LITERATURE: Interpretation

Update:  Thanks to Crof at Writing Fiction, here is a direct link to Ursula K. Le Guin’s website.

Interesting phenomenon being followed by Amardeep Singh regarding one of my favorite authors and her work, Ursula K. Le Guin’s famous Legend of Earthsea and its remediation into a tv programming series on the Sci Fi channel.  She’s upset because "the Entertainment industry interpreted the multi-ethnic characters of her books via an all-white cast."

Brings up a whole slew of questions.  First in my mind, of course, is the retention of artistic rights over the project, but that naturally conflicts with the readerly/writerly aspects to which we strive, that is, allowing the reader (in this case, the production company) to interpret as they wish. 

And too, since it’s a racial issue that involves not only color, but ethnicity and culture, it may be necessary to consider how it changes the characters themselves. 

But one of the racial aspects that LeGuin herself brings up :  "My color scheme was conscious and deliberate from the start. I didn’t see why everybody in science fiction had to be a honky named Bob or Joe or Bill." 

It seems to me that if we are to lose color consciousness then a white playing a person of color is no different than the reverse, which is what has been pushed as an ideal of a liberal viewpoint.

But then again, I tend to agree with LeGuin, sometimes the diversity is a conscious and necessary element to the story.  Would "Lilies of the Field" or "Porgy and Bess" not be a bit confusing with white actors playing the leads?

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