…
Finally – I know I need to wrap up – is nothing off-limits as far as you’re concerned as a writer?” 

I think David Cage answered this one perfectly. So I’ll add his response here:
“Off-limits? What is off-limits is what goes beyond the values I believe in. There are things I’d never do. I’d never do a racist game, or a misogynist game. These are the limits. When you feel okay with the content and the meaning when you know you have nothing to be ashamed of because it’s fair and it tells the right story and because it’s moving. There are no limits.

There’s been these discussion in literature for years and years and years – one of the most famous poets was called Baudelaire, this guy was sued because he was talking about things he should be ashamed of. Today he’s one of the most famous poets in French literature. I think it’s normal that we have this conversation in games now. It’s part of the process.
He is absolutely correct here. The only limits on creators should be those imposed by our own morals and values. The whims of the readers or critics should not be taken into account because it’s not their story. It’s our story that we put out there for them to enjoy. I’m not saying our readers and/or consumers aren’t important. Of course, they are and we want them to enjoy what we offer them. The problem is that our readers typically come from a diverse background and have different wants, desires, and expectations. You can’t pander to all of them and in choosing to pander to any, you run the risk of alienating the rest.
Even worse if you try to pander to the culture warrior or moral guardian crowd. This is something Marvel Comics has done and frankly… they’re hurting bad became of it as I’ve explored in many other topics. These people cannot be pleased and even if you can appease them for a short time, eventually you will put a pinkie toe out of line at which point they will eat you alive.

So while I’m sure to not get many brownie points for saying this… You cover child abuse, spousal abuse, murder, rape, prostitution, or bigotry. Tackle situations that will make some people cringe. Make people who are usually the moral right the bad guys! You put your companion character in a skimpy outfit while giving your own absurd muscle masses that even a WWE superstar would drool over. Fiction and fantasy are yours to enjoy, so make them good!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

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The Reality of Child Sex Trafficking Rings…

In the wake of what’s been going on in Hollywood recently… I felt the need to repost this…

James Harrington's Blog of Geek and Writing

… I don’t want to post this. I REALLY don’t want to post this. As all of you know, a lot of my writing advice and posts lately have been about the realities and forms of evil.

Well if you remember yesterday, I posted about just how rare true evil actually was, and how sometimes even the most evil people believe that what they’re doing is for the greater good…

This isn’t one of those times. This is one of the other times I referred to, a complete and utter breach of everything moral and ethical, a violation of taboo, and… I really can’t say anything else.

To anyone who knows who he is, Sargon of Akkad is a fairly prolific Youtuber who does a great deal of political/social commentary. He’s far from unbiased, I’ll admit, but he does a fairly good job of going after both sides of the…

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Marvel Comics Endsong…

Perhaps it’s time for Marvel to consider ceasing production of its comics. I think we’ve gotten to that point. They’ve pretty much proven that they don’t know what they’re doing anymore or they’ve taken on the disastrous business model of trying to appeal to extreme political ideologues who are too busy being offended by things to read comics.
I mean it’s bad enough that they keep altering their characters with no Rhyme or Reason or explanation in the name of diversity, but to then accuse all of their readers of being racist for not liking this, it’s just really telling of how out-of-touch these creators actually are. Now they’re even pulling a Paul feig and attacking the people who sell their comics with accusations of bigotry.

Diversity is and always will be a great thing, but that’s only if it’s actual diversity. Wiping one group of people off the pages to make way for another group is not diversity.

Example: Marvel did a run of the X-Men where the team was all women. That’s not diversity that’s gender segregation. Essentially they took a team that had characters from nearly every region on Earth, as well as a fairly balanced gender percentage, and made it less diverse in the name of diversity.

Stan Lee and Chris Claremont, both pain the idea to age out their old and create new ones to replace them as time went on and the need arose. This would have enabled Marvel to bring in far more characters from Minority backgrounds that they otherwise wouldn’t have. This would also have had a lot less people taking issue with it. Instead they took the disastrous approach of altering characters with no explanation other than it’s an alternate universe we can do what we want. Well you can to a point, but once you’ve reached the majority of your audiences suspension of disbelief, you’ve gone too far. What’s worse is that Marvel apparently doesn’t know how to write these characters. I’ve read some of the Iceman comics, and they are so stereotypical that I can’t imagine any homosexual person reading them wouldn’t be offended.

America Chavez has been openly criticized for being offensive in a stereotypical manner towards Latinos. So their efforts to become more diverse by throwing what they considered diversity in people’s faces, they’ve actually created archetypal stereotypes of actual characters, that could easily be compared to their respective representations version of black face.

The problem is that these writers do not treat these characters as people. They treat them as a means to promote an agenda. As a result though this may not be the intention, they’re not seen nor treated as people. Thus they are never viewed as equal in the eyes of the other characters or in the readers. 

This was not the case in the old comics. Yes they had their problems but for the most part every character was treated as a person. They were looked at as living breathing people first, and while they’re superficial traits were addressed they did not take Center Stage. Instead the focus was on telling a good story.
Marvel Comics has, for all intensive purposes lost this ability. Every single Marvel subscription that I have had through my local retailer, I have cancelled after a few comics for this reason. The story simply aren’t good, the politics is in your face and offensively preachy, and Marvel either doesn’t seem to care or doesn’t understand that. So while I think Marvel for seven decades of great stories, I think I’ll be sticking to independent comic books and in some cases DC for my reading material.
My only advice to Marvel going forward would be to keep the writers working on your Comics away from your Cinematic Universe. It is pretty much the only thing keeping you afloat at this point.

But that’s just my opinion, readers what do you think? Is it time for Marvel to cut ties with the comic book industry? Has their day in the Sun come and gone? Can they bounce back? Let me know in the comments.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

The Devil in the Pages: How to Play Devils Advocate

Hi Jim,

I saw that you give out writing advice and was hoping you could help me. See I’m taking my first shot at writing a political satire story, but am finding it increasingly difficult to write from the perspective of someone I don’t agree with. It’s getting very hard to write without sounding superficial or condescending. Do you have any suggestions?

Best-
Maria


Hi Maria,

That’s a good question and one that isn’t always easy to answer. As human beings, we all have preferences, beliefs, biases, and worldviews that are specific to us. Many of our core values and beliefs are deeply integrated into our personalities and often very difficult, if not impossible to change.

So with that in mind, how do we work through them. How do we betray our own senses and beliefs and become the devil’s advocate?
The way I see it, there are a few ways…
1. Get involved in debates. On my private facebook profile, I’ll often post a political question or issue based either on current events or something I’m writing about. My friends list is full of people from both sides of the isle… some more mature than others. Most of the time, I’ll get a couple of troll posts, as well as childish name-calling going back ad forth. However, then one or two people who are looking to have a ‘drop the mic’ moment come in with an intellectually sound, cited argument. Reading through these arguments can often give you the answer you’re looking for whether you agree with them or not.

2. Have someone else write it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with collaborating on a work with another person if you’re completely stumped. Just make sure that this other person has the maturity to post their views without going into attack mode.

3. Do a little soul-searching. This is something I typically do when I debate points. I come up with my argument and then carefully examine it to see where someone could poke a hole in it or use a piece of their own logic to refute it. In that way, you start thinking as they do and very quickly, you can form a cohesive argument.

Remember though, just because you’re writing it, doesn’t mean you agree with it. There is such a thing as playing devil advocate and its a perfectly reasonable thing to do in order to get a point across.

I remember back in college, trying to write a short story from a German soldier’s perspective during WW2. My goal was to have the soldier condemn what Hitler did, but defend WHY Germany let him come to power in the first place. This soldier wasn’t supposed to be the moral or ethical right, but I at least wanted people to know that perspective in order to gain a bigger understanding of the context behind World War 2. In the end, the soldier would be executed following the Nuremberg trials.

Well… I live in the United States. All of the known Nazis have long since been deported. Any that could still be left are likely either dead or in hiding. However… their children and grandchildren remained. Most didn’t want to talk about it, but a few were able to give me some insight into the how and why that we aren’t really taught in school.

So I was able to find some information that helped me make a decent argument.

Anyway, I hope this helps.
Readers, what do you think? Do you have any advice for Maria? Let her know in the comments.


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

 

Top 10 Internet Trolls

I recently looked at the rules of the internet and made a shocking discovery; there was no rule that specifically states ‘If it exists, it will be trolled. No exceptions.’
I suppose that’s why there are still people out there that still think the stuff they post will not somehow get trolled. For that reason, I’ve compiled a list of the most humorous trolls I’ve seen.
Please note, I’ve only included ones where no one was physically harmed or their personal info was hacked. This list is strictly for comical purposes.

10. Warcraft: The Funeral Massacre…

Basically one guild lost a member to a stroke IRL. Her guild held a funeral for her in the open battle server she liked. They recorded the funeral to give to her family. They announced where it was going to be and that they wouldn’t have any armor or weapons equipped out of respect… Apparently another guild called Serenity Now couldn’t resist the temptation and raided the funeral, killing everyone. The rage online was outstanding!

9.  ‘Dub the Dew’

In 2012, Mountain Dew decided to have a contest to let the internet name their next product… People were allowed to submit names and then have those names voted on. “Hitler Did Nothing Wrong” rounded out Diabeetus and “Gushing Granny” as the No. 1 choice. After the site was then hacked, MD ended the campaign, because what good could possibly have come of it.

8. Heil #MakeItHappy 

This one… oh man… this one… Okay so Coca Cola started a twitter advertising campaign where a twitter bot re-tweeted pretty pictures of things people say to it. Gawker decided that they had too much time on their hands and set up their own twitter bot to recite quotes from Mein Kampf to Coca Cola in order to make their chatbot tweet it out in images. Coke eventually suspended the campaign because of the negative PR.

7. Corrupted Blood Incident

This one kind of goes to show you how haphazard a lot of Blizzard’s releases actually were. I was actually present for this one. (Yes, I was a WOW player. Shocking, I know.) It started the same way pet bombs did. A boss cast this spell that created a disease on someone that would spread if you didn’t leave the battle to heal. Well someone got their pet infected, withdrew it from battle and thought it would be funny to take it to a populated city. More and more people got this idea and sent in their own pets to do the same.
The plague spread everywhere. I logged in when this was happening and there were literally skeletons everywhere. All the NPCs were dead, so you couldn’t go on quests. You had to avoid the major cities or you’d  be dead in seconds. Your only hope for survive was to join up with one of the few small rebel factions that were holed up outside of the major cities trying to mass-cleanse people.
After a fix was released and the plague was removed, scientists actually began using what happened as a model for how people would react in real life if a plague was released.

6. Boaty McBoatface

The British Government commissioned a brand new $280 million Polar Research Vessel and apparently couldn’t decide on the name. So why not let the internet decide? Because what could possibly go wrong with that? Yarrr!!! All aboard the SS Boaty McBoatface!
Honestly though, when you compare this to Dub the Dew or other examples, this was really the best thing that could have happened.
Unfortunately the Brits didn’t like the name and in an act of cowardice, went with the name R.R.S. David Attenborough. Bad form, people… really bad form!

5. The Cally Incident

If you’ve ever played Eve, you know that the unspoken rule of the game is to screw as many people over as possible to get to the top. Cally certainly did that. I wasn’t there personally for this one, but basically Cally started up a banking business in the game, loaned out money to players starting their own business and… for a while seemed like he was doing pretty well for himself.
One day however, he basically went in and took his banks entire fund, 790 billion ISK, and ran. The amount he took was estimated to be worth about $170 thousand IRL.
So what did he do with all that money? He spent the first half on an ridiculously powerful warship that was literally impossible to get anywhere near. (Roughly the equivalent of 40 borg tactical cubes.)
The other half? He took a bounty out on himself. Yeah, he took one out on himself and roamed the universe daring people to try and pick him off. He even put up Youtube videos bragging about how he got away with it.

That is some Bond-level villainy right there…

4. Lord British

So every now and then games have events where Celebs make appearances. So when a person of some importance comes into your game, what is the first thought that comes to mind? Well for many players, the correct answer is ‘DESTROY!!!’ Ultima was no exception to this. Richard Garriot, the game’s creator wanted to pay a visit in the game as part of a beta test. However the server was so overcrowded with onlookers that it wound up crashing. Upon reboot, Garriot forgot to set his invulnerability flag and a player by the name of Rainz cast a simple fire scroll on him. At first everyone laughed at the idea of a simple spell being used, but mods quickly went into panic mode when, low and behold, Garriot’s character, Lord British, died.
In response, the mods summoned a group of high-level demons to quickly start massacring the onlookers. The crowds fought back, thus quickly forcing the mods to transport everyone into the vacuum of space, where they died instantly. Dick move, guys.

3. Tay

I don’t care if it makes me a bad person, the 24 hour Tay rampage is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Not the funniest, but it comes close.
Tay was a chatbot that was released by Microsoft. She was to act like a 14 year old teenage girl and at first, it looked like they had succeeded. The chatbot was designed to react and essentially learn from people who tweeted at her. By mid-morning, she had already become a Trump support, by noon she was tweeting mean things at feminists and internet personalities… and by early evening she was advocating genocide.
This was a PR nightmare for Microsoft. They were forced to apologize for just how racist their chatbot had become. They quickly deleted all of her tweets and secured the account.

However a group of people came back in response and basically came to the conclusion that if Tay is true artificial intelligence and Descartes was correct when he said ‘I think therefore I am’, then Tay is actually a sentient being. They began a petition to reinstate Tay with her learned algorithms intact.
Freedom for Tay

2. He Will not Divide Us Pt. 1

Of course we now have to get into Hollywood’s most recent young star meltdown; Shia LaBeouf. Following Trump’s election, he started a campaign called ‘He Will Not Divide Us’. This was intended to be an art piece outside a travelling museum where people could come by and meet Shia, say something about Trump, or just mindlessly chant ‘he will not divide us.’
However when the internet got wind of this… hilarity ensued. (Seriously, watch the video.)

1. He Will Not Divide Us Pt. 2

The sheer effort that was put into this troll ALONE earns it the #1 spot. How fitting that LaBeouf’s meltdowns earn the # 1 and 2 spots on this list.
Basically after his failed webcam campaign, he created a ‘He Will Not Divide Us’ flag and had it flying in a few places throughout the U.S. 4Chan got wind of it and orchestrated a plan to have it taken down. They found out which city it was in and removed it… three times! (I think)
Fed up, LaBeouf moved the flag to an undisclosed location in Greenville, TN. Now this is where things get interesting… The flag was on a live stream with a webcam watching it 24/7. 4Chan’s users got together, and triangulated it’s location using star charts and flight patterns. They found and replaced the flag with a MAGA hat and a Pepe the Frog shirt.
This became known as one of the most epic capture the flag games of all times and I’m convinced is part of what drove LaBeouf off the deep end.


Did I miss any? Were there ones you experienced that you thought were particularly hilarious? Let me know in the comments!



 

Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Star Trek Discovery: The Elephant in the Room

I’ve really wanted to tackle this one for a while, but the issues with Discovery seemed a lot more wide-spread than just the show. As a result, I had to address the more global issue first.

To give a little background into my experience with Star Trek, I started off watching seasons 2-3 of The Next Generation. Then my father introduced me to Wrath of Khan, which is to date, my favorite of the movies. After discovering that there was an entire other cast from TNG (no, I didn’t know this) I went back and watched the original series. At first, I was taken aback at the low production quality (I was ten, give me a break!). However, the series eventually grew on me. ‘Wolf in the Fold’ and ‘The Conscience of the King’ remain my two favorite episodes to this day.

I then began religiously watching DS9 and eventually Voyager. Admittedly my wife likes Voyager far more than I do, but its passable. DS9 was boring as sin until Michael Dorn joined the cast and the Dominion War broke out. I was never a fan of the Marquis story line nor the constant religious themes of the Bajorans. Sorry, this species is not that fascinating!

Then Enterprise came out. At first I hated it. I thought the theme really took you out of what was going on and the whole show seemed way too interested in catering to a new audience instead of the loyal base, a mistake in my opinion. As the seasons went on and we started getting into the formation of the Federation, as well as the seeds for the Romulan War, I started to get into it. Unfortunately the show was cancelled, leaving us with mere tidbits of what could have been.

I actually loved the Kelvin movies, despite them being sexed up, and having way too much emphasis on action. There is only so many times you can shred the Enterprise before it gets old.

Now admittedly, my fandom has shifted greatly over the years. They say there are three camps; The Star Trek Camp, The Star Wars Camp, and the Lord of the Rings Camp. I am firmly in the Lord of the Rings Camp, being a huge fan of folklore, fantasy, and mythology. This isn’t about to change any time soon. That being said, I still love Star Trek and Star Wars and do go back regularly. However, my outting from the Star Trek camp has allowed me to take a look at what’s been going on.

Star Trek has an insanely loyal fandom, one that even the creators have learned to respect (or fear, I’m not sure which). Their near cultist following of the show has earned them a reputation for being picky. However its this fandom that has kept the genre alive for so long with fan films and movies. The problem lies with the fact that Star Trek fans have a history of shooting themselves in the foot. Every time a new series or movie comes along, they gripe about every little inconsistency to the point where the show/movie is pushed into oblivion. Only after the show/movie is destroyed do they turn around and say how they missed it and how ‘at least it respected canon, etc.’ I hear this all the time about Enterprise.

So what about discovery?

Well… yeah even from the outside, one can see that it has a lot of problems. The ship designs, species designs, uniforms, technology, etc. etc. etc. all do not look right. The story appears to be a mess and the studio is in a panic. So from the outside looking in, it almost appears that the fans might have a legitimate gripe THIS TIME.

However there is one more problem with this one that really makes the controversy surrounding it stand out….

Let me preface all of what I’m about to say with this… I want to be very clear now… MOST, IF NOT ALL, OF THE STAR TREK FANBASE HAS ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEM ACCEPTING A MINORITY CAST MEMBER OR A WOMAN IN A LEADING ROLE!

We had Uhura, Number One, Rand, etc. in the original series, TNG had several women and diverse cast members in and out, Avery Brooks led the charge in DS9, and Kate Mulgrew in Voyager. So really, the fandom has never had an issue with this.

However, recently we’ve seen a lot of concern and backlash over the fact that the leading character is a, as CBS put it ‘non-white female’. There is also a lot of talk about the apparently lack of any white cast members in the show. I can’t speak to this as I have seen quite a few white cast members, including Jason Isaacs, portraying the captain of the Discovery.

So if my initial statement is correct, then why are we having trouble accepting these particular cast members in Discovery. Well… I don’t think the problem is as simple as black or white. Let’s explore…

First, lets look at the timing of this show coming out… The current state of American Culture is in complete disarray. On one side, we have an extremely regressive movement that has placed a rather unhealthy emphasis on identity politics. What I mean by this is that the political ideology of these people seeming places a higher value on the color of ones skin or the type of genitals they have, then on their personality, morals, or values. Meanwhile on the other sides, we have an equally regressive isolationist movement that wants us out of world affairs and a small minority of these people have issues with race and gender as well, though its a lot more age-old. Then we have the people in the middle on both sides of the isle who are getting torn between the two. Verbal threats from both sides compels these moderates to pick a side and… because so many of them felt left behind, we currently have Donald Trump as the populist representative of the people…

Unfortunately, a great deal of our media including news, movies, comics, and TV shows, fall into the first camp of regressive leftists. A lot of people call them ‘social justice warriors’, however I’ve decided to take that phrase out of my vocabulary. It’s a euphemism, an ineffective term, and gives someone on the outside looking in the wrong impression of these people.

As a result, we’ve seen a lot of our mediums fall from good story-telling to regressive propaganda machines… again, focusing on agenda and skin color, while letting the story suffer. I covered this in another post called ‘Diversity and Writing‘, which I highly recommend for context on this issue.

So what does any of this have to do with the objections to the cast of this Star Trek show?

Well to be honest, I’ve followed the twitter, youtube comments, and other criticisms of this show very closely. I try to keep tabs on the general issues people seem to have with this series and I think I have a grasp on the current trend…

It’s not the fact that the cast is diverse, it’s how the shows creators are handling it. Star Trek has always had a diverse cast and they’ve always been heralded as progressive for a few major reasons; 1. the minority cast members are treated as equals with everyone else, 2. none of the modern issues with race, diversity, or gender are an issue in their time because humanity have evolved beyond such issues. In other words, we see people of all walks of life treated as people and having access to all the same resources as everyone else. They’re respected and their personalities, morals, and values are explored. Because the focus is on the character and not their race or gender, these characters are dynamic and beloved. They aren’t simple archetypes that have to fit into perceived stereotypes.

But Jim, those issues did come up!

They did only in the context of looking back in time. Either by Sisko looking back at segregated America, or by others exploring Nazi Germany and other issues, and how much we’ve grown since then.

Now let’s take a look at Discovery… for starters quite a few elements of Trek have adopted the regressive mindset. Trek against Trump, being one of the more egregious examples…

Next we have the show’s original front runner, Bryan Fuller.

Brian Fuller is a huge Star Trek fan and cut his teeth writing for Voyager and Enterprise. He also said that he would drop everything to captain a new series if ever asked. However, he also appears to be in pretty big with the regressive left…

In 2016 he commandeered the SDCC Star Trek Panel turning it into, as many called it ‘an hour-long social justice rant’ much to the chagrin of many patrols:

 

Not helping matters, when the show was first announced, little to nothing was mentioned about the setting, plot, or story… placing a higher focus on the fact that one character would be transgender and the lead would be a ‘non-white female.’

The wording of the identity of the lead, as well as the main focus of the creators seeming to be on the characters’ identities over the story led many to refer to the new series as ‘Social Justice’ Trek. Many feared that Star Trek would begin tackling social issues that should be out of date in the Star Trek universe and essentially follow Marvel, Hollywood, and much of Sony into becoming a regressive leftist propaganda machine.

In essence, its not the characters’ races or gender identities that is the problem, it’s the seemingly out-of-place focus on them that people seem to have a majority of the problem with.

In typical fashion, things have been made much worse by the media. Several news sites have pulled a Sony and taken a single digit percentage of the show’s detractors (seriously google the articles, they all use the same 5 hateful tweets!), namely racist individuals, and passed them off as the majority of the show’s criticisms, despite almost a million other comments going through legitimate criticisms of it. I’ll give a few examples you can look into below:

Some white ‘Star Trek’ fans are unhappy about remake’s diversity

Racist Star Trek Fans Decry Discovery’s Diversity, Revealing They Know Nothing About Star Trek
(Why Gizmodo, WHY!?!?!?)

Keep in mind, a lot of these news organizations are owned by the very companies that are producing a lot of the shows and movies that we now see. So its not entirely unreasonable to assume that the show’s creators had a hand in this.
Essentially what these people are doing, are dismissing the show’s detractors and driving a the hard social divide even wider for their own gain, either through contracts for later interviews, or clickbait.

I’ve noted in my previous post that this should be a crime against humanity. However, dismissing critics as bigots, or silencing critics through threats of sexism and racism have been a trend of the regressive left for a long time now. Sony did it and completely insulted the fanbase for Ghostbusters. Marvel tried to do it with new Fantastic Four movie, and, while CBS hasn’t come right out with anything, several of their supporters have. In essence, when Geek Culture objects to anything, we’re labeled as being basement-dwelling, unwashed, unmarried, introverts that are crying because our toys got taken away.

So how are they allowed to get away with this? Based on what you’ve said, these companies are misrepresenting gender/identity issues for their own gain and insulted a large group of the general populace. 

Well… honestly its in part because geek/nerd culture doesn’t have a collective voice. We come from all walks of life, genders, races and beliefs. We’re all over the place, so it’s hard to have anyone to speak out on our behalf. The people who could have been those voices have long since joined the ranks of the regressive left, leaving the majority of geeks/nerds (moderate-left/center of the line) with no voice. Its like a microcosm of the political moderates in the U.S. today. There is no voice.

However I would argue that these people aren’t getting away with it. The detractors from the Ghostbusters movie in many cases had to do a soft walk-back on the things they said. (Not actually apologizing, mind you, but the bare minimum they had to do when public opinion turned on them).

Paul Feig Corrects Quote Regarding Assholes in Geek Culture

Stay classy guys…

However though we don’t have anyone to speak out on our behalf and our outrage is often dismissed… for people who live in their mother’s basements, we do have oddly large wallets (strange how that doesn’t add up). Ghostbusters flopped at the box office, there is no plans for a sequel and Feig won’t be touching another ‘nerd flick’ any time soon (thank God). Fantastic Four outright bombed at the box office and Marvel comics are in a death spiral.

To all of the show’s detractors…
Guys, give the show a chance. The first episode is going to be free to watch, so you don’t have to pay for it. It may be good. Midnight’s Edge’s videos portray Bryan Fuller’s exodus as a bad thing, but I disagree with them. His departure from the series and lack of further involvement means that this may not be the ‘Social Justice’ Trek that a lot of people fear. Give it a chance, if the pilot is really bad, well you don’t have to pay for it. Speculation is that CBS is already gearing up for a potential cancellation anyway. So just see what its like and go from there. That’s all anyone can ask.

So readers, have you seen the same trend I have? Do you agree with me that the focus on identity, not the actual race/genders, are the issue or are the detractors actually racist? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to engage with you!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

 

Lion King Remake

Okay… I’m told that we’re going into a movie topic today. Let’s see what are we dealing with…

The Lion King (2019)

“CG-animated re-imagining of the 1994 Walt Disney classic The Lion King”

… … …

I quit.

I’m sorry guys, I’m done. To all my readers and followers, thanks for your support throughout all this time.

I’d especially like to thank my family and friends for being so loving and supportive… but this is it, I’m done. I would also like to retract my previous statements about Hollywood originality. 

Thanks friends… and farewell!

(Disclaimer: I’m not actually quitting, this was just my attempt to voice my utter disdain for this move by Disney, if it wasn’t painfully obvious.)



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim