Mathew Klickstein, the author of SLIMED! An Oral History of Nickelodeon's Golden Age, did an interview with Flavorwire to discuss his upcoming event "New York Super Week," a festival celebrating late '80s and early '90s Nickelodeon nostalgia.
The interview starts out as a fairly typical publicity chat, but midway through, Klickstien's comments take a turn for the worse — to put it mildly. After being asked a question about whether or not a white upper-middle class show like Pete & Pete could succeed today, he responded with more than 1000 words of explanation (in the presumably edited-down transcript, no less) that essentially proved how little understanding he has about the importance of diversity on television. Here are five telling excerpts from the interview:
- "Pete & Pete is an amazing show; who cares that it was made by white people and is about white people? That's not important. What's important is, how good is it? Some of these other shows — My Brother and Me, Diego, and Legend of Korra — it's great that they're bringing diversity into it now. Fantastic. But you know those shows are not nearly as good as Ren and Stimpy, which was made by all white people!"
- "Why does someone who’s making something about a black person need to be black? Why does someone making a show about an Indian person need to be Indian? Why does someone making a show about women need to be a woman? If you’re making something about an alien, you don’t need to be an alien to do it."
- "If I were Indian or Jewish, for example, and watched something where the characters are Jewish or supposed to be, and if it’s not specific to that, then I start to wonder, 'Why are they doing this?' It becomes blackface."
- "To just shove it in there because, 'Uh-oh, we need diversity,' is silly and a little disgusting. It needs to be the best people working on the best shows. They happen to be white, that's a shame. They happen to be all guys, that's a shame. No one says this about sports — they do sometimes, the owners — but sorry, that most basketball, football players happen to be black."
- "My agent: woman. My editor: woman. My publicist: woman. The most successful genre is young adult novels — 85% of which are written by women. That discussion doesn’t really come up when it’s the other way around. It is 2014 now. It’s not 1995. Political correctness needs to change."