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Political Correctness run haywire - Fox cancels Charlie Chan


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#1 of 44 OFFLINE   Paul Drake

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Posted June 27 2003 - 04:55 PM

Warning, rant ahead:

In a mind boggling capitulization to political correctness extremist groups, the Fox Movie Channel has abruptly halted their summer long Charlie Chan festival.

I like to think of myself as a very tolerant, color blind person. Indeed I have hired people at work from a wide range of cultural and racial backgrounds. I find nothing offensive in the Charlie Chan character. True, he was not played by a true oriental, but Hollywood wasn't exactly spilling over with top flight oriental actors in those days. Warner Oland (later Sidney Toler) played the role with the utmost respect exhibiting intelligence, wit, and incredible compassion.

If you are as steamed as I am at this blatent example of caving in to extremist groups, please e-mail the Fox Movie Channel to request immediate reinstatement of the Chan films at
their website.

Apparently is ok to show music videos from artists who spew profanity and hate and engage in lewd behavior but not ok to watch a 60 year old movie.

Thanks.Posted Image

#2 of 44 OFFLINE   Greg_S_H

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Posted June 27 2003 - 06:01 PM

I loved the Charlie Chan commercials, so I have them on tape. Watching them just now, I was able to confirm that the marathon was never supposed to run all summer. It was only for the month of June. Also, Fox News just played one of the ads a few minutes ago, so Fox is apparently not suddenly ashamed of Mr. Chan. The marathon is just coming to an end. Relax. Posted Image

#3 of 44 OFFLINE   Paul Drake

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Posted June 27 2003 - 06:47 PM

Greg,

Actually the films were supposed to run on Monday nights as double features through September with a Labor Day all day marathon. I can't speak for their most recent ads, but believe me, their website and earlier ads heavily promoted their restoration of these films and the summer long showing of these films.

Also, if you go their website there's a pop up window that tells that they are pulling the films.

#4 of 44 OFFLINE   Greg_S_H

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Posted June 27 2003 - 07:06 PM

I block pop-ups in Netscape, so I didn't see that until I loaded the page in IE just now. I'm sorry to have jumped the gun in thinking you jumped the gun. I guess this means we can't expect to see Mr. Chan on DVD in the future. Posted Image

#5 of 44 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted June 28 2003 - 01:50 AM

So much for any chance for dvd releases on these films or even seeing them on television again.
Fox Movie Channel will discontinue the broadcast of the Charlie Chan mystery films.

Originally restored to meet the requests of mystery fans and film preservation buffs, Fox Movie Channel scheduled these films in a showcase intended to illustrate the positive aspects of these movies such as the complex story lines/ characters and Charlie Chan's great intellect. Additionally, numerous subscribers to Fox Movie Channel, as well as film historians, have long requested that Fox Movie Channel broadcast these films.

However, Fox Movie Channel has been made aware that the Charlie Chan films may contain situations or depictions that are sensitive to some viewers. Fox Movie Channel realizes that these historic films were produced at a time where racial sensitivities were not as they are today. As a result of the public response to the airing of these films, Fox Movie Channel will remove them from the schedule.

In the hope that this action will evoke discussion about the progress made in our modern, multicultural society, we invite you to please click CONTACT US to send us your thoughts on the matter.

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#6 of 44 OFFLINE   DanielM

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Posted June 28 2003 - 02:03 AM

gimme a freakin break..who can be emailed or called !!!

#7 of 44 OFFLINE   Michael St. Clair

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Posted June 28 2003 - 02:33 AM

Quote:
In the hope that this action will evoke discussion about the progress made in our modern, multicultural society, we invite you to please click CONTACT US to send us your thoughts on the matter.


Progress? If this kind of censorship and revisionism is progress, they can shove it right up their progressive ass.

#8 of 44 OFFLINE   Tony_P

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Posted June 28 2003 - 05:37 AM

First of all, I agree that films from a different era should not be judged by today's societal factors. Secondly, I agree that classic films should be made available to those that want to see them. And thirdly, I do tend to err on the side of "no censorship whatsoever" vs "censorship is OK".

But...

It always gives me pause when one demographic tries to tell another what should be "offensive" to them or not. IMO, it is up to those of Asian descent to decide if they find the Charlie Chan character offensive. If large numbers do (and maybe this is why Fox wants the feedback, to find out) then Fox probably does have a responsibility to this audience. On the flip side, if the majority of asian-descent viewers DO NOT find it offensive, it should not be an issue. This is where Political Correctness often turns into a bad thing...when it is based on assumptions rather than reality.


FYI Paul, "oriental" is generally used to describe physical objects (like a rug) not people. Asian is the preferred term. I learned this little lesson the hard way (while on a date!! Posted Image ) Call stuff like this PC if you will, I prefer to think of it as just being polite.
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Tony Paris

#9 of 44 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted June 28 2003 - 07:09 AM

On that note, let's certainly try to be sensitive in this thread.

I understand the frustration, but I am of two minds about this whole thing. The films, after all, are a part of the greater culture at large.

As for racial stereotyping, I wonder what the consensus is these days regarding the Johnny Weismuller Tarzan films from the '30s and '40s? I have had fond memories of them from when I was growing up, watching them on television. But when I had the chance to see them again a few years ago, I kind of squirmed through the entire experience, feeling a bit uneasy by the gross stereotyping. As B.B. King sang, "The thrill is gone, baby."

#10 of 44 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted June 28 2003 - 11:12 AM

Jack,
There are many films in which there are too many to count, from the 1930s thru the early 1950s, that are objectionable due to racial stereotyping, but I will never support those films not being made available for people to see them if they wished. Matter of fact, given my heritage, I still find the Weismuller "Tarzan" films among my favorite action films from that era. I learned a long time ago that you have to take certain films in a particular context as to the time and place they were made, otherwise, I would be offended everyday of my life since I'm a classic film buff. I understand the thin line Fox is walking in regard to the Chan films but Fox at least needs to make the Chan films available for those that want to see them. The same applies to Disney with "The Song of the South" and any other studio that has films that can be considered insulting to a particular group of people.

In a funny way, those films are a reminder to those that didn't live in that era how things were in those days. Hopefully, it will teach future generations not to forget the struggles some groups of people suffered in those days by how they were portrayed in early film. The only way you can prevent the ugly part of history from repeating is to never forget the past sins of prior generations. Watching films from the past is a tool for remembrance.






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#11 of 44 OFFLINE   John Madia

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Posted June 28 2003 - 03:51 PM

Why doesn't FMC just show the movies at a later time with a brief introduction about the non political correct stuff and it's historical context?

#12 of 44 OFFLINE   mark-edk

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Posted June 28 2003 - 04:30 PM

The irony is that there is nothing objectionable in the Charlie Chan films, at least not as regards the portrayal of Chinese Americans. These were the first films that depicted Asains as something other than pidgen-English-speaking laundrymen or sadistic villains. Charlie Chan was a quiet softspoken gentlemen whose superior intellect always gave him the advantage over everyone else. It represented a breakthrough as far as role models for Chinese Americans (the character was based on a real-life Chinese policeman in Honolulu).

The people who today demand these films not be shown are simply ignorant; their knowledge is mainly based on what they've read about them, rather than the films themselves, and certainly not on the cinematic history that preceded them. Their main objection seems to be that the role was played by a non-Oriental. Umm, that's why they call it "acting". Or does every performance of Romeo and Juliet have to cast Italians? Definitive Sherlock Holmes Basil Rathbone was not British.

If you asked Keye Luke, Benson Fong, Sen Yung, and the many Asians who appeared in the films, they would tell you how highly the series was regarded in the Asian community.

Whatever happened to, If you don't like it change the channel? No, you have to prevent anyone else from seeing them.

#13 of 44 OFFLINE   Ken Chan

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Posted June 29 2003 - 01:24 AM

Quote:
does every performance of Romeo and Juliet have to cast Italians?
If you're playing the material straight (not a "reinterpretation") and casting a major motion picture (not a local high school production), they should at least pass for Italian. Of course, that story has been done so many times, they might break the "rule" just to liven things up. The same cannot be said for Charlie Chan; it would be new and different to cast an actual Asian. (As recently as '81, they cast Peter Ustinov. Maybe it's traditional?)

I haven't seen any of these movies about my fictional distant cousin, so I have no opinion as to whether or to what degree the films are offensive. (I might wager that I'd be sensitive to some things that others here are not.) But I can say this: what some of my friends and I jokingly refer to as "the David Carradine effect" is at the very least... grating.

Too bad the films are not readily available on high-quality video (DVD), so that those that are genuinely interested can watch them. But FMC is a broadcaster (however broad a cable channel can get) and what they choose to put on does reflect on them. And they only have one channel, right? If they were like HBO with six different channels, it would be easier to put it on one of them.

Is it just some small, overly-sensitive faction that complained? I have no idea. Do broadcasters bow too easily to all different sorts of pressure groups? Maybe. Are some here just a wee bit dismissive of the sensitivities involved?

Not directly related, but this past season on TV, there were two medical shows set in San Francisco. And between the two of them, there was exactly one half-Asian lead character. Is this progress? Give me a break!

//Ken

#14 of 44 OFFLINE   Chris Lockwood

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Posted July 01 2003 - 11:31 AM

> Not directly related, but this past season on TV, there were two medical shows set in San Francisco. And between the two of them, there was exactly one half-Asian lead character. Is this progress?

Maybe the producers' logic was "if we don't have characters of a certain group, people won't be able to complain about how those non-existent characters are portrayed".

#15 of 44 OFFLINE   Rob Gardiner

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Posted July 01 2003 - 12:00 PM

I don't understand the reasoning behind this decision.

If Fox continues to broadcast Charlie Chan, those who appreciate classic films can enjoy them. Those who are offended, however, have a remedy: change the channel.

By taking the films off the air, those who were once offended can channel surf without fear. But those of us who want the films are OUT OF LUCK.

You may direct your complaints here:

Fox Movies

Organization of Chinese Americans

National Asian American Telecommunications Association


Counting the days until TCM bans "Gone With the Wind" for the line, "Lawzy, we got to have a doctor! I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies!"

#16 of 44 OFFLINE   Bill Street

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Posted July 01 2003 - 03:42 PM

In the spirit of banning Charlie Chan movies, I hope you will all join with me in demanding the immediate end to broadcasts of "The Beverly Hillbillies". As a Southerner, I find the series both insensitive and regionalist.

Bill S.

#17 of 44 OFFLINE   Greg_S_H

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Posted July 01 2003 - 03:54 PM

You joke, but there recently were protests concerning a proposed reality show called the Beverly Hillbillies, where a rural family was placed in a mansion in Beverly Hills--and it was basically for the reason you named. I don't know what ever happened with that--if the show was scrapped or what.

#18 of 44 ONLINE   RobertR

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Posted July 01 2003 - 10:08 PM

Sigh. Why, why don't the people who are "uncomfortable" simply choose not to watch? Why allow their discomfort to dictate what others see?

#19 of 44 OFFLINE   JonZ

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Posted July 02 2003 - 12:36 AM

Im SOOO sick of crap like this. If u dont like it change the channel.

I'm 1/2 black so u know what , the next time a channel decides theyre gonna play Blazing Saddles, Im gonna go on a rant and call them and send leters until they decide to cancel the showing.

Give me a break!!!

While hanging out at a friends years ago,his Dad was watching one of the Charlie Chan films and I was suprised how much I liked it, never having seen one before.I thought it was pretty well done.

It was a different time then,how many of the old Westerns used Native Americans?? - Charlton Heston was used for a Mexican for Satans sake.

If you cant get past it, then dont watch it(and heres the important part)...BUT DONT STOP OTHERS FROM WATCHING WHAT THEY WANT.

#20 of 44 OFFLINE   Paul McElligott

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Posted July 02 2003 - 04:22 AM

Not exactly Charlie Chan, but:

"Fox Movie Channel like television on honeymoon. Completely useless!" Posted Image
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