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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

Evaluating film based on the criteria of diversity can only diminish it. Rather than encouraging people to take a chance and watch films out of their comfort zone, it will instead add more weight to the idea that only certain types of people can, and should, enjoy certain types of films. It also suggests that certain films have authority not because of their artistry, but simply because they are ‘diverse’.

Maren Thom

34 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • CaptDMO

    Why didn’t “Idiocracy” win ALL the awards?
    (including Nobel/Pulitzer)It was incredibly diverse!
    Or was it just a little too close to what “elite” folks post on Twitter, You Tube,and other “special interest” media, daily.

  • Paul Marks

    I would love diversity in films – POLITICAL diversity, some films that have a pro capitalist stance.

    Can we have that please?

    And in schools and universities.

    I could not care less what colour someone is or what their sex is – what I care about is their beliefs, their opinions.

  • NickM

    Consider a movie I have loved since I first saw it over a quarter of a century ago.

    “The Outlaw Josey Wales”.

    Somehow I don’t think that is the “diversity” they’re after is it?

    But it is still about a diverse group making a go of it and standing together against common foes which are mainly and pretty much ultimately the federal government of the USA.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Superman- an illegal alien arrives in America, and pretends to fit in, but goes around as a costumed vigilante, taking the law into his own hands! Why didn’t he join the police force?

  • Fred Z

    I have no idea at all what the fuck that quote is supposed to mean.

    It is syntactically correct and semantically null. It makes exactly as much sense as:

    Twas bryllyg, and ye slythy toves
    Did gyre and gymble in ye wabe:
    All mimsy were ye borogoves;
    And ye mome raths outgrabe.

    It’s simple: “Diversity” is bullshit.

  • bobby b

    ““Diversity” is bullshit.”

    Not completely. There is a benefit to interaction with people from outside of your normal milieu.

    As an example, I, a Norwegian/Swede mongrel, was raised to view Finns as cold, unemotional, depressed, introverted closet drinkers.

    But I met and became involved with some Finns in my life, and learned that they weren’t always merely closet drinkers. Had I never encountered them, I would not know that. My life is richer because of diversity.

    Since so much conflict is driven by ignorance of others, diversity can help cause peacefulness. That is diversity’s value to us.

    But, as in so many areas, we’ve allowed appreciation for the value of what diversity can bring to be subsumed by diversity as an end result – a value – in and of itself. It’s cargo-cultish.

  • For decades, US university admissions have been treating approved diversity (e.g. african-american) as equivalent to 150 points of SAT score, and unapproved diversity (e.g. asian-american) as costing 50-100 points of SAT score. The results of this has only made the university administrators (who benefit from it) more enthusiastic. When students are made to live in a world deliberately constructed to have asian-americans that are statistically above average and african-americans that are statistically below average, while being taught never to dare to admit this daily-encountered statistical reality into their consciousness, this has costs, but the administrators also expect benefits to themselves and their agenda.

    Films are much more immediately commercial than universities, but those who work in the industry also have their personal incentives. I agree with the OP that increasing yet further the PC-ness of films, and making this purpose of them yet more overt, must diminish their quality. However those who support it expect career benefits to themselves and long-term benefits to their agenda.

    Most readers will know Sarah Hoyt’s theory of why failing already-leftish businesses “roll hard left and die” – that this behaviour is in the interests of individuals in a struggling, already-leftish enterprise (e.g. a magazine) even as it guarantees or accelerates the death of that enterprise. So the OP’s sensible point may not change Hollywood’s behaviour even as it becomes blatant.

  • Stuck-record

    Diversity can be marvellous but isn’t an absolute good in itself.

    As Ben Shapiro points out, ‘Which is better?: A ethnic and sexually diverse street gang, or a bunch of straight white doctors?’

    Diversity should be more interested in counting brains than skulls.

  • Paul Marks

    Good point Nick – I like “The Outlaw Josey Wells”.

    Bobby – the stereotype of Finns is that they are heavy drinking (in public as well as private) and incredibly violent when crossed.

    That sounds good to me – my sort of people.

    On a complicated unrelated matter…….

    I suspect, for no particular reason my dears, that the Islamic community will not flourish in Finland in the way that it has in Sweden.

  • Watchman

    In relation to the original article, I have to wonder how Lord of the Rings was successfully made into films (we do not mention the Hobbit moveies, got it?). After all, the main characters were Hobbits, and unless there is a hidden population somewhere (not yet incorporated by multiculturalism) which jumped at the chance to watch themselves on film, then I can’t see how this would appeal to anyone…

    Unless perhaps humans are somewhat more complex than their labels, and have the ability to enjoy things without needing to directly identify? But that would be a silly idea, as obviously it is my skin colour and gentials that define how I interact with everything (OK – that might be about 50% true…).

  • Alisa

    I keep thinking that the reason for all this silliness is that Western societies have just been having it too good for too long – never hungry (unless self-inflicted), never too cold or too hot, never in real physical danger, with much too much free time on everyone’s hands. If I ever wish for Paul’s gloom-and-doom predictions (which I happen to share, although not subject to any particular schedule) to materialize, it’s due to the hope that it just might knock some sense into people.

  • Mr Ed

    So if someone made a film showing say, true events like French Jews in the Waffen-SS defending a German village from a Soviet regiment composed of Germans (not Volksdeutschen, but ‘Reich’ Germans), the Tibetans on the Atlantic Wall at D-Day, the Russians in Vlasov’s Army and the Indians in the Wehrmacht would that win brownie points?

    Or is ‘the message’ never the overt message?

    Is it actually, politicise everything, and get people to be self-critical and a little bit self-loathing?

  • Watchman

    Just realised the flaw in my theory about hobbits – even if they jumped at the chance to see the film, they’d be too short if any humans were sitting in front of them…

    Which clearly disproves the hobbit theory, as not only the first film in the trilogy was successful, so there would have to be repeat viewings.

    Sorry… Yes, it’s Friday afternoon. and I’m bored (and no-one has tried any sort of defence of the f-rating that I can attack – call ourselves a community of contrarians?).

  • Watchman

    Mr Ed,

    Not sure I understand the examples, but people being self-critical is surely good. We do need to question ourselves, and good films do that for us (well, some do – others just make you laugh or engjoy yourself). After all, just because we’re always right, it doesn’t hurt to keep checking…

  • Mr Ed


    Sorry, by ‘self-critical’ I meant it in the Maoist sense, i.e. not striving to improve but striving to condemn oneself for who you are.

    They are simply Maoists, but without enough guns, for now.

  • pst314

    This “diversity” is a fraud: If it were genuine and honest then those who demand it would be pleased at me reading, say, Chinese poetry that was written 800 years ago. But such poetry does not have a Marxist queer message and therefore does not count as “diverse”.

  • Paul Marks

    Mr Ed – in answer to your question.

    A black person is not black if they are not a leftist.

    And a women is not a women if she is not a leftist.

    This is “Hollywood logic” – as long as it is understood by “Hollywood” I mean the Frankfurt School culture that dominates the West.

  • Deep Lurker

    Alisa: Speaking of Lord of the Rings, Frodo said something similar about the Shire. (Looks it up)

    I should like to save the Shire, if I could – though there have been times when I thought the inhabitants too stupid and dull for words, and have felt that an earthquake or an invasion of dragons might be good for them. But I don’t feel like that now. I feel that as long as the Shire lies behind, safe and comfortable, I shall find wandering more bearable: I shall know that somewhere there is a firm foothold, even if my feet cannot stand there again.

  • bobby b

    As a side note, it seems to me that the author has misread the purpose of the “F” rating.

    The “F” rating isn’t applied so that feminists will be encouraged to watch the film.

    The “F” rating is applied so that everyone will know not to watch films that lack the “F” rating.

    It’s a marque of Party approval.

  • Rich Rostrom

    NickM @ March 17, 2017 at 12:04 am: …common foes which are mainly and pretty much ultimately the federal government of the USA.

    No, they’re a gang of renegades very loosely affiliated with the Union Army; the winning side in a long and brutal guerrilla war initiated by the losers. As is often the case, some of the victors become about bad as any of their foes, especially auxiliaries.

    Wales’ enemies are “Jayhawkers” from Kansas – who (as Bruce Catton wrote) “learned to hate slave-holding Missourians out of all reason in the 1850s…” Remember “Bleeding Kansas”? Wales serves with “Bloody Bill” Anderson’s guerrillas, who were fond of scalping the Union men they killed.

    Does this mean Terrill and the Redlegs aren’t bad men? Of course not. What it does mean is that their crimes in the film are primarily acts of private vengeance, not official tyranny.

  • Rich Rostrom

    Mr Ed @ March 17, 2017 at 2:42 pm:

    … the Tibetans on the Atlantic Wall at D-Day…

    There were two Koreans, but not any Tibetans, AFAIK. (There may have been Kalmucks, who are Buddhists with allegiance to the Dalai Lama. They live on the lower Volga, and are the only “native” Buddhists in Europe.)

  • Thailover

    Realize that “diversity” is part of the Political Leftist jargon, i.e. Orwellian backwards-speak. It doesn’t actually mean diversity, it means conformity, as in, everyone must subscribe to their ideology of Minority Supremacy to “even the playing field” with those dastardly evil white western (and probably christian) male patriarchs. If the cast of a play is 99% black, they would applaud it for being “diverse”. Realize the hypocrisy when the political Left want a) “diversity”, whilst also b) declaring the preachment that everyone is actually the same (identical) under the skin and genitals. This is why they insist that a wage disparity between the sexes MUST indicate external prejudice rather than being merely the result of different people BEING DIFFERENT and thus making different lifestyle choices and resulting in different consequences. This is also why if you disagree with them, you must be a racist, sexist bigot. Because in their universe, to say that, for example, the sexes are different is to say that treating women differently to men, when EVERYONE is really the same underneith the skin and genitals, is to be sexist.

  • Thailover

    pst314, as Thomas Sowell said, “The next time some academics tell you how important diversity is, ask how many Republicans there are in their sociology department.”

  • Thailover

    “Is it actually, politicise everything, and get people to be self-critical and a little bit self-loathing?”

    Yes. They’re not motivated by the plight of the losers, but rather by their hatred of the winners, and, unfortunately, I think this is ingrained into us as a social/tribal species. Quick example:
    Bob the billionaire gives a million dollars to a cancer ward but Bob never feels the effect/impact in his own wallet and soon forgets the gesture, focusing on more immediate challenges. Meanwhile, hungry Steve gives his last $5 to someone holding a sign on a street corner when he doesn’t know where his next dollar will come from. Which is more moral?

    Most would say it would be Steve because he now faces the consequences of giving away his last $5. What we miss is that Bob managed to help countless victims of cancer and their families, whilst Steve’s money is just another 5 bucks handed over to a random panhandler.

    The moral lesson here is that what most people consider moral criteria is Steve’s SUFFERING, his self-inflicted depravation rather than the degree of, or number of people actually helped by these charitable offerings. Many if not most would not consider Bob’s actions moral criteria at all, because to be moral is to suffer, yet to be a fat-cat and comfortable disqualifies one from moral consideration.

    IMO, we must overcome such zero-sum flatlander tribal mindset if we are to become an enlightened species. Personally, I consider Ayn Rand’s Objectivism to be The Philosopher’s Stone.

  • bobby b

    “The moral lesson here is that what most people consider moral criteria is Steve’s SUFFERING, his self-inflicted depravation rather than the degree of, or number of people actually helped by these charitable offerings”

    Wasn’t it in Luke that Jesus talks about the giving of two small coins by the poor widow as being more magnificent than the giving of fortunes by the wealthy? “Giving from her lack . . . ” and all that?

  • Thailover

    Bobby B, yes indeed. Altruism is at the heart of Christianity, even to the point that “mammon” (the creation of personal wealth) was so vilified that by the middle ages, it was (mis)understood to be an actual demon.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Wrong again! The heart of Christianity is the Golden Rule, that you should treat your neighbour, even if he/she was a mixed-race Samaritan, as you would like to be treated. Or have you forgotten Jesus’ parable of The Good Samaritan?

  • bobby b

    And still wrong! 😆 The heart of Christianity is self-interest.

    One doesn’t practice altruism, or the Golden Rule, in a vacuum.

    One does so in order to impress God, to get God on one’s own side, to be able to enter into God’s heaven.

    The Bible makes it explicit – one does these things for a reason, and the reason is to convince God to like you.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Does that mean that our two ‘wrongs’ make a heavenly right? Good to know!

  • Laird

    Not being a Christian, I could have this a little confused, but my understanding is that under most Christian sects all that’s necessary to get into God’s heaven is to accept Jesus Christ as one’s savior (possibly coupled with absolution or contrition in some form). Given that, all is forgiven*. Which means that you can lead as despicable a life as you choose as long as by the end you have repented. Sounds like a pretty good deal; it just presents a bit of a timing risk.

    * With some possible complications relating to “mortal” or “eternal” sins, depending upon the sect.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Gee, Laird, that is not what Jesus seems to have said. Most Churches do seem to think that you need a membership card from their exclusive club, and you will then be let through the pearly gates, but Jesus talked a lot about what you do, as being what matters. The Good Samaritan never attended a Jewish synagogue, nor would he have been let in, but his behaviour and kind-heartedness made him a role model, and Jesus seems to be indicating that the Samaritan would get into heaven, whereas the purity-minded Jews who ignored him might not make it, since they weren’t good neighbours. Indeed, if you look at the parables, there is no justification for the last-minute repentance scam. One of the thieves with Jesus is supposed to have repented, and Jesus tells him ‘I tell you today that you will be with me in paradise’. The word ‘today’ has been interpreted as an immediate pardon, but Jesus could just be telling him that he is on the right track for getting into paradise, some time. My general rule is that something should be in two or more gospels before I’ll think about trusting it.

  • bobby b

    Rather large doctrinal fight about this.

    One branch does hold strongly to the “truly embrace Christ as you die and be saved” line of thought. Other branches view this mostly as an incorrect tool to bring as many into compliance as possible even at the last moment, arguing that such a view places the power of salvation in man’s hands, which they say is clearly wrong – it’s in God’s hands always, and a calculated last-minute acceptance won’t fool God, who sees all and knows your mind. (Although a sincere one might help convince Him.)

    The first epistle of John contains an extensive list of ways to tell if you are moving in the right direction in the works of your life so as to deserve salvation. John says “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Meaning, of course, that salvation is attained as a process, throughout life. It’s an interesting list, which might as well be entitled “Things To Do To Impress God.”

    Anyway, the point of Christian altruism seems to be mostly unaltruistic. “Be selfless so that you may be saved.” (Unless you’re a Calvinist, and then who cares what you do when you’ve already got a ticket?)