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  #51  
Old 04-20-2015, 05:27 AM
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Question Re: Ancestry Shows

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Originally Posted by lisarea View Post
I've always been kinda "lol" at the idea of people getting really into their ancestry and being proud or embarrassed by it, so I'm kind of arguing with myself about that.
I knew a kid way back in grade school who claimed that he was nth cousin or something to Samuel Clemens. He was p proud of it and as a little bort I thought it was a neat thing. I don't know if he thought of it as anything more than a bit of trivia, and as a bit of trivia it is neat. I can't imagine making any real hay of it, though, if it were something I could claim.

I did some low level research into what family genealogy I could find. I'm proud that I know at least some names for my maternal line. I'm kind of in love with my grandmother's name. And going a generation further back her mother/grandmother had the surname Knight. I don't know why I think that's cool. (Maybe a small part of me is stoked to maybe possibly someday be chosen by a frail relative to take over their foundation and drive around the country in their automated vehicle fighting crime. :KITT:) Further than that and I don't have any perspective or feel any connection.
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  #52  
Old 04-20-2015, 07:26 AM
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Default Re: Ancestry Shows

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  #53  
Old 04-20-2015, 03:26 PM
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Default Re: Ancestry Shows

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Originally Posted by lisarea View Post
Oh, no. I'm not fighting you! I was just thinking over this my own self because you made me think about it. I detach myself from my family history for the most part, too.

I've always been kinda "lol" at the idea of people getting really into their ancestry and being proud or embarrassed by it, so I'm kind of arguing with myself about that.

It is sort of cool, when I think about it, and it's a way that some people connect to history and dig out little everyday stories that would otherwise be lost. I enjoy some of the stories and all, but hadn't thought about how some family history might actually have some significance beyond being amusing, you know?

I'm just kind of woolgathering and trying to figure the significance of why people get emotionally invested in their ancestors' behaviors. I don't think anyone, including you or me, should be ashamed of the privileges our families gained before we were born, any more than we should be inordinately proud of their accomplishments. We're not personally responsible for either.

I'm just thinking out loud.
Yeah, just thinking out loud, too. I enjoy family history research and it has given me a lot to think about. It provides a connection to the past that enriches my understanding of history. Sometimes I read histories and biographies and think about the people in my family who lived then, and wonder what they thought about it or how it affected their lives. A lot of times, it is sad to think about them.
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  #54  
Old 04-21-2015, 03:25 PM
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Default Re: Ancestry Shows

I've been thinking about this more, mostly because I like thinking about it (so there). I don't know that attaching to people in your family history is all that different from people who become attached to their favorite characters in a book/movie. Some family history is very interesting, especially if you have a historically important person or event. And more than fandom, this is actually your family and you're actually in the scene. It's not a leap to identify with them. New, unseemly, info is like reading bad fanfiction--but worse. It's like *Rowling* revealing that Dumbledore is gay, and how that drove some people crazy.

For me, it's not hard to think of some of the older generation of genealogists as invested in their family history as other people who devote their time to thinking about Dr. Who and creating costumes/writing fanfiction, etc. The only time this bothers me is when I'm trying to ask one of them for their sources and they ignore me, but insist that their version of events is correct. Um, ok, whatever. I don't think you have reading comprehension or math skills, but ok. The good thing is that genetic genealogy can sometimes verify that there are connections between people, even if you can't get the paper records to show.
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  #55  
Old 04-22-2015, 01:47 AM
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Default Re: Ancestry Shows

Affleck has responded on Facebook.

Quote:
After an exhaustive search of my ancestry for "Finding Your Roots," it was discovered that one of my distant relatives was an owner of slaves.

I didn't want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves. I was embarrassed. The very thought left a bad taste in my mouth.

Skip decided what went into the show. I lobbied him the same way I lobby directors about what takes of mine I think they should use. This is the collaborative creative process. Skip agreed with me on the slave owner but made other choices I disagreed with. In the end, it's his show and I knew that going in. I'm proud to be his friend and proud to have participated.

It's important to remember that this isn't a news program. Finding Your Roots is a show where you voluntarily provide a great deal of information about your family, making you quite vulnerable. The assumption is that they will never be dishonest but they will respect your willingness to participate and not look to include things you think would embarrass your family.

I regret my initial thoughts that the issue of slavery not be included in the story. We deserve neither credit nor blame for our ancestors and the degree of interest in this story suggests that we are, as a nation, still grappling with the terrible legacy of slavery. It is an examination well worth continuing. I am glad that my story, however indirectly, will contribute to that discussion. While I don't like that the guy is an ancestor, I am happy that aspect of our country's history is being talked about.

Ben Affleck
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  #56  
Old 04-22-2015, 05:44 PM
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Default Re: Ancestry Shows

I've been ruminating over that statement all day and the more I think about it the more I hate it. "The assumption is that they will never be dishonest but they will respect your willingness to participate and not look to include things you think would embarrass your family." That is not remotely the damn assumption. It may have been Ben Affleck's assumption, accustomed as he is to interviewers delving deeply into whether he attributes his success to hard work or stick-to-itiveness, but for the rest of the world, the assumption is they'll look into everything and share the most revelatory history.

That whole episode was about this one Revolutionary War guy (Gates: "Your ancestor was a patriot!" Affleck: "Wow that's amazing."), some wacky mystic person and his mother's having been a Freedom Rider. I hope he realizes that the eliding of the slaveowner now makes the emphasis on his mother's civil rights history look gross and slimy.

Oh and I like how all of the sudden he's glad this has come up because discourse blah blah. I remember how he and Matt Damon were so into Howard Zinn's A People's History of America back in the Good Will Hunting days. There was talk of them making a movie based on the book. What a fairweather fan of history from the bottom up Affleck has turned out to be.

I'm glad PBS has opened an investigation into this mess instead of just standing by that ridiculous claim of Gates' that it was an editorial choice based solely on the most interesting story.
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  #57  
Old 04-22-2015, 07:37 PM
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Default Re: Ancestry Shows

I'm not so mad at Lummox. In my own wishy-washy way I kinda get why someone wouldn't want that information out in the world. I get some of the regret he may have over asking for that to be censored. I don't like it and sure I probably think less of him, but I still get it.

But there's no excuse for Sony, whoever at Finding Your Roots and Gates. They wanted and acceded to the request for business reasons. For a fact-u-tainment show to do this is inexcusable. It'd be like finding out Ken Burns just made shit up but was good at presenting it. Okay, maybe not that bad. Even if they say this is the only time they've done it, or they super pinky promise that they won't do it again, we really have to question "Is it? Is it really?"
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  #58  
Old 04-23-2015, 08:27 PM
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Default Re: Ancestry Shows

Sony wasn't even involved. Gates was just reaching out to one of his high-powered buddies in the industry for advice. Or to be convinced to cave, is more likely, since there is no way he didn't know that the Hollywood bigwig would advise he do whatever the star wants.

Gawker has the transcript of the slaveowner exchange between Gates and Affleck. Yes, it had already been motherfucking EDITED when Gates went back and excised it. It's the mildest, ass-kissiest slaveowner coverage you can imagine.

Even worse, he had to completely redo the entire thematic structure of the show to kowtow to Affleck's hothouse flower sensibilities.

Quote:
Here's the voice-over introduction, as it appears in the June script:
IN THIS EPISODE, WE PIECE TOGETHER THE LOST FAMILY HISTORIES OF ACTOR BEN AFFLECK, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST BEN JEALOUS, AND ACTOR KHANDI ALEXANDER.

THEIR ROOTS HIGHLIGHT A UNIQUELY AMERICAN PARADOX: EACH DESCENDS FROM A PATRIOT WHO FOUGHT FOR OUR NATIONíS INDEPENDENCEóBUT EACH ALSO DESCENDS FROM AN ANCESTOR WHO OWNED SLAVES.
And here's how it appears in the final script, submitted in August:
GATES VO: IN THIS EPISODE, WE PIECE TOGETHER THE LOST FAMILY HISTORIES OF ACTOR BEN AFFLECK, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST BEN JEALOUS, AND ACTOR KHANDI ALEXANDER.

THEIR ROOTS LEAD TO ANCESTORS WHOSE LIVES WERE SHAPED BY THE TWO DEFINING WARS IN OUR NATIONS HISTORY. THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION AND THE CIVIL WAR.
The original setup was so much more intelligently structured and about 50 million times more compelling. Gates sacrificed the intellectual rigor of his program to his own and Affleck's cowardice. And Jesus Christ, you guys, by doing this he wound up with an episode in which the two black people have slaveowner ancestors but the one while male doesn't. That's nothing short of depraved.

If I were Khandi Alexander and Ben Jealous I would be fucking furious right now. Talk about having your vulnerability violated.
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  #59  
Old 04-23-2015, 09:06 PM
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Default Re: Ancestry Shows

Ben AFFLECK complained while Ben Jealous didn't?

OK, now I am also mad about this.
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  #60  
Old 05-12-2015, 05:11 AM
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Default Re: Ancestry Shows

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dingfod View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisarea View Post
(There was also one guy in my extended family who was really obsessed with genealogy for a pretty long while and then suddenly lost interest entirely, and would get agitated if anyone brought it up.)
My paternal grandmother traced the family tree back to a gang of thieves, and did the same thing, lost interest in pursuing it any further and wouldn't talk about it.
One of my great-grandfathers claimed to have ridden with the James gang. I am not particularly embarassed by that claim. I am a just a little bit pissed that it was probably not true. Apparently he had a reputation as a teller of tall tales.

According to my grandmother our Scotch-Irish ancestors were run out of Scotland for stealing cattle and moved to Ireland. Then they were then run out of Ireland for stealing horses and so came to America. That is just a small sampling of the dry-rot on my family tree. I am, it would appear, decended from a long line of scoundrels and scofflaws.
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  #61  
Old 05-12-2015, 04:29 PM
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Default Re: Ancestry Shows

The guy was directly responsible for this sort of stuff.



He shouldn't be so worried about what his ancestors were doing wrong and fix now.

My great grandparents both immigrated from Germany. My grandparents had cousins there before, during, and after WWII. I'm almost certain my ancestry consists of people who hated Catholics, Jews, the rest of Europe, most of Asia, and impresice measuring devices. A rather hate filled group of people if you ask me; who probably contributed to doing not nice things to millions of semi-decent people.

And it bothers me is that my anscestors used a language that sounds like you're constantly trying to clear your throat. It's as poetic sounding as a room full of sick dogs.
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Last edited by ImGod; 05-12-2015 at 07:34 PM.
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  #62  
Old 06-25-2015, 04:01 AM
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Default Re: Ancestry Shows

Future Episodes of Finding Your Roots Postponed

Quote:
PBS said on Wednesday that it was postponing a future season of “Finding Your Roots” after an investigation revealed that the actor Ben Affleck pressured producers into leaving out details about an ancestor of his who owned slaves.

PBS will not run the show’s third season until staffing changes are made, including hiring a fact checker, it said.

The network said that before the third season of “Finding Your Roots” can broadcast, the show needs to make some staffing changes, including the addition of a fact checker and an “independent genealogist” to review the show’s contents.

PBS also said that it had not made a decision about whether to commit to a fourth season of the show.

In a statement on Wednesday, Mr. Gates said, “I sincerely regret not discussing my editing rationale with our partners at PBS and WNET and I apologize for putting PBS and its member stations in the position of having to defend the integrity of their programming.”
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