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    no kidding..., 2005-05-17 11:18:24 | Main | uzbekistan..., 2005-05-17 19:40:34

    saw Hildalgo last night, was mostly struck by how any reference to god by a Muslim that was a blessing used "God", while any curse used "Allah". The political subtext is otherwise pretty obvious: American cowboy runs off to the middle east seeking treasure and pays in blood at the hands of thuggish, traitorous Arabs that say "Allah" and conversely saved by more westernized, honorable Arabs that say "God"; this narrative arc resolves the Hero's crisis of self-identity over his Amerindian roots, bringing him to identify with the victims of the massacre at Wounded Knee, to which he is an utterly revisionist witness, and so in epilogue he uses said treasure to free a captured herd of mustangs and thus "sets the spirit of the indian free" or some such rubbish, the extermination and ethnic cleansing of the last few survivors of his people otherwise made out as just a sad accident of history.

    There are a few nods at what I guess is called "political correctness", in which we learn that British imperialists were bad guys too - I counted two scenes total - which quickly get lost among all the scenes of the cowboy and his compadres mowing down thuggish, traitorous Arabs that say "Allah", nevermind the scene depicting the efficacy of torture in extracting useful information from one of said traitorous Arabs. "American justice", our hero calls it. That's family entertainment for you.

    Disney took what seems to me to have been pretty harmless tall tales of an old con and not only tried selling them as a "true story" worthy of study for grades 8 through 12, but turned them into a fairly jingoist, biggotted, anti-Muslim, and pro-torture tract all at the same time. It's almost as disrespectful to the old con as it is to the audience. Replacing "true story" with "autobiography" probably would have involved too many syllables for Disney's marketing department to process, but it would have at least imparted the sense that it was his word against history's, and that of the two his made for better entertainment. Made for a moderately entertaining action epic at least.


:: posted by buermann @ 2005-05-17 14:57:08 CST | link





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