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No one is standing up for Velma, the show that 4Channers and progressives alike love to hate

Velma and Daphne looking at Velma’s audience score on Rotten Tomatoes

Aside from a handful of reviewers and perhaps Mindy Kaling herself, it seems like the only people truly happy about the new Scooby-Doo prequel Velma are the right-wingers who’ve found a new “woke” show to hate. Over on Rotten Tomatoes, a presumed review-bombing campaign by right-wingers has driven the just-debuted show’s audience rating down to 6%; over on IMDb, the show has garnered a mere 1.3 stars out of ten, a worse score than even Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2.

The show isn’t great, but it’s not that bad. Among critics, reviews have been mixed; it’s got a 57% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes. The Guardian hailed it as “beautifully chaotic.” The Mary Sue declared it “raunchy, forgettable fun.” But Entertainment Weekly dismissed its “crass name-droppy pointlessness.” And Mashable pegged it as a “bizarre” misstep. “All the pieces of a great Scooby spin-off are here, so why does this not come together?” Mashable asked. “The answer: a combination of uneven humor, too little mystery, and a core misunderstanding of Velma herself.”

That may be a little too kind. My own review, after having watched the first episode: There are worse ways to spend a half-hour, I guess, and the show’s heart is in the right place (mostly), but I didn’t laugh once. The humor, such as it is, is gratuitously mean and way too meta; the characters are mostly unfunny one-note jokes, and the priggish, nerdy version of Shaggy is just plain weird. Jane Lynch and Wanda Sykes are wasted as a pair of lesbian cops with no good lines between them.

Of course, the right-wing complaints have little to do with the quality of the show’s humor. No, the right-wingers are mad that Velma is bisexual. They’re incensed that most of the main characters are no longer white–Kaling’s Velma is, like her, Indian; Daphne is Asian, and Norville “Shaggy” Rogers is black. But don’t despair, white supremacists: Fred, Velma’s crush, is still as white as ever. But since he’s depicted as something of a buffoon–no character in the show is without egregious flaws–this only makes the racists madder.

Velma is a nasty, anti-white, anti-man, anti-human mess that needs to be erased from the brain after watching it,” sniffed a “reviewer” at Newsbusters. “The only two things most shows know how to do nowadays is hate on whitey and make characters gay.”

The racist backlash has put many progressives in an awkward position. Because more than a few of them hate the show too.

n addition to the show not being particularly funny, it’s also not as woke as advertised. More than a few progressives were gobsmacked by a crass “MeToo” joke that made it into the second episode.

One tweeter summed up the problem:

Pretty much.

Some progressives have gone so far as to suggest that the show is akin to some right-wing psyop:

Yeah, that last take is just a bit loopy. It’s not black propaganda any more than its Black Power propaganda. It’s just a bad show with a mixture of good and bad politics. I won’t be watching any more of it.

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GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
15 days ago

Not to mention all the different languages in China itself. They might be written the same, but Cantonese and Mandarin pronounce those characters differently.

I read a book that called the Proto-Indo-Europeans as “emerging from the steppes waving swords and changing paradigms”.

Full Metal Ox
14 days ago

@GSS ex-noob:

Not to mention all the different languages in China itself. They might be written the same, but Cantonese and Mandarin pronounce those characters differently.

From what I understand, the current position of the Chinese government is that Mandarin is a language; Cantonese (Yue), Shanghainese (Wu), Hakka et al. are dialects (and therefore substandard, and therefore to be suppressed.)

(Part of the reason that all those variants share a common written language is that Emperor Qin undertook to impose a unified language—a plot point in the epic 2002 Wuxia movie Hero—but hadn’t access to the broadcast media and audiorecording technology necessary to standardize the spoken language.)

This benighted barbarian welcomes correction and/or elaboration from anyone better informed.

Lumipuna
Lumipuna
14 days ago

(Part of the reason that all those variants share a common written language is that Emperor Qin undertook to impose a unified language—a plot point in the epic 2002 Wuxia movie Hero—but hadn’t access to the broadcast media and audiorecording technology necessary to standardize the spoken language.)

This benighted barbarian welcomes correction and/or elaboration from anyone better informed.

Not really better informed, but I’d presume the Chinese languages were much closer to each other a couple thousand years ago? That’d help in standardizing the written language, and then the spoken form of the words, unconstrained by much or any (?) orthography in the Chinese writing system, could continue evolving in different directions while grammar remains tied to the standard.

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
13 days ago

Perhaps apropos to some of the earlier discussions in this thread:

https://www.providencejournal.com/story/news/2014/08/09/20140809-robert-sapolsky-what-makes-us-so-different-ece/35326071007/

Also https://peterturchin.com/cliodynamica/religion-is-different/ where a link gets drawn between the spread of cavalry and the spread of moralizing religions (i.e., with a cosmic judge or force that can send you to hell or give you a shitty reincarnation if you’ve sinned). No explicit mention of misogyny, but those sort of religions’ mores do tend toward being especially patriarchal, so it fits my thesis of misogyny as originating from those same regions and polities. Comments there also draw the same link between pastoralist nomads and monotheism as I have done. (Maybe the clearest case for that being Judaism: the Exodus and wandering of the desert and the onset of full monotheism seem to have occurred at about the same time!)

My own notion of “as below, so above” would predict that mythologies with cosmic judges would emerge from societies that had developed formal systems of jurisprudence down here: particularly, ones where accused criminals get shoved in front of a judge, tried, and then acquitted, or convicted and sentenced, with the bang of a gavel or similarly. However, the chart at the link shows China lacking that sort of mythology long past when it had formal legal systems, and other places getting judgy-religion much sooner than having well-established legal traditions. The latter can be explained by moralizing religions (especially Christianity and Islam) being spread by the sword during the middle millenium CE (i.e., roughly from 500 to 1500 CE), but not the former.

One must wonder if there’s a correlation between more formal legal systems, especially for criminal law, and greater warfare. There might be, in that greater social conflict in general might predict both greater warfare and greater internal criminality, and the latter might prompt more extensive and formal mechanisms of criminal jurisprudence in reaction. When there are few serious crimes, they might be handled in an ad hoc manner on a case-by-case basis; when there are many, that simply will not scale, and you then need a more draconian system that can quickly process large numbers of criminal cases and a way to ensure the elites can avoid themselves or their sprog being ground up in the system’s gears. (In-groups whom the law must not bind…) Formal courts can do that, and can disguise the classist escape hatch in various ways (e.g., see any American bail hearing, where poor and non-white defendants have “no ties to the community” making them a “flight risk” while a white defendant in a suit and tie is a “pillar of the community”).

Dave
Dave
12 days ago

I think the various Sinitic languages were closer together 2000 years ago than they are now, but the various major dialectal divisions of Min, Wu, Cantonese, and North Chinese already existed, and were not mutually intelligible even then. They just continued drifting farther apart, but now keeping the standardized written language.

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
12 days ago

@Dave: Makes sense. If the written form is just single characters stuck together to make words/concepts and not at all orthographic, then it doesn’t matter how you say the character, it still reads as the same idea.

Even when it appears in another language. Is 猫 pronounced “mao” or “neko”? Doesn’t matter, it’s still a kitty. Me being a slight anime geek, I’d say “neko”; my friend who grew up in China says “mao”, but we both think “cat”, So if we text/email each other “how’s 猫?” we’ll get a reply about our various furry lords and masters.

Gerald Fnord
Gerald Fnord
9 days ago

‘Never readily credit to malice what can be ascribed to incompetence.’

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
2 days ago

Apologies for the necro; but I was rather hoping Ryan would do a take on this. As usual I think he really hits the mark.

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