Tuesday, April 22, 2014

If you're outraged about this Sunday's Game Of Thrones, I have a question.



I think I'm pretty safe in my assumption that, given the very passionate discussion about Sunday night's Game Of Thrones, you've already seen the episode "Breaker Of Chains" and come down firmly on one side of the fence or you don't really care one way or the other. So I'm just going to go right on past the what happened and why and what I thought about it and all of that because that's all been done.

What I want to do is ask a question regarding SeptGate -- my name for it to discuss the where not the why, since the why has been discussed.

If you're one of the people who has been upset by the events in the Sept, I'm sure you've shared your thoughts online or you've told someone or you've raged about it. Maybe you wrote about it. Maybe you decided never to watch the show again because of what happened. There's no doubt that people are upset and the story has picked up steam. When GRRM weighs in, you know this has hit a certain level.

But, here's what I want to ask and I hope you'll bear with me and hear it in the genuine spirit meant.

What do you want someone to do?

I understand the desire to rage on the internet. Lord knows I do it. I rant just like everyone else. But, I also do what I can to look for a solution, I ask questions, I look to create change. Because my ranting is only going to do so much and, in the end, I know it's just me blowing off steam.

In this case, however, it feels like people are upset and the event they're upset about has already happened. I mean, we can't retcon the scene in question. Whether it was intentional, whether it was badly edited, whether the creators totally fucked up on what they were trying to portray, it happened and all of the ranting doesn't change that.

What do you want?

Do you want an apology? Do you want them to admit it was rape? Do you want the show cancelled? Do you want to get D & D to donate proceeds to rape education? Do you want them to know you'll never watch the show again?

My point is this. You can rage. I'm not going to take that away from you. But the odds are good that your angry voice is going to blend with the others and GRRM and D & D will feel like there's so much to address that they can't address anything and your outrage will just be another bump in the road of internet outrage until something happens again.

You being angry is just you being angry and people will still argue with you and disagree with you and you'll feel as unheard as you feel now. If you decide what you want and ask for it, maybe you'll be unheard but you're used to that already.

But what if you're heard and your voice makes a difference and that outrage creates a change?

We've all been saying it recently. Outrage is all over the internet and we're all tired of it. It's exhausting and it's every day.

What I want to know is what you intend to do about it?

Does that make sense?



p.s. I really and truly have no interest in rehashing the debate about what happened and I won't tolerate people bashing others in the comments. It's a serious question and a serious conversation. I'd like to have it.


7 comments:

  1. Besides portrayals of rape on screen bothering me personally, I get that there's a lot of fucked up stuff in Game of Thrones.
    I haven't read past the first book so until all the outrage, I had no idea what really happened in the book and assumed it was written as a rape scene.
    What's INCREDIBLY DISTURBING to me is reading how the director didn't think that was a rape. It makes me wonder how many women he may have raped. And it makes me angry to think of how INSISTING it wasn't rape contributes to rape culture saying, by default, that's what a woman looks like when she's saying no but means yes. NO. That's what it looks like when a woman says no and is IGNORED AND RAPED.
    From what I've read, this scene HAS nuance in the book, and while still fucked up, nuance fucking matters if what you're trying to do is create a scene that is NOT A RAPE SCENE.
    If rape is what you were going for, then that's what you're going for. But saying that wasn't rape and making any claim that Cersei had agency within that scene is fucking insane.
    And I don't even know what I would want them to do about it. What I'm worried they'll do is NOT address further in the show and NOT have it negatively impact Jamie and Cersei's relationship and basically show him raping her was no big deal for either of them.

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  2. I don't watch or read GoT, so when the controversy hit, I wasn't fully aware of what's going on. So I can't comment on the show or books themselves, and my knowledge of the controversy is an outsiders. My blunt take is that the scene was a rape scene, differing from the books, and the discussion/handling of it by the director and GRRM are dodging it and making it worse. If you gotta ask if it was rape . . . it's rape.

    Now, to the thesis of your post, which is one that has been on my mind for some time as well - outrage.

    Outrage is an understandable reaction to many things - including this incident. But your question is appropriate - after the outrage what gets done? Outrage does not provide us with an endgame aimed at a possible solution- and as nothing is solved, there is more outrage.

    Our media feeds on outrage (and being outrageous) but does little to offer solutions - after all solutions don't feed outrage.

    My take is this is that those of us who are concerned about anything really should:
    * Accept they're outraged. It's human.
    * Ask what has outraged them specifically.
    * Decide on what they want to do with it - what is the end result?
    * Organize to achieve it.
    * Along the way, other potential areas of activism will also present themselves.

    Thanks for the post and the chance to participate in this important discussion.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for answering, Steve. You make some excellent points.

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    2. I'll actually be covering this next week at MuseHack, and expanding on my thoughts.

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  3. I'm kind of confused by your premise. I mean, I get the idea that anger should be constructive when it can be and that if we should be proactive about the kind of change we wan. But I've seen a lot of very nuanced criticisms of the scene published on a lot of different websites, and that, to me, is more than just "rage." Analysis of media influences the creation of that media, even despite the ephemeral nature of the Internet. Even if nothing is addressed on Game of Thrones, having this kind of discussion is still useful. It teaches readers about rape culture and that people who tell stories in a problematic way are not exempt from criticism. It teaches potential filmmakers and storytellers the importance of nuance, on not relying on a certain type of objectifying and dehumanizing trope in your work, and that authorial intent isn't always the most important thing in a close reading.

    And that's what I want, more than anything else. I want readers to walk away thinking, "That was fucked up, and when *I* am writing my television show, I am going to try not to be as oblivious about how I portray my fucked up things." Hopefully that will extend to D&D for future seasons as well, and hopefully they'll acknowledge that they could have handled the scene in question better someday. But more than anything else, I want us as a society to move away from those pervasive and dangerous tropes TOGETHER, and we can't do that without talking about them openly.

    But now I have a question for you: where are you seeing what you would describe as "rage?" Are you talking specifically about Twitter, or Tumblr, or website comment threads? Where are you seeing anger that you would consider misplaced?

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    Replies
    1. Victoria,

      It's been pretty much anywhere I've looked the last couple days and it's loud. But I could also just feel overwhelmed by it.

      And I appreciate what you said. I suppose I tend to look towards more direct action. I'm not taking away anyone's right to be angry. I just feel like doing something, even writing an angry email, is a forward motion that might create change.

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    2. I think any constructive action is a good idea as it encourages action. Action is a habit.

      I think Victoria makes a good point that deconstructing things is a good form of action as people analyze, understand, and learn from the experience.

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