YMMV Homeland Discussion

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10:32:30 PM Dec 25th 2013
In case my response regarding my belief that Iran's enemy status in the third season is considered too much Conversation in the Main Page (and I understand if it is), I want to explain why I believe that what I replied to was wrong and should be deleted if an opposing view is.

First, it would be justified by Iran's Homeland-universe counterpart sponsoring the bombing of the CIA building and therefore the killing hundreds of Americans. Yes, I know in real life they wouldn't work with Al Qaeda, and the whole show mixes Shiites and Sunnis as if they'd get along when they don't, but is it really anti-Muslim to refrain from pointing out that among Muslims there are two groups who really hate one another?

It is also justified by Iran's real life status as very hostile to the USA, at least when the scripts were written.

I think (and think most Americans do) that the real life Iran is still very hostile towards to USA, although they're likely to abide by the real life agreement for pragmatic reasons, as the sanctions were really harming them. Many in the USA who disagree with me say we can't trust Iran at all, arguing we should tighten the sanctions even further.

Anyone who knows history and the American overthrow of a popular government to install and prop up the Shah knows that we are guilty of some actions that made Iran so hostile, but nevertheless they are hostile in real life, and have done worse things in the Homeland universe.
04:34:32 AM Jan 3rd 2014
While in real life Iran has armed insurgent groups to fight the US, I have to say that there is no justification to go down to the third dot point. The original troper got two articles to justify an Unfortunate Implications label, the example should stay (although a brief note or counter-point wouldn't be a terrible idea).
10:55:33 AM Jan 3rd 2014
One minor thing I wanted to note is I think the characterization of Javadi as a Straw Misogynist is off-base.

As far as I can tell from the presentation in the show, he murdered his ex-wife out of a combination of petty revenge against Saul/a way of expressing independence from the CIA.

His comment of doing it as part of Muslim custom (and that he could/should have stoned her) is kind of a "joke" for lack of a better term, given that Javadi is a pragmatic and personally secular guy- which is why the CIA recruited him in the first place.

No question he's an evil bastard, but that killing wasn't really done out of religious motivations.

Which is not to say that the line didn't contribute to all of the other Unfortunate Implications about the presentation of Muslims and Iran...

02:41:01 PM Jan 3rd 2014
Re: Shaoken: I think that (at least before the real life agreement was reached) it's insane to say anything other than that Iran should have been considered an enemy of the USA. I agree there are Unfortunate Implications in other areas. That, however, is not one of them.

Re: Hodor: I agree with your interpretation of Javadi.
02:46:17 PM Jan 3rd 2014
Oh, I want to add that some comments of mine might make me sound like one of the Iran hawks that I can't stand. Iran in real life is (or at least was) an enemy...but it would be stupid to use force against every enemy the USA has, and I hate when people push for military action against Iran.

However, CIA activity to subvert their government involves a lot less in lost lives, and that is absolutely called for, in both real life and the Homeland universe.
01:09:40 PM Jan 6th 2014
In terms of the Iran stuff, here's how I see it:

I think real life developments cause season 3's plot to be Undermined by Reality, and that's not something for which you can really blame the creators.

And as you note, the Homeland verse has somewhat different events than the real world anyway- most relevantly being Israel already bombing Iran's nuclear reactors.

However, it's hard not to come away feeling like the creators' opinion on the real Iran lines up with their fictional one, given that the show presents the only options being either nuking Iran or using black ops assassination and imposing a US-friendly regime. Basically, Homeland's Iran is the one that exists in Neo-Conservative fantasies.

Also, it's weird how the show presents Saul's plan -as if imposing a US-friendly regime is an original idea that has never been done before, and has no potential drawbacks. I would have expected that someone would have mentioned the American government's overthrown of Mossadegh, the democratically elected leader of Iran, which is pretty much the source of all our (America's) problems with them to date.
03:00:10 AM Jan 7th 2014
Iran has a funny government. It's not democratic, although it's closer to democratic than a lot of others in the region. However, the "spiritual leader," who cannot be deposed for life, is at least as powerful as the elected president. Also, while the most recent Iranian election was legit (afaik), the previous won was stolen for the hard liner.

I really don't think Saul's specific plan has been attempted anywhere, though if it had we wouldn't know it had. It's different from openly helping the opposition, because ideally it never becomes known to the Iranians or anyone else. Our support for the overthrow of Mossadegh was known, and in fact is a major reasons that Iranians hate us (they still do hate us even if the real-life agreement successfully contains them, and I am optimistic it will, which they signed due to how well sanctions were working— and they worked because even Russia and China got behind them).

I don't think there was much talk in Homeland given to what the options were regarding Iran. I strongly disagree that the creators have shown they support nuking Iran: Not even the most hawkish Americans do (they support conventional war), or even would if Iran had sponsored a 12/12-like terrorist attack.

Given the 12/12 attack that did not happen in real life, the actions we took in-iniverse were actually extremely restrained. I'm against war with Iran, and I would be against it even if they developed nukes (though I would make it clear that if they ever used nukes we would then nuke them), if they sponsored a major terrorist attack on US soil it would change my mind. But they never did in real life, and I doubt they'd ever be so stupid. And of course in-universe they work with Al Qaeda, which they wouldn't due to Sunni-Shiite differences.

However, I do believe that if we can subvert an enemy government's government though black-ops that will not be found out, we should do it as in the American interest. I really like the idea of using the CIA to subvert (when we can't put a Mole in Charge, just make ineffective) highly unfriendly governments as an alternative to war, likely preventing wars we could otherwise have.

Homeland has not taken a right wing neoconservative view of war or terrorism policy in its existence, making clear at the beginning its opposition to warrantless wiretapping, a little later on that even Estes will never use torture, and a little later on takes its biggest shot at neocons, showing that unnecessary drone strikes create more terrorists and are what turned Brody.

It does have some anti-Islamic overtones, particularly but not limited to Saul's chewing out the Islamic analyst for her headscarf (though it did end up showing she willingly and importantly helped the CIA, as well). And a producer is Israeli, and Israelis have an interest in seeing a more hawkish American policy in the Middle East. However, I'd say the show is more in the American center rather than either fringe.
10:14:00 PM Nov 11th 2013
edited by
Something wanted to comment- I'm not sure how important/necessary it is to comment that Saul is Jewish in defending his objection to Fara's headscarf. Not only are not all Jews anti-Muslim, but Saul has been Jewish since the first season of the show, and up until that moment was shown to be one of the more tolerant characters (albeit with a likely creator supported advocacy of racial/religious profiling).

Additionally, I'm not clear on this, but my impression was that Dar Adal was a Muslim (at least in terms of background/upbringing), and he refers derisively to Fara as "The Headscarf".

Basically, I definitely suspect that the creators of the show (some of whom happen to be Jewish) want the audience to support Saul's anti-Muslim attitude, but it is rather out-of-character from how he was presented up to that point.

I mean it is sort of understandable that he'd become more of a hardliner after the attack (which understandably if not justifiably) could include becoming more anti-Muslim, but the show hasn't really presented it in that light- while Saul is definitely more ruthless this season, there are some implications that he's always been that ruthless (and more importantly, he gives a "job" to the guy behind that attack, so I'm not sure how much the attack excuses his being an anti-Muslim and a jerk).
10:18:57 PM Nov 11th 2013
I don't have a strong opinion on the issue of mentioning Saul's religion. I kept a mention of it in there because it was in the previous editor's post, but I don't object to its removal if that's deemed the best option.
11:11:15 PM Nov 11th 2013
Actually, I'll go a step further. After thinking it through, I think it would be best to remove the reference to Saul being Jewish, because I don't think it makes any difference in how objectionable it is to have him make the remarks he made to the Muslim analyst.

I won't remove it, so as to give others the chance to comment. But I want to "change my vote" so to speak so as to favor its removal.
02:37:12 AM Nov 12th 2013
edited by
I removed it altogether because it being a deliberate Kick the Dog (I'm with Niria there) moment aside, the trope is not about editors taking offense everytime a slur or a less than heroic remark is tossed around, it's about the media complaining about it -preferably not some random blog-, and thus it was retooled into a "citation needed" meta-trope, as can be read in the description.

While I don't care much for sensibilities, I have no real dog in the race here, the previous bullet was property restored adding the needed citations when I removed it on the same grounds.
03:40:36 AM Nov 12th 2013
edited by
I disagree with the removal. I think Saul's being Jewish is not really relevant, but I think it is a legitimate issue (not his Judaism, but the remark). The Headscratchers page has a comment by someone who I'd guess is Muslim (I could be wrong) who was quite offended. I came to understand that point of view, even though I wasn't really offended myself.

I think that if my pre-reveal take on Saul's Season 3 persona had been correct, and he had become a (sort of) bad guy, it would have been a fine Kick the Dog way of signaling the change. As it is, he did it, and he's still the most admirable character on the show in other ways. Even if the writers didn't think of it this way, it constitutes a suggestion by the writers that Saul's remarks were okay. That's not a good position, and Muslims have good reason to be offended by it, IMO.
03:43:55 AM Nov 12th 2013
edited by
To me the implication there is that Saul is being jerk, I don't know how you can infer the writers expect to empathize with him when this happens while Saul is apparently turning into an antagonist, but well, this is not about agreement, it's just complying with the trope rules after its last retool via Trope Repair Shop

Quoting from Unfortunate Implications

No example may be added without proof that it's not just one person thinking. Citations are done as follows:

03:54:54 AM Nov 12th 2013
I see that entry, but counting the Headscratchers page, there's Turkish Delight, Forsetipurge, Hodor, and me all agreeing that it was potentially offensive. Does the proof that it isn't just one person thinking have to come from an outside website?
03:59:11 AM Nov 12th 2013
edited by
It was intentionally offensive, an OOC insult to be wary about Saul (there are problems when you compare in-universe and out-universe reasons here, as the audience is mislead but not coherently) It can be covered by Kick the Dog, Politically Incorrect Hero etc. Keep in mind that Unfortunate Implications are unintentional, done inadvertedly, I see no reason to use that trope for this. As I said in the edit reason, there is no need to force it

The general feeling in HS is about it being a pointless, unsypathetic insult, exactly what Kick the Dog is about, regardless of how well the writers play it, and another editor has outright stated that his jewishness is a non-issue. The pothole in headscracthers is being misused.
08:35:43 AM Nov 12th 2013
OK, OP here. This discussion is getting too convoluted for yours truly, so, please, would anyone please explain in Laconic what is the dispute here?
03:46:30 PM Nov 12th 2013
"Should a trope on the YMMV page, and if so which one, be listed referring to Saul's headscarf statement?"

As laconic as I can get.
04:23:23 PM Nov 12th 2013
To add the one thing that I think everyone who's posted agrees upon, there seems to be consensus that Saul's being Jewish is not relevant and should not be mentioned in anything about the scarf comment.
04:54:21 PM Nov 12th 2013
I've been discussing this via PM with forestipurge (especially the irrelevancy of Saul's religion), but they suggested I paste a reply here in which I listed my thoughts about the scene:

I haven't found a really good citation for Unfortunate Implications yet, although several reviews comment on the oddity of Saul taking this attitude since he has worked with tons of Muslims during his career, and it is stupid that he and the others would be surprised that their Farsi expert happened to be a Muslim.

Saul really is a lot less sympathetic this season, so while that was out-of-character with how he came across previously, it does set up his differing characterization this season (some reviewers have argued interestingly that Saul maybe always was this nasty, but he seemed nice because he was playing Carrie/balanced out her craziness).

Some reviewers actually argue that this was sort of tough love as a way of motivating Fara- but that's an attitude I really disagree with (although I can see Jerkass!Saul holding it). I don't think there's anything fair about the idea that Muslim Americans have to prove they aren't terrorist sympathizers, and it makes even less sense in Fara's position, as chances are anyone hired for the job she has would probably be Muslim.

I have also felt that Fara at least initially seemed too much of a designated Token Enemy Minority (i.e. she's the designated good Muslim used to absolve the show of being anti-Muslim), especially in her speech to those bankers in her introductory appearance.

However, I find it really striking how Saul is so enthusiastic about his plan of using Javadi, and Fara voices what I would consider to be the sane/just viewpoint- that someone like him deserves to be punished for his crimes (especially since the guy just murdered two innocent people) and that it is terrible that Saul's plan revolves around making him a Karma Houdini.

Now the show does seem to support Saul's plan (note the other person objecting to it is Strawman Political Senator Lockhart), but it seems pretty clear to me that he's not being presented as any kind of paragon.

So, tl; dr (sorry for the length of this) is that it was an ugly scene, but I'm not clear the show actually supports Saul's behavior.

Edit- As an additional tl; dr, the scene can be read as implying that Muslim Americans need to prove that they aren't terrorist sympathizers, and it doesn't help that Saul's behavior actually did motivate Fara.
04:55:44 PM Nov 12th 2013
Fine, take out the Jewish part. But that scene does have an UI, which is that "people can arbitrarily question the loyalty of an Iranian-American woman simply because the woman wears a headscarf in the office" (this I quote from Hodor).
06:38:58 PM Nov 12th 2013
Re: Hodor- IMO now that we know that Carrie and Saul were playing out a deception, and he wasn't really messing with Carrie, I no longer personally think that outside of the headscarf comment Saul hasn't continued to be admirable this season (all can be justified by The Needs of the Many). I think Carrie would say as of now (after 3.07) that all she endured was worth it now that the plan seems to have succeeded.

Re: Forsetipurge- I believe the UI should be there, minus the Jewish part. Your opponent on the UI issue seems to be Trollbrutal. I just decided not to keep fighting the issue myself (I'll neither post nor remove on it) as I agree with you but don't feel strongly enough to make it my fight. It's possible that you and TB might reach a consensus by changing the trope to something like Politically Incorrect Hero. That's just a suggestion, though.
07:47:28 PM Nov 12th 2013
Something to keep in mind: This is not the first time a white character in Homeland berate a Muslim for his faith without getting a What the Hell, Hero? from that Muslim. Last season, we had Jessica rant about Brody's conversion to Islam and then Carrie accuse Galvez for hiding Abu Nazir because he is a Muslim. Neither Brody nor Galvez bothered to demand an apology from their accuser—which made it even worse, like they don't even consider their faith is something worthy of their defense. And now this.
07:56:54 PM Nov 12th 2013
At least with Carrie RE Galvez, I think that was showing her paranoia/less savory traits (since IIRC she was trying to blame him in lieu of Brody).

I think part of the problem is that there have been so many Muslim sleeper agents on the show (including one the protagonists obviously), which gives the idea that Fara would be viewed with suspicion more validity than it would have in the real world.

The thing with Jessica's reaction to Brody is kind of strange in that she seemed to be presented in a negative light, although things are complicated by Brody actually being a terrorist and traitor (although the show does seem to indicate he got something positive from his conversion).

07:55:49 AM Nov 13th 2013
OK, this is the Unfortunate Implications I propose in Laconic: "Unless they have proven otherwise, you can always question the loyalty of Muslim Americans." I can add the write-up and link later, but first we have to settle: Keep this or don't?
09:27:23 AM Nov 13th 2013
I assume you'll add examples, so I vote yes.
09:52:46 AM Nov 13th 2013
I vote yes too and actually, I believe that this is something touched on in the links previously added for Unfortunate Implications for the show. Which reminds me, when Fara is introduced, the people in the building (and thus, the camera) view her suspiciously, and I wondered while watching it the first time if she this was a Traitor Shot to raise suspicion that she was The Mole (compare with the terrorist couple in the first season).
10:00:19 AM Nov 13th 2013
Fine by me then. An ask the tropers query could be opened about the citations, but there's enough consensus on the subject.
02:56:23 PM Nov 13th 2013
edited by
I do want to say that I don't think Jessica's getting very upset over Brody's conversion to Islam should be lumped in with Saul's comment. Carrie's accusation of Galvez is fair game, though.

The reason I think Jessica's is not a problem is to simply ask: If you were married and cared about the religion you and your spouse shared (even if the "religion" was atheism, though Jessica's was probably Christianity), wouldn't you react badly if your spouse changed religions without consulting you, and even much worse if your spouse secretly had changed religions? This is true regardless of Islamophobia.

Furthermore, unlike Saul and Carrie, who had dealt with Muslims as sources countless times, Jessica may never have really known a Muslim— but knew Brody was taken by Muslim captors. I think Jessica's actions made sense for her character. Carrie's were in character too, as she was obsessively grasping at straws trying to figure how Nazir got out (though he actually didn't), but I can understand the problem one might have with the "question the Muslim" attitude.
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