Nothing makes white people more angry than accusing them of racism or suggesting that the racism of the past still casts a shadow over how life is for black people today. We want to believe that a giant reset button got hit in 1975 or sometime around there and magically all the white people who had said the word “nigger” as part of their daily vocabulary before that were instantaneously healed of their racism. I imagine some white people are angry that they’re still making movies about slavery. Why are you still talking about that? Get over it!!! What legacy have we inherited? Reflections on “12 Years A Slave.” ☀
I over-use the word ‘delirium’, but watching Catching Fire last week was a genuinely delirious experience. More than once I thought: How can I be watching this? How can this be allowed? One of the services Suzanne Collins has performed is to reveal the poverty, narrowness, and decadence of the `freedoms’ we enjoy in late, late capitalism. The mode of capture is hedonic conservatism. You can comment on anything (and your tweets may even be read out on TV), you can watch as much pornography as you like, but your ability to control your own life is minimal. Capital has insinuated itself everywhere, into our pleasures and our dreams as much as our work. You are kept hooked first with media circuses, then, if they fail, they send in the stormtrooper cops. The TV feed cuts out just before the cops start shooting. Film Review - The Hunger Games ☀
Peeta is Pepper Potts and Gwen Stacy, helping and helping and helping until the very end, when it’s time for the stakes, and the stakes are: NEEDS RESCUE. Peeta is Annie in Speed, who drives that bus like a champ right up until she winds up handcuffed to a pole covered with explosives. Peeta is Holly in Die Hard, who holds down the fort against the terrorists until John McClane can come and find her (and she can give back her maiden name). What Really Makes Katniss Stand Out? Peeta, Her Movie Girlfriend ☀
Caught a viewing of 12 Years a Slave yesterday evening.
It is a brilliant, but brutal film depiction of the 19C memoir of a black man kidnapped and sold into slavery (1841-1853). Apparently, the book was a blockbuster in the pre Civil War Age but fell into obscurity in recent times.
It is a masterful retelling, and just about all of it is superbly put together, with the possible exception of some of the acting in the smaller bit roles. It is a presentation of slavery in all of its abhorrent dehumanizing form. That a class of human beings is relegated to property for which the owner can do at his whim that what he pleases. And it all is ordained by the Word of God that declares the slaves must obey their masters.
I’ve seen reviews compare the violence (predominately whippings and physical assaults) to Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. But I deem it much it better done in this film — not that it rivaled the sheer shock value of Gibson’s movie, but that it also captured the psychological dimension of a human being belittled, battered, beaten not just physically, but also crushed in mind and spirit.
I cannot conjure a more apt likeness for a state of hell (aside from pure flames barbecuing flesh). Human beings in bondage, acting to simply survive, prone to not just rage of their masters, but told when to laugh, where to look, what to say, and yet even blind obedience might be meted with scorning and striking. Even benevolent masters who treated their “property” with love and mercy still meant hardship — as any complex human web of relationships always entails that those at the bottom of the pecking order are fodder for dispute resolutions. 12 Years a Slave deftly captures and presents this truth.
Solomon Northup’s slavery sojourn was a temporary state. But many others never escaped after kidnapping and bondage. And for tens of millions of others of African descent, it was a hellish state endured for their entire earthly existence, from birth to their last breath.
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