Diversity of Disability

Structures of power, marginalization and oppression value certain permutations of human existence over others. This plays out in the real world in countless ways. It becomes cultural norms that are displayed, reinforced and changed in media. While there are any number of issues with disability representation, today will be about the diversity of disability. Let’s not waste any time and jump into it.

On some level, being disabled means that the world isn’t made for you; that some part of you isn’t compatible with the physical structure of the world. There are numerous ways in which someone can be disabled, and even more ways in which different causes can have the same end result. When it comes to media, the most meaningful distinction with causes is being born with a disability versus developing it later in life.

These are radically different experiences, and have radically impact on people. Yet by and large stories will have characters who became disabled, not those who were born disabled.* It’s easy to frame these characters as tragic, how they were stricken down and how they’re trying to overcome this problem. It hits all the emotional beats and has a hint of inspiration porn mixed in. Not only that, but it’s easy to think about how these characters did or didn’t deserve this, how they were just like you and now they’re different. People who were born with disabilities though? They were shuttered away from society and written off, killed off, for most of human history. Those stories deserve to be told, need to be told.

But this isn’t to take away from people who did become disabled after they were born. Their stories matter too; but their stories must be more than clichés for the abled to feel good about themselves. We need to embrace the diversity of disability in all its forms in ways that matter to the disabled.

While it makes sense to treat disability as one broad tent, those who are inside the tent should understand and celebrate the degree of diversity within the tent. Next week, I’ll start looking back on 2015. Till next time.

 

*I am hard pressed to think of disabled characters but one that always stand out is Toph Beifong from Avatar; the Last Airbender, who is wonderful.

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Evil is not Stupid

SXSW has been in the news for its decisions regarding an anti-harassment panel; specifically permitting a totally not Gamergate panel as a supposed counterweight to the harassment panel and then cancelling them both for poorly defined reasons. You can read Arthur Chu’s account here and Leigh Alexander’s take here if you’re unfamiliar with what’s happened so far. (Events are still unfolding) While this is important, I’ll leave discussion of it to other people who are better suited to do so. Instead, there was something else about this whole thing that I wanted to talk about: Chris Kluwe’s denunciation of the original decision, which you can read here.

Overall, it’s a strong piece, but when reading it one can’t help but notice the following paragraph:

I read this, slammed my head against the wall for an hour, snorted half a bottle of bleach, force-fed myself eighteen pounds of lead-based paints, and still couldn’t approach the depths of sheer bloody-minded imbecility it must have taken to put those words together in that particular order.

It stands out because it’s disconnected from the themes of the piece. It stands out because of how It stands out because of how ableist it is.

The notion that the organizers of SXSW are developmentally disabled, or the equivalent thereof, as the source of their cowardice is patently absurd. They knew what they were doing, and if there was any disconnect between intention and actions, it’s not because they’re stupid, it’s because they’re ignorant. If you are less forgiving of the organizers then they’re not ignorant; they know exactly what they’re doing and don’t care. Regardless, the end result is cowardice and evil.

Evil isn’t stupid. Evil can function with ignorance, but that isn’t a requirement. Evil can function with apathy, but that isn’t required either. Evil requires active, malicious action. It solidifies itself through systems of oppression and marginalization that benefit those who do harm. These systems then use ignorance and apathy to prop itself up as people who have vested interests, or are led to believe that they have vested interests, prop it up. Action, which manifests as violence, is knowingly taken to defend these systems.

Attributing cowardice and malice to a lack of an intelligence is offensive. It infantilizes the opposition and makes it quite clear what you think of the disabled. If we want to make the internet a safe space then ableism is one of the things we must work to end.

And the Future Looks So Bleak: the Lack of Optimistic Scifi on TV

The Golden Age of TV, the Television Renaissance, or whatever you want to call the upsurge in quality for the better part of the past decade has been marked by several common denominators, grittiness being at the top of the list. This works well enough in shows that are striving for verisimilitude or some approximation of reality as it enables non-traditional stories to be told. There is a different effect on science fiction however, while other genres are able to tell more stories, it narrows the narratives that can be told.

Shows like ‘Breaking Bad’ or ‘Orange is the New Black’ have received part of their critical acclaim due to their use of societal issues that wouldn’t come up in more traditional media; toxic masculinity in the case of the ‘Breaking Bad’ and intersectional feminism in the case of ‘Orange is the New Black’. These shows are that way because traditional narratives about the real world don’t permit these things to be acknowledged. Science fiction may have its own host of traditional narratives, but they’re not tied to the modern day in the same way. It can raise topics in a way that other shows can’t, but they don’t. Instead, they have also embraced being gritty.

So what exactly am I talking about? Think about the scifi shows on television today. Now exclude the ones set in the modern day such as ‘Person of Interest’ and what does that leave? By my count, there’s ‘Defiance’, ‘The 100’, ‘Dominion’ and ‘Doctor Who’. I’ll be ignoring ‘Who’ on the grounds of not knowing much about it. All of these shows are post-apocalyptic. ‘Defiance’ wants to be a space western meets ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘The 100’ is downright fatalistic and ‘Dominion’ is about angels trying to murder humanity. If you take a more historical look, it doesn’t get much better. NuBSG started out as keying in on the zeitgeist of post 9/11 America, turning into an argument for maltheism. Stargate as a franchise became darker and edgier as it went on. ‘Star Trek: Enterprise’ may have had its problems, but being Star Trek in name only wasn’t one of them. Yet at the same time, in order to find a mainstream scifi show that wasn’t epressing on some level went off the air a decade ago. Why?

There are a number of reasons for this shift. Part of this is a general backlash against Star Trek and wanting to tell different stories. Another part is a general disinterest in that kind of aesthetic and a desire for more varied sets and special effects.. This general move also matched the zeitgeist. On one hand, we’ve become more inclusive. On the other hand, there are countless structural problems that make any outlook on the future bleak. It leaves our capacity to think of a better future underdeveloped and leaves us thinking that all roads lead to the apocalypse. Utopian science fiction, even optimistic science fiction is something that can be done, so the question becomes how?

The seemingly obvious answer to this is to make another Star Trek series. As the rights for the shows and the movies are split between Paramount and CBS; there’s no reason why a TV series set in the original timeline, after the Dominion War, can’t happen. This split is also the only conceivable way that an optimistic Star Trek series could be made given the directions of the new movies, but that’s a different discussion. I find this answer to be unsatisfying though. Star Trek has built up a number of idiosyncrasies that make the franchise special, but also mean it’s not what I want when we’re trying to revive the idea of optimistic science fiction.

Star Trek has a lot of continuity built up, and while that continuity was developed on the fly, there is a level of cohesion that makes it hard to write in. The best example of this is are the Klingons. It’s one thing for them to be an analogy for the Soviet Union, it’s quite another for them to space Vikings, devoid of any meaningful real world analogy. And it’s Star Trek, how are you not going to use Klingons, or Vulcans or any other iconic species? While the timeline could be jumped a few hundred years and an Enterprise is exploring a new part of space, it would eventually have continuity problems in that Star Trek doesn’t really map well to the current zeitgeist.

The idea that the Federation is paradise is accepted, but looking at the Federation as presented means that paradise has a lot of asterisks. Star Trek is firmly bioconservative, a ban on genetic augmentation on one hand and the Borg on the other show this. Such a show would be hamstrung in addressing one of, if not the biggest, trends in scifi today. Not only that, but it’s idea of growth and spreading paradise is disturbing as it assimilates everyone in its path, erasing cultures outside of quirks. Ideas about paradise and diversity have grown beyond a homogenizing force as you’re subsumed into a paradise that reads as an ideal liberal America. Which isn’t to say that I’m against the idea of another Star Trek series, but such a series would be uniquely Star Trek, its existence wouldn’t magically fix the problem. Nor should it, there are a multitude of quality TV shows out there, why can’t optimistic scifi have even half as many takes as post-apocalyptic gritty scifi?

So do I want, in broad strokes at least? Diversity of human characters, aliens are fine, but they’re no substitute for actual human representation. Not only that, but this diversity can’t be tokenism or left hanging in the background. If a character isn’t straight or nonwhite or disabled then it shouldn’t be the focus of a very special episode or tokenism; it should be normalized and apparent. It should be about good people doing good things. Those two things as a basis and there are lot of directions you can go and a lot of ways to fill in the blanks.

The future may look bleak, but it doesn’t have to. Till next time.

 

Ableism in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is one of the most memorable sci-fi shows of the 90s and more than 20 years after it first aired it’s still being discussed. Despite its flaws, DS9 is engaging with its deep setting and characters that still merit discussion. One of these flaws is the show’s ableism, or what would be generally described as the show’s disabled erasure.  Now granted, most shows have this problem; what makes DS9 stand out is that it is a part of the Star Trek franchise and Star Trek is socially progressive utopian scifi so this ableism and disabled erasure is far more important.

So if there are no disabled characters in the main cast, then this naturally raises the question of what is this post going to talk about? While there is a disabled character with Gen. Martok, a single supporting character with a purely cosmetic disability presumably as the result of combat isn’t terribly supportive. Also the fact that Geordi, a single character, existed on a show in the same franchise aired at the same time doesn’t count for anything in this discussion. Instead, it would be far more helpful to look at specific episodes: 2×06 -“Melora”, 5×16 “Dr. Bashir, I Presume?”, 6×09 “Statistical Possibilities” and 7×05 “Chrysalis”. So if you haven’t seen the show, or are in the process of watching the show, these are the big spoiler points and you have been warned. At the same time I’m going to assume some familiarity with the characters for the sake of brevity. I’ll cover the first two episodes this week and the second half next week.  Let’s jump into it.

Melora

Doctor Bashir ends up falling in love with a new officer when he develops a way for her to function in a high gravity environment. Meanwhile, Quark receives a death threat from one of his former associates. Memory Alpha summary

Plot Summary: This episode is a Very Special Episode about the disabled and wastes no time in establishing that as Dr. Bashir’s voice over talks about how Melora is the first of her species to join Starfleet and requires special accommodations due to her growing up on a low gravity planet, as we then cut to Bashir and Dax tinkering with a wheelchair. As they go to meet her they encounter O’Brien as the three of them discuss the difficulties that Melora will have in navigating the station. O’Brien asks why they can’t just transport her everywhere, and we are informed that Melora didn’t use anything other than the basic accommodations and that this is extraordinary. Bashir, being Bashir is clearly smitten with the idea of Melora that he has gained from reading records.

Our first shot of Melora is her struggling to make it out of the landing pad and is greeted by Bashir and Dax. They exchange greetings and Melora doesn’t put up with infantilizing crap as she takes the wheelchair, heads to her quarters and we get the opening credits.

The next scene is rehashing much of the previous scene, only with Sisko in the loop until Melora appears. And the conversation continues, which can mostly be summarized as Melora not taking any of their crap and Dax being assigned to go with Melora.

Bashir, still being Bashir, decides to check in on Melora off the clock. Melora apologizes for her speech and Bashir responds by being a patronizing ass, claiming that “all of these broad shots you fire. They’re your way of keeping the rest of the universe on the defensive, has to be.” This somehow has an effect on Melora and they go out for dinner. Melora again shows her assertiveness by getting into argument, in Klingon, over the quality of the food after Julian had ordered.

The next morning, Dax goes to Melora’s quarters and no one is there. It turns out  that Melora had fallen while retrieving additional supplies. Melora is taken to the infirmary where we get another conversation between her and Julian about Melora’s drive to independent and how “we all have to depend on one another in space” as it’s important that being able to count on one another is a two-way street. They leave the infirmary and we see where most of the effects budget for this episode went as they float in Melora’s chambers and become closer.

What follows is a sequence of Bashir figuring out a way for Melora to be able to function in normal gravity in a fine example of Star Trek’s technobabble, that eventually has Melora be stricken by second doubts about the procedure as it radically change her life and make her an outcast from home.

I’ve been neglecting to mention the B Plot with Quark as it isn’t terribly relevant to the discussion at hand and it’s fairly generic. Fallit ends up taking Quark, Dax and Melora hostage with the situation being resolved by Melora turning off the gravity and using it to her advantage. The episode ends with Melora and Bashi having a heart to heart as she decides to not take the treatment while Klingon opera in the background.

Analysis:  This episode is about disability and the way in which it is set up has to be addressed before anything else. While using an alien species to convey the isolation that the disabled feel from society has a certain logical appeal to it, this approach is also offensive. Using a fake disability instead of a real one just furthers the Othering of the disabled and reduces any sort of meaningful commentary that this could have to be toothless and abstract. In the future, disabled people aren’t an accepted part of the human experience, they’re relegated to an alien analogy. The ultimately meaningless nature of this allegory is reinforced by the circumstances of Melora’s ‘disability’ being the product of her species means that the entire plot of ‘curing’ her is packed with ramifications that a real disabled person wouldn’t face in a similar situation. While the premise is flawed and problematic, it’s not the only noteworthy thing in the episode.

Melora as a character is compelling; she’s as competent as any member of Starfleet and doesn’t take any of the patronizing nonsense that the other characters say with every other line. While this is acknowledged on some level, Melora points out “the truth is there is no ‘Melora’ problem until people create one”. Yet, this callout is not registered by the other characters as they keep engaging in that behavior. In fact, Melora’s outspoken behavior, despite the perfectly logical reasoning “sometimes they make me feel like a carnival attraction, so usually I prefer to keep everyone out” is completely ignored. Bashir getting through that exterior and having her warm up is supposed to show what? Bashir is a nice guy? Melora should just accept the everyday infantilization that she experiences as no big deal? That said behavior from others is fine because they mean well? There’s no good answer to this as the premise itself is bad.

A lot of the dialogue that the regulars are given is patronizing, and it’s not really worth really worth recounting as it is little more than mundane microaggressions. Bashir’s line about how extraordinary it is that Melora eschews anything but the basic accommodations required.  There’s nothing extraordinary or inspirational, it’s called living your life. The only way in which such a lifestyle is extraordinary is if you assume that people, especially the disabled, are lazy leeches who choose to live with their handicaps. This is brought up in response to O’Brien asking why she doesn’t just use the transporter to move around, which raises the perfectly reasonable counterpoint of why doesn’t the Chief use the transporter to move around the station? The question is ridiculous.

All in all, this episode is not good. It starts from bad but well-meaning assumptions and doesn’t question them. Melora is convincing as a disabled character to a large degree but that seems to be by virtue of Melora being given all the words that a disabled person would say, but zero understanding of those words. Any virtue it has in spite of itself and at the end of the day doesn’t do anything more than make the abled feel better about themselves. The nicest thing I can say is that it not a complete blueprint of what not to do. While this is the only episode about the disabled in such an explicit manner; it is not the only episode that touches upon the disabled and ableism.

Dr. Bashir, I Presume

Doctor Lewis Zimmerman arrives on Deep Space Nine to use Bashir as the model for his new Long-term Medical Hologram, but his past could unveil a dark secret which Bashir has carried since childhood.-Memory Alpha summary

Plot Highlights:  Bashir and O’Brien are playing darts when they are approached by Dr. Zimmerman, who wants to use Bashir as the model for the next generation of the EMH. In order to develop an accurate model, Dr. Zimmerman seeks to conduct a series of in-depth interviews with the people in Bashir’s life. Bashir makes a point of asking Zimmerman to not interview his parents, which is ignored in the name of the project.  Julian is unhappy bbut civil about the violation in front of the rest of the crew.

Once they are alone however, it is clear that there is an issue about a ‘little secret’ that has caused this gulf of resentment.  A secret that is conveniently stated to the Bashir hologram while O’Brien and Zimmerman are off to the side, Bashir is genetically enhanced. Bashir and O’Brien have a heart to heart over this revelation. O’Brien concerned about the violation of trust and the official repercussions while Bashir reveals a part of his self-loathing as well the circumstances surrounding his augmentation.   Bashir was severely developmentally challenged, “unable to tell a dog from a cat or a house from a tree” as well as physical problems prompted his parents to have “accelerated critical neuropathway formation” as a new Bashir was made. His issues aren’t just the stigma of being an Augment but also how he’s a new person. Julian is convinced that he’ll be removed from Starfleet.

Bashir’s father is insistent upon coming up with a proactive plan of dealing with this while Julian is resigned to his fate. He’s convinced that’s a fraud and that his parents replaced him, without giving him a chance. His parents, on the other hand, did it out of love and frustration that they couldn’t do anything to help their struggling son.

An agreement is reached, Bashir’s father is sent to prison in exchange for Julian being able to stay in Starfleet. The justification for genetic augmentation being illegal is given as,

200 years ago we tried to improve the human species through DNA resquencing. And what did we get for our troubles? The Eugenics Wars. For every Julian Bashir that can be created there’s a Khan Singh waiting in the wings, whose ambition and thirst for power along with this intellect. the law against genetic engineering provides a firewall against such men

The last scene is a reconciliation of sorts between Julian and his parents while the episode ends with O’Brien and Julian playing darts.

            Analysis:  Bashir secretly being an Augment is a good example of allegorical scifi. The show never tries to map being an Augment to anything in particular. Instead, it’s about being closeted, an idea that isn’t just limited to sexuality but also invisible disabilities.  This idea gives the episode some emotional weight, just enough resonance so that Alexander Siddig’s performance in this episode hits all the right notes.

I often describe Star Trek as the product of Gene Roddenberry being a strange hippy and the bioconservatism is one of the things that come to mind. This episode tries to deal with the idea of genetic augmentation, an idea introduced in the original series, and play around with it. Transhumanism, bioconservatism and disability is a complicated issue and this episode does the best given the context. The fact that Bashir was only augmented because of his unspecified developmental issues makes it instantly sympathetic. The vagueness of Julian’s condition avoids any real world discussion of eugenics but also makes it hard to create an understanding of what is allowed. The fact that genetic enhancement is permitted in the case of serious birth defects, raises the following questions of what constitutes a serious birth defect and if Julian didn’t have a birth defect, what was his condition?  If it is a birth defect, then what is serious enough? If it isn’t a birth defect, then it’s some other problem and who cares? A disability being a birth defect compared to something else shouldn’t make a difference. Instead, there’s an arbitrary line drawn in the sand and if your disability is on the wrong side, then you get some tech and are told to deal with it. This answer is less than satisfactory.

In context, this is justified by the fear of another Khan Singh, a man worse than Hitler, In order to understand Star Trek, it’s important to understand that a lot of Federation culture, or at least human culture, is a result of cultural posturing and collective cultural trauma from humanity’s history of Khan and the Eugenics War/WWIII. It’s somewhat strange, and the bioconservatism is patronizing, but it is part of the setting. This episode could have been better, but those ways would have been ultimately minor. ‘Dr. Bashir, I Presume’ works on a fundamental level that ‘Melora’ did not, the basic story and character interactions hold up.

Next week, I’ll keep talking about ableism, and Augments, in Deep Space Nine with the episodes ‘Statistical Possibilities’ and ‘Chrysalis’. Till next time.

The Ouroboros of Anti-Ableist Stories

Ableism is quite an insidious thing. At its most benign, it’s a series of slurs and bigotry embedded into our language. At its worst, it stands for the devaluation and dehumanization of human life that can lead to things like self-loathing on the part of the disabled and violence against them. Anti-ableism is devoted to the deconstruction of these ideas and the reclamation of human dignity in all spheres of life. Today I’ll be talking about anti-ableism in narratives.

First, it’s important to lay out some groundwork. I am disabled and this is written with the disabled in mind. In this case it means that this post is primarily for the disabled. As such, an explanation of what ableism is or how it’s coded into society isn’t terribly relevant. Nor do I presume to speak for all, or most disabled, this is just my opinion.

There is a certain class of story that revolves around the main character being a part of a marginalized group, usually disabled or MOGAI, where the story revolves around their marginalized status and it end with a sort of coming out or acceptance of who they are. These stories are important, incredibly important to their intended audience, but the scope is narrow. A lack of stories featuring disabled characters as people who have dealt with their internalized ableism and are simply people, dealing with external ableism and whatever the plot is, are far rarer. Or stories with disabled characters in fantastical or scifi settings are even rarer. There are a lot of reasons for this, and a few of them are more worthy of discussion than others.

Yes, ableism is widespread. Yes, people who are concerned with diversity in media and intersectionality may have limits to their intersectionality that preclude the disabled. Yes, these kinds of stories are new and the fact that they exist at all is progress. At the same time though, it reveals the boundaries of our collective paradigm. We spend so much time getting over this hurdle that it’s hard to see what comes after that hurdle. The question then becomes what does exist after that hurdle?

Resolving internalized ableism is important but that internalization didn’t come from nowhere; these are attitudes and beliefs that are ingrained into society. Stories about a reformation of society short of apocalyptic measures aren’t terribly compelling outside of being a fictionalized guide to reform. This leaves stories set in a futuristic setting, which are rare. There is also the question of transhumanism relates to ableism, but that’s a different discussion. Even then these futuristic stories can still focus on overcoming internalized ableism. This is rather bleak, as it shows a lack of capability to imagine a world without ableism. This bleakness this hurdle needs to be overcome. Such a bleak outlook on eliminating the structures of power and oppression that define modern society is not unique to ableism, but the lack of worlds without it is sad. An inability to move past this hurdle means that these stories will be an ouroboros for the foreseeable future.

If I’m wrong, feel free to point me towards works that do so. Next time I’ll be talking about Satoru Iwata’s death and video games. Till next time.

The Diversity Boundaries of Sense8

 

Sense8, pronounced ‘sensate’, is Netflix’s new original series about a group of eight people across the world who begin to share their consciousness with one another brought to us by the Wachowskis and JMS. The show has been flying under the radar a bit, Netflix hasn’t done much advertising on its site and the only reason I even knew about this was from an ad on Youtube. In spite of its shortcomings, it’s still a very strong show with the Wachowskis bringing their cinematography and creativity with JMS bringing his writing. That being said you should be aware of the following triggers: Suicide, Drugs, Violence, Guns, Forced Institutialization, Sex, Alcohol, Misgendering

Now I said I would be reviewing the show, but upon watching the show I realized two things. One, there was a lot stuff to say but it was hard to organize into any coherent form. Two, this is something that deserves its own post. That being said, let’s jump into it.

 

Beware of spoilers ye who enter

Sense8 is a show that is literally about diversity and the interconnectivity of humanity. 7/8 of the main characters belong to at least one marginalized group yet they all have one thing in common. They’re all abled. In fact, there isn’t a single disabled character in the entire show. Within the show’s framework for diversity: people of color are accepted, LGT people are accepted, the poor are accepted, but the disabled aren’t. Sadly, this sort of exclusion isn’t new, but it never stops being disappointing at the very least.

The closest that the show ever gets to the sphere of disability is in the development of the sensates. These are people who see and hear people that aren’t there, be in places that aren’t their physical surroundings, can act radically out of character as another sensate steps into their shoes, and at least for some part of the show have intense migraines. While all of these things fall under the gamut of what neuratypical people experience, it’s a poor substitute for having actually disabled characters. In a show that is set in the modern-day, real world, a degree of realism is required for the show to work. What this means in terms of oppression and marginalization is that being a member of an oppressed group has consequences in the form of discrimination and microaggressions. This never happens when it comes to the characters functioning as sensates; the most we get is Diego warning Will that his “crazy Exorcist routine” has some people spooked. Compare this to Lito’s plot, which revolves around him being a closeted gay man being blackmailed for that fact. Compare this to Sun’s plot, which hinges upon the fact that as a woman she isn’t as valued as much as her brother. Compare this to Capheus’ plot, which hinges upon him being poor. Compare this to Nomi’s plot, whose identity and life experiences have been shaped by her being trans who grew up in a transphobic household. There’s no equivalent for being disabled. This is not say that those stories should have been replaced by disabled characters, but should have been in addition to.

The first response to this might be to ask about Nomi’s institutionalization and attempted lobotomy. This doesn’t count for a number of reasons. Disabled people aren’t the only ones who have been victims of malicious medical practices. More importantly however, being sensate isn’t the same as having an actual disability. Sensates are superheroes, or at the very least analogous to mutants from X-Men. They’re fantastical, the entire conversation around them is different. They might be metaphors for marginalized groups, but they aren’t the marginalized. A general metaphor means that at some point it breaks down and runs into the laws of the fictional universe that it is operating in. Again, this is egregious in a show that about diversity and has no qualms in having actual members of other oppressed groups be present, and not just as metaphors.

Speaking of other oppressed groups, disability isn’t the only issue I wanted to bring up. Earlier, I used the acronym LGT, this wasn’t a typo. It’s commentary on the MOGAI representation in the show. Where are the bi/pan characters? Where are the asexual characters? Where are the aromantic characters? Where are the characters who don’t fit into the gender binary?

All of these exclusions are disappointing and telling. Creators make choices, conscious and unconscious, about what they include in their stories. The most charitable interpretation is that due to systemic erasure and their own life experiences, they honestly didn’t think about these things. Which should not be interpreted to be a good thing, but it’s at the very least an understandable thing not rooted in malice. A less charitable interpretation is that this was more of an active decision, which is actively hurtful.

Sense8 is a good show, it’s the most fun I’ve had watching a show in a year. But that fun came at the cost of having to turn off part of my brain and part of my identity in order to enjoy it. It’s because of its quality and its focus on inclusiveness that means criticizing its shortcomings on that axis is of the utmost importance. If it was bad, I wouldn’t care as much, but it’s good and those are the things worth engaging. Next week, I’ll be talking about Orange is the New Black Season 3. Till next time.