6 hrs ·
My father, AB Spellman, wrote this. Friends who have been concerned about the show, please do take a read. And, please share it.
Re: The Controversy around "Confederate"
To disclose: I am Malcolm Spellman's father; Nichele Tramble's father-in-law; and I couldn't love her more if she were my daughter. When I write here in their defense I will not pretend to be objective. Yes, I would do so even if I thought they were wrong. I do not know the GoT dudes and will leave it to their parents to write for them.
But they are not wrong, at least not yet.
A weary expression that I will get out of a room is this: "America needs a conversation about race," as if there were another topic about which America had conversed more, and more thoughtfully, honestly, deeply, or more articulately. The years before the Civil War were fat with such discussion in the part of theologians, politicians, legal theorists, economists (to the degree that there were such), philosophers, biologists (look up "polygenecism") and, of course, politicians. Everyone with a brain, a pulpit or a pen jumped in until the conversation was reified by war.
Then it continued with the ascendent liberal thesis of Reconstruction, the intransigent racist antithesis of violent resistance, and the tragic synthesis of politics and liberal boredom which let the Union army go home.
The fruit of all this conversation was the deformed, mephitic social creature that I grew up under, Jim Crow, and his more polite descendent whom we know today as James Crow, esq, Donald Trump's alt right advisor on domestic policy.
So, say the artists Malcolm and Nichele and the GoT dudes, let's try the conversation in a different way. The news, a drive around town, an evening of social conversation give us all the mimesis that art can offer; let's try anti-mimetic Art.
Let's try the art of the possible, the speculative present, the portrait of Dorian Grey. Let's run the conversation about race all the way out. What if, Jeff Sessions, you slit-mouth little redneck, your antecedents had gotten their way. What world would they have made?
What if, Steve Bannon, you wrinkled-ass Know Nothing, your side had a nation of its own design to breed in? What would the world look like?
That's what I understood Confederate to be about. It should be more than provocative: it should be squirmily uncomfortable. If it succeeds, the conversations around the water cooler should be very awkward.
It is a difficult and courageous thing that Malcolm, Nichelle, Benioff, and Weiss are undertaking, much easier to get wrong than to get right. As I wrote above, I don't pretend to be objective about them. But I am expert in the subjects of their thought and skill. They are committed black intellectuals. Don't limit you judgement of them to their most popular gigs. Read Nichele's novels about Oakland The Dying Ground and The Last King, check out the music that Malcolm is promoting of Fantastic Negrito. If any writers can build this speculative world, it is these two.