Archer Pechawis

Whiteboy Movies

Movies: "Thunderheart". "Mississippi Burning". "Dances with Wolves". That one about Stephen Biko. Theatre: "The Occupation of Heather Rose". Sensitive, moving dramas about the experience of oppressed people. What pisses me off is that these Hollywood movies and white theatre pieces about people of colour aren't about us at all! Our stories, our pain and our suffering get used as a filter for some white man or woman to have a cathartic experience. You know the scenario: Well meaning white person goes to unfamiliar place to help the indians/blacks/asians/latinos or whoever, finds brutality and corruption, witnesses same, feels bad about it, has torrid affair with the most attractive member of that community who of course falls in love with the twit, does a number of stupid things that get one or many of the aforementioned disadvantaged killed, feels really bad about that, discovers icky things about self or hidden inner strengths or both and goes home with the experience leaving behind the people who are actually doing the suffering. To make it worse you know they're gonna write a book that will enable thousands of other white liberals to share this profoundly moving experience in the comfort of their homes and the fucker will probably get rich doing it.

I have been taken to task over my opinion of "Thunderheart" because Val Kilmer has a Cherokee grandmother or something and "the indians win". Well, Val Kilmer may be an indian but in the movie his character is so far removed from it he lets his F.B.I. boss tell Graham Greene that his family name is Weasel Penis or some such idiocy. This and his obvious discomfort around the "real" indians makes him familiar enough for white audiences to identify with. For those of you lucky enough to not have seen it the ending has little Weasel Penis going renegade for the good indians but not soon enough to prevent the beautiful Lakota woman who was of course falling in love with him from being murdered by the bad cops and indians. When he discovers this the whole reserve turns out in force to rescue him from the bad cops and indians because he really is an indian just acting like a dumb white guy. Weasel Penis drives off into the sunset, a changed man. That's the "indians winning" part. The problem I have with this is that you know in real life the F.B.I. would assassinate every one of those upstart indians. Of course there could be another great movie in Weasel Penis discovering that he is also 1/32 Bosnian and roaring off to Eastern Europe to help out there. I can see it now. "MUSLIMHEART!".

Another irritating thing about seeing these movies is the smugness I sense mixed in with the genuine liberal guilt from Canadian audiences. At first I couldn't put my finger on it but listening to people coming out of "Mississippi Burning" I figured it out. The feeling was, "How terrible. I'm glad I'm Canadian because things like that don't happen here."

Oh, good.

But there is hope. There are the more revolutionary "Traumatic Thing Happens To Yucky White Person And They Become Nice" movies coming out of Hollywood like "Regarding Henry". Synopsis: White Yuppie asshole gets shot in head, becomes human being. Great! What I get from this is that shooting rich white assholes in the head really can bring about world peace. I'm down with that.