E3 was great! Just look at all brand new games they give us!
Just look at protagonists! Isn’t it great, how modern technologies let developers create so many different characters?! Just look at diversity of facial hair! Or how many hues of dark brown used for their hair!
Excellent usage of snark.
A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.
A question mark walks into a bar?
Two quotation marks “Walk into” a bar.
A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to drink.
The bar was walked into by a passive voice.
Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They drink. They leave.
THANKS FOR TEACHING ME THINGS THAT ENGLISH CLASS HAS FAILED TO ACKNOWLEDGE
There’s some important context about the new Star Trek film that people who don’t know Trek should be aware of when deciding whether to see it and what they think about. The studio has made it impossible to talk about some of it without spoiling the movie, which puts people who want to talk about it in a difficult position. This is my attempt to discuss it a little without any spoilers.
Some people who love Trek are upset about some of the decisions made in this movie because Trek has a very proud heritage of being a forward-thinking show that aspires to make a positive difference in the real world.
One example of is that the crew of the Enterprise in the original series was radically diverse to viewers in the 1960s. For instance, Uhura was a member of the Enterprise crew at a time when very few black characters existed on television. Martin Luther King Jr. himself spoke to Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura, and persuaded her continue the role at a time she was considering quitting (source).
Another example of a character who made a huge impact was a villain who appeared in the episode “Space Seed” named Khan Noonien Singh. To Americans that may sound like just a made-up name from a science fiction show, but it’s not; the name indicates Khan’s heritage as an Indian and a Sikh.
Khan is sometimes seen as Kirk’s nemesis; he successfully outwitted and overpowered the captain, and very nearly took over the Enterprise. Kirk openly admired Khan for his determination and ingenuity, and Khan became the villain Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. He was a powerful, popular, and iconic character in a time when people of color weren’t often portrayed that way in popular culture.
Star Trek fans are justifiably proud of this tradition of their favorite show leading the way. A lot of them (us) take exception to the way that Star Trek Into Darkness seems to take no interest in this tradition and instead falls back on very reactionary tropes. All the focus is on the white male characters, the female characters’ motivations center around the men (and their bodies are arbitrarily put on display), and people of color are relegated to supporting roles. Every meaningful act in the story is accomplished by a character played by a white man.
Personally, I think Into Darkness is a bad movie by any criteria - there’s a lot to like but the script is fundamentally a hot mess - but I also think it’s important to understand why some people, and Trek fans in particular, are upset before you make the choice to see it, or (if you already saw it) what you’ll tell your friends about it.
Btw, I think it bears mentioning that, aside from Into Darkness’ whitewashing of its cast and objectification of its female characters and glorification of violence and lack of any thoughtfulness and, in short, all the things that make it a bad Trek movie, it’s also just a bad movie. Some minor spoilers ahead.
I’ve been harping on this subject a lot lately, but I feel like somebody has to. The fact that Khan has been changed to a white man is quietly being accepted, and the performance lauded. I’ve seen people trying to say JJ did a good thing by taking color out of the equation, and that they are tired of POC being cast as the villains.
Do people not realize the history that was made when Khan appeared on network television? Let’s look at what was going on around the time Khan made his debut on network TV.
- August 28, 1963: 20,000 blacks and whites gather at the Lincoln Memorial to hear speeches against racism; among them is Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream.”
- June 12, 1963: Civil Rights activist Medgar Evers is gunned down outside of his home. His killer is not convicted until the year 1994.
- Summer 1964: The Mississippi Summer Freedom Project begins; civil rights workers help blacks register to vote. 3 are killed and many black churches and homes are burned in retaliation.
- August 4, 1964: Civil rights workers James E. Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan.
- March 7, 1965: Martin Luther King Jr. leads a 54-mile march to support black voter registration. They marched from Selma to Montgomery.
- June 12, 1967:Banning interracial marriage is ruled unconstitutional by Supreme Court.
- July 1967: More race riots occur in Detroit and New York; they are the worst riots in US history and result in 43 Detroit deaths.
- April 4, 1968: While outside his home, Martin Luther King Jr. is murdered by James Earl Ray; riots broke out in 125 cities in response.
“Space Seed” premiered on television in February of 1967, right smack dab in the middle of all this. Before Khan, Star Trek included a black woman, and Asian man, and a Russian character as main parts of the crew on the Enterprise. All three had vitals roles on the ship, and Captain Kirk looked to them for answers, and trusted them to help him complete his mission.
Do you not realize how huge this was? This was something people had never seen before, and to date, still don’t see it all that often. This broke the ground for so many of the actors and actresses we all know and love. This was history being made.
Then came Khan. While Ricardo Montalban was not a man of Indian descent, he was still a man of color. He was a man of color, playing a character that rivaled Captain Kirk. He was a character that commanded respect and admiration from those around him, because he was smart, cunning, charismatic, and powerful.
Khan Noonien Singh was a man that could out think and out muscle any person on the Enterprise. To state it more simply, a man of color was more powerful and more intelligent than all the other men and women aboard the Enterprise. Without Marla McGivers help, Kirk would not have been able to stop him.
A man of color would have defeated the crew of the Enterprise were it not for a guilty conscience and the use of a club. Khan’s strength could have easily overpowered Kirk’s, and it would have, had he not hit him over the head with a heavy tool.
This is what makes Khan more than the stereotypical POC villain. Khan is super human. He is created to be stronger, faster, smarter and better than a normal human being. He rises above the stereotype because he is BETTER than all aboard the Enterprise.
On top of that, a white woman falls in love with a man of color. In 1967. She gives up everything she’s known to be with him. The fact that Khan was a POC, and he was far more powerful and far more capable than all the others makes him stand apart from your stereotypical role POC are given when they play the part of the villain.Khan is an icon of television for being a groundbreaking character in the middle of our Civil Rights movement, just like Uhura and Sulu are.
Would you be okay if someone changed the race of Uhura or Sulu? I can’t see how you could be. There would be outrage from here to the moon if anyone tried to cast either of them as anything other than an Asian man, and an African American woman.
Yet with Khan, because he’s the villain, people think it’s okay to erase what he was because of what we’ve gone through over the past decade or so. Don’t you see? It’s because of that that Khan should have been cast as a man of Indian descent, as his biography clearly states he is. I know Ricardo was not Indian, as I’ve stated before, but back then getting POC on TV in roles that were main parts of the story wasn’t as easy as it is now. That’s why this is even more inexcusable. There is nothing to stop Paramount or JJ Abrams from casting any person from any ethnicity on the planet, and they chose to take one of the most iconic roles that belonged to POC, and give it to a white man.
It’s like taking the history of Star Trek, taking all the things it did to pave the way for so many people by refusing to stick to what was accepted, and throwing it in the mud. Everything about Star Trek was promoting acceptance of those different than ourselves, whether those people were green skinned aliens, or African American, or Asian.
Look at all the POC on TV or in movies today. Who do you think started the path to stardom for them? Who do you think started chipping away at those barriers that would have prevented them from becoming big name stars in the media?
Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Gene Roddenberry, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, and Ricardo Montalban.
Now, after reading all of this, if you can look me in the eye and still tell me you see nothing wrong with the fact that a white man is playing the role of Khan, well then, I guess that’s the opinion you’re going to stay with.But my hope is that maybe, just maybe, you can see why there are people out there who are so upset, and why the silent acceptance of this casting choice needs to be stopped.
I just saw the movie and I couldn’t agree more. I really didn’t like it; Cumberbatch’s casting just sets the tone for all the disrespect for the original spirit of Trek (which sometimes poses as homage).
I’m mostly a The Next Generation guy, so while I have some exposure to Khan I don’t feel that personal a connection to the character, but after the movie I kept thinking about Geordi LaForge. Geordi was my favorite TNG crew member as a kid; he’s gentle and kind and really smart, and I immediately related to him. He’s also the only black character (Worf notwithstanding) on ANY show that I watched as a little kid.
Levar Burton, who played Geordi and hosted Reading Rainbow and is a very cool guy, is somebody who I know feels very strongly about the portrayal of all kinds of people in media. I thought about how he must feel about the erasure of Khan’s heritage, and about how I would feel if Geordi got a similar treatment at the hands of some cynical brainless reboot.
And it really sucks.
LET ME JUST SAY
IF YOU DON’T ALREADY THINK THIS WOMAN IS AN AMAZONIAN PRINCESS
YOU ARE DOING IT TOO WRONG FOR WORDS.
ahhhhh fuck please
NO ONE WOULD MAKE ME HAPPIER
I would be down with this.
I always thought he was a Mexican!
The actor who played him was, the character was supposed to be Indian. Which is a pretty significant issue unto itself, that they would just be like “okay brown people are interchangeable” and call it a day. But this is 2013, we should be able to do better than this.
And I absolutely refuse to buy into the excuse people have been throwing around that popular white English actor du jour is so peerlessly talented that no Indian actor could possibly play the part as well as him. This kind of thing could be a career-establishing role, and they snatched it away from a demographic that very rarely gets the opportunity to take centre stage in American cinema.
At last, Always/Never/Now is available at Drive Thru RPG for the fairly remarkable price of free. A little over 100 pages of RPG adventures, for free. Have at it.
This site is for behind-the-scenes info, frequently asked questions, future thoughts on running the adventure, and other sorts of low-impact support for the project. Note the buttons in the sidebar if you want to ask a question, browse through previous posts, or peruse the list of web-credit level backers from the project’s Kickstarter campaign.
If you dig the project, I invite you spread the word. Point people at the Drive Thru RPG page for the adventure. Tweet. Blog. Link. Tag me on G+ with your reviews or actual play accounts. Let us know how your adventure unfolds.
Some aspects of the adventure might be news to other players. Please be respectful of the experience others might be looking forward to. I’ll hide spoilers behind cuts, here at the site.
A few typos still lurk in this edition. I’m planning another corrected edition for May 22nd, so when you find them, let’s hear it.
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Ready? Go play.
I’ve been waiting for A/N/N for a while; it’s a very cool-looking complete cyberpunk roleplaying adventure from veteran writer and gamemaker Will Hindmarch. I’d highly recommend checking it out if you like cyberpunk or role-playing games.