Shitt’s Creek is a comedy featured on Netflix that focuses on a family that gets cheated out of their wealth. The only thing the government let’s them keep is a town they bought as a joke that was deemed as worthless. A long story short, this extremely rich, uppity family moves to an extremely poor and rural area after losing all of their money.
The story brings a lot of interesting contrast between the different economic classes, but even more interesting is the dynamic portrayed even when the family has no money. The family acts as though everything is gross and that they are “above” everyone else, but they eventually adapt to their new surroundings. In the case of this show the family is the other and the townsfolk are the one, but the opposite is also true. I know this sounds confusing and counter intuitive, but in the show there are a lot of dynamic interactions. The townsfolk are already all friends with each other and spend the most amount of time together. Outside of their hospitality they seem to not want to spend much time with the family, and the family doesn’t want to spend much time with them. The towns people see them as outsiders and find their “culture” weird at first. For instance, the way they dress, the way they talk, and the way they act. Likewise the family thinks the same thing about the townsfolk. This interaction originally led to a power struggle in the town because the family was basically dependent on the townspeople for help, and it was difficult for them to accept that.
Overtime the two groups of people begin to accept each other and adapt in certain ways. In the beginning, the family wants to do nothing but leave the town and make it out, but in a short while they all basically want to stay and the mom even runs for town council. Overall, it is an interesting story about how perceived economic class has positives and negatives in certain situations and how two different types of people can get along. I also think that it does a good job portraying how the longer that you are around a certain group of the other the more you begin to assimilate or accept them. This seems to be the case often times in the real world and makes for a funny and dynamic story.
HBO’s Game of Thrones was a widely popular TV show that aired on the network from April 2011 through May 2019. It consists of many powerful houses who are in competition to rule the seven kingdoms. When the legitimacy of the current king’s claim to the throne is called into question other rulers begin to claim that they are the rightful ruler and plan to seize the throne.
Daenerys (Dany) is a Targaryen who believes she is the rightful queen of the seven kingdoms. She is disgusted by slavery and her goal is to set all of the slaves free and kill all of their masters. In her eyes, she is bringing justice to the world. However, the slaves are viewed as property by their masters and after years of slavery they have begun to see themselves as such. They do not have any belongings to their name or any purpose in life other than serving their masters. Thus, when they are set free, they have nowhere to go. Dany always gives those she conquers the choice of if they want to follow her or not, but they have nowhere to go if they decide not to follow her.
Dany realizes that having a large army and conquering a group of people is a lot easier than ruling over them. Ruling requires a consistent effort and compromises. She was able to look at the masters, see the evil in the way they treated their slaves, and conquer to set the slaves free. But then the slaves were left with nothing and had no purpose in life. Their entire economic system was lost and while masters did not have direct control and authority over their slaves, they still had power in other means such as economically and socially.
Martin Luther King Jr. was witnessing similar experiences. The slaves had been set free by the U.S. government in 1865 with the addition of the 13th amendment, but racism and inequalities were still largely present in the 1900s. Former slaves were not yet equal to their previous masters. There were still large injustices that Dr. King fought with nonviolent methods such as the Montgomery bus boycott. In his Letter from Birmingham Jail Dr. King explains his rationale for his actions and explains the injustices that were present.
In both situations the subaltern is set free but does not have an equal voice to the former ruling group. Slave masters were very profitable in both America and the cities in Game of Thrones for years. When their slaves are lost, they are still left with wealth and power while the slaves are left with nothing and must start a completely new life with no resources. The subaltern then must work increasingly harder than the Subject in order to achieve the same level of success.
Being locked in our homes during the Coronavirus pandemic, many people have turned to streamed content for some form of entertainment. The aptly timed release of the docuseries Tiger King has taken popular culture by storm. While there is a great variety of cultures and identities featured in the show, I will focus on the power relationship between Joe Exotic and his husbands and employees. Joe Exotic being a very peculiar man, surrounds himself with a very specific group of people. Throughout the season, we come to understand that most of his husbands and employees are down on their luck, outsiders. The town sheriff told us that if someone gets off the bus in town and noticeably had no place to go, Joe Exotic will offer them a place to stay and a job at his Zoo. By doing so, Joe gives hope to these lost souls and instantly becomes a provider figure for them. His employees show their appreciation by being incredible loyal to him. This is demonstrated clearly when one employee loses her arm due to a tiger attack and returns to work in less than a week. This dynamic can be related to the Master-Slave dialect. Joe holds a great deal of power over his employees due to their desperate situations and they are subject to his wishes and commands.
Another example of Joe holding power over people in a vulnerable position is his relationship with his husbands. The two that were featured most prevalently on the show both met the middle-aged Joe Exotic when they were only 19. They were not gay but rather entered a romantic relationship with Joe because he provided them meth which they were both addicted to. Again, Joe found people in desperate situations and ultimately benefited from their vulnerabilities. However, it is clear that Joe did not feel that he was committing any injustice. He was providing his employees a place to live, a job, and a group of people who identified with them. This was a great second chance for many people who likely felt that life had given up on them. He also gave his husbands a stable relationship, and provided for all their needs, including a reliable way to satisfy their addiction. Due to their dependence on him for meth, the husbands have become subalterns and unable to challenge Joe in the hierarchy that he built.
While Joe does not see anything wrong with actions, many viewers considered his behavior to be extortionist. By being the sole source of housing, income, and community, he holds a great power over these people. This forces them to accept unsafe working conditions, substandard housing conditions, and possibly unwanted sexual activities. I think that the creators of this series want the viewers to realize how people in desperate situations will endure terrible treatment in exchange for basic necessities and a sense of common identity. However, I think that this series was more focused on sensationalism than invoking questions of power and injustice.
In my fictional TV show “Game of Thrones” specifically the first season we are introduced to the medieval world and the seven kingdoms, where socioeconomic classes, race, and gender play huge roles in the making of this fantastic TV series. Family ties and hierarchy are the name of the game in this show, for instance the Lannister’s are one of the high class powerful families, while the Starks of winter fell are important figures but not necessarily high class.
One of the biggest factors in this show is your socioeconomic class and where you belong on the totem pole of power. This can relate back to the beginning of the semester when we learned about the concept of othering and people depicting themselves as the “one” amongst everyone else. The Lannister’s are a high class family and have a way of forcing their way into power by using their name, money, and societal standing. They used this power to infiltrate their way into the thrown and become the royal family of Kings Landing through threatening and killing who they needed to.
I think the creator in this TV series was trying to portray really just what the world was like back during that time period. They went into great detail about the dynamic of how the civilizations and classes and races all interacted with each other. It really makes you think about how different our world is today compared to then, as only white males were really the only people who had any say about what their entire families were involved with when it came to society. The creators of this show were able to perfectly describe and depict what life was like when it came to injustice as well when Lord Stark was wrongfully executed by King Joffrey in the first season.
For my text review I am going to talk about the show 90 Day Fiance. For those who are not familiar with the show, basically the whole premise of the show is that someone from America meets someone online who lives in another country and they’re in a “relationship”. Eventually the individual from America goes to wherever their partner is to visit them, and most of the time they’re traveling to places such as Nigeria, the Philippines, etc. And that’s where it gets interesting, that’s when we see these Americans trying to function in situations they aren’t used to in these areas that are impoverished & we see injustices.
During the current season two great examples of this are with Ed & Lisa. Ed is “dating” Rose, who lives in the Philippines. Lisa is “dating” someone who lives in Nigeria. Both of their trips provide us with different examples of identity, power, and injustice. A great example of this comes with Lisa. Lisa is 53 and it’s clear that she has some very interesting viewpoints. Her boyfriend lives in a very rundown area, and it’s clear upon her arrival that his living situation is much different than what she is accustom to. For example, to take a shower/bath there is simply a small area and a bucket. They fill the bucket up with water and just continually pour that on themselves to wash off. Lisa made it clear that was “unacceptable” and that she wasn’t “living like this”. She was clearly looking down on him and his living situation. Another example of Lisa is when they are going to meet her boyfriend’s mother, and a Nigerian custom is that the person meeting their partners parent will buy a Goat and bring it to them, as a sign of respect. Lisa argued with it extensively and made it clear that she thought it was stupid, once again looking down on Nigerian culture. Throughout the entire season Lisa looks down on Nigerian culture, and talks to her boyfriend almost like she is his owner. She speaks and acts this way toward him because she feels that he has no choice but to deal with her actions if he wants to come to America. She clearly uses and abuses her perceived position of power, that she believes she has to treat her boyfriend like he is an inferior. His Mother even states one of her concerns is that if he goes to America, she fears that Lisa will make him a “slave”. I thought Lisa’s actions was a great example of the idea of the “other”. Throughout the entire series Lisa is talking down to her partner, alienating him, and making it seem like his culture and his way of living is something absurd. She’s blatantly making him feel like an “other”. I think the producers of 90 Day Fiance want to show us how difficult it is in these countries, but I also think they want us to see how harsh Americans can be when seeing these cultures and situations first-hand.
The phrase “being at a bad place at a bad time” often becomes a reality for some people. Especially, when you are young and desiring to explore your youthfulness. When They See Us is a series that captures the injustices of the criminal justice system. The Exonerated 5 Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise, black teenage boys, with other black teenage boys were accused of “gang” raping a female victim in Central Park (NYC). At the beginning of the case, Korey Wise was never a suspect. He had just happened to be with his friend Yusef Salaam to support him with the situation that recently transpired. The police took him in anyway without probable cause. It was unethical due to prosecutors taking in a teenage who was never a suspect. In Korey’s scene prosecutors manipulated him into confessing to a lie about events that occurred that night- saying if he said it, he could go home from being questioned. Due to the lack of evidence the prosecutors had, they began questioning the boys without their knowing of the right to stay quiet until their parent came and physical, mental, verbal assault. Conditions were unbearable considering these men are guilty and still in jail. Not only was he beat by the inmates, but the officers as well. Power was demonstrated forcefully by the DAs. I often wondered if those sorts of disagreements happened and were allowed in jails. The discriminatory acts of roughing the teenagers up and names like “animals” “gang bangers” were crucial to this case. It explored the various steps of injustices many black and brown people suffer daily. The treatment of the Caucasian DAs upon Korey Wise presented an obvious bias between the cop and himself. The cops viewed him as the “othering”. As if he was out of place for being there in the beginning, and his identity played a vital role. There was constant a master-slave dialect that the DAs desired to pursue. The officials knew they had the authority and aspired to abuse it. Using language and words officials knew the teenager was not familiar with to intimidate him and receive information to build a case. The author wanted the readers to be challenged and inspired in the world, I believe. A lot of times we get caught up in our own lives and forget that there are other real-world experiences occurring where black and brown people are being wrongfully convicted at high rates. It vividly sheds light on the work that still awaits to be accomplished in regard to the judicial system and their approaches to similar positions.
Escaping Polygamy is a docuseries that follows 5 women who escaped from the Kingston polygamous organization, also known as The Order. These women have dedicated their lives to helping other individuals escape Polygamy. One of the most eye-catching aspects of this show is the portrayal of the polygamous organizations the women go up against. Between the two main cults explored in this show, I will talk about the FLDS polygamous cult.
FLDS stands for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It’s run by Warren Jeffs (currently serving life + 20 years for statutory rape of 2 ‘spiritual wives’, ages 15 and 12) who believes to be the Prophet and the key to reaching the Celestial Kingdom. One of the biggest takeaways from this show is just how isolated members from the FLDS are, and how they do everything they possibly can to keep it that way. Members who have left the organization are referred to as Apostates and aren’t allowed back to see their families. The FLDS refers to everyone outside of the religion as Gentiles. From the FLDS perspective, they are the One and everyone else is the Other.
The FLDS not only Others the rest of the world, but they also Other their own members. The FLDS, as per the show, is notorious for separating families and sending away family members to ‘repent’ with no explanation. This is one of the many ways the Prophet maintains his power and control over the organization. One of the episodes in this show is about a woman named Lizzy. She was deemed ‘unworthy’ by the Prophet, so her daughter was physically taken away from her and sent to live with another family. At the time of this episode, Lizzy hadn’t seen her daughter in 3 years, had no clue where she was, and Lizzy herself was sent to a house of repentance (an isolated house in the middle of nowhere) to be left alone for months. This is Othering. The show tracked Lizzy down after it was contacted by one of Lizzy’s concerned friends who had escaped.
Now, there is another perspective to discuss here. Just like how the FLDS Others the rest of the world and their own members, this show Others the FLDS. Docuseries are typically made to educate the general public on a specific topic. I, as someone who had no prior knowledge regarding the FLDS, was taught by the show that this organization is dangerous and infringes upon basic human rights. From the perspective of the show, everyone else is the One and the FLDS is the Other. While the FLDS literally isolated their members from the rest of society, this show figuratively isolated the organization from the rest of mainstream society.
From the FLDS Othering the rest of the world and their own members, to the show Othering the FLDS, Othering is at the root of this docuseries. After watching this show, I was able to formulate an opinion regarding the FLDS and polygamous organizations in general. But I question how much of my opinion was formed as a result of the show’s Othering and portrayal of polygamy.
Westworld is a tv show that is based on the power and intellectual science of humans. They create a place where the wealthy can interact with human-like robots and experience power, death, seduction, and mortality without real consequences. They can pay their way into a lifestyle where they cheat death but get to experience most things that would otherwise land them in jail. The humans in this arrangement have the power until one day a behavioral scientist gives the robot’s memory. This gives them the power to remember everything that’s ever happened to them in Westworld. They begin to remember and slowly rebel against humans and escape the park. This is as far as I have gotten in the show so far but I think the science and technology embedded in this show are amazing. In this show, there are many worlds the humans can visit and experience. They can join Westword, old west themed park, Asian world, a world based off of ninjas, and a few others which bring multiple identities together. There are people of all different socioeconomic and ethnic classes demonstrated among the robots so humans can experience the real world through them. There are whores, cowboys, villains, sheriffs, and others in the Westworld. In this work, the robots are treated with no respect. They are indispensable to humans until the humans realize that they can have memory and feelings that are not controlled with a keypad. This is when the show takes a turn and the robots begin to gain power that the humans could have never foreseen. The power is a balance between human power and intellect that humans created. They were creating a world for scientific advancement that ended up being regrettable. In Westword, the humans lost control to the robots who figured out their scientific intellect and strengths.
Selected Work: The 100 Season 2 (TV series)
The 100 is a science fiction drama television series whose story setting is 97 years after nuclear holocaust devastated almost life on Earth. There mainly three races in season 2: Sky people who lived in a space station orbiting Earth, Ground people who are survivals on Earth after nuclear holocaust, Mountain people who locked themselves in fortress before the nuclear holocaust. Sky people have high-tech and plan to transfer from the space station to Earth. Ground people are almost primitive and brutal. Mountain people have high-tech, but they must stay in the fortress or wear suit because they cannot survive from radiation on Earth. The number of 100 stands for the 100 young criminals exiled to Earth from the space station.
The topic of the story is the conflicts between these three groups. When the 100 teenagers first come to Earth, they are attacked by Ground people because Ground peoples’ culture teaches them to kill any possible threats. In Ground peoples’ viewpoint, the 100’s identity is different from that of them. However, as de Beauvoir indicates in The Second Sex, “the other consciousness, the other ego, sets up a reciprocal claim”. Ground people are also othered by the 100 because they are brutal and primitive. After all Sky people land on Earth, they take over the lead of the 100 because they have more weapons and people. The 100 are stilled othered because they were criminals.
Mountain people arrest Ground people and extract their blood for survival and “other” them because Mountain people think Ground people are brutal and they are not the same kind of species. And the advanced technology enables Mountain people to treat Ground people as others, like de Beauvoir discusses how power relation constructs the concept of Othering. However, Mountain people initially want to make friends with Sky people because they think they all have many similarities and the same culture. The identity in their views is culture-defined.
However, when the conflicts between Sky people and Mountain people grows, Mountain people are exterminated at the end of the story by the united army of Sky people and Ground people. There are many innocent people are killed.
The story focuses on group difference. Every group has its own problem of survival and has to harm other groups in order to solve the problem. They all have “goodness” in human nature, but they have to do something “evil”. I think the author wants us to take away is: when there is no conflict, people define identity based on the number of similarities. However, when a conflict grows as a group issue or race issue, identity will be redefined. The final winner of the conflict is the one has much more power. And there will be many innocent people involved and being killed which is injustice and unavoidable.