Yesterday HBO announced a new drama series from David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the guys who write and produce Game of Thrones. The show will be called Confederate, and here’s how HBO describes it:
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.
And then everybody said, “Huh. Well, that could be an interesting show, I guess. Those guys have done a good job on GoT, so we’ll see how this one turns out.”
Just kidding! People are worried and angry about this very problematic development, because it’s 2017 and that’s what we do. Sandra Gonzalez, CNN Money:
…On social media, backlash to the idea began almost immediately, with many objectors decrying what they said was the potentially harmful nature of the premise, considering the divisions that already exist in American politics…
Here’s some of the reaction so far:
give me the confidence of white showrunners telling hbo they wanna write slavery fanfic
— pilot (@pilotbacon) July 19, 2017
They have two black writers joining but Benioff and Weiss are the exec producers. Also the idea is messy whoever writes it. No thanks.
— Ira Madison III (@ira) July 19, 2017
wow, the first page of HBO's Confederate has leaked!!!!!!! excited to share it with you all!! pic.twitter.com/FIaY9wa3KK
— Nicole Silverberg (@nsilverberg) July 20, 2017
Note who says, about HBO’s #Confederate, just ‘give it a chance’ White people. Who have never had to worry about representation
— Jeremy Gaudette (@jerm_me) July 20, 2017
(Never trust anybody who tells you to give anything a chance. They are collaborators.)
— Fusion (@Fusion) July 20, 2017
if hbo is really going to make a godawful show about confederate slaves in an alt-2017 let me save you the trouble here is what happens pic.twitter.com/u5ycC5t2IS
— DOCFUTURE (@topherflorence) July 19, 2017
And so forth.
I realize that as a white man, my opinion on the matter is meaningless, but I’m curious to see how this turns out. It might seem like these guys are making a big leap from dragons and swords to something like this, but GoT has always gotten the human element right. It’s about power, and the things people will do to get it and hang onto it. It’s about moral and ethical compromises. It’s about corruption and vengeance and war and all sorts of other stuff that mankind can’t seem to transcend. For a show with ice-zombies and flying monsters and whatnot, it’s very psychologically realistic. I’m interested to see what these same writers do with a much different premise.
And I’m pretty sure they’re going to depict slavery as a bad thing. Which it is. Sorry to disappoint my alt-right friends yet again, but yes, slavery is wrong.
Then again, Benioff and Weiss are both white. Therefore, they’re either racists or too blinded by white privilege to understand what is and isn’t racist. So that could present a problem.
Even if the show sucks, it couldn’t be worse than The Man in the High Castle. That show started off strong, but then… ugh. Just read the book instead. It’s amazing.