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1 day ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 0 replies · +3 points

I mean, JMS isn't just American. Ivanova the Jewish Russian has a lot in common with him. So I would assume he knew, yeah.

2 days ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 0 replies · +6 points

That last sentence? Yeah, that's kind of my read on it.

He seems to have been at least somewhat against casting diversity for diversity's sake, but out of idealism rather than conscious bigotry -- e.g., a notion that parts written with NO inherent "identity" component were better for actors and writers alike. (In "Tales from the Scripts" for... I think the first season? There's a bit of a diatribe on how he thought Richard Biggs liked the role of Franklin so much because it didn't make a big deal out of his being Black, for example -- which, yes, *can* be othering sometimes; there are plenty of LGBTQIA+ actors -- and viewers -- who are tired of feeling like the only roles on TV are roles *consumed* by their identities, where they have no other character traits.)

There are also obvious problems with this, though, like the fact that aspects of identity can also be AFFIRMING: the role of Ivanova is infinitely better for how viscerally Jewish she is sometimes, and if JMS had thought about it in those terms I'm sure he would have seen the value in making other identities equally visible in his writing. (Emphasis on: *equally*. Being Jewish is not Ivanova's only trait by any stretch.)

But again I've mostly gotten a "good intentions" read off his commentary myself, and I can't say I didn't agree with some of his notions back in the '90s. As a white teenager, who grew up in an extremely white state and a mostly white city, it was easy to buy into the notion that the fight for racial equality had largely been won, for example. And I remember thinking that the particular kind of diversity in the first season of Power Rangers was kind of unrealistic -- which, you might or might not remember, was still both white- and male-dominant. (Two people of color and two women in a five-person group.)

(Important context: then I moved to the east coast and a heavily-Black area, and I was only in that city for a month or two before I happened to see a group of teenage friends waiting for the school bus together, and wouldn't you know it??? Even more racially-diverse than '90s Power Rangers. GASP.)

To put it even further into perspective, I once had a very surreal argument with a white cis gay guy from England who pooh-poohed American """diversity quotas""" in our media. He thought it was completely unreasonable to expect every TV show to have even one person of color on it, because how could there really be that many people of color in America?!, and at one point memorably insisted that even a show with no women in it would be better than so-called "forced" diversity if it were a situation that might reasonably not feature women in the real world. I remember asking, "Like a show that took place entirely inside a men's bathroom?" because this thing he thought was so natural made absolutely no sense to me. (I'm pretty sure he was specifically thinking of the American remake of Queer as Folk, which added a couple of women to the cast, but there are sooooo many issues with white cis gay men who think the entire community revolves around them.)

TL;DR: age is not an excuse for bigotry, but boy oh boy can the environment you're raised in impact what seems "natural" and what seems "forced" in terms of casting.

3 days ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 0 replies · +8 points

It's true that whole-food protein options are probably a bit thin on the ground, but I also think we are meant to assume that characters get protein in ways that would have been available even in the '90s -- protein powders and vitamin supplements. Military rations too are meant to be bad tasting but nutritionally complete, in this show, I would think.

3 days ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 2 replies · +6 points

Yeah. Part of it is the era -- the vast majority of shows in '95 and '97 were glaringly white. :( It IS worth noting that Ivanova is meant to be ethnically Jewish, which does make a difference since white supremacy genuinely does not consider Jewish people white, but part of the answer to your question is "both, and also the result of the producers, directors, other writers, advertisers, and so on.

I don't mean to frame it like it isn't still a big deal or like this kind of thing is okay because "it was just the times". Rather that I think the "common wisdom" at the time was very much that shows needed to skew white and male in order to be successful, and that that resulted in both policing AND self-policing. Add that to the white male default, and a lot of the time it doesn't even occur to writers to try for something else.

I imagine there was an open casting call and they just liked this woman best, but in a white supremacist society some of the problem is inside of us, and we need to more actively fight against our impulses, to create parts specifically for minorities because otherwise we're just prone to think the best actor for the job is the white person who auditioned. In other words you have to do something JMS has said he doesn't like, which is sometimes starting from the position that your show needs more of XYZ marginalized group and actively looking for people of that demographic.

In his defense, he did try to make Keffer an East Asian man, and the executives shot it down, so sometimes executive meddling is definitely the problem, and too much of that can make you gun shy......

But yeah this long rambling comment is just to basically say "both, probably".

3 days ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 0 replies · +2 points

Pfft well there goes my comment above!

3 days ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 0 replies · +4 points

Heh, that's kind of cute to me. V guvax vg'f vzcbegnag gb abgr gung fur fcrpvsvpnyyl fnvq FYRRCVAT ubevmbagnyyl jnf grzcgvat qrngu, juvpu znxrf zr guvax gung frk orqf jbhyqa'g or ng gur fnzr natyr, fb Gung Bar rcvfbqr jurer gurl unir n Zvaonev nhqvrapr zvtug abg erdhver vg K3

3 days ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 0 replies · +3 points

YEP. 100000% this.

4 days ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 0 replies · +1 points

Ahhh, gotcha. :|a Thanks!

4 days ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 0 replies · +1 points

I mean...

That's really not what "missed opportunities" means to me. "Missed" is not a word that assigns blame to anyone; all it means to me is that we could have had this, under nebulously better circumstances, and we don't.

Ohg nyfb, gb or cresrpgyl ubarfg, Znephf/Vinabin qvq irel yvggyr sbe zr gur svefg gvzr V jngpurq guvf fubj, fb V jbhyq fnpevsvpr gur cnvevat sbe univat n orggre traqre engvb nzbat bhe erthynef (gur sbyxf va gur perqvgf) guna Frnfba Guerr'f 9:2. Gung'f ernyyl, ernyyl qvfzny.

Vg'f pbzcyrgryl svar gung lbh qvfnterr. :) V'z abg ybbxvat gb pbaivapr lbh bs nalguvat! Gurfr ner whfg zl bcvavbaf.

4 days ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Babylon ... · 0 replies · +1 points

Basically this.