Lindy West, New York Times’s Pecksniff, finds something new to be outraged about

I am absolutely fine with minorities getting acting roles that have traditionally been given to men or white people. If qualified minorities have been overlooked, well, bring ’em in!

What I’m not to keen on is the brigade of Pecksniffs who monitor every casting decision to make sure it corresponds to their own preconceptions of what ethnicity or gender a character must be. For instance, as the Independent reports, Walt Disney’s new live action “Aladdin” film is now starring Naomi Scott as Jasmine. Scott, half Indian (her mother’s of Indian descent from Uganda) and half-British, is viewed by the Pecksniffs as not “authentic” enough, for they insist that Jasmine must be played by an Arab. Never mind that the co-stars include Mena Massoud, an Egyptian now living in Canada, and Will Smith, who is black.

These people are all considered minorities and certainly “people of color”, but they don’t have Arab genes. Here’s one of the Offended whose tweets were reproduced in the Independent:

I guess you need a DNA test to cast minorities properly. For example, surely it should be pure West Africans cast as slaves rather than American blacks, who have on average 20% of their genes from whites (Obama, of course, would be out). But if Jasmine isn’t a role model for Arabs, isn’t it good enough to be a role model for Indians, or any East Asian?

When the BBC announced that the next Dr. Who was to be a woman, I thought it was fine. They’ve all been men, and why not a woman–in this case British actor Jodie Whittaker? And I haven’t seen anybody objecting on the Internet (though there are of course some disgruntled sexists about), though some have said the quality of the show has been declining for years.

In fact, I wouldn’t even know of any objections if there weren’t Pecksniffs like Lindy West around, who obsessively trolled the Internet (reddit is a good source) looking for any objections to casting a woman, and then highlighted them as examples of rampant sexism in her New York Times column (below). As I’ve said, West is a bad choice for the Times, and perhaps a harbinger of their move toward the Authoritarian Left. Her first column, poorly written and argued, appeared to be about banning the speech of “harassers” (she was apparently to be The Decider). Her second column, below, is a criticism of those who objected to a woman playing Dr. Who. (Click on the screenshot to read it.)

Sadly, to show the misogynistic outrage of the Internet, West reproduces only three snarky comments from reddit. I could find more than three pro-Nazi comments, or comments expressing any odious point of view! Three comments doesn’t show any trend, much less rampant sexism or general male objection to a female Dr. Who.

But somehow I suspect that West would actually have been disappointed had there been no criticism of the casting decision. What would she have been offended about, and what could she have written about? Offense is her schtick.

After using three brief reddit comments as the basis for her column, West ran out of stuff to say, so she turned to “The Handmaids Tale” and then to Donald Trump to fill out her piece:

I’ve been rereading “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood this week. The last time I read it I was in high school, and my visceral sense of my own autonomy was still underdeveloped. I still felt, to a certain extent, like a thing that my parents owned, and some of the book’s deepest horrors were only intellectual to me.

That moment, for instance, when the narrator stops to buy cigarettes and finds her account is frozen, that perfectly mundane, perfectly terrifying turn — I couldn’t feel it at 16 the way I feel it at 35. But the thing that really knocked the wind out of me this time around is her little suspicion, dark and furtive, that her husband isn’t quite as horrified as he should be by the government stripping women of property and self-determination. That maybe, deep down, some part of him feels a relief, a return to the natural order of things, of men as leaders and women as followers, passengers, companions.

This is a personal reaction to fictional sexism, and has no relevance to Dr. Who. Neither does the last paragraph:

I was going to say that as the Trump administration ramps up efforts to revive the war on drugs, strip abortion rights, make the tropics uninhabitable, destroy public education and wreak countless other havocs on marginalized groups, white men are the last people who need a hero. But maybe, on the other hand, she’s exactly what they need.

Yes, the Trump administration is not going to be good for women’s rights, but what does that have to do with white men not needing a hero? (Trump certainly isn’t a hero for many white men like me, but I’m not sure even West know what she was trying to say here.) As for a female Dr. Who, it’s great; but I don’t need one to improve my life.

124 Comments

  1. Nicholas K.
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I have no objections to West feeling or thinking what she feels and thinks. I find her poorly-made arguments, which seem mostly based on her personal experiences and feelings, to be a real disappointment for the NYT. I expect better from the NYT.

  2. Posted July 21, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    I’m a long-time Doctor Who fan, and I’ve found there has been a lot of online debate about the casting. As far as objections go, there have been multiple, but I found these the more interesting to discuss:
    – can anyone give an example of a reboot or sequel in which an iconic character was recast in a different gender, which was as good as or better than the original? Ghostbusters is obviously not a good example.
    – is there a good reason for doing this, other than we can? It risks alienating longtime fans, which could seriously hurt ratings. I could also see various groups protesting (eg. Catholic League), as well as some parents uncomfortable with trying to answer their kids questions about ‘why that man changed into a woman?’.

    • Frank
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Jodie Whittaker is a quite talented actress – see her roles on the series Broadchurch, in one of the very best episodes of the anthology series Black Mirror, and early on in the movie Venus. That alone should qualify her. Sometimes there is the need to freshen up a long-running entertainment franchise, perhaps this is one remedy?

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        Thanks for pointing that out about Black Mirror. That was one of my favourite episodes & I didn’t even realize she was in that!

    • goodnewscrew
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      “can anyone give an example of a reboot or sequel in which an iconic character was recast in a different gender, which was as good as or better than the original? Ghostbusters is obviously not a good example.”

      Battlestar Galactica for one. Also, the Doctor is not male or female. In the show’s cannon, his race regenerates into a male or female body, but they aren’t definitively one gender or another. The Master has had male and female representations. They even did a gag once where the Dr. checked his “package” after regenerating to see if he was still in a male body. Bottom line- He was never 100% male in the first place.

      “I could also see various groups protesting (eg. Catholic League), as well as some parents uncomfortable with trying to answer their kids questions about ‘why that man changed into a woman?’.”

      Easy answer. “He’s actually an alien that can regenerate his form into the body of a man or woman”.

      This isn’t feminism/PC/SJW culture imposing a gender swap for political reasons. It’s 100% in line with the plot of the show. I haven’t seen a single reasonable objection to the casting of Jodie Whitaker. If some people are offended, then good riddance.

      • Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        In the show’s cannon, his race regenerates into a male or female body, but they aren’t definitively one gender or another.

        That aspect of the ‘canon’ is only two or three years old. It wasn’t even hinted at in the original series.

        The fact that the Doctor’s granddaughter, Susan, remains behind on future Earth to marry a human (David), and that Leela marries a Time Lord, and that the Doctor’s own mother was human, suggests the biology is not too different, two hearts not withstanding.

        It Time Lords can change sex both David and Leela are in for a bit of a shock.

    • Denise
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Is the point of a remake to please fans of the original, or to create something new?

    • Posted July 21, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Can anyone give an example of a reboot or sequel in which an iconic character was recast in a different gender, which was as good as or better than the original? Ghostbusters is obviously not a good example.

      Battlestar Galactica.

      As a lifelong fan of Doctor Who (since ‘Day of the Daleks’ in 1971) I’m fine with casting a woman. What I’m not fine with is the crowing about casting a woman by people who don’t watch the show and who think they’ve scored a victory over misogyny.

      And you can’t please SJWs because they are inherently anhedonic. Recasting the Master as a woman (Missy, played by the fabulous Michelle Gomez) didn’t bring SJWs to the show, nor did giving the Doctor a black lesbian companion. In fact, since the show came back in 2005, the Doctor has only had two straight white female companions Rose, Donna and Amy Pond; Martha was black, Clara was bi, Bill was black and gay). And on top of this we had pansexual Captain Jack Harkness and a lesbian Silurian (prehistoric reptile woman, for image uninitiated). But incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall is a straight white guy just like Stephen Moffat and nothing he will do will please SJWs.

      In fact, if Russell T Davies returned to the show that wouldn’t appease them because being gay might have been enough in 2005 but now he’d be considered just another white male shitlord who once cast Richard Dawkins in a cameo.

      • Posted July 21, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        Three straight white female companions. Doh.

        • Dave B
          Posted July 21, 2017 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

          That’s OK! You speak to animals. Most of us can’t count.

          Dave’s Cat

      • TJR
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        I’m sure most DW fans are fine with it, we just care about her being good. As with SJW’s etc, the whingers just tend to be more visible.

        The interesting thing will be whether they even it out with a male companion. So far the best male companion is still the very first, Ian Chesterton. Let’s see if they can finally cast a male companion who isn’t a prat.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

          I liked Captain Jack and Martha. Martha was my all time favourite companion. Captain Jack is just hilarious but I’d love to see him come back after he’s all damaged from what he did to his grandson in Torchwood.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted July 21, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

            My favourite Companion has to be Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), by a mile. She revived my interest in the show.

            But Martha was a very worthy runner-up. I liked her no-nonsense approach. Also very poignant the way the Doctor was so preoccupied with the memory of Rose that he could hardly notice Martha existed. I remember Martha’s line from ‘Human Nature’ – “You had to, didn’t you? You had to go and fall in love with a human, and it wasn’t me.”

            I did admire the way that Martha realised the Doctor was never going to reciprocate her feelings and very stylishly, without any rancour, dumped him.

            cr

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted July 22, 2017 at 8:37 am | Permalink

              Yes and Martha was so amazing – she saved the whole world from The Master and no one knew except Captain Jack & the Doctor and she accepted that. The whole world not remembering was kind of just like the Doctor not seeing her.

        • Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

          Jamie was the last great male companion. And he wore a skirt.

          Harry Sullivan was comic relief. Adric was an annoying git. Turlough was just a git. Adam was a total git. Rory, okay, Rory was fine.

          But generally speaking, male fans don’t actually identify with male companions.

          It’s a myth that audiences identify with people like themselves. If that were true [b]Star Trek[/b] fans would love Wesley Crusher. They don’t. They like Spock and Worf and Data.

          Fans despise an obvious ‘Mary Sue’.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      I’ve been a Dr Who fan since the very first episode, which didn’t play in NZ until 3-4 years after it started in the UK. Mum tells the story that she didn’t think I should watch it, especially when she found me crying one day when I was 4. “What’s the matter? Was it a bit scary?” My reply: “No, it’s the final.” She pressed me a bit, so I explained to her it was okay because it wasn’t real like the news.

      I eventually stopped watching when the Dr got his first US companion, and it wasn’t because I liked the show any less, but because her voice was sooooo irritating. I saw that episode again recently and found her voice just as hard to listen to.

      I knew there’d be a female Dr sometime and, after almost 54 years I worried it would feel contrived after so long – that we were getting a woman for PC reasons. However, the first clip I saw reassured me. The choice of actor to play the part seems perfect. She reminds me of David Tennant who was the best of the modern era so far.

      There are always complaints. What’s the saying? Haters gonna hate. Personally I don’t need a female Dr to validate my existence as a woman. I do think she will bring a freshness the role currently needs.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        She reminds me of #10 as well – and #10 gultily replaces #4 as my favourite Doctor. Sorry, Tom 😦

        I think that US companion was someone doing a US accent if I’m not mistaken. The actual actress was English.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted July 21, 2017 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

          That’s interesting. Perhaps I should try some later stories in the series – she might have toned it down a bit. She was worse than Fran Dreschler. (I couldn’t watch The Nanny either.)

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted July 21, 2017 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

            You mean this companion right?

            • Paul S
              Posted July 21, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

              I think we can safely discard #5. The only episode worth watching is the last few minutes of Earthshock.

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted July 21, 2017 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

              Yes. I’d forgotten her name, but it was Peri now that you remind me.

            • Posted July 21, 2017 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

              Those spandex leotards have dated worse than the miniskirts of the Sixties and the Jo Grant’s hippie gear in the Seventies. Some fashions come back, others, thankfully don’t.

              Sad to report I just heard Deborah Watling (Victoria from the Pat Troughton era) has died.

  3. Posted July 21, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Manipulation and unfair practices are rampant in our world and always has been. Not by all, but by many. When folks find it, I guess they feel a need to intercede. I worked at a company that promoted mostly kinfolk to the highest positions. Lots of turn over in those positions. Maybe due to a lack of being qualified. To many, it was hurting the company, the people. We started watching it more, speaking of it more and a couple of folks lost their jobs from speaking of it. It slowly changed things to the good. Our thoughts were conveyed to the owner in a sincere manner.

  4. Kevin
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    When bias is integrated over time human equality is winning. Call it the Pinker Principle. We are getting better. Maybe not fast enough for West and crew. But 50 years ago Hollywood had some seriously flawed and pronounced biases. Those are slowly changing.

    The future is not without obstacles:

    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/technology-is-biased-too-how-do-we-fix-it/

    A less pedestrian perspective for bias could be ‘boundary conditions’ or ‘symmetry breaking’. In physics boundary conditions, actually make the world interesting, otherwise this chair I sit on would not electromagnetically provide an obstacle for my falling to the center of the planet. Likewise, if everything was the same (i.e, only white men) it would be very boring, even to white men.

    • DiscoveredJoys
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      On the other hand insisting that Arabs should play Arab characters, Indians should play Indians, and so on leads to Caucasians should play Caucasians. And in plays of Shakespeare’s time men should play both men and women.

      The argument for ‘authenticity’ seems to cement bias in place rather than remove it.

  5. phar84
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Wouldn’t it be interesting if West (and many others) could come here and explain or defend their views. Just have to weed out provocateurs.

    • DiscoveredJoys
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Wouldn’t it be interesting if West (and many others) could come here and explain or defend their views.

      The people I’d like to see defending their views are the editors and publishers. Are they so desperate for clicks and column inches that they will publish any old article thrown together? Sadly I believe the answer is yes.

  6. zoolady
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    SIGH.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      I’m not convinced, given the quality of her analysis, that West would have a job writing for the NYT if she were a white male.

  7. Tom
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    The ethnic considerationa are just plain daft for instance as a Scotish/Welsh/English man of remote Scandinavian extraction I could object to any foreigner playing the part of Henry 1V, Henry V or any other englishman.
    I could throw a tantrum if any foreigner even dared to glance at Master Shaksperes English Royal plays but my ancestory (and Shaksperes) would raise the question of what is an Englishman?

  8. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    There was a lot of opposition to the new Doctor based on gender. It was really awful reading it. And I don’t think the show has been declining at all; it’s been really great. But, everyone moans when there is a new Doctor chosen and then they get over it pretty quickly when they see the performance.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      I think the most aggravating comments about Doctor Who was that the BBC was “giving in to feminists” and that’s why that actress was chosen.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        If that was the reason (and the choice of Doctor had been inappropriate) then I would emphatically agree.

        (Just as I always distrust any changes in the plot of a series ‘because the fans (read: some noisy subset) want it’.)

        OTOH, I can’t see any practical objections to a female Doctor. If he can change bodies (which is canon) then I see no problem with changing gender. What was far more difficult was getting around the limitation of ten (or was it 12) regenerations, which I gather required some considerable fudging and retconning.

        cr

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 22, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink

          Usually when shows give into fans it is an utter disaster. Think of the last season of Battlestar Galactica. It was awful and completely fan driven.

          If there were evidence that this is why they chose a female, i would agree it was a terrible choice, but what I object to is the knee jerk reaction – oh a woman was hired for the job, well it must be because they were pressured to do so. Not that it would be interesting explore that or that the actress is amazing – no the only reason to hire a woman to do something is to be PC….that’s what bothers me.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted July 22, 2017 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

            Well, I did say ‘IF’. I’m not sufficiently acquainted with Dr Who matters to hazard an opinion.

            (In fact it’s time I rented some DVD’s and caught up with episodes. I must admit my interest flagged when Martha left, and then David Tennant. But from what I’ve seen of Peter Capaldi in other roles, I really should catch up on his term as Doctor.

            cr

    • Paul S
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      If she’s good the fans will watch. I’m looking forward to it. After all, Michelle Gomez is the best Master since Anthony Ainley.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        Oh yes, I love Missy! On one site, a person kept saying that this decision is going to ruin the show. Others asked him to explain and he said that the Doctor has been a man for 50 years and the show never would have been as popular as it is if the Doctor was a woman. Someone then asked if he liked Missy. He said he did but Missy isn’t on the show for every episode so that’s why he liked her.

        Oh good grief!

        • Posted July 21, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

          In fairness, they introduced Missy weeks before revealing she was actually the Master. There was no fanfare about the recasting, it was just done without calling a press conference or expecting a pat on the back.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted July 22, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

          “the Doctor has been a man for 50 years”

          My impression was the Doctor has been a man for several millennia… ?

          😉

          cr

      • Posted July 21, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        I thought Gomez was the best since Roger Delgado.

        And I don’t think think the show has been declining either. Capaldi was magnificent and I’m tired of complaints about the show being ‘too complicated’. Kids don’t have a difficulty following it, just adults who assume they can switch their brains off because it’s a kids show.

        • Paul S
          Posted July 21, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

          Roger Delgado was saddled with John Pertwee (not my favorite doctor) and poor writing. Anthony Ainley, although cast to be a clone of Delgado, wasn’t simply an adversary, he was evil to the core. Michelle Gomez has that as well. You may not know what she has planned, but it won’t be regular evil, it’ll be spectacular.’

          • Posted July 21, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

            Delgado was cool, charismatic and polite. He was almost sympathetic. Ainlee was just a pantomime villain repeatedly bested by a vet in cricketing whites.

      • Posted July 21, 2017 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        Personally I thought Simm’s Master was excellent, and the best since Delgado (Pertwee was my favourite Doctor). Missy didn’t impress me much.

    • BJ
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      There really isn’t a huge groundswell of people angry about the new Doctor. Every article about it reprints four our five tw**ts and then makes it out to be like some huge deal. You can find four or five tw**ts angry about literally anything.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        I guess that depends on your definition of “ground swell”. I found entire threads given over to it with hundreds of comments. It got so tiresome, that I had to back away from the Internet.

        • BJ
          Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

          But even that, how many are those reposting in their own criclejerk, and further, out of the millions who care about this issue at all, maybe we could very generously assume that .0001% are upset? And hell, most of that .0001% would be a percentage of those who actually care about the show. I would guess that most of the people upset about it don’t care about the show at all.

          But writing thinkpiece after thinkpiece about them gives them the power of far greater numbers and knowledge of their sad existence.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

            So it’s about numbers. If only 100 people write sexist comments that’s okay but if 101 write sexist comments that’s bad?

            What I’m saying is it isn’t about numbers. It’s that there are still a signficant number of people who think this way. Are most Whovians happy there is a new female Doctor? I think so! Would people feel comfortable saying they were upset with a black Doctor for being black in the same way they feel comfortable saying they are upset with female Doctor being female? I think that his the real question. When it was suggested around the time of #12 that there would be a black Doctor I saw no one upset about that. This is where the pattern repeats over and over. Racism is bad and sexism is bad but sexism is better tolerated.

            • BJ
              Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

              I didn’t say it’s ok if even one person says sexist things. I started this by talking about the media (specifically, online media). What they’ve been doing for years now as a way to produce a story with little to no research or effort and yet gain tons of clicks is manufacture an epidemic of whatever ism or ist based on a handful of online comments, which further expands into thinkpieces about why this sudden epidemic is bad (not to mention tons of other similar articles that merely copy and paste the information from the initial one and simply write slightly different words around it).

              I also take note regularly that these kinds of pieces are only produced when they make certain groups look bad. We never, for example, see such articles about all the BLM-supporters who tweeted cheers, laughter, and exuberance when there were five police officers executed in Dallas, or when hashtags like #KillAllMen end up with thousands of people participating and talking about just how much they would love it if we could violently kill every man. I’m saying both that there are narratives being crafted here and that there is a use of extreme double standards.

              And regarding your last point: we would absolutely see what you think we wouldn’t, and in fact we already have. For exampole, when the comic book Iron Man was changed into a black girl of fifteen, the same exact types of articles were printed, with the same modus operandi of find a few tweets or posts and blow it out of proportion to make it seem like a movement.

              • Posted July 21, 2017 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

                The hatred is often targeted at groups that are already inclusive. For instance Doctor Who fandom was always disproportionately gay long before Russell T Davies brought it back. That was despite including not one gay character. If anything, Davies’ focus on a romantic relationship between the Doctor and his companion made the show less gay-friendly.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 21, 2017 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

                And examples didn’t use the media. It was my own experience reading social media. I didn’t even notice media reports other than the funny article of comebacks that I linked to.

                it’s not the big bad media misreporting. It’s actual people talking on social media so you can’t blame a biased media for this one. If you don’t want to believe sexism exists and was widely expressed about this topic, I can’t change your mind but I am telling you that I witnessed it throughout the internet.

              • BJ
                Posted July 21, 2017 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

                Holy crap. OK, let me try to be completely clear about this:

                / *Nobody is saying sexism doesn’t exist.* People are saying it’s blown out of proportion.

                / Just because I was talking about the media doesn’t mean I was talking about you as a person.

                / Just because this is an overblown issue doesn’t mean your anecdotes aren’t real.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 22, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

                You’re still not actually hearing what I’m saying. I think you should go back and examine every time someone mentions sexism and see what your reaction is because from what I’ve seen here, it’s inevitably “it’s not that bad; the media are just exaggerating”. Think about that for a bit.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        Ant posted this one on FB. Pretty funny responses to the doofuses complaining.

      • Barney
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        I just looked back at a discussion on a British internet forum I frequent, with mixed political opinions. Of 10 opinions, 5 said it was a bad thing – none of them ‘outraged’, but moaning, with things like “how will a woman be able to take charge in historical episodes?” or “it’s the giving-in to political correctness that I object to”.

        It was “the usual suspects” – the convinced Brexit fans who are also “concerned” about immigration, which usually turns out to be about race (eg arguments about whether someone black or Asian can ever be ‘English’, even if born in England).

        • Posted July 22, 2017 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

          Hmm… yeah, because there are no examples in history of women taking charge …

          /@

    • BJ
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      I’ve seen multiple people and videos saying that the new Doctor isn’t good enough because she isn’t also black and transgender.

      No, I’m not making this up.

      • Posted July 22, 2017 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        Hmm … surely the new Doctor is transgender.

        Or, since we don’t know the Doctors’s gender at birth, maybe all the Doctors from Hartnell to Capaldi have been! 😯

        /@

  9. jay
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile there have been complaints that ‘Dunkirk’ does not have enough women and blacks. History must be rewritten.

    Meanwhile, it may sometimes work to switch a character gender, but usually it doesn’t work well. Despite ideological BS women and men do things subtly (or not subtly) differently (as do most social mammals) , a difference that is only recognized by feminists when they want to say something bad about male behavior.

    [Can you imagine Animal House with a female cast?? No, don’t do it.]

    • bric
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      April H, who describes herself thus: Lawyer. Librarian. Scholarly Communications. Intersectional Feminist. Anti-racist

      tweeted

      When it was pointed out that the British Army in Europe really didn’t have significant POC, and in any case D-Day and Dunkirk were 4 years apart we got this

      • Posted July 21, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        I’m looking forward to Dunkirk but Harry Styles was being interviewed on TV this week and he seemed unsure whether the film was set in the 1920s or the 1930s. Another generation and nobody will remember anything about WWII.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

          Ugh. If you think that’s bad, don’t see Wonder Woman where history is badly mangled.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted July 21, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

            Difference is, Wonder Woman is fiction/fantasy so has some latitude, whereas Dunkirk is (I assume) about the historical event.

            cr

            • Posted July 21, 2017 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

              For info, I was talking about Harry Styles ignorance, not the Dunkirk movie’s. It’s a Chris Nolan film so I have high expectations of the movie itself.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted July 22, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

                OK, noted

                cr

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted July 21, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

              I could buy that if it were about a fictional war but the whole plot Centers around WWI.

              • Posted July 22, 2017 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

                Since there were no superheroes actually running around during WW1, maybe it’s an alternat(iv)e history …

                /@

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 22, 2017 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

                Yeah, it certainly appears that way in the movie.

      • Telamon
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        She can add Professional Umbrage Taker to that description as well.

      • Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        Give her time. She’ll soon be complaining that the German troops didn’t have POC among them.

    • Posted July 21, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Melissa McCarthy on a ladder, watching naked men pillow fighting through a window?

  10. Paul S
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Lindy West is upset because Naomi Scott was better than all the other actresses that auditioned for the part. Shame on Disney for wanting the best actress for the part of an imaginary person from an imaginary land.

    We could have another casting masterpiece like Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern or Ben Affleck in almost anything.

    • Pali
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      In their defense, Affleck was by far the best part of Batman v Superman, and Reynolds as Deadpool is one of the best examples of perfect casting in recent movies.

  11. dargndorp
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    West fails in the very first sentence, the stars of Broadchurch were David Tennant and Olivia Colman.

    I really have to give the BBC a thumbs up for how they handled the revealing of the new doctor – early enough so that the internet didn’t really have time to get all worked up on what the new doctor *should* be. I’m fine with Whittaker, now that Moffat’s gone, things are looking up.

  12. Posted July 21, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Since the original _Aladdin_ takes place in China, surely one should cast a Chinese actress to play Jasmine. 😉

    It seems to me that the original story is itself a great example of “cultural appropriation” because of that.

    • bric
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      And it seems quite likely that it was written by the French translator of 1001 Nights Antoine Galland(at least no convincing Arabic source has been found)

  13. Posted July 21, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    So, if it’s non-traditional casting you’re looking for, the one to keep an eye out for is Russel Thomas. He’s a stunningly brilliant young-ish tenor who, I’m sure, will have a career arc similar to that of Domingo and Pavarotti.

    He recently sang the role of Ismaele with the Metropolitan Opera in their production of Verdi’s Nabucco. Domingo sang the title role of the old king who transforms from treacherous glory to sad demented fool and back; Ismaele is one half of the pair of star-crossed lovers. Domingo, old man though he is, was brilliant…but Thomas, with his own distinctive voice, was every bit as wonderful to listen to as Domingo in his youth. It was like a torch being passed, and I’m sure that production will be talked about for decades to come.

    Here he is singing Gounod’s Faust with the Michigan Opera Theatre:

    https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2017/07/21/lindy-west-new-york-timess-pecksniff-finds-something-new-to-be-outraged-about/

    If you see his name on the handbill, do not miss the chance to go to the performance!

    Cheers,

    b&

    • Posted July 21, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Oy! Worng link!

      Here’s the MOT video:

      “We apologize for the inconvenience.”

      b&

    • bric
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      I remember George Shirley singing Pelleas (about as ‘white’ a role as you can get) at Covent Garden around 1970 to great acclaim and no racial comment.

  14. BJ
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I’ve seen multiple people and videos saying that the new Doctor isn’t good enough because she isn’t also black and transgender.

    No, I’m not making this up.

    • Jeff Rankin
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      There’s always a better (or worse) “victim” to virtue-signal about.

  15. Michael Fisher
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Dalek exterminates girl Time Lord fan:

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Go to 2:21

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        Ha ha. I have a Dalek Sec and if you remove its eye stalk it panics and says that it cannot see. She should have tried to remove the eye stalk. Probably get kicked out of Comicon for that though.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

          Dalek Sec? That’s the black one isn’t it? Very inclusive! 🙂

          How big is your Dalek Sec? What is its views on toilet roll etiquette?

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted July 21, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

            This is my Dalek Sec

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted July 21, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

              That’s a beautiful, evil beastie. I enjoyed all three Dalek videos.

              Thank you

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 21, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

                I like how he says, “Yes”?

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted July 21, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

                Yes, the conversation you were having was fun – the pauses give suspense too. He’s very polite & not too “ranty” by Dalek standards – must be a Canadian sub-species of Dalek

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 21, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

                If you ask Dalek Sec about The Doctor he goes completely nuts & starts wobbling around.

        • Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

          I’m more annoyed that they gave Daleks names than changing the sex of the Doctor.

          Daleks are, by their nature, undifferentiated except by rank. It’s that loss of individuality that makes them frightening. Ditto Cybermen and the Sontarans (who are clones).

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted July 21, 2017 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

            Well they did hybridize so maybe that made them a bit different.

            Cybermen scare the crap out of me. Making Bill into one really was scary.

      • Jeff Rankin
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        Thoroughly exterminated.

    • Neil Faulkner
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      It was at a Who’s 7 (joint Dr Who/Blake’s 7) convention in the late 1990s where the con hotel had a shopping mall which included a lingerie boutique. And at one point the young woman behind the counter looked up to find a dalek asking her “Do+you+have+any+thing+in+my+size?” One sales assistant immediately paralysed with laughter.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

        LOL – wish that had been recorded

        Bring back Candid Camera

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

        Oh, I just get the job voicing & operating a Dalek at a convention!

  16. Posted July 21, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    I agree with main points of the article, but I have some hair splitting to do. (Sorry, really, I can’t help myself.)

    “But if Jasmine isn’t a role model for Arabs, isn’t it good enough to be a role model for Indians, or any East Asian?”

    No, because
    1. India is not in the region that is usually considered to be East Asia.
    2. Indians are in most part genetically closer to Europeans and Middle Easters than to East Asians.
    The second genetic split after the Sub-Saharan Africa vs. the rest of the world is West Eurasia vs. East (Eur)Asia and most of the population of India is more on the Western side (everything is mixed at some level). Saying that a (half) Indian would do as any East Asian is on strictly technical grounds a bigger mistake than saying that a Swedish actor would do as any Indian.

    • bric
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      There seems to be a difference in terminology between the US and the UK: here India and Pakistan is usually ‘South Asian’; East Asian is Thailand through to Japan

      • Posted July 21, 2017 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

        Yes, as a geographical region India is usually part of South Asia. I do not know if this is UK or USA terminology, I am not native to any of these countries, never been in the USA, occasionally visited the UK.
        The point is: when you divide Eurasians by their main genetic cline, Indians are more on the Western side, they pass more as “any European” than as “any East Asian”.

  17. Posted July 21, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Have Jasmin wear a burka, and you can cast anyone at all.

  18. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    I utterly deplore the idea that the new Doctor Who *has* to be a woman for some unspecified reason of political correctness. Stuff that.

    But on the other hand, the idea of a female Dr Who is perfectly okay with me. If he can regenerate into a different body (which is canon), then why not. Only proviso is that the actor chosen as to have sufficient gravitas for the role (and some of them just didn’t).

    I have far more trouble conceptually with the changes of James Bond, since he’s always presumed to be the same person.

    cr

    • Posted July 21, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      I have far more trouble conceptually with the changes of James Bond, since he’s always presumed to be the same person.

      Do you have trouble with the innumerable versions of Hamlet performed by countless different actors over the centuries, each trying to make the part his own?

      b&

      >

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted July 22, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        No, but the difference is this: Hamlet is a one-off play. Each production is its own interpretation.

        James Bond is a series. It’s supposed to be the same Bond all the way through.

        In the case of the Doctor there’s a mechanism for the change. In the case of Bond, there isn’t. That breaks continuity.

        That isn’t to say that I didn’t like subsequent Bonds, particularly Pierce Brosnan who I thought was the best Bond since Connery. But the break in continuity still niggles at the back of my mind.

        cr

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 22, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Yeah and I don’t think the new Doctor has to be female because of PC pressure at all. I find that so offensive. It’s like saying, “she only got the job because she’s a woman” and believe me that is the worst thing to say to a smart woman.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted July 22, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        I think it’s probably a bit of both. But since (so far as I can tell) a female Doctor doesn’t violate continuity, I have no objections on that score whatever. But Dr Who is probably unique in that respect.

        Whereas e.g. a female Bond? – nah, go and invent your own character. Xena. Modesty Blaise. Aeon Flux. Ripley. Sarah Connor. Plenty to choose from. (Not to mention Michelle Yeoh’s and Halle Berry’s characters from Bond films).

        I’d be exactly equally disconcerted if someone did Alien 5 and recast Ripley as a male.

        So the short answer is, I’m very happy with female heroes. I’m much less happy with casting changes, and the more blatant the casting change (e.g. male – female, or white – black), the more difficult I find to accept. Doctor Who being an exception in that regard.

        cr

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted July 22, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

          P.S. Check out this list –

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_female_action_heroes_and_villains

          Love ’em all. Most of ’em, anyway.

          cr

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted July 22, 2017 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

            There is that new one with Charlize Theron – Atomic Blond. Not sure if it will be good or not.

            I’d be ok with gender switching roles. I think what is interesting is if they write the role for one gender then play if with another. For instance, the role of the daughter of the astronaut was written for a boy. They decided to cast a girl but keep the script the same. The result was the best written girl character I’ve ever seen with a father that treats her as much intelligent kid, much like the relationships many of the dad’s I know have with their daughters.

            • Posted July 22, 2017 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

              Which astronaut?

              /@

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 22, 2017 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

                Cooper.

              • Posted July 23, 2017 at 3:44 am | Permalink

                Ah, yes, but you hadn’t mentioned Interstellar!

                /@

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 23, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

                I did in my mind. Weren’t you paying attention to my thoughts?

              • Posted July 23, 2017 at 8:55 am | Permalink

                Yes; just checking.

                /@

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted July 23, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

              I love Charlize Theron.

              Re the role originally written for opposite gender, wasn’t Ripley originally going to be a man?

              That’s okay (as far as I’m concerned). But IF the character has already been established on screen, then change of actor breaks continuity, and I’m not happy with that. I’d rather they killed the character and introduced a new one. (Unless they have a cast-iron excuse like the Doctor).

              cr

  19. Posted July 22, 2017 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    Does the word havoc really have a plural, havocs?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted July 22, 2017 at 2:28 am | Permalink

      “…and wreak countless other havocs…” No, I don’t think it does take a plural form, but it works rather nicely don’t you think? Sorta Shakespearian… 🙂

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 22, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

        Anglo/Norman words are always the more satisfying to me. Perhaps it’s because they make such exact swear words.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted July 22, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      No, any more than other ‘collective’ nouns (my word, not sure what the correct term is) like ‘bread’ or ‘beauty’. Unless you’re using it as shorthand for ‘different varieties of havoc’.

      For example, you can’t have ‘*a* havoc’ (singular).

      cr

  20. Bob Barber
    Posted July 22, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Actors act. Coppola cast James Caan as Sonny Corleone in The Godfather. James Caan is the son of two Jewish immigrants from Germany. He was twice offered an award as Italian-American of the year and refused because he had to explain that he was not of Italian descent. That’s called acting.

  21. Stephen W
    Posted July 22, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Reminds me of this…


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