Thursday, March 14, 2013

Argh! You self-involved BIGOT!

I've just seen "The Help". It was all right - kind of racially simplistic but I like stories about women, so I liked it fine.

BUT: watching the extra features is where the whole thing gets ugly. The author of the book refers to her inspiration, which apparently struck her in the year 2001 - actually on September 11, when in her shock and horror over the World Trade Centre attack, she really wanted to go home to -- get this -- the arms of her maid. [!!!!] She says something like "For 35 years I never saw Demitri [her family's maid] out of her uniform until she was in her casket. Then I started wondering 'what was she thinking all those years?'"


You never thought about what she was thinking all those years? It never occurred to you that she had a life other than serving YOU?? We are talking about RECENT HISTORY here, folks! Recent. Look at how she says those two sentences. "I never saw her out of her uniform" and then "I started wondering what she was thinking." Then -- THEN -- this woman goes on to write a smug, tearjerking glurge novel about what she thinks it might have been like for these black women in Mississippi, totally immersing herself in this greased-lens 1963 South, wherein black people are all 'Lawdy, lawdy, I done made y'all some crispy friiied chicken, Miss Ceee-lya." And when they get sassy to their bitchy Junior League employers we're all meant to nod self-righteously and clap, and admire their quaint accents, and think smugly to ourselves about how times have changed and isn't it so nice, aren't black people so funny and boy, those Southern folks sure used to be racist and ignorant.

The producer, a guy about 40 years old, at the most, has just said "I didn't grow up then [the '60s] but the social structure [when I was growing up] was largely the same." Are you telling me in that in the South white people STILL have black maids which they keep in their service for a lifetime, who are entrusted with raising their employers' children, and whose thoughts nobody even bothers to wonder about? Guess so.

What have the last 40 years been about, anyhow?!



Valerie said...

You know, I've avoided that book and movie like the plague after hearing the author interviewed on NPR. You confirmed my stance.

For an interesting counterpoint, you might like Toni Morrison's latest titled Home.

Anonymous said...

I never saw any features or interviews with the author and so enjoyed the movie for the simply little fairy tale it was. Sigh.

Times changed? Ha. Much less than we'd like to think, as human nature just hasn't changed that much. Always will be us against them, however you want to define the us and them.

(Did you hear that just this year, UBC finally looked into why their female profs made less than the male profs? Even when they took into account that more women worked part-time while parenting, etc etc, they came up with a $3000 different that they admitted they could not explain in any way other than gender difference. To their credit they have addressed the situation, wanting to attract more profs and researchers, however that was this year. In this enlightened age of equality.)

clumsy ox said...

What have the last 40 years been about, anyhow?!

Me. The last 40 years have largely been about me.

Shan said...

Like (1)

Chris Fransen said...

We went to Texas in the mid-90's and were completely taken aback at the segregation. My husband and kids went to a Subway where they were ignored until the manager talked to them and found we were from Canada. She then told them that they only served "black folks" there but since we weren't from the area, she would make their sub sandwiches. My 12 and 14 year old kids were shocked that things like this existed.

Belinda said...

We watched the movie American Violet this weekend and I could not believe that the discredited District Attorney in the movie is still in power in Texas. I spent most of the movie angry, despairing, and disbelieving that the true story on which it is based is such recent history and that this injustice is still going on!