- Jun 23, 2006
- Real Name
- Robert M. Grippo
We all live in our own bubble we live on a community in LI where we as people all get a long with each other - we care for each other we hang out at the Lottery store we all greet each other we do not hate anyone we get along - racism? Look at everyone that ever listened to artists like the GREAT Nat King Cole yet he was NOT allowed to stay in top hotels when he toured, that was racism. Working on my second book and interviewing one of the Straus family who owned Macy's he told us about WWII and how horrified he was to see our black soldiers were not allowed to drink from the same water fountains - but back to film I saw Intruders in the Dust recently and was shocked to hear the N word in the film, same with tv show The Jefferson's using the N word in the 80'sYes, I mean I think the list of pictures now that they would feel the need to add a contextual introduction to is huge. So, the simplification of it would be to just put a standard disclaimer in front of every picture made prior to the year 2000.
I have not seen any episodes of Reframed so I can't comment on what they are doing or saying on the show. The good is nobody is banning any of these pictures. They are now showing them with added context. It does seem like this is something people would not need, as why would they not grasp these pictures were made in a different time when there were different prevailing attitudes.
However, we've had a massive explosion of open racism in the United States since 2016. It does not appear to be getting better but growing worse and so I think a lot of folks want to see "clarification" now that this is not something we tolerate but that we, as a nation and people, are trying to get past. If we can.
I am fine with them doing this if it makes people feel better and/or opens them up more to the films. Not too long ago I listened to a podcast where a bunch of young guys discussed The Searchers. I honestly had no idea what was coming when I put it on. They absolutely destroyed the picture. They felt it was as "offensive" as any Nazi propaganda film ever made. There was the racism, the treatment of women, Ethan Edwards (Wayne) was a horrible character, Wayne himself personally was a horrible human being, it went on an on. They basically appeared to feel that Wayne pictures in general should be pulled from circulation as he should just not be supported in any way.
Honestly, in the moment I was kind of shocked. Then I thought about it and the truth was it seemed like these guys had little context with respect to the picture and when it was made and the time it was set in. I'm sure that these guys are not just an anomaly. I would guess there are many people that feel the way they do.
I recall sitting at a screening of Blazing Saddles probably 8 or 10 years ago. Some people at the screening were truly enraged by the film. There were people walking out. Yelling about the blatant and disgusting racism in the picture and could not believe someone would dare show it.
Again, I was sort of shocked in the moment. These people did not at all understand the comedy or what Mel Brooks was doing. They literally took the picture at face value and got offended.
Brooks was not celebrating racism he was brutally making fun of it...but it was satire and the sad fact is, it seems large portions of the population no longer grasp satire. Try to make a list of the satirical films made in the last 20 some years. It won't be much of a list and what there is will be independently funded pictures because large companies won't touch satire with a ten foot pole.
I hate that because I love satire.
When I read about the making of Jungle Cruise I was, well, just floored by all of the things they had to do to make the picture. A central character had to be flipped from male to female. The headhunters could not actually be headhunters but people pretending to be headhunters. Any item that could be seen as "offensive" needed to be scrubbed or reworked into a celebration of a person, gender, or race. A gay character needed to be inserted in the picture but not with any real open reference to the character being gay. All this while trying to stick to the Pirates of the Caribbean formula.
That's not writing a story or script it is just a presentation of a series of rules and restrictions. There is no push to "Go be creative!" it is the opposite of "Follow these rules or we don't make this!"
Problem is you are now handed this same book of rules and restrictions on every big budget picture.
Would they make The Searchers today? Well, probably not the script that Ford shot. It would be adjusted and changed and turned into something else. Would they make Blazing Saddles today? No way. Basically, if they looked at what these pictures were about they would just pass and walk away.
Is that a good or bad development? I guess that's a matter of personal perspective.
Do people need to think about the context when watching a picture? Yes, if they want to understand it. I think the thing is now though that pictures over the last 20 some years have gone overboard to try to explain everything to an audience. You are not supposed to do subtle, you need to make everything so obvious it is written in 40 foot high day glow letters. If you do something an audience member might miss or misunderstand...you are doing it wrong.
They did not do that back then. The central characters could be horrible people with massive flaws but the thought was the audience would understand that...not worship the character. Ethan Edwards is a horrible guy bent on revenge and filled with bloodlust. He wants to kill his niece not save her. To him she is now spoiled by being taken by the Comanche. You could shade things and be subtle.
Now I guess, a lot of people watch it and think "What? They made a racist the hero of this picture! Horrible!"