Supergirl - Season Four

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Unaired Kai "the spy" TV Pilot, Jul 17, 2018.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    We did see both sides of the public reaction. The anti-alien side was focused on because stories are driven by problems and dangers, but we also saw pro-alien protestors standing against them, we saw the pro-alien march and the events that shifted public opinion more positively, etc.


    No more insane than a lot of the current administration postings in real life. It's only a few steps from what ICE is doing to immigrants right now to what Ben Lockwood was doing in the show.

    The point of cautionary tales in speculative fiction is to go further than things have already gone, to warn us how much worse they can get. Back in 2014, Pocket Books published a Star Trek novel miniseries called The Fall, in which a corrupt president took over and tried to turn the Federation and Starfleet down a darker path, and I found it unbelievable at the time how quickly and effectively he managed to take power and shift the Federation's democracy in a more authoritarian direction, especially given that he turned out to be a fraud complicit in the crimes that made it possible for him to seize power. Two years later, I realized it had been prophetic. Sometimes, what seems insane and impossible in the present ends up becoming reality surprisingly quickly.


    Frankly, if people are already that far gone, then no work of fiction is going to change their minds. Hell, people like that probably aren't going to be watching Supergirl to begin with, or much of anything on The CW. The targets are the people who are still subject to being swayed, particularly younger people not yet set in their views.

    And again, telling good stories with well-drawn characters comes first. It is misunderstanding fiction to think that political messages are its exclusive priority.
     
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  2. USS Triumphant

    USS Triumphant Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hopefully zero - now that we know that she was coerced into that situation.
    Let me stop both of you right there.

    Okay. You may proceed. I didn't really have anything to add, it just looked like y'all were having fun. :D
     
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  3. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's not about reforming the racists, it's warning people they exist and how dangerous they are. To keep people from being radicalized to become like them.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yes, exactly why it's a bad idea to caricature them as pure evil. If people assume racism exists only in the worst, most obvious monsters, then they'll have no reason to be vigilant for the warning signs in themselves and those around them. The Lockwood flashback episode did an excellent job showing what radicalization is, how it works. If you want people to be warned about radicalization, I don't understand why you're opposed to Supergirl's approach, because they did it right. They showed that it's a process, something that can infect ordinary people and spread like a plague. You want to show that it's dangerous? Well, an insidious infection that can take root in any of our friends and neighbors, or in ourselves, is more dangerous than some obviously evil horde of caricatured monsters.
     
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  5. Ovation

    Ovation Vice Admiral Admiral

    This is exactly why history teachers (at any level above middle school, and arguably earlier) need to explain the context of things like the Antebellum South or 20th century fascism or Soviet oppression of Eastern Europe or colonialism or... A facile “these were the purely evil bad guys” may offer a moment of moral superiority and satisfaction but does very little, if anything, to advance our understanding of such movements or forces, thereby offering no insight on how to recognize them in their early stages where resistance and reversal can happen without extreme consequences for targets of oppression.
     
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  6. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The problem is that the teachers in the American South teach the Confederates not as villains at all. They teach them as heroes. Outside my window are dozens of Confederate flags, there's a statue of a Confederate General nearby, and Robert E. Lee is said to be one of the greatest human beings who ever lived in my Civil War class. There's a memorial to the Grand Wizard of the KKK, Lee, and the Confederate President carved into one of our mountains.

    People often have a very weird idea that it is "obvious" and "accepted" that the racists of history are treated as villains. The problem is not they are treated as monsters, the problem is they are treated as gods. This is common in Russia and probably plenty of other places as imperialists don't regret their past acts at all.

    Maybe we should worry about this rather than people looking down TOO much on the people who whipped people to death.

    I also think it's a disgusting narrative the South was treated as humanized because the entire world viewed them as monsters except, well, the Southerners themselves. People need to let go of the belief they were people of their time. Horrific evil behavior needs to be treated as horrific and evil or people will assume it wasn't so bad. It's war crimes denial.
     
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  7. Ovation

    Ovation Vice Admiral Admiral

    Nope. That attitude violates the essential core of my profession (I’m an historian). Moreover, it’s counterproductive in the long run, as denying context renders events, people, and movements meaningless and significantly interferes with learning how to recognize similar situations in their early, less obvious stages.

    Explaining DOES NOT equal endorsement. It DOES, however, lead to understanding (not in the sense of empathy for perpetrators of oppression and other vile actions but understanding how and why such actions can arise—knowledge is the most effective countermeasure).

    I am familiar with the distortions of history you describe (I frequently teach pre-Reconstruction US history). I live in a place where history is similarly distorted to advance a particular agenda (though one less odious than Confederate apologia). The answer to such distortions is rigorous rebuttal, not an equally distorted narrative that happens to make us feel better. Presentism is a fallacy historians, individually and as a discipline, must strive to avoid, not encourage.

    Lastly, contextualizing historical events is not about giving “horrific evil behaviour” a free pass. It’s about understanding the conditions under which such behaviour arises—particularly the complexities of those conditions. Settling for the simple version only encourages people today to think solutions to current “evil behaviour” are equally simple. That is a recipe for failure.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Like I said, people with those beliefs probably aren't watching Supergirl anyway. And even if they were, painting people like them as one-note villains would just confirm what they already believe about "the libs," that we demonize them and are out to destroy them. But maybe, just maybe, some few of their students who see the show's more nuanced portrayal of how people can be radicalized will recognize that it's being done to them and will start to resist it.


    It's not about excusing the people who are already too far gone. It's about understanding how those people got that way so that the next generation can hopefully be caught in time to prevent them from becoming just as bad. Agent Liberty/Lockwood wasn't excused by the show, because he was too far gone and had lost his chance for redemption. But his son came to realize how his father had gotten that way and how he was being indoctrinated the same way, and by understanding that, he was able to break free in time and renounce his father's path.

    Anger toward racists is justified, but you can't let your anger blind your judgment. If it provokes you to act just as thoughtlessly and hatefully as they do, then they win.
     
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  9. Photoman15

    Photoman15 Commodore Commodore

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    EXCEPT Lockwood was taking (according to the show) LEGAL Aliens into custody. Those that were already processed or became citizens via the Alien Act. ICE is only concerned with ILLEGAL aliens coming into or already in the US. You do know there is a difference, right?

    (And before you go calling me a Trump "whatever", Obama did the same thing and separated even more families than President Trump has.)
     
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  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I know it's a difference the administration doesn't care about: https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-lawful-resident-20180628-htmlstory.html
     
  11. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I do not recall Lockwood or the CoL presented as heroes at all. Before one blow was struck, they--and any opposition to aliens/immigration to any degree--were treated as the collective embodiment of Reinhard Heydrich leaping up from Hell to pick up where he left off.


    What else would you expect from showrunners who perceive the world and OK scripts that are painted in such a cartoony manner? They had to have Lockwood be that ultimate Boogeyman who somehow lands the position (it does not matter if Luthor pulled the strings to get him there). From the showrunners' POV, they were "stacking the deck" all to justify their own agenda/fact-free view of real world immigration issues.

    The United States has a number of recognized, registered hate groups of every ideological kind, which the public is well aware of, but in general, most Americans are not hyper vigilant about any (despite the fact the news media pretends they are) until an incident occurs, and even when something happens, the level of the public's response is almost always based on personal interest or disinterest in the cause or identity of the victims. That may read as cynical, but that is the real America.

    Very unrealistic. Even Lincoln--the oft-praised "savior" of the nation who dealt with the violence, sociopolitical positions and passions of the Confederacy and its constituents--never held made any universal condemnation of them that would lead to kind of dictatorial "solution" at the heart of your theory--and this is from a president who was routinely called a dictator by citizens and the news media in the south and north. He knew better than to make sweeping judgements in the legislative or martial sense.

    However, if you think Confederate sympathisers are bad now, if Lincoln (and his immediate successors) ever implimented your plan, I dare say the response into Reconstruction and the Jim Crow eras to follow would have been markedly worse--for black people alone--as the central target of that rage that would have made the sanctioned, racially-motivated butchery of real history pale in comparison. It is illogical (and impractical) to assume fighting an iron fist with an iron fist is a solution with no expected consequences at one time or another, one way or another.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
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  12. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Wow, this is the first time I've ever actually agreed with you, @TREK_GOD_1. Situations like the Confederates post Civil War is way to complicated to just round them all up and kill them. It sounds like a good idea in theory, but the situations like that can never be solved that simply.
     
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  13. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Funny thing, I grew up in a very fundamentalist and racist environment. I also watched all the X-men and pro-tolerance stuff. I didn't make a connection to all of it until high school when I realized that my environment hated the people I admired. So, yes, it's possible those people DO watch Supergirl and can be reached,

    I, TOO, am a historian and teach history and the problem is people think, "These people are normal in their time." The South was not, they were violent radical extremists and the Taliban of their age. It warps the narrative of history that they weren't crazy dangerous psychopaths who were frequently talked about as monsters. Frederick Douglass said one of the biggest problems discussing slavery were that people didn't believe him when he described the atrocities that plantation owners worked on slaves because they assumed that profit was the motive than cruelty.

    In effect, humanizing the bad guys becomes bad history because it refuses to treat the idea they're not misunderstood as factual rather than a childish idea of good versus evil.

    But this is off-topic and me just raging on a non-topic, my bad.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
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  14. Jason Voorhees

    Jason Voorhees Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This is why I wish HBO hadn't chickened out of doing that show were the South had won the Civil War. That could have been one of the most hard hitting political shows that really explore racism in a realistic way. I know it's silly to even think of "Supergirl" being on par with a HBO drama but it could do things a little better. Maybe not to much, because of the youth connected target audience, aka little kids, but still better.

    Jason
     
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  15. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I dunno, the simple unbelievability of the South maintaining slavery as an instition and misaimed fandom of it all feels like it would have been a failure all round.

    Mind you, I can't bring myself to watch THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It is not the responsibility of fiction to be history. That's what nonfiction is for. Fiction is entertainment first and foremost. If the audience enjoys it and is entertained by it, then you can take advantage of their attention and interest to offer ideas they can think about. If you get them thinking, then they can seek out nonfiction and history and learn about the real issues that the fiction only touches on symbolically. It's a category error to demand that a work of fiction do the same job as a textbook.
     
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  17. Jason Voorhees

    Jason Voorhees Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You should watch ,The Man In The High Castle. it's a pretty good show. I am not sure which way they would have gone if they had did the South, winning show but I know HBO can usually be trusted so I think it would have been great whatever angle they played. My theory is they would have explored the idea of just how similar that world is to ours thus exposing some of the racism in our own world.

    Jason
     
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  18. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Anybody else here seen CSA: The Confederate States of America? It's a mockumentary that is presented as a British documentary all about a US where the the Confederacy won the Civil War and continued on into the present day. It was pretty good, and if makes anyone feel better, Kevin Wilmott, who wrote and directed it is African American. I just saw on his Wikipedia page that he is also one of writers of BlacKkKlansman.
     
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  19. Jason Voorhees

    Jason Voorhees Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yep I saw that. It was pretty good. Even had fake tv adds using real racist sounding names of yesteryear. I kind of liked the angle they with with Abe Lincoln being exiled to Canada were he died as a old man. Even without the HBO show it was a concept I know I had always wished that "Sliders" had did. Closest they got was in a season 4 episode during the years when the show wasn't so great anymore and they landed on a racist world were America was more like Nazi Germany. That was in part because Hitler and World war II never happened on that world and thus people didn't learn the lessons of the past ot never repeat them or that was what I tihnk they were going for.


    Jason

    Jaso
     
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  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Why would Lincoln be exiled? Is this thing claiming that the Confederacy took over the whole USA? That's not how it would've worked. They wanted to be a separate country from the urban North, not to conquer it. It would've been more like a North and South Korea or Vietnam sort of deal. (Hmm, interesting that such schisms tend to be north/south rather than east/west. Maybe because north and south parts of countries are more likely to be in different climate zones and thus have differences in economics, livelihood, and culture, like how the Southern US states were more agrarian than the North.)

    Anyway, the US was one of the last countries to outlaw slavery, so I think if the Confederacy had become an independent slave-economy nation, it would've been under a lot of political and economic pressure from other countries to end slavery -- trade embargoes, sanctions, that sort of thing. I'm not convinced they would've been able to maintain slavery to the present day, because the US has never existed in a global vacuum. And because the slaves they still had would continue resisting or escaping to the North.