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Old January 15 2013, 08:27 AM   #85
Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Calling something a fact doesn't make it a fact. Support by the evidence makes it a fact. I've been able to offer a large number of counterexamples to refute your claims, but you haven't offered a single specific instance where that generation-old rivalry has any influence on the portrayal of Russians in TV. Give me examples.
First off, I think that you haven't yet got off the relating Russian portrayal to racism idea, so I have my doubts that you're going to relate to these examples. One fairly good example would be the Rocky movie (movies of course being shown on TV) featuring the Russian boxer Ivan Drago (that I referred to earlier). The Russian fighter had the luxury of the highest tech training devices, suggesting a sort of spoon-fed privilege, where the American fighter had to rough it in the great outdoors, braving the elements, suggesting more bravado (of course then again Rocky is ethnic Italian, so I can't get too upset).

There was also the movie starring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gene Hackman (the name of the movie escapes me at the moment). While it was nice to see a Russian national star in an American movie, which of the two was the real hero in the movie? Who valiantly risked their life for the other? Basically, Gene Hackman. Do you really think the Russian was going to be the self sacrificial hero?

Of course there's good old Flash Gordon. Granted, this goes back to the early 20th century, the tradition of the American space hero teamed with a Russian scientist Dr. Zarkoff (at least the name sounds Russian) is certainly not going to change any time soon. While the good (Russian) doc was on the side of the good guys, who gets the hot blond (along with an apparent choice of a hot brunette)? I'm afraid our model Russian will just have to stick with those beautiful coke bottle shaped.....test tubes.

As I said, none of this involves blatant discriminatory stereotypes, the first being the most over-the-top. It's really more subtle than blatant.

And I've already proven to you that you're wrong, but you didn't get the point. Ilya Kuryakin was not a bit player. Although he wasn't part of the show when it started, he quickly became equal in importance to the lead actor, and probably more popular. He was the star of the show, or rather, one of two stars who were equal in every way that mattered.
The only real way you could prove me wrong is if Star Trek incorporates a Russian captain into a series as the main character. Or if one of the already produced ST series has already done so without my knowing it (I haven't seen any outside of TOS, and TNG, so it is theoretically possible as it stands now). This being so since this was my initial proclamation.

But we were talking about the casting of a lead role in a future Trek series. I still don't buy your premise that an antiquated political rivalry would have any bearing on that.
Tell me honestly, do you really think that if a new ST series came out this year, that it's possible the main character, captain of the series' star ship could be Russian? And you can't use the it makes sense that an American show would have an American lead actor response since we know that ST has no problem with a French commander.

I could be wrong, but I don't think so.

Of course there are always some racists and idiots -- hell, the whole "Birther" nonsense and "closet Muslim" nonsense about President Obama is just dogwhistle code for "we don't like him because he's not white."
I don't think that's the case with all of them who address those issues. In addition, there's also been a number of false accusations against conservatives of being racist, disliking Obama because he is black. Remember the black cloud comment by Rick Perry, where the recording of this comment was doctored up to make it appear that he was referring to Obama....without an apology after getting caught (I forgot which media figure pulled this stunt)?

But despite that, he still got elected president twice, and was the first president since Dwight Eisenhower to be elected with over 51% of the popular vote two times in a row. Just because bigots still exist, that doesn't mean they still have the clout to determine the outcome of elections or the success of television shows. With each passing year, they become less and less of a factor as a younger, more multicultural generation grows in influence.
Like I said, and you even agreed, the media markets, thus perpetuates racism to the public. Racism thrives in the media. And it's very much alive and well among the populace.
Heck, I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who see the Chinese as the next great threat to America, or who are prejudiced against Asians in general, but right now the half-Chinese Kristin Kreuk is the lead actress in Beauty and the Beast, Lucy Liu is the female lead in Elementary, and Ming-Na is the female lead in Joss Whedon's S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot which is currently filming. And two of the most popular animation franchises are Kung Fu Panda and the Asian-themed Avatar: The Last Airbender/The Legend of Korra. Racism hasn't been exterminated, no, but it has less influence now than it did in the past.

By the same token, of course I'm sure there are still some old-guard Cold Warriors who don't like Russians, but they're not the ones making decisions about television casting, and they're not a large enough percentage of the audience to influence those decisions. You're dwelling so much on these lingering negative influences that you're overlooking all the more positive influences that counter them.
One of the problems is that you really haven't presented any counters. Asian female actresses like Lucy Liu are not a good example. Ever since Madame Butterfly flew into western culture, western media has often utilized the Asian female, white male couple theme. Have you ever seen Lucy Liu paired with an Asian man?

Asian women are usually portrayed as the love interest of White men. And Asian men are usually portrayed as geeks, kung fu eunuchs, gangster eunuchs (see the beginning of the movie Hancock), etc. Hollywood has emasculated the Asian man since they started rolling film to this very day. One of the cruelest stereotypes against any race is promoted by Hollywood, which is aimed at Asian males. It's not just some racist jerks (like the 2 disc jockeys in Washington DC), but people who produce popular TV shows and movies.
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