Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Grinch and Gamora

"This green bore is not my friend...."
Or: "Just because we are both green, doesn't mean we have anything in common."

I knew this one was a bad idea from the start, but it went even more wrong than I could have anticipated. 

While I do select what to draw on these napkins with my sons' interests foremost in mind, my own issues about being the mother of two over indulged white boys who consume a lot of mainstream pop culture material creeps into the mix in some not entirely positive ways.

I thought "Guardians of the Galaxy" was a pleasantly entertaining movie, but having watched some of it again recently, (released on DVD and iTunes this week) I am reminded that it suffers from some of the usual gender and racial "insensitivities." As Gamora is the only central female character, and ahem, the only "person of color" in the cast with a large part, she stands at the center of these problems.

In a minor example: one of the biggest laugh lines in the movie as far as my sons were concerned occurs when Drax, a very literal thinker, declares the rest of the Guardians to be his friends.  He says something like, "You, Quill, are my friend. This dumb tree is also my friend. And this green whore is also my friend..." In fact, the only promiscuous character in the group is Star Lord, but Drax refers to him by name rather than calling him more appropriately "this pink whore." While Gamora is "a warrior and an assassin," she is still saddled with a peekaboo outfit and intermittent sexual slurs.

The variously brightly hued people in "Guardians" made me think of the often used invocation of strangely colored people to dismiss the topic of race: i.e. phrases like, "I don't care if you are white, black, yellow or purple..."  This sort of phrase usually comes out of the mouths of white people who are in the midst of claiming that race does not matter to them or to the world at large....( see the blog stuffwhitepeoplesay.com for a clearer discussion of this)  There are a lot of green, yellow, magenta and blue people in the movie... but... they are still mostly white.
I am pretty sure that I am not succeeding in conveying the importance of these issues to my sons.  My hectoring just makes them tune out all the more:  "Do your homework! Pick up your room! Brush your teeth! Don't be an insensitive, overentitled, chauvinistic, racist asshole!"

What does all this have to do with the poor Grinch? you might ask.
I am not entirely sure, but I think he might be a victim here as well.

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