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Old January 13 2013, 09:24 PM   #61
Santa Kang
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

They made one French, a nationality that in American circles is maligned a lot more often than the Russians. He was played by a British actor, a nationality that America has a love/hate relationship with.
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Old January 13 2013, 10:10 PM   #62
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
I followed the last american election - Obama vs Romney.
Romney was aggressively anti-minorities (and he expoused blatantly false economic ideas) - and he still got 49% of the american votes.

Believing that, in a country such as this, a russian captain would not hurt the audience appeal of a star trek series, is wishful thinking.
Just because a person votes for a certain party does not mean they agree with them on every point.
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Old January 13 2013, 11:27 PM   #63
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

MacLeod wrote: View Post
Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
I followed the last american election - Obama vs Romney.
Romney was aggressively anti-minorities (and he expoused blatantly false economic ideas) - and he still got 49% of the american votes.

Believing that, in a country such as this, a russian captain would not hurt the audience appeal of a star trek series, is wishful thinking.
Just because a person votes for a certain party does not mean they agree with them on every point.
That's true. Republican candidates in the US today are obligated to cater to the extreme right wing of the party in order to win primaries and maintain funding and the like, but often have to compromise their own principles to do so, and a lot of rank-and-file Republicans hold their noses and go along with it because they don't see an alternative.

Also, in fact, the final official vote tally certified by Congress gives Romney only 47.18% of the popular vote and Obama 51.03%, with the remaining 1.79% divided between the Libertarian, Green, and other candidates.

And really, Russians? Who's got a problem with Russians anymore? I keep asking this. Look, I grew up in a time when there was a lot of political rivalry between the US and the USSR, but I never really saw that translate into hostility against Russians as an ethnic group, at least not on television. There were plenty of movies and TV shows and comics in which Russian characters were presented in a positive light despite the policies of their government, in which loyal Soviet Russians stood alongside Americans as allies or fellow heroes -- Ilya Kuryakin, Colossus of the X-Men, Schwarzenegger in Red Heat. And that was at the height of the Cold War. In the two decades since, I certainly haven't noticed any hostility toward Russians in the American media. If you were talking about, say, Arabs, then hell yes, there's been plenty of unfortunate stereotyping of them in the US media. But seriously, Russians? Where's the evidence of this alleged intolerance? Because I haven't seen any signs of it.
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Old January 13 2013, 11:30 PM   #64
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

And Rocket Red from the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League!
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Old January 13 2013, 11:46 PM   #65
Blamo
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

In regards to race I'd say it was progressive, but not revolutionary.

And while it's not part of the topic, in regards to gender politics I'd say it wasn't progressive OR revolutionary. It was pretty much stuck in the 60's.
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Old January 13 2013, 11:58 PM   #66
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

Blamo wrote: View Post
And while it's not part of the topic, in regards to gender politics I'd say it wasn't progressive OR revolutionary. It was pretty much stuck in the 60's.
No, it was progressive, just not as progressive as it should've been. Just having women on a military starship crew at all was a very progressive step, something you didn't see anywhere else in the era. And at the time, the miniskirts were seen as very progressive and empowering for women, a symbol of the sexual revolution and of women asserting control of their own sexuality rather than hiding from it and thus being rendered passive and helpless in sexual interactions. Certainly there were still a lot of very conventional gender attitudes that the show failed to overcome -- notably the era's attitudes about rape as seen in "The Enemy Within," or "Turnabout Intruder"'s assumption that Dr. Lester was insane for aspiring to do a man's job instead of being content with her feminine role. And overall the show's portrayal of women wasn't as progressive as something like The Avengers or Get Smart or Mission: Impossible. But it wasn't completely conservative about gender roles, not by the standards of its day.

Indeed, the Trek fan community of the '60s and '70s was overwhelmingly female, and plenty of women at the time were drawn to it because they did find the show's portrayal of women inspiring and aspirational. Looking back on it today, when we've come so much further, we see all the ways it didn't transcend the assumptions of the time, but at the time, fans saw the ways in which it did, and they made a real difference in a lot of lives.
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Old January 14 2013, 05:51 PM   #67
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Okay, now you're just shifting the goalposts. Your own words were, "I personally have a hard time believing that a Russian main character captain will take center stage of any possible new ST TV series any time soon." (Emphasis added.) You yourself were the one who defined the discussion as being about the character, not the actor. That's what I was responding to.

After all, if the conversation had been about actors, I could've pointed out that Leonard Nimoy is of Ukrainian ancestry, William Shatner is of partly Ukrainian ancestry (as well as Austrian, Hungarian, and Polish), and Walter Koenig is genuinely Russian by ancestry (his parents lived in Lithuania but were ethnically Russian). So that's 3/7 of the core cast who have ancestry in that part of the world (plus Majel Barrett, whose birth surname Hudec is of Czech or Slovak origin). So you might have some kind of a point where Russian characters are concerned, but you've got no grounds for claiming that Russian or Slavic actors have been discriminated against in Trek. You're not only shifting the goalposts, you're shifting them onto much less solid ground.
I don't think I made any suggestion that Star Trek discriminated against Russians, and most definitely not Slavs whatsoever.

But...I will admit that my statement needs more clarification.

First off, this is not a racial issue, as Russians and Slavs are considered White. But rather, an issue of maybe Americanism. Or maybe even, patriotism. The 60's were not too far removed from the earlier Red Scare that hit Hollywood. The people that fell victim to this scare were those deemed unpatriotic by virtue of being communists (or tendencies in that direction). So a blatant communist, anyone who made a strong declaration of pro-communism of any ethnicity probably would not have sat well with the American public in terms of being a leading character in an American TV series. So probably, a real Soviet Russian, a Soviet Union actor import would probably not have sat well as a leading character in an American TV series.

I admit, it's not really the Russian ethnicity itself as far as American actors are concerned. Natalie Wood was ethnic Russian for instance, and I don't think she had any problems about it that I know of. Yul Brynner I believe was Russian. But neither of them were Soviet imports. And yes, who knows how many famous Americans, particularly today have Slavic blood?

The Russian angle in a movie or TV series can play a part as far as the view of the audience. A Russian/Soviet defector for instance could be heroic. Or in the case of Illya, he was in basic good standings with Americans.

These are my opinions. And what's my proof? I can't claim to have any solid proof, but we do have an obvious lack of Soviet Russian imported actors from that time. One may be able to google some exceptions, but I can't think of any at the top of my head. And imported actors/actresses during that time was happening fairly frequently.

I did get side-tracked with the Illya comment, but that involved a show depicting international espionage, national patriotism, etc., as opposed to a more unified global theme. But even today, in my opinion, A Russian star ship commander (whether it's only a depiction, or a real ethnic Russian) as a lead character (on T.V.) is unlikely. I don't think there's any consideration being given to the idea.

Blatant discrimination? No! Something in the American psyche that may prevent such a thing? Yes!


Oh, come on, now you're just blatantly making up excuses for your pessimism. Not only is that pure speculation -- "if there had been" -- but the kind of intolerant Americans you're thinking about wouldn't have known or cared about the difference between a Russian and a Ukrainian. All Soviets were "Russian" to people like that.
I'm quite serious about my opinion on that. Even if those particular Americans didn't know the difference between a Russian and a Ukrainian (Georgian, Lithuanian, Estonian, etc.), it could have been explained. And the idea of a conquering Russian majority, a Russian empire ruling over smaller minorities could have gained sympathy for a Ukrainian character. They could have worked the angle a number of ways to gain acceptance for the Illya character if there had been a problem.

As far a my alleged pessimism, I still don't understand where you are coming from on that. As I explained, not only does racism exist, it's practiced in our very own media. It's actually sold to the public. It has merely been repackaged. We're not talking about racist tendencies merely existing in the minds of some, but it's being perpetuated by some who may not even be racists themselves perse, but are a part of it's marketing.

A personal doctor could be optimistic about his patient's cholesterol problem. But if he keeps offering a McDonald's double cheeseburger "on him" to that patient, what good is the optimism?
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Old January 14 2013, 06:02 PM   #68
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

Hyfen_Underskor wrote: View Post
First off, this is not a racial issue, as Russians and Slavs are considered White. But rather, an issue of maybe Americanism. Or maybe even, patriotism. The 60's were not too far removed from the earlier Red Scare that hit Hollywood. The people that fell victim to this scare were those deemed unpatriotic by virtue of being communists (or tendencies in that direction). So a blatant communist, anyone who made a strong declaration of pro-communism of any ethnicity probably would not have sat well with the American public in terms of being a leading character in an American TV series.
Except that Ilya Kuryakin was a loyal Soviet agent. And if you look at The Six Million Dollar Man in the '70s, there's a lot of stuff about US/Soviet cooperation in space exploration or teaming up against common foes -- if all you knew about history was from that show (at least its pilots and first season), you'd never know there'd been a Cold War.


So probably, a real Soviet Russian, a Soviet Union actor import would probably not sit well as a leading character in an American TV series.
Which, again, is changing the subject. We were talking about characters, not actors.


These are my opinions. And what's my proof? I can't claim to have any solid proof, but we do have an obvious lack of Soviet Russian imported actors. One may be able to google some exceptions, but I can't think of any at the top of my head. And imported actors/actresses during that time was happening fairly frequently.
Why in the hell are you talking about Soviet Russians in the present tense??? This is what completely bewilders me about this conversation. The Soviet Union ceased to exist 21 years ago. Nothing you're taking about is relevant to the present day, so I don't understand why you think that a television series today would have any problem casting a Russian lead. Many members of the target audience for a new Trek or other action-adventure series wouldn't even have been born yet when the USSR dissolved, or would have no personal memory of its existence. So why you think any of this is the least bit relevant to a conversation about casting in a present or future television series confuses the hell out of me.


As far a my alleged pessimism, I still don't understand where you are coming from on that. As I explained, not only does racism exist, it's practiced in our very own media.
Yes, obviously, but not against Russians, which is the point. You yourself have already admitted in this very post that past issues with Russians were not ethnic but political. And the political issues ceased to exist over two decades ago. So you're contradicting yourself here. It doesn't make sense for you to claim you're talking about racism against Russians when you already acknowledged several paragraphs earlier that you weren't talking about that.
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Old January 14 2013, 06:05 PM   #69
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

Would a Russian/Soviet actor in the 1960s be allowed to pop over to Hollywood to appear in a film or TV series, the same way a Western European actor would?
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Old January 14 2013, 06:12 PM   #70
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
Would a Russian/Soviet actor in the 1960s be allowed to pop over to Hollywood to appear in a film or TV series, the same way a Western European actor would?
Most likely not. And what would be the point? It was a different world then and not many Americans would even know who the actor was.

"Look! We got a famous Russian actor to play a Soviet agent!" *crickets*
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Old January 14 2013, 06:14 PM   #71
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

Christopher wrote: View Post

And really, Russians? Who's got a problem with Russians anymore? I keep asking this. Look, I grew up in a time when there was a lot of political rivalry between the US and the USSR, but I never really saw that translate into hostility against Russians as an ethnic group, at least not on television. There were plenty of movies and TV shows and comics in which Russian characters were presented in a positive light despite the policies of their government, in which loyal Soviet Russians stood alongside Americans as allies or fellow heroes -- Ilya Kuryakin, Colossus of the X-Men, Schwarzenegger in Red Heat. And that was at the height of the Cold War. In the two decades since, I certainly haven't noticed any hostility toward Russians in the American media. If you were talking about, say, Arabs, then hell yes, there's been plenty of unfortunate stereotyping of them in the US media. But seriously, Russians? Where's the evidence of this alleged intolerance? Because I haven't seen any signs of it.
The U.S. is a color coded nation. Ethnic distinction is based primarily on race (color). In earlier American history, there was more relevance to ethnicity, but today Europeans have become so integrated that we're all simply "White".

I'm half Russian. I was never discriminated for being Russian (that I'm aware of). My ancestors may have been, but for myself, any ethnic discrimination I may have experienced was due to being "White".

I'm half Italian. And I'll be the first to tell you, I don't feel the slightest bit of offense when seeing a ranting Italian man pushing a tomato cart in New York, or an Italian with a monkey and grinder in old movies. Those old Italian stereotypes don't phase me. Did they bother my Italian-American ancestors at that time? Maybe.

But that doesn't change the fact that the American/Soviet rivalry doesn't play a part in TV role depictions, even to this day.

20 years ago Southern and Eastern Europeans were not discriminated against, and could hold any position available; but the idea of an ethnic non-Northern European president was questionable. I would think that idea should be shattered today, but earlier American history reveals that ethnicity probably did play a factor. And the idea of a Russian ensign, or maybe any other position including a captain of another ship other than the main ship of a given ST series is not out of the question; but the idea of a Russian star of the show would be in my opinion.
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Old January 14 2013, 06:17 PM   #72
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

Hyfen_Underskor wrote: View Post
The U.S. is a color coded nation. Ethnic distinction is based primarily on race (color). In earlier American history, there was more relevance to ethnicity, but today Europeans have become so integrated that we're all simply "White".
You don't really seem to have much of a grasp of American society and culture.
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Old January 14 2013, 06:43 PM   #73
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

First off, this is not a racial issue, as Russians and Slavs are considered White.
You would be surprised. At least some people proposed that the Russians constitute an 'asiatic people', so there was/is an ethnic component to some of the rivalry between America and Russia. At the very least, some conservatives/reactionaries/nationalists think of the Russians as belonging to a separate class of people, defined by the Slavic languages or Ortodox Church.

These kinds of views are like self-fulfilling prophesies - the more people believe them, the more they become true. I think it's ridiculous to suppose the nation that gave us the Periodic Table of Elements is an 'alien civilization', but the more people believe it, the more they make it true.
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Old January 14 2013, 06:57 PM   #74
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

Hyfen_Underskor wrote:
20 years ago Southern and Eastern Europeans were not discriminated against, and could hold any position available; but the idea of an ethnic non-Northern European president was questionable. I would think that idea should be shattered today, but earlier American history reveals that ethnicity probably did play a factor. And the idea of a Russian ensign, or maybe any other position including a captain of another ship other than the main ship of a given ST series is not out of the question; but the idea of a Russian star of the show would be in my opinion.
Michael Dukakis was the Democratic nominee for President in 1988 over 20 years ago. Spiro Agnew was a heartbeat away from being the President 40 years ago. Mario Cumo and Rudy Giuliani have been touted as viable Presidential candidates for decades and Giuliani even ran.
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Old January 14 2013, 06:58 PM   #75
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

I think at a base level it was revolutionary, in the sense that it very much depicted an "ideal future" where humanity's contemporary differences had long been forgotten (this was hard-wired into the concept, even as depicted in the original 1964 pilot episode). But in terms of television production I'm not quite as convinced. There were many tv series' of the time that had a cast that was at least as racially mixed as Trek's was, it wasn't as uncommon as people have sometimes made it out to be. And let's be honest: at the end of the day, the secondary player's roles weren't really all that progressive. Uhura is basically a telephone receptionist, Sulu does very little more than fill a seat on the bridge, and so on.

Tops marks for the concept. Less so the execution at times.
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