Opinion: HBO's Confederate

I'm going to make a concerted effort to bring this blog to life with not only my own articles, but things by writers who inspire me, drive me to do what I do and have influenced my world views. Judging by the way I've spent my morning, this is going to include a lot of news. So let's start here, with HBO's proposed show, Confederate. And yes, I know. I'm late to the party.

If you don't know: Confederate is a show, still in the early stages of pre-production, but this is the blurb HBO put out: 

"Confederate" chronicles the events leading to the Third American Civil War. The series takes place in an alternate timeline, where the southern states have successfully seceded from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution. The story follows a broad swath of characters on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Demilitarized Zone -- freedom fighters, slave hunters, politicians, abolitionists, journalists, the executives of a slave-holding conglomerate and the families of people in their thrall."

I couldn't find the official HBO release, but that quote is from an article I found on variety.com, written by Elizabeth Wagmeister.

This piece is by Ta-Nehisi Coates for The Atlantic, and cements exactly why HBO is missing the point with Confederate, and why it's unnecessary oppression-porn for the 21st century.

My opinion: On a cultural standpoint, I view it as another Jurassic Park. Not the novel, but the actual park. To paraphrase Ian Malcolm, "You were all too busy focusing on whether or not you could, you never stopped to think about if you should."

Just because the producers of one of the most successful TV shows of all time have an idea, doesn't mean it shouldn't be vetted through a lens of current ideologies. A show like Confederate could be possible in some sort of utopia, maybe--but in our current political climate, where reality TV stars can become world leaders, it's like playing with the nitroglycerin of ideas.

Writer, performer, producer and musician from Alberta.