@dominikhoecht These are fictional characters, right? Was their “whiteness” really important to the story or are you just uncomfortable with the change?
@pratik @dominikhoecht I'll jump in as a 68 year old white woman to say: "Why not new ideas?" I bet that's 99.9% money-based. Plus making a character 'different' is probably a money-based ploy to increase audience and therefore earnings. As for changing up a character — when I was a kid watching TV everybody was male. Sure, there were a few females sprinkled around - princesses for the very young or wives or secretaries who catered to the men for the adults. But it was men's stories all the way. How relieved I have been as years have gone by to see myself more and more often represented, whether in reruns or new series, as a woman, as a lesbian. Representation is incredibly important.
@Miraz @dominikhoecht Yup. Exactly. Representation matters. And what exactly apart from nostalgia are we losing with having different characters? Also, thanks for speaking up. Often people of color have to speak up and frankly, we’re tired.
@pratik I started by thinking "Not my place". Then I realised it is my place and it shouldn't just fall to (the wider) you.
@Miraz Plus I think it’s the general sentiment on Micro.blog to not be “confrontational” even when it’s warranted. This is hardly that though and is simply pushing back in a gentle yet firm manner.
@pratik Hmmm, not so much pushing back as explaining. For all of us with privilege it's impossible to understand even that we have privilege and what the consequences are. We need people to take our questions and answer carefully.
@pratik @Miraz Thank you for your answers and I hope my contribution is not too offensive. I don't want it to be. I've been thinking for a long time about whether to write about this at all. What words do I use for it? Black? People of color? Do I add more examples of diversity or not? The more I think about it, maybe it's also about the pointlessness of remakes in general, which you now want to make even more accessible through a diversity bonus. Or maybe it's just about the money.
The films and series I mentioned are fictional stories. So nothing real is distorted here. Rather, one now deviates from the original.
Strong women in the film industry were rare, that's true and yes, it gets better, which is nice. When I think back, I can only think of Ellen Ripley from Alien or Leia Organa (Star Wars), Sarah Connor (Terminator). But then we're already in the 70s and 80s. And women in such roles are still absolutely rare.
@Miraz Explaining yes but it involves pushing back. I don’t want to overtly polite lest I hurt their feelings. Sometimes, it’s ok to make things uncomfortable. The initial reaction will always be denial and refutation but it’s up to that person to reflect and understand and yes, do the work too.
@dominikhoecht @Miraz Definitely not offensive but I’m glad you asked. That’s the only way we can grow, right? It’s fine to use ‘Black’, ‘Asian’, etc or people of color to encompass all non-white people. Complaining about remakes is fine but traditionally, people have used it to push their discomfort with seeing people of color in prominent roles.
@dominikhoecht @pratik I think there can be a role (beyond money) for remakes, in TV and film, music, stories. As there is for crossing media. Stories we loved as children can be remade (with updates) to entertain us or the new generation of kids. They could bring new meaning, new perspectives. For example, I dimly recall watching the original BattleStar Galactica decades ago. I loved the modern remake which surely changed many things, including the gender of a key character. I suspect throughout history people have told, retold and modernised stories. Stories are something we humans do.
@Miraz @dominikhoecht Agree. Remakes are going to hit or miss. As long as the creator has granted permission, no one else has a right to complain. You can protest by not watching. But the producers are taking a gamble that it would attract newer audiences more than turn away older ones. I’m reminded of the Everything is a remix video.
@pratik @Miraz @dominikhoecht interesting topic and interesting to see how artists go about updating for the modern, wherever it happens to be at the time. @pratik, I must disagree about 'right to complain' or protest. Of course, everyone has a right to complain. Who’s listening, that’s what’s up. And folks can and do protest in all sorts of other ways apart from turning the channel, i.e. option ignore.
@pratik @Miraz @dominikhoecht ...and almost without fail, the folks complaining most about this sort of thing don’t have a story to tell as much as they want to prevent you from telling yours. It’s a weird reaction to weird times. ❡
@Miraz You touched on probably the best remake I can think of with BSG. I watched them both, and no contest.
@bkryer @jasonekratz @pratik @dominikhoecht @Medievalist @Ddanielson I disagree that "If you re-tell old stories in today’s trappings, just for today’s sake, then you are sort-of “un-telling” the old stories." The world changes and moves on. Language changes. We come to understand things differently from before. Some old things become incomprehensible as time goes by. We see things through a frame of our 'current' environment and understanding. Adapting a story to current times may be staying truer to the original than not adapting it.
@Miraz Yes, it is a bit vague and just sort of declared w/o much back up...I’m hiding stuff in the phrase "for today’s sake"...hmm...
I guess a better way to get at what I think is causing confusion here is to answer the question: does art have some sort of moral obligation to the viewer? I don’t think it does, or should. So when I’m told thank god finally ghostbusters are getting the representation they deserve, I’m skeptical.
@bkryer Well, the author, movie maker, whatever has an 'obligation' to communicate clearly to their audience. If white men were once 'universal' characters, they are now a single segment of a much broader population. Now instead of telling some kind of 'universal' story, those white men are telling a partial, fragmentary story. The world has changed; the perceptions have changed.
@Medievalist I’m not interested in telling any artist what they should or should not depict. I’m troubled by those who would.
@Miraz I couldn't agree more. Remakes are also there to adapt them to the present. To process current events in them, to modernize the story a bit. Yes, that makes perfect sense. There are a few remakes that I like better, but that's not the rule. But maybe that's because I grew up with the originals.
@Miraz Well, sure, they have the incentive if not the obligation, at least for the sort of collaborative commercial works we're talking about. But white men have always been a single segment of a much broader population, as is every other group we want to put in an attribute box, so I’m not sure what you are saying with that.
@Medievalist I actually only know the Little Mermaids movie from Disney. And yes, maybe they just reached into the Schema-F box. "She is white. That's it." However, I also think that no one really thought about whether they were discriminating. And they certainly didn't want to provoke anything with it.
Today, films and series are becoming much more diverse, which is a good thing. The only question is whether it really matters in remakes whether the main character is white, black, a person of color, a woman, a man, and so on. How does that make the film better? How does that make the story better? Here I think they just want to show that they are definitely more open. This is good, but seems a bit forced to me.
@jasonekratz Ian Fleming already had a clear picture of his James Bond in the books. It has nothing to do with his death. Bond could have been changed even before that. See the last film. Suddenly 007 was a black woman. No, she wasn't Bond, but they hinted at something. And was that okay? Of course it was okay. Did it add any actual value? That doesn't depend on a skin color or a gender, but on the story and the actor himself, who can bring himself in particularly well or particularly badly.
@dominikhoecht I think you’re original point was that some casting in modern film production seems to be contrived for some other end, rather than elevating the art. I couldn’t agree more.
I’m kind of tired of every series (can you not tell your story in 90-120 minutes? Really, every time?) with this demographic bento box covering the melanin palette, because Space Mining just happens to attract that sort of crowd.
My teen age friend group was a microcosm of the most recent census, but naturally, not because central casting thought it would improve our chances for college.
@bkryer And are we forgetting that there are a lot of white male artists whose main preoccupation has been saying "fuck you" to other white males, normally up the class chain? No, we’re not forgetting that.
@bkryer I'm going to speculate a little bit about how this works in the film industry.
We need a new film. Does anyone have any ideas?
How about a remake of Arielle? The original is already x years old.
Then there's the casting, and there's probably the biggest problem. But only guessed. For example, in order to be more diverse, it is determined in advance that Arielle must be a person of color. For the sake of diversity. And then the selection begins.
Is this the right way to go, or should we ask in advance: Which actor will add new facets to the character? Who will live this role and inspire people in the cinema in a whole new way? And then the selection begins.
@dominikhoecht Maybe. And why not? My point is: the reason we didn’t have Sophie’s List and Schindler’s Choice is because of the necessities of the historical context.
As @pratik mentioned way back up at the top, ask, is the superficial attribute (race, or gender or what have you) somehow integral to the character in the context of the story? If it is, then okay, maybe talk about what it is we need preserve about that character.
But if the attribute does nothing for the story—is only familiar—well don’t flip your cookies when it changes, cuz it will change. Right? I mean, Emperors New Groove is too good to just have the animated Peruvian version. Right?
@Medievalist I keep trying to make the point that it is not variability in the production of art I am bent to contain, but the prescription of it.
@bkryer @Medievalist I’m as bored as everybody else is watching white dudes do white dude shit. But it is more boring and a bit depressing to think "It’s great to see -- insert demographic group -- represented in cinema, hunting ducks, committing securities fraud, saving the savages! Ah, parity."