Monday, August 22, 2011

Dear True Blood: Stop appropriating the language of equality movements


There are a lot of reasons I'm losing patience with HBO's True Blood this season:

Down with man-child Eric; bring back Viking vamp. While you're at it, True Blood show runners: Kill the soft focus, soft porn dream sequences and cheesy music.

Marcus, the lank-haired pack leader is not just gross to look at, he is part of True Blood storyline number eleventyjillion that I just don't care about. Focus, Alan Ball, focus!

I didn't think it was possible for Sookie to become more distasteful...yet she has, which makes it more inexplicable that every man in town is chasing after her.

I want Tommy Mickens to go the way of his dingy-drawered daddy Joe Lee. Sleep with the gators, Tommy!

Post-bellum interracial baby killing intrigue...what?

Big sigh...this season is just too much of....something. But I have one criticism that trumps all of these niggles: I am officially over True Blood's appropriation of the language of social justice and its cavalier treatment of race.

There was a time, back in season one of the series, when I hoped that the show was turning phrases like "God Hates Fangs," burning crosses and co-opting the language and imagery of the GLBT and civil rights movements to make some point. Alas, no. Connections are leveraged purely for "edginess" and the points that are made are offensive at best.

Last night, King Bill and PR Queen Nan Flanagan attend a vampire tolerance rally that Bill notices is strangely absent actual vampires, save the two of them. Bill complains that such a gathering is like the civil rights movement without black people. Nan corrects him that "they are called African Americans" and "maybe there would have been less bloodshed if they hadn't been there."

There have to be a thousand ways to explain the politics of fictional supernatural creature-human relations without making comparisons to the history and suffering of real-life groups of people, who have yet to achieve complete equality. Yet, True Blood does this again and again.


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