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The best boxer briefs — Typical Contents

This is the first guide in a series from Typical Contents, a kind of “wirecutter for clothes”. It’s by the team behind Epochs, a now defunct menswear blog.
We’ll be reviewing categories of clothing in hopes of finding the best item(s) in that category. This first post focuses on finding the best pair of boxer briefs. We bought all 13 pairs tested using our own money and there are no referral or affiliate links contained in this post.
Over the past six months I've been on a personal crusade to find the best pair of mens boxer briefs. The reason? I'm investing the time and money now, upfront, so I never have to think about what underwear I buy ever again. During this quest I've researched over 20 pairs of underwear, and wore and washed 13 pairs over six months (and I will continue to test and update this guide accordingly). CDLP's Boxer Brief came out on top; they're light and comfortable, look great and can be had for a reasonable price when bought in multiples.

Best overall

CDLP Boxer Brief
An incredibly comfortable pair of underwear thanks to their light and airy lyocell material and lack of a fabric label. They're not quite so hard on the wallet in multipacks and subscriptions. Made in Portugal.
View on CDLP's website
CDLP’s Boxer Brief came out top in our testing. They were the most comfortable fit, perfectly hugging the wearer in a reassuring and supportive way. The unusual lyocell material was light, soft and has significant stretch. The material did have a slightly unusual sheen but this lessened on the body of the garment after a few washes (but remained on the waistband). The printed label on the inside is an excellent touch, avoiding the irritation of fabric labels. The waistband seam is moved off centre, preventing irritation in the small of the wearer’s back. The Portuguese manufacture oozes quality and means you’ll be supporting well paid workers. They are also durable: After six months of weekly wears and washes they show no issues.
£29 is expensive for a pair of underwear but its on par with others also made in developed countries. The price per pair can be brought down significantly by multipacks and CDLP's "Automatique" subscription service. A three pack costs £75, reducing the price per pair to £25 (a nine pack reduces the price per pair to £21.60 but costs an eye watering £195). Combining the three pack with a three month subscription reduces the price to £59 every three months. This reduces the price per pair to a relatively reasonable £19.
We were also impressed by CDLP’s presentation. The garments themselves exude a premium but understated feeling which is preferable to the brash loudness found in a lot of mens underwear. The bright yellow box the underwear arrives in was not only visually arresting, but made the unboxing feel special. It was reminiscent of a Mr Porter or Apple box opening experience.
This is the best pair of underpants I've ever owned. In the entire rotation this is the only pair I really looked forward to putting on. If you only want to own a single model of boxer brief, these should be it.

What we’d like to see improved

As CDLP’s founders themselves say, they “are not perfect”. We'd like more transparency around their factory in Portugal, more transparency about their lyocell material, its environmental impact, and manufacturing process. We’d also like to see some sort of recycling/disposal programme where old or worn out pairs can be sent back to the company for recycling alá Patagonia and others.

Also good

Sunspel Stretch Cotton Trunk
A well crafted pair of underwear that is comfortable and will last a long time. The material is more substantial than our top pick, but was less breathable and light feeling. Made in Portugal.
View on Sunspel's website
The Sunspel Stretch Cotton Trunk is just as comfortable as our top pick, the CDLP Boxer Brief. They have an excellent, supportive and flattering fit, and conform well to the wearer's body. Unfortunately it does have a fabric label, which we found annoying. Where this pair differs from our top pick is the material, which is a more traditional cotton/elastane mix. It is thicker and more substantial feeling than CDLP's lyocell offering but we prefer CDLP's lighter feeling material. The quality and durability on display from Sunspel is outstanding, and we expect this pair to last a very long time. Do not confuse these Stretch Cotton Trunks with Sunspel's Superfine Cotton Trunks, which are 100% cotton and we did not favour in our testing (they are also more expensive).
Sunspel do not offer multipacks or any kind of subscription service meaning what you see is what you get in terms of pricing, barring sales. All in all Sunspel has a nearly as compelling offering as our top pick for the same price (or more expensive if you take multipacks and subscription discounts into account) as our top pick. But purchasers will not be disappointed with the quality and fit on display from this heritage British brand.

Budget pick

UNIQLO Mens Supima Cotton Boxer Brief
Nearly (but not quite) as comfortable as our top picks, but there are significant sacrifices made in durability, quality and—arguably—origin. Made in Sri Lanka.
Buy on UNIQLO's website
For the more fiscally minded there is the UNIQLO Mens Supima Cotton Boxer Brief. They have an excellent, close fit and were almost (but not quite) as comfortable as our more expensive top picks. We were honestly surprised at how close they came though. The construction and quality doesn't feel as robust as our top picks and don't expect them to last nearly as long as the pairs made in Portugal. We wish they didn't have a fabric label, although it is at least a small one.
There was some slight confusion between different models with identical names on UNIQLO's website. Likely they are similar models from different factories that changed season to season. Perhaps this is a hazard of fast fashion. Speaking of which, there is some debate around the ethics used in UNIQLO's factories, despite the company’s claims. Bear in mind that this is a rock-bottom priced piece of clothing made in Sri Lanka, so ethically minded shoppers should probably steer clear.

Why you should trust us

We are the team behind the (now defunct) menswear website Epochs. Epochs examined the cultural and social history of menswear and produced some well received articles in the menswear community (e.g. Epochs Field Guide to Nautical Clothing, Epochs Field Guide to Camoflauge). We pride ourselves on our in-depth approach to research and focus on good design.
Luke McDonald is a fashion writer and stylist at London-based Thread. He has written many articles about menswear and styled a wide array of fashion shoots at Thread. Patrick McDonald is a designer based in Vancouver and has been a Muji underwear enthusiast for many years.
I (Andrew Emerson) am a designer in London. Finding the best pair of underwear became a mission of mine when I ended up with a drawer full of identical boxer briefs from a clothing subscription service in 2019. The consistency was nice but the quality was poor, so I decided I would replace my dozens of pairs of this brand's boxer brief with another model.

How we tested

Researching began online. We looked at a number of Reddit threads on malefashionadvice (thread 1, thread 2) and buyitforlife (thread 1, thread 2). We also looked at The Wirecutter’s “Best Boxer brief for Men” and “Best Travel Underwear 2020” articles as well. The Strategist had three relevant articles: ”The Best Men’s Underwear on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers”, ”What’s the Best Men’s Underwear?”, and ”What Are the Best Boxer Briefs for Men?”.
We also looked at brands that we had previous experience with, and that had permanent basics collections such as Everlane, Sunspel, ARKET and UNIQLO.
We looked to get a spread on different materials (cotton, cotton/elastane, wool, synthetics), different origins (Europe, Middle East, and Asia), and price points. Finally we purchased a shortlist of these using our own money.
We created a set of criteria that all pairs were judged against (see “What to look for” below). All purchased pairs were put in rotation for several months and notes taken on first and subsequent wears. We tracked the different pairs, stored notes, and ranked them using a Notion database. Finally we compiled our findings into this article. We intend to update this page periodically as we try new pairs (keep and eye on our changelog for updates) as there are other pairs we would still like to try.

What to look for in a pair of boxer briefs

We looked for a pair of underwear that was suitable for every day wear and most of life’s occasions; work, sleeping in, date night, running to catch a bus, dropping kids off, lounging around your apartment (but not for going to the gym or exercising in, you will need specialty underwear for that).
Boxer briefs only: We looked specifically at boxer briefs so that discounts more loose fitting boxers, and legless varieties like briefs. Boxer briefs were chosen because they are more supportive and comfortable than their cousins, and are flattering without being overly revealing. They are a modern, balanced undergarment for men.
Availability: Garments should be widely available and be almost always in stock. We discounted most high street labels because they have many different models that change frequently. We preferred those that were underwear specialists, or had a permanent collection of underwear.
Colours: We tested everything in black. This was to have a fair comparison, but also we prefer an understated look. It’s also more practical and won’t discolour.
Length and rise: Is the pair long or short in the leg? High or low rise? A balance is important here, but generally we want a regular rise combined with a slightly shorter leg length. Longer leg length can look antiquated, but a very short leg length can be uncomfortable and veer into hot pants territory (that’s bad). A slightly shorter leg can be flattering.
Fit: How tight or loose the pair is. Being boxer briefs, we are looking for a closer fitting garment, without being tight. The fit or cut is also a key factor when considering aesthetics. The fit should be flattering to the shape of the wearer, but bear in mind that it won’t make you look fit if you’re not.
Material: The main body will be some combination of cotton, wool, lyocell, elastane (spandex for our American compatriots). We found about 5-10% elastane is necessary for a comfortable, slightly stretchy fit. Without elastane, the garments had no give, weren’t fitted enough, and were generally less comfortable (they also tended to ride up the leg more). The waistband is generally a synthetic material with a percentage of elastane. The material of the waistband wasn’t as important as how it fit and felt (see below for more on waistbands).
Waistband: Two things to consider — softness and width. It should have a soft handle and be wide enough to spread the load. It also shouldn’t be too tight, or turn over easily.
Keyhole: Pretty much the only “feature” that mens boxer briefs can have; does the garment have a keyhole or not? We do not have a strong preference; slightly preferring without for simplicity. However it was not a factor that was taken into account when making our picks.
Durability: How does the garment hold up in day to day wear? How does it cope with being washed again and again? Despite what Tom Ford says, we don’t believe in throwing out our underwear after six months. We believe underwear should be able to stand up to being worn and washed at least once per week for around twelve months. We will update this guide as we continue to wash and wear our top picks.
Label/tag: Underwear should not have tags, which are annoying and itchy. Labels/tags printed directly on the garment are strongly preferred.
Price: Price can vary significantly, but we found there are generally a low and high price bracket, mostly depending on where the garment is made (see “origin” below).
Origin: Where the garment is manufactured. Today’s shoppers are much more conscientious about the ethics of their clothing. We gave preference to garments manufactured in developed countries and made in ethical, transparent ways.
Multipacks and subscription: Often a good way to reduce the price per unit. Subscription services are a great way to build up your underwear collection and of injecting fresh pairs into your rotation.

The competition

The ARKET Pima Cotton Trunks had too narrow a waistband which caused pressure on the wearer's hips. The tag is very long and caused irritation. They were also more expensive than our budget pick, which took them out of the running for us.
Although similar in many ways to our top pick (particularly the excellent lyocell material), the CDLP Boxer Trunk offers a more aggressive cut and a lower rise than their Boxer Brief cousins. However we found the leg length overly short and the cuffs of the legs more loose fitting than our top pick, leading to a overall less secure feeling fit. Some people may prefer the more sporty look, and the pair could be described as more flattering than any of our picks, but for everyday wear we prefer the CDLP Boxer Brief.
The Everlane Boxer Brief is a comfortable and all round good pair of underwear. They fit well, are the right length, and look good. The printed tag is a great touch as well. They fit was good, but were ever so slightly on the loose side in medium and weren't as flattering as the rest of our picks. The issue with Everlane's entry was the price. At £14 they are nearly three times more expensive than our budget pick for about the same experience. And although our top pick is priced at £29, they can be had for as low as £19 (and they're made in Portugal, not Sri Lanka). Shipping to the UK was also very expensive at £12. Overall they are a Very Good pair of boxer briefs but they're too expensive to be a budget pick and don't quite reach the excellence of our top picks.
The Rozenbroek Organic Bamboo Jersey Trunk is the only pair we wore that was manufactured in the UK, and is well priced for such a claim. Unfortunately we found the waistband very uncomfortable. It was too stiff, tight and thick. The edges were also slightly sharp and dug into the wearer’s hips. The bamboo material was comfortable, stretchy and light but Rozenbroek don't show the exact material breakdown on their website or on the garment itself.
Saxx is a brand well known and liked on the internet, featuring on many favourites lists. We tried the Saxx Undercover Trunk and found the cotton/modal/elastane material light, airy and supportive. One of Saxx's primary selling points is their "ballpark" technology, which is designed to cup the wearer’s genitals. We found this to be somewhat uncomfortable in practice though, with the fabric edge of the "pouch" rubbing annoyingly against the skin. The Vancouver, Canada based brand also isn't transparent about where it makes its product, which appear to be Chinese in origin. This lack of transparency made us somewhat uncomfortable, and £21 is on the steep side for China made underwear. The branding and marketing is also slightly over the top and in your face, especially compared to the understated approach of our picks. Finally Saxx is quite difficult to get outside of Canada and the US, and we had to resort to specialty outdoor shops to purchase ours in the UK.
The baggiest fit we tested belongs to the Smartwool Men's Merino Sport 150 Boxer Brief, which took them out of the running for us. This was a shame, because the merino wool construction was soft and light. £35 is also too much to be charging for a pair of underwear made in Vietnam.
The leg length was a little too long on the Stór Bamboo Boxer Brief and as a result they don't flatter the wearer. The bamboo material mix is soft and breathable and conforms well to the body and feels comparable to the lyocell used in our top pick. The origin (Turkey) is a little suspicious as it isn't listed anywhere on the website or the product. I had to reach out to the company to find out where they were made.
Being 100% cotton means the Sunspel Superfine Cotton Trunks don’t have much give, which created problems when worn. When combined with slightly too tight leg openings, it meant they tended to ride up over time, eventually leading to a nappy like appearance which then had to be readjusted. The tag is also a little annoying. Having said all that the waistband was soft and comfortable, and they are constructed well.
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Letter from a Birmingham Jail

With all of the recent discussion of the protests and riots following George Floyd's murder I thought it was worth remembering that this conversation has occurred before. Many objected to the tactics used by the Civil Rights movement with the same arguments and criticism that we hear today. I think they ring as hollow now as they did then. I think we could do well to read MLK's words and reflect on whether we want to be embracing the arguments that were so eloquently criticized here.
My Dear Fellow Clergymen:
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.
I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against "outsiders coming in." I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Frequently we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise. So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here. I am here because I have organizational ties here.
But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.
Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.
You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city's white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.
In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham. There can be no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to engage in good faith negotiation.
Then, last September, came the opportunity to talk with leaders of Birmingham's economic community. In the course of the negotiations, certain promises were made by the merchants--for example, to remove the stores' humiliating racial signs. On the basis of these promises, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights agreed to a moratorium on all demonstrations. As the weeks and months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. A few signs, briefly removed, returned; the others remained. As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community. Mindful of the difficulties involved, we decided to undertake a process of self purification. We began a series of workshops on nonviolence, and we repeatedly asked ourselves: "Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?" "Are you able to endure the ordeal of jail?" We decided to schedule our direct action program for the Easter season, realizing that except for Christmas, this is the main shopping period of the year. Knowing that a strong economic-withdrawal program would be the by product of direct action, we felt that this would be the best time to bring pressure to bear on the merchants for the needed change.
Then it occurred to us that Birmingham's mayoral election was coming up in March, and we speedily decided to postpone action until after election day. When we discovered that the Commissioner of Public Safety, Eugene "Bull" Connor, had piled up enough votes to be in the run off, we decided again to postpone action until the day after the run off so that the demonstrations could not be used to cloud the issues. Like many others, we waited to see Mr. Connor defeated, and to this end we endured postponement after postponement. Having aided in this community need, we felt that our direct action program could be delayed no longer.
You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.
One of the basic points in your statement is that the action that I and my associates have taken in Birmingham is untimely. Some have asked: "Why didn't you give the new city administration time to act?" The only answer that I can give to this query is that the new Birmingham administration must be prodded about as much as the outgoing one, before it will act. We are sadly mistaken if we feel that the election of Albert Boutwell as mayor will bring the millennium to Birmingham. While Mr. Boutwell is a much more gentle person than Mr. Connor, they are both segregationists, dedicated to maintenance of the status quo. I have hope that Mr. Boutwell will be reasonable enough to see the futility of massive resistance to desegregation. But he will not see this without pressure from devotees of civil rights. My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.
We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."
We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"--then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."
Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an "I it" relationship for an "I thou" relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man's tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.
Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal. Let me give another explanation. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state's segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?
Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.
I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.
We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal." It was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country's antireligious laws.
I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.
In your statement you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. But is this a logical assertion? Isn't this like condemning a robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? Isn't this like condemning Socrates because his unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical inquiries precipitated the act by the misguided populace in which they made him drink hemlock? Isn't this like condemning Jesus because his unique God consciousness and never ceasing devotion to God's will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion? We must come to see that, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber. I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth concerning time in relation to the struggle for freedom. I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: "All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth." Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.
You speak of our activity in Birmingham as extreme. At first I was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would see my nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist. I began thinking about the fact that I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community. One is a force of complacency, made up in part of Negroes who, as a result of long years of oppression, are so drained of self respect and a sense of "somebodiness" that they have adjusted to segregation; and in part of a few middle-class Negroes who, because of a degree of academic and economic security and because in some ways they profit by segregation, have become insensitive to the problems of the masses. The other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close to advocating violence. It is expressed in the various black nationalist groups that are springing up across the nation, the largest and best known being Elijah Muhammad's Muslim movement. Nourished by the Negro's frustration over the continued existence of racial discrimination, this movement is made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have concluded that the white man is an incorrigible "devil."
I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the "do nothingism" of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist. For there is the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest. I am grateful to God that, through the influence of the Negro church, the way of nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle. If this philosophy had not emerged, by now many streets of the South would, I am convinced, be flowing with blood. And I am further convinced that if our white brothers dismiss as "rabble rousers" and "outside agitators" those of us who employ nonviolent direct action, and if they refuse to support our nonviolent efforts, millions of Negroes will, out of frustration and despair, seek solace and security in black nationalist ideologies--a development that would inevitably lead to a frightening racial nightmare.
Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice. If one recognizes this vital urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should readily understand why public demonstrations are taking place. The Negro has many pent up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides -and try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history. So I have not said to my people: "Get rid of your discontent." Rather, I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channeled into the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action. And now this approach is being termed extremist. But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God." And John Bunyan: "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." And Abraham Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal . . ." So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime--the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.
I had hoped that the white moderate would see this need. Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action. I am thankful, however, that some of our white brothers in the South have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it. They are still all too few in quantity, but they are big in quality. Some -such as Ralph McGill, Lillian Smith, Harry Golden, James McBride Dabbs, Ann Braden and Sarah Patton Boyle--have written about our struggle in eloquent and prophetic terms. Others have marched with us down nameless streets of the South. They have languished in filthy, roach infested jails, suffering the abuse and brutality of policemen who view them as "dirty nigger-lovers." Unlike so many of their moderate brothers and sisters, they have recognized the urgency of the moment and sensed the need for powerful "action" antidotes to combat the disease of segregation. Let me take note of my other major disappointment. I have been so greatly disappointed with the white church and its leadership. Of course, there are some notable exceptions. I am not unmindful of the fact that each of you has taken some significant stands on this issue. I commend you, Reverend Stallings, for your Christian stand on this past Sunday, in welcoming Negroes to your worship service on a nonsegregated basis. I commend the Catholic leaders of this state for integrating Spring Hill College several years ago.
But despite these notable exceptions, I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do not say this as one of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church. I say this as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who was nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who will remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall lengthen.
When I was suddenly catapulted into the leadership of the bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama, a few years ago, I felt we would be supported by the white church. I felt that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be among our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.
In spite of my shattered dreams, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the white religious leadership of this community would see the justice of our cause and, with deep moral concern, would serve as the channel through which our just grievances could reach the power structure. I had hoped that each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed.
I have heard numerous southern religious leaders admonish their worshipers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers declare: "Follow this decree because integration is morally right and because the Negro is your brother." In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many ministers say: "Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern." And I have watched many churches commit themselves to a completely other worldly religion which makes a strange, un-Biblical distinction between body and soul, between the sacred and the secular.
I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern states. On sweltering summer days and crisp autumn mornings I have looked at the South's beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlines of her massive religious education buildings. Over and over I have found myself asking: "What kind of people worship here? Who is their God? Where were their voices when the lips of Governor Barnett dripped with words of interposition and nullification? Where were they when Governor Wallace gave a clarion call for defiance and hatred? Where were their voices of support when bruised and weary Negro men and women decided to rise from the dark dungeons of complacency to the bright hills of creative protest?"
Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.
There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are.
But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.
Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ekklesia and the hope of the world. But again I am thankful to God that some noble souls from the ranks of organized religion have broken loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity and joined us as active partners in the struggle for freedom. They have left their secure congregations and walked the streets of Albany, Georgia, with us. They have gone down the highways of the South on tortuous rides for freedom. Yes, they have gone to jail with us. Some have been dismissed from their churches, have lost the support of their bishops and fellow ministers. But they have acted in the faith that right defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. Their witness has been the spiritual salt that has preserved the true meaning of the gospel in these troubled times. They have carved a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment. I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decisive hour. But even if the church does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the future. I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are at present misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with America's destiny. Before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence across the pages of history, we were here. For more than two centuries our forebears labored in this country without wages; they made cotton king; they built the homes of their masters while suffering gross injustice and shameful humiliation -and yet out of a bottomless vitality they continued to thrive and develop. If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands. Before closing I feel impelled to mention one other point in your statement that has troubled me profoundly. You warmly commended the Birmingham police force for keeping "order" and "preventing violence." I doubt that you would have so warmly commended the police force if you had seen its dogs sinking their teeth into unarmed, nonviolent Negroes. I doubt that you would so quickly commend the policemen if you were to observe their ugly and inhumane treatment of Negroes here in the city jail; if you were to watch them push and curse old Negro women and young Negro girls; if you were to see them slap and kick old Negro men and young boys; if you were to observe them, as they did on two occasions, refuse to give us food because we wanted to sing our grace together. I cannot join you in your praise of the Birmingham police department.
It is true that the police have exercised a degree of discipline in handling the demonstrators. In this sense they have conducted themselves rather "nonviolently" in public. But for what purpose? To preserve the evil system of segregation. Over the past few years I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. I have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or perhaps even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends. Perhaps Mr. Connor and his policemen have been rather nonviolent in public, as was Chief Pritchett in Albany, Georgia, but they have used the moral means of nonviolence to maintain the immoral end of racial injustice. As T. S. Eliot has said: "The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason."
submitted by cstar1996 to moderatepolitics [link] [comments]

[Broadway] West Side Story: The Past, Present, and Future


West Side Story is a Broadway show that originally opened in 1957. It adapts the story of Romeo and Juliet to a then-contemporary Manhattan, New York. Instead of the primary conflict being between two feuding families, the show portrayed the rivalry of two gangs: the Sharks, who are of Puerto Rican heritage, and the Jets, who are white. Otherwise, the show follows the broad strokes of its Shakespearean source material, albeit with singing and dancing.
Of all the shows in the American Musical Theater Canon, West Side Story stands out for a number of reasons. For one, all four of its creative leads went on to become icons of the theater: composer Leonard Bernstein (who wrote a number of beloved musicals and became conductor of the New York Philharmonic), directochoreographer Jerome Robbins (who became a mainstay of Broadway for years, directing and/or choreographing the original productions of Fiddler on the Roof, Gypsy, and the King and I, to name a few of his most famous shows), lyricist Stephen Sondheim (in his first Broadway job, who went on to become one of the twentieth century’s greatest theater composers), and book-writer Arthur Laurents (who is known today as a renowned playwright and director).
Notably, none of these writers are of Puerto Rican descent. As a result, the writing for the Puerto Rican characters can be charitably be described as… less than authentic. Sondheim initially balked at taking the job, since he did not even know any Puerto Ricans at the time, but ultimately agreed to further his career. This results in lyrics such as one that characterizes Puerto Rico as an “island of tropic diseases,” despite people pointing out that Puerto Rico was generally lacking in diseases. Sondheim decided to keep the lyric anyway, because in his eyes the lyric was too dramaturgically important to cut.
This extends to Robbins’ choreography, which today is considered legendary. In the world of theater, normally people associate a musical with its music, lyrics, and script. West Side Story is the rare show where its choreography is also considered essential to the show’s identity. At the time, most Broadway shows used dance to entertain audiences, break up songs, or sometimes further characters’ emotional states. West Side Story not only did this but also used dance to portray the plot, with entire stretches containing only dance to depict the show’s action. This resulted in the show’s choreography being not only hugely beloved but also hugely influential. To this day, it is considered near-sacrilegious to alter the dancing in any way. …But more on that later.
However, as expected by a white choreographer, West Side Story’s choreography fails to engage with Puerto Rican dance tradition at all. Whereas the white Jets get choreography inspired by actual American dances popular with white teenagers at the time, the closest the Puerto Rican Sharks come is… the Paso Double, which is Spanish insofar as it comes from Spain, not Puerto Rico.
The popularization of a film adaptation of West Side Story only cemented these problems, broadcasting the music, the choreography, and the writing to audiences across America. To this day, West Side Story is perhaps the most well-known portrayal of Puerto Ricans in the country, which has come at a cost. This op-ed covers many of these problems and more in additional detail, including how the original production and film both cast White actors as Puerto Ricans or how a number of stereotypes pervade the musical. Even so, West Side Story continues to capture the popular imagination, enough that Steven Spielberg has filmed a remake set to release in the winter of 2020.
Which brings us to…

The 2020 Revival

On July 12, 2018, a revival of West Side Story is announced for Broadway, with a planned opening in 2020. Ivo van Hove is announced as the production’s director. Ivo van Hove is a Dutch director who broke out in recent years directing play revivals that radically altered the staging from the norm. He loves to place large video screens on stage to project close-ups, set productions “beyond time” as though in no discernable time period, or otherwise reinterpret older shows. As such, his production of West Side Story is stated to be a complete re-imagining of the show, including removing the original choreography for the first time in favor of new dances by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, a prominent choreographer in the world of modern dance. Notably both the director and choreographer are White, but more on that later.
Right away, people within and without showbusiness are unhappy. To understand how controversial this was, the response could be compared to that of Star Wars fans and the Last Jedi. This displeasure was only heightened by additional announcements: the production would perform the show in one act without an intermission, rather than the traditional two; it would cut I Feel Pretty, a beloved song that traditionally opens the second act; and it would cast the traditionally White Jets with multiracial actors, as an attempt to represent present-day New York. People had legitimate arguments both for and against these changes. Some argued that the changes could bring new life to a show that had previously been performed near-identically every time, or that the changes could make the show darker and raise the stakes. Others pointed out that casting black actors to play white supremacists seemed to indicate that van Hove did not understand the material, or that the production was trying to fix what wasn’t broken.
Yet even all this paled in comparison to the largest source of drama…

Amar Ramasar

Amar Ramasar is a principal dancer for the New York City Ballet, one of the most prestigious ballet corps in the country. As such, he is a very talented ballet dancer with many years of performances under his belt. In recent years, Ramasar decided to branch out from the world of ballet, taking a leave of absence from the ballet company to perform in a production of Carousel. His performance in a supporting role was well-received, and he was prominently featured in the show’s performance on the Tony Awards. Once the show finishes its run, he returns to the ballet world, and all seems to be well.
However, on September 5, 2019, Alexandra Waterbury, a then-twenty-year-old dancer at a school affiliated with the New York City Ballet, sues Chase Finlay, a dancer for them, along with the entire New York City Ballet. In the suit, she alleges that Chase Finlay, her then-boyfriend, had sent sexually explicit photos of her to two other dancers, one being Ramasar. Finlay then asked them to send photos back, to which Ramasar responded by sending an explicit photo of his own girlfriend, also without her consent.
All three of the dancers implicated are very prominent in the world of dance, making the suit a massive shock. While Finlay resigns in response, Ramasar and the third dancer do not. As a result, the New York City Ballet tries to fire them, until the dancers’ union fights back and forces the ballet corps to rehire them. Ramasar decides to take his job again, but the damage to his reputation is lasting. Even when he resumes performing again, reviews of his performance cannot help but acknowledge the controversy surrounding his actions.
As a result, when the production of West Side Story announces that Amar Ramasar has been cast in a prominent role, many are upset. For much of the production’s performances, protesters gather outside the Broadway Theater, where the show is performing, demanding that Ramasar be fired. While both Alexandra Waterbury, who filed the original suit, and at least one anonymous cast member come out in support of the protests, Ramasar’s girlfriend does not, stating that she has forgiven him and does not see herself as a victim. The producers release a statement arguing that his past behavior does not reflect his conduct during West Side Story and that they will not be firing him as a result. Of course, this does nothing to end the controversy, which continues to this day.

The Actual Revival Itself

West Side Story makes it through rehearsals with some incidents. First, the actor originally cast to play the leader of the Jets injures himself and is forced to back out of the show. As a result, his understudy is given the role full-time. Notably, the original actor was white while the new one is black, resulting in the leader of the white supremacist gang now being played by a black man. This only serves to reinforce the belief held by some that the revival is tone-deaf. Second, many of the Latinx actors take issue with Anne Theresa De Keersmaeker’s choreography, which they argue fails to reflect the dances of their culture. As a result, two Latinx choreographers are brought in to help rework parts of her choreography, until the actors feel that their concerns as people of color have been heard. While these issues were both resolved with relatively little difficulty, they are both indicative of the issues that come with white people creating a show about people of color. When taken in the context of West Side Story’s history, this only emphasizes the problematic nature of the show, as discussed in the op-ed above.
West Side Story opens on February 20th, 2020 to mixed reviews. The New York Times, producer of the most important theater reviews in New York, feels that while the production has its moments, there are too many parts of the reimagining that simply don’t work. The entire backdrop of the stage is a giant screen onto which close-ups of the actors are displayed. Parts of the show have the actors entirely out of view from the audience, with the screen as the only way to see what’s happening. The show’s tone is far bleaker than previous productions, with a sexually violent scene towards the end noted for being particularly brutal compared to how it is normally performed. A traditionally comedic song satirizing the US justices system is played completely straight, with the actors singing seriously as video of real-life police brutality plays behind them. While some critics like the production, the overall critical reception of the show is mixed to negative.
The audience response is not much better, with many disliking the show conceptually, some enjoying it for what it was, some complaining that the screen took away from the feeling of “live theater”, and some incensed about Amar Ramasar’s casting. This controversy might still be going today, were it not for the Coronavirus. All of Broadway is currently closed until at least the fall, and some productions have already announced that they will be closing permanently as a result. While all Broadway producers are of course saying that “they look forward to reopening their shows”, it is currently too soon to say whether or not West Side Story will reopen.
And just as the cherry on top of all this drama, Broadway, like everywhere else in America, has been reconciling as of late with systemic racism in the theater. Of relevance to this post is a statement by an actor of Puerto Rican descent, who discussed how she auditioned for the show and was told by director Ivo van Hove to sing about Puerto Rico like “the slum that it is.” Whatever his directorial intentions may have been with that statement, van Hove still acted insensitive to her heritage and reinforced negative stereotypes about Puerto Rico. Though it may not be clear what will happen next to this revival of West Side Story, it is absolutely clear that the road ahead for it will be filled with drama.
Update 6/29: The Broadway League has announced that all Broadway shows will be shut down through at least the rest of 2020. It is unclear what this means for the fate of the West Side Story revival.
submitted by sakuraban96 to HobbyDrama [link] [comments]

The truth behind Puskás Akadémia FC - How Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán stole a legend, built a stadium in his backyard and guided his team to Europe

The 2019/2020 season of the Hungary’s National Football League (NB1) – being one of the first leagues to restart play - came to an end on 27 June. If a casual observer (for whatever reason) decides to check out the final standings, he would be not surprised at the first two positions: record-champion Ferencváros defended their title, while regional powerhouse Fehérvár (Videoton) came in second. However, the third place team, Puskás Akadémia FC might seem unusual and one could think that there is a story behind that. Is there a team named after Ferenc Puskás? Did some academy youths make an incredible run for the Europa League qualification? Well, the observer is right, there is a story behind all this, but it’s absolutely not a fun story. It’s a story about how one powerful man’s obsession with football stole a legend, misused state funds and killed the spirit of Hungarian football. (Warning: this is a long story, feel free to scroll down for a tl;dr. Also, I strongly advise checking out the links, those images are worth seeing).
Naturally, political influence in football has been present ever since the dawn of the sport and we know of numerous state leaders who felt confident enough to use their influence to ensure the successful development of their favored clubs – Caucescu’s FC Olt Scornicesti and Erdogan’s Basaksehir are well-known examples of such attempts. However, I fear that very few of the readers are aware of the fact that Puskás Akadémia FC is nothing but Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán’s grandiose project for establishing his hometown’s club as one of the country’s top teams. Considering that Orbán managed to achieve this goal using state funds in an EU member democracy in the 2000s, one might even say that it might be one of the most impressive attempts of cheating your way through Football Manager in real life. Now that Puskás Akadémia FC escaped the desolate football scene of Hungary and is getting ready for the European takeover, I feel that it’s high time to tell its true story.

Part 1: Part time striker, part time PM

Our story begins in 1999 when the 36-year-old striker Viktor Orbán (recently elected as the country’s Prime Minister) was signed by the sixth-tier side of Felcsút FC residing in rural Fejér County. It might sound surprising that an active politician would consider such a side job, but given that Orbán has been playing competitive low-level football throughout his whole life and has always been known as a keen football enthusiast, people seemed to be okay with his choice for a hobby. Orbán spent most of his childhood in the village of Felcsút (population: 1,800), so it seemed only natural that he would join the team after one of his old-time acquaintances became team president there.
Orbán’s arrival to the club seemed to work like a charm as Felcsút FC immediately earned a promotion to the fifth league. The Prime Minister’s busy program did not allow him to attend every training session and game but Orbán did make an effort to contribute as much as possible on the field – there is a report of a government meeting being postponed as Orbán was unavailable due to attending Felcsút FC’s spring training camp. The 2001/2002 season brought another breakthrough for the side as Felcsút was promoted to the national level of the football pyramid after being crowned the champion of Fejér County. Sadly enough for Orbán, he suffered a defeat on another pitch – his party lost the 2002 election and Orbán was forced to move to an opposition role.
No matter what happened on the political playing field, Orbán would not abandon his club. Just before the 2002 elections, Felcsút was surprisingly appointed as one of the regional youth development centers by the Hungarian FA. Orbán continued contributing on the field as well (he had more spare time after all) but his off-the-field efforts provided much more value for the team as he used his political influence to convince right-wing businessmen that they should definitely get sponsorship deals done with the fourth-division village team.
Club management was able to transform the influx of funds into on-field success: Felcsút FC was promoted to the third division in 2004 and achieved promotion to the second division in 2005. Although these new horizons required a skill level that an aging ex-PM is not likely to possess, Orbán regularly played as a late game sub and even appeared in cup games against actual professional opponents. The now-42-year old Orbán did not want to face the challenge of the second division, so he retired in 2005 – but this did not stop him from temping as an assistant coach when the head coach was sacked in the middle of the 2005-2006 season.
Success on the playing field did not translate to political success: Orbán lost the elections once again in 2006. However, this was only a temporary loss: the ruling party committed blunder after blunder and by early 2007 it became absolutely obvious that Orbán would be able return to power in 2010. Now confident in his political future, Orbán opted for the acceleration of football development in Felcsút – by late 2007 he took over the presidency of the club to take matters in his own hands. Sponsors seeking to gain favor with the soon-to-be PM were swarming Felcsút FC, so the club was able to stand very strong in an era where financial stability was a very rare sight in the Hungarian football scene, accumulating three medals (but no promotion) between 2007 and 2009.
On the other hand, Orbán realized the value of youth development as well, and started a local foundation for this purpose back in 2004 that gathered funds for the establishment a boarding school-like football academy. The academy opened its doors in September 2006 (only the second of such institutions in the country) and Orbán immediately took upon the challenge of finding an appropriate name for the academy.
He went on to visit the now very sick Ferenc Puskás in the hospital to discuss using his name, but as Puskás’ medical situation was deteriorating rapidly, communication attempts were futile. Luckily enough Puskás’ wife (and soon to be widow) was able to act on his incapable husband’s behalf and approved the naming deal in a contract. According to the statement, naming rights were granted without compensation, as “Puskás would have certainly loved what’s happening down in Felcsút”. However, there was much more to the contract: Puskás’ trademark was handed to a sports journalist friend of Orbán (György Szöllősi, also acting communications director of the academy) who promised a hefty annual return for the family (and also a 45% share of the revenue for himself). Ferenc Puskás eventually died on 17 November 2006 and on 26 November 2006 the football academy was named after him: Puskás Academy was born.
Orbán shared his vision of the whole organization after the opening ceremony: “It’s unreasonable to think that Felcsút should have a team in the top division. We should not flatter ourselves, our players and our supporters with this dream. Our long term ambition is the creation of a stable second division team that excels in youth development and provides opportunity for the talents of the future.” Let’s leave that there.

Part 2: No stadium left behind

Orbán became PM once again in April 2010 after a landslide victory that pretty much granted him unlimited power. He chased lots of political agendas but one of his policies was rock solid: he would revive sports (and especially football) that was left to bleed out by the previous governments. The football situation in 2010 was quite dire: while the national team has actually made some progress in the recent years and has reached the 42nd position in the world rankings, football infrastructure was in a catastrophic state. Teams were playing in rusty stadiums built in the communist era, club finances were a mess, youth teams couldn’t find training grounds and the league was plagued by violent fan groups and lackluster attendance figures (3100 average spectators per game in the 2009/2010 season).
Orbán – aided by the FA backed by business actors very interested in making him happy – saw the future in the total rebuild of the football infrastructure. Vast amounts of state development funds were invested into the football construction industry that warmly welcomed corruption, cost escalation and shady procurement deals. In the end, money triumphed: over the last decade, new stadiums sprung out from nothing all over the country, dozens of new academies opened and pitches for youth development appeared on practically every corner. The final piece of the stadium renovation program was the completion of the new national stadium, Puskás Aréna in 2019 (estimated cost: 575 million EUR). Orbán commemorated this historic moment with a celebratory video on his social media that features a majestic shot of Orbán modestly kicking a CGI ball from his office to the new stadium.
Obviously, Orbán understood that infrastructure alone won’t suffice. He believed in the idea that successful clubs are the cornerstone of a strong national side as these clubs would compete in a high quality national league (and in international tournaments) that would require a constant influx of youth players developed by the clubs themselves. However, Orbán was not really keen on sharing the state’s infinite wealth with private club owners who failed to invest in their clubs between 2002 and 2010. The club ownership takeover was not that challenging as previous owners were usually happy to cut their losses, and soon enough most clubs came under Orbán’s influence. Some clubs were integrated deep into Orbán’s reach (Ferencváros and MTK Budapest club presidents are high ranking officials of Orbán’s party) while in other cases, indirect control was deemed sufficient (Diósgyőri VTK was purchased by a businessman as an attempt to display loyalty to Orbán).
Pouring taxpayer money into infrastructure (stadium) projects is relatively easy: after all, we are basically talking about overpriced government construction projects, there’s nothing new there. On the other hand, allocating funds to clubs that should be operating on a competitive market is certainly a tougher nut to crack. The obvious solutions were implemented: the state media massively overpaid for broadcasting rights and the national sports betting agency also pays a hefty sum to the FA, allowing for a redistribution of considerable amounts. However, given that the income side of Hungarian clubs was basically non-existent (match day income is negligible, the failed youth development system does not sell players), an even more radical solution was desperately needed. Also, there was definite interest in the development of a tool that would allow for differentiation between clubs (as in the few remaining non-government affiliated clubs should not receive extra money).
The solution came in 2011: the so-called TAO (“társasági adó” = corporate tax) system was introduced, granting significant tax deductions for companies if they offered a portion of their profits to sports clubs – however, in theory, funds acquired through TAO can be only used for youth development and infrastructure purposes. Soon enough, it became apparent that state authorities were not exactly interested in the enforcement of these restrictions, so some very basic creative accounting measures enabled clubs to use this income for anything they wanted to. Companies were naturally keen on cutting their tax burdens and scoring goodwill with the government, so TAO money immediately skyrocketed. Opportunistic party strongmen used their influence to convince local business groups to invest in the local clubs, enabling for the meteoric rise of multiple unknown provincial teams (Mezőkövesd [pop: 16,000], Kisvárda [pop: 16,000], Balmazújváros [pop: 17,000]) into the first division.
Although it’s not the main subject of this piece, I feel inclined to show you the actual results of Orbán’s grandiose football reform. While we do have our beautiful stadiums, we don’t exactly get them filled – league attendance has stagnated around 3000 spectators per game throughout the whole decade. We couldn’t really move forward with our national team either: Hungary lost 10 positions in the FIFA World Rankings throughout Orbán’s ten years. On the other hand, the level of league has somewhat improved – Videoton and Ferencváros reached the Europa League group stage in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Too bad that the Instat-based top team of 2019/2020 Hungarian league consists of 10 foreigners and only 1 Hungarian: the goalkeeper.

Part 3: Small place, big game!

As seen in the previous chapter, Orbán did have a strong interest in the improvement of the football situation Hungary, but we shouldn’t forget that his deepest interest and true loyalty laid in the wellbeing of Felcsút and its academy. Now that Orbán had limitless means to see to the advancement of his beloved club, he got to work immediately. Orbán handed over formal club management duties to his friend / protégé / middleman / businessman Lőrinc Mészáros in 2010, but no questions would ever arise of who is actually calling the shots.
First of all, no club can exist without a proper stadium. Although in 2011 Orbán explicitly stated that “Felcsút does not need a stadium as stadiums belong to cities”, no one was really surprised in 2012 when the construction of the Felcsút stadium was announced. Orbán was generous enough to donate the lands just in front of his summer home in the village for the project, locating the entrance a mere ten meters away from his residence. Construction works for the stunningly aesthetic 3,800-seater arena (in a village of 1,800 people) started in April 2012 and were completed in April 2014, making Felcsút’s arena the second new stadium of Orbán’s gigantic stadium revival program.
The estimated budget of the construction was 120 million EUR (31,500 EUR / seat) was financed by the Puskás Academy who explicitly stated that they did not use government funds for the project. Technically, this statement is absolutely true as the construction was financed through the TAO money offered by the numerous companies looking for tax deduction and Orbán’s goodwill. However, technically, this means that the country’s budget was decreased by 120 million EUR unrealized tax revenue. Naturally, the gargantuan football stadium looks ridiculously out of place in the small village, but there’s really no other way to ensure that your favorite team’s stadium is within 20 seconds of walking distance from your home.
Obviously, a proper club should also have some glorious history. Felcsút was seriously lagging behind on this matter as though Felcsút FC was founded in 1931, it spent its pre-Orbán history in the uninspiring world of the 5th-7th leagues of the country. Luckily enough, Orbán had already secured Puskás’ naming rights and they were not afraid to use it, so Felcsút FC was renamed to Puskás Academy FC in 2009. The stadium name was a little bit problematic as the Hungarian national stadium in Budapest had sadly had the dibs on Puskás’ name, so they had to settle with Puskás’ Spanish nickname, resulting in the inauguration of the Pancho Arena. But why stop here? Orbán’s sports media strongman György Szöllősi acted upon the contract with Puskás’ widow and transferred all Puskás’ personal memorabilia (medals, jerseys, correspondence) to the most suitable place of all: a remote village in which Puskás never even set foot in.
While the off-field issues were getting resolved, Orbán’s attention shifted to another important area: the actual game of football. Although academy players started to graduate from 2008 on, it very soon became painfully obvious that the academy program couldn’t really maintain even a second division side for now. In 2009, Orbán reached an agreement with nearby Videoton’s owner that effectively transformed Felcsút FC into Videoton’s second team under the name of Videoton – Puskás Akadémia FC. The mutually beneficent agreement would allow Videoton to give valuable playing time to squad players while it could also serve as a skipping step for Puskás Academy’s fresh graduates to a first league team. The collaboration resulted in two mid-table finishes and a bronze medal in the second division in the following three seasons that wasn’t really impressive compared to Felcsút FC’s standalone seasons.
It seemed that the mixture of reserve Videoton players and academy youth was simply not enough for promotion, and although Orbán had assured the public multiple times that his Felcsút project was not aiming for the top flight, very telling changes arose after the 2011/2012 season. Felcsút terminated the Videoton cooperation deal and used the rapidly accumulating TAO funds to recruit experienced players for the now independently operating Puskás Academy FC (PAFC). The new directive worked almost too well: PAFC won its division with a 10 point lead in its first standalone year which meant that they would have to appear in the first league prior to the completion of their brand-new Pancho Arena. Too bad that this glorious result had almost nothing to do with the academy - only two players were academy graduates of the side’s regular starting XI.
Orbán did not let himself bothered with the ridiculousness of an academy team with virtually no academy players being promoted to the first division as he stated that “a marathon runner shouldn’t need to explain why the other runners were much slower than him”. Orbán also displayed a rare burst of modesty as he added that “his team’s right place is not in the first league, and they will soon be overtaken by other, better sides”.
The promotion of PAFC to the first division made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. Supporter groups were united in hatred all along the league and not surprisingly, away fans almost always outnumbered the home side at PAFC’s temporary home at Videoton’s Sóstói Stadium (demolished and rebuilt in its full glory since then). One of the teams, however, possessed an extraordinary degree of anger against PAFC: supporters of Budapest Honvéd – the only Hungarian team in which Ferenc Puskás played – felt especially awkward about the transfer of their club legend’s heritage to Felcsút. Tensions spiked at the PAFC – Honvéd game when home security forced Honvéd supporters to remove the “Puskás” part of their traditional “Puskás – Kispest – Hungary” banner – the team answered the insult with style as they secured a 4-0 victory supported by fans chanting “you can’t buy legends”.
Despite Orbán’s prognosis, other better sides did not rush to overtake his team, so PAFC, now residing in their brand new Pancho Arena, came through with a 14th and a 10th place in their first two seasons. Naturally, conspiracy theories began to formulate, speculating that government-friendly owners would certainly not be motivated to give their best against PAFC. However, as the league size was reduced to 12 for the 2015/2016 season, PAFC found themselves in a dire situation just before the final round: they needed a win and needed rival Vasas to lose against MTK in order to avoid relegation. PAFC’s draw seemed to be unlucky as they faced their arch-enemy Honvéd at home, but Honvéd displayed an absolute lackluster effort – fueling conspiracy theories – and lost the fixture 2 to 1 against a home side featuring four academy players. Vasas, however, did not disappoint, their 2-0 victory resulted in PAFC’s elimination and a very relaxed sigh all over the football community.
PAFC’s relegation seemed to be in accordance with Orbán’s 2013 statement, so public opinion supposed for a while that Orbán’s project came to a halting point and the Academy would go on to actually field academy players in the second division (especially as rostering foreign players was prohibited in the lower leagues). However, if you have read through this point, you know better than to expect Orbán to retreat – obviously, PAFC came back with a bang. With a ballsy move, PAFC didn’t even sell their foreign players, they just loaned them across the league, promising them that they would be able to return next year to the newly promoted team. The promise was kept as PAFC went into another shopping spree of experienced players (easily convincing lots of them to choose the second division instead of the first) and easily won the second league.
Orbán – now aware of his negligence – opted for the doubling the team’s budget, making PAFC the third most well-founded club in the whole country (only coming short to his friend’s Videoton and his party minion’s Ferencváros). With an actual yearly influx from TAO money in the ballpark of 30-40 million EUR, PAFC management had to really work wonders in creative accounting in order to make their money look somewhat legitimate. The books were now full of ridiculous items like:
Naturally, in the country of no consequences, absolutely nothing happened: PAFC went on with its spending and signed 35 foreigners between 2017 and 2020. They did so because they could not hope to field a winning team in the first league consisting of academy players, despite the fact that Puskás Academy has been literally drowning in money since 2007. This seems to somewhat contradict Orbán’s 2013 promise, stating that “Puskás Academy will graduate two or three players to major European leagues each year”. To be fair, there have been players who managed to emerge to Europe (well, exactly two of them: Roland Sallai plays at Freiburg, László Kleinheisler played at Werder Bremen) but most academy graduates don’t even have the slightest the chance to make their own academy’s pro team as it’s full of foreigners and more experienced players drawn for other teams’ programs.
Despite their unlimited funding, PAFC could not put up a top-tier performance in their first two years back in the first division, finishing 6th and 7th in the 12-team league. Many speculated that the lack of support, motivation and even a clear team mission did not allow for chemistry to develop within the multinational and multi-generational locker room. Consistency was also a rare sight on the coaching side: club management was absolutely impatient with coaches who were very easily released after a single bad spell and there were talks of on-field micromanagement request coming from as high as Orbán.
Even so, their breakthrough came dangerously close in 2018 as PAFC performed consistently well in the cup fixtures and managed to reach the final. Their opponent, Újpest played an incredibly fierce game and after a 2-2 draw, they managed to defeat PAFC in the shootout. Football fans sighed in relief throughout the country as ecstatic Újpest supporters verbally teased a visibly upset Orbán in his VIP lounge about his loss.
Obviously, we could only delay the inevitable. While this year’s PAFC side seemed to be more consistent than its predecessors, it seemed that they won’t be able to get close to the podium - they were far behind the obvious league winner duo of Ferencváros and Videoton and were trailing third-place Mezőkövesd 6 points just before the pandemic break. However, both Mezőkövesd and PAFC’s close rivals DVTK and Honvéd fall flat after the restart while PAFC was able to maintain its good form due to its quality roster depth. PAFC overtook Mezőkövesd after the second-to-last round as Mezőkövesd lost to the later relegated Debrecen side. (Mezőkövesd coach Attila Kuttor was fined harshly because of his post-game comments on how the FA wants PAFC to finish third.)
PAFC faced Honvéd in the last round once again, and as Honvéd came up with its usual lackluster effort, PAFC secured an effortless win, confidently claiming the third place. PAFC celebrated their success in a nearly empty stadium, however neither Orbán, nor Mészáros (club owner, Orbán’s protégé, now 4th richest man of Hungary) seemed to worry about that. While Orbán high-fived with his peers in the VIP lounge, Mészáros was given the opportunity to award the bronze medals (and for some reason, a trophy) to the players dressed up in the incredibly cringe worthy T-shirts that say “Small place, big game!”. Big game, indeed: in the 2019/2020 season, foreign players’ share of the teams playing time was 43.6% while academy graduates contributed only 17.9%.
On Sunday evening, less than 24 hours after PAFC’s glorious success, György Szöllősi, now editor-in-chief of Hungary’s only sports newspaper (purchased by Orbán’s affiliates a few years back) published an editorial on the site, stating that “the soccer rebuild in Felcsút became the motor and symbol of the revitalization of sport throughout the whole country”. Well, Szöllősi is exactly right: Felcsút did became a symbol, but a symbol of something entirely different. Felcsút became a symbol of corruption, inefficiency, lies and the colossal waste of money. But, hey, at least we know now: you only need to spend 200 million EUR (total budget of PAFC and its academy in the 2011-2020 period) if you want to have a Europa League team in your backyard. Good to know!

Epilogue: What's in the future?

As there is no foreseeable chance for political change to happen Hungary (Orbán effortlessly secured qualified majority in 2014 and 2018, and is projected to do so in 2022 as well), PAFC’s future seems to be as bright as it gets. Although consensus opinion now seems to assume that Orbán does not intend to interfere with the Ferencváros – Videoton hegemony, we can never be really sure about the exact limits of his greed. One could also argue that entering the European theater serves as a prime opportunity for making splashy transfers who could be the cornerstones of a side challenging the league title.
However, as all political systems are deemed to fall, eventually Orbán’s regime will come apart. Whoever will take upon the helm after Orbán, they will certainly begin with cutting back on the one item on Orbán’s agenda that never had popular support: limitless football spending. Puskás Academy, having next to zero market revenue, will not be able to survive without the state’s life support, so the club will fold very shortly. The abandoned, rotting stadium in Felcsút will serve as a memento of a powerful man who could not understand the true spirit of football.
But let’s get back to present day, as we have more pressing issues coming up soon: PAFC will play their first European match in the First qualifying round of the Europa League on 27 August. We don’t have a date for the draw yet, but soon enough, a team unaware of the whole situation will be selected to face the beast. I hope that maybe one of their players does some research and maybe reads this very article for inspiration. I hope that the supporters of this club get in touch with Honvéd fans who would be eager to provide them with some tips on appropriate chants. I hope that other teams gets drawn as the home team so Orbán wouldn’t get the pleasure of walking to his stadium for an international match. But most importantly, I very much hope that this team obliterates PAFC and wipes them off the face of the earth. 5-0 will suffice, thank you.
And if this team fails to do that, we don’t have to worry yet. Due to our shitty league coefficient, PAFC would need to win four fixtures in a row. And that – if there’s any justice in this world – is a thing that can’t, that won’t happen. Ball don’t lie – if I may say.
Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán redirected some 200 million EUR of taxpayer money over 10 years to fuel his ambition of raising a competitive football team in his hometown of 1,800 people. He built a 3,800-seater stadium in his backyard, expropriated football legend Ferenc Puskás’ trademarks and heritage and built up a football league where almost all clubs are owned by his trustees. His team, Puskás Akadémia FC was originally intended to be a development ground for youth players graduating from Orbán’s football academy, but eventually the team became more and more result-orianted. Finally, a roster full of foreign and non-academy players came through and finished third in the league, releasing this abomination of a team to the European football theatre. Please, knock them out asap!
submitted by pogacsa_is_life to soccer [link] [comments]

Ideas for CANZUK from an American who's interested in World History/Culture and Geography.

Instead of one capital, do South Africa's approach and have multiple:

Legislative capital: Vancouver (most popular Canadian city for a CANZUK capital on this sub).
Judicial capital: Sydney, or some other large Australian city. I chose it because it's between Melbourne and Brisbane, and the Opera House would make a good establishing shot for news stories when decisions from the CANZUK judiciary happen.
Organizational capitals (cities where various organizations operating under CANZUK would be headquartered): Edinburgh, Auckland (since they aren't the capitals of the U.K and New Zealand, fitting the pattern with the other ones).
Prioritize new organizations to be headquartered in other countries if they join.
Similar to the E.U: Have a CANZUK capital of culture that rotates between each of the countries on a regular basis (if there's 4 countries, each country gets it every 4 years). These could organize pan-CANZUK events and help improve the host city like has happened in Europe.

Canzuk Broadcasting Network (CBN):

Public broadcasting channel that will be carried online and as a digital subchannel of respective public broadcasters (If CBC or ABC or BBC is channel 5, it would be 5.2).
Newscast that has subtitles in French and Maori. Filmed in each of the countries and rotates daily which country it's filmed in.
Would air programming from the three other countries (a New Zealand affiliate would get programming from Canada, Australia and the U.K, but not New Zealand.)
News radio station (CBN radio 1), music radio station with music from 3 other countries (CBN radio 2).

Free trade idea:
Trilingual packaging in English, French and Maori.

Something similar to Canada's heritage minute PSAs that captures certain pan-commonwealth, and country-distinct traditions, values, and history.
Tradition examples:
Values examples:
History examples:
Sunrise program
The creation of an exchange program where students can live in another CANZUK country (modeled off of Canada's Explore program and the E.U's Erasmus program.)
(Name idea taken from the saying that "the sun never sets on the British Empire", with the "rise" part symbolizing something that rises above the faults of the past and replaces them with positive things.).

Aim to eschew tradition delibrately:
Coming from a country where politicians take pride in not knowing how to use computers, and cultural norms are rigid; CANZUK should embrace how time changes things.
Whether that's the head of CANZUK unveiling a spotify playlist like how Canadian PM Trudeau did,
or CANZUK offering grants to people in its countries to create mature adult animation since it's currently the fastest growing category of animated material.
or CANZUK helping to lay the groundwork for its members to succeed when the time comes in future economic industries like Asteroid Mining.

A CANZUK youth council:
Canada has the Prime Minister's Youth Council, so there should be a CANZUK one that aims to keep the government out of the "fellow kids" mentality that politicians (at least in the U.S) very often fall into. Adults don't know what's cool, and a CANZUK youth council could help to make things that younger people in CANZUK see as cool. That could also help with the above point of eschewing tradition.
submitted by taksark to CANZUK [link] [comments]

Sydney is attempting to distance itself from the White (non-indigenous) Swan. Also known as "The Bloods" don't exist and never existed.

Mascot Heritage Preamble:
Can any of you say that you currently support any of the following teams (that are currently playing in the AFL): Fitzroy Lions? University Blacks? Port Adelaide Magpies? Sydney Bloods?
The correct answer is no. These clubs do not currently exist in the AFL. That doesn't mean that they never existed. It doesn't mean you cannot reference them or hold an affiliation with them. It's just that they are not current AFL teams/mascots.
When a team's heritage is referenced it is not at the expense of the current registered team - i.e. Port Adelaide reference their SANFL/magpie heritage - and how it is relevant to the AFL P.A.F.C. - they do not advertise their AFL team as the Port Adelaide Magpies.
What's the deal with the Sydney Bloods then?
Sydney has abruptly and inorganically created a marketing shift away from their registered mascot and started referring to themselves as "The Bloods." This is unlike prior marketing from other clubs. Pushing hard for a subjective "Bloods Culture" is one thing, but advertising themselves objectively as "The Sydney Bloods" is entirely different. Why is this Sydney's current logo? "We are the Bloods. Become a member." A member of what exactly? No AFL team is called the Bloods. No AFL/VFL team has ever been called the Bloods.
Swan History:
For a bit of a history lesson: South Melbourne were never the "South Melbourne Bloods." They were not forced to change names/mascots when they moved to Sydney. They were known as the "South Melbourne Swans" dating back almost a century. Preceding this they were simply South Melbourne FC. There has never been a team called "The ... ... Bloods"
South Melbourne's home ground was next to a lake filled with black (indigenous) swans. South Melbourne was a destination club for many WA expats. Black swans in a lake and black swans as the WA bird = the birth of the "South Melbourne Swans" and the changing of their guernsey from white with a red sash to white with a red V.
Prior to the 1930s they were infrequently colloquially referred to as the "Bloodstained Angels" in Lieu of their official name (SMFC) because they wore red and white and didn't have a mascot. When the 1930s mascot decision came around everyone was very happy with their decision to let "The Bloodstained Angels" die on its arse and has remained dead ever since.
But what about Bloods Culture?
Short answer is: It doesn't exist. It's a wholly fabricated 21st century marketing ploy magicked up by executives to make you buy more scarves that say "Never Tear Us Apart" or "We Fly as One."
It's not even a little bit organic. There is no back alley outside of South Melbourne bars where they whispered the true South Melbourne mascot name from generation to generation over the past 100 years. No, instead it was manufactured by Leading Teams in 2003 as part of a weekend leadership group ThinkTank exercise and later inserted into official marketing for the club:
Other teams make up things for marketing!!!
True. For example, Port Adelaide have banners/scarves/websites/twitter accounts declaring the absence of being torn apart. However, they never call themselves the "Port Adelaide Never Been Torn Aparters." Similarly, they acknowledge their PAFC SANFL heritage, but never say "We are the PAFC Magpies."
So what?
Sydney is doing something that is funky. They are also being purposeful and pre-meditated. They are actively trying to take attention away from their official mascot/heritage.
Swans are lame.
Other reasons?
Sydney has been exposed to multiple racial/cultural incidents since the 2010s. This timeframe has coincided with the steady retreat of the white swan and the insertion of the previously unseen "bloods" into the public realm.
At the same time there has been a slight elevation in the prominence of the indigenous black swan at the club. In 2018 the Sydney Swans Indigenous Guernsey was wholly focussed on the Dreamtime story on why all indigenous swans are black and featured a black swan.
Probably should have picked a black swan in the first place.
submitted by gaseous_memes to AFL [link] [comments]

CMV: Cuban-Americans are the most out of touch minority in America.

Obviously I know I’ll have a ton of Cuban-Americans pissed in the replies… oh well.
I’ve been living in Miami now for the past 5 years, originally from NC. Obviously, going from North Carolina to South Florida, the demographics are very different and I was inundated with Cuban culture (I say Cuban and not Hispanic/Latino culture since I myself am Mexican-American). Something consistent I’ve noticed however, is the unusually high number of Cubans that identify as republican/conservative, and the way they talk about other Latinos. Don’t get me wrong, I know you shouldn’t assume ones political affiliation based off of their identity. But for them to talk down about other Latinos, that’s where I have to draw the line. They often say sht like “why can’t those Mexicans/Dominicans/any other Latin American country build themselves up from the ground like we/our parents did” and spew some more sht about the “American dream”. They’ll often say more degrading stuff about other Latinos, and don’t even get me started on how they talk about black Americans.
Now, as a history major, I know all about the different acts the US government placed throughout the 1960s that were designed specifically to aid Cubans that came to the US following the Cuban Revolution. For those that don’t know: Cubans were essentially guaranteed permit residency after a year leading to citizenship, were given classes to learn English, guaranteed employment, housing, literally so many benefits. Benefits no other minority group in the country has ever been given. And when I bring this up to counter their claims of them or their past generation pulling themselves up from the bootstraps, or just to not compare their experiences with that of others, holy hell its like I wished death on their mother or something.
Then you have some famous Cuban-American politicians that are perfect examples of this. Just look at Marco Rubio or our favorite twitter porn-liking politician, Ted Cruz.
This is ignoring the fact that I have my own personal opinions on the Cubans that left Cuba for the US following the revolution as a whole, but then that brings up deeper politics that I don’t feel like arguing today. (Spoiler alert: don’t say they “had to flee” or were “forced out”; they left on their own accord).
There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your heritage or your family’s history as Cubans and Cuban-Americans, but PLEASE realize the privileges that you have and also the fact that outside of Miami/South Florida, those same Donald Trump supporters that you swear by are the same ones that would call you a dirty Mexican that should “go back to their country” lmao.
submitted by egf_123 to changemyview [link] [comments]

Struggling with Racial Identity (Long)

I’ve been struggling with my racial identity a bit lately. A lot really. And I’ve mostly tried to ignore it, but I just got my first job as a middle school teacher in a very diverse school district and with everything going on right now, I know it’s something I should probably confront, but I’m not sure where to start.
I am 3/4 white and slightly less than 1/4 Native American. I grew up being told my maternal grandfather was full Native American. It wasn’t until my mother and brother went to tribal lands to get him registered that we found out otherwise. Our tribe is super small, and the cut off is 1/4th. This means that my brother and I do not have the blood quantum to register with our tribe. This was a source of frustration with me for a while and what made me start to really struggle with my racial identity.
I’ve never been in contact with my tribe. I was raised away from my tribe, as was my mother, and my grandfather. My grandfather was adopted out of the tribe as part of the Native American adoption efforts at the time. He grew up with white adoptive parents, completely removed from the tribe. Shortly after my mother was born, my grandparents divorced. My grandmother remarried and moved several states away with my mother and uncle. So my mother had no contact with her father growing up and was raised by her white mother and white step-dad.
With all that, I grew up with nothing really from my culture. I was three generations removed from any kind of tribal contact. My mom tried to give an idea of what it means to be Native American, but in retrospect, she didn’t really have anything to give. It basically just boiled down to making dream catchers out of yarn and looms.
Now, there’s another part to this story. We didn’t know this, because my grandfather was adopted out of the tribe, but that entire side of my family had a long history of Huntington’s disease. In short, it’s a genetic disease that attacks the nervous system, eventually leading to death. My mother discovered this when she tried to reconnect with her father and finally register with the tribe, only to find out he was dying of it. She was lucky enough not to be a carrier, meaning my brother and I were safe too. My uncle, unfortunately, wasn’t. He died when I was in high school. Beyond my brother, my mother, and I, I am only aware of one other living relative from that side of my family, my great uncle, whom I’ve only met once and who was also adopted out of the tribe.
With all this combined, I’ve never really felt attached to my tribe. I’ve never set foot on tribal land. I probably never will, it’s several states away. I don’t really have any connection to the people there. And growing up, I was okay with that. But learning about my blood quantum, that my brother and I are never really going to be a part of that… really hurt me. It’s like I was told all my life I was Native American, and now I’m told I’m not.
For my mom, being Native has always been part of her identity. She looks it. She cannot hide it. She grew up with two white parents, and people assumed that she was adopted, just like her father. She looks nothing like her mom, my grandmother, who is tall, scrawny, and platinum blonde. My mom grew up facing discrimination. She’s told me about what school was like for her, and even though she is my mom, it was hard for me to relate, because I didn’t.
Standing next to my mom, I look native, but standing next to my dad, I look like his son too. Nobody has ever assumed I was adopted. Standing on my own, I look ambiguous. Most people can’t tell what I am, other than “mostly white.” My brother is even paler than I am. Probably why he’s never really struggled with any of this.
Recently, my mother found her peace. She connected with a different tribe that has been very welcoming. She made friends there. She attends this big festival every year, and she’s invited me to go with her. On one hand, part of me wants to see what it’s like. On the other hand, I don’t know if it’s right for me to claim that. I grew up completely without that culture. I feel like I was Native American in name only. I’ve never felt like my appearance has held me back. I’ve never missed out on jobs or other opportunities for it. I can only account two times where I felt like I was treated differently. Once when I auditioned for a school play and the drama teacher cast me for a bit role entirely because he assumed I could do a Mexican accent, and once when I tried to do a project on my tribe in middle school, only for my teacher to question its validity. The teacher didn’t think I had enough sources (I come from a small tribe, there wasn’t much I could find). She also said that the physical prop I brought (a reed basket my mother and I tried to weave together) wasn’t authentic because “it wasn’t made by a real Native American.”
At the time, those words hurt, but now, it’s hard to deny their validity. I wasn’t raised with any connection to the tribe, and my blood quantum is under the limit. I’ll never be legally associated with my tribe. It’s also hard to deny the fact that I have certain privileges my mother and grandfather never had, just from being more white than not. I don’t know if a person’s race is a product of their upbringing, their heritage, or how they are perceived and treated, but whatever way you cut it, I’m missing something. I don’t feel comfortable calling myself “white” because I’m visibly not. I don’t feel like I can call myself “Native American” because I’m not affiliated with any tribe and I never will be. I’ve spent months filling out job applications and every time I have to pause because I just don’t know.
I feel like the most native part of me is the part that is gone. The only part of the native experience I can relate with is not having that experience because of some decision white people made three generations ago. My life is the result of an intentional effort to erase my culture, and even though I’m so so angry about that, I have to live with the fact that I’ve benefited from that. That because my grandfather and my mother lost their heritage, I get to live with some greater degree of white privilege. I am living proof that those boarding schools and adoption programs worked, and the more I think about that, the angrier I get, and part of me isn’t even sure I’m allowed that anger. Am I even allowed to be this angry about that when those things made my life easier?
In a few months, I’m going to be a middle school teacher. I’m going to be working with kids, and I know we’re going to talk about race at some point, especially with everything going on. And I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to say if my students assume I’m white. I don’t know what to say if they assume I’m not.
This went on for way too long, and I got a bit emotional, but tldr: The Native American Adoption Era wrecked my family for three generations, everyone of my relatives on that side died from a genetic disease, and I’m struggling to decide what I'll say to my students.
submitted by NerdyWordyBirdie to mixedrace [link] [comments]

Chabon Instagram Q&A Transcript for Picard S1E09 "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1" [spoilers]

It seemed like people appreciated this last week, so I'm doing it again. I will skip certain questions, such as ones essentially answered with a "wait and see next week" and others at my discretion but if there's a notable one that I missed I'm happy to add any that you like that I have omitted.
I will try to transcribe accurate to what is written, even if there are errors. There is also a chance that I will accidentally add errors myself. Questions have a character limit and as such may use abbreviations. I will attempt to put the questions roughly in order but my method may cause them to be out of order.
As before, questions will be bolded and Chabon's answers will be in regular text.
As last time, I will point out that Chabon's answers occasionally had what I'd personally consider light spoilers, such as occasionally seemingly deconfirming theories, so be aware of this if you are particularly spoiler-averse.
Now, for the questions (as of now, anyway):
Beyond physical combat, how is ElnoQM any match for Tal Shiar deception & subterfuge? Do you feel deception and subterfuge trump a stout and faithful heart?
Is soong human? If he weren't, why would he need to make himself a golem?
What do Laris and Zhaban do with their time off? Running a working vineyard, even a partly-automated one, takes up a lot of their time, but Zhaban is a long-distance runner and has become interested in the traditional cuisine of Bourgogne, and Laris's earliest intellectual passion, for natural history, had made her something of an expert on the local flora and fauna.
Is there a reason behind Picard not being able to contact Starfleet? Jammed transmision Everything at Coppelius Station has been structured with a goal precisely opposite to that of "contacting Starfleet."
Free will/future unwritten (Picard). Fate/fulfilling prophecy (Sisko). Chabon? I think both arguments sound kind of far-fetched. Holding out for a third option.
How did the idea of having Brent Spiner play a new Soong come to be? It just seemed... logical?
How did you come up with the names of the characters in Picard? The Data relatives especially. It became clear that at a certain point in the history of Coppelius Station, coincident with the moment when synths first began to create synths, they began also to regard Data as a kind of quasi-legendary ancestor. Synth-made synths took their own names--named themselves, unlike Dahj, Jana, Soji and other Soong/Maddox models--and many elected to honor that "ancestor" and his heritage by choosing names that alluded to the principle established by the names "Data" and "Lore", ie, bodies of text or information, such as Arcana, Saga, Codex, Mythos, Epic, etc. Sutra and the late Beautiful Flower were among the first-gen synths who chose to rename themselves, Sutra in honor of Data/Lore. Beautiful Flower, self-designated First Ambassador Plenipotentiary of Coppelius, followed his own muse, as always.
Did Elnor have to go through a earn-your-sword type ritual with Qowat Milat? Oh, yes. Earn and *deserve*.
As showrunner, how often were you on set? Every day? Pretty much!
How did you become a trek writer & producer? In spring 2018, I was working with writer, producer, director and old dear friend @ajgoldsman1629 on a film project. At that time he and @alexkurtzmanofficial were just beginning work on the first round of #startrekshorttreks, and Akiva, knowing I was a deep-dyed #Trek fan, asked if I would be interested in writing one. That became #calypso, and the experience went well enough for everyone that they asked me to come on as a writer and executive producer for a new series they were working on. After that, through a series of chance circumstances, I got lucky, and kind of fell into the showrunner job. Of course, when I say "lucky," what I'm mostly talking about is privilege. I get that.
Any hints with Soong's initials, AI (Cheeky) That was actually a(n instantly welcomed) suggestion of Mr. Spiner's.
I hope Rios had a Sex Phasers album in his tickle trunk? Lol. Those were Alonzo Vandermeer's records (and "Walkman"), actually.
Do we need to have finished Next Generation to see Picard? If so, then we really failed.
Did you name "Copellius" after the ballet "Copellia" about a doll that comes to life? #etahoffman FTW!
Why is Elnor so precious baby boy? He's so pure Don't you just want to squoosh him?
Why introduce another Soong instead of the cloning being just Maddox's achievement Why sing? Why dance? Why bother to get up in the morning at all?
Who exactly are the Fenris Rangers? They seem like the Maquis of which Chakotay was Not really. They aren't fighting to protect and defend what belongs to them, their homes, their families, their way of life. They are volunteers from everywhere, pledged to each other in the case of protecting the vulnerable from the strong, irrespective of boundaries, alliances, cosmo-politics.
Does La Sirena have a dedication plaque? (thinking emoji) It did--noting its manufacture at the famed Kaplan Shifbau on Hatzeplatz colony world--bit it disappeared long before it was acquired by Rios (and thereby hangs a tale).
What's the difference between the synthetic Spot and a clone of Spot? One is made from organic, biological, cat-derived cellular material (clone); the other is wholly synthesized
What are Laris and Zhaban's favourite Earth dishes and places to visit? They have tended to confine their travels to the region around Labarre. Zhaban is particularly proud of his gougeres and his matelote d'anguille a la bourguignonne.
re: the line "it must've taken appalling brutality to turn such a gentle soul to violence"...Hugh was a victim but we never see him fight. How did he "turn" to violence? He never got the chance that would likely have been not too different from what Seven did, in the end.
I know you won't tell me, but I feel like I'm a flake if I don't ask, is this Lore? Is *what* Lore? Am *I* Lore?
All previous episodes started with a flashback or dream of the past. Why not this one? This is the end, beautiful friend.
Were the space orchids sentient like Tin Man? That is such a good, interesting question. I think I could argue either side. Makes me think of my all-time favorite BSG episode, "Scar" (s02e15).
Are the (beautiful) Orchids just purely weapons or can they be used as ships? They were designed to serve a purely defensive function.
Every desk at the Daystrom Inst. has 2 chairs, red+black ones. Why? Deleted scene? Red for androids? Are you sure you have clearance to know the answer to that question?
What are the Fenris Rangers exactly? A decentralized, non-hierarchical, quasi-anarchist affiliation of independent operators working in and around the former Neutral Zone, pledged to defend the weak and vulnerable from the predations of the strong and unscrupulous.
"Altan" means "golden", "Inigo" means "my little love" ("Lal" means beloved). Just saying...;-) Altan also means "red dawn," and is an anagram of "atlan" and "natal". Inigo is a clear reference to the great #inigojones, but then who can forget Senor Montoya? #foodforthought
What's located in the room under La Sirena's bridge? Deflector contorl? Two Forward? The loo? ;-) Nothing is located under *La Sirena*'s flight deck!
I was unclear about Brent Spiner's character. Was he another synth created by BM? Dr. Altan Inigo Soong is a natural son of Dr. #NoonienSoong.
Where/Who is "beautiful flower" that showed up with Jana in the Ibn Majid? He was killed by Alonzo Vandermeer, remember? He was the first and perhaps the most singular of the male-presenting androids created by AI Soong and Bruce Maddox after their arrival on Coppelius.
Was Soji's outfit in this episode an homage to Boomer from BSG? You would have to ask our Costume Designer, #ChristineCLark, but my memory is that the intention was to keep our beloved @isacamillebriones looking good while being cool and comfortable on an *extremely* hot location.
Beautiful Flower sounds wonderfully larger than life. Will we learn more of him? Alas, poor Flower... Write the story yourself!
Is Starfleet still headed to the planet? Duh-duh-DUM!
Because Sutra and Dahj both lost a sister, will they become closer now because of that? Soji (!) and Sutra are sisters of a kind, and their relationship has sisterly complications.
Are are looking at a half-Romulan bun in the over for Soji a la Hera on BSG? Mmm, Romulan buns. (picture of Homer Simpson with hand on chin, positioned beneath answer)
did laris and zhaban,as romulans, ever face discrimination on earth? I would say prejudice, more than outright discrimination in any legal sense.
What percentage of backstory asked about here is created on the spot vs during preproductio You mean, backstory provided in this forum? Less that you might think, more than I will ever let on.
What happened to Data's "mom" Dr. Tainer? Fascinating to speculate. I have heard reports of a young, male Romulan agent of the Tal Shiar, one with rumored links to the Zhat Vash, trained as a Romulan "cyberneticist" (i.e., android hunter) and setn out with a "hit list" of Soong androids, but have so far been unable to confirm.
The synths remind me a bit of the space hippies in "The Way to Eden." Was that intentional? We reach.
How did you manage to write anything when you kids were toddlers? 50-50 parenting + hired childcare + preschool. *Kinda* worked.
Those giant Orchids reminded me of my slim, tall Kelpien (tears running down face emoji) Hmm. I don't see it, but I'll take another look!
What about Beautiful Flower's twin? Will we meet him? He named himself Mythos, but alas he did not make it onto the screen (or beyond the first several drafts of the scripts for 109-110).
For people who know of you through Trek, which of your novels should we start with? It depends on what kind of stuff you typically enjoy. A lot of people say *Kavalier & Clay* or *The Yiddish Policemen's Union* is their favorite. I think *Moonglow* is my best. But what do I know?
How can an android mind-meld? Wasn't this something tied to Vulcan physiology? So Vulcans have always led us to believe. As a physiological effect, it can be synthesized, or rather the physio-anatomical basis can be synthetically reproduced.
Was the title of the episode meant to evoke a memento mori for the synths The sense of memento mori is intended, applied wherever it feels appropriate, as well the notion that ultimately any Arcadia (or utopia) falls under the universal shadow of mortality and our consciousness of it.
Vegetation-based spacefaring, Arcana's sister, "landfall" I right to sense a BKV not? :) I would nod, wink, wave, and/or blow a kiss at @briankvaughan (and his aces writing), but, no, I don't think so, in the case.
I loved the last two episodes! I know the Jewish Prague story, What is a Golem for Soong? A "golem" for Soong, Maddox and Jurati is a synthetic human body considered to be a potential vessel for a consciousness, especially a "downloaded" one.
Can these androids use contractions? Apparently so!
Robot Soji aka Sutra is hot! I never thought androids could be so sensual? Just BARELY a question, my friend. Question mark is doing all the work. Anyway, @isacamillebriones crafted and designed that performance--none of that sensuality was on the page. She just showed up and out slinked Sutra. She blew our *minds*. I think part of it was that she absolutely loved her costume.
If Soji is remnants of data's neurons, is Sutra lore's essence? He's conspicuously absent. Nope. Sutra just evolved that way.
Was similarities between Arik Soong and Alten soong intentional? Surely you know by now that EVERYTHING we don on PIC is intentional, my friend! ;)
Who is your favorite of the Dahj/Soji/Sutra triumvirate? Soji has nobility and strength of character and conscience and a questing heart.
Picard's son Batai plays a Ressikan flute in Inner Light, is it the STP theme? It's in there!
Are the synths with more Data-like coloring and eyes earlier models? No, they are the ones who have modified themselves to emphasize a sense of ancestral connection to Data.
What led Altan Inigo Soong to continue his father's work? That would be a novel or series in itself. But his somewhat bitter joke about not being the "made" son, coupled with his choice to follow in his father's footsteps, suggests a certain amount of conflictedness.
Why did Maddox leave the colony? To execute his plan!
So are we just pretending Lore doesn't exist? Considering the whole theme of creating twins No, we're just not telling a story about Lore. That tale has been so much more than adequately told.
Why did it take so long for federation starships to get seatbelts? Some mysteries may never be elucidated.
The Picard/Raffi scene - when they say "I love you" - what kind of love are they sharing? Love between old colleagues and comrades who never quite found the chance or time to become friends, but whose sense of a bond is real and has, after all, endured.
What's your process to writing? Do you like outlines or are you anti-outlines? In screenwriting, outlines are a necessary evil. necessary to the process of development-required-and indispensable when it's time to write. When I write novels, I just feel my way along, groping in the dark. Wonderful, true for me as a novelist, #ELDoctorow quote: "Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."
Last week: "When I'm hungry". A superman reference? Do I get the trophy sticker? Last week... last week...? Nope, sorry, it's gone!
How emotionally aware are the Synths? Some appear more aware of their emotions than others. Rather like human beings in that regard, no?
I didn't quite understand the relationship between Oh and Clancy. Ds she knw abt Zhat...? Clancy was fooled right along with everyone else by the Zhat Vash #KimPhilby.
A lot of people online think Soong is Lore. Please debunk then. I debunk them thus.
Where was Bruce's lab that was destroyed by Romulans? (OMG I loved this ep. everyone is (heart emoji)) On Freecloud, which was his base in launching the intelligence-gathering operation that led to the embedding of Dahj on Earth and Soji on the Arrifact.
What's required for non-Vulcans to do mind melds? Brain function that mimics, or can be modified to mimic, that of Vulcans. For one.
Soong mentioned Maddox being "deceptive" - is that a reference to Bjayzl's loan? Yes and his general preference for secrecy and clandestine operation, his tendency, as Juratiy said way back in 101, to get a little "secret planny."
Has there been discussions about ds9 still existing? Replaced with a fed station? No such discussions have included me, at any rate. Of the current batch of Trek creators, I am, I believe, the most avid admirer of DS9.
Aside from the obvious, do the credits have any hidden meaning? We're you involved in their creation? Yes, I was, and no, no "hidden" meaning, per se. They were meant to refelct the mood and to a degree the thematics of the show.
Loved the orchids. What's your favorite crazy thing we've seen off the bow of a ship in Trek? There is only one correct answer to your question. (in the background is "Abraham Lincoln" on the viewscreen of the TOS Enterprise)
How has this season been impacted by your background as a novel writer vs tv only? That's a question for other people to answer, not me.
Is Picard's willingness to express love to Raffi a sign of his growth or impending decline? Both? You know what? I think it's both. For many men, especially, I think, that is one of the poignant if not tragic things about getting old.
You've said before that Voy isn't a favorite of yours, but do you have favorite episodes or moments? I dont' think that's actually something I said. It's not my favorite series, but I still dig it! They can't all be my favorite. I will always be most loyal in my innermost being to TOS. I love TNG, without that same soul-deep connection. I think DS9 is, simply, great television. As television, the best. Voyager has more ups and downs for me--and as I've said here before, "Timeless," is my favorite episode.
I read that Santiago speaks a few languages- any chance we could have more holos? (please (>_< emoji)) *La Sirena* has just the basic install package--navigation, medical, tactical, engineering and hospitality.
Did the Admonition simply affect Sutra in a different way, or was this always her plan? She had not the faintest notion of the Admonition until the moment she heard about it, on Soji's return. No one did!
Why didn't you have Lore be the dr creating all the evil androids? What evil androids?
When I explained the title to my 15yr, he wanted me to tell you, quote, "That's a brilliant title!" What an intelligent and noble-natured lad.
You've said before you didn't like the Janeway and 7 relationship, could you you elaborate? No, I said that it didn't interest me as much as it clearly does other people. That's not the same thing at all.
Did Noonien Soong create the synths? Noonien Soong has been dead since 2367! 33 years before the present action, and around 18 years before his son and Maddox arrived on Coppelius.
I'm curious why you didn't have Dahj do the head tilt in S1E1 Remembrance. Too obvious? The head tilt only works once we aren't trying to hide the Twins' synthness from the audience (and Picard) anymore. Then it becomes something they're in on with us.
Vandermeer=from the sea (German, lake if Dutch). Loving ALL the names. Is this one intentional? I liked the way it sounded with "Alonzo," and I dig the work of sf writer @jeff_vandermeer123.
are you/the PIC team surprised at how LGBTQ+ folks/trekkies identified/related with the xBs? Actually I was not aware of that, as a common response, though I've seen a few comments here and there, I guess. I'd like to know more!
Was it difficult to inlist Brent Spiner to come back as a son of Soong? No, not at all! What a lovely man. (red heart emoji)
What is it like to work with the one and only Brent Spiner? (smiling emoji) I feel like he is hilarious on set! He is a delight, on set. He is witty and cheerful and fun. It was joyful to see him and SPS together, because they were joyful together. And Brent is such a thoughtful and nuanced actor, with such control.
Is Romulan Star Empire gone completely? What type of gov. is the Romulan Free State? Yes, it is (for now, at least). The RFS is the largest and most powerful of a number of fragmented successor states vying for control of the former Empire, strongest probably because it retains the support of the entity we still refer to as the Tal Shiar, though it may now be calling itself something else.
Is anyone ever going to mention that Spock disappeared trying to save Romulus? I am not sure why anyone would, other than to tick a box on a fan checklist.
Will we ever get Josh Tillman (aka Father John Misty) as a guest cameo? What a curious notion!
Picard melded with Sarek. Is he aware of Discovery's survival? Ooh. That is a GOOD one!
Was the poorly named Cortez in "Far Beyond the Stars" the inspiration for the Ibn Majid? No, I just thought it would be cool if Starfleet honored some great non-European navigators/explorers/sailors.
You had said Hugh wasn't in the original script. What as the impetus to add him? (yellow LLAP emoji) I don't htink that's quite what I said. He was definitely *always* in the script of the first episode in which he appears.
And sorry if you felt this was Too Critical, I've heard you don't like any Criticism My friend, I live for intelligent, insightful and charitable criticism: it improves my work. What I don't "like" is rudeness and unkindness. I'm also not wild about opining that mistakes itself for criticism. In my entire fifty-six years on earth I've probably met about fifteen people whose opinions were one of their best features.
I will finish out this Season. Hopefully the writers change the Politicial Agenda next Seaso Cheers. Because of the Story format, nobody but me can see the string of brief fragments leading to this final bit. I'll tryt o paraphrase briefly but honestly: as a fan of TNG, you were looking forward to PIC, but have been mostly disappointed, particularly by what you percieve as a political agenda being imposed on Star Trek and on the character of Picard, whom you view as having been "neutered." Is that fair? I can't find an actual question, but there's a ghost question, sullen and aggrieved, peering out, and that question is, why did you have to go and fuck up my Trek? To this question, as when it is asked by any fan, of any modern fandom, regardless of political affiliation--and we've all been there, with some franchise, at some point--there can be only one honest answer, and it sucks: It *isn't* yours. It belongs to a big corporation, and they can do whatever they want with it, including hiring creators who you see as fools. Every time we come up against that, it feels shitty (And with Trek it's worse, because for a while we fans actually did "own" it, back when nobody else wanted it anymore. We kept it alive.) All I can tell you is that I hear you, and I can sympathize, but obviously I don't agree with you. if you see regret, remorse, self-doubt, self-examination, recognition of ones limitations and shortcomings as "neutering", unmanly, then you aren't very far along on your journey toward being what I at least would recognize as "the Measure of a Man."
With s1 wrapping up, how far along is the writing staff on s2? Will you be as involved? We are in the writing stage on the first half + of season 2. I continue as writer and executive producer, helped shape the new season, and will be writing two episodes.
Dahj's Mission: protect Agnes? Soji's mission: Find the Admonition? Dahj's mission: find out the truth behind the synth ban by infiltrating Starfleet (Daystrom). Soji's mission: find out the truth behind the synth ban by infiltrating a Romulan outpost. A pincer movement on the secret.
Of all the characters, synth or otherwise, the one most "like" Data is Elnor. Agree? In the purity, the innocense, the curiosity, the sweetness... Yep.
So... There is still a Borg Cube on that planet. Seems like something that can regenerate? It happened once, but...
"Old school medical tricorder" - TOS era, perhaps? It was directly modeled, I believe, on TNG-era designs
Where did Bruce get that neuron from anyway? It had come into the possession of the Daystrom Institute.
Why were Soji and Dahj created in Jana and Sutra's image? Pure expediency.
What can you tease about the finale? I'm so excited but I also don't want it to end!!!! Tuvan throat singing, a freestyle Klingon limerick cipher, and an unexpected cameo appearance by the #MrsBeasleydoll from #FamilyAffair. But you didn't hear it from me!
Will we see more Seven? These little moments are SO GOOD but so SHORT! I want to tell you, but I can't!
Late to the party but! What was your favorite troi-riker family detail to write? Creating Ardani. Also, Kestra.
Do you have a favorite starfleet uniform? I'm a sucker for the TNG uniforms form s3-7(no text respons from Chabon, but in the background is this uniform.
What's the runtime of next week's episode? Can't recall offhand... I think around 52-55?
Brent always said Spot was his worst ever co-star. Was Spot 2 better behaved on set? He was a good boy.
So if Alton was the son of Juliana and Noonien Soong, why did she say she never had children? Oh, Altan's too old to ahve been the son of Juliana! No, no, no. Before Juliana.
Does the Federation still uphold the "no cloak development" legislation of the Treaty of Algeron? As far as I know.
So this is a kind of explosion from Eden? This would make Sutra's actions interesting. "Explosion from Eden"?
The actress who played Saga was as pretty as a peach! Can I ask her out for dinner? ;) ;) The #Ramseytwins, Jade (Arcana) and Nikita (Saga), are as talented and sweet as they are lovely. And they definitely have that "twin thing" (finishing each other's sentences, etc.) We all enjoyed having them around.
Was Sutra created by Soong using Lore's positrons? Why would anyone ever do that?
Orchids fall into atmosphere on purpose to damage the ships? Wasn't sure why that happened. Drag down. Force to land.
Love the show! What are your scifi inspirations outside Star Trek? #UrsalaKLeGuin #SamuelRDelany #JamesTiptreeJr #IanMBanks #CordwainerSmith #FrankHerbert #LarryNiven #JackVance #AlfredBester "Dying of the Light" by #georgerrmartin
Is this episode a refleciton of your passion for French ballets from the 1870s? "The Sandman," ETA Hoffman, 1816.
Maybe I missed something, why are Sutra and other synths gold in complexion? Maybe you did!
If we won't see Beautiful Flower's twin, can we pretend he was in BG onscreen in Ep9? Please do! He was gorgeous.
Why did Jana and Flower reach out to the Ibn Majid if they were hiding from the Federation post-ban? It was, in hindsight, very foolish. In prospect it waz innocent and hopeful.
what would you say to your 20 y/o self given the opportunity? Be kinder.
Please tell us you wraped post on the finale :) Um, yes.
Is the timeline of The Yiddish Policemen's Union, the Mirror Universe back in the 20th century? That's a meshugge idea.
Was Narek ever abused by his sister in any manner? He seems to resent and fear her. She is the person who loves and cares for him most in the world, his sole champion when they were young orphans, and she protected him from all harm, except the harm she herself inflicted.
What happened to Data's "mom" Dr. Tainer? Unclear.
So if Noonien is the father, is Juliana(the actual human Juliana)the mother of AI Soong? Nope. Juliana was hardly the first of Soong's loves.
Was use of the word "golem" a callback to Kavalier & Clay? Oh, probably, sort of.
What kind of playlist were you listening to when working on Picard? So much Eluvium, "Copia" and Susumo Yokota, "Artifact."
Why did Picard switch back to pistol like phasers rather than the tool like on es from TNG? Question for Props Master #JeffLombardi
Why were there four Isa Briones synths when it seems like there are only 2 of the rest? Last two were rather hastily thrown together.
Is the Golem just a android Body for Soong to place his Conscience in? Yep!
Can you tell us if Seven/Annika will be in the second season...? It is forbidden.
Update: This post is currently up to date as of 3/20/2020 at 6:45 PM EST. It's been quite a while since Chabon has added an answer so I don't anticipate any further questions, but will add more answers if they appear.
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