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Old May 26 2012, 04:52 PM   #98
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Re: Typhon Pact: Plagues of Night by DRGIII Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Sjaddix wrote: View Post
I am not sure we agree on the definitions of anything we are discussing. I don't agree with your definition of family or stereotypes.

If I don't count her has family then it does not count as dumping family.
I really think it's an arbitrary distinction. I mean, the difference between the Ben/Kassidy relationship in "Tears of the Prophets" and the Ben/Kassidy relationship when they got married is nine months and a piece of paper. Not exactly a meaningful difference -- abandoning her suddenly, with no warning and no promise of return, in "Tears of the Prophets" is not meaningfully different than leaving her in Rough Beasts of Empire.

So, no, it's not inconsistent with his characterization. He's done this sort of thing before.

He ran home and took Jake with him
Let's be clear: he did not "take" Jake with him. Jake was a grown man who chose to go with him.

This time he is dumping her and its all about protecting her so a much different scenario.
You're right -- he's being considerably less selfish by leaving her because he views that as the only way to protect her, than he was when he just left her just because he wanted to run away from his problems in "Tears of the Prophets."

Although help me with something, Avery Brooks got the series finale rewritten because it hinted at this stereotype.
It would be more accurate to say that he asked for the line about Sisko coming back to be inserted because he felt that Sisko's original fate--being brought to the Wormhole for all eternity--came too close to evoking the stereotype of negligent black father, not because it actually lived up to that stereotype. What Brooks objected to was something even being in the general neighborhood of that stereotype, even if there are major, vital differences that keep it from actually fulfilling that stereotype.

Now do u think him leaving at the end was the right move because if you do then u have to explain what makes these scenarios so different that this one would not be exactly the same type of situation Brooks demanded a rewrite in.
This is where I'm coming from:

I appreciate that some people feel uncomfortable depicting a black father getting a divorce and leaving his wife and daughter for any reason, because for them, it comes too close to the stereotype of the negligent black father. I understand that something can evoke a concept even if it's not the same thing, and I don't disrespect that.

However, I do not think that an author has an obligation to never depict characters doing something that's only vaguely similar to such a stereotype just because some people think it comes too close. As I've said, there are huge differences between Sisko's choices and the actual stereotypes against black fathers. Further, I think there comes a point where it gets a little ridiculous. Are we seriously going to argue that in the 24th Century, that there is no divorce? If we accept that there will be divorce -- and I don't think it's reasonable to say there won't be -- are we therefore going to try to claim that none of the people who get divorced will be black?

Are we seriously going to argue there are no black divorces in the world of Star Trek?

Something can evoke a stereotype even if it's not that stereotype, and we as the audience have to be willing to accept sometimes that maybe a character is a character, and is doing something for a very specific reason, and that this is why it's not stereotypical. As you say, stereotypes aren't about attributing specific motivations to their targets, but DRGIII gave very specific motivations for Sisko's choices.

It's perfectly valid for a creator to decide he doesn't want to risk even inadvertently evoking a stereotype even when it's not truly applicable. It's also perfectly valid for an author to decide that his audience ought to be mature enough to know the difference between a stereotype and a character choice that doesn't fit the stereotype. So what it boils down to is, DRGIII and Brooks have differing creative impulses. That's fine. That's perfectly valid on both ends.

What is not fine, what is not fair and valid, is condemning DRGIII for "perpetuating" a stereotype when Sisko's actions don't actually fulfill that stereotype. There's a huge difference between saying, "I understand that this is different, and that you as an author did not intend this, but this makes me uncomfortable because it makes me think of that stereotype" (which is a perfectly fair reaction) and saying, "You made Sisko in a stereotypical black deadbeat dad" (which is both factually inaccurate and unfair to the author).

Sure I suppose some might see it as consistent.
Then this concession undermines the argument that it is logically inconsistent with what the canon established about Sisko's personality and behavior. If this is a consistent interpretation of the character (even one you disagree with), then it becomes unfair to accuse the author of being "arrogant" or of being inconsistent with the canon.

My point is though that DRG should have been prepared for the firestorm.
There's a big difference between being prepared for fans not enjoying something, and being prepared for fans accusing you of doing something you didn't do.

And even if he were prepared for the level of vitriol he encountered -- at a certain point, why should he keep having to put up with it? It's not like we're entitled to his presence here. He chose to leave because he got tired of some readers being unfair and hostile. Them's the breaks when you're not fair to people sometimes.

DarKush wrote: View Post
Wanting to run away and actually doing it are two different things. In season 6, Ben and Kasidy were not married,
So what? Nine months and a sheet of paper shouldn't make it okay to abandon your partner that way. Yet Sisko did so. It's an established part of his character that sometimes he abandons the people he should not abandon.

Leaving Kasidy bothered me, but also how it was done. He couldn't talk to her about it? I don't think what DRG III did was consistent with the character, no matter what the interpretation.
But it is consistent. He abandoned Kassidy in "Tears of the Prophets" -- cut her off with no warning, no explanation, no promise of a return. Yes, he went back to his father's with Jake, but all that means is that he treated everyone else in Rough Beasts the way he'd previously treated Kassidy. It's completely consistent with his prior behavior.

And if he's so potentially dangerous now, so toxic, why go to a starship with hundreds of people on board?
This is just not paying attention to what he's concerned about.

The novel is very clear: He believes that Kassidy and Rebecca are in danger so long as he is married to and living with Kassidy, because the Prophets told him that he would know "nothing but sorrow," and he believes that sorrow will include their deaths. the Prophets never told him that he's dangerous to everybody everywhere he goes, so he sees no reason to think that.

Now, I don't think I would've liked this outcome however DRG III did it because it went so against how Avery Brooks and the show developed Sisko's character,
I'm sorry -- are you saying that DRGIII depicted Sisko as leaving Kassidy because doing so is something Brooks would have opposed? You make it sound like you think he was deliberately trying to go against what Brooks wanted for the sake of going against what Brooks wanted. Is that what you're trying to say, or am I misreading you?

But overall Rough Beasts was a mess, two novels in one, thrown awkwardly together, and a story of this magnitude (same with Spock's) deserved a full novel of its own to delve into all of those issues.
I think that's a subjective response. I liked the two narratives and how they interacted; you didn't. That's fine.

What's not fine is the hostile environment some posters created, and what's not fine is accusing him of "throwing a hissy fit" when he did no such thing. And as DRGIII said, it wasn't even the reaction to Rough Beasts itself that prompted his choice -- it was the overall, cumulative atmosphere at TrekLit over the course of several months.
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