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michonneraped1

The Walking Dead TV series exists in a universe apart and separate from the comic book. Season Three's storyline with The Governor has reinforced this fact. However, both of these stories are a version of "The Walking Dead." As such, they provide an example of what Culture Studies types call "intertextuality." Here, the comic book and TV series reference each other, while also signaling to other examples of storytelling in the zombie genre.

[For example, the TV series character named "Milton" is a clear allusion to Dr. Logan's character in George Romero's classic film Day of the Dead and his "pet" zombie Bub.]

As I wrote about here, The Walking Dead TV series has little to no interest in developing its African-American characters. The graphic novel has several black male characters who are integral to the story, and are not sideshow stand-ins that are included because of a sense of multicultural political correct noblesse oblige. By contrast, the AMC series has (the now dead) "T-Dog"--a character that was a glorified black man servant chauffeur to the white characters, a black gollum mute with few lines, who lived only to serve and protect the other survivors.

Michonne, a fan favorite, and a richly developed, full, interesting, and challenging character in the graphic novel, was first introduced as a black caretaker and best friend/magical negro to Andrea on the TV series.

There, this iconic character is a black pit bull warrior, unfeeling, laconic, and damaged. Michonne, has a few more lines of dialogue than T-Dog; but she is dangerously close to being a two-dimensional figure whose only plot purpose is only to serve as a weapon to be unhinged at the command of Rick, the leader of the intrepid group of zombie apocalypse survivors. In future episodes, I would suggest that it will be even more clear that Michonne is only a slightly more under control version of the X-Men's Wolverine for Rick; Wolverine was Weapon X; Michonne is a Samurai sword wielding loyal negress.

Glenn is the Asian fix it man, former pizza delivery man, and loyal friend of the white men in the party. Glenn is a post apocalyptic version of the model minority myth. Glenn is not a full "Hop Sing"; however, he is very close to that archetype.

To point. For two seasons, he remains "feminized"--"sneaky, evasive, and stealthy"--until being forced into "manhood" by Merle's interrogation in the most recent episode "When the Dead Come Knocking." Glenn's loyalty to Rick, and the system of white male patriarchal authority he embodies in the show, was symbolically "rewarded" by the former's sexual union with Maggie, a white woman.

In The Walking Dead universe, upward racial mobility would seem to have its "perks."

The Walking Dead TV series is ultimately a story about how white male authority is enduring in a world populated by the undead. As a premise, this is a fine, interesting, and potentially fascinating framework for genre storytelling (I wonder how many viewers understand that this is the not so subtle subtext of the series?).

As further proof of the continuing dominance of white masculinity in a world where the dead now walk the Earth, this season's villain has also surrendered to the white racial frame, where The Governor, who was originally Hispanic in the graphic novel, has been rewritten as a white character.

I can accept that The Walking Dead TV series occupies its own universe and narrative space. I can also accept that people of color are peripheral in this universe, and as such, the roles played by them will be different than the vision offered by the graphic novel. But, I am less forgiving of how a character such as Michonne has been robbed of her power and complexity. My claim is a challenging and provocative one: if you love a character and respect them, then you, the author/creator, must at times let bad things happen to your beloved creation.

Suffering and loss are often part of an iconic character's arc and (eventual) greatness. To allow these moments is to respect both the character and the reader.

Michonne, who was brutally raped by The Governor in The Walking Dead comic book series, has to suffer in order to have her revenge and triumph over him. Michonne is made by pain; it tempers and refines her like an alloy or fine blade of steel.

If you remove her personal challenges, tragedies, and triumphs, you remove Michonne's power in The Walking Dead. This is disrespectful to the character. Considering that Michonne is one of the most  compelling characters in any recent comic book, and who also happens to be a person of color (a group marginalized in graphic novels), the insult is very much magnified.

The centuries of sexual exploitation, rape, and violence suffered by black women in the United States as human chattel, also as free people, and later as full citizens, are socially and politically combustible elements in our public discourse. This history and present are not be treated lightly. The racialized and gendered body--to be both female and black--occupies a very potent, and in many ways precarious location in the body politic.

I am unsure if the writers of The Walking Dead TV series are either cowards, or if they are just afraid of controversy.  Perhaps, they are both? The White Gaze can do wrong even as it explains itself by an appeal to "kindness."

Michonne has to suffer at the hands of The Governor so that she can evolve and grow into an even more essential character who is (at least) as important and capable a leader as Rick. Michonne's role is doubly important because Tyrese, who in The Walking Dead comic book is every bit the leader and masculine authority figure as Rick (if not more so), is not present in the story.

[This will finally be corrected. Tyrese, has been cast. He will be portrayed by Chad Coleman, who played Cutty on The Wire, in the next episode.]

There is a deep fear of black justice and righteous revenge in America's collective subconscious. Is Michonne's character hamstrung and neutered by this anxiety? Or alternatively, are the writers, directors, and producers of The Walking Dead TV series (where at least one of them is African-American) afraid that characters such as Michonne and Tyrese will discourage white viewership? Are white audiences really that fickle? Are strong and dignified black characters that off putting?

In all, The Walking Dead TV series is operating under a logic that I am unable to fully comprehend.

A white female character such as Maggie can be threatened with rape, and quite likely allowed her revenge. Michonne, a black female character, in a society which systematically devalues people of color, and black women in particular, is not raped by The Governor.

Is this progress? Political correctness run amok? Lazy writing?  Is the suffering of a white female character noteworthy, and the rape and abuse of a black female character anticlimactic and uninteresting? Are matters really that (ironically) retrograde?

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Comment Preferences

  •  It did raise an eyebrow for me (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Check077, Prof Haley

    how T-Dog was never allowed to really be a character on the level of any of the white regulars or even Glenn.  The discrepancy was glaring - an entire cast of interesting, specific characters except for a hollow cardboard cutout of a black guy.

    Michonne's silent glaring has also become tedious and turned into some kind of crutch to avoid giving her a three-dimensional personality.  I don't know what the deal is with it, but it's noticeable.

    Still, it's not nearly as bad as some of the other shows on TV.  In Supernatural, there has been like a dozen black villains and one black good guy.  And that one's dead, IIRC.

    I sometimes wonder if it isn't the work of some unbelievably cynical marketing scumbag trying to cash in on Obama Derangement Syndrome.

    "They fear this man. They know he will see farther than they, and he will bind them with ancient logics." -The stoner guy in The Cabin in the Woods

    by Troubadour on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 11:17:51 AM PST

    •  95 percent of writers, show runners and execs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Check077, a2nite

      in hollywood are white men. they are drawing on their own very narrow understanding of reality. puzzling, to how one of the lead writers on the walking dead is a black man. he too is part of the system.

      it is unfortunate because last night's episode, helped along by one the writers for the Sopranos, and the series as a whole has a ton of potential. But, they have no interest in fully developed characters--in general inmao. This is compounded for the black and brown characters. We also can't forget the suicide by the black female character in Season One. Heck, what was her name? See my point.

      The graphic novel is so much better and smarter. We lose some things in translation. But the AMC show is just horrid on these matters.

      •  The race of the writers doesn't explain it. (0+ / 0-)

        IIRC, the same demographics are pretty standard among screenwriters, and yet somehow things like The Wire and Treme get produced.  I just think on this particular show there's probably some kind of depraved focus-group-based production formula that's been applied to these characters - I doubt by AMC, but perhaps by suits from any of the other involved business interests.

        "They fear this man. They know he will see farther than they, and he will bind them with ancient logics." -The stoner guy in The Cabin in the Woods

        by Troubadour on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 11:31:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  those shows are outliers in many ways especially (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          a2nite

          with the writers, I was acquainted with one of the writers for the Wire, and from what I know about Treme the staff is much more diverse and literate than is typical.

          You are correct--there is a focus group writing by cmte approach to the show. They have really tried to respond to the fans' demands for more gore and less meditative story development and tension. If Darabount (sp?) had not been fired I wonder what the show would be like now?

          •  They fired Darabont? (0+ / 0-)

            I hadn't known that.  Was that why they killed the old guy with the hat last season who's in all of Darabont's movies?

            "They fear this man. They know he will see farther than they, and he will bind them with ancient logics." -The stoner guy in The Cabin in the Woods

            by Troubadour on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 11:40:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  not sure why they offed dale. but he was fired (0+ / 0-)

              in a pretty nasty blowup at the end of the first season/beginning of the 2nd. the various hollywood magazines covered it pretty well.

              •  Now that I think about it (0+ / 0-)

                I did notice a conspicuous change in tone at that point.  There had been a creepy but mesmerizing, Stephen King-ish vibe to the show that added depth to the gore and thrills up to then, but it sort of fizzled out around then.  Hadn't known why, but I guess I do now.  I hope they can get it together soon - it would be sad if the show imploded.

                "They fear this man. They know he will see farther than they, and he will bind them with ancient logics." -The stoner guy in The Cabin in the Woods

                by Troubadour on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 11:57:36 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Jacqui. entee (0+ / 0-)

        into the blue again, after the money's gone

        by Prof Haley on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 11:36:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Still love this show.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour

      I wondered the same thing about T-Dog just last night when the rescue party took to the woods and the African-American convict was in the party.  At first, I thought it was T-Dog, but then remembered his death.  I thought, why kill off an original character that we were beginning to get to know, only to replace him with a "new expendable black guy" character? Not yet sure about the series' plans for Michonne, but I agree that thus far she's not working for me as an emotionless terminator character.  (Heck, even Arnold was more engaging.)  We shall see.  As I say above, I still love this show.

      Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience. (attributed to) Greg King

      by scyellowdogdem on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 01:57:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Michonne (0+ / 0-)

    Well,she's a smart and competent character. Let's see what they do with her.I'm still willing to give the producers some rope yet. Hopefully,they can get the writers to step it up for characters besides Rick. I had thought we might see an ensemble drama. To date,it has worked more like a showcase for Andrew Lincoln.

    •  michonne is a black best friend maid helper (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Check077, a2nite

      to Andrea and the other characters. I will make a prediction. The new T-Dog from jail dies. He is replaced by Tyrese--can't have two black men on the show. Tyrese and Merle's brother go at it for Rick's confidante enforcer role--racial tensions ensue. Tyrese hooks up with Michonne--he can't be with one of the white women (although he is with several in the comic)--and more mayhem happens.

      The show is moving so fast I wonder if they do the Hunters storyline next or if they go to one of the other communities they discover along the way.

  •  Sorry, I can't take this kind of diary seriously (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oruacat2, thesuperpower

    You're injecting race war shit where it doesn't belong. I have doubts that you've ever actually read the comics, judging by your critique of Michonne, too. She has never been talkative in the comics, and was especially quiet and mistrustful of everyone when first introduced. She's honestly the most true to her comic counterpart in the series so far. Everyone else has been pretty radically different, except Glenn.

    But shit, let's play that hypothetical since you brought it up. What do you think the reaction would be if the governor DID rape a black woman? Fuck me, you would never heard the end of it. And furthermore what do you think the reaction would be if Michonne did the him in the tv series what she did to him in the books? How would the average layperson think of her then? Lots of "angry black woman" metaphors, don't you think?

    Yeah it's a shame they never developed T-Dog, but he was cannon fodder from the start and everybody knew it. It's easy to watch any zombie flick and pick out who lives and who dies. Beth and Hershel probably aren't making it to season 4 either. Nor is Axl or the other prisoner.
    Or Darryl, for that matter.

    Michonne took a long time to develop in the comics. She was a fan favorite instantly more because she went around with a sword lopping heads off and then because she royally fucked up the Governor (which did add to her character). But it was NOT because she was some instantly compelling, well developed character.  

    It's a slow burn show that works better when you marathon it. Same goes for the comics.

    My style is impetuous.
    My defense is impregnable.
    YOU'RE NOT ALEXANDER!

    by samfish on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 11:54:30 AM PST

    •  relax, reason is your friend. i have written (0+ / 0-)

      about, given presentations on, and am working on a book proposal about the Walking Dead. Me thinks you need to calm down. I have likely forgotten more about this topic than you know.

      Race war? Huh? No. Race, class, gender, and sexuality are the dominant organizational frameworks and categories in our society. They are represented through and by popular culture. Culture teaches and socializes us into various ideologies, value systems, and life worlds.

      Start with some Stuart Hall and then proceed to some Judith Butler and others. But first, proceed with reason and a critical distance if you want to talk in a mature manner about the Walking Dead or any other topic for that matter.

      •  I love dismissive responses (0+ / 0-)

        You have no idea who you're talking to. I have no reason to respond to what you said because of it.

        But good luck with your book.

        My style is impetuous.
        My defense is impregnable.
        YOU'RE NOT ALEXANDER!

        by samfish on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 12:12:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  you have no idea who you are talking to (0+ / 0-)

          thus your hostile tone earlier. start over. if you would, please restate your concerns in a cogent manner. i love talking in a serious way, with reflective, calm folks, about popular culture and related matters.

          when they start off with "race war" b.s. they have shown their hand as someone who is less than serious.

          do try again with a different approach.

        •  Samfish - you obviously didn't get the memo (0+ / 0-)

          Only Chauncey is allowed to fight The Race War, and anyone who disagrees is nothing more than An Angry White Guy who only proves Chauncey's insightful thesis.  

          It's amazing how that works, eh?

    •  Some people just can't enjoy anything without (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      capsfan1978

      Putting their own racial hangups into it. With every program, with every song, with every video game, with every Christmas advertisement (I could go on and on, but basically, with EVERYTHING) they see racism. I found the entire blog thoroughly offensive as an African American, and upsetting as a fan of the show, the graphic novels/comics, and the games.

      I'm glad you pointed out that Michonne developed over time in the comics. Just because she's being mysterious right now, which she needs to be even more so in a television format to keep the suspense building, some of these people want to put a racial element into it, claiming she's being held back, and using terms like "magic negro" or calling her Andrea's "maid" even though that's clearly far from what was going on. From what I saw, Andrea was, for lack of a better word at 4:30am, cowed by Michonne for much of their time together before meeting up with the Woodbury crew. As I said, they WANT to see racism everywhere. It's obviously something that they need to work on with a psychologist, as I'm positive that there is some deep seeded issue there that's going to erupt at some point in a bad way.

      As for the other issues, like T-Dog, let's face it, he was a place holder for Tyrese. They didn't build him up bigger than he was (which was decent, by the way), because he wasn't intended to stay around and they didn't want too many people looking at Tyrese as a replacement for T-Dog when T-Dog was really the... "pre-replacement" for Tyrese.

      Oscar, the one that people so respectfully refer to as the black prisoner, likewise, is a Tyrese placeholder. He's even using a hammer as his weapon of choice, ala Tyrese. Nothing more needs to be said of him. He'll die soon, as well he should, not because the show can't have more black men, but because he serves no valid purpose. To keep him would be a racial move, keeping an unimportant character on the show to fill up space as a token. No thank you.

      As far as Glenn goes, nothing said about him in the original post is accurate and that post highlights some serious mental/emotional issues as far as race is concerned. I could've been listening to Rush Limbaugh with everything that was said in that post. It was pathetic and sad. In the comic and in the TV series, Glenn is an important character on par with Rick. He's basically the heart of the entire group. He's never been "feminized" in any way, and that's an insulting term in and of itself to suggest that he was in anyway feminine because he isn't running around like a maniac pounding his chest and grunting. It's also insulting to women to suggest that "feminized" is equal to "sneaky" or "evasive". That's some serious socially conservative backward B.S.

      Also, as far as Michonne and Maggie and the whole rape issue goes, I can see two reasons for the change. It isn't because the powers that be think people will care about the white woman more. The reason was that Glenn is being highly developed and having his girlfriend in that type of danger added to his development. I half thought, briefly, that there could have been a slight racial element to it in that they didn't want to have a black woman violated in such a way for fear of inciting protests from militant black groups who would demand to know why I couldn't be the white girl that got raped. Best to cut out the middleman, fore go the harassment, and just go straight to what would get the least amount of complaint.

      Lastly, was I the only one that didn't just assume the comic book governor was Hispanic just because of the long black hair and handlebar mustache? Granted, Danny Trejo could've fit into the look of the comic book governor, but I've seen white men of the 70s that looked like him as well. It's a black and white comic, his skin tone is not apparent, nothing in it said he was Latino, and, his name was Phillip, not Felipe. Assuming he was Hispanic and then making an issue about it after a white man plays a comic book character that may or may not have been white from the start is " injecting race war shit where it doesn't belong".

      •  Thank you for saying much of what I was thinking. (0+ / 0-)

        I'm not sure what the diarist is trying to say, except that he is smarter than everyone because he recognizes and understands the racial subtext in TWD TV series.  Of course, it seems clear that he is forcing that interpretation because that's how he sees the world - not because there is anything substantial there.

        It appears that he has no issue with comic book TWD and its handling of race, because of the well-developed minority characters.  But Rick is the protagonist there too, so is it not another example of the "continuing dominance of white masculinity?"

        He only sees what he calls the cowardice of the show's creative staff to address race in a manner that he approves.

        Never mind that T-Dog and Oscar, aren't even in the comic book so any comparison is faulty.  Never mind that Tyrese, the popular character from the comics, has been cast and will be in future episodes.  

        Never mind the Vatos from the first season, a "gang" of Hispanic youth which we are presented in a very stereotypical fashion as a group of violent posturing thugs, but in reality are led by a former nurse and custodian of a nursing home.  And their actions, while initially appearing as threatening, are just their attempts to protect the senior citizens and others in their care.  (And these characters aren't in the comic either.)

        Since he apparently approves of the comic, it's strange that he calls out the portrayal of the character Glenn in the TV series.  Strange, because he is almost exactly the same in the comic.  Also, I find his interpretation of Glenn to be quite disgusting.  Glenn is brave, loyal, smart, resourceful, and kind.  If that is feminizing, more people should be "feminized."  And Maggie as a trophy for his support of the "white man?"  Appalling.  Further, Glenn is possibly the character that has shown the most development and growth.

        Now let's talk about Michonne.  Does he want her to be brutally raped?  Is she not interesting enough a character already?  Given the current story arc (which is very different than the comic at this point) what sense would have it made for her to have been raped?  (Maybe the diarist can cross his fingers and hope that the rape is on the way?)  I think he is selling her short.  Besides, there is plenty of time for her to continue to develop as a character.  

        •  and (0+ / 0-)

          You prove my point again about choices. Two stock mute black characters that fit old tropes instead of having two interesting evolved characters who happen to of color? Those are choices made by the writers; those choices have a context, history, and reflect a certain set of values--conscious or otherwise. This really isn't all that hard to understand.

          I love the comic. Is it perfect, no? Nothing is. Is it a hell of alot better in regards to these issues or race, authority, whiteness, and human complexity. Absolutely.

          "I'm not sure what the diarist is trying to say, except that he is smarter than everyone because he recognizes and understands the racial subtext in TWD TV series.  Of course, it seems clear that he is forcing that interpretation because that's how he sees the world - not because there is anything substantial there."

          No, I just have thought about these matters more than you; I also have the critical tools and background to develop this type of claim. Feel free to disagree on substance. Being silly, overreacting, and name calling really does not advance your claim. There is much to agree or disagree about.  We can do that rationally and reasonably.

          Your tell is a great one too---"not because there is anything substantial there." Proves my point about the insidious nature of whiteness, the white racial frame, and hegemonic power more generally. If you cannot see how systems of race and gender are omnipresent in this society and others--most tellingly reproduced through popular culture--then you are choosing to walk through the world blinded and in willful denial of empirical reality.

          Yes, it is comforting for you. But, it is bad for your long term intellectual health and growth.

          •  It would help (0+ / 0-)

            if your tone was not so condescending.

            "No, I just have thought about these matters more than you; I also have the critical tools and background to develop this type of claim."
            So we have an unsubstantiated appeal to authority to back your claim.  Excellent use of a common logical fallacy.  
            "Feel free to disagree on substance."
            Which I did and besides reiterating your stance about the two "stock mute black characters" you provided no response.  No mention of the Vatos nor Glenn's development as a character.

            As you stated, Tyreese has been cast and will be joining the show.  This is the kind strong, developed black character you hope to see in TWD and other shows/movies.  

            What I find interesting is that while you see T-Dog and Oscar as tropes (and they are stock unimportant characters, no denying that) the folks you cite in your 3/20/12 post quoting the blog Occidental Dissent, think that Tyreese is the stereotype of Hollywood's ideal, safe black man.

            {{{{{{The Black stud (a staple of the Jewish imagination) was Mr. Articulate, Competent, Brave, Honorable, Eligible Bachelor.

            They change a “Handsome, Idealized” Negro male – which would have been so easy to re-create, into a boring, non-essential dullard Negro. Really -the Show Negro is Scarlet O’Hara’s Big re-born.

            That’s interesting. He’s NOT getting any White meat thus far, either.

            They didn’t “change” the character. If anything, they replaced him, with a different character. T-Dog (played by IronE Singleton – empasis in original, can’t make this stuff up) is Theodore Douglas. The Black Stud in the comic is named Tyreese. He’s your typical boring, two-dimensional Black Hero (former NFL player, stud, and all-around great guy whose only “flaw” is not knowing how great he is)}}}}}

            You see an interesting, original, well-developed character while white supremacists see a stereotype of the "Jewish imagination."  It appears that interpretation is a matter of bias.  You have yours and they have theirs.  

            Now, once Tyreese joins the show if he is portrayed as one-dimensional as T-Dog and Oscar - you have a point.  But let's see what happens first.

            "Being silly, overreacting, and name calling really does not advance your claim. There is much to agree or disagree about.  We can do that rationally and reasonably."
            I didn't call anyone names.  Nor do I feel I was being silly or over-reacting.  (If you notice I don't use the term "race war" in my comment).

            "insidious nature of whiteness" Now that is name-calling.  What exactly is treacherous or harmful about being white?  It's statements like this that make it difficult to engage in a discussion with you.

            Am I blind to race and depictions of race?  No, not at all.  I am fully aware that popular culture is like holding up a mirror to society, capable of reflecting truth as well as distorting what we see.  I just don't think there is an "insidious" racial subtext in every show and movie.  As someone else said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

            •  learn more (0+ / 0-)

              "insidious nature of whiteness" Now that is name-calling.  What exactly is treacherous or harmful about being white?  It's statements like this that make it difficult to engage in a discussion with you."

              Whiteness is not the same as white people. As a matter of historical fact, Whiteness and White Supremacy are amongst the most violent, oppressive, destructive, and evil forces in human history.  Do some work if you do not grasp that basic fact.

              also:

              "So we have an unsubstantiated appeal to authority to back your claim.  Excellent use of a common logical fallacy."

              Do you know what a logical fallacy is? I know that is a fun Internet phrase, but can you actually define and apply it properly?

              Not unsubstantiated. Google me. if you would like to go down the road of academese and semiotics on this matter, I am always game. This is good fun and practice.

              And do you really want to suggest that a person offering a race critical reading of a cultural text who happens to be black is equivalent to the biases of white supremacists?

              Do you? Really? There is all sorts of wrong there.

              Not all readings of a text are equally valid or grounded. The historical context, history, and precedent is on my side. You may agree or disagree. But, you are arguing up and against a very steep hill given the history of race and mass culture in the West.

              Explain the silent mute black characters in the longer white gaze where black folks--men in particular--have been depicted that way in mass culture. Just a hell of a coincidence? An outlier? Some strange aberration where the characters are coded that way in the Walking Dead but somehow do not fit the trope of bucks, mammies, or coons?

              Read Hollywood Whiteness and then come back to chat. This ain't that hard as I am fond of saying.

              I like the sport.

              •  Here we go again (0+ / 0-)

                with the condescension.  It must be lonely up on that ivory - wait, strike that - ebony tower.

                "Do you know what a logical fallacy is? I know that is a fun Internet phrase, but can you actually define and apply it properly?"

                A logical fallacy is an incorrect argument built upon phony and incorrect presumptions.  In particular, an appeal to authority as follows:

                Logical Fallacies

                An appeal to authority is an argument from the fact that a person judged to be an authority affirms a proposition to the claim that the proposition is true.

                Appeals to authority are always deductively fallacious; even a legitimate authority speaking on his area of expertise may affirm a falsehood, so no testimony of any authority is guaranteed to be true.

                However, the informal fallacy occurs only when the authority cited either (a) is not an authority, or (b) is not an authority on the subject on which he is being cited. If someone either isn’t an authority at all, or isn’t an authority on the subject about which they’re speaking, then that undermines the value of their testimony.

                You claim to be an expert, in your self-written bio, "on race, politics, and popular culture."  Earlier, you state that you "just have thought about these matters more than you; I also have the critical tools and background to develop this type of claim."  Therefore, you are right - because you are an "expert" and everyone else is wrong.

                So I googled you.  "Chauncey DeVega, a pseudonym, is editor and founder of the blog We Are Respectable Negroes."  Congrats, you have a blog.  So does this cat.  You also contribute to Alternet, Beforeitsnews, and a number of other online publications.  Nowhere do you provide your credentials - in fact in a post dated 10/6/12 you write, "I am also apparently an "intellectual" (I wish), a well-funded operative of the Left (I wish I had those duckets), and breathing rarefied air as one of those hateful, elitist, academics (negro please!)." actively downplaying whatever academic credentials you may have.  Additionally, in one of your online profiles it reads "We are 3 black people whose friends got tired of hearing our daily rants, and reading our many (and often forwarded) emails."  So is there one person, or like Legion are there many? (just a joke, no need to read into that, I could have said Sybil)

                "And do you really want to suggest that a person offering a race critical reading of a cultural text who happens to be black is equivalent to the biases of white supremacists?"

                I am saying that biases and prejudice exist no matter your nationality, upbringing, race, skin color, religion, academic background, or political affiliation.  Do you disagree?  If so, maybe you're the one who needs to "learn more."

                Speaking of learning more.   The book you keep talking about, Hollywood Whiteness?  Doesn't seem to exist.   A couple of similarly-titled tomes are available: Classic Hollywood, Classic Whiteness by Daniel Bernardi, Screen Saviors: Hollywood Fictions of Whiteness by Hernan Vera and Andrew Gordon, The Persistence of Whiteness: Race and Contemporary Hollywood Cinema by Daniel Bernardi.  Are one of those the book you keep mentioning?

                Now, since neither Oscar nor T-Dog exist in the source material it can be understood that they are minor characters. Is it possible that they are minor characters who happen to be black and not minor character because they are black?

                Also, since we know that Tyreese will join the cast shortly, neither was a replacement for that character.  If Tyreese is portrayed as a well-developed character, will you concede that maybe it isn't about racial bias?  As I wrote earlier, if Tyreese is also presented as a one-dimensional character - I am more than willing to accept your premise.   Are you willing to change yours?

                On the topic of whiteness, I was talking about the state of being white as a racial identity.  I don't buy into the whiteness theory, so I reject the use of the word with the connotation you use.  Sorry, I don't buy into the premise that "The white race is the cancer of human history" or agree with the mission of "seeking to abolish the white race."  Now if you accept what Dr. Ignatiev says to clarify that incendiary statement, "We want to destroy the social meaning applied to race"  and "eliminate racial categories in America."  I can get behind that.  I'd be interested to hear how you think we can actually do that, besides the amorphous "reject the invisible privilege of whiteness."

                I don't think we are going to come to an agreement, so it's best to just agree to disagree.  Though I do have a question for you regarding depiction of blacks in popular culture.  How did we go from the The Cosby Show to House of Payne?  Why did popular culture regress in the past 30 years in the portrayals of blacks on TV and in film?  And who is the intended audience?  Why is it that when depictions of race on TV is discussed, the excellent Homicide: Life on the Streets is rarely mentioned?  (Which had 3 major well-developed black characters, one of which, the Shift Commander, was based on a real person who is white).  Are we turning a corner, with recent shows such as Last Resort and Scandal which feature black leads or is it a blip on the radar?

                 

                •  easy point (0+ / 0-)

                  The book is called Screen Saviors: Hollywood Fictions of Whiteness. Was sitting here and I simply typed from memory.

                  "I don't buy into the whiteness theory, so I reject the use of the word with the connotation you use. "

                  You can reject gravity too.

                  You do not have to accept the historical reality of Whiteness as a recent, historical concept that works to reinforce white privilege and the racial state. The facts exist separate and apart from your denial of them. Given the power of colorblind racism and the toxic/infectious nature of the white racial frame, resistance by those invested in Whiteness, and overly identified with it, is quite common and expected.

                  You cannot reject a concept if you do not understand it. Do some work there.  Start with Allen, Du Bois, Saxton, or more recent folks like Roediger, Ignatiev, etc. There are some great edited volumes on Critical Whiteness studies. Whiteness is separate and apart from white people. Nell Painter will help you understand that fact.

                  Tim Wise is very accessible and his storytelling approach to these concepts may help you grow.

                  I am glad you found WARN. If you read more carefully you would see that the site has evolved. You do not get the online angle and persona...read WARN and you will figure it out. As I said, read the many things I have written online as a freelancer, listen to interviews on the radio, or my own work on WARN. If you think I am a day trader that is your call. If you are being honest, and reading our to and fro here, I think a fair person would see that I am not a hobbyist.

                  If you are trained in semiotics, critical race theory, cultural studies, etc., published on such topics, then by all means lets go back and forth. If not, then we can chat, but I likely have more expertise on the matter. No biggie. I am ignorant of a great many things and admit as such. That is how learning occurs. If you are more knowledgeable on these matters and have the credentials/training I will defer to you.

                  "Now, since neither Oscar nor T-Dog exist in the source material it can be understood that they are minor characters. Is it possible that they are minor characters who happen to be black and not minor character because they are black?"

                  The creators of the show made a choice to invent those characters. They also made a choice to marginalize them. They also made characters that fit tired and old tropes about black people in film. Those choices must be interrogated.

                  The state of TV with how black folks, especially the hellish buffoonery of Tyler Perry, BET, and the other related ilk is a huge convo. On one hand you have the election of a black man who happens to be President; on the other hand you have tired throwbacks to race minstrelsy. Hell of a puzzle.

                  Tyrese will be interesting. He will not erase the decisions made so far, or how race is coded for in the text. Tyrese has to exist in that universe and relative to how blackness and the Other is marked. Will be interesting to see.

      •  you speak volumes (0+ / 0-)

        "from militant black groups who would demand to know why I couldn't be the white girl that got raped. Best to cut out the middleman, fore go the harassment, and just go straight to what would get the least amount of complaint."

        damn black militants! running around causing trouble and being mean to white people! lordy save us!

        there is always a reveal when a very basic and direct analysis of a cultural text hits the nail on the head. instead of engaging what is offered "polite racists" such as yourself always show your hand. you must be horrible at poker.

        I like this too:

        "It's a black and white comic, his skin tone is not apparent, nothing in it said he was Latino, and, his name was Phillip, not Felipe. Assuming he was Hispanic and then making an issue about it after a white man plays a comic book character that may or may not have been white from the start is " injecting race war shit where it doesn't belong"."

        Where is this race war happening? Are they selling tickets online, ebay, costco?

        The Governor is Hispanic. That does not mean he cannot be "white." Remember Hispanics are an ethnic/cultural group and not a racial group. If you read the book Rise of the Governor and did some more research you would know that he was Hispanic.

  •  Michonne had a good episode (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40

    I thought it interesting that she declined to mention to Rick's group the presence of Merle or Andrea in the town.  She clearly seems to have deduced Daryl is Merle's much-talked-about brother...and all she knows of the group is that when push came-to-shove both Merle and Andrea were left behind by the Group.

    She does not trust Rick, and its remarkable that her early experience with the group mirrors that of how the Governor treated her.

    I feel Michonne is sofar underdeveloped...the writers are keeping her a mystery.  And I'd like to see a 'flashback' episode of sorts that allows her full complexity to come to light.  The only real line of interest was when, after beheading her walker pets, she says to Andrea 'it was easier than you think.'  This definitely needs to be explored for Michonne to be more than just the show's Boba Fett.

    Follow Me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/#!/ZeddRebel

    by TarantinoDork on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 11:57:58 AM PST

  •  Agree completely (0+ / 0-)

    I have not read the comics, but in many of the write-ups I read after last year's season I got the impression that the Michonne character would be a powerful woman who would infuse a new dynamic into the series. I think most of this anticipation was based on what people knew about the character from the comics. As I have watched the current season, I have wondered when we would start to see that powerful character that Michonne is supposed to be.

    I don't know what the writers are attempting to do with her. She gets few lines and is made to look like a fighter without any intellect or soul. Two dimensional is a generous description of their treatment of her.

    I had no idea that in the comic she was raped by the Governor. That certainly would provide some understanding of the person she has become. I see no reason why the writers could not have worked that into the script.

    Good diary with a valid critique of the show. Tipped and rec'd.

    "...in a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy." Matt Taibbi

    by Getreal1246 on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 12:32:03 PM PST

  •  *SPOILERS* (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tytalus

    Michonne is a fucking boss! Who doesn't think she's awesome?

    Never mind even the zombies, but when she wasted those thugs and only came away with a graze. That's grade A ninja.

    And Andrea, while a pretty decent bad ass, is the worst judge of character ever. Michonne could see through the lies. I like heroes like her that see through charismatic bad crazy guy BS.

    Lori, the most insulting character to the modern woman, is now gone. My girlfriend was one of many who cheered for that. Zombie noms.

    I just can't wait for Merle and the Governor to get their just desserts from the Ninja and the Cowboy.

    Note: While Rick is a capable leader due to his personality and police training, he could never beat Michonne in a straight up fight.

    Note 2: Michonne is a silent badass. You don't get their character background willingly. She'll open up later and talk about herself. But that's only if you can hear her over the sound of how awesome she is.

    Disclaimer: I haven't read much of the graphic novel, just the first one.

  •  I don't watch this show (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimene

    But I did just rewatch Babylon 5 recently and there were women and people of colour everywhere. Commanders, Doctors, Scientists, Captains, Soldiers, Diplomats, Thieves, Leaders, you name it - someone not white was shown doing it in a positive way. (Yes, sometimes the thieves were very good people, they just stole stuff)

    So not every program has to be like that - and I do notice it as a result of seeing so many women and people of colour in positions of authority and normalcy in that universe.  Seeing it does make a difference in perception.

    And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

    by Mortifyd on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 02:59:12 PM PST

    •  babylon 5 was amazing and helped to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chimene

      make galactica 2.0 possible. i absolutely adore Strazynksi's (sp?) writing. he did a draft of the world war z script that was judged by the studio types to be too "literate."

      Imagine what he would have brought us.

      •  I love his stuff (0+ / 0-)

        Because it IS literate - he has snappy dialogue that isn't so snappy it's an inside joke, he has all kinds of people in all kinds of situations without taking away their dignity - he has those that need to be taken down a peg taken down at their own expense.  I wish there was more of it.

        And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

        by Mortifyd on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 04:17:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  2 questions for you Chancey: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimene

    I appreciated your last diary on this, btw, even if I didn't agree with your conclusions.

    1. There is absolutely a racial consistency of Asians, particularly of the Chinese and/or Korean ethnicity, to be smaller in stature than who would be considered 'white' men in the US. Would it also be political correctness run amok if Glenn's character was cast with a 6ft strongman? Would we make references to the 'obvious samurai allusion" if that were the case?

    2. Would we say "Glenn obviously has no chance with the white woman because he is asian" if he DIDN'T get with her? Besides T-Dogg he was the only obvious 'mate' for her on the show.

    3. Have you ever dealt with the wise, strong father-figure African American man in pilot episode? Whom is wise, has a nice house, corrects his son when he uses poor language, and to whom Rick radios consistently as friend/wiseman in the first season?

    •  Im very sorry, Chauncey* nt (0+ / 0-)
    •  wow. lets take this in order (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chimene

      1. there is no "racial" consistency to "Asians." Asians, as you call them are not a homogeneous mass and are comprised of many different ethnic, and yes, "racial" groups. I can't believe that I am writing this, but alas. There are many tall Asian people. It would be refreshing to see asian american men depicted in a "masculine" way by Hollywood and as something other than kung fu types or "samurais." It would be great to see a tall Asian thugged out brother who happens to be a reformed gangbanger who speaks a mix of spanish and english on the walking dead who is upsetting the white racial frame cause dude is that much of a hard body.

      2. I take a text for what it offers. Texts also are a product of a cultural moment and all of the baggage and tropes that come with it. The book Hollywood Whiteness explores these narratives. There are also some really good articles and materials--many available online--written about Asians and their representation in Hollywood. Glen is the handy almost Hop Sing aid to Rick. If we accept the framework that the show is telling us something about white masculinity and authority, then yes, Glen is being "rewarded" with a taboo prize of sorts for most of this country's history. Look up the phrase "yellow peril" and focus in on the fears about white women and sex trafficking.

      3. Yup. He was written out of the story pretty quick huh? Who was he replaced by? Big black human bear mute chauffeur Blind Side stand in T-Dog. Proves my thesis.

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