David Benioff and Dan Weiss (or D&D, as you are commonly known), we have a major problem. I’m not sure if either of you have seen the news recently, but I do believe that timing is of the essence here. Is now (or ever) really a good time to be speaking about, working on, or even considering Confederate to be a reality?
A time when our own president refuses to name the threat that encapsulated an entire town last weekend? A time when a statue can’t even come down in a small town, probably to be put in a museum or something similar, without a full-on Nazi riot rearing their ugly heads? I’d say it’s not the right time, nor in the next few years that you plan to release this show.
Shows like Confederate are not necessary in the world that we have today, not when death and injury are still, technically, at the feet of Robert E. Lee and those who subscribe to his ideals. The white supremacists that marched on Charlottesville over the weekend sincerely arrived in an attempt to preserve white culture in its most horrible forms and through leaders that, in the end, created and shaped countries by the most abhorrent means. They created and perpetuated systems that lead to the deaths of so many, and the enslavement and disenfranchisement of many, many more. Why should we highlight the vague, yet terrifying premise that Benioff and Weiss have presented and project that onto our already torn America?
I had hoped, in my last article, that the Spellmans would be able to provide some buffering for the unrelenting insensitivity that D&D often write with, but now I could care less. They are also implicit in contributing to a show that will only give the white supremacists that hide themselves in daily life more courage to come out. Damn the parallels they may be trying to shoehorn into the plot. The fact that D&D helm such a popular show now, means that people such as those who marched this weekend, torches in hand, could take the show’s creation as something like camaraderie, which is frankly disgusting. If D&D do continue, they should probably do their best to state that they’re not of the same ilk, because right now they are definitely not doing a good job of proving themselves so.
Granted, they’re not the only ones that are guilty of perpetuating this trend. Orange Is The New Black brought some severely racist characters onto their show as well within the last two seasons. While their portrayals are probably accurate and they had their humorous, ridiculous moments, this is not the time for Neo-Nazis and white supremacists to be anywhere near featured in mainstream media when there’s real, honest to goodness Nazis waving the swastika through neighborhoods with many racial backgrounds. Humanizing these people makes the thought of compromise more like a real prospect, rather than the fact that we should work towards stomping out fascist ideals in their entirety, be re more people get hurt.
In short, resurrecting Lee or his ideals, or what he stood for in any shape, way or form is not a good look right now—nor, quite frankly, was it ever. If I were on the writing team for Confederate, it would probably be the best time for some long, hard talks about white supremacy today and what bringing it back on HBO could really do to our political climate. Those who see fit to do us harm have already been emboldened. Media following suit would just be another very, very bad sign.