Last night during a free-form moment on the air, I started reminiscing about a film I loved called, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It wasn’t the remake that terrified me as much as the original starring Kevin McCarthy.
The film can be interpreted as a political allegory and it often is as during the time of its production there were scares about Communist infiltration and the possibility of information inoculation that would change people into blanks—or people without emotional empathy.
These same themes have been approached in films like John Carpenter’s “They Live “ where conformity becomes a product of subliminal manipulation and while we sleep those who wish to confuse and destroy are way of life wish to homogenize our behavior dynamic with destructive and manipulative group think.
Nearly 50 years ago, a book called, The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin, was written and after the movie of the same name was made in 1975, the word “Stepford” has become an adjective to describe someone who is a conformist – or is submissive.
The Stepford Wives has one of the most enduring premises of 20th-century American fiction. Joanna and Walter Eberhart move with their two children to the suburbs in the hope of a more comfortable life. They abandon New York—“the filthy, crowded, crime-ridden, city” —a couple of acres in Stepford, a “postcard pretty” town with white frame colonial shop fronts and indistinguishable streets with names like Elm and Maple.
The homes of Stepford are kept unusually clean by unusually beautiful and unusually curvaceous wives. These women resemble actresses in commercials or soap operas. They look like pretty actresses with big chests and no brains.
Once again, a “blank” person that seems comfortable in conformity, doing everything to please the men.
As we progress in the story, we find out that the women are not women at all but robot replacements. They are programmed to be perfect and hollow – without character only with good looks and subservient.
One of the more subversive aspects of Levin’s story is that it takes only the mildest acts of rebellion from the women to induce the men of Stepford to slaughter their wives and replace them with obedient doubles.
In all of these stories it appears that the underlying theme is that while there are some people that believe that conformity is safe – it eventually becomes an obstacle in social cohesiveness. Apathy and even feigned sympathy can be felt as a hollow overture for gain and in some sick way fingers the so-called “other” in a manner that is passive.
Robert A. Heinlein wrote:
“Sick cultures show a complex of symptoms, but a dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners, lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, which is more significant than an all out riot.”
With that in mind, I talked briefly last night about a new film I saw called, Get Out. It is a film that was a big hit at the Sundance Film festival because it is a horror film directed by a well-known comedian, Jordan Peele. Many people know of Jordan’s comedy talent as he appears on Comedy Central’s sketch series, Key and Peele.
While the film is a classic horror outing with a lot of humor mixed in the story, runs through some familiar territory seen in the Stepford Wives and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
The underlying theme of the film deals with a subject that will never see the light of day in the mainstream and that is the problem of smug liberal white racism.
Now ask any liberal and they will tell you that conservatives are the racists as we are hearing from a very vocal liberal contingency that our president and his cabinet are equal to the Nazis and the KKK.
Peel uses his latest film as a vehicle to show the hypocrisy of the trends in race appropriation and the smug underlying race championing that does nothing to change the way we relate in the racial flow of things.
The story centers on a man named, Chris and his girlfriend, Rose. Rose is taking Chris home to meet her parents for the first time. Men are all too familiar with the fear of meeting the girlfriend’s parents for the first time but Chris has an added level of concern: he’s black and she’s white.
Chris asks if she has told her parents – and she says that he has nothing to worry about because her parents are not racist.
When they meet Rose’s father becomes very self conscious and starts speaking as if he knows black slang and then quips that he would vote for Barack Obama for a third term if only the constitution would allow it. He also shows Chris a picture of his father who he explains competed with Jesse Owens, the track star who “showed Hitler’s Aryan Superman” that a black man could beat them. Under his breath he says to Chris that his father never really got over it.
Chris starts to feel uncomfortable. There’s something up with the other black people in the house: a rather spooked groundskeeper and maid. Why are they acting so strange? Why does Rose’s family act all obsessed with him, and why is there a meeting at the house with a bunch of smug, rich liberals, including a woman who appears to have a black man as a “blank” minded pet?
While Jordan Peele could have taken the easier, over-used route of exposing the stereotypical racism of so-called rednecks, he’s decided to target the underlying bigotry of rich liberals instead and, in doing so, has made something fiercely original.
The white people Chris encounters wouldn’t consider themselves racists but name-checking Jesse Owens doesn’t give one a free pass. One woman refers to how well-endowed Chris must be, another man comments on how the fairer skin was once in vogue – but now “black is in fashion.”
Roses’ eccentric brother even speaks about his “genetic makeup” and how it would make him a “beast” in a fight.
It appears that all of the people in the film express these opinions because they think they are compliments; but these aren’t compliments, they’re reductive and offensive stereotypes that only serve to make Chris feel uncomfortable and fetishized.
As these micro-incidents stack up, Chris’ experience becomes a microcosm of what many black people experience in the US and beyond: telling someone that they’re welcome is different from actually welcoming someone.
There are many liberal commentators that have called this out – as many liberals are embarrassed by this new trend of race appropriation.
Bill Maher, the comedian editorializing Real Time host has said that the left has lost its way and has now become over sensitive and emotional. He said that If Democrats want to win, they need to dump the social justice warriors, and cultural appropriations activists because they give the brand a bad name.
Much of what we are seeing today is the policing of people to the point of conformity by liberal white young adults that on the surface want to appear race sensitive – but lack the slightest bit of interest in living in a predominantly black neighborhood.
White liberal college students speak of “safe spaces”, “trigger words”, “micro aggressions” and “white privilege” while not having to do anything else or even more importantly, give up anything. They can’t even have a conversation with someone who sees the world differently without resorting to calling someone a racist, fascist, homophobic, misogynistic, bigot and trying to have them banned from a school campus, or ruin them and their reputation.
There are a lot of white liberal young adults who claim that “diversity is strength” but whose actions are very different when it comes to their own lives, their own homes, their own children and their own neighborhoods.
They say they feel black peoples’ pain because they took a trip to Africa to help the disadvantaged, but are unwilling to go to a black neighborhood in the city in which they live.
The fact is the U.S. government census has reported that when the non-white population of a community reaches between 10 and 20 percent, whites simply leave. Whites will not live in non-white neighborhoods in any meaningful percentage.
These same college students will espouse the diversity, but will in the same breath assume blacks are only attending school because of affirmative action or that all black people grew up in poverty.
The liberal over enthusiastic diversity agents and sensitive warriors encourage dialogue about diversity and shames others for their alleged racism, but many times they themselves work in environments that are mostly white.
Then there are the appropriations activists that deep down are racists themselves but feel that they need to atone by declaring the absurdity that being of a different culture or race especially white means that you are not allowed to adopt things from other cultures.
“Cultural Appropriation” is a common term among intellectuals and a political strategy used by ethnic and racial-identity groups on the left. It deserves to be understood so it can be called-out as a political strategy that undermines the essential commonality and cross-borrowings of American culture. Ours is a culture that, at its best, incorporates, borrows, and transforms from the multiple groups within it. That’s why tacos and pizzas are now regular features of American food.
Would you be uncomfortable if you found out that the best Chinese restaurant in town has a Latino chef?
An appropriations activist might tell you that something like this is wrong and that it would be more appropriate for the business to hire more Chinese people to cook the food instead of having the Latino do it.
When I reported on the Standing Rock standoff, I was sent a number of Facebook posts that told me I had no business reporting the story because I was a white talk show host on a conservative station, when white conservatives were the enemy. Our guest was Joanelle Romero, a spokesperson and producer for Red Nation Television Network. However, it did not matter to those who were harassing me – they threatened to organize a boycott because they felt that I was not qualified to speak on behalf of the water protectors who they said were mostly Native American.
I noticed that a lot of the Facebook profiles were people who appeared to be white. There was not one Native American person in the bunch; however, you can’t always tell by skin tone.
I also noticed that some of them were affiliated with a boutique activist group called SURJ that according to their website, was founded in 2012 by a small group of white people who, having heard from many people of color in our lives, identified a need for consistent ongoing racial justice organizing by white folks, in contrast to short-lived issue specific campaigns.
I guess being a part of a group that bullies for racial justice gives them a guilt cleanse.
To be honest even bringing this subject up makes me feel uncomfortable.
There will also be a rehashing of controversy when the movie, Ghost In the Shell arrives in theaters at the end of March. Scarlett Johannson was cast in a major roll that in original anime series was Asian.
She plays a cyborg policewoman named Major Kusanagi. This has triggered a racial “whitewashing” row that has been rumbling ever since her casting was announced.
Last year, campaigners angered at the paucity of roles for East Asian actors in Hollywood launched a petition calling for Johansson to be dismissed from the forthcoming remake.
Ridley Scott was forced to defend his biblical epic, Exodus: Gods and Kings against accusations of whitewashing following his decision to cast famous European actors such as Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton as characters from the Middle East and North Africa.
The conversation about diversity has been hijacked. The media is also hypocritical when it comes to so-called race championing. The media will do huge segments about the intolerance of the Right, but is the first to show the mugshot of a young black suspect while showing the much more positive yearbook photo of a young white suspect.
When I was a child grew up thinking that black men were killers because the mainstream news would show mug shots of the Hi-Fi killers – of course, I grew out of my fear.
We have now become vicious to each other on social media sites and Twitter – the anger and speculation is creating a serious psychological schism which if left unchecked, will turn brother-against-brother and American-against-American.
These events are creating destabilization, something that makes a country vulnerable and ripe for takeover.
We have become ideologically decimated. Your opinion about every issue is a litmus test of your morality, competency and political purity.
Politics have unfortunately become a new secular religion that is literally getting in the way of our morality. It is culturally shaping us and pointing us in directions that are unconstitutional, bigoted, and xenophobic.
The fact it takes a horror film like, Get Out, to illustrate this is out of hand is horrifying in and of itself.