Loud ignorant voices will always try to drown out good art. Like Paul Cézanne, who is now known to us as one of the greatest impressionist painters in the its twilight period. Yet, during his lifetime, his art was seen as squalid and unbecoming of the grand exhibitions of the time. As we have seen thousands of times over: art, even fitting its contemporary period, is often only truly valued after its gone. And Velma on HBO is such an example: you will grow to love it — only after its last season has aired.
The most complex forms of art can be strikingly simple. But in the most abstract, in the most pure of forms, depth is induced. What we see often depends on how we see it. While the canvas provided to us by Velma seems odd and simplistic, while the story might seem at first glance mediocre, there lies beneath it a grand telling. Its mere existence in a suite of “adult anime” post-modernist tendencies, and the reception of it in the public, tells us more about our society than the series in its pure form, than most television for that matter.
Had Velma and Norville been pale, the terminally online racists wouldn’t have tried so eagerly to put down the show
To get the lingering and obvious question out of the way: yes, most (online) critics of Velma dislike it for its Black main characters, and its cultural founding in the BIPOC community. We have seen it time and time again: in the new Lord of the Rings series, in the Witcher, in movies like Black Panther – which, despite its deserved spot on President Obama’s top list somehow was “not as good” as the white counterparts.
Had Velma and Norville been pale, the terminally online racists wouldn’t have tried so eagerly to put down the show. It is good that they did not go for the easy route though: the artwork has left a giant impression on our society already.
As “3C” stated in his review posted to youtube: “can we retire this trope of white man bad?” (referring of course to Fred). On one hand they pretend like Velma doesn’t matter to them, that it is “beneath” them, that it is a shitty pop art adult television that tried too hard to be entertaining and funny. On the other hand, having simply a white character be on the wrong side of history in the show gets them out of their chairs. Gets their blood flowing.
If the show didn’t matter, why are we all talking about it?
Velma herself was a brat as a child. She is also Black. But I suppose that isn’t enough for the racist viewers: there is no rosy painted picture of any stereotype. But the focus is always “Black BLack BlACKl BLACk PEOPLE IN MY TV!!!”. We can tell much of our society by how art is received. The global discussion about Velma shows us what the TV series really wanted to tell us: that racism is well alive, that innocent, kind hearted television, that is entertaining, funny, structured, gets hated because it is Black.
Because it dares to exist. In a white fantasy world. “DON’T MESS WITH MY CHILDHOOD” say the manchildren. What they really meant to say is “I wish there were no Blacks in my world. I wish normalcy would just come back. If just BIPOCs knew their place, I could rest assured my favorite television series wouldn’t get ruined by multiculturalism”