Kalbear

Confederate: bad idea or the WORST idea?

188 posts in this topic

D&D of Game of Thrones production fame have named their new project after GOT ends - and it is something called "Confederate"

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CONFEDERATE chronicles the events leading to the Third American Civil War. The series takes place in an alternate timeline, where the southern states have successfully seceded from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution. The story follows a broad swath of characters on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Demilitarized Zone — freedom fighters, slave hunters, politicians, abolitionists, journalists, the executives of a slave-holding conglomerate and the families of people in their thrall.

That it's a story about an alternate history where the South won isn't necessarily horrible; that it's a story about the slaveowning rich people (and importantly, NOT the actual slaves) is not so great. Is this basically a retelling of Walmart? 

This...is probably not a great idea from them, at least.

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Let’s not stand on ceremony here: as great as Benioff and Weiss are as visionaries, their blind spots as two cis white men shows up too often for me to be comfortable for a show with slavery as a major component of the story. The gratuitous display of sexual assault (well past showing how brutal the world is), and the reluctance of having any pivotal POC character or venturing into the very natural lines they have drawn around color (the Unsullied army is almost, if not all, POC as former slaves, but is only explored as a class differentiation) gives me little confidence that this will be a new awareness taken on with this new venture. 

There are so many, many problems with this idea - from the alternate history itself that ignores France and Britain's take on actual slavery, to a modern world that enables slavery and accepts it, to making it a glorious institution after three civil wars and a US in crisis. Ugh. 

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Maybe the critics could wait for an actual episode to be shot and released before they claim it to be an embarrassing example of white privilege? I don't know. That seems reasonable to me.

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Oh this is gonna be a dumpster fire. 

More wank material for the alt-right is precisely what we need right now I guess? 

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It's not a comedy?

Dang it, why is it never a comedy?

Jokes aside, Benioff and Weiss as "visionaries?" :blink: Ah hahaha ha ha... phew...

Wait, maybe it is a comedy.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

Maybe the critics could wait for an actual episode to be shot and released before they claim it to be an embarrassing example of white privilege? I don't know. That seems reasonable to me.

I don't see why they need to. On its face, an alternate history where the South won that features zero actual slave stories and focuses on a rich family of slaveowners is just not a good idea. Having it be about the war between the North and South instead of  the slaves is also not a good idea. Benioff and Weiss do big spectacle well, but they have a poor grasp of nuance - which when you're talking about actual humans with actual ancestors that were slaves, seems like a pretty friggin big deal. 

There are potentially ways to make this a powerful piece; none of the ideas floated so far make it sound that way. 

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another good take: can we please stop fantasizing about enslaving other people?

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On the other hand, imagining an America where black people are still slaves is really only an exaggerated deviation from the present—a fact that HBO and Confederate’s showrunners are definitely counting on, clearly hoping that the series will have the same timely ring as The Handmaid’s Tale, The Man In The High Castle, et al. with their depictions of authoritarian rule. With racism becoming even more emboldened, cops killing black people in the streets, the prison industrial system trapping them for life, the stars-and-bars still flying all across the South, and the President Of The United States earning endorsements from David Fucking Duke, Confederate is similarly, clearly intended to be a commentary on our current political climate. Yet unlike the Nazi scenario, even the showrunners seem to be aware that, for an alarming number of Americans, putting black people back in chains reads less like a nightmare than a daydream.

 

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16 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

I don't see why they need to. On its face, an alternate history where the South won that features zero actual slave stories and focuses on a rich family of slaveowners is just not a good idea. Having it be about the war between the North and South instead of  the slaves is also not a good idea. Benioff and Weiss do big spectacle well, but they have a poor grasp of nuance - which when you're talking about actual humans with actual ancestors that were slaves, seems like a pretty friggin big deal. 

There are potentially ways to make this a powerful piece; none of the ideas floated so far make it sound that way. 

I think it's patently ridiculous to condemn it sight unseen on the back of a press release.

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Yeah, I'm totally fine with waiting and seeing what the show is before commenting on it. And after Game of Thrones, and even earlier work like City of Thieves from Benoiff, I'm on board with giving them the benefit of the doubt for now.

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Posted (edited)

3 minutes ago, Fez said:

Yeah, I'm totally fine with waiting and seeing what the show is before commenting on it. And after Game of Thrones, and even earlier work like City of Thieves from Benoiff, I'm on board with giving them the benefit of the doubt for now.

Same here. I'll also almost always give any new HBO show a chance. Especially drama.

Edited by Nictarion

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20 minutes ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

I think it's patently ridiculous to condemn it sight unseen on the back of a press release.

Why? 

If someone pitched an idea about an alternate history where it was shown, say, that black people were inherently inferior to white people and genetics proved it by a large margin - would that be a good story to do on HBO? What if all the black people all said that they all were happy with slavery and didn't want it to stop?

There are plenty of ideas that on their face deserve at least some groaning if not active condemnation. And this is coming from the people who gave us the sand snakes. 

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Posted (edited)

GOT's writing to me has been on a steep decline for a while now, and I'm very wary of D&D tackling this show. GOT has not been good for minorities in front of or behind the camera ( 90% certain they haven't had a single minority in the writers room or any women)

They have *zero* reason to receive any benefit of the doubt from me.

This gentleman captures the issues with Confederate pretty well - It's a twitter thread, but worth the read.

Edited by Raja

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The description of this made me think of S.M. Stirling's  alternate history Draka series.

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Posted (edited)

23 minutes ago, Fez said:

Yeah, I'm totally fine with waiting and seeing what the show is before commenting on it. And after Game of Thrones, and even earlier work like City of Thieves from Benoiff, I'm on board with giving them the benefit of the doubt for now.

Pretty much where I'm at.  If nothing else, I tend to find alternate history stories to be interesting, so I'll give it a chance.  If it sucks, I'll stop watching.

Just seems silly to call a show terrible before it has even aired or even been filmed, though.

Edited by briantw

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3 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Why? 

If someone pitched an idea about an alternate history where it was shown, say, that black people were inherently inferior to white people and genetics proved it by a large margin - would that be a good story to do on HBO? What if all the black people all said that they all were happy with slavery and didn't want it to stop?

There are plenty of ideas that on their face deserve at least some groaning if not active condemnation. And this is coming from the people who gave us the sand snakes. 

Because you know very little about it at this point. Full stop. 

Not sure how the second part of your question applies. At this point there is no evidence to suggest that this show is what you just described.

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Sorry, the entire concept sounds like crap to me. I don't really like alternative history scenarios anyway (aside from Anno Dracula which is great), but this thing just sounds nonsensical. I don't know all that much about the American Civil War but as far as I know the idea that this thing was about slavery is not, exactly, the real reason. The US were a backwater nation in the 19th century, the sole remaining Western nation that still had slavery as an institution. A successful secession wouldn't have enabled to keep slavery for long, not even the Confederacy winning the war and conquering the union would have helped all that much with that - and if it had done the states would have remained a backwater country in the 20th century. Slaver states are not all that progressive.

But aside from that a setting which has slavery and racism at its heart in a more modern setting isn't something that interests me at all.

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Scene 1, Charleston South Carolina.  Brothel.  Lots of boobs.  Old white men having a conversation complaining about falling profits for SLAVERINC with some light fondling on the side.  You know they are bad guys because of their facial hair

Scene 2, New York.  Rally.  No boobs yet.  People are protesting the fact that the US hasn't defeated its Southern neighbor yet (seriously, like why not, given the economics of the whole thing, but I digress).  We meet one of our heroines, leading the chants.  We find out later that she has great boobs.

Scene 3, Birmingham Alabama.  We see slaves working in factories.  Sucks to be them.  We meet some more bad guys.  They are looking at the slaves wondering if they would make good cannon fodder.

Scene 4, San Francisco.  We meet a confederate who has been admitted to Stanford.  We know he is a confederate because he has facial hair.  We know that he will be morally complex because he has great abs.

Scene 5, Mississippi.  Gratuitous plantation scene with some light torture and blood.

Scene 6, New York (now the capital of the US):  government people talking government things.  

Scene 7, Richmond:  Ditto.

Scene 8:  Cliffhanger.

There you go, first ep.  Boobs, butts, abs, violence, and zero nuance.  I'm going with pretty awful.  But who knows.

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4 minutes ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

Because you know very little about it at this point. Full stop. 

What I do know sounds shitty. Slavery as a modern institution sounds shitty. Full stop. 

4 minutes ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

Not sure how the second part of your question applies. At this point there is no evidence to suggest that this show is what you just described.

My original point is that there are plenty of ideas which have very little information which can and should be criticized. The other part is that D&D have not particularly shown nuanced handling of race and sex issues in the past. 

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5 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

What I do know sounds shitty. Slavery as a modern institution sounds shitty. Full stop. 

You sound quite a bit like an inverse MGTOWer bitching about Mad Max with a female protagonist or a female centric Ghost Busters before even bothering to see the films. It's bullshit, click-baity speculation, topped with a bit of identity signalling. If you want to say the premise sounds problematic, I think that's fair, but to call it out as being racist before anything has even been shot? That's fucking ridiculous and irresponsible. You don't know what's in the box yet. 

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8 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Sorry, the entire concept sounds like crap to me. I don't really like alternative history scenarios anyway (aside from Anno Dracula which is great), but this thing just sounds nonsensical. I don't know all that much about the American Civil War but as far as I know the idea that this thing was about slavery is not, exactly, the real reason. The US were a backwater nation in the 19th century, the sole remaining Western nation that still had slavery as an institution. A successful secession wouldn't have enabled to keep slavery for long, not even the Confederacy winning the war and conquering the union would have helped all that much with that - and if it had done the states would have remained a backwater country in the 20th century. Slaver states are not all that progressive.

But aside from that a setting which has slavery and racism at its heart in a more modern setting isn't something that interests me at all.

At its heart the U.S Civil War was about slavery and was the real reason (Though it there was denial of that even during that time).

Many thought Slavery was dying near the end of the 18th century until invention like the Cotton Gin changed the economics. On the eve of the Civil War most of the wealthiest places were located in the South. 

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