Monday, 5 August 2013

Hollywood Babble On & On #1053: Fighting Over Who Would Be Who?

It's official, 55 year old British actor Peter Capaldi has been named the new star of Doctor Who, thus bucking the trend of younger and younger actors playing the ancient Time Lord from the Planet Gallifrey.

It's also official that some folks are feeling emotions ranging from annoyed to angry that the Doctor has not been changed to a woman or minority. They're saying that changing the character to reflect what they want is the only "fair" thing to do.

If you're too lazy to click the link, I'll sum it up.  People ask for characters that better represent our diverse society. Rather than let diverse creators create and support diverse new characters, they change an established character. This gives them a lot of hype in the media, some pats on the back from their former critics, and they get to call anyone who questions the decision racist, sexist, homophobic, and fattening.

This desire for fairness exists in denial of the fact that heroic characters are, to a certain extent, idealized reflections of their creators, and that they have a certain dynamic that has to be maintained or they literally become a totally different character.

However, these changes radically shifts the character's dynamics, and in doing so, could potentially hurt it in the fields of ratings/sales. So they're always done in mediums and franchises where they be changed back if the sales slump, or they're pawned off on some alternate universe where they won't interfere with the mainstream "canon." It's a form of tokenism that media companies use to get some publicity and polish their PC credits without the effort of opening the door to new diverse creators and characters and making any lasting commitments to those creators and characters.

Which brings me to my next point...

What happens when they reach the inevitable time to change the character back or cancel the project?

Those who demanded the change in the name of fairness, then demand that everything must now stay the same, still in the name of fairness.

But none of it's really fair.

Popular culture is like a pot-luck buffet. People bring the dishes they made. Dishes that reflect where they came from, what they are, where they want to go, and what they want to be.

Changing a character's sex, race, or whatever, is the equivalent of the powers that be saying to women and minorities: "You don't need to bring your own dish to this buffet for all of us to sample and enjoy. Instead, we're going to give you some of our scraps. Enjoy them, but don't get used to having them regularly, because the powers that be believe that you're not really worth it."

That's pretty insulting, and not really fair at all.

What is fair is letting everyone, regardless or gender, race, religion, or lack thereof to bring their dishes to the pop culture buffet, which despite what people say has plenty of room for all, regardless of their background, gender, or ethnicity. That way those who want more diverse characters can create and then support these characters and prove that there is an audience for original diverse characters.

That would be fair for everyone and we won't be wasting time arguing over who would/should/could be Doctor Who, because then we'd know that any casting choice would be for purely organic reasons and not for politics or publicity.

If you don't agree with me, then you are officially racist, sexist, homophobic, and way worse than Hitler!

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