[Marxism] Why Hollywood keeps whitewashing the past

Dennis Brasky dmozart1756 at gmail.com
Sun Aug 14 09:37:34 MDT 2011


Why Hollywood keeps whitewashing the past"The Help" is just the latest movie
to sugarcoat oppression by painting enlightened white people as heroes

By Matt Zoller Seitz<http://www.salon.com/author/matt_zoller_seitz/index.html>

clip -

American historical films are forever refighting old wars, congratulating
themselves for being on the right side, and encouraging viewers to pat
themselves on the back for being on the right side, too. They view the war
from the general's tent up on a distant hill and imagine that they're right
in the thick of it. That's how Paul Haggis' "Crash" swept the Oscars in 2006
-- by serving up a contemporary story of Los Angelenos who said and did
brazenly racist things in public constantly, as if it were 1967 and everyone
was wearing love beads, Afros and hard hats. The characters seemed crude and
primitive, lacking in self-awareness, unenlightened; this made them easy to
label, judge and dismiss. A variation on this strategy has enabled another
race drama, "The Help," to become an instant
hit<http://blog.zap2it.com/pop2it/2011/08/the-help-helps-itself-to-a-strong-start-at-the-box-office.html>,
a likely Oscar contender, and yet another reminder that when mainstream
cinema depicts discrimination, it tends to ask the same two questions: "How
did this affect white people?" and "Aren't you glad you're not bigoted like
the creeps in this movie?"

Based on the 2009 novel by Kathryn Stockett, and endorsed by Oprah
Winfrey<http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/The-Help-by-Kathryn-Stockett-Reading-Group-Guide>and
Tyler
Perry<http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/archives/2011/0/09/tyler_perry_gives_the_help_his_stamp_of_approval_reviews_are_coming_in/>,
this civil rights-era movie about a young Caucasian writer telling the harsh
but true stories of African-American domestics appears to grant the stories
of its white and black characters equal weight. It even gives the voice-over
narration to one of the maids, Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis). But the
pretense of dramatic equality collapses if you look at what's actually
happening on-screen, and what got marginalized or omitted.

http://www.salon.com/news/race/index.html?story=/ent/movies/feature/2011/08/12/why_hollywood_keeps_white_washing_the_past&source=newsletter&utm_source=contactology&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Salon_Daily%20Newsletter%20%28Not%20Premium%29_7_30_110



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