Friday, May 20, 2005

We need a 1928 intervention

Vicente Fox is under fire for a statement he made that Mexican immigrants take jobs "that not even blacks want to do." My friend Matt, has a thoughtful write-up on his blog here. I had a little different take on the Fox's statement. I thought it was more of a shot at U.S. racism than anything and a hypocritical attempt to glorify working-class Mexicans even while he sells them up the river to the U.S.

Fox is an asshole. An A-S-S-H-O-L-E. He is so much of an asshole, that if I could think of a way to type it more emphatically, I sure would.

But I don't really like that particular condemnation of his statement because it sounds like the arguments of "blacks aren't oppressed in the country--look at Clarence Thomas! When you point to the suffering of 'blacks' you are grouping all blacks together."

Neither Fox nor I are the ones grouping African Americans together. That is already done by every single institution of this great nation. We need to point this out more, not less.

What Fox said is a true, sobering assessment of the racial hierarchy in the U.S. No matter what statistical framework you look at, those of African descent in the country ARE second-class citizens to whites. He made no value judgment on this fact. He never said anything like, "Blacks, who are biologically inferior to whites, won't even take those jobs." From the sound-bite I have heard, it sounded to me like he was observing a reality, not making a judgment.

What is scarier about his statement is that it reflects his satisfaction that he has continued to make conditions worse for working class Mexicans and is very pleased with their exploitation at the hands of rich American companies. Fox and Bush have worked hard to reinforce hateful policies that have thousands dying along the border, many times more with their human rights abused in undocumented workplaces, legal workers wages cut and their employers laughing all the way to the bank.

Welcome to the Yellow Side, Assholes!

I had this argument a while back with some crazy white Star Wars fan ex-pats in Japan, but I figured I'd reprise it for this latest installment. I think the racial casting in the series is bullshit. Sure, a couple of the non-Muppet movies were great cinema and the casting is no more bullshit than most of Hollywood, but that's hardly an excuse.

I mean think about it--Darth Vader is easily the most charismatic character in the whole series (the third most popular villain in the history of American cinema behind Hannibal Lecter and Norman Bates), and is played brillantly by a remarkable black actor. However, he must be dressed in an all black suit that doesn't allow anyone to see his face and then when he's good, he takes off his mask and suddenly, magically, HE'S WHITE!

I breached this subject with the white folks in Japan, "I can't wait until Episode Seven when Darth Vader comes back!"
"You know, since he tricked that stupid white guy into his suit and got away at the end of the last one!"
"What are you talking about?"
"That guy was white and Darth Vader is black!"
"Are you stupid?"
"Whose voice do you hear when Darth Vader is talking?"
"James Earl Jones."
"Right. And he's black right? But then you don't hear his voice anymore and suddenly there this white guy there! What did he just turn white all of a sudden?"

They got madder and madder and actually said, "Yeah, but Luke is white, so he's his father so he had to be white! (I love the way people always whip out the 'Darth Vader is Luke's father' spoiler like it's some arcane secret that LESS THAN 99% of the known world is aware of')"

Yeah, nice try Grand Wizard, I'm totally sure that George Lucas cast the entire fucking series around Mark Hamill--our generation's great actor. Let me put it this way: Of the two, one of them has done almost as much soft-porn than actual cinematic work. It's ain't James Earl Jones, unless he was wearing a Mark Hamill suit while he was doing it. If they needed to, I'm sure they could have just hired some young black actor to whine a lot. It's not like he could somehow fuck up that role anymore than Hamill did. A nine-year old Gary Coleman probably would have been an improvement. On the flipside, no James Earl Jones=no Star Wars. No James Earl Jones=Harrison Ford isn't playing the Fugitive and Super President in about seventeen bad Tom Clancy novel adaptations. No James Earl Jones=Carrie Fisher is just some druggie and not the number one on the hit list of average looking actresses that 35 year-old virgins feed the parrot to (number two is Sarah Michelle Gellar). No James Earl Jones=the only way I could pass two hours of Star Wars is if it's just rewatching the C-3PO gets his ass blasted into 88 pieces scene over and over again.

And he's pretty much the only person of color in the whole saga. There might be like one more, but if there was, I bet he played some shitty role like being the only black guy leading a city in the history of film and he probably sellout out the main character to the bad guys--no wait, how about ALL OF THE MAIN CHARACTERS. Then probably they have him flip and actually help the good guys just to show that us colored folk aren't all bad. But hey, I don't really remember, and I figure that of the 88 quindradeleventytrillion Star Wars fans who decide to lynch my ass after reading this blog, at least one of them can remind me.

And hey, that's just the GOOD movies in the saga. What about the one with the evil Japanese trade empire where every talks with a racially specific accent? Is that really worth the few HUNDRED minutes that you get to watch some whiny brat driving around in circles? I don't know. I just read the spoilers for this installment and saved two hours of my life and ten bucks. I think I'll go spend it on some library overdue fees or something.


Opiate of the Masses

To be honest, if you asked me last year about "American Idol", I probably would have responded, "What in the fuck is that?"

Thanks to the coercion of my girl, I was forced to suffer through a couple of episodes of Carrie Underwood's off-pitch shrieking. By the second incidence, Liz and I began practicing our "judging responses" for Carrie: "You know how much it sucks to have wild dogs tear the living flesh off of your bone structure? I would happily submit to that before subjecting myself to your singing again!" or "You know how a stopped clock is right twice a day? You are the stopped clock of on key vocal performance!"

Yesterday, she completed her blasting through to the finale of the show. Before I comment on that, did I mention that I actually wrote the theme song? Like I said, I never knew about the show, but evidentally when I was trying to compose a tune on Liz's keyboard to uncacophoniously drive the rodents from our kitchen, one of the show creators decide to record it and subject the nation to it twice a week.

Anyway, Ms. Underwood, (who incidentally, loves animals so much more than humans that she carved up her twin sister and fed it to her farm animal during the last food shortage on the farm) is in the finals. From my understanding, this week featured the third utter voting fuck up of the season. I guess this is a truly "American" voting event. Interestingly enough, ALL the fuck ups have benefitted Underwood. This week's hurt her competitor African American contestant Vonzell Solomon while benefiting Bo Bice (and in a three way competition Underwood). The previous mistake actually had the closed captioning displaying Underwood's number for three of the other candidates.

Liz suggested that maybe for the finale, they can just put Carrie's number at the bottom of the screen for all of the insurance commercials and infomercials that they show in the period following the show.

My greatest concern is how poor Carrie with all of her Banshee vocal resemblance will sell records without similar privilege. Maybe they can just package her CDs in a Destiny's Child box and when people accidentally buy it that can count that on her album sales.
Listed on