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Quackcast 371 - PC GORN MAD!!

Ozoneocean at 12:00AM, April 24, 2018


Everyone tends to have a strong opinion on Political Correctness so I thought why don't we try and have a chat about that and ask what people think. Can it be a problem in comics and other creative works? I was inspired by a video by Youtuber Metaron. He was talking about the decision to put a black actor in the role of Greek mythical figure Achilles in a BBC series about the fall of Troy and questioning the reasoning for it given that being a blonde haired incarnation of the sun-god Apollo is a huge part of the character. My main issue is that the actor is as bald as an egg! At least give him a blonde wig, I don't care how silly it looks. To be fair Achilles has rarely been portrayed well on the big screen, there was Brad Pitt's petulant version in Troy and an even balder Joe Montana in Helen of Troy! Do we spoil creative works by trying to be too inclusive or not being inclusive enough?

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Wanted dead or dead: Welcome to a much cooler version of the old west… we open on a widescreen panorama shot of a dry, dusty desert scene and a lone cowboy all in black, kicking his toe in the dirt. This music is as warm as the hot desert breeze, the guitar is as hard as gunmetal.

Topics and shownotes

Featured comic:
Empress Mother Earth's Handmaiden -

The things that inspired the cast:
Metatron's video on the subject of Black Achilles -
Troy: Fall of a City -
Helen of Troy -
Troy -

Comment reply notifications newspost -
Reply Notifications -

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace -
Emma Clare -
Tantz Aerine -
Banes -
Ozoneocean -

Featured music:
Wanted dead or dead -, by MayelV, rated T.



Tantz_Aerine at 12:37AM, April 25, 2018

Ironscarf: Then using what Homer did or didn't do in his descriptions isn't too valid an argument for what you are saying is it? Either you observe the original creator's parameters or you don't. You can't pick and choose. In any case, I think I mentioned several times that it would be perfectly fine to iterate Troy and any other work as a creator conceives it, provided that they don't try to present it as faithful to the original (and the original's culture and historical elements), but inspired by it. It's been an age old practice to do that, and everyone celebrates it, from Anouilh's Antigony to Romeo + Juliet. I don't understand why this notion seems to be so hard to fathom as to why it's good for everyone involved.// El Cid: haha, I know, inconceivable!

Ozoneocean at 8:50PM, April 24, 2018

Pop-culture becomes history and then that becomes sacred culture over time.

Ozoneocean at 8:45PM, April 24, 2018

There are a number of different things here that are overlap in some instances but are not the same: History; Sacred culture; Pop-culture; Cultural appropriation; and Racism. Pop-culture smears things, it's problematic in a lot of ways but has the most leeway because it shows contemporary thinking and attitudes. Pop-culture is very mailable, history is slightly mailable, Sacred culture isn't mailable at all. When pop-culture tackles history it runs into issues of racism, when it tackles sacred culture it runs into problems of cultural appropriation. It's important to remember that all these overlapping things are being discussed here but they are not synonymous.

Ironscarf at 6:50PM, April 24, 2018

Tantz, we're not agreeing that, since I don't really accept the notion of a 'faithful' representation.

El Cid at 5:32PM, April 24, 2018

Ah, lost in translation! Shocker!

Tantz_Aerine at 5:18PM, April 24, 2018

El Cid: Good catch, he was his herald. He's described as "dark skinned" (in Greek μελαμψός) which again doesn't mean black, usually that adjective was used to indicate they had a very impressive tan from being out in the sun all day.

Tantz_Aerine at 5:13PM, April 24, 2018

Ironscarf: I was referring to anthropological and genetic findings as scientific. Homer describes Achilles as blonde, blue eyed and 'glowy'. As for Odysseus, I don't recall him being called 'black skinned' once, and we are taught the text in school. He is described as having dark thick hair and beard and being well built. But if you want to make a point by stating Homer as your argument, aren't we actually agreeing that his descriptions should hold for works that seek to depict the particular epic as a faithful representation? As for ancient Britons, are you referring to the Cheddar man? Because I don't see what that has to do with my point- he was not sub-saharan black.

El Cid at 5:07PM, April 24, 2018

I thought that was his squire Eurybates?

Ironscarf at 4:29PM, April 24, 2018

History is not scientific fact, it constantly changes. Ancient Britons were all white until recent DNA research revealed at least some of them were not. As for literary, didn't Homer describe Odysseus as black skinned and woolly haired?

Tantz_Aerine at 3:12PM, April 24, 2018

(con'd) THAT'S what should be done, not blackwashing the histories of other people and the culture of other people, any more than the histories of those people, their folklore and their culture be whitewashed. I find 'washing' of any history extremely offensive. And a disservice to both the older generations and the future ones, because if we have a different impression about what brought us where we are, it's unlikely we'll learn not to do the same mistakes and fall into the same traps. PC should be about respect, not distortion of scientific (or literary) fact.

Tantz_Aerine at 3:08PM, April 24, 2018

Bravo, come on now man. It feels like you're grasping at straws. Nobody says there were no people of color in Europe throughout history. Nobody tries to claim Jesus was blond and blue eyed (mainly because scripture has no description of him that we can refer to in terms of features) but, as is the LOGICAL thing, we go with the mainstream athropological parameters of the area in which he is said to have been born in, and to the parents he was born to. We're talking about majorities and main ethnic characteristics. Or anthropological group characteristics. The argument that ancient Greeks got everything they knew from Egypt and Africa is IRRELEVANT to their anthropological phenotypes. The only reason you have the feeling that POC are in the 'back of the bus under segregation' is because nobody has bothered to showcase the amazing feats of african and asian civilizations. THAT'S what should be done, not blackwashing the histories of other people and the culture of other people, (con'd)

Gunwallace at 3:05PM, April 24, 2018

Part of the problem with historical documents is they rarely mention skin colour. In fact, colours in general are problematic in historical sources. Homer refers to a "wine dark sea". Scholars still argue what that means. Was wine blue-green? Was the sea red? Unlikely. Was he referring to the tone rather than the colour? Who knows?

Gunwallace at 3:02PM, April 24, 2018

@Ironscarf: That was a brilliant distraction by Madonna, since all the criticism of the song was about the video, and no critics seemed to notice the lyrics are an anthem to fellatio.

bravo1102 at 2:29PM, April 24, 2018

European history was a bit more diverse than we've been led to believe. After all those great bastions of Dead White Males: the ancient Greeks acknowledged that everything they knew they got from Egypt. Africa and that included both brown and black people who all would have forced to sit in the back of the bus under segregation.

bravo1102 at 2:24PM, April 24, 2018

The Christians in Ethiopia depicted Jesus as black from early in their history. One explanation of the so-called black Madonna says she was from Africa. African-American churches have featured depictions of Jesus as black since at least the 18th century. Whites never went in so they didn't know. The first depictions of Jesus in Christian art show a dark haired man looking quite Semitic. People recreate religious figures in their own image.

bravo1102 at 2:08PM, April 24, 2018

But careful examination shows plenty people of color were in Europe throughout history. Like those Asian Indians in the miniseries Rome in addition to Nubians and Ethiopians. Sometimes it falls me the ones the film makers miss that are historically verified. Black soldiers and musicians in European armies going back to the Middle Ages. Napoleon had at least one regiment of black Africans and the marmalukes of his guard were all North African. He also had one half black general. Blacks were not uncommon in the Royal Navy. Several of Columbus crew were black and so on. Asians is a bit harder. They made Attila into a Caucasian nomad (literally. Proto-cossacks ) instead of being Central Asian.

Ironscarf at 2:00PM, April 24, 2018

This reminds me of when Madonna put a black Jesus in her like a prayer video: the shit really hit the fan back then. I found that strange because every black family I knew had a picture of Jesus on their wall with blonde hair and blue eyes. They knew he didn't actually look like that, but it didn't seem to bother them much.

Ozoneocean at 6:32AM, April 24, 2018

"Political correctness" I feel describes the well meaning uncle type who through their clumsiness makes the situation uncomfortable, hostile and less inclusive than before. Whereas someone who IS good at being inclusive and sensitive just gets on with the job and their efforts go largely unnoticed because their efforts at integration are largely seemless.

Ozoneocean at 6:28AM, April 24, 2018

Good point about Captain America, taking it back to comics 😁

Ozoneocean at 6:25AM, April 24, 2018

It only does a huge disservice to non-white actors when they do this. It reminds me of a similar criticism (by a feminist film criticism blog) leveled at period films with "strong" female characters that are depicted well outside of their traditional roles for the periods. The problem, as they explained it, is that it utterly trivialises and devalues the parts played by real women. Instead of elevating the real cultural roles that woman had to the forefront, they are actively put down and instead we only have bizarre fictionalised male hybrids: it's only women in masculine roles that have any worth or play any significant parts in many period movies.

IronHorseComics at 6:21AM, April 24, 2018

I think political correctness can be very, very dangerous. Let's take Marvel's recent take on Captain America. Now historically Steve Rodgers is a blond haired blue eyed white guy who was created as an antithesis of Adolf Hitler and I remember when they announced the new black Captain America. At first, I was a confused and a little annoyed that they would change Steve Rodgers completely out of nowhere, until I found out that it was Sam Wilson. and then I was like "Ohhh, okay, this works" because Rodgers has been training Wilson to take over the role for years and it made sense. What DIDN'T make sense was completely betraying Steve Rodgers by making him a secret Hydra (nazi) agent in a horrible attempt to make Marvel more inclusive and to "legitimize" Sam Wilson as Captain America (what they should have done is what DC did when a revived Ted Kord gave Jaime Reyes his blessing as the new Blue Beetle). Needless to say, it was all horrible and now Marvel is in a lot of trouble with $$$

Ozoneocean at 5:26AM, April 24, 2018

This reminds of a meme posted to Facebook stating that audiences were racist for complaining that "people of colour" randomly showing up in period movies set in Europe were not historically accurate, while the same people didn't complain about the enormous effort gone to justify white actors in Fuedal Japan, 11th century China or as part of the Lakota nation... Unfortunately the meme gets things totally backwards: In the latter examples EFFORT has been put into the film to justify a white character's presence and make it fit, making it realistic for the audience and not destroying their suspension of disbelief. Filmmakers rarely go to the same pains with non-white actors and so they appear wrong and crappy. It's the filmmakers being racist rather than audiences. 😓

Ozoneocean at 5:17AM, April 24, 2018

Dennis Rodman ftw

mks_monsters at 5:07AM, April 24, 2018

I think that a certain amount of political correctness is a good thing for good casting or historical accuracy. However, like El Cid said, too much of it is bad for creativity. When you're trying to hard to be inclusive, you wind up writing to please the masses rather than writing well. Sometimes, you just can't include everyone in a story and if the focus is not on certain subjects, the most correct thing to do in general is to just leave the subject alone.

bravo1102 at 4:44AM, April 24, 2018

As for versions of the siege of Troy? Gotta go back to the 1956's Helen of Troy (Stanley Baker as Achilles) or the Italian The Trojan Horse (1961) (Steve Reeves as Aeneas) for lily white casts (and to me superior costume design. Why does everyone look like a Roman gladiator in the more recent ones? Where's the freaking bronze?! Look at the archaeology and then look at the movies. William Wallace in woad with a kilt! Gotta put all the British in redcoats because otherwise the audience won't know... yeah.)

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