Bojack Horseman

Bojack Horseman’s surreal-America is an interesting example of the use of species diversity (cf Star Trek) to fabricate a post-racial imaginary. It’s a world in which class, gender and sexuality are still in play in recognisable ways, but race has been displaced into a species-menagerie where the real antagonisms around race in America are rendered illegible, or at least heavily encrypted.

It’s almost like the old joke (which I’ve used before*) about the person who responds to the sectarian interpellation “Catholic or Protestant?” with “neither — I’m Jewish”, and is then asked “yes, but are you a Catholic Jew or a Protestant Jew?”. Is Bojack black or white? Neither — he’s a horse. Yes, but is he a black horse or a white horse? (I think he’s coded as white — wealth, anomie, freedom from consequences — but it’s an encrypted or crypto-whiteness, which is true of most of the show’s characters except for those who are explicitly coded otherwise).

  • and will no doubt use again