Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Post of the Week Created with Sketch. Epic Crossover Event: Dr. Who Battles the Gods of the Copybook Headings

 

Dr. Who and the Noble Lie

There was an episode of Dr. Who where they go back in time to 1814 London. For some reason or another, about a fifth of the people are black. This was not so of England in 1814. When asked about such politically correct deceptions, the executive television producer of Dr. Who, Steven Moffat, said:

And we’ve kind of got to tell a lie: we’ll go back into history and there will be black people where, historically, there wouldn’t have been, and we won’t dwell on that. We’ll say, “To hell with it, this is the imaginary, better version of the world. By believing in it, we’ll summon it forth.”

(I suggest that you watch the video for just two minutes. It is well worth your time.)

Moffat’s quote is immensely fascinating to me. I don’t understand why you would feel compelled as a storyteller to change history when you can go into the future or a different dimension where bigotry doesn’t exist; where reason and compassion triumphed over the darker devils of our nature.

Take the approach of Star Trek the original series or Star Trek: The Next Generation. The first interracial kiss on mainstream television was done on Star Trek and Martin Luther King himself was a big Trekkie. In the series, bigotry is a thing of the past and all the different (human) races got along with each other to advance science, enjoy art, and most importantly, admire Nyota Uhura’s legs.*

God gave me legs to make America less racist and I intend to use them.

Through reason: respect for individual rights and sex appeal, other alien races could be peacefully integrated into the Federation. It’s an optimistic vision of what humanity could be after centuries of moral and technological progress. Dr. Who could do the same and still accurately, depict 1814 London as being filled with boring white guys.

Ctlaw made a great point that accurately depicting the black citizens of the British Empire would be a politically correct no-go. The African colonies were still backward. Meanwhile, in Jamaica, the black population were either slaves and blighted by ignorance and superstition or were themselves owners of slaves. Thus if you need to fulfill your diversity quota, pretending that there were a great many black British in 1814 and they all wore funny clothing is the path of least wrong-think.

But let us assume that Steven Moffat genuinely believes in what he says and that he wasn’t pressured into a diversity quota. I for one believe in his sincerity, just reread that last line, “By believing in it, we’ll summon it forth.”

It reminds me of Orwell’s depiction of Big Brother propaganda in 1984. “The past was alterable. The past never had been altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.” I doubt that Steven Moffat would put it this way but he might as well say, “The past is alterable. The past was not altered. London was a racially diverse city. London was always a racially diverse city.” I spot an uncomfortable parallel.

More importantly than the obsession with skin-deep diversity, is the elasticity of truth and the all-importance of telling the ‘correct’ story rather than recognizing reality. This is probably why English departments are much more lefty than Political Scientist Departments and why (until recently) Science departments weren’t all that interested in being woke. In a similar pattern, James Burnham has noted that the more one’s job relied on words and less on reality, the more inclined one was towards some variant of leftism.

Words as the DNA of the future

Quite possibly this goes back to our belief that words have magic powers. In one story about the power of language, a worldy Navajo wiseman says,In the West, it is said that the word became flesh and dwelt among us. In the East, it is said the man of flesh brings spiritual power to words.” In one Japanese creation story, humanity was fashioned from the Earth but they became men and women when the Japanese character for life was written on their bodies. J.R.R. Tolkien described the world as being created through music. In the Witcher mythology, a miscarried child if it is not named is more likely to come back as a zombie-monster because names are powerful seals. Egyptian and many different kinds of Native-American mythology gave great import to the power of names.

Perhaps most relevant to the Ricochet audience, in our American tradition, our Declaration of Independence secured in the American collective soul the idea of liberty and through its words helped shaped American history.

Furthermore, before any human ever existed, there was genetic information that would eventually form to create them. In a similar fashion, every building, every corporation and every piece of art existed as an idea beforehand. In a similar fashion, scientific experiments start with a scientist thinking about things and making a hypothesis. When thinking about the power of information and ideas, Steven Moffat’s seemingly magical belief that “By believing in it, we’ll summon it forth.” sounds much less fantastical. When an entrepreneur wants to start a corporation and he doesn’t have the money to start it, he convinces other people that his idea for the corporation is good. By convincing other people, he summons something that didn’t exist forth.

So count me as a big believer in the power of ideas and information. Whether the information is a gamete, or a script for a movie or the plan to ask someone to marry you. Dreams can become reality.

 

The Return of the Gods of the Copybook Heading

But I still disapprove of Steven Moffat changing history to fit his political agenda while I approve of the interracial kiss in Star Trek. This is because while I fundamentally agree with the power of language to create new things, the historical facts of the past and the fundamental rules of reality don’t bend to language.

Look at transexualism and the use of language. According to modern dogma, if a person with a penis and an XY Chromosome says that he is a female, calling him a female makes him a female (without malice I must bend to genetic reality and use the real pronouns.) Using the biologically accurate pronouns destroys the created ‘reality’ of language. Notice that transpeople say that people who use the accurate pronouns are denying their existence, that referring to Kaitlyn Jenners’s previous name of Bruce Jenner is deadnaming and that using the accurate pronouns is related to violence. This perfectly dovetails with the modern left’s obsession with hate speech.

I suspect that the modern woke left, hereafter referred to as Wokism doesn’t believe in objective reality the same that most Ricochetti do. I suspect that they believe that by changing the language they can change reality. Let’s go through the quick list of things that Wokists believe that are easily and provably untrue.

In reality, Scandinavian countries are very capitalist countries with big welfare states that are designed to minimize the harm done to capitalism. Woke people insist on calling it socialist. In reality, there isn’t that big a gender gap when men and women do the same work for the same amount of years. But progressives and Wokists keep insisting on the 76% myth. In reality, Chick-fillet always hired gay people and paid the health insurance for their partners and all that jazz, but the left insisted constantly that they discriminated against gay people.

I could go on and on and I’m sure that you can too. While the Right certainly isn’t lacking in anti-capitalist and anti-empirical nonsense, the Left promotes narrative over facts consistently while conservatives tend to recognize that, as John Adams noted, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” [emboldening mine]

Many Trump supporters during a particularly obnoxious tweet saying, “Don’t pay attention to what he says but what he does.” In other words, look at the policy actions rather than the words. Meanwhile, lefties and some conservatives seem to focus on the tweets and the petty insults more than Trump’s actual foreign and domestic policy. Many of these same people heaped praise on Obama for his ability to say the right things and speak in honeyed tones. It would seem that words matter more to both leftists and intellectuals.***

Kipling vs. Muffat: The Epic Battle

Speaking of leftist, let’s go back to Steven Muffat, he can never write a story that makes the actual London of 1814 racially diverse. He can tell stories that inspire humanity to be better and I wish him luck in that pursuit. Particularly if he hires actors of color who look like Uhara and have a thing for pasty white guys from the American Midwest.

God designed this body just as he designed all men to be created equal. No wonder MLK was a trekkie.

But I fear he ignores the gods of the copybook heading.

I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

The Gods of the Copybook Headings represent common sense and Gods of the Market Palace represent man’s ambitions and foolishness.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,

The Gods of reality stayed real and solid and all the rules stayed the same. But the Gods of the Market Place where like wind and could change into what we wanted them to. The poem goes on to explain why the Gods of the Copybook Heading were shunned.

They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

Of course, reality reasserted itself even though we denied it. Out of necessity, humanity had to reorient itself to what is real rather than what they wanted reality to be. We don’t want to do it. We want to live in a world that is easier and nicer and fairer. I understand Moffat’s desire to live in that world. But as Kipling noted, we are ruled by the gods of the copybook heading even though we would much prefer to live in the world promised by the gods of the marketplace.

Human Potential and its limits

I believe that humans have untapped potential. I think we can be a bit better than what we are now and to do that we need to tell the right stories. I hope that Moffat’s stories help us manifest that potential. But to paraphrase Kipling,

As ice will always be freezing

And fire will surely burn.

The Gods of the Copybook Heading

Without mercy shall return

*Hat tip to Boss Mongo who mentioned Uhura’s sex appeal.

** Hat tip to Sea Writer’s much more pithy post on a similar subject. https://ricochet.com/712047/qotd-truth/

*** Old Bathos wrote a clever joke about NeverTrumpers and their emphasis on language from a Pro-Trump perspective.

Twenty years from now, if Trump is remembered for ushering in a new economic golden age, the rollback of wars, the fall of oppressive regimes and substantive government reform, will elderly NeverTrumpers still be saying, “Yes but those tweets ..and he was so rude …and what he said about…” to their incredulous but wealthy grandchildren?

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There are 32 comments.

  1. Arahant Member

    Henry Castaigne: let’s go back to John Muffat

    I’m confused about this. What happened to Steven Moffat?

    • #1
    • January 26, 2020, at 2:50 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  2. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne

    I don’t know what could have distracted me.

    Anyway I have corrected it.

    • #2
    • January 26, 2020, at 2:55 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  3. Arahant Member

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    I don’t know what could have distracted me. 

    Uhura’s legs.

    • #3
    • January 26, 2020, at 2:57 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  4. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    Sulu: I fail to see why such a thing would be distracting.
    Related image
    Kirk: Sorry. What were you saying Sulu?
    • #4
    • January 26, 2020, at 3:06 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  5. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Star Trek did hedge their bets a little in the episode with the Kirk-Ulhura kiss, in that it was forced onto them by the telekinetic powers of the Platonians. The degradation here was about overriding the free will of two Star Fleet officers, but NBC could say Kirk didn’t want to kiss his communications officer for other reasons, even though Kirk would diddle any species in the universe with XX chromosomes, outside possibly of the shape-shifting salt monster on Planet M-113 (at least not in her natural form).

    As for Moffat’s historical substitutions, I suppose it depends on what you want to do with it. If you’re simply doing multiculturalism for the sake of opening up roles to other people without any underlying message or attempt to convince younger viewers that this represents reality, that’s one thing. I don’t think anyone involved in “Hamilton” would want to say their play represented 18th Century demographics of American politics, and as I noted in the other thread, to do so would be to send mixed messages about past history, since you can either have a multicultural world 200-plus years ago, or an oppressive Western society of white hegemony born on the back of centuries of racist and segregationist history.

    Squaring the circle on both concepts means you’re going to have to either concoct some wild narrative to explain why Western civilization is more racist in the 21st Century than it was in the 18th or 19th, or admit at least one of your story lines (if not both) is fanciful. And the pop culture types who try to multi-culture the past while presenting entertainment that damns the present via woke story lines are the ones who tend to kill off longstanding successful franchises, by putting their contemporary politics in front of viewers trying to escape from it.

    • #5
    • January 26, 2020, at 4:29 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  6. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    Sulu: I fail to see why such a thing would be distracting.Related imageKirk: Sorry. What were you saying Sulu?

    Desilu used the studio’s CEO to do the Beta version of the green Orion slave girl, filmed about a month before they shot the Star Trek pilot. Makes you wonder if all those stories about color correction problems from the lab were overstated….

    • #6
    • January 26, 2020, at 4:34 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  7. Hartmann von Aue Member

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    I don’t know what could have distracted me.

    Anyway I have corrected it.

    There are a couple of other typos you need to deal with and the captions under the photos are not lining up right- writes one desiring the technical improvement of this great post. 

    And on a personal note: When I was growing up in the 70’s, I heard Stokely Carmichael say “Black is beautiful!” on the news, took one look at Nichelle Nichols and said “Boy and how!”. 

    I was…. precocious in my affections for the female form. 

    • #7
    • January 26, 2020, at 6:20 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  8. Hartmann von Aue Member

     

    .. you can either have a multicultural world 200-plus years ago, or an oppressive Western society of white hegemony born on the back of centuries of racist and segregationist history.

    Squaring the circle on both concepts means you’re going to have to either concoct some wild narrative to explain why Western civilization is more racist in the 21st Century than it was in the 18th or 19th, or admit at least one of your story lines (if not both) is fanciful. And the pop culture types who try to multi-culture the past while presenting entertainment that damns the present via woke story lines are the ones who tend to kill off longstanding successful franchises, by putting their contemporary politics in front of viewers trying to escape from it.

    The idea of telling the real stories of real non-whites who lived with dignity and courage in spite of facing racial prejudice from the majority of whites they encountered in the era of European colonialism seems beyond their imaginative grasp. Everyone has to be a victim and has to have thought himself a victim, more importantly. 

     

    • #8
    • January 26, 2020, at 6:27 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  9. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Basically, histories and myths are both important teaching tools, but they should not be deliberately confused. Historical fiction is fine if it is clearly presented as such. When histories are filled with fiction, they become untrustworthy and people lose interest. Then people are easy to manipulate.

    Hippies believe in objective realities like everybody else. They just indulge wishful thinking when convenient, later ignoring their own lies when inconvenient. They prioritize desires before truth.

    If their lies were not vulnerable to their own reason, they would not try so hard to silence truth speaking. It’s vital that people of sense speak up.

    • #9
    • January 26, 2020, at 7:56 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  10. Arahant Member

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):
    and the captions under the photos are not lining up right- writes one desiring the technical improvement of this great post.

    The problem with captions is that if you go back in and edit, they lose all the formatting. He had them perfect.

    • #10
    • January 26, 2020, at 10:09 AM PST
    • 1 like
  11. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    My favorite Kipling poem.

    • #11
    • January 26, 2020, at 8:32 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  12. Hartmann von Aue Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):
    and the captions under the photos are not lining up right- writes one desiring the technical improvement of this great post.

    The problem with captions is that if you go back in and edit, they lose all the formatting. He had them perfect.

    And has them perfect again. Thanks!

    • #12
    • January 26, 2020, at 10:22 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  13. RPD Member
    RPD Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    With the Moffat era of Doctor Who over and done with we can see just how far he went. In truth I don’t think he went all that far. Some multi-racial faces where they wouldn’t been, but little else. Moffat was in that pit of leftism that is the BBC and needed to go along to get along. The current Who audience is multi-racial so they took some liberties with history to dodge some of the criticism. His successor Chris Chibnall is another thing entirely.

    • #13
    • January 27, 2020, at 3:08 AM PST
    • 1 like
  14. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne

    RPD (View Comment):

    With the Moffat era of Doctor Who over and done with we can see just how far he went. In truth I don’t think he went all that far. Some multi-racial faces where they wouldn’t been, but little else. Moffat was in that pit of leftism that is the BBC and needed to go along to get along. The current Who audience is multi-racial so they took some liberties with history to dodge some of the criticism. His successor Chris Chibnall is another thing entirely.

    Isn’t that the pattern of everything lefty? It starts as being just a little silly but not crazy; nothing that gets in the way of the quality of the institution. Then, it explodes into wokeness.

    • #14
    • January 27, 2020, at 3:49 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  15. Valiuth Member
    Valiuth Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Frankly I don’t think a TV show should have to justify why they have black people in 1818 England. It is for the same reason that in the musical Hamilton the cast is mostly all black. They didn’t cast for historical realism, because historical realism isn’t their goal or concern. I think this is a perfectly defensible point. And it need go no further. Otherwise we just end up in the “We can’t do Madam Butterfly because you didn’t cast an Asia in the titular role”. I’ve watched plenty of Doctor Who, and I must say at no point was I distracted or made to loose my suspension of disbelief based on their casting of extras. Therefore I don’t think it is a problem for them. The consideration for casting should be how it affects the story. If the racial make up of your extras is irrelevant to the story then just grab what ever bodies you can to do the show. These are productions that have to work on the cheap, I’m sure they have people or companies that they do business with and if all they need is bodies, in Victorian garb, then that is all they need. Just hire them by the bushel and get your shots and move on. The audience won’t care if the story doesn’t care, and if you do deliver on the elements that are integral.

    • #15
    • January 27, 2020, at 7:01 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  16. colleenb Member
    colleenb Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Frankly I don’t think a TV show should have to justify why they have black people in 1818 England. It is for the same reason that in the musical Hamilton the cast is mostly all black. They didn’t cast for historical realism, because historical realism isn’t their goal or concern. I think this is a perfectly defensible point. And it need go no further. Otherwise we just end up in the “We can’t do Madam Butterfly because you didn’t cast an Asia in the titular role”. I’ve watched plenty of Doctor Who, and I must say at no point was I distracted or made to loose my suspension of disbelief based on their casting of extras. Therefore I don’t think it is a problem for them. The consideration for casting should be how it affects the story. If the racial make up of your extras is irrelevant to the story then just grab what ever bodies you can to do the show. These are productions that have to work on the cheap, I’m sure they have people or companies that they do business with and if all they need is bodies, in Victorian garb, then that is all they need. Just hire them by the bushel and get your shots and move on. The audience won’t care if the story doesn’t care, and if you do deliver on the elements that are integral.

    I would agree up to the point where the TV show is trying to be historically accurate. Dr. Who is SF so it can do what it likes however don’t tell me historically that there were tons of Black folk in England in whenever. Just finished watching Gunpowder and they only had 2 Black guys in it. One was a servant with a Caribbean accent – that fits. The other was a scribe in a royal office – probably not in 1603. By the way one forgets just how hot Nichelle Nichols was – at least if you’re not a male of a certain (any?) age? 

    • #16
    • January 27, 2020, at 7:59 AM PST
    • 1 like
  17. The Reticulator Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    Historical fiction is fine if it is clearly presented as such.

    No, it’s not. I have spent far more mental energy than I would like ridding my mind of images and stories I got from historical fiction, known to be historical fiction, which then interfered with my learning the actual history. To avoid any more of that sort of problem, I now stay away from historical fiction. Reading it is not worth the trouble it causes.

    And that’s just from books. The images from TV or movies are even harder to eradicate, so I don’t watch them.

    Well, that’s not completely true. I’ve watched and enjoyed a Russian TV series based on the 1962 Novocherkassk massacre. Same for the story of the 1982 arrest and execution of Yuri Sokolov in the big corruption scandal that reached into Brezhnev’s family. And now I can’t read or listen to a historical telling of those events without reference to the images from the TV series appearing in my mind, even though the TV stories don’t follow the real stories exactly. So I don’t always follow my own advice when it comes to Russian history. But I find it interesting and informative to know what’s in the mind of current Russian screenwriters or filmmakers. I don’t find it useful or informative to know what’s in the minds of California Hollywood screenwriters and filmmakers.

    • #17
    • January 27, 2020, at 8:02 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  18. Rodin Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Frankly I don’t think a TV show should have to justify why they have black people in 1818 England. It is for the same reason that in the musical Hamilton the cast is mostly all black. They didn’t cast for historical realism, because historical realism isn’t their goal or concern. I think this is a perfectly defensible point. And it need go no further. Otherwise we just end up in the “We can’t do Madam Butterfly because you didn’t cast an Asia in the titular role”. I’ve watched plenty of Doctor Who, and I must say at no point was I distracted or made to loose my suspension of disbelief based on their casting of extras. Therefore I don’t think it is a problem for them. The consideration for casting should be how it affects the story. If the racial make up of your extras is irrelevant to the story then just grab what ever bodies you can to do the show. These are productions that have to work on the cheap, I’m sure they have people or companies that they do business with and if all they need is bodies, in Victorian garb, then that is all they need. Just hire them by the bushel and get your shots and move on. The audience won’t care if the story doesn’t care, and if you do deliver on the elements that are integral.

    All good point insofar as they go. Culture is downwind of history, politics is downwind of culture, historical revisionism is downwind of politics. Rinse and repeat.

    My concern with historical fiction is not that it is fiction or a good story but how does it affect and inform the reader/viewer/listener of reality? As we deemphasize critical thinking in our educational system we disarm our people from the effects of propaganda. Without the inner teacher that says at the end of the story, “That was fun, but what about it was true and what was fanciful, and how should we think about that?” too many people are left with a false narrative to inform their thinking about present reality as a result of the true events.

    • #18
    • January 27, 2020, at 8:04 AM PST
    • 1 like
  19. The Reticulator Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Frankly I don’t think a TV show should have to justify why they have black people in 1818 England. It is for the same reason that in the musical Hamilton the cast is mostly all black. They didn’t cast for historical realism, because historical realism isn’t their goal or concern. I think this is a perfectly defensible point. And it need go no further. Otherwise we just end up in the “We can’t do Madam Butterfly because you didn’t cast an Asia in the titular role”. I’ve watched plenty of Doctor Who, and I must say at no point was I distracted or made to loose my suspension of disbelief based on their casting of extras. Therefore I don’t think it is a problem for them. The consideration for casting should be how it affects the story. If the racial make up of your extras is irrelevant to the story then just grab what ever bodies you can to do the show. These are productions that have to work on the cheap, I’m sure they have people or companies that they do business with and if all they need is bodies, in Victorian garb, then that is all they need. Just hire them by the bushel and get your shots and move on. The audience won’t care if the story doesn’t care, and if you do deliver on the elements that are integral.

    I agree. It’s all fake, anyway, so what difference does it make if the ethnicities are fake?

    • #19
    • January 27, 2020, at 8:09 AM PST
    • Like
  20. Skyler Coolidge

    I never found Nichelle Nichols to be very attractive. Not ugly of course, but her big old belly hanging out in that Mirror, Mirror screen shot with Sulu is not at all attractive. I didn’t much like her legs either. Star Trek featured a lot of very pretty ladies, but also a lot of ugly ones they tried to sell as pretty, Nichols being one of them. 

    I guess the key is that the actresses were selected on their willingness to sleep with Roddenberry.

    As for “Dr. Who,” I find it to be far too British in a modern sense for me to enjoy. Your example of blacks in historical England are good examples, but also the basic philosophical premise of the show is just distasteful.

    • #20
    • January 27, 2020, at 8:23 AM PST
    • 1 like
  21. Valiuth Member
    Valiuth Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    But is Dr. Who historical fiction? Is realism its goal, intent, central to its themes? My argument doesn’t go beyond that, and I dont think it has to. I think most of these choices are not really thought through on a specific level unless they are key to the story and its vision. And if they aren’t key then it is fine to do it and reasonable to do it for practical reasons. In other words you make the show with the people you got, and if the people you got are black, then that’s what you have. 

    An obsession with realism or authenticity is not universal in the world of art. Medieval artist weren’t obsessed with getting thing historically right in their art. They changed the clothes, and racial indicators of many people and places they depicted. 

     

    • #21
    • January 27, 2020, at 8:25 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  22. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Skyler (View Comment):

    I never found Nichelle Nichols to be very attractive. Not ugly of course, but her big old belly hanging out in that Mirror, Mirror screen shot with Sulu is not at all attractive. I didn’t much like her legs either. Star Trek featured a lot of very pretty ladies, but also a lot of ugly ones they tried to sell as pretty, Nichols being one of them.

    I guess the key is that the actresses were selected on their willingness to sleep with Roddenberry.

    As for “Dr. Who,” I find it to be far too British in a modern sense for me to enjoy. Your example of blacks in historical England are good examples, but also the basic philosophical premise of the show is just distasteful.

    Yeoman Rand was supposed to be the main eye candy on the Enterprise’s bridge, but she only made it one episode into the changeover from Roddenberry to Gene L. Coon as the show’s line producer (for which several reasons have been offered up for Grace Lee Whitney’s departure from the show — alcohol abuse, budget cuts due to show cost overruns, or the fear that they were getting too close to a Kirk-Rand relationship that would negative impact future storylines).

    • #22
    • January 27, 2020, at 8:48 AM PST
    • Like
  23. Roderic Coolidge

    History is always getting changed to suit some agenda.

    It seems to me that producers undermine the progressive narrative of unalloyed oppression of blacks in the past by casting them in unlikely parts for these historic dramas. How can people believe they were oppressed when they can clearly see from the movies that they were well off back then?

    It may be just as well, though, since the drill up to now has been to deny all the ways blacks prospered on their own back in the years after the Civil War. In New York they had their own beneficent societies, established schools to teach languages, literature, and trades, etc., and had stable communities and families. All of this was destroyed by the Great Society.

    • #23
    • January 27, 2020, at 9:01 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  24. The Reticulator Member

    Roderic (View Comment):

    History is always getting changed to suit some agenda.

    Seems to me I learned back in college that even the ancient Greek playwrights like Sophocles and Aristophanes produced plays that were purportedly set in yet more ancient times but were designed for then-current sensibilities. I don’t remember the specific examples anymore. 

    It seems to me that producers undermine the progressive narrative of unalloyed oppression of blacks in the past by casting them in unlikely parts for these historic dramas. How can people believe they were oppressed when they can clearly see from the movies that they were well off back then?

    It may be just as well, though, since the drill up to now has been to deny all the ways blacks prospered on their own back in the years after the Civil War. In New York they had their own beneficent societies, established schools to teach languages, literature, and trades, etc., and had stable communities and families. All of this was destroyed by the Great Society.

    Modern academic historians, most of whom are leftwing, have for some years now been emphasizing the agency of oppressed peoples, ie. their ability to influence events, instead of portraying them as pawns under the complete control of others. They sometimes overdo it, but overall I think it’s important to include that in the historical narratives.

    • #24
    • January 27, 2020, at 9:13 AM PST
    • 1 like
  25. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    Everything in the media is most likely a lie of some sort or other. Be it skin color or achievements or even the existence of people much less their goals and achievements.

    • #25
    • January 27, 2020, at 9:18 AM PST
    • Like
  26. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    I agree. It’s all fake, anyway, so what difference does it make if the ethnicities are fake?

    Because stories matter. Stories move people more than historical books or philosophy or detailed policy papers. We should absolutely treat stories with as having great weight.

    Remember what Abraham Lincoln said to Harriet Beecher Stowe, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this Great War?”

    Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Jesus’s parable of the good Samaritan and the prodigal son were all fiction. Stories are so powerful they have very real effects.

    • #26
    • January 27, 2020, at 2:38 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  27. Sisyphus Coolidge
    Sisyphus Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Please. The Doctor has so thoroughly bollocksed the timelines by now that presenting Earth as being populated by humans is ahistoric. Africans obviously flooded London from prehistoric Africa when the Doctor accidentally left the TARDIS door open while skinny dipping, thus creating a cosmic rift. (They all wanted to meet Leela.)

    • #27
    • January 30, 2020, at 6:30 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  28. Valiuth Member
    Valiuth Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    Because stories matter.

    What is it in the stories that gives them their weight and significance? The racial composition of their characters? But maybe the difference in really about the medium than the content. It strikes me that in most books and especially in older ones written in a particular time and context I don’t recall race as a common descriptor of characters. Now naturally if one is aware of the context of the book’s creation the race of characters can be discerned through some mild application of logic. But, in the act of reading and by the nature of the written medium the interjection of ones own self into the main roles of the novel are almost demanded. I read the story of Mowgli and I become him and really he becomes me. Is Mowgli then a being a Romanian now a betrayal of the story? Must I separate myself from him because it would be untrue to the historicity of the setting? I think this superposition quality of narrative fiction is one of its greatest strengths, allowing us to more fully relate to the characters and get deeper if not literally into the story.

    Visual mediums like Film lack this quality as a discreet actor is required for every role. They are things you observe rather than inhabit, and as such they are by their very nature far more rigidly defined than a books characterization will be. One man has to play Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings movies and if that actor keeps changing from scene to scene it will be visually confusing. Gandalf in the movie has to look one way because the actor who plays him just looks one way. But if a Japanese man reads the story is it wrong for him to picture a Japanese looking Gandalf? Can Gandalf not look more like Pat Morita in a beard than Ian McKellan in a beard to him? If he does is that untrue to the book, or character of Gandalf? What is real about Gandalf? What necessitates he look like an old English guy with a beard other than that his character was written by an old English guy for other Englishmen, so naturally they would picture him as such in their own time and context. But I would argue that this look to the character is coincidental and irrelevant to the Truth of the character. Now I’ve read the Lord of the Rings a few times but it has been a while since last I read it. But I don’t recall Gandalf’s physical description being more exact than the color of his clothes, having a large nose, big beard, bushy eyebrows, and being tall. Can can Gandalf be Asian, Black, or White and still be Gandalf. What do the Copybook Heading Gods say to that? 

    • #28
    • January 31, 2020, at 5:44 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  29. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    Can can Gandalf be Asian, Black, or White and still be Gandalf. What do the Copybook Heading Gods say to that?

    Fantasy can have whatever colors they like. Gandalf could be green for what it matters to the story. Pat Morita would have made a good Gandalf provided he had a beard. Wizards are required to have beards.

    ArtStation - nine dragons, Shin Hee cheol
    Totally a Wizard.
    信長の野望・創造 戦国立志伝,画像,顔,,あさくら いちげん,NOBUNAGA'S AMBITION: Sphere of Influence - Ascension,asakura ichigen,信長之野望.創造 戰國立志傳,頭像,朝倉一玄,朝仓一玄,200
    Might be a perfectly good sorcerer but definitely not a wizard.
    • #29
    • January 31, 2020, at 6:15 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  30. Valiuth Member
    Valiuth Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Yes wizards need beards, or at least great Wizards. 

    • #30
    • February 1, 2020, at 6:30 AM PST
    • 2 likes