In the deep dark distant past, say like five years ago, it used to be that you had to have some creativity to write a movie script and have a prayer to have it accepted. Once upon a time you had to have an idea that centered around a group of characters and made us all care about them. Think about it. A lot has been said about George Lucas's inspirations in writing the original Star Wars trilogy. The fact remains that he conceived the character of Luke Skywalker, the existence of the Galactic Republic and even the Force as a concept. Once upon a time, a man named Gene Roddenberry conceived a group of characters named Kirk, Spock and McCoy and built an empire that is still producing new TV shows five decades later. I don't even know who wrote Avatar, but at least even that was a new concept be it one with a political message that I wasn't really a big fan of.
In the modern (or should I say "post-modern") world though, you don't need an idea. You don't need a new set of characters that people will care about. No, all you need is an all female cast, an idea that worked for someone else and the word "sexist." Yup, as in "You are sexist if you don't like this movie." That, after all, is the slogan of the new Ghostbusters flick. We're all supposed to love this movie even though the trailers for it so far have sucked. Given the fact that the best parts of the movie are usually what's shown in trailers that's scary. But hey, it stars women so I have to watch it and love it or I'm a sexist, patriarchal oppressor. Note that there is no mention in this theory that a movie should be GOOD to be loved. No, it is supposed to be enough that women have taken over roles that were once played by men.
Granted, this started a few years ago with specific roles but it's never been necessary. Seriously. Marlon Wayans was selected to play Ripcord in GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Why? Is GI Joe a franchise that is lacking in black characters? Doc, Heavy Duty, Stalker, Roadblock, Hardball, Alpine, Colonel Courage, Iceberg, Double Blast, Dr Link Talbott, hell even The Fridge are all GI Joe figures that have black skin. It was done as a political move. There is no other possible reason for it. Listen, if you want to make movies about your particular point of view you have the right to do so, even if I disagree with your point. Dammit though, make your own movie with your own characters and leave us geeks alone.
Look, I get it. Anybody who is familiar with Soviet art and architecture knows that leftists and creativity go together like oil and water. I get that. The leftists in the US haven't been raised in a truly communist society though. They should be better equipped to create something decent. This is pathetic. No, screaming the same old crap about patriarchy is not creative, nor is yelling the word racist at anyone you don't like. Political threats are old hat. Ruining someone's career because they said something that doesn't follow the party line is a trick that was used by both Stalin (he's the leftist here) and Hitler (who people claim was a rightist even though he led the National _Socialist_ German Workers Party). There is nothing new here.
Speaking of Hitler, he pulled exactly this type of stunt. Anything written or conceived by a Jew or disagreeing with the Nazi ideal was seen as "degenerate" and therefore banned. Sound familiar? It sounds an awful lot like re-writing Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. It sounds a lot like taking white male characters and changing them to something else. Seriously, let's just brand people who look like me as "untermenschen" and get it over with.
Again, I'm not calling for women or minorities to be left out of the arts. They have a very valuable place in our culture. Hip hop music has had an influence on our culture that is undeniable and the only people who try to stop that are the same people who call me racist. Apparently, liking something that was made by someone who doesn't look like me is "appropriation" and "racist". Newsflash people: The majority of voters in this country are white. The majority of the voters that elected a black president are white. The real breakthrough between cultures that made Barack Obama possible was made by guys with names like Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel and Jam-master Jay. Oh, and let's not forget MC Lyte, Yo-yo or The Lady of Rage. By pushing this crap you are doing far more to hurt yourselves than a white girl with dreads could ever hope to.
This applies to gender as well. This is an SF/F blog, so let's talk female authors: Some of my favorites are Kate Paulk, Sarah Hoyt, Mercedes Lackey and Catherine Asaro. Actually, my favorite of Catherine Asaro's books is Radiant Hawk which posits a matriarchal society. It's an awesome read. I haven't reviewed it here because it's been a long time since my last re-read but it rocks. There are several books reviewed here (probably actually a majority, but I honestly haven't counted) by female authors.
It's time to stop the madness. I'm completely open to female characters and authors. I'm completely open to characters and authors of any race. Granted, to the best of my knowledge and belief I have reviewed precisely one non-white author (James Young) but that's because he's the only person I have received a book for review from. If you're not white and you're an author of SF/F, or if you have a SF/F movie that you would like review, send it to me. I'll give it a fair review. Keep in mind that FAIR means that if you want a good review it better be a good story. I'm not going to give you a good review based on race, skin color, sexual orientation or any other reason than the story. There are many of you out there who can do it. I've seen it.
Ruining old material won't do anything to advance your cause with the general public. Neither will a bunch of preachy bullshit stories. Well written stories will. One of the reasons Twelve Years a Slave is so powerful a story is because it's so well written and acted. Yes, it's based on a true story. Yes, slavery was wrong. The fact remains that the movie makes its point not by being preachy (although it has a powerful message) but by showing a person that the audience cares about going through emotionally wrenching trials. Not by harping at its audience and not by replacing a white man with a black one or man with a woman. Watch that movie. Learn not just the lesson you're meant to learn but the lesson about story telling. Stop the madness. Create something yourself. Make it good. The influence you exert on an audience will be much more intense if they enjoy what you're saying. Even those who disagree with you will respect you. Right now I don't and neither do a lot of other people who enjoy good stories.
Some Good Stories by Minority and Female authors are available below: