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Thread: Finding Your Roots (PBS) and other genealogy shows

  1. #81
    FORT Fogey Punkin's Avatar
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    Re: Finding Your Roots (PBS) and other genealogy shows

    Ben Affleck Requested His Slave Owner Ancestor Be Censored From PBS' 'Finding Your Roots'

    Hacked Sony emails reveal that actor-director Ben Affleck requested that his slave owner ancestor be removed from his family tree on the PBS program Finding Your Roots.

    In a series of WikiLeaks emails, the genealogy program's host Henry Louis Gates Jr. emailed Sony chief Michael Lynton asking "advice" on the actor's request, according to the New York Daily News.

    For the first time, one of our guests has asked us to edit out something about one of his ancestors — the fact that he owned slaves," Gates emailed Lynton in the July 22, 2014 email chain.
    I'm having difficulty copying the rest of the article, but you can read it here: https://celebrity.yahoo.com/news/ben...597.html#Aside

    Considering how many of the other celebrities have found, to their dismay, that they had slave owners in their ancestry, but handled it with grace, I am disappointed Affleck asked the show to hide that part of his ancestry. On the other hand he signed up to be part of an entertainment show and should have the right to decide if there is something he considers private information that he does not care to share with the public.

    What do you feel about Affleck's singular request, considering so many others who did not ask to hide that information, and how do you feel about Gates' decision? (We wouldn't even know any of this without the Sony e-mails hack.)
    Lynda

  2. #82
    FORT Fogey GabbyG's Avatar
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    Re: Finding Your Roots (PBS) and other genealogy shows

    I don't blame him for asking. I know that if I found I had ancestors who owned slaves, I wouldn't want it on a television show, and it isn't like that one ancestor was the only person the show could have focused on. I think Mr. Gates handled it properly.

    Bill Paxton handled it very well tonight on WDYTYA.
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  3. #83
    FORT Fanatic mika06's Avatar
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    Re: Finding Your Roots (PBS) and other genealogy shows

    I don't feel it's fair they are calling into question the integrity of the show or Dr. Gates. If a participant wants to have something removed that's fine. I am not sure why Ben felt this way though even if he had ancestors that did own slaves his mother worked heavily in the Civil Rights movement which shows how he was raised it acutally would have made an even more compelling story. But at the end of the day it is not what your ancestors have done but they type of person you are.
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  4. #84
    FORT Fogey Punkin's Avatar
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    Re: Finding Your Roots (PBS) and other genealogy shows

    And you know, we should not have known a thing about this very personal exchange between Affleck and Dr. Gates. Sony hack is to blame. I agree it was Affleck's business and Dr. Gates made a decision that did not compromise the show. I prefer this show over WDYTYA because the DNA component is so interesting. But both make for compelling TV.
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    Lynda

  5. #85
    FORT Fogey
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    Re: Finding Your Roots (PBS) and other genealogy shows

    I think the question of whether or not the show was compromised depends on what the show believes it is. If the show is defined as going along with celebrities while they learn about their family history, and seeing the story they want to share, nothing has been compromised. If the show is defined as digging into the family history of celebrities and presenting their findings, then it HAS been compromised. The admission is out there now that they do not present the full history in all cases. To me, it's the difference between a fun talk show (I'll use Ellen as an example) where a celebrity may indicate that he/she doesn't want to talk about a certain subject and the show complies vs a news program that conducts an interview with someone during a challenging time. When you allow guests to have a hand in editorial decisions, it becomes a different type of show. If Finding Your Roots has considered itself that kind of show all along, then it's no big deal. If they don't, then by handing over editorial input once in order to get a big name, they've compromised credibility for the big get.
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  6. #86
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    Re: Finding Your Roots (PBS) and other genealogy shows

    I'm not disappointed in Skip Gates or in the series. I AM disappointed in BA. Typical celebrity trying to control the narrative.....and ending up making himself look like a douchebag, where if he'd just allowed the show to reveal the slave owning ancestor, I doubt many people would have cared. He definitely wouldn't have been the first celebrity on one of these shows to have an ancestor who owned slaves.

    I understand NOT wanting any of your ancestors to have owned slaves. I totally get that. With every new ancestor I discover who didn't own slaves, I feel a sense of relief. I don't believe that, if there were slaveowners on my family tree that it would necessarily say something about ME. It just makes me feel better to NOT have them on the tree because I don't want that sort of personal connection to something so shameful and terrible in our country's history.

    I think BIll Paxton handled this situation beautifully on WDYTYA this week. It's almost like they planned that episode to air after the Affleck reveal, when the episode had already been scheduled for last night - and probably edited weeks, if not months ago. Just a case of perfect timing. I doubt Affleck was watching, but it's almost like Paxton's last little "speech" on his episode was meant for BA.
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    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

  7. #87
    FORT Fogey Miss_Griss's Avatar
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    Re: Finding Your Roots (PBS) and other genealogy shows

    Most of us likely have ancestors who did something we'd be ashamed of. I don't think any of mine were slaveholders, but they were among the original European settlers in Utah and Idaho, and I'm guessing that there are things I wouldn't be happy to hear about in their interactions with the Native American's who lived on the land that my ancestors wanted. Probably not unlike some of the things that Tony Goldwyn discovered about his ancestors in Oregon.
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  8. #88
    FORT Fogey MsDiva2007's Avatar
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    Re: Finding Your Roots (PBS) and other genealogy shows

    I just wondered as a white man what did he expect to find? Its like me an African American being shocked to find my ancestors had been slaves. Its history and no reflection on him so deal with it like everyone else has to.
    Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

  9. #89
    FORT Figment KTinCT's Avatar
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    Re: Finding Your Roots (PBS) and other genealogy shows

    ^^ yup, that pretty much sums it up for me.

    Punkin said: "I prefer this show over WDYTYA because the DNA component is so interesting. But both make for compelling TV. "

    Yup to that, too.

    But that reminded me of a DNA issue and I couldn't find anywhere else to put it. So my next post is on potential DNA influence.
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  10. #90
    FORT Figment KTinCT's Avatar
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    Re: Finding Your Roots (PBS) and other genealogy shows

    Have you guys read/heard about the potential for sperm-transferred DNA to linger in and influence the woman's DNA? The study was done on flies and might be a bit extreme, especially in headlines, but the original study looks pretty authentic. Details and abstract provided herein:

    From Ecology Letters
    Revisiting telegony: offspring inherit an acquired characteristic of their mother's previous mate
    Angela J. Crean, Anna M. Kopps† andRussell Bonduriansky
    Article first published online: 30 SEP 2014

    Newly discovered non-genetic mechanisms break the link between genes and inheritance, thereby also raising the possibility that previous mating partners could influence traits in offspring sired by subsequent males that mate with the same female (‘telegony’). In the fly Telostylinus angusticollis, males transmit their environmentally acquired condition via paternal effects on offspring body size. We manipulated male condition, and mated females to two males in high or low condition in a fully crossed design. Although the second male sired a large majority of offspring, offspring body size was influenced by the condition of the first male. This effect was not observed when females were exposed to the first male without mating, implicating semen-mediated effects rather than female differential allocation based on pre-mating assessment of male quality. Our results reveal a novel type of transgenerational effect with potential implications for the evolution of reproductive strategies.


    Personally, my first reaction was, WOW. Brain boggled!
    My second reaction was that it seemed quite logical to me, especially if transmitted orally, as we humans have been known to do.

    Does this sound logical or out-of-the park to you? Should anyone want to read more (and reactions) just search it online.

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