Johnny Angell

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Hopefully no one will make THAT mistake. BLAZING SADDLES is a scathing indictment of racist attitudes done in the best possible way!
It stars a black actor and the script was partly written by Richard Pryor. It skewers racists attitudes while making my sides hurt from laughter.
 
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KMR

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I asked Bob to clarify his statement because I was curious as to exactly what he meant by relating that conversation with his grandson.

Since you answered FOR him, I'll ask you a question as well. In your opinion, in what particular situation would someone offended by a stereotype be considered ignorant?
Sorry, my intent wasn't to answer for anyone else, and if you took it that way, I apologize. I was simply offering my own take on an interesting question in an open forum.

As for your question to me, I guess I see a couple kinds of situation in which a person could take offense at a stereotype out of ignorance. The first would be where they are mistaking something for a stereotype when it really is not (sort of a cousin to the phenomenon of people objecting to the use of a word, imputing a meaning and etymology that isn't there at all). The second is when they entirely ignore the context of the use of the stereotype; this is probably the most common, and definitely what we're seeing a lot of currently.
 

KMR

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I guess I'd better clarify my last point a bit more. An example of context that might be missed in the use of the stereotype is when the stereotype is being satirized or commented upon.
 

Douglas R

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As well as a warning for “Gone With the Wind”, Sky TV, now owned by Comcast, has put the warning “This film has outdated attitudes, language and cultural depictions which may cause offence today” for “Lawrence of Arabia”.

I despair of this idiocy. They might as well give warnings for every film made prior to the present day for risk of offending the social media generation.
 

Robert Crawford

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As well as a warning for “Gone With the Wind”, Sky TV, now owned by Comcast, has put the warning “This film has outdated attitudes, language and cultural depictions which may cause offence today” for “Lawrence of Arabia”.

I despair of this idiocy. They might as well give warnings for every film made prior to the present day for risk of offending the social media generation.
I generally agree with you that they might be overdoing it. However, I do take exception to you singling out just offending the social media generation as I think some past generations might have been offended too, but, their voices were either not heard and/or simply ignored.
 

Josh Steinberg

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We live in a world where so much content is available at the touch of a button, where previously created material can live on in perpetuity as if it’s new. By choosing to carry a certain program, a television network, a cable channel, and/or a streaming service can all be perceived by viewers as endorsing the content that they present. I just don’t see the trouble in such services making an overt statement to make it clear that “the depictions you will see in this film don’t represent our ideals for how the world should be today.”
 

Suzanne.S

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Is it really so bad to be cognizant of the feelings of others? Not everyone has an extensive knowledge of history and may not understand the context in which a film was made. To alert those viewers that things are different and could be disturbing is courteous and empathetic (as well as legally expedient).
 

RichMurphy

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How about beginning every film with a generic trigger warning:

"The following work was produced more than three months ago, and as such may contain objectionable language, fashions, morals, political positions, body parts, decor, and/or actual historic facts. If the viewer is totally unaware about the past and is unwilling to learn or listen, please leave now and return to your social media instead."

And speaking of history, read the "Don'ts" and "Be Carefuls" found here: Motion Picture Production Code 1927
 
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john a hunter

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I generally agree with you that they might be overdoing it. However, I do take exception to you singling out just offending the social media generation as I think some past generations might have been offended too, but, their voices were either not heard and/or simply ignored.
Or simply ignored because they were ridiculous.
Just because somebody does not like or disagrees with something, they should not automatically be given legitimacy.
We see that with climate change deniers or those who think they know better than science about Covid 19.
Once upon a time people were expected to use common sense.
That would be a good idea here.
 

Robert Crawford

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Or simply ignored because they were ridiculous.
Just because somebody does not like or disagrees with something, they should not automatically be given legitimacy.
We see that with climate change deniers or those who think they know better than science about Covid 19.
Once upon a time people were expected to use common sense.
That would be a good idea here.
Or simply ignored because they were right, but had no power to do something about it.
 
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We live in a world where so much content is available at the touch of a button, where previously created material can live on in perpetuity as if it’s new. By choosing to carry a certain program, a television network, a cable channel, and/or a streaming service can all be perceived by viewers as endorsing the content that they present. I just don’t see the trouble in such services making an overt statement to make it clear that “the depictions you will see in this film don’t represent our ideals for how the world should be today.”
Agreed, we already see a disclaimer on every DVD with a commentary or any extras really, that the interviews and commentary don’t represent the views or attitudes of the releasing studio. I don’t see how this is very different. (We also, have to be reminded by the FBI before watching anything at all not to indulge in a life of crime).
 

Will Krupp

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The first would be where they are mistaking something for a stereotype when it really is not ...
The second is when they entirely ignore the context of the use of the stereotype; this is probably the most common, and definitely what we're seeing a lot of currently.
I guess I'd better clarify my last point a bit more. An example of context that might be missed in the use of the stereotype is when the stereotype is being satirized or commented upon.
Thanks, can you give me a specific example of what you're talking about? I'm curious as to what you mean as to a stereotype that isn't really a stereotype and an example of one being taken out of context.

As an example of where I'm coming from, I'm not particularly offended by the old Hollywood habit of white actors playing other races. I get "why" they did it (they primarily only had white actors to choose from but that's another story entirely) and I don't think the mere fact of playing another race is racist in and of itself. I'm not personally offended by Charlie Chan movies for instance. Charlie was always the smartest person in the room and those who made fun of him in those old movies were ridiculed. I don't think there was an intent to put Chinese people down I just believe that they really didn't know any better. I'm generally okay with that but I'm ALSO not Chinese. If someone who IS Chinese is offended by that I would never presume to tell them they're wrong or that their offense is borne out of ignorance. I've never walked in their shoes so I would listen. Just because I can agree that it may be offensive to someone else isn't going to make me mad or force me to take a hammer to my Chan discs. It just means I learned something and I can approach the movies with new knowledge.

I AM a gay man who is also NOT offended by the gay slurs found, for example, in John Hughes movies or most other movies of the 1980's (that aren't PARTNERS) because I GET that it was the time in which we lived and I remember what it was like. The mere fact that I'm gay does not, however, give me the authority to speak for the entire gay community. If someone IS offended by those movies, I can't tell them they're just ignorant because there's not a universal standard as to what is or isn't offensive. Everyone has the right to be heard whether we personally agree with them or not.

GWTW has been one of my favorite movies since the age of nine and will likely be should I live to 90. That doesn't mean I can't see that it's problematic or that the depictions in it may legitimately offend someone.

So THAT'S why I'm asking for examples of when it's okay to invalidate someone's offense and am curious as to what you're specifically talking about.

BLAZING SADDLES doesn't count by the way. The only people I've seen bringing that up as offensive or racist are people who want revenge for their sacred cows being questioned.
 
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Robert Crawford

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My main concern is that I hate censorship for any movie or TV show! Let everything be available and if they have to place some kind of disclaimer before it plays then that's fine with me as long as availability is there for all of us to watch in which no edits have taken place except for that added disclaimer. It's a compromise I can live with, even if, I don't agree that a particular movie/TV show meets my personal "offensive" criteria because I'm just part of this world and realize my opinion isn't an absolute for anybody else.
 

Reggie W

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They might as well give warnings for every film made prior to the present day for risk of offending the social media generation.
I actually think that is what is coming and the truth is I don't see this as an issue for older films as they have already been made and so you can throw a disclaimer on it and show it as is. I'm more concerned about what this may do to what gets made in the present and future because now a story/screenplay will need to first be scoured for any potential offensive material prior to even making it.

The problem with that is...well...just like with comedy or horror, different things make people laugh or frighten them. People are all offended by different things and different things trigger their offense reaction.

In a sane world it would not matter if you offended someone with something in a film and I don't want artists having to think "Might I offend someone with this?" because the answer to that is always "Yes!"

This is where and how censorship starts...with how you first must police your thoughts before you write or create anything.

I grew up in the 1970s with people like Richard Prior or Eddie Murphy in the 1980s that INTENTIONALLY offended people all the time. That was part of the act. Offending people was how they got people to laugh and brought people together. It was not seen as something horrible to offend someone. It was a normal thing.

So, how did offending people become such taboo? Easy...

Lawyers and money.

This is primarily why we see this battle today and why we see companies change a film, add a disclaimer, or simply make it unavailable.

It is not because of the social media generation...it is because lawyers figured out how to monetize being offended. In doing this now companies have to consider how not to pay a price for offending people.

Companies do not want to lose money, they don't want to be sued, and they don't want to lose any segment of the population as a potential customer. So, their legal teams, who now are as important or potentially even more than creative people, make boatloads of money helping them navigate these waters.

So, in the end the problem is not really racism it is what you can be held liable for and what that may cost you.
 
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Robert Crawford

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I actually think that is what is coming and the truth is I don't see this as an issue for older films as they have already been made and so you can throw a disclaimer on it and show it as is. I'm more concerned about what this may do to what gets made in the present and future because now a story/screenplay will need to first be scoured for any potential offensive material prior to even making it.

The problem with that is...well...just like with comedy or horror, different things make people laugh or frighten them. People are all offended by different things and different things trigger their offense reaction.

In a sane world it would not matter if you offended someone with something in a film and I don't want artists having to think "Might I offend someone with this?" because the answer to that is always "Yes!"

This is where and how censorship starts...with how you first must police your thoughts before you write or create anything.

I grew up in the 1970s with people like Richard Prior or Eddie Murphy in the 1980s that INTENTIONALLY offended people all the time. That was part of the act. Offending people was how they got people to laugh and brought people together. It was not seen as something horrible to offend someone. It was normal thing.

So, how did offending people become such taboo? Easy...

Lawyers and money.

This is primarily why we see this battle today and why we see companies change a film, add a disclaimer, or simply make it unavailable.

It is not because of the social media generation...it is because lawyers figured out how to monetize being offended. In doing this now companies have to consider how not to pay a price for offending people.

Companies do not want to lose money, they don't want to be sued, and they don't want to lose any segment of the population as a potential customer. So, their legal teams, who now are as important or potentially even more than creative people, make boatloads of money helping them navigate these waters.

So, in the end the problem is not really racism it is what you can be held liable for and what that may cost you.
"A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns."

Mario Puzo
 

jayembee

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I actually think that is what is coming and the truth is I don't see this as an issue for older films as they have already been made and so you can throw a disclaimer on it and show it as is. I'm more concerned about what this may do to what gets made in the present and future because now a story/screenplay will need to first be scoured for any potential offensive material prior to even making it.
This has already been happening in Young Adult book publishing. All of the publishers now employee "sensitivity readers" to go over potential manuscript buys to make sure there's no problematic material. The horror stories generated by this practice are truly frightening.

As for offense, etc., I think of the line from 1776: "This is a revolution, dammit! We're going to have to offend somebody!"
 

Reggie W

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This has already been happening in Young Adult book publishing. All of the publishers now employee "sensitivity readers" to go over potential manuscript buys to make sure there's no problematic material. The horror stories generated by this practice are truly frightening.

As for offense, etc., I think of the line from 1776: "This is a revolution, dammit! We're going to have to offend somebody!"
Oh yes, the legal aspect of all of this is totally out of control. I am friends with woman that was fired from her job for saying the following to an Hispanic co-worker "I know English is not your first language would you like me to help you rewrite this?"

There was no racism nor malicious intent in what she was asking, she only asked because the memo was so poorly written BECAUSE the woman could not write in English well. She also spoke in broken English. My friends intent was to help the woman before she distributed the memo so nobody came to her and gave her a problem about it being poorly written. End result was she was fired specifically for adding to the front of her question "I know English is not your first language..." which the woman complained made her so upset she had to run to a bathroom to cry as she felt she was being discriminated against.

The legal department at the company agreed and said my friend would need to be fired because making the Hispanic woman work in the same building with her could be seen as detrimental to the woman's health and well being. They could not fire the Hispanic woman because that would be seen as discrimination and she filed the complaint so the only possible resolution was to fire my friend because not doing so would show the company did not take complaints of discrimination in the workplace as serious.

This is how legal departments in big companies work now and so this is why these companies take the actions they do.

They don't take these things lightly and it can mean people's jobs are on the line. My friends boss did not want to fire her, she was an excellent employee, but when the legal department examined what they felt "could happen" the response was fire her, and if he did not fire her, they would have fired him.
 
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