Book Review: Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino et al. (2013)

Friday, December 20th, 2013

A Must for Tarantino Fans

four out of five stars

Based on the 2012 film of the same name, Django Unchained is a slavery revenge fantasy in the vein of previous Tarantino movies, namely Inglourious Basterds (Holocaust revenge) and Kill Bill (rape revenge). Caught after an unsuccessful escape attempt, slaves Django and his wife Broomhilda are auctioned off to separate bidders. Whereas Hildi finds herself in the clutches of Calvin Candy – a self-proclaimed Francophile who is as rich as he is evil – Django is eventually acquired by Dr. King Schultz, a dentist-turned-bounty hunter. Schultz offers Django his freedom in return for his help identifying and killing the Brittle brothers, who were employed as overseers by Django’s previous owners. (Naturally, Django can’t believe his luck: killing white men, and getting paid for the privilege? Sign me up!)

Touched by Django’s love for Hildi (and compelled by his hatred for “the flesh trade”), the German-born Schultz takes Django on as a partner and apprentice. The two spend the winter training together, while Django earns the money to buy Hildi’s freedom. Come spring they make the journey to Candyland, ostensibly to buy a slave for the purposes of Mandingo fighting. When their ruse is discovered by the “head” house slave Stephen (power being relative), everything goes sideways, as they say.

Since the graphic novel is adapted from the original script, it contains some new material – including a number of scenes featuring Broomhilda. I’m pretty bummed that these were cut from the movie, as they helped to better flesh out her character, which mostly functions as an archetype of the damsel in distress. Not that this isn’t in some ways a step up from how women of color are portrayed on screen – but still, I would have liked to have gotten to know Hildi better as a person. “Little Troublemaker” hints at so many stories left untouched, don’t you think?

(More below the fold…)

Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 13: Boobs, bacon & bigotry.

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Burger King's Singing in the Shower 03

Mary Elizabeth Williams @ Salon: Will shower for sausages; She’ll “shake her bits” to whet your appetite

In which Burger King tries to one-up its previous misogynist campaigns (can I interest anyone in a blog job burger?) by covering a naked woman in the dismembered corpses and fried secretions of tortured and murdered animals and making her wiggle her (and the animals’) bits in service of the male gaze. Cue: “morning spank routine.” Barf, gargle, repeat.

Tracy Clark-Flory @ Salon: Berlusconi is a boob; The prime minister sells sex for political gain, but many Italians aren’t buying it

While dissecting Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi’s entrepreneurial endeavors – which largely involve selling women’s sexuality on his television stations – Clark-Flory mentions this gem of a tv stunt:

[T]he popular video “Il Corpo delle Donne,” which translates as “The Body of Women,” compiles some of the most shameless moments of T’n’A from Berlusconi’s stations and state television. The most egregious example: A woman is shown suspended from the ceiling in skimpy underwear next to a literal piece of meat clad in a matching pair of panties; it’s awfully reminiscent of that infamous meat-grinder Hustler cover.

After 20 minutes spent perusing boob/burger pimp BK’s website, I’m kind of glad I don’t have a video clip to illustrate this piece. Oy.

Stephanie @ Animal Rights: Breaking Unjust Laws: Clarence Darrow and Inherit the Wind and (especially) Breaking Unjust Laws: AETA, Fugitive Slave Acts, and Oppression Connections

Using the 1960 film Inherit the Wind as a jumping-off point, Stephanie briefly discusses a few similarities between the animal rights and U.S. anti-slavery movements. Or rather, similarities in how each movement was (is) countered by corporate powers, with no small amount of help from the government. (Hint: the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 is to abolitionism as _____ is to the animal liberation movement?)

(More below the fold…)

Like livestock, but fuckable.

Friday, August 7th, 2009

Update, 9/1/09: Guest posting at Sociological Images, Anglofille offers an excellent discussion of George Sodoni’s misogyny – and of the media’s negligence in its coverage of the crime, which more often than not includes a hefty dose of victim-blaming.

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Freschello (Cow)

I had planned on including this in my next intersectionality link roundup, but I’d rather this post be timely than in context. Besides, if you need additional context – here ya go.

New York Post: Full Text of “Gym Killer’s” Blog

Yes, I actually suffered through this misogynist’s entire blog. Blame CNN; one of their journalists piqued my curiosity by quoting from the following excerpt:

Why do this?? To young girls? Just read below. I kept a running log that includes my thoughts and actions, after I saw this project was going to drag on.

December 22, 2008:

Time is moving along. Planned to have this done already. I will just keep a running log here as time passes. Many of the young girls here look so beautiful as to not be human, very edible.

George Sodini, consumer of women.* Note how the women go from being not human (read: nonhuman animal) to not alive (read: “meat” -> or an non-sentient object). He reads much like any “good” fast food commercial!

Elsewhere – in the context of an extremely racist rant, which begins with him postponing his “project” in order to “see the election outcome” – Sodini says, and I’m paraphrasing, that every “brother” ought to “get” his own “white hoe” as a sort of “reverse indentured servitude thing”: “Long ago, many a older white male landowner had a young Negro wench girl for his desires. Bout’ time tables are turned on that shit.”

Actually, a truly “reverse indentured servitude thing” – the very term “indentured servant” is misleading when it’s clear that what he’s really referring to is slavery – would see white men relegated to property status, and distributed among women of color (and, more generally, men of color and all women).

As a commenter at the Reclusive Leftist notes,

The murderer suggested offering black men white women as sex slaves as a way of compensating for the fact that white men used to rape black women slaves.

Who was wronged by white men raping black women slaves? The black women slaves? No! Black men of course!

Who should be compensated today for black women slaves having been abused in the past? Black women? No! Black men of course!

To Sodoni, women were nothing but objects to be consumed – or bought, sold, traded or borrowed, for example, to repay a “debt” incurred by one’s past “wrongdoings.” We are but chattel, livestock, property – servants and slaves. Our violation does not harm us – for how can an object experience suffering? – but rather, our owners: men.

Replace “women” with “animals,” and you’ve summarized the popular view re: nonhuman animals. Hopefully, you’re just as appalled.

(More below the fold…)

DawnWatch: Amazing Grace opens this weekend! 2/23/07

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch.com
Date: Feb 22, 2007 5:00 PM
Subject: DawnWatch: Amazing Grace opens this weekend! 2/23/07

As I have been overwhelmed with other projects, DawnWatch took an inordinately long President’s Day weekend. I will be playing a little catch-up today. The highlight of that weekend was an HSUS advance screening of Amazing Grace, directed by Michael Apted, which opens tomorrow, Friday February 23.

Amazing Grace is the story of William Wilberforce’s parliamentary battle to end the British slave trade. What I had not known before seeing the film, but was not surprised to find out, is that Wilberforce was also one of the founding members of the original Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The film opens with a scene in which Wilberforce intervenes as a horse is being beaten. There are many references to his passion for animals throughout the movie.

Even without the animal friendly theme, I would fervently recommend Amazing Grace to all activists. It shows what can be achieved against what appear to be insurmountable odds. It is inspiring. It is also beautifully acted and directed — a pleasure to watch.

DawnWatch generally encourages animal friendly media by asking people to respond to it favorably with emails to media outlets. The best possible way to show support for an animal friendly film is to go see it — not to wait for it on DVD. Box office sales the opening weekend are the most important, influencing the length of the movie’s run and its distribution to other theatres. Big sales on opening weekend also let the production company know that the public is eager for movies that matter.

So if you are thinking about a movie this weekend (even if you weren’t) — why not show support for messages about making the world a better place, by going to see Amazing Grace? And please forward this recommendation to anybody you know who cares.

Yours and the animals’,
Karen Dawn

(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at http://www.DawnWatch.com. You may forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts if you do so unedited — leave DawnWatch in the title and include this parenthesized tag line. If somebody forwards DawnWatch alerts to you, which you enjoy, please help the list grow by signing up. It is free.)

To discontinue DawnWatch alerts go to http://www.DawnWatch.com/nothanks.php

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HSUS: See the power of film to help animals

Monday, February 19th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Humane Society of the United States – humanesociety [at] hsus.org
Date: Feb 16, 2007 6:07 PM
Subject: See the power of film to help animals

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The Humane Society of the United States
THE POWER OF FILM: Watch, Vote For, and Create Movie Magic for Animals
February 16, 2007
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Sometimes all it takes is a good story. And when that story is told through the language of film, its power can inspire viewers to change how they think and act. Today I want to share with you three ways you can celebrate the power of film to change animals’ lives.

See Compassion in Action in Amazing Grace

Next weekend, you won’t want to miss the true story of William Wilberforce (1759-1833), a political activist who was not only a leading abolitionist but one of the founding figures of the animal protection movement. The film captures Wilberforce’s determination to end the cruelty and suffering imposed on both humans and animals in his era, and it’s an inspiring story of how one person can make a difference. I loved Amazing Grace and hope you’ll see it on opening weekend, beginning February 23.

Watch our exclusive movie preview: https://community.hsus.org/ct/-1S7Mss1Rzm6/

Find a theater near you: https://community.hsus.org/ct/J1S7Mss1Rzm7/

Vote for Your Favorite Animal-Friendly Film

Academy Award-nominated Happy Feet (shown at left) is one of three animated family feature films nominated for our 21st annual Genesis Awards, which acknowledge positive portrayals of animal issues in film, television, and print. Which movie will win? Vote for your favorite film in this and each of three other
categories, and we’ll enter you in a drawing to win a free weekend trip to New York, courtesy of Southwest Airlines and W Hotels.

Vote now and enter to win. Click here: https://community.hsus.org/ct/-pS7Mss1RzmI/

Make Your Own Film for Animals

If you’re 16-25 and an aspiring filmmaker — or just someone who wants to do more than upload funny home videos to YouTube — then check out the Film Your Issue (FYI) competition. FYI invites young people to create short films that address issues that are important to them. The Humane Society of the United States is a featured partner, and we’ve even provided “B roll” you can use to create your own movie about our top campaigns.

Make your own movie. Click here: https://community.hsus.org/ct/-7S7Mss1RzmW/

Thanks for all you do for animals.

Sincerely,

Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

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Copyright (c) 2007
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
All Rights Reserved.

humanesociety [at] hsus.org | 202-452-1100 | http://www.hsus.org
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037

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Book Review: The Enslavement of the American Indian in Colonial Times, Barbara Olexer (2005)

Monday, January 30th, 2006

An enlightening look at an oft-ignored subject!

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review at the author’s invitation.)

In THE ENSLAVEMENT OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN IN COLONIAL TIMES, author Barbara J. Olexer examines the subject of American Indian slavery. While she does trace the roots of American Indian slavery back as far as 1013, her discussion primarily focuses on the colonial period, particularly the 1600s and 1700s. THE ENSLAVEMENT OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN… offers an illuminating look at what, sadly, is a little-known subject. Given the dearth of books on this topic, Ms. Olexer’s tome makes a welcome addition to the existing literature.

Starting with the Norsemen’s “discovery” of America in the tenth century, THE ENSLAVEMENT OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN… explores the topic of American Indian slavery. What started as the kidnappings of individual American Indians eventually escalated into an American Indian slave trade, albeit on a smaller scale than the African slave trade. The trade reached its height during the 17th and 18th centuries, but had largely ceased by the 1780s. The reasons for the American Indian slave trade were many. Commonly, colonists instigated warfare between already unfriendly tribes, as a means of weakening their enemies as well as obtaining American Indian slaves “legally.” Additionally, trading in American Indian slaves was another tool with which to rob the Indians of their land. American Indians were often tricked into slavery, ambushed by unscrupulous colonists, or simply kidnapped and “exported.” By the end of the Revolutionary War, however, American Indian populations were decimated to such a degree that slavery was no longer necessary. Nor was it profitable; Africans were more plentiful and made for more obedient and resilient slaves.

THE ENSLAVEMENT OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN… covers both the scale of and the reasons underlying the American Indian slave trade. The book is divided into eleven chapters: It Began as Kidnapping; The Pilgrims and the Pequots; King Philip’s War; The French in Canada; The English and the Westo; The Traders and the Neophytes; The Tuscarora and Yamassee Wars; The End of the Trade in Carolina; The French in Louisiana; The French and the Natchez; and Conclusion.

As you can see from the chapter titles, Ms. Olexer looks at the French as well as the English settlers, and also examines Spanish-Indian relations. A number of American Indian groups make an appearance, including the Huron, Eskimo, Pequot, Narragansett, Saconnet, Nipmuc, Mohegan, Iroquois, Seneca, Tuscarora, Westo, Powhatan, Catawba, Chowan, Yamassee, Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw, Waccamaw, Natchez, Sauk and Fox tribes, as well as the Wampanoag Federation and the Five Nations. Geographically, the discussion concentrates on the north- and south-east of the United States. Several chapters are devoted to the Carolina region in particular.

Although schools and scholars are finally beginning to acknowledge our forbearers’ brutal treatment of the Americas’ original inhabitants, the subject of American Indian slavery still merits little attention. Indeed, I don’t recall learning of the topic at all during elementary, junior, or high school. Unfortunately, few books exist that tackle this significant topic. Barbara Olexer’s THE ENSLAVEMENT OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN… helps to fill this void, and makes a great addition to the history buff’s bookshelf. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in the American Indian experience or the history of slavery. An added bonus: the author donates a portion of the proceeds to the National Museum of the American Indian.

(This review was originally published on Amazon and Library Thing, and is also available on Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you think it so!)