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Sean Tierney
Actor , Screenwriter , Musician , Comedian , Author
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The Iniquities of Ideology

In my previous blog about Kung Fu Panda, Peachey brings up some points I'd rather address in their own entry, since they deserve such attention.

"If Vickie asks about stereotypes, why can't you give her the straight answer?"

Because the truth of those answers violates some of the central assumptions (and assumed tenets) of the country that produces them, the country of which she and I are both citizens.

Children are really good at picking that stuff up, and they're also young, innocent and cute enough that I can't bear the thought of having to tell this kid that the world ain't a great place to live in and the country that supposedly looks out for her doesn't. I resent having to be the bearer of that unnecessary and awful news.

It also bothers me because I want those tenets to be real and viable and functional, and the fact that they aren't makes me angry because they're only true for some people and not others. They're not rights, they're privileges, and that's wrong.

It's also ideology. Ideology is the glue that rejoins the inevitable cracks in the vast constructions of social, moral, and cultural frameworks we live in. No political system, social structure, or culture is free of contradictions. Ideology's job is to patch those up.

When people ask me to define ideology, I tell them that it's what helps us overcome observations like that made by Col. Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando) in Apocalypse Now:

"They train young men to drop fire on people. But their commanders won't allow them to write 'fuck' on their aeroplanes because... it's obscene."

He's right; there's really no way out of that moral/logical trap. So we make up stuff about necessary moral contingencies and higher truth and a lot of other horse shit that lets us buy house paint from the same company that re-engineered napalm so it would burn under water when they found out that Vietnamese people used to jump into rivers and lakes to put themselves out.

How am I supposed to tell Vickie that the reality of the United States is that people who look like me have a lot more freedom and privilege than people who look like her?

What am I supposed to say when  she says "What about the Constitution?"

Written by slaveholders, kiddo. When they say 'All men,' they mean all white men. Go cook dinner.

"Why do they make movies like this?"

Because they make money, sweetheart. And money is more important than people. Well, people like you.

"That's not fair."

I know, Vickie. But I'm white, so it's hard for me to feel any real loss. Do my math homeowrk, will you?

When all else fails, follow the f@#$ing directions. That's what the Constitution's there for.

Yet somehow, we don't quite manage to live up to the letter of the laws we wrote. And it doesn't ever impact the people who wrote them or their descendants. It impacts 10 year old little girls who deserve better.

"It's here in the U.S. where there's nothing but Hollywood dribble that are marketed so strongly that we are exposed to so little of what exists outside of Hollywood film studios. I don't think she'd ask the types of questions she'd ask if she were a resident of the States."

Do you have any idea how strongly marketed that sh*t is here? That's what I was getting at before; Kung Fu Panda isn't going to be as offensive in Six Pack, Iowa as it is in Singapore or Hong Kong because the victims of its hubris are a lot thinner on the ground.

In the same vein, a film like Yankee Imperialist Running Dogs would probably not be seen as inflammatory here. And no, I am not overstating the alternative: Kung Fu Panda. Same difference.

"She shouldn't have a problem though, because being in HK, she will get plenty of taste for the locally-made (Asia) films where the actors are predominantly Asian."

Extremelyfew locals (including her parents) appreciate, much less watch, local films. Guess what they watch?

Her own mother won't let me refuse to take Vickie to KFP. She thinks I'm overreacting. She doesn't think it's such a big deal.

Let me go out on a limb here... and preventively apologize if and when I offend people with the example.

How come Dreamworks doesn't make an animated film about a Jewish camel with oversized yarmulkes on his humps?

Because Jewish people wouldn't stand for it.

Tolerating ignorance encouragesit.

F@#$ that.

F@#$ Disney, Dreamworks, and anyone else who produces this sh*t.

Then again, we should be grateful. They'll keep winding me up, and I'll keep writing about it until that aneurysm in my forehead pops like a zit and I die with profanity on my lips and indignation in my heart.

about 14 years ago 0 likes  2 comments  0 shares


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April 1, 2008