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    From: (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: ATTN JMS: soc.culture.jewish.moderated question
    Date: 3/6/2001 3:45:00 PM  

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>> Unfortunately, the character, Ivanova, was played by an actress named
>> Claudia Christian, a Gentile, natch. The whole character should not be
>> seriously, since it was a stupid in-joke created by J. Straczynski,
>Babylon 5's
>> creator.

This has to rank in the top one percentile of the top ten percent of stupid
comments I have seen on the net to date.

Because Claudia's last name was Christian, this makes it an in-joke? You think
I created that character then went around looking for someone named Christian
to play the part?

Does your mom know you're using her computer when you're supposed to be in bed?

The character was created to be a strong Jewish character. Period. To show
that our heritage and our history goes with us to the stars. We dealt
seriously and with great sensitivity with what it means to be of Eastern
European Jewish heritage.

I cast the best person to walk in the room for that role. I applied an open
casting rule to all parts, to allow greatest latitude in picking people without
prejudice. On Crusade we had an actor of Korean descent, Daniel Dai Kim,
portraying a Lieutenant named Matheson.

B5 received several awards from Jewish organizations for its portrayal of Susan
Ivanova. That aspect was used in sermons and lectures by Rabbis who seemed to
have NO problem taking her seriously. Her character was the first regular
series character in a futuristic space SF series who was not just Jewish, but a
*practicing* Jew: sitting shiva, lighting the Menorah and consulting (sometimes
reluctantly) with her Rabbi.

A stupid in-joke?

You can sit there and write off an actor and a character just because the actor
who portrayed the character happened to be a Gentile? Which is in no way
fundamentally different than the many fine Jewish actors who play Gentiles
because the intelligent thing to do is to cast the best actor for the role?


The problem is not the show's, nor is it the actor's, nor is it the
character's. The problem is yours.

Sir, and I say this with the love of whatever god you say you believe in, in my
heart... you are an ingnorant, prejudiced putz.


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