(This week, I’d intended to, among other things, refute a certain colleague who seems to think the Supreme Court’s struck down DOMA. She apparently felt led to basically just gloat about it all to heck. For now, I’ll just say, “Ah … no. Sorry, but — they only struck down a provision of DOMA, involving federal benefits. DOMA as a whole is still in place.” In the meantime …)
The esteemed Ronald Rowe and I’ve teamed up again, this week, for The Lone Ranger — the summer-flick remake of the classic radio/TV Western legend. Rowe’s packing another one-two punch: on FlickRev, and in the incoming “Winners & Losers” column. Meanwhile, I really feel the need to address all the flack the film’s gotten politically.
Last week, Mark Steyn filled in for The Godfather for open-line Friday; he referred to a piece from uber-Leftist site Salon.com. (Seriously, Lefties, where do you get these names? Salon? As though you can get a haircut online … ?) They were overjoyed at the “re-imagining” of the adventures of John Reid and Tonto into a brand new entry in the long line of “white-guilt” films. You know the drill: evil greedy White Men, equipped with the Military-Industrial Complex, harassing noble and innocent natives/minorities, blah-blah-blah … until a white guy realizes the “guilt” of his Oppressor Race, and helps the natives/minorities fight back. Sometimes there’s no heroic white guy, at all — but as a rule, there is. Dances With Wolves comes to mind — great film, but it is what it is. Avatar is a particularly notorious example — it’s so blatant, it’s pathetic how it’s taken so seriously. (“It’s in 3-D!”)
Anyway, Salon.com proclaims with elation that The Lone Ranger is one such film — and that the “real” reason Reid dons the mask has been ret-conned; now, he’s somehow “covering over” his inherent “white-ness” — and he’s an “outlaw” because other White People are evil.
Dare we agree? Well … no.
Frankly, Conservatives far too often fall into the trap of taking what the Left says about something at face value, instead of using our own analytical skills. And that can be and often is quite dangerous for our cause. Case in point: Rev. Jerry Falwell getting mocked for singling out Tinky-Winky as “gay” — never mind that said Teletubby had already been identified as a “gay icon” by … Leftists, a la Salon.com.
Really, folks — The Lone Ranger’s not nearly as bad as you’d expect. In fact, I’d wager the reason the Hollywood establishment’s been trashing the film en masse in their “reviews” is: this movie is, in many ways, a subtle “bait-and-switch”.
Sometimes not-so-subtle: Near the beginning, when we’re introduced to John Reid (and his initially stormy dynamic with Johnny Depp’s hilariously deadpan Tonto), the man’s a wide-eyed idealist who’s vehemently pacifist — and anti-gun. In a comical moment, his proclamation that Guns Are Not The Answer is immediately followed up by… a bunch of bad guys popping up and holding him at gunpoint. As Tonto constantly has to keep reminding him … this is the real world, Kemosabe! (Don’t worry, Clayton Moore fans: Reid only technically shoots to kill once in the movie — and then, it’s by pure, frankly hilarious accident. He still learns to wield guns well, though.)
This shouldn’t be too surprising, when one recalls that producer Jerry Bruckheimer — Hollywood legend and practically a King Midas of blockbusters, (cinema and television: CSI and The Amazing Race, anyone?) — is a Conservative. (Sean Hannity actually interviewed him last week, and Bruckheimer confirmed it for all to hear.)
The film does have all the trappings of a seemingly-Leftist “white-guilt” flick. There’s a crooked businessman with all kinds of power at his fingertips, manipulating the military for his own evil purposes. And of course, there’s Tonto and his tribe … and Tonto’s race-baiting Reid seemingly to get him to “stop and think”. And yet…
And yet, against the crooked businessman, there are the “neutral” (or in one case, arguably “good-guy”) businessmen he’s trying to illegally overcome. Further, a telling sequence involving a Cavalry captain in a Mexican standoff emphasizes that “guilt/innocence” comes from choice, not color. And while the framing story involving an elder Tonto is very poignant and thought-provoking — whatever “white-guilt” remains is individual, not collective … and therefore is so mild that, watching this film, I didn’t feel so racially “accused “… after all.
Stay film-friendly, my friends.