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American History X - Меня зовут Тролль, Диматролль
May 15th, 2005
12:27 am

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American History X
Subtitled: Another problem of America

As I have recently watched more and more American films, I start to see one common issue that is shared among them all. Many many American movies feature characters with severe anger management problems. And the strange thing, that is never portrayed to be a problem - rather it is usually ignored and it never comes up as anything bad. Kind of like it isn't even an issue at all. Like the people who can't control themselves are perfectly normal. And if bad anger management is normal, then since being normal is a virtue, not being able to control yourself is a virtue in itself. As a matter of fact, I have now even thought of a few films where this presise lack of anger management is the main positive trait of the antagonist. And that is a big, big problem. And if at this moment I consider this to be an American-bred trait, then it becomes an another problem of America.

This movie, American History X, is about racism in America. It looks at the relationships between the whites and the blacks in the most extreme cases. The film raises some good issues, but it only ends up showing one side of the story. We follow the lives of two brothers, who are prominent members of a skin-head gang. And they just happen to be smart, unlike all the other members. In the end, one of them gets an epiphany that maybe people are people and dedicates himself to convincing his brother of the same. The problem is that the movie clearly shows every one in the gang as a senseless moron. And that is not true - there must have been more smart people, people who had a reason of their own for doing what they've done. And we don't see that. We see that racism is a side-effect of stupidity. I.e. you get smart, you get enlightened and you stop being a racist. That's not the case - there are plenty of smart racists out there, and being racist is not at all an inferior point of view - it is only different. Yes, it is less societally compatible, and yes, it may be a cause of violence, but it is not an inferior mentality - it is simply different.

If you want to be racist, you have to one, be smart about it, and two - have some anger management. Which goes back to my first point. I like to think that I have at the least better-than-avarage anger management. And yet I know many people, of equal or higher intellegence, who are way more prone to getting violent than I am. I don't consider them inferior - no, only different. Different, and less societally compatible. Which does, coincidentally, mean that to live as a society, we all have to be compatible with each other and the incompatible people must go. And when we finally get that, we'll have world peace. And in a few years, we'll be praying for some horrible epidemia to kill off a few billion people and somewhat delay the apocalypsys by overpopulation.

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From:maybe_next_life
Date:May 14th, 2005 09:20 pm (UTC)
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isn't the whole point of the movie to show that racism is a bad form of focusing your anger? the older brother has problems dealing with the death of his father and some new guy coming in and showing an interest in his mother. so what does he do? he turns that into anger against black people for killing his father and jews because some "kike" is hitting on his mom. so yea, he has problems with anger management, that's the point of the movie. and in the end, the tragedy of the movie is that this sort of mindset is infectious and is passed on to his brother, which ultimately kills him.
another thing: racism is in itself stupidity, regardless of the intelligence of the person. it shows a sort of mental laziness on the part of the person afflicted because they can't take the time to dispel stereotypes, whether they are personal or socially-ascribed. so the person can be a nobel-lauriate and still call some black person a "nigger" and still be a complete idiot in my book. as a side note, for debate we used to quote this guy who won a nobel prize because he said that aids doesn't exist. so there you go.
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From:deema
Date:May 15th, 2005 05:09 am (UTC)
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I agree with your second point. Intelligence has many different definitions, and I am willing to accept a definition, where lack of social compatibility equates to stupidity.

But the fact that the mindset is infectious and kills his brother - I disagree. Yes, the brother gets infected with the mindset. But then he gets pulled right out of it in no time. And what did he get shot for? For not letting the black kids talk down to him in school? Well, he was perfectly right about that. Don't you think he acted right when he met that black guy in the restroom for the first time? He wasn't angry, he wasn't violent. He just made it clear that he isn't going to take any shit from them. I did the same when I was in high school. I think that the tragedy of the film is that even if you get smart about racism and violence, even if you understand that black people are alright, there will still be morons with guns on the loose who can shoot you because they were feeling trigger-happy that morning.
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From:maybe_next_life
Date:May 15th, 2005 08:27 am (UTC)
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well, i didn't mean lack of social compatability, because racism's something more than that. it's intellectual laziness and stubborness in that a person can't move beyond simple stereotypes.
and on the second part, my last comment was meant only as a sort of closing comment, since it had nothing to do with the rest. but we can go off on that tangent; he wasn't standing up to the black kid in that scene. he walks up and blows smoke in his face, then gets up in his face. that isn't standing up, that's provoking a person, and he did so purposefully. besides that, it's clear that he's built up his own reputation in his brother's shadow, and so this is no doubt indicative of previous acts of the same nature, making ignoring the action that much more difficult. granted, the reaction to this is a tad much, but i would still say that his racist mindset is what ultimately killed him.
yes, there are idiots with guns, and it's possible that a person can be killed for next to nothing. but, getting back to your initial point, this has nothing to do with poor anger management. it shows that racist mindsets can transcend racial boundaries, that guns desensitize people to violence, that public schools are shitty at preventing violence, pretty much anything except american movies showing people who are primarily characterized by bad anger management.
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From:maybe_next_life
Date:May 15th, 2005 08:30 am (UTC)
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...is normal and acceptable. that was the last part, got cut off
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From:deema
Date:May 15th, 2005 02:14 pm (UTC)
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Alright, I will retreat on my extremist point. It is just that that's what my first reaction was - and not just from this movie, but from many other films as well. Just to remember the last two - Seven, where the cop can't control himself at all and is yet portrayed as a victim, and Dusk Till Dawn, where Tarantino's character is almost mental and that's nothing more than a minor annoyance. I guess I've slightly boiled over there. The question of response to violence is a rather personal one for me, and I tend to take extreme sides that I can't always logically defend.
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From:maybe_next_life
Date:May 16th, 2005 06:44 am (UTC)
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sorry, can't resist a good debate, hehe. but yea, tarantino films prob aren't the best example, tho they're damn fun. but seven is a weird lil example, i'm gonna think about that one for a while now, i'm sure
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From:deema
Date:May 16th, 2005 06:55 am (UTC)
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And I can rarely partake a good debate. :)
I can only advice not to think too much about Seven. The deadly sins are not reasons to kill people, and the movie is silly to portray a religious fanatic who thought otherwise as a preaching character. Although if you liked the movie, you should watch "The Saw" and think about that one instead. :)
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