Patterico's Pontifications

9/15/2020

Directive: If You’re White, Stop Writing About Black And Brown Characters

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:49 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Well, as you can imagine, this got my blood boiling. The fact is, I abhor efforts to segregate free people as much as I abhor individuals acting like they are the Handicapper Generals we need to institute their version of fair play:

How about we stop telling people what they can and cannot do, especially when it comes to being creative. Let wordsmiths and creative-types do the hard work of bringing to life that which is born from the fertile ground of their imaginations. Stop trying to restrict artists by imposing your own intolerance on others who just want space to freely express themselves.

Given that the very definition of fiction is: Literature in the form of prose, especially short stories and novels, that describes imaginary events and people, it’s ridiculous that anyone believes that they have the authority to demand others to stop writing about, well, anything that stems from one’s own imagination. Take a moment to consider the many works of literature that would not be a part of the American library of classics if this specific authoritarian effort at censorship had been in place over the last century. We would be the lesser for it.

I don’t like censorship, and this is just another tendril of the ugly beast wending its way through our culture under the guise of being some sort of moral imperative. Let people create their own stories without trying to impose subjective restrictions on others just because you don’t think how they’ve fashioned a story is the *right* way to do it. It takes a lot of arrogance for an individual to believe that they should be setting the standards of acceptability for everyone else. How about this instead: If you don’t how a story has been crafted, don’t buy the book. If the story appears online, don’t click on it. We’re adults, we get to make these choices. Why is the reflexive reaction to what is perceived as unfair to limit choices rather than increasing choices? It’s unfortunate that a large swath of the country has become obsessed with controlling what people think and say, and now, even what they create. I think the most recent example of fictional writers facing the wrath of the critics over the characters they created and brought to life in a story occurred when American Dirt was published and quickly rose to the top of a number of bestseller lists. It rapidly became a book club favorite, and even Oprah selected it as her choice for her incredibly influential book club. The book reached that level of success because it was a remarkable piece of writing. The exquisite writing, the multi-layered cast of compelling characters, the overarching theme of oppression and freedom, and the harrowing journey of the two main characters simply left readers undone by its impact. However, there was a lot of anger directed at author Jeanine Cummins, whom the critics assailed for allegedly presenting stereotypes of brown people while being appropriative, as well as committing the biggest sin of all: she was a white writer whose work of fiction centered around brown people.

I want to know when if Rao will be following up her directive with a tweet telling black and brown people to not write about white people? Will she be instructing non-handicapped people to not include handicapped characters in their stories, or writers who can’t sing worth a hoot not to include opera singers in their stories? I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

Anyway, in checking Rao’s Twitter feed, I see that she has attempted to justify her earlier tweet by moving the goalposts from telling writers what they can’t write to the business end of publishing and marketing books:

Look, I’m a brown person on my mother’s side, and Rao telling anyone that they cannot write about people like me is really offensive. Are we not worth the development of a story whose character resembles me – regardless of the color of the person writing it? What if said character draws attention to the history and current plight of those in a specific brown community today, and actually enlightens readers? Should that opportunity be squandered because the writer might not meet the imposed criteria? This regressive effort to practice creative segregation and police writers to meet her standards should offend creative-types of every stripe and color.

[Ed. It is no secret that there has historically been a dearth of writers of color in Hollywood, and in big publishing houses where the important decisions are made. However, with technology, there is a multitude of ways to get one’s stories out there for the public to read. Rao’s tweets conveniently ignore this. I am reminded of a blog I used to read, maybe 15 years that was written by a New Englander who was a writer and furniture maker. For the life of me, I can’t remember his name or the blog, but I do remember that he started publishing installments of an intriguing fictional story he was working on about a man working in a big, rambling old house and the strange noises emanating from the house and whether or not it was a ghost he saw flitting by. Readers loved the story, and would impatiently wait for the next installment to be published. In today’s world, that could easily catch the eye of someone in a position to make a book happen, propose a screenplay, offer the writer representation, or any number of possibilities..]

–Dana

A 20-Year-Old Girl for President

Filed under: General — JVW @ 12:56 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Of course our dreary, old, and confusing Constitution won’t allow that, so the next best thing would be to vote for the hilarious Ryan Long, whose campaign platform promises to govern according to the standard opinions of a sophomore college coed. After all, as he rightly points out, Joe Biden “has 20-year-old girl talking points” and Donald Trump “is like a 20-year-old girl on Twitter.”

The agenda promised needs some work, but it wouldn’t be entirely unrecognizable to Our Daffy Socialist Niece and her friends: use high-interest credit cards to finance the national debt because, like, five years is a long ways away; end homelessness by giving every homeless person a million dollars; free mental therapy in which you learn that nothing wrong in your life is your own fault; and the criminalization of “being a meanie.” It makes about as much sense as anything else in his crazy and stupid year.

UPDATE: It occurs to me that Ryan Long might not be familiar to everyone. He’s obviously a comedian, and here is an amazing video he released a couple of months ago:

– JVW

TikTok Gravitated to Oracle Due to Its Connections with Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



Swamp drained:

Oracle Corp. is one of the most lucrative but unflashy companies in Silicon Valley, a provider of business software and consulting services. Now, it is poised to become the U.S. partner for TikTok, the smash Chinese social-media app that has become a staple on the smartphones of millions of American teenagers.

. . . .

Oracle was originally brought into the negotiations to provide an alternative to Microsoft Corp., a rival bidder with Walmart as a partner, said one person familiar with the talks. The U.S. investment firms Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic, which are existing investors in ByteDance, went in search of a tech company with close ties to the administration and settled on Oracle, the person said.

Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison hosted a fundraiser for Mr. Trump this year at his house, and Chief Executive Safra Catz also worked on the executive committee for the Trump transition team in 2016.

That’s how you do it when the country is run by banana Republicans. It’s a pattern:

If you want to get things done, you pay. That’s how it’s done in the Drained Swamp.


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