I was reading this article and was struck by how the news media that I read seems to take offense at things and then just assumes everyone should immediately understand why and agree with them. If there are comment sections, the people that fail to get riled up about some statement or attitude are branded as privileged white males that can’t understand the horrors of living in a first world country as a woman or a minority.
For instance, the 5 “crazy” quotes in the linked article are just thrown out there without analysis except a reiteration of the fact that yes women are underrepresented in media. How that interacts with any of those quotes is nebulous. I find the glibness of these quotes more irritating in a lot of ways than the actual quotes. Let’s tackle each in turn.
“Pete & Pete is an amazing show; who cares that it was made by white people and is about white people? That’s not important. What’s important is, how good is it? Some of these other shows — My Brother and Me,Diego, and Legend of Korra — it’s great that they’re bringing diversity into it now. Fantastic. But you know those shows are not nearly as good as Ren and Stimpy, which was made by all white people!”
Obviously the most wretched thing about this is holding Ren and Stimpy up as a good show. I personally agree that the quality of the show is the most important factor, ahead of diversity. Seinfeld and Friends are all white casts and better than any of the more recent comedies with more diverse casts. Unfortunately, our society is setup such that white people hang out with white people and black people associate with black people. Thus most shows portraying reality should actually be fairly monochromatic.
The counterargument here is that all white and predominantly male writers/crew/etc. is probably not guaranteeing the best. It ignores too much talent. But does Vox say this? No, you are just supposed to be mad that this guy had the audacity to point out that the best shows yet created are products of white people.
“Why does someone who’s making something about a black person need to be black? Why does someone making a show about an Indian person need to be Indian? Why does someone making a show about women need to be a woman? If you’re making something about an alien, you don’t need to be an alien to do it.”
This seems pretty self evident to me. If we only let people write about people very similar to themselves we would be a much poorer society. The real problem is that minorities and women don’t have as many opportunities to share their work and viewpoints, not that they are innately superior. Again, Vox seems to take offense at a rather innocuous statement without taking the time to explore what it glosses over
“If I were Indian or Jewish, for example, and watched something where the characters are Jewish or supposed to be, and if it’s not specific to that, then I start to wonder, ‘Why are they doing this?’ It becomes blackface.”
This one is by far the worst quote. It assumes a very WASP standard and any deviations need to be justified by exploiting the differences with that standard. However, I suspect most families in the U.S.A. are pretty similar such that a Jewish family sitcom doesn’t need to have every episode be about Jewish holidays or full of Yiddish.
“To just shove it in there because, ‘Uh-oh, we need diversity,’ is silly and a little disgusting. It needs to be the best people working on the best shows. They happen to be white, that’s a shame. They happen to be all guys, that’s a shame. No one says this about sports — they do sometimes, the owners — but sorry, that most basketball, football players happen to be black.”
This is much like the first quote, except that he says it in a pretty obnoxious way. Tokenism is about as bad as just ignoring diversity. The final line reminds me of a recent Donald Trump quote on I think the Daily Show where he tells a female TV reporter that the reason she has her job is because she is pretty. Unfortunately, being above average in attractiveness is a very important qualification for being in TV news, especially for women. Trump was of course being crass, but honest. Somehow we are supposed to be mad at Trump for stating the truth, rather than all the other things that conspire to make sure only attractive females are put it on TV.
“My agent: woman. My editor: woman. My publicist: woman. The most successful genre is young adult novels — 85% of which are written by women. That discussion doesn’t really come up when it’s the other way around. It is 2014 now. It’s not 1995.Political correctness needs to change.”
Well this is just irrelevant personal experience and a made up statistic along with a glib remark about political correctness. Nothing to get the pitchforks out for.
My point is that the liberal media seems to have gotten lazy and just throws things out there and expects its readers to become outraged. That isn’t good analysis or news for any subject and particularly not for one as sensitive and nuanced as this.