Rimmer's politics and Chinese Whispers

Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century, Mar 25, 2017.

  1. Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century

    Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century Supply Officer

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    Does anyone else notice Rimmer's political views veering around as the series' progress? In early series he's portrayed as basically a Fascist. In Better Than Life he adores Napoleon as his "all-time favourite Fascist dictator" and in Timeslides he subscribes to Fascist Dictator Monthly. But in Meltdown we're supposed to forget that Rimmer loves Napoleon and Fascists because Rimmer fights against them. But he complains about the good droids being "lefty liberals". Why doesn't he join the Fascists then, since he's a Fascist.

    In Fathers and Suns, Rimmer's worried that the phrase "Chinese Whispers" is racist. Suddenly he's a hyper-vigilant "lefty liberal" himself. I get the feeling I've heard Rimmer say racist things before, like maybe about the Welsh or Gypsies or something, but I can't be sure. I suppose one could admire authoritarianism without being a racist. In fact, non-Nazi Fascism (ie Italian, Spanish) wasn't necessarily racist like Nazism was. But it still struck me at the time that Rimmer was the wrong character to be worried about a potentially racist phrase (and there aren't any humans left anyway, so it doesn't matter, but I suppose you could pick on these things out of boredom).

    Putting it all together, I'm not sure Rimmer's politics are necessarily inconsistent. His politics possibly just don't quite fit into our neat little boxes. He's a Fascist, but chastises people for saying "Chinese Whispers". But policing language is authoritarian. So he's kind of like a Fascist anti-racist. It just seems to me that Rimmer's political characterisation has been very messy over the years. Or alternatively, he has changed his mind as he's gotten older. Thoughts?
     
  2. BigOleDummy

    BigOleDummy Guest

    Well, I always figured that when he was going on about Chinese whispers being racist he was just being facetious. You know, said it to "put Kryton in his place" sorta. Not really serious about it in other words. On the other hand he bunked with Dave (which I'm sure was assigned) and never once "slipped" by saying anything untoward. Of course , aside from some unfortunate patches, the show never addressed racism per se. I think he kept his racism to himself, being the hyper coward that he is he wouldn't want the confrontation. Fascism pretty much needs some scapegoat to blame everybody's ills on. Franco's Spain was much more authoritarian/nationalist than fascist. A thin distinction but an important one. There was repression of various factions, political mostly but a good amount of anti-Semitism and anti-gypsy sentiment too.

    ANYWAY.... lol, I do go on some times huh? :eek:ops: FINAL answer : I think he was trying to get Kryton's goat so to speak and make him uncomfortable with regard to the Chinese whispers thing, rather than any heart felt worries about racism.
     
  3. Mardroid

    Mardroid Console Officer

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    Yes, I interpreted it as Rimmer messing with Kryten too. That being said, I don't think Rimmer, for all his major character foibles, is actually racist. Referring to Lister as a 'rectum faced pygmy' was a bit much, mind you, but even then I don't think that he was thinking of the racial connotations at the time. He just wanted to insult Lister.
     
  4. Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century

    Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century Supply Officer

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    I'm not sure Rimmer is personally racist either, but it struck me at the time that it was incongruous for him to be actively anti-racist in that way. I was sat there thinking "Kryten, ask him if him being an actual Fascist might be construed as racist". But then I got thinking - there's no way we're going to be reminded of Rimmer's Fascist sympathies in the Dave-era. From a 21st century perspective, it's awkward having a main character in a sitcom be a Fascist. As annoying as Rimmer is, he is ultimately one of our good guys. People would be looking at the show very askance if it was pitched today "this character is Rimmer, he's into Fascism . . . no, he's not the villian, he's one of the crew". Or is it enough that he has unpleasant personality traits? I think the business about Rimmer being a Fascist has been quietly ditched by Doug and we're never going to be reminded of it. Of course people can change their views, but we never saw him change his views. It's more that some of the stuff in the early series' just wouldn't fly now so it's been quietly dropped. Like Lister smoking, I don't think we ever saw him quit, but it looks like he has.
     
  5. Rudolph

    Rudolph Third Technician

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    I think the difference is that Rimmer idolises Napoleon not because of his politics, but because he admires him for being a brilliant tactician and general. Like Lister says, Rimmer sees wars and battles in a very romanticised way. Rimmer would never want to be one of the boys down in the trenches, getting their brains blown out for King and Country. He wants to be, as he says, in the white tent on the hill, sipping wine and directing the battle.
     
  6. CommanderKeen

    CommanderKeen Skutter

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    But if he doesn't support fascism, why subscribe to Fascist Dictator Monthly?

    If Rimmer was USAmerican, he'd probably have a "Heritage, Not Hate" Confederate flag bumper sticker.
     
  7. Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century

    Deep_Space_in_the_15th_Century Supply Officer

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    The other thing I want to know about Fascist Dictator Monthly is how many issues were there.
     
  8. FeeBeeBells

    FeeBeeBells Deck Sergeant

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    Was Fascist Dictator Monthly a historical magazine? It it was, it is something that I could see myself reading. I don't imagine something like that would have been around for to long.
     
  9. HO HO HO I'M JMC

    HO HO HO I'M JMC Deck Sergeant

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    I think a lot of people read about fascist dictators, without being fascists themselves. Rimmer lampoons the kind of military history geek who watches Nazi documentaries on the History channel. Mark out of Peep Show is similar, but less so, because the tone of Peep Show is more grounded.

    I suppose some people have complex feelings for historical conquerors. They might be fascinated by them, and envy their absolute power, without actually sharing their moral outlook or wanting to emulate them in real life. And I guess that Rimmer, who desperately wants status, is in that camp.

    It's like when law-abiding people read about gangsters, and daydream about being them - without wanting to enact those fantasies in real life.
     
  10. CommanderKeen

    CommanderKeen Skutter

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    We know Rimmer has no qualms about Murder as he kills the waxdroids in the Waxworld episode. Why would you think he'd have qualms about working for the Gestapo/SS?
     
  11. HO HO HO I'M JMC

    HO HO HO I'M JMC Deck Sergeant

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    Rimmer certainly has a relaxed attitude to letting artificial life-forms die (also, see Katerina in Back to Earth, and the bio-printed captain in Officer Rimmer). But it's a heck of a leap from that to being a Nazi. Off the top of my head, I can't think of an occasion when Rimmer killed anyone - artificial or otherwise - when it wasn't a clear act of self-preservation. And we know from Justice that he feels guilty about killing the crew.

    I'm sure Ace Rimmer does more killing - and is even quite blasé about it - but we don't assume he's a latent Nazi.
     
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  12. FeeBeeBells

    FeeBeeBells Deck Sergeant

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    That would be an interesting twist. Ace being the latent Nazi.
     

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