JMSNews
The J. Michael Straczynski Message Archive

 

JMSNews provides an archive of messages posted
by J. Michael Straczynski (JMS).

  Home      Community Forums      Contest      Links      FAQ      About JMS     

RSS Feed  

 Search all Messages

   Sort by: 

This field searches the text of all messages in the archive.

 Message
    From: STRACZYNSKI [Joe]
 Subject: See, here's where I start to have...
      To: GENIE  
    Date: 9/2/1995 5:13:00 PM  

  << Newer  : List :  Older >>

No Thread 


See, here's where I start to have a problem. For starters, I don't do
any thing to be politically correct, or politically incorrect, I do what I do
in any story because that's what the story points me toward. Anybody who says
"It's not necessary" isn't entitled to that judgement, frankly; you don't know
what's necessary to the story. And by framing it in the "is this NECESSARY?"
way is designed to make you defend your position when such defense isn't the
point; is it NECESSARY to have humor? to have a romance? to have correct
science? No, *nothing* is NECESSARY. It's what the writer feels is right for
that scene, that story, that character.

"Oh, well, I saw it, but was all that violence NECESSARY?" This is,
frankly, a BS observation usually offered by someone with an agenda, who
wishes to invalidate the notion of an artistic view and impose some kind of
quota, or objective criterion to what is and isn't necessary for a movie or
film. As far as I'm concerned, the first person to throw this into a
discussion has, frankly, just lost the argument.

Point the second: one of the most consistent comments I get, in email and
regular mail, is the spirituality conveyed in the show, that we have shown,
and will continue to show, tolerance toward religion, even created sympathetic
religious characters. "Thank you for your tolerance," they say...until we
show somebody or some action THEY don't like...and at that point suddenly it's
a lot of tsk-tsking and chest thumping and disapproval; so okay, how about I
just stop all positive religious aspects of the show?

It seems to me, that if I do *all that* with religion, and with thje
(the) simple act of showing maybe ONE PERSON in all the long history of TV
science fiction across 40 years has a different view of life, that the show is
somehow degraded, or downgraded, or dropped in opinion...this simply
reinforces the notion, held by many, that a lot of folks in the religious
right wish to make sure no other perspective or lifestyle is ever shown on
television, at any time, unless in a negative fashion.

The thing of it is, while on the one hand I'm getting praise from
religious folks for addressing spirituality in my series (speaking here as an
atheist), I've gotten flack from others who think it has no place in a SCIENCE
fiction series, and why the hell am I putting something in that goes right
against my own beliefs? "Because," I tell them, "this show is not about
reflecting my beliefs, or yours, or somebody else's, it's about telling this
story, about these people, with as much honesty and integrity as I can summon
up. That means conceding the fact that religious people are going to be
around 260 years from now." Well, fact is, all kinds of people are going to
be around 260 years from now. And what did the anti-religion folks say
specifically about including spirituality in my series? "It's not
*necessary*," they said.

Translation: they didn't like it. Well, tough. It was right for this
story, and this show. And it seems to me rather hypocritical for some folks,
who applaud the show for tolerance, for my standing up to those who want to
exclude religion from TV, to then turn around and say the show is diminished
because it showed that same tolerance...to another group or perspective. I
guess tolerance is only okay as long as it's pointed one way.

You say that as a christian, you think any sex except that between a
husband and a wife to be wrong. Well, as I recall, the bible also speaks
against murder. We've depicted deaths by the hundreds of thousands. (And
we're talking here about the *depicting* of the act, simply showing it, not
the value judgements made after the fact.) Why does the one (which is so
barely hinted at as to be almost invisible) cause the show to be diminished
where the other does not?

My job is not to reinforce your personal political, social or religious
beliefs. My job is not to reinforce MY personal political, social or
religious beliefs. Then it isn't art or storytelling anymore, it's simply
propaganda. My job is to tell this story, about these people, AS people, as
mixed and varied as they are today. And there is no outside objective
criteria as to what is, or isn't *necessary* in a story; that is the sole
province of the author. You may or may not like it. You may or may not
choose to watch it. Just as people who don't like to see religion and god
discussed on TV may dislike it or choose not to watch it.

But you'll excuse me if I see complaints about this one little thing from
the religious side, after all I've done to present religious characters and
the religious life in a positive fashion, to be hypocritical and frankly
somewhat ungrateful. It's as though all this means nothing because of one
thing, one outside-imposed litmus test that disregards anything and everything
else that has been done.

So straight up...if I should stop tolerating or showing viewpoints that
are not my own (spoken as someone who is absolutely straight), then should I
now stop showing religion as well? Because that's what this comes down to.
Is that what you want? Because religion is included at my discretion as well
as anything else on this show. You want me to be less tolerant? Just say the
word.

jms

Site © 2015 Midnight Design Productions  -  Message content © 2015 by Synthetic Worlds  -  Privacy Statement