writing rengeek magpie mind

September 2014

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criminal minds garcia plan b

this will be the writer's year, man.

So last night, I lay awake in bed for hours, feeling a bit brutalized because of a very funny, very apt, very smart deconstruction of The Phantom Menace that had a lot of smart clever things to say about constructing a narrative.

It was also, not incidentally, misogynist.

In small ways, and in great. Mentioning that a character complains like a girl. Calling C-3p0 "effeminate" as if that were a bad thing. Illustrating and adding violence against women as a running gag.

You know what?

I do not actually think those jokes were intended to hurt me. I think they were intended to be funny.

And yet, they left me feeling like a bad person. They left me lying awake at night, wondering why people hated me because I happen to be female.

And I realized, they don't. The people who make these jokes do not realize that they make me feel bad, or wrong, or toxic simply for having been born female, or queer. They don't actually mean to make black or Asian or Latino or Middle Eastern people feel less human. They are just... made a little uncomfortable by difference.

And so they alienate it.

And they don't realize that they are alienating me. A human being. Somebody who will lie awake at night wondering why they hate her.

Tonight, I am watching the Oscars.

I have watched Seth MacFarlane make jokes about women and blacks as if we are not people with hearts.

I have watched Ang Lee and Samuel Jackson and Halle Berry and Shirley Bassey and Salma Hayek and a dozen others be beautiful and gracious, and I have to think--

--as Ang Lee said--

NAMASTE.

Peace.

Peace.

I still want to punch Seth MacFarlane in the face. A song about Meryl Streep's boobs? Really Seth? Where's the song about Ewan McGregor's dick?

Namaste.

I know you do not mean to hurt me. I know you do not mean to make me feel less than human.

But sometimes you do.

Oh, you do.

And you, Seth, are not the first one.

Comments

Do the films ever show other robots of that type? I'm wondering if they are all the same - and whether the films ever show the designer?

The sequel novels shows other protocol droids, and I seem to recall most of them showed some sort of 'fussiness'. IIRC, at least one was stated as being in-universe based on C3PO (as it was a translator droid for Chewie's nephew until his non-Wookiee friends learned to understand Wookiee), so that complicates matters. Especially as the series was a deliberate 'Star Wars: The Next Generation' (in addition to Chewie's nephew, it also featured Han and Leia's twin kids), so giving C3PO a 'child' in a sense could have been a deliberate choice of the writer.

The Phantom Menace has that a 9-year-old Anakin Skywalker assembled C-3PO out of spare parts so his mother could have help dealing with the aliens that frequented Tatoonie on business. Whether he wrote the programming, or just scavenged that as well, isn't specified. Presumably since other protocol droids exist, the programs are around, or hard-coded into whatever processors are used -- Anakin then wouldn't be a designer as much as modifying existing (non-functional) droids to get one that worked.
Just to jump in, my mother saw an interview with the actor who played C-3PO who said he didn't find out until later that Lucas hated the actor's take on the character. Lucas had based C3PO on a used car salesman, which makes a lot of sense when you pay attention to the dialog (talking all the time, insinuating himself into the conversation, etc.). The actor, being British, took more of a neurotic butler approach, which I frankly think makes more sense for the character's role in the story. I've never bothered to track down the interview for myself, but thought I would offer it as a possible additional data point.