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Old January 14 2013, 07:45 PM   #76
Hyfen_Underskor
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

Christopher wrote: View Post

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.
I understand that. My initial comment was that I don't think a commander with the leading role of a star ship being Russian (whether there is genuine Russian ethnicity or not) was very likely. The problem with these more progressive story lines is that they had to co-exist with the Ivan Drago themes, warring with each other at the same time.


Which, again, is changing the subject. We were talking about characters, not actors.
Okay fine. Like I said, I got a bit side-tracked with the Illya comment.


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.
Did you know that there's still hatred for the Japanese by some Americans who are not old enough to buy cigarettes? Even in this generation of imported anime, Japanese cars, and various Japanese imported electronic gizmos. Why? Because the hatred has been passed down by ancestors from the WWII era. What makes you think the Soviet era would be any different? If some don't know the difference between a Russian and a Ukrainian, what makes you think they're going to make a grand distinction between the Soviet Union, and post Soviet Russia, when sentiments are passed down through generations?

As I said, I'm not even really dogmatic about it, but I don't think even today a new Star Trek, or something similar, would attempt to incorporate a Russian main character into a series as the captain. Level-headed Star Trek fans may very well far outnumber the backward thinking viewer to where it may actually work if attempted....maybe. The script-writers of a new Star Trek series could reason that a 24th century space crew would be so far removed from national rivalry, that it's time to present an ethnic/national Russian as the main character captain. But they probably won't, and probably because it may not go over well with the American public at large.

Yes, obviously,
Then how am I being pessimistic?

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.
But I don't think I ever suggested racism against Russians. This all started on my comment that I don't think a Russian commander of a Star Fleet (meaning main character of a given new possible TV series) would go over well.
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Old January 14 2013, 07:51 PM   #77
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

BillJ wrote: View Post
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.
Why would that be?

I'm asking this thinking that you may be assuming that I don't know about ethnic pride, ethnic food festivals, ethnic clubs, ethnic neighborhoods, etc.

But I'll let you answer, and then I can give the reason for my comment.
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Old January 14 2013, 07:52 PM   #78
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

Hyfen_Underskor wrote: View Post


Did you know that there's still hatred for the Japanese by some Americans who are not old enough to buy cigarettes?
And? There are still some kids who hate black people, Jewish people and gay people as well. But that number gets smaller and smaller every generation.

You really shouldn't be commenting on something that you seemingly have no first hand experience with...
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Old January 14 2013, 08:07 PM   #79
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

Hyfen_Underskor wrote: View Post
I'm asking this thinking that you may be assuming that I don't know about ethnic pride, ethnic food festivals, ethnic clubs, ethnic neighborhoods, etc.
Why can't people have pride in their heritage and also be part of a larger community? Our strength, as we're realizing, is in our diversity.
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Old January 14 2013, 08:47 PM   #80
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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?
If you were to hold me to the 60's, then yes, I would say that there's a problem. If we're talking the 80's, and maybe the 70's, I would say it would have been possible. Maybe not a longstanding TV series, but in movies.

It's true that in any Soviet era, western Europeans had far greater access to being cinematic imports. But once Soviet cinematographers started winning international awards, talks of American/Soviet co-productions, such an idea of a main character being literally a Soviet was not too far-fetched.
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Old January 14 2013, 08:55 PM   #81
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

BillJ wrote: View Post
Hyfen_Underskor wrote: View Post


Did you know that there's still hatred for the Japanese by some Americans who are not old enough to buy cigarettes?
And? There are still some kids who hate black people, Jewish people and gay people as well. But that number gets smaller and smaller every generation.

You really shouldn't be commenting on something that you seemingly have no first hand experience with...
When you say "seemingly", then that's an indication that you're not sure.

But I'm not really sure what you're ultimately getting at. I don't understand your usage of the word/question "and", when I think think the statement I made is very clear in relation to the Cold War generational gap issue. And I don't see where your reference to hatred of blacks, Jews, and gays play in.

What exactly is it I shouldn't be commenting on? I'm getting the impression that it's so much an issue of lack of knowledge, but something that just shouldn't be discussed.
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Old January 14 2013, 09:00 PM   #82
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

BillJ wrote: View Post
Hyfen_Underskor wrote: View Post
I'm asking this thinking that you may be assuming that I don't know about ethnic pride, ethnic food festivals, ethnic clubs, ethnic neighborhoods, etc.
Why can't people have pride in their heritage and also be part of a larger community? Our strength, as we're realizing, is in our diversity.
With respect, this doesn't really answer the question. It's not a bad question, but it's just a question concerning how things should be, vs. how they really are.

I'm assuming that you had a problem with my comment "the U.S. is a color-coded nation". And maybe assuming that I condone this notion.
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Old January 14 2013, 10:07 PM   #83
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

Hyfen_Underskor wrote: View Post
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?
If you were to hold me to the 60's, then yes, I would say that there's a problem. If we're talking the 80's, and maybe the 70's, I would say it would have been possible. Maybe not a longstanding TV series, but in movies.

It's true that in any Soviet era, western Europeans had far greater access to being cinematic imports. But once Soviet cinematographers started winning international awards, talks of American/Soviet co-productions, such an idea of a main character being literally a Soviet was not too far-fetched.
There have been films made in the West that feature Russian characters in leading roles. Two come to mind:

1979 gave us Meteor, with Brian Kieth and Natalie Wood playing Russians

1983 had Gorky Park starring William Hurt as member of the Militsiya. Most of the characters are Russian.

The Blue Bird from 1976 was a Soviet-American production filmed in the USSR.

On the acting front, dancers turned actors Alexander Godunov and Mikhail Baryshnikov spring to mind. Mila Jovovich, Mila Kunis and Anton Yelchin were all born in the USSR. Elya Baskin has made a solid career as Hollywood's go to Russian. Since the Russian mob is a popular bad guy, a lot of Russian actors are finding work play mob bosses and enforcers.
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Old January 15 2013, 01:21 AM   #84
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

Hyfen_Underskor wrote: View Post
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.
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.


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.
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.


Hyfen_Underskor wrote: View Post
My initial comment was that I don't think a commander with the leading role of a star ship being Russian (whether there is genuine Russian ethnicity or not) was very likely. The problem with these more progressive story lines is that they had to co-exist with the Ivan Drago themes, warring with each other at the same time.
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.


Did you know that there's still hatred for the Japanese by some Americans who are not old enough to buy cigarettes?
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." 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.

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.
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Old January 15 2013, 09:27 AM   #85
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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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Old January 15 2013, 09:58 AM   #86
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
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.
There's never been a law against non Anglo-Saxons/Dutch running for president, but:

“This is an English and Dutch country! Everyone else is here on sufferance,” - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

None of those candidates, no matter how close, actually became president...

So we're left a little bit in the dark as to how much, if any of that, was at least partially due to non-Northern European ethnic phobia?
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Old January 15 2013, 11:58 AM   #87
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

Hyfen_Underskor wrote: View Post
Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
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.
There's never been a law against non Anglo-Saxons/Dutch running for president, but:

“This is an English and Dutch country! Everyone else is here on sufferance,” - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

None of those candidates, no matter how close, actually became president...

So we're left a little bit in the dark as to how much, if any of that, was at least partially due to non-Northern European ethnic phobia?
The source of this FDR quote is...?
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Old January 15 2013, 07:31 PM   #88
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

Hyfen_Underskor wrote: View Post
Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
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.
There's never been a law against non Anglo-Saxons/Dutch running for president, but:

“This is an English and Dutch country! Everyone else is here on sufferance,” - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

None of those candidates, no matter how close, actually became president...

So we're left a little bit in the dark as to how much, if any of that, was at least partially due to non-Northern European ethnic phobia?
However there were laws against Catholics running for office in some states.
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Old January 16 2013, 03:27 AM   #89
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

Hyfen_Underskor wrote: View Post
Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
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.
There's never been a law against non Anglo-Saxons/Dutch running for president, but:

“This is an English and Dutch country! Everyone else is here on sufferance,” - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

None of those candidates, no matter how close, actually became president...

So we're left a little bit in the dark as to how much, if any of that, was at least partially due to non-Northern European ethnic phobia?
They ran and were viable candidates. Agnew was the Vice President. Dukakis was the nominee of the Democratic Party. One of two major parties in the USA.
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Old January 16 2013, 06:18 PM   #90
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Re: Is Star Trek Interracially revolutionary?

USS Einstein wrote: View Post
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.
Slavics in general, like southern Europeans have been considered different. As far as Russian, there is an Asiatic element to us. Most of Russian is in Asia. I'm pretty sure I have Tatar blood in me judging from a picture of a relative from many years ago, who have that Asiatic look.
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