In a New York Times interview Friday, filmmaker Alan Ball opened up about the political nature of his new series
The openly gay Ball is the creator of two successful HBO series, Six Feet Under and the explicitly bloody and sexy True Blood. But he's most well-known as the screenwriter of the Oscar-winning film American Beauty, his angry assault on Middle America.
Here and Now is a supernatural/family drama premiering Feb. 11 about a couple of self-described social justice warriors played by (lefty actress Susan Sarandon's husband) Tim Robbins and actress Holly Hunter who adopt three multi-racial children. Asked if the story was a response to "the political moment," Ball replied,
"I was working with the writers when Donald Trump was elected president, and we started to see the show as a kind of prism through which we could look at all these different characters’ multiethnic, multigenerational viewpoints living in Trump’s America. How do you deal with that? How do you make sense of that?"
Curiously, no Hollywood screenwriter or filmmaker created a series during Barack Obama's White House tenure wondering how to make sense of living in "Obama's America." But with a Republican in the Oval Office, especially one who is making America great again, suddenly Hollywood has to puzzle out how to "deal with it" and "make sense" of it.
The show is set in Portland. Why? Because "Portland has this reputation for being so incredibly progressive — and it is. However, it also has a pretty sketchy history in terms of racism. For a place that’s very progressive, it’s still predominantly Caucasian."
Translation: It won't be truly progressive until we get rid of most or all white people. But for now, it'll do as a location.
Asked what kind of research Ball did for the characters, he noted that rather than rely on his own limited white imagination, he packed the writers' room with a multi-ethnic staff for their presumably authentic perspectives. "We made sure that we had a couple of African-Americans, a guy of Asian descent, a Lebanese Muslim guy and a Palestinian gay guy. We have people who are adoptive parents. Growing up in my white privilege, I have no reason to know these things. So it’s not so much research on my part, it’s having these great writers that I work with who bring their own experiences to the table."
What, no female writers? No straight, white writers? The show's all about living in Trump's America but there's no Trump voter in the writers' room? As usual, the left touts only the diversity that fits their worldview.
The interviewer noted that the show features a Muslim family "where [sic] the parents are comfortable with their child being transgender." Ball replies that his producing partner Peter MacDissi said, “'If this is going to be a show about America, we need a Muslim family to be a part of this tapestry.' People are so terrified of, don’t understand, project all kinds of weird stuff onto Muslim characters — especially the way they’ve been depicted in the mainstream media. They’re never complex or nuanced."
Seriously? People who complain about Muslims being depicted only as fundamentalists and terrorists never acknowledge that it's because of real-world Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism, not media bias. The media bends over backward to give jihadists complexity and nuance.
The absolute last thing the media and Hollywood strive to do is present one-dimensional stereotypes of Muslims. It's white, conservative, Christian America that the media and Hollywood gleefully stereotype, and you can bet Alan Ball's new series will milk that to the very last drop.