Question on discussing art/entertainment's effect on political views in Café Society

Whatever you say, but I was interested to learn whether “Kremlin” is a forbidden word in the Café Society sub-forum. That doesn’t appear to be the case. C.K. Dexter-Haven posted this in the Forum Rules thread:

(^that link doesn’t look right, but I’ll post and check.)

What I’m saying is that if you want to make sure no one discusses the connection of a work of art/entertainment (such as Lovecraft Country) with what its audience is currently experiencing in the present day, then I think you have to both explain that a bit more clearly, and, quite possibly, amend Mr. Dexter-Haven’s post in the Forum Rules.
Since this post appears to question a moderator instruction, or at least ask for clarification, it seemed appropriate to move it to About This Message Board. Link to the thread in question:

Thank you for moving this here.
I had already flagged my post for further instructions from the other mods.

A mod note of course is just a note. No record is kept anywhere. It isn’t held against you in any way.

I was just trying to head off a derailing of the thread and admit I might have overstepped.

In fact this was what I asked of the other mods:

Did I overstep here or is it reasonable? It looks like the kind of politicized comment that could easily derail a thread to me. Just a note, not a warning.

Again, no record of mod notes are kept.

Thanks for that additional information. Yes, de-railing of threads is often an annoyance and most people are happy to see moderators step in to prevent it.

I am interested to see what people have to say about this general topic, though. So many movies, books, tv shows etc. not only reflect prevailing political views, but may even shape them (as the Right Hand’s post back in 2005, in the Forum Rules, notes).

Whatever the line is, it certainly is fuzzy; perhaps additional discussion could firm it up a bit.

I agree it is tricky. Discussing the Daily Show or This Week Tonight is pretty much already political.

I think a show like Lovecraft Country which is a timepiece should probably not get involved too much in today’s politics. But it is always difficult. I’m not sure if I should wait for a derailing to happen or try to head it off. And I am very open to discussing it out of the thread.

Okay, thanks, What_Exit.

No mod I but it seems to me that the moderatable aspect is not that it was political but that it was political in a way that was not material to the show. Russian meddling and/or what Russia wants is just not enough on topic.


That would make sense to me if the post in question had been about Russian meddling.

As it was, though, it was a post about the topic of pandering to viewers who might have lived through years of depictions of black people that were either negative, or absent entirely.

Here is is (link to the thread is in the OP):

Obviously readers will judge for themselves. But, again, this wasn’t a post about Russia or its actions; it simply mentioned the current political climate in which one side sees advantage in racial division and/or ginning up racial animus. The argument was that the showrunners, whether by design or inadvertently, had created an entertainment that supported division and animus.

Since this thread is already discussing the Lovecraft Country thread I would like to take the opportunity to ask for clarification on this particular mod note:

Mod Note:
This thread is going to be charged clearly as so much of the show is about racism in America.
Lets keep the snide remarks and veiled insults out of it please. I still don’t have my jack boots so I’m going to plead for civility. I would like to see the thread stay about the show.

Omniscient , your remark was pretty snide and BeagleJesus your reply could easily be taken as an insult. Lets refrain from both please.

Reminder: A Mod Note is just that, a note or an instruction. This is not an official warning or anything we track.

Can you please explain how my reply to Omniscient “could be easily taken as an insult”?

My reply: Hey man, I didn’t broach the subject, I just provided my opinion. If that’s a problem for you I suggest you do a little root cause analysis and take it up with the poster that started down this particular rabbit hole.

From my perspective, since Omniscient didn’t actually address anything I wrote, it seemed pretty obvious that they were taking exception with the direction of the thread (and my opinions in particular) and my comment to them was that I was simply stating my opinion on a subject broached by other posters and that if there is a problem they should figure out who started that particular conversational track and take their beef to them. Your note said you want the thread to stay about the show yet the only comment I have made that wasn’t about the show was this one reply to Omniscient defending myself and telling them to take their beef elsewhere.

I would greatly appreciate it if you could explain how this can “easily be taken as an insult.” Because, to be brutally honest, as the only black person participating in that thread that is at least partially about racism it seems like you are trying to invent an offense just so you can tell me to back off. I’m not saying this is the case, only that the optics aren’t great and I would love it if you could clarify.

It was reported that “If that’s a problem for you I suggest you do a little root cause analysis” was a veiled way to insult Omniscient. Clearly I didn’t agree or I would have posted a warning, but I could see the point enough to ask everyone to keep the discussion about the show and not other posters.

That is all I’m asking.

On a private note, I agree with you about the show as I stated in the thread. I don’t feel it is an over the top display of racism, especially for the time.

I’m not sure what the optics are, I’m trying very hard to be impartial and keep the thread from becoming a problem. And a note is just a note. It isn’t anything tracked.

Thank you for posting the question here. I really am just trying to keep the original thread focused on the show.

All good man. I see where you’re coming from and that thread has the potential to become a mind field so I can understand you counseling caution.

That being said, I don’t see where I even came close to the line and (even though mod notes aren’t tracked) it still feels like I was unfairly maligned due to another poster intentionally modifying my comments (by omission) so that they can take those comments out of context. If my comments were made within the rules of The Dope yet those comments happen to antagonize Omniscient I don’t see where that’s my problem. If you had sent a general cautionary note to everyone in the thread this would be a non-issue. Sadly you felt the need to single me out as some sort of rabble rouser when every post I made in that thread (but one) was on topic and relevant to the discussion at hand.

From my perspective and per your own admission, I did nothing wrong…yet you still felt the need to include me in your note. If Omniscient was mistaken then why not simply tell him to kick rocks? Why include me? Why plead for civility when the only person being uncivil was Omniscient? This may not seem like a big deal to you but it is to me as I don’t understand why I needed to be unofficially warned and chastised when I didn’t do anything that warrants any level of moderator interaction. How many more times do you have to type my name before another non-issue is elevated to an unjustified official warning?

That is why the optics are bad:

  • Black guy says something (within bounds) that upsets a white person
  • White person complains to mods
  • Mods review and determine that no violations have occurred
  • Mods unofficially warn and chastise black person who did nothing wrong…because?

Seriously dude, this whole situation looks like Karen got mad because I was BBQing in the park…Karen called the cops to make me stop…cops show up, conclude I have every right to BBQ in the park but they still ask me to pack up and leave because that will make Karen feel better about the situation. I know that’s not the best analogy but it ain’t too far off either.

You know what? Fair enough and good advice. I am pretty new to this. Please excuse me. I will try to do better.

But in fairness, this isn’t black vs. white. Though unfortunately I can see how you can see it that way.

(nitpick I know). You weren’t singled out I mentioned Omniscient also and first.

It really isn’t a warning. I’m trying to make that as clear as possible. We don’t track notes. We’re not suppose to track notes in fact. It wasn’t meant as a chastisement, just a guidance to both of you and to others posting in the thread.

BTW: If you check my posts as a poster in the thread, I think you’ll see I’m on your side of the argument also.

All right we are starting to go around in circles so I’m going to try and make this my last post.

Omniscient called the mods so that they can put me in my place. Mods show up, determine I haven’t broken any laws yet they make a show of putting me in my place regardless (that is how I interpreted your note). No, I did nothing wrong, I’m not any type of legal trouble and this incident isn’t supposed effect my future on The Dope but you still felt the need to specifically mention me in your note asking for civility. Whether you acknowledge it or not I was still put in my place regardless of the fact that I didn’t do anything wrong. Omniscient was wrong at every step of this situation but in the end he got exactly what he wanted and none of the reasons you have supplied sufficiently answer why I needed to be included in your official moderator commentary.

The thread in question dealt heavily with race and the person who got (unjustly) upset was white and the person they were upset with was a black person saying things about race they disagreed with. It was pretty clear through the brief interaction that the white person wanted the black person to shut up. So you will have to forgive me if I insist that, yes, this very much about black vs. white.

The person who was wrong was white and the person who was not in the wrong was black yet you treated both parties exactly the same. If I can’t expect fair and equal treatment when I haven’t done anything wrong why should I expect you or any other mod to be fair when and if I do cross the line? If make comments about race that are within the bounds of acceptable behavior yet my comments upset a mod what’s to stop that mod from dropping an endless supply of notes telling me to be civil then choosing to escalate the note to an official warning the next time I say something that they disagree with. If another poster reporting my post is all it takes to get you guys to put me in place (regardless of if I am right or wrong) what’s to stop another poster from reporting every post I make?

If I break the rules, punish me. If I cross a line, feel free to chastise and correct me. If I don’t break the rules and/or cross a line (like in this situation) please just let me go about my business and keep my name out of your notes, official or unofficial.

FWIW it is very easy to very confidently misread intent on these boards. I know I have and have been embarrassed when I found out that what I thought was snark and sarcasm was sincere. I also know that I can be clueless sometimes … so I try to tread carefully. Sometimes I even succeed!

@Omniscient’s post to me just read as a bemoaning that the thread was going down a path that was going to be less about the show specifically and more (to his their read) of a GD about race in the media and white SDoper hypocrisy. Not telling the identified Black poster to shut up. Snide yes though. Maybe I’m mistaken. Maybe you were. Maybe he was. What was unmistakable was that interaction had a sizable chance of taking the discussion and thread off the rails. I did not read the note as maligning you in any way and personally appreciate the conversation we are having there and your takes. I read the note as trying to refocus the discussion to being fuzzily CS appropriate.

Well, if I’m going to be the subject here I might as well weigh in. I’ll keep it simple and to the point.

  1. @DSeid is exactly right. The thread was being highjacked into a subject that was more appropriate for The Pit or GD. I signaled that this was unfortunate, and took my leave.
  2. @BeagleJesus decided that I must have some deep-seated latent (or perhaps overt) racist reasons for that opinion. And yes, make no mistake, I interpreted that line he threw back as a not-so-veiled accusation of me being a racist. Trying to stay just this side of the line of a personal insult.

I appreciate that @What_Exit is trying to be conservative in his moderation here, but I think it’s rich that @BeagleJesus is acting like the aggrieved party for receiving a unofficial warning for a personal comment directed at me. Read what I wrote again and tell me exactly how anything I said was even close to a personal attack? A hijack? At best it was dismissive, it doesn’t even raise to the definition of snide since that requires a derogatory nature. I assumed @What_Exit included me in the note simply to avoid the appearance of taking a side.

Those of you actually taking the time to read the entirety of the thread that started this will take note that I didn’t make a single comment about race, racism or the show’s depiction of such, yet I got singled out as having personal issues with race.

@BeagleJesus continues to argue that because he didn’t start the discussion of race that his loaded statements are somehow immune to criticism. Not sure what that’s about.

I suggest you take a closer look. I quoted the entirety of your post in my comment, accusing me of taking anything out on context is a baseless accusation.

All things considered I thought the thread is/was going fairly well. I totally understand that @Omniscient was bemoaning the direction of the thread, sadly instead of taking his beef to the person or persons who started the conversational track that he disliked he decided to direct his snide commentary at me for simply expressing my opinion on the subject. Since the comment was directed at me and I am the only black person participating in that thread and I was expressing some very pro-black opinions its not too far a reach to think he was letting me know that my opinions and my opinions alone were a problem. Why he felt that way I can only guess but so long as I stay within the bounds of acceptable behavior I will not allow my opinions to be silenced just because another poster feels some kinda way about what I write.

I didn’t want to derail the thread into some bullshit so my reply to him was Hey man, I didn’t broach the subject, I just provided my opinion. If that’s a problem for you I suggest you do a little root cause analysis and take it up with the poster that started down this particular rabbit hole. This is just a fancy way of saying if you have a problem with the direction this thing is going then do your research and figure out who took the conversation in a direction you didn’t like and take your beef up with them. For some reason he decided to focus on only a small portion of my reply then somehow manufacture something to be offended about and called the Dope Cops on me to put me in my place. I took exception to this and found it necessary to express my disagreement, thus we find ourselves here.

Sorry chief but this doesn’t even begin to approach reality. You made a shitty, snide little remark directed at me about the direction of the thread and I told you exactly where I thought your comments should be directed. My reply: Hey man, I didn’t broach the subject, I just provided my opinion. If that’s a problem for you I suggest you do a little root cause analysis and take it up with the poster that started down this particular rabbit hole. I can’t even begin to understand how you managed to manufacture an insult and hurt feelings out of those two sentences but maybe root cause analysis means something different from where you’re from. As we have already determined (and confirmed by @What_Exit) what ever you assumed I was saying, you were wrong.

And just so I am clear, I have no problem with a little back and forth in the threads. My comments are never immune from criticism or critique. That’s all part of the fun. But it should be noted that you did not make any comments about the show, the conversational track or the substance of what I wrote. Your ONLY contribution was one unnecessarily shitty little drive by comment then to go running to the mods when I told where you should direct your commentary.

My only beef with any of this bullshit is the fact that you manufactured an offense just so you could call the Dope Cops to come so they could chastise or punish me for an infraction I did not commit. And the fact the @What_Exit complied with your request despite determining that I have not committed any infractions only served to make the situation worse.

I directed my comment at you because a) race is a intrinsic part of the show’s plot, so discussion of it is to be expected and up until your comment it was a CS worthy discussion of the artistic merits and the degree to which it’s exaggerated for effect and b) because your post changed the subject from a discussion of Lovecraft’s racism and the shows commentary on such into a broad criticism of the (very measured and deferential) dissenters in the thread and the SDMB community at large. You want to crusade against hypocrisy and white bias on the Dope, start another thread for it.

As an aside, yes America is racist now and was more racist in the past, but calling the depictions in this show “an accurate depiction” is absurd. It’s a fantasy story, it’s fiction. You’re correct that the other tropes are silly and probably didn’t get adequate scrutiny, but those are fiction too.

The degree to which you’re playing the victim in this thread maybe deserves a little root cause analysis.

I found the repeated calls for historical accuracy of the racial interactions to be confusing and problematic and I wanted to explore why folks felt it was necessary. Especially when faced with the fact that most white folks never call for the same accuracy in a white savior movie. IMHO, one rarely finds themselves with an opportunity to simply ask white people why do you feel this way in this situation but you feel differently in others so I took the opportunity to ask the question. If I recall correctly, one or two posters were comfortable enough to answer the question honestly and the conversation continued to flow and (IMHO) everyone participating had a much better understanding of the position of others.

The fact that you believe me asking a question about a sensitive subject that was very relevant to the topic at hand is a “crusade against hypocrisy and white bias on the Dope” seems to be your interpretation, not mine. And last I checked, you are the only one with that interpretation. That seems like a you problem, not a me problem. The purpose of this site is to allow folks to express their thoughts, feelings and beliefs about a wide variety of topics in an effort to foster conversation. Rest assured that I will continue to ask sensitive questions, especially about race, when I feel they are necessary or relevant to the conversation. Sorry if that doesn’t work for you, but once again, that’s your problem.

And lastly, being unwilling to take shit from people like you doesn’t mean I am “playing the victim.” It means I am unwilling to take your shit and will respond accordingly with great effort to ensure I stay within the bounds of acceptable behavior. Sorry if that doesn’t work for you, but once again, that’s your problem.

Maybe I missed it, but the closest thing to a call for “for historical accuracy of the racial interactions” were my posts, and maybe @Dewey_Finn’s single post. Another single poster used my post as a jumping off point for their thought that having every white be vile was divisive, “ginning-up of separatist hate” … which got no agreement from anyone (including me), but was not concerned about “historical accuracy”.

And you and I had an interchange in which you were very gracious as I tried to clarify that the issue was not my hurt feelings as a white man but, as with Hunters, a concern that taking real tragic history and making it into something cartoonish does harm to awareness of the actual tragic reality that should not be forgotten or confused with fiction. That concern was why I felt it was, well not “necessary”, but worth seeing if my concern was shared by others. It apparently is not. The reactions were mostly posts disagreeing with me, @What_Exit just not seeing what I saw in this show, others defending what I saw as cartoonish conflations as close enough to reality, or explaining that they are more representations of Lovecraft’s racist thoughts, what he would have wanted, than what whad been reality, and your post, initially thinking that my problem was that the portrayal of whites got up in my feelings. You did seem to understand the point I had been trying to make by the next post, which I appreciated (and no apologies were needed).

But your comment later in the thread and here sounds like you still didn’t/don’t understand why I felt such was worth asking and was/are intimating that it is due to some racist agenda, since I have not bemoaned white savior movies.

FWIW I do recall Hidden Figures being called out for its historical inaccuracies too - both the fact that there was no historical person who was the Kevin Costner white knight character (allegedly a composite of several people) and that the systemic racism at Langley in specific was a bit fictionalized and exaggerated. True I said neither because I had known of neither before reading of each here. I don’t think either was done in a cartoonish comicbookized way though. Never saw The Help.

Also FWIW I think that real history can be used without comicbookizing it, even in a comic book medium, in a way that actually encourages awareness of the real history. Watchmen and its treatment of the Tulsa massacre is a good example of that. Comic book on all sides but the massacre itself was presented with what I am understanding to be some historical accuracy, valuing and respecting the history, and thereby raising awareness of its reality to those who did not know of it, and keeping memory of it more broadly alive as part of this country’s shameful and horrific past, not to be forgotten or glossed over.

Speaking about race can be sensitive. I am sorry if my comment or comments somehow offended or sound to you as if they have racist underpinnings. I do try to be open to the possibility that some of my perspectives may be impacted by implicit beliefs but given that I had the same mostly unshared concern about Hunters I do not think such is the case this time.