Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

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Reichu
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Reichu » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:55 pm

You realize that you're working with a very modern, capitalism-centered concept of what a story is, yes? Stories in their native habitat are fluid and ever-changing. The recognition of authors as an actual thing, and the story text as something they own and can profit from, has resulted in the modern monster of IP law and restrictive concepts like "official" and "canon". If we lived in a free-ranging world of Public Domain, everything would look very, very different.

Look into mythology and folklore. There are countless instances of what is fundamentally the same story existing with many, many variations. It's the nature of the beast. It mutates, it evolves. To suggest it be stopped is to tell us to stop being human.

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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby NemZ » Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:42 pm

I'm well aware, yes. Guess what, the law evolves too... in this case to recognize IP authorship rights. There's basically zero chance of that being dialed back with so much money at stake and intellectual property being one of the most important areas of law in the modern age.

Also note that without IP ownership rights most of the interest in actually producing media would die, so yes, it would look very different indeed.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Reichu » Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:11 am

Your reply is a bit nonsensical to me, as it doesn't seem to really follow from the previous two+ posts. "Non sequitur" comes to mind.

"Story" is a literary concept, not a legal one; and despite modern stories being legally defined as "intellectual property", this is far from the only lens through which to view them. (You seem to know this, as you invoke DotA like a tic.) If you're going to talk about the point where a story stops being the same story, you ask a scholar, not a bloody lawyer. (I know what you might say here, so remember the actual context of your original comment...)

The only thing IP does, with regard to what (I thought) we've been talking about, is make it so that not anyone is allowed to legally change the story around. The IP holders can, and they are. This is, in fact, what you have been complaining about. Even though you've just defended their right to do so.

So I'm not really sure what you're on about. Some sort of purity thing?

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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby NemZ » Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:04 am

You brought up the public domain, a legal issue which is entirely caught up in intellectual property. But if you don't want to talk about it, fine.

Yes, it's a purity of concept thing, much as DotA is. The thing is what it is, don't mess with it... and that goes for the original creator as much as for later IP holders and random people on the internet. Add to what's there or make something new, don't remix it every decade or so just to cash in and keep the rights locked up for perpetuity.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby pwhodges » Tue Mar 28, 2017 2:16 am

The trouble is that it is well known that there are only a limited number of basic stories. You can make them more and more complex and vary the details, but in the end you get down to telling the same story a slightly different way. It's the same with music - there are natural forms that tunes take, and many less notes to make them with than words for stories, so it's no wonder that sometimes - often - tunes seem very similar.

Making a legal issue of that sort of thing - the whole concept of IP rights - has in fact become a means for stifling originality. The original reason for copyright was to protect an author's rights to ensure an income for long enough for them to produce their next work - not as a meal ticket for life or their descendants (let alone a company and shareholders). In that shorter-term form (it was originally 14 years, as I recall), it provides support for the expression of originality.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Chuckman » Tue Mar 28, 2017 2:12 pm

Works of fiction should be the absolute property of the author until they die, at which point they should immediately and irrevocably enter the public domain.

The thorny question is derivative works. An author's livelihood depends on their unique power over their characters, settings, and stories.

pwhodges wrote:Making a legal issue of that sort of thing - the whole concept of IP rights - has in fact become a means for stifling originality. The original reason for copyright was to protect an author's rights to ensure an income for long enough for them to produce their next work - not as a meal ticket for life or their descendants (let alone a company and shareholders). In that shorter-term form (it was originally 14 years, as I recall), it provides support for the expression of originality.


I make my living writing. While it's true that no book I write is a lifetime meal ticket and I don't expect them to be, by what right do you think you get to tell me how long I can make money on the product of my imagination?

It should be mine until I'm dead, then it can enter the public domain. My descendants don't have any right to it but I sure as hell do.

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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Reichu » Tue Mar 28, 2017 2:21 pm

In addition to what Paul said...

View Original PostNemZ wrote:Yes, it's a purity of concept thing

This anal insistence on "purity" has no basis whatsoever in what stories are and how they actually work. To be a broken record: stories are memes that must mutate and adapt if they are to survive. Ancient stories are remembered (...by anyone who isn't in a highly specialized field of academia) because they are repeatedly reinterpreted by modern audiences; it keeps them relevant. Even in our sad post-Public Domain world of corporations with massive IP holdings, this truth is commonly recognized, however cynically and capitalistically. To make sure a property remains relevant to people -- and can thus keep bringing the dollars in -- it must continue evolving. As with genes, stagnancy leads to extinction.

As you would have it, anything creative that ever emerges from the memetic soup should be pressed into Carbonite, filed away in a museum somewhere, and not be allowed to interact with the human imagination ever again in any way. The sentiment is, to put it lightly, utterly bonkers.

To bring this back to the topic, I will reiterate the point that started this tangent:

The world is constantly changing, and if stories want to survive then they must change along with it. As we know, many, many properties grown in the US (and elsewhere in the West) approached the matter of characters (non-antagonists, anyway) by making pretty much everyone a white male. You might have a token chick or black guy, but, as they are tokens, this did little to ameliorate the underlying problem of consistently skewed representation. Newer properties tend to be more conscientious and varied, but what happens in the case of older properties that the CEOs want to milk?

We're seeing some additional variety being injected into preexisting casts. White swapped for another ethnicity, or male swapped for female, or straight for gay. This is not bad -- this is simply memetic mutation happening in an effort to allow the lineage to adapt and survive. As Paul pointed out, "positive discrimination" is currently regarded as one possible adaptation method. When and if the social environment changes to the point that positive discrimination is no longer needed, it will be discarded, simple as that.

It seems almost an inevitable conclusion that the pushback comes disproportionately from white guys and that, much like all other pushback that ever was and ever will be, the complaints arise from a place that feels as though something is being unfairly taken away. In this case, it is of course illusory, since the original version of the character is still there and, pending a Bradbury-esque literature holocaust, always will be.

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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby NemZ » Tue Mar 28, 2017 3:34 pm

If you alter a story it is not the same story. Call it what you like, same result.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Tumbling Down » Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:46 pm

View Original PostChuckman wrote:The thorny question is derivative works. An author's livelihood depends on their unique power over their characters, settings, and stories.

I think the thorny question is things that have hundreds, if not thousands of contributors, like Hollywood movies.



View Original PostChuckman wrote:I make my living writing. While it's true that no book I write is a lifetime meal ticket and I don't expect them to be, by what right do you think you get to tell me how long I can make money on the product of my imagination?

It should be mine until I'm dead, then it can enter the public domain. My descendants don't have any right to it but I sure as hell do.

Do you actually make your living writing, or is this just how you word your hypotheticals?

View Original PostGob Hobblin wrote:So, on Ghost in the Shell....

SPOILER: Show
The big twist is that the major is an Asian woman whose identity has been erased and replaced with a white woman's. And they just kind of gloss over the implications of that.


It sounds like took everybody's concerns and went in the complete opposite direction with them.

I actually thought the twist made sense for the reasons A.T. Fish explained. Since she needs to have been another human with her mind wiped, why not make her a Japanese woman as a nod to the source material? I don't think there's any political aspect to it, as this movie doesn't seem to be interested in discussing race, and it doesn't need to be.

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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Reichu » Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:20 am

This thread hasn't been doing much lately other than splitting the LA GitS conversation across two topics, which is obviously not necessary. (The most recent batch of GitS-related posts have been moved.) In all honestly, considering how much this topic verges on Serious Discussion, and the extent to which it's functioned as one person's social justice tumblr, it's high time it got locked.


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