Hello, OCTV friends, readers, commenters, and contributors!
This post is written directly in response to the comments on THIS post, so if you’re interested in what the fuss is about, you can click on that. I know that on a post like this, most people are going to want to skim ahead to what my final decision is on this topic and ignore everything that comes first, and I get that, but I am going to tell you what I’ve decided to do and then I would ask you to please keep reading. I would also ask you to please feel free to express your opinions in the comments, but to also respect the opinions of others and try not to argue with each other too much. Or rather, argue about ideas, but not about the people who have their opinions. Cool? I know you guys are up to it, so thank you.
I have decided, with the agreement of @TikisGrandad, that he will not be doing anymore recaps for us here at OCTV and that instead, I will be asking one of our other bloggers to take this on. Like I said, please continue reading for a few other things that I’d like to say about it before we put this to bed for good.
When the idea came up for Grandad to do the recaps, I was really excited. I know he’s a fun part of TVD fandom (in a fandom that can get really wacked out), and the couple of people that I told were THRILLED. I kind of assumed that everyone who wound up here on my blog reading TVD posts was plugged into that same fandom, and I’d never heard peep about Grandad being offensive there, so I thought, oh yeah, this will be great! Everyone will love it!
Well, sometimes you just misjudge. First of all, a lot of people had no idea what was going on, which means that maybe the joke was a little too inside. And secondly, several people found it offensive, and in my experience, if a few people are willing to say that, there’s usually more out there that feel that way. I’ve had a couple days to really think this one through and to consider my position on it, and this is what I’ve come to:
For me, personally, Grandad doesn’t offend me. I am not trying to convince you that you shouldn’t be offended, because I do get how it comes across as racist. I just want you to understand a little more my thought process before assigning him to cover the show. I think the big offender here is the dialect that he speaks in. I guess I just didn’t think about it that much, and quite honestly, I have old white relatives who don’t speak much differently. And way beyond that, I don’t feel like Grandad is supposed to be a malicious or hateful character in fandom. I just don’t get that intent at all. And the biggest part for me about not finding him offensive is that I don’t feel like the humor in Grandad is derived from racial stereotypes–it comes from him being old, a little crazy, having a bad memory, but also making these astute and hilarious observations while everyone ignores him. And I do think that’s fun.
However, I also want you to know the reason that I’m discontinuing his recaps and it’s this–while OCTV does sometimes offend people, our main goal here isn’t to be offensive. Our goal is to talk about TV and have fun doing it. There really aren’t many sites out here like this, where adults can come together, write and talk about TV (especially stupid teenage TV) without judgment where we can cuss and debate and respect each other, and where no one is beholden to making networks or advertisers happy. In other words, this is a hobby for ALL of us, from me to the writers to anyone reading it, and if it’s not fun, then we’re not doing it right. And I feel very uncomfortable about the idea that my site is making anyone uncomfortable. And those feelings of discomfort are legitimate. It’s not across my line but it may be across yours, and that’s okay. And to me, whether it’s a minority or not, I would rather just do away with this experiment than to make people feel so upset or disgusted about a recapping format that they can’t come here and enjoy the community. It’s just not what we’re about.
For the record, the person behind the Grandad twitter account and the recap linked above has been more than gracious and understanding about the whole thing, and showed as much concern about it as I had, and I appreciate that person very much. I asked if they would like to share a statement about the situation, and they agreed to. Here it is:
I’d like to apologize to those who find my portrayal of Grandad offensive. Not because I believe I’ve done anything wrong but because my intention has never been to ridicule any one particular community. That’s not who I am. Or who Grandad is, for that matter … he just ridicules everybody.
I’m not going to go overboard trying to prove to you that I’m not racist. Those who know me, those whose opinions I truly value, know that’s the furthest thing from the truth.
I chose Tiki’s Grandad to use for a parody account because of his tiny but pivotal role (really…he DID point Elena in the direction that led her to having her ‘WTF, what ARE you, dude?’ to Stefan moment) in the show. He’s not integral to the ongoing storyline (no matter how important he thinks he is) which means it’s easy to have fun with his ‘removed’ observations of what’s going on around him.
Clearly I’ve taken some liberties with the ‘tone’ of his voice and his far more liberal use of slang than what he displayed in the 5 minutes of screen time we saw of him. But really, how are we to know how Tiki’s Grandad of the show behaves when he’s amongst friends?
I have a friend who’s Jamaican. (No, this is not one of those ‘I have one black friend so I’m obviously not racist’ stories…please continue reading.) YOU would never know he was Jamaican to meet him. First of all, because he’s white (see, not my ‘one black friend’…as a matter of fact, if you had an overview of my friend/family gatherings, I…as a caucasion…would be the minority…but I digress). So, most people are completely surprised when/if they first hear his accent. But, it’s also because he uses nothing but normal, proper grammar, no hint of an accent if he doesn’t know you. However, once he’s around friends, the slang starts to fly, the patois comes out and if you don’t know him, you probably won’t understand a word he says. That doesn’t make me (or anybody) look at him and think ‘wow, why’s he pretending to be so unintelligent…that’s offensive’. He’s educated and wildly successful. It’s just who he is. Who we are. How WE speak to each other.
My point is that Tiki’s Grandad’s voice and the actual slang he uses is made up from a variety of my actual friends, both black AND white (and others if I’m being exact), who slip in and out of this kind of slang constantly.
I started doing the parody account because I thought it was going to be fun. And it has been. I’ve had great feedback from some of the cast and crew and others associated even loosely with the show who enjoy Grandad’s tweets. So, I can only assume that I’m doing something right and that the majority of people ‘get’ the cantankerous yet debonair, old man’s humor. I’ve been amazed and delighted by the response that I’ve gotten from the fandom. People telling ‘Grandad’ how much they love him and how they’d had shitty days and were thankful to ‘him’ for putting a smile on their face. THAT’s why I do it.
I think it’s important to say that I did not start this account to address, in any way, the perceived use/misuse of minority characters by the CW. While that’s become a widespread ‘joke’ amongst the fandom, it’s something I choose not to address. I’d rather leave that to people who are far better qualified while I’m sitting back enjoying the show for all that it is.
All that said, everybody is entitled to their opinion. I believe that wholeheartedly.
I respect your opinions whether I agree with them or not. I appreciate those of you who came to Grandad’s defense (so much) but let’s not bring any more negativity to OCTV or Grandad, for that matter. The bottom line for me is that I was honored to even have Grandad asked to do the recap for OCTV. The fact that it has put SB in this position does not sit well with me and I’d much rather go back to having Grandad tweet his Mystic Falls wisdom from the porch swing at the Boardinghouse and let those who enjoy the character follow him there while we continue to enjoy OCTV the way it’s supposed to be: lighthearted, snarky and fun.
You guys, racism, and what is and isn’t racist … it’s a huge issue, and any piece of it that we break off into is a huge discussion in and of itself. I’m not trying to cover that or get into it here. All I’m saying is that I care about you guys and the good hostess in me wants you to be happy and enjoy yourselves coming here. And we’re just here to talk about TV, really–I don’t want anyone being stressed out or uncomfortable about it, so if there’s anything I can do to ease that, I will. And again, everyone, it’s okay that we have different opinions, and it’s okay for people to say if they’re not cool with something (unless they really are being stupid, but I think that’s only happened maybe like twice in three years and this was not one of those times), so try to go easy on each other, okay?
I hope to see you all back here next week for more TVD posts and discussion, and we’ll give this another try! I hope that you can all respect the decision to switch up the recapping (and @TikisGrandad is still on Twitter, so for those who are fans, there will still be plenty of commentary and you can visit him for it there), and I hope that people understand that it’s just humans working on this blog, and that sometimes things just don’t go how we expect them to or sometimes we just don’t think of things in a certain way. But I really like all of you guys and how smart you are, so I hope you stick with us. :)
SB, HBIC of OCTV (more acronyms = more important title)
Tags: Vampire Diaries