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General Netflix pulls Community's Dungeons & Dragons episode over blackface concerns

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Per The AV Club:
The world of TV continues to evaluate its depressingly widespread use of blackface this week, as two more NBC sitcoms—The Office and Community—both have their syndicated or streaming runs altered to remove instances of the racist practice. In this case, that means the full removal of Community’s otherwise-celebrated “Advanced Dungeons & Dragonsfrom Netflix, and the removal of a single scene from The Office’s ninth season episode “Dwight Christmas.”
The fifth season sequel episode, "Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" -- to my mind, the better episode -- is still available. It contains no blackface.
 

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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
We have now reached a Post-Satire state in the United States.

Throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s... quite frankly an absolute fantastic time for comedy in the U.S... the comedians, writers, and shows throughout this period saw the kinds of attitudes and mores that their parents and grandparents still clung to. And they use Satire to make fun of those attitudes. What is Satire? It is taking the thing you are making fun of and blowing it up so far beyond its state in order to make obvious to people just how ridiculous and stupid that attitude, that more, or that thing is. So for instance... you could satirize just how ridiculous is it that the "Washington Redskins" name is still a thing by making a whole bunch of other potential pro football team names that also have obviously racist connotations.

The whole point of it is to make clear the idea that since the overblown and satirical comedic premise is ridiculous and is not good... the thing being satirized is also ridiculous and not good. And hopefully the people who see and hear the satire understand the joke and make the connection and hopefully have their minds changed just a little bit.

But here's the thing about satire... the concept is done by taking something not good and then making an EXCEEDINGLY NOT GOOD version of it to highlight how not good it is. To satirize racism, the comedian makes ABSURD racism. To satirize misogyny, the comedian makes ABSURD misogyny. To satirize homophobia, the comedian makes ABSURD homophobia.

But the problem with this idea is rather obvious. To make fun of racism, you have to be racist in voice. To make fun of homophobia, you have to be homophobic in voice. Now of course, the assumption and the handshake agreement between comedian and audience is that the audience accepts the comedian is NOT what they are making fun of. That's the whole point. But right now in America... our young people have seen the result of the comedy of the 70s, 80s, and 90s (and a lot of the 00s too) and have come to the conclusion that the satire hasn't worked well enough.

While People of Color, Women, the LGBTQIA, the elderly, the Differently-Abled etc. have all seen strides made in the past 40 years to make things better for them... there are still countless people who don't give a rat's ass about any of them. Racism, misogyny, homophobia etc. etc. are all still very much a thing. So what our young people have decided to now say is that because satire hasn't done it's job well enough... STOP USING IT. Stop using racism to make of racism. Stop using misogyny to make of misogyny. Stop using homophobia to make of homophobia. Because what is happening is that not only are there hundreds of thousands of people who haven't had their minds changed... they see it as allowing for open season to use it themselves in a non-satirical way.

Our young people are saying "Hey, you know all that blackface you comedians were using over the past few decades to show everyone how bad blackface and racism was supposed to be? It hasn't worked. We still have massive amounts of racism, as well as quite a number of people using blackface non-satirically! So how about we just stop using it altogether, huh? How about we stop using satirical blackface to make fun of people who are racist or would use blackface? Since the satire didn't do it's job, how about we just STOP BEING RACIST ALTOGETHER, huh? Why don't we give that a try for once and see if people get it?"

Which is an interesting idea. Can you make fun of all these things without actually using the thing you're making fun of? It certainly ain't going to be easy... and we have a whole crapton of older comedians-- from Jerry Seinfeld, to Chris Rock, to Bill Maher, etc., all of whom are still in the 70s, 80s, 90s mode of "if it's funny, it's funny... even if it's politically incorrect" and are less inclined to go along with it. But they are all finding themselves on the outside looking in. The young people of America want their comedy to be different than what their parents enjoyed and are using their financial place in the country to influence it. And we are currently seeing the results of that throughout Hollywood.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
We have now reached a Post-Satire state in the United States.

Throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s... quite frankly an absolute fantastic time for comedy in the U.S... the comedians, writers, and shows throughout this period saw the kinds of attitudes and mores that their parents and grandparents still clung to. And they use Satire to make fun of those attitudes. What is Satire? It is taking the thing you are making fun of and blowing it up so far beyond its state in order to make obvious to people just how ridiculous and stupid that attitude, that more, or that thing is. So for instance... you could satirize just how ridiculous is it that the "Washington Redskins" name is still a thing by making a whole bunch of other potential pro football team names that also have obviously racist connotations.

The whole point of it is to make clear the idea that since the overblown and satirical comedic premise is ridiculous and is not good... the thing being satirized is also ridiculous and not good. And hopefully the people who see and hear the satire understand the joke and make the connection and hopefully have their minds changed just a little bit.

But here's the thing about satire... the concept is done by taking something not good and then making an EXCEEDINGLY NOT GOOD version of it to highlight how not good it is. To satirize racism, the comedian makes ABSURD racism. To satirize misogyny, the comedian makes ABSURD misogyny. To satirize homophobia, the comedian makes ABSURD homophobia.

But the problem with this idea is rather obvious. To make fun of racism, you have to be racist in voice. To make fun of homophobia, you have to be homophobic in voice. Now of course, the assumption and the handshake agreement between comedian and audience is that the audience accepts the comedian is NOT what they are making fun of. That's the whole point. But right now in America... our young people have seen the result of the comedy of the 70s, 80s, and 90s (and a lot of the 00s too) and have come to the conclusion that the satire hasn't worked well enough.

While People of Color, Women, the LGBTQIA, the elderly, the Differently-Abled etc. have all seen strides made in the past 40 years to make things better for them... there are still countless people who don't give a rat's ass about any of them. Racism, misogyny, homophobia etc. etc. are all still very much a thing. So what our young people have decided to now say is that because satire hasn't done it's job well enough... STOP USING IT. Stop using racism to make of racism. Stop using misogyny to make of misogyny. Stop using homophobia to make of homophobia. Because what is happening is that not only are there hundreds of thousands of people who haven't had their minds changed... they see it as allowing for open season to use it themselves in a non-satirical way.

Our young people are saying "Hey, you know all that blackface you comedians were using over the past few decades to show everyone how bad blackface and racism was supposed to be? It hasn't worked. We still have massive amounts of racism, as well as quite a number of people using blackface non-satirically! So how about we just stop using it altogether, huh? How about we stop using satirical blackface to make fun of people who are racist or would use blackface? Since the satire didn't do it's job, how about we just STOP BEING RACIST ALTOGETHER, huh? Why don't we give that a try for once and see if people get it?"

Which is an interesting idea. Can you make fun of all these things without actually using the thing you're making fun of? It certainly ain't going to be easy... and we have a whole crapton of older comedians-- from Jerry Seinfeld, to Chris Rock, to Bill Maher, etc., all of whom are still in the 70s, 80s, 90s mode of "if it's funny, it's funny... even if it's politically incorrect" and are less inclined to go along with it. But they are all finding themselves on the outside looking in. The young people of America want their comedy to be different than what their parents enjoyed and are using their financial place in the country to influence it. And we are currently seeing the results of that throughout Hollywood.
I would argue it also functions as a safety valve.

Driving it underground just bottles it up. Pressure builds and we have what weve got now.

I just rewatched Married With Children for the first time in over a decade and yeah it fails all sorts of modern purity tests but it's got some surprising themes underlying it as well.

It's over the top to bottom the point of absurdity.
 

jgsugden

Legend
There are other ways to consider it. The drow, a dark skinned "race", were portrayed as evil with rare exception. That is the history of the drow. Their very presence, as presented in the novels and games, is now considered inappropriate by new WotC standards. I imagine that if there had been a Drizz't Do Urden cartoon, the portrayal of the drow would likely have resulted in the entire cartoon being similarly banned.

If you put an added layer on top of it with the lighter skinned actor wearing the makeup, it raises the challenge. That they call it out as a 'hate crime' within the episode cuts both ways. Personally, I do not think this episode should have been cut because it was addressed within the episode, but I understand the other side of the argument.

I also am not a big fan of covering up past transgressions by hiding them. I'd rather they place a warning at the start of the episode and own the error in judgment, by today's standards, by saying exactly what it is and what they'd do differently now. You don't learn from history by burying it.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
We have now reached a Post-Satire state in the United States.

Throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s... quite frankly an absolute fantastic time for comedy in the U.S... the comedians, writers, and shows throughout this period saw the kinds of attitudes and mores that their parents and grandparents still clung to. And they use Satire to make fun of those attitudes. What is Satire? It is taking the thing you are making fun of and blowing it up so far beyond its state in order to make obvious to people just how ridiculous and stupid that attitude, that more, or that thing is. So for instance... you could satirize just how ridiculous is it that the "Washington Redskins" name is still a thing by making a whole bunch of other potential pro football team names that also have obviously racist connotations.

The whole point of it is to make clear the idea that since the overblown and satirical comedic premise is ridiculous and is not good... the thing being satirized is also ridiculous and not good. And hopefully the people who see and hear the satire understand the joke and make the connection and hopefully have their minds changed just a little bit.

But here's the thing about satire... the concept is done by taking something not good and then making an EXCEEDINGLY NOT GOOD version of it to highlight how not good it is. To satirize racism, the comedian makes ABSURD racism. To satirize misogyny, the comedian makes ABSURD misogyny. To satirize homophobia, the comedian makes ABSURD homophobia.

But the problem with this idea is rather obvious. To make fun of racism, you have to be racist in voice. To make fun of homophobia, you have to be homophobic in voice. Now of course, the assumption and the handshake agreement between comedian and audience is that the audience accepts the comedian is NOT what they are making fun of. That's the whole point. But right now in America... our young people have seen the result of the comedy of the 70s, 80s, and 90s (and a lot of the 00s too) and have come to the conclusion that the satire hasn't worked well enough.

While People of Color, Women, the LGBTQIA, the elderly, the Differently-Abled etc. have all seen strides made in the past 40 years to make things better for them... there are still countless people who don't give a rat's ass about any of them. Racism, misogyny, homophobia etc. etc. are all still very much a thing. So what our young people have decided to now say is that because satire hasn't done it's job well enough... STOP USING IT. Stop using racism to make of racism. Stop using misogyny to make of misogyny. Stop using homophobia to make of homophobia. Because what is happening is that not only are there hundreds of thousands of people who haven't had their minds changed... they see it as allowing for open season to use it themselves in a non-satirical way.

Our young people are saying "Hey, you know all that blackface you comedians were using over the past few decades to show everyone how bad blackface and racism was supposed to be? It hasn't worked. We still have massive amounts of racism, as well as quite a number of people using blackface non-satirically! So how about we just stop using it altogether, huh? How about we stop using satirical blackface to make fun of people who are racist or would use blackface? Since the satire didn't do it's job, how about we just STOP BEING RACIST ALTOGETHER, huh? Why don't we give that a try for once and see if people get it?"

Which is an interesting idea. Can you make fun of all these things without actually using the thing you're making fun of? It certainly ain't going to be easy... and we have a whole crapton of older comedians-- from Jerry Seinfeld, to Chris Rock, to Bill Maher, etc., all of whom are still in the 70s, 80s, 90s mode of "if it's funny, it's funny... even if it's politically incorrect" and are less inclined to go along with it. But they are all finding themselves on the outside looking in. The young people of America want their comedy to be different than what their parents enjoyed and are using their financial place in the country to influence it. And we are currently seeing the results of that throughout Hollywood.
I’d like to add to this that there are a ton of hilarious comedians who are very successfully making fun of bigotry without satirizing it.

Because, yeah, the problem with satire is that the failure state of satire isn’t bad satire. From the observing position, the failure state of satire is just a bigoted joke.
 

This is utterly ridiculous regarding the Community episode. This gotten way out of hand and seems theres no end in sight, next theyll pull the entire run of All in the Family, the Jeffersons, etc, until all thats left is Mr Rogers and Sesame Street. Elmer J Fudd can no longer be depicted with a gun, SMH. Let people think for themselves FFS.
 

MGibster

Hero
The pendulum is swinging in a mostly positive direction right now. I never thought I'd see the day Aunt Jemima was abandoned as a corporate mascot. Eventually we'll probably reach a point where we can bring back that episode again. Incidentally, an episode of The Golden Girls was also removed for offensive material.
 




Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Damn, that was one of the best episodes of Community, and one of the best D&D episodes of any show. It also seems like a strange decision to me. Like, I’m not black, so I’m not really in a position to say whether or not the blackface in that episode is really offensive or not, but to me it comes across as lampooning the idea that drow cosplay is meaningfully different than blackface. It’s the Changs of the world who are the butt of the joke there, not black folks.
 


The very first new Looney Tunes cartoon released this year (Warner Brothers is doing the same thing Disney is and unleashing today's animators on their characters) has Elmer shooting at Bugs.
I just read an article about a week and a half ago stating moving forward he will not have a gun and pretty sure the cartoon that was referenced in the article he did not, so this may have been a recent decision.
 



Orcslayer78

Explorer
Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission
(V for Vendetta 2006)

That's what America has become, a moral police dictatorship where thoughts and art get censored.
 


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