". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Nelson George Explains Why

What Nelson George explains, with specific detail and example, is how so often fiction about the Civil Rights and Voting Act era written by non-POC people fails. This applies equally to film and television fictions.

He does this in his NY Times review of the new fiction film, The Help, made by a non-POC director from a novel written by a non-POC author.
In these days of concern about doing it right and cultural appropriation in sf/f and other entertainments -- which might be more accurately labeled culturally inappropriate entertainments -- this is an enlightening piece to absorb.
“That most Hollywood-created features have failed to reach this standard is no surprise. The film industry was as much a pillar of institutional racism as any business in this country. To indict American racism is, by definition, to attack the machine that created decades of stereotypes."
You can hardly issue a more true statement than this.

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