Being seen by others

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  • BBC Radio 4 Extra has been broadcasting episodes of "Beyond our Ken" and "Round the Horne", in which Kenneth Williams and Hugh Paddick are heard as Julian and his friend Sandy. Though the queer coding is spelt out with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, and extensive use of polari dialect, we are supposed to believe that TPTB at the BBC did not know what was going on.
    It has now started to puzzle me that polari was supposed to be a form of hiding homosexuality at a time it was illegal, but it's so blithering obvious - the meanings might not be, but the speakers must have been. All omi polone.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Admin
    edited February 2020
    Cameron wrote: »
    The point that authors don’t own (the meanings of) their texts after publication is in agreement with several posts above. No argument here.

    However, they remain responsible for them and their potential effects (as in certain categories of law, in extreme cases). So it may matter to consider what the intentions were, and whether they were conscious - as strongly inferred in the example provided by @Doublethink - or unconscious.

    If there is a question of plagiarism or libel, then yes: there are clauses in the contract indemnifying the publisher. Likewise breaking local laws regarding hate speech.

    I'm responsible for my words and my intention: that's true enough. I'm not responsible, however, for a reader's interpretation of my story, no matter how aberrant that interpretation it is. Or for a reader identifying with the antagonist rather than the protagonist. The reader is responsible for that, not the author.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    orfeo wrote: »
    Dafyd wrote: »
    The point is that when you have a set of symbols arranged in a way can be used to convey a message they still convey that message to the reader no matter how they got to be arranged that way.
    If a public speaker inadvertently utters a double entendre the funny thing is that they said something they didn't mean or intend.

    Putting those last two sentences together merely illustrates my point. You talk about "conveying a message". Are we seriously suggesting that "something they didn't mean or intend" constitutes a message?
    I could either write, 'something that is like a message in all respects except that the speaker/writer didn't mean it or intend it', or I could as an example of catachresis, just write 'message'.
    It's perfectly normal English to say that an action or policy sends the wrong message, where 'wrong' means 'not intended or desired'.
    That doesn't mean that what the speaker intended is unimportant. In many contexts, we don't care what the speaker actually said if we can infer what the speaker wanted us to understand. But that doesn't make the two the same thing, and it isn't the case in every context.

    If I understand correctly, in legal theory there is a school that says that the meaning of a law (or Constitution) is what the original legislators intended. However, I believe that the more widely held school that says that the meaning of the law is the construction that a reasonable speaker who understands the meanings of the terms would put upon it. (And that if someone is a member of the first school, one can infer with some safety that they hold right-wing political views.) If you have a poorly drafted law, and you set out to improve it, is the poorly drafted law already what the legislator intends and you're merely making it clearer, or is the poorly drafted law not what the legislator intends, and you're turning it into something that is what the legislator intends?
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Cameron wrote: »
    However, they remain responsible for them and their potential effects (as in certain categories of law, in extreme cases). So it may matter to consider what the intentions were, and whether they were conscious - as strongly inferred in the example provided by Doublethink - or unconscious.
    If a driver crashes their car and puts a pedestrian in hospital it matters a great deal to how we subsequently regard the driver whether they did it intentionally to kill the pedestrian, accidentally because they weren't paying attention, or because they were trying to avoid a worse accident as the result of another driver's actions or inactions. But the pedestrian is in hospital regardless.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Penny S wrote: »
    BBC Radio 4 Extra has been broadcasting episodes of "Beyond our Ken" and "Round the Horne", in which Kenneth Williams and Hugh Paddick are heard as Julian and his friend Sandy. Though the queer coding is spelt out with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, and extensive use of polari dialect, we are supposed to believe that TPTB at the BBC did not know what was going on.<snip>
    Some possibly didn’t know what was going on, for others it was simply plausible deniability.

    I think for much of that era it was known but not talked about/acknowledged.

    In this Flanders and Swann song (starting at about 1’23”) ‘Mabel Figworthy’ was put in to get past the Lord Chamberlain. It should finish with ‘boy’ to rhyme with ‘decoy’
  • BroJames wrote: »
    Hmm. As a Brit I just read Scar as (to adapt the terminology) Brit-coded, which seems to me to be a common propensity for Hollywood villains.
    Because posh reads as effeminate to American eyes and effeminate is the antithesis of the hyper-masculine hero trope.
    Effeminate bad guys can be any nationality, but American cinema likes to make baddies foreign. Adds to their evil, I suppose.
  • orfeo wrote: »
    BroJames wrote: »
    Hmm. As a Brit I just read Scar as (to adapt the terminology) Brit-coded, which seems to me to be a common propensity for Hollywood villains.

    Quite. Seeing Scar, and Jafar from Aladdin as queer says more about the critics pointing this out than it does about the films. Which is kind of my point.

    There are a lot of people armed with hammers actively looking for nails.
    One film by itself could be viewed that way. A significant number of "individual films" becomes sign of a pattern.
  • Penny S wrote: »
    BBC Radio 4 Extra has been broadcasting episodes of "Beyond our Ken" and "Round the Horne", in which Kenneth Williams and Hugh Paddick are heard as Julian and his friend Sandy. Though the queer coding is spelt out with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, and extensive use of polari dialect, we are supposed to believe that TPTB at the BBC did not know what was going on.
    It has now started to puzzle me that polari was supposed to be a form of hiding homosexuality at a time it was illegal, but it's so blithering obvious - the meanings might not be, but the speakers must have been. All omi polone.
    The censors do not have to be unaware if they think the average listener will be.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    The entire programme was based on innuendo, but married to splendidly absurdist use of language. There's an essay subject for you - Jabberwocky and The Ballad of the Woggler's Mooly: Compare and Contrast.

    There were rather more direct allusions - e.g. Jules - or possibly Sandy - partners in Bona Law who 'spends most of his time in a criminal practice'.

  • Interesting definition. The first sense is circular and thus one has to assume it depends on the second sense; the second sense definitely presupposes the coding to be intentional.
  • ECraigR wrote: »
    But how on Earth are you supposed to know what an author was or was not doing intentionally?

    Unless you have a piece of writing saying “I wrote this to mean this,” then you don’t really have any means of establishing an author’s intentions. And there are instances of author’s doing just that and it turning out to be ironic, like Eliot’s annotations to The Waste Land or Twain’s 3 sentence preface to Huckleberry Finn. There’s no reliable way to be able to talk about what an author intended to convey or not. And that’s just talking about conscious intention, never mind subconscious intentions, if they could even be called such.

    I'd ask, why do you need to? I can enjoy a book or movie without knowing what the author had in mind. Unless I'm doing a course at university on this particular artist, my interaction with the text, or acting/setting/music etc., is what I have, and it's enough.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    ECraigR wrote: »
    But how on Earth are you supposed to know what an author was or was not doing intentionally?

    Unless you have a piece of writing saying “I wrote this to mean this,” then you don’t really have any means of establishing an author’s intentions. And there are instances of author’s doing just that and it turning out to be ironic, like Eliot’s annotations to The Waste Land or Twain’s 3 sentence preface to Huckleberry Finn. There’s no reliable way to be able to talk about what an author intended to convey or not. And that’s just talking about conscious intention, never mind subconscious intentions, if they could even be called such.

    I'd ask, why do you need to? I can enjoy a book or movie without knowing what the author had in mind. Unless I'm doing a course at university on this particular artist, my interaction with the text, or acting/setting/music etc., is what I have, and it's enough.

    I agree. So your interaction with a work doesn’t need to be verified against the author’s intentions. For all intents and purposes, those intentions don’t matter. They neither make or break an interpretation.
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    Dafyd wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    Dafyd wrote: »
    The point is that when you have a set of symbols arranged in a way can be used to convey a message they still convey that message to the reader no matter how they got to be arranged that way.
    If a public speaker inadvertently utters a double entendre the funny thing is that they said something they didn't mean or intend.

    Putting those last two sentences together merely illustrates my point. You talk about "conveying a message". Are we seriously suggesting that "something they didn't mean or intend" constitutes a message?
    I could either write, 'something that is like a message in all respects except that the speaker/writer didn't mean it or intend it', or I could as an example of catachresis, just write 'message'.
    It's perfectly normal English to say that an action or policy sends the wrong message, where 'wrong' means 'not intended or desired'.
    That doesn't mean that what the speaker intended is unimportant. In many contexts, we don't care what the speaker actually said if we can infer what the speaker wanted us to understand. But that doesn't make the two the same thing, and it isn't the case in every context.

    If I understand correctly, in legal theory there is a school that says that the meaning of a law (or Constitution) is what the original legislators intended. However, I believe that the more widely held school that says that the meaning of the law is the construction that a reasonable speaker who understands the meanings of the terms would put upon it. (And that if someone is a member of the first school, one can infer with some safety that they hold right-wing political views.) If you have a poorly drafted law, and you set out to improve it, is the poorly drafted law already what the legislator intends and you're merely making it clearer, or is the poorly drafted law not what the legislator intends, and you're turning it into something that is what the legislator intends?

    First of all, "message" and "something that is like a message in all respects except that the speaker/writer didn't mean it or intend it" aren't your only 2 options. Try using some other word besides message? There are plenty of other options.

    Secondly, "something that is like a message in all respects except..." pretty much the key component of what makes something a message. Talk about treating a word as just a bunch of letters without thinking what that combination of letters is supposed to be conveying!

    Legislative intention is a whole other thing and I'm not going there, beyond pointing out that any idea that several hundred members of Parliament all had the same intention is a legal fiction. Can we just stick to individual authors? We seem to have enough trouble with that situation as it is.
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    BroJames wrote: »
    Hmm. As a Brit I just read Scar as (to adapt the terminology) Brit-coded, which seems to me to be a common propensity for Hollywood villains.

    Quite. Seeing Scar, and Jafar from Aladdin as queer says more about the critics pointing this out than it does about the films. Which is kind of my point.

    There are a lot of people armed with hammers actively looking for nails.
    One film by itself could be viewed that way. A significant number of "individual films" becomes sign of a pattern.

    Signs of a pattern to someone who is looking for a pattern. That's my whole point. Nails. Plural. Why on earth do you think someone armed with a hammer would settle for just one?

    An academic paper, or even career, is not generated by finding a single nail. You in fact justify why you're carrying a hammer around by finding lots and lots of nails to hit with it.

    It's another form of market forces. One first must create the need for such work before one can perform the work. Reading books or watching films without digging for subtext, whether the author buried it in there on purpose or not, simply won't do.
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    orfeo wrote: »
    To turn back to villains that are being read as either queer or British: basically the characteristic being observed is a certain archness.

    People are then attributing that characteristic to whatever they're familiar with.

    And yes, there is a gay stereotype that definitely incorporates being arch. It doesn't logically follow that queers somehow own this characteristic and any example of it is queer coding. But if you know some very catty gays, that's who you'll be reminded of.

    Being ‘arch’ is a very close match for what many brits would describe as being ‘camp’ - which is a of performing gender that used to be (and to an extent still is) a way British men would signal homosexuality.

    Does this not do exactly what I described? Claim that these characteristics are inevitably a signal of homosexuality?

    Does this end up boiling down to people making claims about how good their gaydar is? It sure feels that way to me at the moment.

    As a gay youth, I certainly didn't look at Jafar in Aladdin and think "that evil man who wants to marry the princess is gay". No, I thought he was power-hungry. But quite frankly I also thought that he, like other characters, though Princess Jasmine was attractive.

    And now there's a whole lot of people who want to tell me how obvious it is that he displays camp characteristics and he finds Aladdin as attractive as I did. Despite spending much of the film trying to get rid of him.

    Apparently my Disney gaydar just isn't well tuned enough compared to all the folk who find these things. No wonder I'm single.

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Well in golden age detective fiction it really is not that subtle.

    This is from The Moving Finger
    ‘Mr. Pye was an extremely ladylike plump little man, devoted to his petit point chairs, his Dresden shepherdesses and his collection of period furniture.’

    I mean, what do you think she was trying to convey with this description ? It was in much later novel in 1963 where explicitly had a character identified as queer - social attitudes had changed a lot since the early part of the century when her career began.

    Elsewhere, whether the author is doing this consciously or not is not really the point. (If we are talking about what a reader sees of themselves or their identity when they read the book.)

    Or Georgie Pillson in E F Benson's Mapp and Lucia novels. He does much the same, as well as vanishing every few weeks to a nearby town, returning with his hair looking red again.

    Benson and a couple of brothers were gay. Their father was ++Cantaur, whose wife ran off with the daughter of the previous ++. There's no doubt that Benson knew what he was writing.
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    Elsewhere, whether the author is doing this consciously or not is not really the point. (If we are talking about what a reader sees of themselves or their identity when they read the book.)

    It's just occurred to me that this neatly solves the problem of under-representation. Not seeing yourself often enough in stories? That's not the fault of authors. It's that you have insufficient imagination to insert yourself into the story.

    EDIT: And thus slash fiction was born.
  • orfeo wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    BroJames wrote: »
    Hmm. As a Brit I just read Scar as (to adapt the terminology) Brit-coded, which seems to me to be a common propensity for Hollywood villains.

    Quite. Seeing Scar, and Jafar from Aladdin as queer says more about the critics pointing this out than it does about the films. Which is kind of my point.

    There are a lot of people armed with hammers actively looking for nails.
    One film by itself could be viewed that way. A significant number of "individual films" becomes sign of a pattern.

    Signs of a pattern to someone who is looking for a pattern.
    There is no systemic racism, it is just millions of individuals making decisions that happen to look that way. It is just individuals in government doing individually racist things the same way at the same time as other individuals doing racist things.
    Society at large has never been homophobic, it is just individuals who are doing the same homophobic things in the same homophobic ways.
    Oh, look at all the individuals who individually decided to individually beat someone individually at the same time. But they aren't a mob, because people don't act the same way as a group.
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    BroJames wrote: »
    Hmm. As a Brit I just read Scar as (to adapt the terminology) Brit-coded, which seems to me to be a common propensity for Hollywood villains.

    Quite. Seeing Scar, and Jafar from Aladdin as queer says more about the critics pointing this out than it does about the films. Which is kind of my point.

    There are a lot of people armed with hammers actively looking for nails.
    One film by itself could be viewed that way. A significant number of "individual films" becomes sign of a pattern.

    Signs of a pattern to someone who is looking for a pattern.
    There is no systemic racism, it is just millions of individuals making decisions that happen to look that way. It is just individuals in government doing individually racist things the same way at the same time as other individuals doing racist things.
    Society at large has never been homophobic, it is just individuals who are doing the same homophobic things in the same homophobic ways.
    Oh, look at all the individuals who individually decided to individually beat someone individually at the same time. But they aren't a mob, because people don't act the same way as a group.

    You misunderstand my point completely. The analogy about someone with a hammer treating everything as a nail is not meant to deny the existence of nails.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    Meanwhile back at the OP:
    Gwai wrote: »
    We have been having a long discussion about whether sci-fi and fantasy portray women well or not. I think that can be applied to other traits too. How is the portrayal of race, disability, or queerness done when written by others. Does anyone who is not a straight white able male see themselves portrayed well in most fiction?

    So the reason I mentioned queer coding in older fiction, was because I had heard a gay male author talking about how reading these novels as adolescent he’d enjoyed the subversion of respectability and, to some extent, felt seen.

    I found it interesting and wondered whether anyone else felt that way. It largely went over my head as a teenager.

    The most immediate experience of identification with fiction I recall, is from when I watched Lost in Translation. I moved country five times as a child, and for all its faults as a film it really captured the sense of dislocated dissociation that comes from culture shock when you move to a new country. I remember feeling tearful watching it and emotionally drained at some level after leaving the cinema. Did anyone else who saw it find that ?
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    orfeo wrote: »
    Secondly, "something that is like a message in all respects except..." pretty much the key component of what makes something a message. Talk about treating a word as just a bunch of letters without thinking what that combination of letters is supposed to be conveying!
    As I remarked, 'sending the wrong message' is a perfectly well established English idiom.
    As a general rule most things one can do intentionally one can do unintentionally, which is why we bother with talking about intention at all.
    Legislative intention is a whole other thing and I'm not going there, beyond pointing out that any idea that several hundred members of Parliament all had the same intention is a legal fiction. Can we just stick to individual authors? We seem to have enough trouble with that situation as it is.
    That seems circular. It seems to me perhaps naively that one only has more trouble with the multiple author case if one makes intention essential to the single author case.

    I find the idea that the meaning of a text with multiple authors is of a significantly different kind from the meaning of a text with a single author counterintuitive. It seems a big bullet to bite especially as there are lots of cases e.g. translated texts, edited texts, individually written parts of joint ventures, where the distinction is more or less blurry.

    But perhaps this discussion should go on another thread.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    The presumption in English law is that the legislature intends what the language of the statute means, and the courts will not look behind the statute to the record in Hansard, for example, to discover the meaning of legislation.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    No longer the case here, at least in NSW and the Commonwealth. In NSW (Interpretation Act s.34 from memory) sets out a range of extrinsic material which is to be taken into account to assist interpretation. The Commonwealth legislation is identical. I can't recall off the top of my head if the other states and territories have made similar changes. It would be surprising if they had not.
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    To reflect on a lot of this:

    No, I do not consider my audience when writing a novel. I don't even know what my audience will be. I'm sorry if you don't feel considered. But the next time you pick up a book or watch a movie or look at a painting, ask yourself "did the artist consult me before putting this out for public consumption?" If the answer is "no", then you were not considered. Your opinions and sensibilities were not taken into account, and your reaction to the art is independent of the creative process.

    I've been reflecting on this since you wrote it. In a way, that is the purest form of art, where it is for its own sake and there is no pandering to the audience. Taken to its extreme, it's the approach of Vincent Gallo, who made a film which he screened to a select few, but never released for public consumption, because he hates critics.

    So... my experience working in media (video/animation) is very different. Because we're working mostly creating promos and marketing materials, the audience is the very epicentre of what we do. We're ALWAYS having to tell our clients to think from the audience's point of view, because if you're selling something, the audience's experience is the only thing that matters. Now, we're not making art, but what we're doing is still creative, so there is a lot of crossover.

    In terms of being seen, I think someone mentioned box-ticking in a slightly negative way. But personally, I'm all for box-ticking as the start of a process of awareness. For example, just on male being the default gender, when you start box-ticking, you notice it, and you can at least ask the question, "does this character really have to be male?" (same goes with race). I'm actually at the point now where female is the default gender, because working with most clients, that actually tends to even out to a 50/50 split over all. In terms of a lot of companies and how they approach all sorts of things, box-ticking means that at least minorities, people with disabilities, LGBTQ people etc., actually get seen and get a semblance of a voice. I appreciate it's crude and not ideal, but it's a lot better than what would happen otherwise.

    Without these kinds of measures in place, in my experience, most people default to not allowing 'different' people to be seen. I doubt authors and artists are any different. Which makes me wonder the best way to combat this. ISTM that you're right, that publishers are the main source of change, but your response above feels a little like washing your hands of it. I wonder if more authors just went through a little mental box-ticking of their own, to consider their defaults, it wouldn't make a difference too.

    And just to reflect further on your question, I think you've hit the nail on the head with the difference between movies and films. Movies are totally made with the audience in mind, but films less so. Still, everything needs to get commissioned and sold, so I do think that the audience always plays more of a role than you've said (unless you're Vincent Gallo).

    On queer-coding, my daughter's reading the old classic Famous Five books. George is a great character to start discussions on trans issues, and also how societal attitudes have changed since FF was written. I've no idea what Enid Blighton's outlook was, but it's interesting how positive she is about George's self-identification, and how she makes villains of people who are ignorant and dismissive of George's desire to identify as male.
  • ECraigR wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    ECraigR wrote: »
    But how on Earth are you supposed to know what an author was or was not doing intentionally?

    Unless you have a piece of writing saying “I wrote this to mean this,” then you don’t really have any means of establishing an author’s intentions. And there are instances of author’s doing just that and it turning out to be ironic, like Eliot’s annotations to The Waste Land or Twain’s 3 sentence preface to Huckleberry Finn. There’s no reliable way to be able to talk about what an author intended to convey or not. And that’s just talking about conscious intention, never mind subconscious intentions, if they could even be called such.

    I'd ask, why do you need to? I can enjoy a book or movie without knowing what the author had in mind. Unless I'm doing a course at university on this particular artist, my interaction with the text, or acting/setting/music etc., is what I have, and it's enough.

    I agree. So your interaction with a work doesn’t need to be verified against the author’s intentions. For all intents and purposes, those intentions don’t matter. They neither make or break an interpretation.

    Well, the intentional fallacy has been kicking around a long time in lit crit and still has legs, and for a period authorial intent was dismissed, but that is unnecessay.. Also, the notion of unconscious messages in a text is at least a 100 years old, whether or not "code" is the right word, I'm not sure. I suppose the radical view of "reader response" ignores the author.

    Hemingway is an interesting example, as we have his gender switching The Garden of Eden, so naturally people look back at his earlier manly heroes and look for queer signs. But then heavily masculine heroes can be viewed as duplicitous, I.e., protesting too much!
  • I understand perfectly where you're coming from - at one point my (then) publisher said to me "Can't you just write a nice space opera? They're really popular." I mean, I totally could (and have done since) but the book I was burning to write at that moment was a fantasy/sf crossover and that was what was consuming my every thought.

    This would not have prevented the publisher commissioning a nice space opera from someone else, though, nor does my current strand of "fucked-up capitalism in spaaaace" stop my current lot from buying stories about any other strand of sff, from any other author, be they male, female, gay, straight, black, white, British, USAn, or anywhere else in the world.

    Even if the white British men only wrote about other white British men (which, I assure you, they don't), buying books from diverse authors ought to counter-act that tendency (assuming that a black African author wants to write about black African people, and not, say, Irish mythology).

    I think I've said earlier up thread that authors are single-person businesses. It seems unduly onerous to make each individual author responsible for the entirety of representation. But if publishers have a diversity of authors (even if they don't have a diversity of commissioning editors), they're much more like to deliver a wider diversity of POV characters to the reading public.

    Books are very, very different from studio movies, where test screenings and pre-release showings are obligatory, and every exec producer has their own battle with the director to try and maximise the numbers. You're also much more likely to end up with a mush, rather than a singular artistic vision. Indie films can't afford the test screenings: they end up going on the festival circuit, where the audience judges what's in front of them. And that can be brutal, very much like publishing a book to a slew of negative reviews. Of course, when an author gets bad reviews and sales, it's their fault. When they have a runaway bestseller, the editors and marketing take all the credit...

    FWIW, deciding on the POV character or characters is something that happens organically in my back brain, depending on whose voice clamours the loudest. There's no "but what if I make them black/white/male/female/young/old" because those stories are all different.
  • The most immediate experience of identification with fiction I recall, is from when I watched Lost in Translation. I moved country five times as a child, and for all its faults as a film it really captured the sense of dislocated dissociation that comes from culture shock when you move to a new country. I remember feeling tearful watching it and emotionally drained at some level after leaving the cinema. Did anyone else who saw it find that ?

    Yes, despite not having your experiences. I felt seen, even though I've never moved country and have always been in majority anglophone neighbourhoods - what resonated was the experience of being the outsider, and having to act-out a publicly acceptable image. I spent a lot of the film almost terrified that either main character was going to be 'found out'.
  • orfeo wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    BroJames wrote: »
    Hmm. As a Brit I just read Scar as (to adapt the terminology) Brit-coded, which seems to me to be a common propensity for Hollywood villains.

    Quite. Seeing Scar, and Jafar from Aladdin as queer says more about the critics pointing this out than it does about the films. Which is kind of my point.

    There are a lot of people armed with hammers actively looking for nails.
    One film by itself could be viewed that way. A significant number of "individual films" becomes sign of a pattern.

    Signs of a pattern to someone who is looking for a pattern.
    There is no systemic racism, it is just millions of individuals making decisions that happen to look that way. It is just individuals in government doing individually racist things the same way at the same time as other individuals doing racist things.
    Society at large has never been homophobic, it is just individuals who are doing the same homophobic things in the same homophobic ways.
    Oh, look at all the individuals who individually decided to individually beat someone individually at the same time. But they aren't a mob, because people don't act the same way as a group.

    You misunderstand my point completely. The analogy about someone with a hammer treating everything as a nail is not meant to deny the existence of nails.
    Actually it often is. "Nails exist, but that is not a nail." "Neither is that, or that, or that or that or..."
    Nails exist but somehow are never found.
  • RooKRooK Admin Emeritus
    Bullshit. The world is replete with obvious "nails". So many - especially in power and public office - that we have plenty to hammer without including contemplations of how well a hammer might work on screws.
  • RooK wrote: »
    Bullshit. The world is replete with obvious "nails". So many - especially in power and public office - that we have plenty to hammer without including contemplations of how well a hammer might work on screws.
    It is not bullshit. It is exactly how racism in policing is dismissed. "We acknowledge that racism exists, but that copper might have beat that person for reasons other than their colour." But the pattern of people of colour get beat more often exists. So those cases dismissed on their individual "merit" are likely part of the pattern.
  • Meanwhile back at the OP:
    Gwai wrote: »
    We have been having a long discussion about whether sci-fi and fantasy portray women well or not. I think that can be applied to other traits too. How is the portrayal of race, disability, or queerness done when written by others. Does anyone who is not a straight white able male see themselves portrayed well in most fiction?

    So the reason I mentioned queer coding in older fiction, was because I had heard a gay male author talking about how reading these novels as adolescent he’d enjoyed the subversion of respectability and, to some extent, felt seen.

    I found it interesting and wondered whether anyone else felt that way. It largely went over my head as a teenager.
    It went over my head as well.
    The most immediate experience of identification with fiction I recall, is from when I watched Lost in Translation. I moved country five times as a child, and for all its faults as a film it really captured the sense of dislocated dissociation that comes from culture shock when you move to a new country. I remember feeling tearful watching it and emotionally drained at some level after leaving the cinema. Did anyone else who saw it find that ?
    I moved a lot as a child as well, so your reaction intrigues me. I remember most the relationship between Murray and Johansson because I had an intense crush on the latter. But I agree that it did capture the dislocation well.
  • RooKRooK Admin Emeritus
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    RooK wrote: »
    Bullshit. The world is replete with obvious "nails". So many - especially in power and public office - that we have plenty to hammer without including contemplations of how well a hammer might work on screws.
    It is not bullshit. It is exactly how racism in policing is dismissed. "We acknowledge that racism exists, but that copper might have beat that person for reasons other than their colour." But the pattern of people of colour get beat more often exists. So those cases dismissed on their individual "merit" are likely part of the pattern.

    I'm not sure what you're hoping to achieve with your mobile goalposts, but in the conversation I thought we were having: the overtly racist results of policing is a thing that the majority of people participating in this thread would probably agree is a nail. It should be hammered.

    Police representation is an awkward relative to identity representation in the sorts of social works we have been discussing up to this point (mostly arts). Specifically, we made reference to the Puppies, which are xenophobic nails too. Then there's the Academy of White Nails, who most agree could do with at least some malleting.

    But then there's, say, Neal Stephenson, who populates his sprawling novels with crowds of what feel like Little Neals In Costumes. Is that a representation issue? Maybe. Luckily, his tales aren't really about complex character interaction, so I'm willing to let him just screw.
  • The conversation is about representation. Coding is part of that conversation. And that is what I am trying to talk about. Patterns are part of explaining that to those who don't seem to think coding exists, but I shall just ignore them. Easier anyhow.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Penny S wrote: »
    BBC Radio 4 Extra has been broadcasting episodes of "Beyond our Ken" and "Round the Horne", in which Kenneth Williams and Hugh Paddick are heard as Julian and his friend Sandy. Though the queer coding is spelt out with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, and extensive use of polari dialect, we are supposed to believe that TPTB at the BBC did not know what was going on.
    It has now started to puzzle me that polari was supposed to be a form of hiding homosexuality at a time it was illegal, but it's so blithering obvious - the meanings might not be, but the speakers must have been. All omi polone.
    @Penny S, as one who goes back to when these programmes were originally broadcast, of course they did and it was. The joke in Julian and Sandy was that this was pushing a boundary and very near the edge, a radio equivalent of the seaside postcard.

    What was, though, completely lacking in those days, was any sense that it was unkind, discriminatory or inappropriate to mock the conspicuously gay, that they were an oppressed minority or even that 'the gays have feelings too'. That was something that nobody would have even thought of for at least another 25 years. If you could get away with it without transgressing the hidden boundary of public censorship, the Lord Chamberlain etc., they were a suitable subject for comedy.

  • What is more, as certainly in Kenneth Williams's case, they offered themselves for comedy. If it was abuse, it was abuse by consent. Society and its norms sweep/s all up with it, including its victims. Its victims even speak of their oppression with nostalgia in certain cases. Stockholm Syndrome if you like, but there is definitely something about not being seen, not being part of the formal negotiation of social norms but feeling able to live entirely under that particular radar, that is the focus of nostalgia among gay men of that generation.

    There is a contradiction in what I have just said which I'm not entirely sure how to resolve. The structure was oppressive and yet a certain liberation was discovered in that underground situation. I honestly don't know how to square that particular circle; all I can say is that, from observation, reading etc., both seem to be true. Perhaps the offering of themselves as the subject of comedy was the price for being left alone to the underground structures that formed.

    The Lord Chamberlain was part of the structure of oppression, as were the police, whose raids of semi-formal gay clubs were a regular feature of life in such places. Perhaps, for some, the comedy is even some kind of act of solidarity - a means by which participants and audiences can say to each other "we're still here, and we want to hear you/be heard". I don't know. Others in the audience, of course, affected not to know, and would have been horrified if the code had been unveiled before them.

    This whole business of seeing and being seen is complex and a site of contradiction. I don't believe it's a cop-out to say that.
  • That makes sense, ThunderBunk. Maybe it has something in common with the solidarity-under-persecution ideas that sometimes come up in other parts of life - (then) young people with a (n)ostaligia for the days when they resisted the Stasi together, for example, and the meaning that gave to life which is hard to recapture since life became 'easy'. Or even the ways in which the church grows under persecution.
  • I saw Kenneth Williams once, at Hyde Park Corner, and I thought of going up to him and saying how much I enjoyed his work. But he was radiating "Don't see me, don't know me, I'm not here", so I didn't. He did not seem happy.
  • Penny S wrote: »
    I saw Kenneth Williams once, at Hyde Park Corner, and I thought of going up to him and saying how much I enjoyed his work. But he was radiating "Don't see me, don't know me, I'm not here", so I didn't. He did not seem happy.

    And reading his diaries confirms that impression. In spades. And yet he continued to offer himself as an object of comedy. A paradox indeed.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    Penny S wrote: »
    BBC Radio 4 Extra has been broadcasting episodes of "Beyond our Ken" and "Round the Horne", in which Kenneth Williams and Hugh Paddick are heard as Julian and his friend Sandy. Though the queer coding is spelt out with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, and extensive use of polari dialect, we are supposed to believe that TPTB at the BBC did not know what was going on.
    It has now started to puzzle me that polari was supposed to be a form of hiding homosexuality at a time it was illegal, but it's so blithering obvious - the meanings might not be, but the speakers must have been. All omi polone.
    @Penny S, as one who goes back to when these programmes were originally broadcast, of course they did and it was. The joke in Julian and Sandy was that this was pushing a boundary and very near the edge, a radio equivalent of the seaside postcard.

    What was, though, completely lacking in those days, was any sense that it was unkind, discriminatory or inappropriate to mock the conspicuously gay, that they were an oppressed minority or even that 'the gays have feelings too'. That was something that nobody would have even thought of for at least another 25 years. If you could get away with it without transgressing the hidden boundary of public censorship, the Lord Chamberlain etc., they were a suitable subject for comedy.
    If it were so light an innocent, why the need to hide at all?

  • What is more, as certainly in Kenneth Williams's case, they offered themselves for comedy. If it was abuse, it was abuse by consent.
    I don't think it that simple. A performer wants to perform and if the only roles are self-mocking, the desire to perform might take precedence. One sees it with people of colour as well. Whilst no one is forcing participation, consent seems too strong.

  • Like, was it Butterfly McQueen? Some African-American actress of the old days, who, when castigated fir her willingness to play menial roles, said she'd rather play a maid than be one. Which, at the time, was close to her only option.

  • NicoleMR wrote: »
    Like, was it Butterfly McQueen? Some African-American actress of the old days, who, when castigated fir her willingness to play menial roles, said she'd rather play a maid than be one.
    It was Hattie McDaniel.

    As I understand it, she was criticized by the NAACP and others for perpetuating stereotypes, but saw herself as pushing back at the same time. For example, I have read that the reason the N-word is never used in the movie of Gone With the Wind, despite being used freely in the book, is because she refused to say it, and others in the cast followed her lead.

  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    What is more, as certainly in Kenneth Williams's case, they offered themselves for comedy. If it was abuse, it was abuse by consent.
    I don't think it that simple. A performer wants to perform and if the only roles are self-mocking, the desire to perform might take precedence. One sees it with people of colour as well. Whilst no one is forcing participation, consent seems too strong.

    Reading his diaries gives one a very interesting sidelight on that question. The phrase "internalised homophobia" would appear to have been created with Mr Williams in mind.
  • Polari was not specific to the gay community, and given that there are none so blind as will not see - it wouldn’t surprise me if a large part of the straight audience and BBC management just didn’t get it.

  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    BroJames wrote: »
    Hmm. As a Brit I just read Scar as (to adapt the terminology) Brit-coded, which seems to me to be a common propensity for Hollywood villains.

    Quite. Seeing Scar, and Jafar from Aladdin as queer says more about the critics pointing this out than it does about the films. Which is kind of my point.

    There are a lot of people armed with hammers actively looking for nails.
    One film by itself could be viewed that way. A significant number of "individual films" becomes sign of a pattern.

    Signs of a pattern to someone who is looking for a pattern.
    There is no systemic racism, it is just millions of individuals making decisions that happen to look that way. It is just individuals in government doing individually racist things the same way at the same time as other individuals doing racist things.
    Society at large has never been homophobic, it is just individuals who are doing the same homophobic things in the same homophobic ways.
    Oh, look at all the individuals who individually decided to individually beat someone individually at the same time. But they aren't a mob, because people don't act the same way as a group.

    You misunderstand my point completely. The analogy about someone with a hammer treating everything as a nail is not meant to deny the existence of nails.
    Actually it often is. "Nails exist, but that is not a nail." "Neither is that, or that, or that or that or..."
    Nails exist but somehow are never found.

    I would be quite happy to show you some nails if I could still be bothered with this conversation. Oddly, not so much anymore.
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