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John Byrne
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Posted: 26 November 2019 at 7:27am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

There's a parallel here to the "Black Captain America" story. Before those White scientists tested the supersoldier formula on a White boy, they used a Negro (time appropriate term). That way, if it failed, they'd have a dead Negro on their hands. No big deal.

Except, at that time in America's history, those White scientists would be more concerned about the experiment WORKING. Then they would have a super-powered Negro on their hands. A VERY big deal.

The treatment of Black people in this country, even to this day, is a stain that can NEVER be erased. Race-swapping in fiction is not a solution.

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Neil Lindholm
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Posted: 26 November 2019 at 7:48am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Disney is bad for this in its recent live-action adaptations. Having black characters playing roles of equality in period pieces is jarring and a disservice to those who actually lived during this period and suffered. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 26 November 2019 at 7:54am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

It doesn't even take race-swapping for the historical insensitivity to manifest itself. In the movie SILVERADO, the good White cowboys help the good Black cowboy get his land back from the bad White cowboys.

Historically, the White cowboys would more likely join up to lynch the uppity n*****.

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Michael Penn
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Posted: 26 November 2019 at 8:32am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Crude race-swapping even with the best intentions attempts to treat a bullet wound with a band-aid.

Black actors have struggled with performing Shakespeare for at least two centuries, and understandably so. Should a great Black actor be outright and forever denied the roles of Hamlet or Lady Macbeth? Given the dialogue of many of the plays, where Shakespeare has characters explicitly condemn the color black, whether as a symbol or literally in terms of a person's skin, there's an incongruity built into the plays that is most challenging, and some (not just racist Whites, but Black playwrights and actors) have argued completely so. Yet, to not ever hear James Earl Jones as King Lear? Arguably are we all at needless loss to deny Black actors such performative opportunities?

"Such" -- Shakespeare is Shakespeare, the argument might run, the age-old inheritance of everybody belonging to Western Civilization, at the very least, if not the legacy of all humanity. 

"King Lear," however, is not (ha, not by far!) akin to the recent movie, MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS, which race-swapped for no reason except that of the director's predetermination: "I was not going to direct an all-white period drama.” Then why even do this story? Why not do a multicultural or Black story or Asian or... anything else? Open the field! Maybe a new non-White Shakespeare is out there in any and all artistic media? No? Nu?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 26 November 2019 at 8:57am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Tho nothing will ever justify, for me, Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One. Neither the casting, nor her acceptance of the role.
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 26 November 2019 at 9:15am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I love the Ancient One. I love Tilda Swinton. But that casting for me means I'll never watch the movie. 
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Cory Vandernet
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Posted: 26 November 2019 at 9:27am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

The only way I could have bought Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One is if the Ancient One was reincarnated from host body to host body much like the Dalai Lama is said to be. But, I'm pretty sure that would never fly with the Chinese Government Film censors.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 26 November 2019 at 1:46pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

There's a danger in making history worse than it was, and by doing so, erasing the accomplishments of people of color.

Speaking of the WATCHMEN HBO series, the pilot episode highlighted Bass Reeves, the first black deputy US marshal west of the Mississippi, renowned for his number of arrests, and thought by some to be the inspiration for the Lone Ranger. His history has been largely overlooked until recently, because the response is usually, "What? A former slave was a renowned lawman in the Old West? That can't be real."

The estimates are that 1 in 4 cowboys were black, being one of the few professions where a black man could get almost an equal wage to a white man. 1 in 8 cowboys were Mexican or Mexican-American, coming over from the vaqueros tradition. Old Hollywood would have you believe that all cowboys were white, helped along by well-intentioned people who say, "Well, of course, because racism!"

The new PERRY MASON series has a pre-lawyer PI Perry Mason working with a black beat cop, Paul Drake. This, of course, turns Paul Drake into a very different character. But the LAPD had been employing black officers since the 1880s and their first female black officer in 1919, so a black beat cop in Los Angeles is not out of order.

Of course, this is not to suggest that any of these people would have been treated equally or not faced racism. Of course not. But let's not erase the accomplishments of POC by suggesting that racism would not have allowed them to do this or that.


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John Byrne
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Posted: 26 November 2019 at 2:00pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

The new PERRY MASON series has a pre-lawyer PI Perry Mason working with a black beat cop, Paul Drake.

•••

That doesn’t match any description I can find online. What’s your source?

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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 26 November 2019 at 2:46pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

https://www.hbo.com/hbo-news/perry-mason-series-matthew-rhys


 QUOTE:
Set in 1932 Los Angeles, the limited series will focus on the origin story of famed defense lawyer Perry Mason, based on characters from Erle Stanley Gardner’s novels. Living check-to-check as a low-rent private investigator, Mason is haunted by his wartime experiences in France and suffering the effects of a broken marriage.


 QUOTE:
Chris Chalk will play Paul Drake, a beat cop with a knack for detective work, Paul is an outlier, with the added challenge of having to navigate an extremely race-conscious city and a downright oppressive police department. He must weigh the responsibilities of being a husband and father against his desire to seek justice in a controversial and politically loaded case.

It’s an origin story. I don’t know who was clamoring for a Perry Mason origin story (he went to law school and became a lawyer?), but HBO is giving us one. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 26 November 2019 at 4:24pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Most generous use of the phrase “based on” I think I’ve ever read.
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Tim Cousar
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Posted: 28 November 2019 at 10:27am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Will we get a scene in which Mason cheats on the bar exam while smugly eating an apple?
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