Which is why Betty and I were so bothered by Jane's blog post today. There's Curiosity news today and Betty blogs about the Mars land rover so I told her I'd grab the Jane topic. Jane's writing about the fun she's had at various parties of late. Great. Good for her.
She writes about things I disagree about (such as the 'great' Jodie Foster coming out of the closet -- at 50, when the career is over, as Marcia noted in "What a load of crap" it's not only cowardly, it's too late to impact at risk teens) and that's fine. People can disagree. Maybe that's not alright. I'm sorry, Marcia is a lesbian. Obviously, it's a serious issue so don't let me just sweep this under the rug. Jodie could have made a difference in 1992 or at any time after. (That's when protesters were calling for her to come out of the closet.) I'm glad Demi Moore is doing well but pretend I'm not, okay? So we disagree on Demi. And that's fine, people can disagree.
But Jane is a White woman. That's not a curse. She's certainly used her position to help many over the years -- Native Americans, Black Panthers, Latinos, LGBTs, etc.
But what it does mean is that maybe you're not the best expert on slavery -- at least not from a slave or a slave descendent's point of view. This is the paragraph that bothers Betty and me:
There’s a scene in “Django” where Kerry Washington is lashed with a whip. I told Quentin that it was the first such scene that I actually believed. I could feel every lash. Kerry seemed to be receiving each lash on behalf of her ancestors, all those who had experienced that, all the ghosts of the slaves on the actual plantation where they filmed. Kerry really got to me and I cried. I asked if it was a hard scene to shoot and he said that the one where Jamie Foxx has to get down on his knees before a white man and beg him not to whip his wife was perhaps even harder. “I filmed that myself with a hand held camera,” he said. “I was crying and my tears filled the camera lens and it fogged over and I couldn’t even see exactly what I was filming. I just pointed the camera in what I thought was the right direction.” “Did you actually use that footage you shot yourself?” I asked. “Yes,” he answered, “That’s the footage in the film.” It’s an important film, as is “Lincoln.” I have read about and heard people say after coming out of “Django,” that they’d never realized before what slavery was really like.
Quentin Tarantino has made yet another exploitation film. It's not art. It may be stylized but it's a cheap piece of scholck. Yes, I saw it. I like Kerry Washington and was hoping for the best. But I didn't see even good on the screen. I believe the N-word was used over 100 times.
I felt degraded and abused from watching that film.
Jane can enjoy the film for many reasons. But don't pretend that it's explaining slavery. Don't pretend that it's Roots or anywhere near that.
That's where we draw the line, Betty and I. A White man who portrays our people as crooks (drug dealers, killers, etc.) decided to make a 70s exploitation film and I'm not going to pretend that it told the story of slavery. I'm not going to pretend that it was uplifting. It struck me as a film that was degrading to African-Americans and that played up to Whites. There's a message in that film, intentional or not, that basically wants to argue if we'd all just fought a little harder . . . In other words, it's our fault -- the film does make this argument in the subtext -- that we were slaves.
I'm sorry. If Jane had written that she enjoyed the film, I would've just rolled my eyes and thought, "Well, it's a cultural difference." But when she wants to include that some people learn about slavery from this film? No, ma'am, they do not.
I am insulted that anyone would suggest that.
I thought C.I. had the most wonderful comment a few weeks back. Stan had written "Ron's White Panic" which was an amazing post. And a White man savaged him for it because heaven forbid us Black folk ever gett 'uppity' and start thinking we can comment about how White people portray us. C.I. called out the idiot attackin Stan, "White Ron may think it's funny when every Tarentino film uses the n-word, but White Ron isn't an African-American sitting in the theater hearing all the Whites laugh hilariously every time that word comes up. Stan is completely right that he has every right to criticize or call out someone using the n-word. That Ron's devotion to Quentin is so great that he can't grasp that an African-American could respond differently to what he finds hilarious goes to the limitations of Ron." Before the next White person rushes in to reassure that all is fine with Tarantino's Django, I wish they would stop for a moment and imagine what it's like to be African-American and watching that garbage. It's not as entertaining.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"