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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Why I Hated 'Dances With Wolves'

When Kevin Kostner's hit movie, "Dances With Wolves," came out, Paula told me she wanted to go see it. I told her I didn't want to. "I know how it will play out," I told her. "White people are/were bad people and Indians were a noble lot who were slaughtered en masse by the to-be-hated white people."

We went to see it ...

I was right.

Kevin Kostner abandoned his whiteness, became a Cherokee or Chickasaw or Choctaw or Chiracahua or some such (to a point anyway; he "coupled" with a white chick who had been kidnapped by the Injuns years before but aparently held no grudges or harbored hard feelings about it and so became - joyously - one of the above-named tribes as well). And the white people in the movie were very very bad. And ugly. And overweight. And they smoked.

I sat and fumed through the entire thing, if only because of the tired, cliched, stereotyped Hollywood script.

Well, a new movie chronicling the manner in which Europeans abused /slaughtered America's noble savages in olden days has been released. "The New World," starring Colin Farrell, is apparently about the erstwhile relationship between Captain John Smith and Pocahontas - and probably about the abuse and slaughter ...

James Bowman, movie critic for The American Spectator, has a wonderful review of the flick, a portion of which includes:

The Indians, so far as we see them, never work. They take their ease and play all day, apparently, while living in peace, harmony and plenty. Meanwhile the settlers work and slave constantly and yet are reduced to eating shoe leather and each other. The latter seem to have no idea of hunting, fishing or agriculture and to be utterly dependent on getting game and corn from the Indians -- or supplies from England. They are only interested in searching for gold, even if they starve in the attempt, and in fighting each other. Similarly, the Indians are all attractive graceful, well-proportioned and handsomely decorated with tattoos, like Allen Iverson. The English are all dirty, ugly, toothless and bedraggled, or all of them except the obviously Irish Captain Smith, and their gold-lust -- or is it God-lust? -- makes them hate-filled, vicious, and constantly at one another's throats.

This easy schematization of complicated events only increases the basic incoherence at the heart of the movie. When Smith is saved from death by Pocahontas -- who, by the way, is never named in the film until she is re-named Rebecca -- he is presented with a stark choice: live the hippie life in peace, plenty, and sexual freedom among the Indians or go back to the English settlers and return to a life of nothing but hardship, treachery, bitterness, and celibacy. (link)

The rest is "history." Some things never change ...

Paula, I am NOT going to go see it.