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Why Do Conservatives Like Sci-fi?


39 replies to this topic

#1
Tank

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The latest versions of Star Wars and Star Trek have both drawn complaints from conservatives, with cries of SJW! AGENDA! PANDERING! OMG HILARY! OMG KATHLEEN KENNEDY!

I cannot understand why some conservatives act as if this is a NEW phenomena.

Star Trek was about a socialist, utopian society that flew around space preaching equal rights. For its time it featured one of the first interracial kisses, showed a multi-cultural cast as equals, and was created by a proud atheist.

Star Wars was created by a super liberal who was anti-athoritarian, anti-fascist, and despite becoming one of the riches people on the planet, anti-lobbyist driven capitalism. Star Wars says over and over do not trust politicians, and that a conglomerate of races is better than the fascist empire of British colonizing white dudes.

Outside of Heinlein and Orson Scott Card, most literary sci-fi has been progressive and used as an allegory of social injustice. Even stories like 2001 or Frankenstein which tells us man should not wander into God's domain place the fault on the hubris of a humanity not ready for that burden, which again-- is a social commentary.

By and large, sci-fi is a genre that is pro-science, pro-equal rights, anti-bigot genre whose ideals seem pretty contrary to what a lot of fundamentalist conservatives preach.

At the very least, you'd think the moderates in for the entertainment factor would at least learn a lesson here or there.
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#2
Zerimar Nyliram

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It's not just conservatives who are tired of SJW pandering, my friend. If something fits a story, fine, but to have every sexual or gender orientation mentioned just for the sake of having it in there diminishes the quality. I've spoken to gay and transgendered people who agree with me on this. Some of them even found it condescending.

And only in science fiction does socialism lead to prosperity. ;) But seriously, Star Wars and Star Trek have been neck-and-neck with me throughout my life, with Star Wars finally winning out in my early teens. It does seem far more libertarian and less statist than Trek does, warning of totalitarianism coming about when we trade freedom for safety. My only gripe is that democracy is heralded, but hey, at least Lucas was on the right track. I didn't become an anarchist overnight, either.



#3
Metropolis

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Some of what I'm going to say I think you already know, but want to push your take anyways.

1. Most people become fans of science fiction when they are young and pre politicized. Most of the stories take us to places we can only dream of. We take the stories as is not really knowing(or caring) if there is an agenda being put forth. When we get older we notice the things we didn't before, but usually don't care because it was never a factor in our initial enjoyment.

2. If you're referring to Star Wars and Star Trek in particular, they aren't the core of what sci-fi really is. Well Star Trek is more sci-fi than Star Wars. Just because you're a huge SW fan does not necessarily make you a huge sci-fi nut. Most of the sci-fi I like falls in the sci-fantasy category.

3. Your assertion assumes that people's complaints about SW aren't bipartisan. If it were partisan than you have something to argue. Kinda like the gun debate. If you believed everything you saw, you would think that Democrats don't own a single gun. Ever notice that athletes like to put their two cents in on social justice causes, but next to none talk about the need for more restrictive gun laws?

#4
Poe Dameron

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A couple things.

 

1.  Star Wars might have had it somewhere in the brew, but it was never prominent until a few lines in Revenge of the Sith.  There was a big bright and above all simple line between good and evil and everyone can fairly easily get behind the concept of "Don't murder entire planets".  So, I don't believe it really counts.

 

You may disagree, but I find Star Wars to be mostly there for entertainment value and overtly inserting modern politics is a distraction.

 

2.  We've reached a stage where neither side is really trying to convince the other any more about anything.  Back in the Star Trek, X-Men days, the message was sent with the hope that it would be received by the other side.  Maybe Picard has a point of view, but he takes his time to explain to me why he believes he's right.  Now that I'm older, I think some of what he said was rubbish, but I don't think less of the series for trying to persuade.

 

Today I get more of a sense of certainty within the community and active trolling of those that don't agree.  To quote someone, "We dont need them and theyre poopheads."  Whether the grammar errors meant you were partially joking or not, that is the sense I get from Hollywood in general.  There's little debate or persuasion, just a sense that a few like-minded people agreed and we all have to listen now.  Like it or be called every name in the book and get locked out in the cold for entertainment.

 

It's kinda the difference between authoritative and authoritarian parenting.  One seeks to listen and then impart their own judgement, the other just wants to beat them into line.

 

I do believe you have a sense of when such an attitude can push people away, such as your acknowledgement that making Lando pansexual probably wasn't the best way to attract people to that view.  However, I also don't think you'll deny for a second that you enjoyed that it pissed people off.  And again, it's become a bipartisan problem.



#5
Lord Darth Hunter

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Asking a question like this is like asking liberals why they like Hollywood so much? It is a cesspool of everything they rally against. Giant corporations run mostly by old white men who do whatever they wish, up until recently, with little consequence. Women and minorities are highly underrepresented and underpaid. People who aren't a name get used up like cattle. Like-mindedness is encouraged and differing opinions are mocked.

#6
El Chalupacabra

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The latest versions of Star Wars and Star Trek have both drawn complaints from conservatives, with cries of SJW! AGENDA! PANDERING! OMG HILARY! OMG KATHLEEN KENNEDY!

I cannot understand why some conservatives act as if this is a NEW phenomena.

Star Trek was about a socialist, utopian society that flew around space preaching equal rights. For its time it featured one of the first interracial kisses, showed a multi-cultural cast as equals, and was created by a proud atheist.

Star Wars was created by a super liberal who was anti-athoritarian, anti-fascist, and despite becoming one of the riches people on the planet, anti-lobbyist driven capitalism. Star Wars says over and over do not trust politicians, and that a conglomerate of races is better than the fascist empire of British colonizing white dudes.

Outside of Heinlein and Orson Scott Card, most literary sci-fi has been progressive and used as an allegory of social injustice. Even stories like 2001 or Frankenstein which tells us man should not wander into God's domain place the fault on the hubris of a humanity not ready for that burden, which again-- is a social commentary.

By and large, sci-fi is a genre that is pro-science, pro-equal rights, anti-bigot genre whose ideals seem pretty contrary to what a lot of fundamentalist conservatives preach.

At the very least, you'd think the moderates in for the entertainment factor would at least learn a lesson here or there.

Interesting question, and not sure there is an answer.  These may not be answers, but here are a few things to think about. 

 

First off, sci fi fans are predominantly white males.  Always has been.  Yes, sci fi has become more inclusive and you have a lot of female fans or non-white male fans, but still sci fi as a genre is dominated by white male fans.  Not making a judgement on it.  Just the way it is.  But politically and statistically speaking, white males are more likely to be conservative than many other groups.  Given that, there will always be a percentage of those white males will be sci fi fans, and conservative.  Even if you are only talking about say 25% of all white male sci fi fans being conservatives, that is still a lot of fans. 

 

Second, I think we are living in an era where being conservative is counter culture in a way.  We've had nearly a quarter century of this where this was in the making.  You had 8 years under Clinton which gave rise to conservative radio and media.  Then another 8 years of the Bush presidency where many current millennial sci fi fans came of age .  I believe to a point, the era of the war on terror,  sowed seeds of conservative group think under the Bush years, that we are seeing now. While Bush may not have been a popular president, many of the policies followed by conservatives  were and still are.  Then finally, there was the Obama presidency where the left's positions were criticized by those on the right, and Obama was proved to be a mediocre and polarizing president that enacted many policies by presidential order, rather than through congress.  This gave rise to a time where conservatives act as counter culture, and which is why we have Trump as president, now. 

 

Conservatives are far more vocal, at least from my perspective, and it seems they are more vocal now than at any other point in my life (you can probably again thank conservative radio and media, which encouraged conservatives to become more vocal and to be willing to get in the face of progressives).   So based on all that time, you have sci fi fandom, namely those who are conservative millennial sci fi fans, who end up being critical of Star Wars or Star Trek, and sound like little Sean Hannities or Rush Limbaughs when they do it. 

 

Related to both points, I think there is a certain percentage of conservatives calling themselves sci fi fans who aren't actually fans, but see an opportunity to stick it to liberals, namely Hollywood in particular.  Maybe they are opportunistic youtubers.  Whatever the reason, right now, railing against the man means (in part) railing against liberals in Hollywood.  Apparently there are enough of the actual conservative sci fi fans out there to keep these guys in business.  



#7
Robin

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Its a mystery for sure. Ive also seen Confederate Flag Waving and or Bible Bashing GOPs on Facebook posting about how much they love Star Trek. My wife thinks all they see are sexy green chicks and lasers, with the dialogue going right over their heads.

#8
Tex

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There is no mystery. "Conservatives" don't mind liberal concepts. They aptly view them as fantasy. Or, perhaps, simply a TV show.

Then they go on and live their lives like responsibly educated people.

#9
Tank

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Thanks for the replies. They were... insightful? (except Tex, he's never that helpful).

I was being glib and sarcastic for sure, but this all comes from a legit place.

As genre movies continue to dominate pop culture, there's certain things that get said over and over. Talking about SJW agendas, pandering, things being shoved down throats... and it always comes back to basically there can be NO message, otherwise it's forced/pandering and nothing previously established can ever be changed, especially not in terms of gender/ethnicity/orientation.

And it seems to me, for the MOST part (like say 90%) seem to come from political conservatives.

I just want to ask, every time-- how is whatever the thing is that bothers you really that bad? How is it effecting you? I just don't get why being socially progressive is bad and requires a knee jerk reaction.

All I see is :they should change it" and "it has no place here" and sometimes I agree-- like sexuality has no place in Star Wars... but at the same time, it's harmless. Why do you care?

I think you're only triggered cause it';s a thing you don't like. If conservative politics found their way into more movies I highly doubt the same cries would be heard from that camp.
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#10
Lord Darth Hunter

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True, but the cries would just come from the other camp. For example, I remember during the Dark Knight trilogy there were liberal cries about how the films were too right wing, i.e. stuff like Batman using cellphone technology to find the Joker (the terrorist) or Bane's assault on the Stock Exchange representing the Occupy Wall Street movement as the bad guys.

#11
Tex

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Tank, I know you're looking for an answer, and I know I'm not your guy. But to me the truth is simple. Just treat everyone you know well and let them be the ***hole.

I can't tell if your issues are on personal level or on a life level. What I can tell you, as I said before, is that I think you're a good guy.

I really think you underestimate what "conservatives" think. We are not monsters. We are not boogymen. We simply want........

#12
El Chalupacabra

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Thanks for the replies. They were... insightful? (except Tex, he's never that helpful).

I was being glib and sarcastic for sure, but this all comes from a legit place.

As genre movies continue to dominate pop culture, there's certain things that get said over and over. Talking about SJW agendas, pandering, things being shoved down throats... and it always comes back to basically there can be NO message, otherwise it's forced/pandering and nothing previously established can ever be changed, especially not in terms of gender/ethnicity/orientation.

And it seems to me, for the MOST part (like say 90%) seem to come from political conservatives.

I just want to ask, every time-- how is whatever the thing is that bothers you really that bad? How is it effecting you? I just don't get why being socially progressive is bad and requires a knee jerk reaction.

All I see is :they should change it" and "it has no place here" and sometimes I agree-- like sexuality has no place in Star Wars... but at the same time, it's harmless. Why do you care?

I think you're only triggered cause it';s a thing you don't like. If conservative politics found their way into more movies I highly doubt the same cries would be heard from that camp.

 

 

 

 

I touched on this point a bit, but not fully. The long and short of it is that I believe what you are noticing (EG the ongoing SJW debate in Star Wars) is a symptom of the larger issue that EVERYTHING has become politically charged.  Liberals and progressives are not immune to this, either, but I would reiterated what I was saying earlier that many conservatives have become more vocal.  To me, it seems many conservatives are just looking for a fight.  It isn't even that they are looking to have a discussion.  Or a solution, for that matter.  It's all about the argument.  It's gotten to the point where if something doesn't pass a conservative litmus test, then it must be shouted down and discredited, immediately. Like I said, you see this on the left, too, but it seems like the loudest are conservatives these days.  Is it any surprise, then, that conservative sci fi fans act in a similar fashion? I mean it is ridiculous that a conservative would say they love Star Trek, when the universe it is set in (Federation), is the ideal for a communist society.  So, that just leads me to believe it is more about the arguing. 

 

As an aside, I really hate that you can't have a political discussion without the opposite side trying to attack you personally or discredit you in some way, rather than argue the points, instead.



#13
Lord Darth Hunter

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Liberals and progressives are not immune to this, either, but I would reiterated what I was saying earlier that many conservatives have become more vocal.  To me, it seems many conservatives are just looking for a fight.  It isn't even that they are looking to have a discussion.  Or a solution, for that matter.  It's all about the argument.  It's gotten to the point where if something doesn't pass a conservative litmus test, then it must be shouted down and discredited, immediately.
 

In my experiences what you just said here is part of the problem. People usually assume the side they are on is the side being attacked. If you ask a conservative to express why they don't like discussing politics they will say exactly what you just did about liberals.

#14
Marc DuQuesne

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1- Calling Star Wars/Star Trek science fiction is like calling Hanson a rock band.

2- Star Wars is a cautionary story about the dangers of liberalism. Episodes 1-3 is about Anakin being corrupted by liberal ideas about fairness, becoming a SJW, and setting out to right all the wrongs in the galaxy, as he sees them. Episodes 4-6 are all about the dangers of liberal fiscal policy. The Empire irresponsibly squandered it's resources on those ridiculous death stars, allowing a rag-tag bunch of incredibly incompetent but extremely lucky terrorists to bring the Empire to ruin. A conservative would have simply dropped an asteroid on any planets in need of depopulation.

#15
El Chalupacabra

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While Star Wars is technically science fantasy, and Star Trek is more of a soft sci fi (with some occasional dips into the science fantasy pool), most casual fans consider them sci fi.  

 

I won't comment on your second point. 



#16
pavonis

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^Can't tell if Marc's joking or serious.

 

I'm glad Tank asked these questions. I want to understand the viewpoints of the conservatives, too. I just don't see them articulating their positions well. Tex mostly trolls (and not stylishly, either, just cruelly) and Marc, well, that second point on the "dangers of liberalism" seems over-the-top, but maybe he really believes that Lucas wrote the prequels as an allegory about liberals? 

 

Sometimes the great thing about a story is that both sides can see what they like in it. Star Trek is set in a post-scarcity near-utopian society, with friendly positive relations between diverse alien cultures. But it is focused on the adventures of a military crew that almost always has to fight to defend the pacifistic civilians that wouldn't last five minutes out in the wild frontier. So, you know, something for both liberals and conservatives to enjoy.  

 

As for asteroids versus Death Stars, well, I think it's best to assume the military experts in-universe know what they're doing; the Death Stars are apparently meant to hit hardened targets anywhere in the galaxy, while dropping asteroids would only work on soft targets without defensive systems. Any space-faring civilization should be able to deflect a simple rock! Don't they have planetary shields in the new canon, or is that old EU bunk? Besides, if the Empire didn't build Death Stars, then someone else would, and do you want the Mon Calamari to have superweapons and not us? 



#17
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Can't quote on my work computer, but Lucas most definitely could not be considered a "super-liberal" by today's standards. Anti-authoritarian, sure, but that is more of a libertarian stance. Today's Democrats would not welcome a George Lucas in their party.



#18
pavonis

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And today's Republicans wouldn't welcome an Eisenhower in theirs.

 

Might as well say Lucas wrote Star Wars to make money, therefore he's a Republican, or at least Republicans' primary concern (i.e., rich). 


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#19
Lord Darth Hunter

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Lucas himself has stated in interviews in order to be successful he had to become that which he fought against or at least didn't support when he was a young "artist." He had to become "the Man," "the corporation." He also never did play by liberal Hollywood's rules. Pulling out of the union and setting up shop in his hometown. Cost him the ability to hire Spielberg to direct ROTJ.



#20
The Choc

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You can just as easily view Star Wars like this:

 

Armed individuals rise up against overbearing government. 


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#21
Tank

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You can just as easily view Star Wars like this:
 
Armed individuals rise up against overbearing government. 


Holy ****.

#22
Marc DuQuesne

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^Can't tell if Marc's joking or serious.

 

Good.

 

 

 

 

 

As for asteroids versus Death Stars, well, I think it's best to assume the military experts in-universe know what they're doing; the Death Stars are apparently meant to hit hardened targets anywhere in the galaxy, while dropping asteroids would only work on soft targets without defensive systems. Any space-faring civilization should be able to deflect a simple rock! Don't they have planetary shields in the new canon, or is that old EU bunk? Besides, if the Empire didn't build Death Stars, then someone else would, and do you want the Mon Calamari to have superweapons and not us? 

 

Military experts? In the Star Wars universe? Haven't seen one.

 

For the resources it would take to build one Death Star you could build thousands of star destroyers (one guess says 6,000). How many destroyers does it take to blockade a planet and prevent the inhabitants from deflecting the asteroid or evacuating? A few hundred? The Empire could have destroyed dozens of planets simultaneously using SDs and asteroids for the same cost. Not to mention being able to patrol shipping routes and deal with whatever fires need put out. The death star can only be in one place. Superweapons don't work unless you can supply them in quantity, ask the Nazi's, they will tell you.

 

How much energy would a shield system have to be able to absorb to take a hit from an asteroid 30 miles in diameter moving at a few dozen miles per second? How does that not classify as a superweapon? If those shields could stop that I don't see how the death star would be any different. Might be a crap load easier in fact, you can make light follow the path you want a lot easier you can a rock. The rock wants to come home.

 

Let the Mon Calamari waste their money.



#23
Tex

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Never forget.

Don't worry. Can't find my gun.

#24
The Choc

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You can just as easily view Star Wars like this:
 
Armed individuals rise up against overbearing government. 


Holy ****.

 

Obviously that is a crazy oversimplification and I don't see Star Wars like that at all. However let's be honest, governments in Star Wars are either huge ineffectual, corrupt or are completely tyrannical. The idea of a huge, galaxy wide government in Star Wars seems to be something that flat out cannot work. 



#25
Marc DuQuesne

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The writer only gets half the say in what the story is about. So long as the writer is good enough to leave each observer room for interpretation. The writing isn't getting better...

I have no problem with social issues being injected into science fiction, so long as it is isn't the preaching crap we get from Hollywood these days. They throw in a token (currently hot) minority and token bigot, every time. They dumb it down to the lowest common denominator.

The protagonist in the science fantasy book series I am reading right now is transgendered, I love it.



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